(Closed) Feel betrayed by my SO in regards to student debt

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
4040 posts
Honey bee

@neurosauer:  First of all, breath. Yes, that is a lot of debt, but 1) it is considered a form of “good” debt because he is investing in his education and 2) he will have lots of time to pay it off. 

Yes, he should have been more upfront with it, but is it possible he honestly didn’t realize how much it was until you forced him to really look at it? While I was very concious of my loans throughout college, my DH was less so during grad school. He expected to take out about $17k and ended up spending $28k. Unfortunately, it happens.

Are you seriously willing to walk out on an otherwise healthy (I am assuming) relationship over debt? It’s not like he racked up gambling debts. It’s student loans. You can still buy a house and have/support children within the next 5-10 years with student loans.

I would suggest having a very open conversation with him and perhaps devise a plan for how he can pay down the debt at a steady, efficient pace that will still allow you two to live a comfortable life.

ETA: Before you panic too much, it is possible to live a very comfortable life and move forward with student debt. Lots of people do it. So I wouldn’t go off the deep end and assume that you have to live paycheck to paycheck and can’t get married/buy a home/have children anytime soon. You will have to adjust your financially plans, but not necessarily in a drastic way. If necessary, he can apply for income adjusted loan payments. Which will come up with an affordable monthly payment. I would also encourage him to start paying now if possible, but at least before the 6 month deferment ends. That will help save on interest.

Post # 4
7123 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@neurosauer:  Please don’t jump to the conclusion that he was lying about it. I didn’t realize how much I had in loans until my SO (now DH) made me actually sit down and look at it. I was just in denial and didn’t want to face facts. Was that irresponsible? Definitely! But I honestly didn’t know how much I had until he made me sit down and look at it.

I personally think you should stick with him. I can’t imagine leaving someone I’ve discussed marriage with because I find out he is further in debt than I previousy thought. Electrical engineers make a decent amount of money so I think you two should be able to pay it off in under 5 years if you manage money responsibly. I graduated with $40k and we are paying it off in 2.5 years thanks to a good budget. We could pay it off quicker due to our budgeting but we decided we would rather invest and create a decent savings account.

Sit down and create a budget. I have no idea what living expenses are like in Philadelphia but we by no means have to live terribly modestly to pay off my loans and I think that with both of you being EEs that you should be making more than we do. 

Maybe I am biased about sticking with him as I am the one that brought loans into my relationship. I just don’t think it’s fair to hold it against him. You were very very lucky to have a parent pay for your education and not everyone has that luxury. However, if you think that he has a problem managing money, than I think that’s a different story…

Post # 5
849 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Well, I only have about 36k in student loans so I can’t imagine what 90k would be like. And all my loans are federal. I went to community college for two years then went to state school. 

I don’t know if this is an option since most of the loans seem to be private but can he do an income based or income contingent plan? That would make the monthly payments a lot more manageable. You could still get married, buy a house, have kids, etc. You could still have a life as long as the monthly payments are manageable. 

If not…then I would just take a second job. Both you and your FI. I imagine that if you had somewhat low living expenses then the income from four jobs could help to considerably knock that 90k debt down. 

I would stay with him, if I were you. When I was 19, I made some stupid decisions with a credit card and it’s still affecting me now at 26. But luckily, my credit card debt is almost gone. Just $1300 left and I will be credit card debt free! And the only debt I will have left is my car loan and my student loans.

My point is, yes your FI should have confessed sooner. But he made a mistake. I wouldn’t leave him over this. But then, I’m not you. 

Good luck!

Post # 6
10509 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@neurosauer:  I’d be emotional about something like that too.  I think you need some time before you actually sit down and discuss a plan.  I would be pissed off, but I can’t imagine leaving DH over that.  I also can’t imagine him doing that too me.


If you stick it out, I think the budgeting situation is doable.  Start by determining estimated take home pay, and minimum payments.  There are options:

Do his money/your money completely

Live completely off of your salary and all of his can go to debt

Figure out a system for household joint stuff (50/50, 60/40, etc).  The rest of his salary can go towards debt.  If he wants extra spending money, he can have a side job.


There’s also lots of options in between these.

Post # 7
8999 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Student and medical debt are the only “acceptable” debts to me. It isn’t like he gambled away his money or owes money to the mob. This is something that is fixable. I was raised where you don’t throw out what you can fix — You can fix this, yes this is going to take sacrifice and hard work.

Are you willing to throw away a perfectly good relationship just because it’s going to get a little hard?

Student debts are not something that is “in your face” so I can definitely see how something could slip his mind.

Post # 8
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Aloft Hotel

I don’t really feel comfortable telling you what you should do about your relationship, I think that’s something only you can answer. But I can understand your fears about debt. I received a full tuition scholarship to a very expensive school but still had to take on some debt in order to cover room/board/transport/books etc. I thought I had about 20k in debt, which is quite a bit, but still manageable, but then found out it would be closer to 35k after I finished. I was incredibly upset for weeks and seriously considered leaving school to avoid taking on that amount, but in the end I got my degree and I am very happy that I did.

I’ve come to realize that debt is a part of life for most people. Even if I didn’t have student loan debt, I would buy a house and owe a mortgage or buy a car and have to pay that note. A very close family member of mine ended up in the hospital for weeks and ended up owing more than twice what I do, with future debt to come because of the nature of her illness. I now feel lucky that the only debt I have to speak of is from an investment I made in myself and my future.

With student loans you’re not as stuck as you may feel. You can take advantage of numerous payment plans. I, for example, chose a plan where my payment amounts would be in proportion to my income. That way I know my debt will never be overwhelming in case unfortunate circumstances appear. In the mean time me and FH are maintaining very good credit and the only debt we currently have is from student loans (which looks good in considering things like getting a mortgage). I don’t feel like my debt is overwhelming anymore, and it’s not getting in the way of things I want to do with my life. I’ve learned to accept it and live with it.

As far as your FI goes, if you choose to stay you are going to have to adjust your plans for the future but it doesn’t mean you can no longer do the things you had hoped to. It just means you have to do them in a different way. You just need to ask yourself if he’s worth it.

Post # 9
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Student loans can be confusing and can really sneak up on you.  Will your majors lead to good jobs. What is his interest rate?  If they are at a decently low rate, why rush to pay them off?  If you expect to both have good careers there is no shame in paying off debts in 20 or 30 years.  Sometimes you can get a higher return on your investment by using your money to buy a house and keeping the debt.  

I understand that you are upset that it is more than expected but it doesn’t seem like your bf was intentionally lying to you.  You are lucky to have your college costs paid for but in all likelihood many people you meet will have student debt.  

Post # 12
544 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@neurosauer:  You have reason to be very concerned about this. But try not to freak out on him saying this will ruin all your plans. You won’t actually have concrete plans until you are both out of school, in your jobs, have some idea about what his payments are going to be like and determine exactly how that all fits into the budget. There are TONS of ways to pay down debt and save money carefully to build the future you have in mind. I really like youneedabudget.com. It’s realistic and practical.

I have friends who get paid a lot less than you will likely be getting and have 100k in debt with undergrad and grad school. They are getting married, having babies, buying homes. You are going to be ok! 

Out of curiosity, do you plan to stay in a city? I went to college in a big city and was SHOCKED at how affordable other parts of the country are. Moving to a smaller city saved us SO MUCH money.

Post # 13
4040 posts
Honey bee

@neurosauer:  Honestly, I don’t think his student debt situation is a sign of poor financial management. How he handles it will be a better sign of how he makes financial decisions. Could he have avoided taking out as much as he did? I assume he would have had to attend another school (and consequently not met you possibly). 

How you both tackle this is your decision clearly, but just keep in mind that many people deal with student debts on a daily basis and are able to live perfectly happy, normal lives.

Post # 14
10509 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@bmo88:  Thinking your debt is 1/2 of what it is especially when it’s over 10k is something I would put into the irresponsible category, so I’m with the OP on that one.

That said though, I helped DH pay off his student debt within days of it accruing interest.  It wasn’t huge, but between the two of us we don’t recall what it is, and we now update our networth every month.  In 20 years, it won’t matter as long as he learns financial skills.

Post # 15
4040 posts
Honey bee

@AB Bride:  Perhaps, but we don’t know the whole situation. 1) He may not have been closely monitoring it (which is to some extent irresponsible, but if it was necessary, he may not have thought it mattered) and 2) he may not have been as forthright about the info depending on how his partner (i.e., OP) typically responds to these kind of situations.

Either way, yes, it could have been avoided, but I don’t think this is a certain sign of someone making poor financial decisions for the rest of their life. Like I said before, if he chose to go to that school, it is possible he could not have avoided taking out that much in student debt. So yes, he could have chose another school, but that is entirely a different discussion.

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