In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, we’re taking a look at the toll student loans can take on romance. Yesterday we advised you on how to have a thrifty V-Day. Today we’re looking at some of the ways that student loans can kill your chances at love – and some solutions to help the lovelorn coping with school debt.
Death of Love #1 – You’re too broke to date or go out
All of your student loan-less friends are busy dating, hanging out at bars trolling for future mates or hook-ups and you’re at home eating Ramen wondering why it feels like you’re still living a subsistence-level life like you were in the dorms. But never fear, romance is near!
Consider online dating someone from another state (or country). I have a friend that was completely broke, but met her dream guy online in Norway. Now she and her Viking beau are married and the distance romance let her deal with her debts by saving money on love.
Death of Love #2 – Can’t afford to dress snazzy
You know the saying – clothes make the man (or the woman) and you may feel like you’ve got to dress the part to go looking for love. Since many clubs and restaurants have dress codes, that’s literally true in many cases. Plus, you may worry you won’t get a second look if you’re not looking good.
See #1 about online dating – all you need is a nice shirt… Alternately, find a good thrift shop and look for classics. Consider going country – basic jeans, a plaid shirt and a pair of boots will have you looking apropos for less. Or – raid your parents’ closet for cool retro threads.
Death of Love #3 – Working extra hours to pay debt
If you’ve got a second job or are working more hours to deal with your debt, you may be too busy to get out and pursue romance. I mean – a 40 hour work-week is taxing enough, but take on an extra 15 to rake in some extra dough and your mattress is going to be all you want to see at the end of the day.
Supposing it doesn’t violate any work-place policies, why not check out a co-worker for a potential romance? You can squeeze in mini-dates during lunch hours and breaks. This can allow you to explore the spark without investing time and money you don’t have on a full-fledged relationship.
Death of Love #4 – No one wants a GF or BF with debt
You may worry that admitting you owe a pile of student loans may turn off potential dates. To some extent this is true. But it’s also true of credit cards or any other kind of debt. Plenty of people worry that tethering themselves to someone in debt, that doesn’t have disposable income or time, is a bad idea.
Someone that’s all about the Benjamins isn’t someone you want in your life. Why not post an online dating profile where you admit to your debt? But be sure to mention other great things about yourself (like your degree). When you do get responses, you’ll know they know what they’re getting into.
Death of Love #5 – Depression or embarrassment about debt
Many people coping with excessive debt are embarrassed, don’t want others to know and may suffer from depression or extreme stress because of what they owe. These are natural feelings, but many people get overwhelmed, shut down, give up on love and are just going through the motions of life.
If you’re seriously depressed, conside therapy or talk to your doctor to get help. No matter how much you owe, you deserve a full life (including love) and shouldn’t let debt stress get the best of you. If you’re struggling, look to programs like Income Based Repayment to get some breathing room in your budget.
Financial issues can be a booger, but you can’t allow them to control your life or be the end-all and be-all. Working hard to pay them as quickly as possible is the best route (if feasible) and, if not, giving yourself a break by using IBR, PAYE or (as a last resort) forbearance or deferment is preferable to letting your debt devastate you!
Sign up for Tuition.io’s free student loan tool to keep track of your debt and see how different repayment plans will affect your monthly payment and payoff date. And be sure to read our blog every day for lots of tips and info on student loans.