Getting serious in a romantic relationship inevitably comes with certain stumbling blocks. If you and your partner are thinking of taking a really big step — like moving in together or getting married — there are bound to be a few disagreements along the way.
Ultimately, your credit information is your own
First, it’s important to understand that your credit information is ultimately your own. Even if you and your partner are planning on getting married, each of you will maintain your own credit report and score. This means you don’t have to share your credit information with your partner — you’re entitled to keep it to yourself.
However, if your plans include applying for a joint loan (like a mortgage), be aware that the lender will examine both of your credit histories. In this case, it’s usually prudent to let your partner know what kind of shape your credit is in.
Explore the reasons you’re reluctant to share
Again, you can’t be compelled to share your credit report with your significant other if you don’t want to. But it might be a good idea to think about why keeping your credit under wraps is so important to you. After all, if you’re thinking of sharing a life with someone, it’s not outrageous that he or she is interested in your financial history.
If you’re stumped about your need for secrecy, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I embarrassed about what’s on my credit report? If you’ve made money mistakes in the past, you might be tempted to hide them from your partner. But be aware that past financial missteps are bound to surface at some point — honesty in these matters is usually the best policy.
- Do I trust my partner with the information? If your instincts are telling you that your significant other can’t be trusted with the information on your credit report, it’s time to take a step back. This speaks to a larger issue in your relationship that should be addressed, pronto.
- Am I worried that my credit is much better than my partner’s? It might be the case that you know your partner experienced some financial hardships. If so, you’re probably concerned that your significant other will be embarrassed that his or her credit is so much worse than your own. But again, the truth is likely to come out — clearing the air now is probably wise.
Try to compromise, and keep communicating
If you’ve considered your reasons for keeping your credit report private and still wish to do so, the next step is to find a compromise with your partner. If he or she is pushing you to be more transparent with your finances, think about what you are comfortable sharing. For instance, if you’re OK with telling your significant other about how much you owe in student loans, that’s a good start.
And, of course, keep the lines of communication open. It might be difficult for your partner that you’re not more forthcoming about your finances, so give him or her the space to share these concerns with you. Use the opportunity to air your own thoughts and feelings, too. You may find that, over time, the idea of letting your significant other see your credit report isn’t so scary after all.
This article was updated Sept. 16, 2016.
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