Dominique King Lean in with Love

My girlfriend’s debt is stopping me from proposing

Dominique King Lean in with LoveI have been with my girlfriend for three years. I am 27, and she is 26. We are taking steps toward marriage, but financial issues keep me on the fence when it comes to proposing.

My girlfriend had substantial debt before we met and is not financially responsible. Her expectation of being a stay-at-home mom means her debt will become my responsibility once we get married. I have never paid or offered to pay her debt, but I do not want to go into our next phase of life worrying about paying her debt.

I have tried to have conversations with her. She either accuses me of calling her a gold digger or counters that debt should not be a reason to not propose if I love her.

What are your thoughts?
– Uncertain in Concord

Communication and finances

Your concerns are valid. Lack of communication and finances sit in the top five reasons for divorce. Wanting you and your partner to be in a better financial situation before contractually being bound in matrimony is both an act of love and fiscally wise.

The conversations we avoid in a relationship are usually the ones that should be happening openly and often. Tell your girlfriend you want to set aside time to discuss areas of concern. Be clear on what you want to talk about and ask her if there is anything she would like to go over.

The goal is to communicate candidly and with love. This discussion is not one-sided or an attack. I implore you to write your thoughts down and encourage your girlfriend to do the same. When you are clear on your thought process, you are less likely to let emotion run the conversation.

You are not obligated to pay your girlfriend’s debt or enable her irresponsible spending habits once married. However, you are in a relationship, and working together is undoubtedly a requirement.

Finding options

What you can do is suggest she find a financial advisor, money management classes, maybe even help her work on a budget. Giving your girlfriend these options supports her ability to address and change her behavior. In addition, her commitment to making progress will show you her intent on building a future with you.

You are at a pivotal and vulnerable place regarding your relationship. Putting on blinders to stay in a holding pattern without change will cause you to resent your relationship. Love is not just something we say. It is an action. Your girlfriend has a responsibility to take action and help get you both to a place where marriage is an option. Sadly, if that is not her goal, you are both wasting your time.
Be well; you are worthy.

Dominique King is a wife, mother, lifestyle blogger and avid long-distance runner. Email questions and comments to her at ­

Dominique King
Dominique King

Dominique King is a blogger who centers around marriage, family, fitness and personal growth. Her insightful and practical approach to advice gives everyday couples, parents and individuals a space to get answers to their questions.