My boyfriend is passive about paying off his debt

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my 20s, and a little while ago I found out the guy I’ve been seeing for five years is in debt. We’ve talked about marriage, but I’m worried about this.

We’ve built a relationship where we can tell each other anything, but my boyfriend didn’t even tell me he was about ¥4 million in debt until early last year.

He says he wants to repay it. Even though he can really skimp on things like money for food and his cell phone as he lives alone, he doesn’t have any inclination to make a concrete plan of how much he should pay back each month. So I stepped in and thought up a repayment plan with him. He seemed to get it and repaid about ¥600,000 of the debt over the past year.

My boyfriend is saying that once he pays back his friend the money he owes, we could get married at any time. He also says that after we get married, he’ll continue to pay off the remainder of his debt out of his income.

I also plan on continuing to work after getting married, but I’m worried about marrying a man who can’t come up with a detailed plan for tackling something. I also don’t like hiding this debt issue from my family.

I really love him and can’t imagine breaking up, but I’m wondering if I should just give up this whole thing as being hopeless.

O, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. O:

Objectively speaking, I really think you shouldn’t marry someone who gets into debt and doesn’t come up with a repayment plan.

Why, exactly, did he get so deeply into debt in the first place? I also worry whether he actually makes enough money to pay back such a sum.

Reading your letter, I got the impression you don’t want to end things with him. If that’s the case, take the plunge by believing he knows what he’s doing regarding money.

Even if you marry him, his debt is still separate from you, meaning you don’t have to worry about having to take up the mantle of repaying it. However, I think you have a responsibility to light a fire under him to repay this. In that regard, I recommend you both seek legal counsel from your local municipality or similar services to check if your repayment plan is certainly realistic. When you do that, I highly recommend you write everything you decide down on paper.

If you were to present this paper to your family when explaining your plan, I think they will still give the nod to your marriage.

You have deepened your relationship over the past five years. Please treasure that bond. I wish you both happiness.

Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer

(from Feb. 4, 2018, issue)Speech

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