Holly Writes In “I’ve Kept This Secret From Him For a Long Time.”

Holly wrote in and asked her question through the GetOutofDebt.org site. You can too.

“Hey there,

I have been with my boyfriend awhile now, and we’ve just started to talk about purchasing a house and getting a joint credit card. We’ve never discussed finances further than how much money we make per year.

I have bad credit, and I’m pretty sure I should tell him, but is there an easy way to do it? I wanted to avoid the subject until it was fixed. I owe about $6000 that I’m slowly paying off, but it’s there in collections just making the credit score worse.

I know his credit is excellent. We’re only 27, he makes $100,000 a year, and I make $75,000 a year. I made some bad decisions in my early twenties that now I’m paying for. I guess I’m embarassed to tell him. Any advice?”


The fear of being judged is always much, much worse than the reality of breaking the news to your partner.

If your relationship has moved that far along you are pretty serious about this relationship and moving it forward.

Forget about the credit issue for a moment. How would you feel if he was keeping a secret from you simply because he was afraid if you would judge him or be critical. You’d probably tell him that was silly and that he should feel free to tell you anything.

When it comes to issues about money and credit, honesty truly is the best policy. The last thing you want to happen is for some mortgage broker to blurt out that your credit is horrible. “It’s What!!!”, he’ll say, and rightfully so. However, if you tell him now, if a mortgage broker mentioned it he’d say “I know, we are working on improving it.” A much better outcome.

I think the best approach is to get a copy of your credit report and in this case I’d strongly suggest this particular consolidated credit report and order your credit score with it as well. Why this one? Simply because it is very easy to read, has all three credit bureaus on it side-by-side and it is color coded to make everything clear and apparent. If you get your credit score with it you’ll see exactly what you need to do to improve your score as well.

I think this is important for full disclosure and transparency when you sit down together and share this credit report with him. Guys are more visual. This credit report will make it easier for him to take in. If your going to share the truth, share the whole truth, show him all the details, and be as open and honest as you can be.

The reality is that he may be pissed at first, that’s a completely normal reaction, but 99.9% of the time, with a little space and time, if he was angry, he’ll come around and calm down.

Besides, think about it like this, if this breaks your relationship apart, how strong is it really? It’s not like you cheated on him or killed a puppy? It’s just credit, you made a mistake and it can all be fixed.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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