How Financial Obligations Impact Dating In America


Rethinking Romance: The Impact of Debt on Dating in America

Jon McCallister

Written by: Jon McCallister

Jon McCallister

Jon came to DatingAdvice in 2016 with more than 15 years of editorial experience behind him. He has experience editing, writing, and designing at numerous publications, including the Gainesville Sun. Jon enjoys researching emerging trends and seeking out the companies, organizations, and individuals making an impact in the modern world of dating. He excels at working closely with writers and editors to improve the quality of online content.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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It’s a match! You’ve swiped right on killer smiles and profiles claiming a love for adventure, artisan coffee, and rescue dogs. But what happens when things get serious and the biggest adventure becomes navigating the choppy waters of personal debt?

It’s a question that sought an answer to. It surveyed 3,000 singles to ask a hypothetical question:

If you were in a relationship with someone, and planning a lifelong partnership, what levels of debt they have (if any) would deter you from committing to them?

The results offer insights into the role debt plays in attraction and how it affects the long-term prospects of couples in the US.

Most Couples Report Concerns When Debt Hits $52K

The magic number where cold feet set in? A cool $52,024, according to the survey. While some might argue that love transcends monetary concerns, the reality is that a $52,024 debt could severely constrain a couple’s financial freedom. In fact, a debt of $52,024 is over seven times the national average. created an interactive credit card, showing the levels of personal debt that would discourage people from making long-term commitments to their partners:

Created by • View larger version

The study by didn’t stop there; it explored when debts should be disclosed in a relationship. A mere 7% believed it should be mentioned on the first date, while the majority, 67%, felt it appropriate to wait until the relationship was exclusive. Eighteen percent preferred to wait until engagement, and a cautious 8% chose to wait until marriage.

70% of Modern Daters Say Hidden Debt is a Dealbreaker

In a world where online profiles might stretch the truth about the years (and the year of the photo), fibbing about finances is the real romance killer. When asked to weigh the sin of age-fudging against debt-dodging, 70% of survey respondents agreed that a hidden heap of bills is the ultimate swipe-left offense.

The survey also entertained the notion of dating apps displaying credit scores, questioning whether it would make profiles more swipe-worthy. The crowd is split. While 47% of survey participants said they would pass on a low scorer, a surprisingly chill 53% said they wouldn’t let a number define their nuptial narrative.

Furthermore, a significant 59% of survey participants admitted they would reevaluate their relationship upon discovering a partner’s excessive spending habits, proving that a taste for champagne on a beer budget can sour a sweet connection.

Trust and Financial Compatibility are Keys to Lasting Love

In a revealing twist, over half (54%) of the respondents advocated for maintaining separate bank accounts even within the sanctity of marriage, suggesting that “what’s mine is yours” might need a modern rewrite.

“It has long been established that financial compatibility is key in relationships, but our latest survey reveals just how critical it is. As people become more financially savvy, they’re looking for partners who share their fiscal values and goals. Transparency about debt and spending habits is paramount in forming strong, lasting bonds. Love may be blind, but when it comes to debt, people prefer to go into relationships with their eyes wide open,” says Amber Brooks, Senior Editor with

Survey Methodology conducted an online panel survey of 3,000 adults based on age, gender, and geography. Internal data sources are used to obtain population data sets. We used a two-step process to ensure representativeness through stratified sampling and post-stratification weighting.