Should You EVER Lend Money to Your Partner?

The golden rule of lending money to friends, family or a partner and how to navigate the awkward those money conversations.

At 25 years old, Martin Dasko had his financial life in order – until his love life got in the way.

“I was dating a girl who was a student. She didn’t have enough money to cover rent and living expenses because she lost her job. “

After sending her cash online, they agreed she would pay back the loan when she got a new job. No additional terms or conditions specified.

“It was a huge mistake. I just felt bad for her and was uncomfortable because I had to pressure her to find a job rather quickly.”

That pressure wasn’t good for him, her or the relationship.

“It took me a long time to get paid back.”

But the real takeaway?

Money changes everything in a relationship. It’s a confusing topic that I’ve yet to master. Maybe one day…”

In the meantime, Dasko won’t be lending money to a significant other any time soon.

But should you?

Is lending money to your boyfriend or girlfriend ever a good idea?


And conversely, if the person you love is asking you to help them out in a time of need, is saying no smart, or selfish?

Here’s the answer: Yes. And no. To both.


Are you okay if you lose the money?


Any time I consider lending money to anyone, this is the first thing I consider.

Never lend someone more money than you’re prepared to lose.Click To Tweet


“But my situation is different. I’m 150% sure they’ll pay me back! They’re just waiting on their inheritance / new job / tax return / lottery ticket.”

I know, sometimes the situation looks ironclad.

You’re madly in love, your significant other is an honest and trustworthy person, and the circumstances of the loan are such that you are confident you’re going to get paid back ASAP.

Even so, the rule applies.

Bad things happen. Zombie apocalypse. Spontaneous combustion. People end up being different than we thought.

Before you sign the check or fire up Venmo, ask yourself: If I lose this money, will I be okay?


Get a plan and get it in writing.


The key to loaning (or borrowing) money is to have a clear understanding of how much money is being lent, for what purposes, and when it will be repaid.

I don’t just mean you should have a clear understanding, I mean both parties need to be clear on all of the above.

Too often, we avoid having open discussions about money because we assume that we’re on the same page as the other person. But we’re not. And by the time we figure that out, it’s too late.

So make a plan that both parties understand and agree to – then get it in writing.

Here’s a detailed guide on writing a promissory note.

If you don’t want to make it so official, a simple exchange of emails laying out your plan is sufficient – just don’t go purging your inbox until you’ve been repaid in full!


Be prepared for bad feelings.


Have you ever had to ask for money? I have. It feels horrible.

It’s embarrassing and awkward and the worst part is that the person being asked is probably having the same feelings.

Having to borrow money makes people feel ashamed. And defensive. And resentful. And helpless. And like they totally suck at money.

And having to lend money makes people feel awkward. And resentful. And defensive. And uncomfortable.

There is absolutely no way around these feelings (including alcohol, though it definitely helps…) so prepare yourself and prepare your partner. The more open and honest you can keep the conversation, the better off you’ll both be.


Ps. This goes for ALL your money convos! According to a recent study, 78% of couples who talk about money at least once a week report higher levels of happiness in their relationship.

Financial discussions are a vehicle for getting on the same page. They help build the foundation for a happy relationship long-term.


Do it for the right reasons.


A few months ago, I lent a friend money. It was about $300. She didn’t ask – I offered. She was in a really bad situation and really needed the money.

After I had given it to her, I checked to see if I was having any bad feelings.

Anxiety about getting paid back. Awkwardness. There was nothing. I was so happy that I could help her, nothing else mattered.

The ability to loan a loved one money out of true generosity is a wonderful thing.

But too often I see people loaning money for the wrong reasons.


  • To have a say in the borrower’s life decisions.
  • Because they feel like they can’t say no.
  • So that the borrower owes them a favor.
  • To “buy” gratitude.


If you’re considering lending money to your boyfriend or girlfriend so that you can get the appreciation, devotion or gratitude you think you deserve, DON’T.


When you loan money, don’t expect gratitude. Expect your money back!Click To Tweet



Love your partner. But don’t make THEM your money plan. Take ownership of your $$$ this New Year by joining the FREE 7-day Cash Confidence Challenge – and learn to afford your life on YOUR terms.


14 responses to “Should You EVER Lend Money to Your Partner?

  1. So much insight here. Lending money can be a touchy subject, but I think you hit the nail on the head that no matter who you are lending money to, you need to agree to terms.

    I have lent money to a boyfriend, but we openly discussed money so I had no awkwardness or hesitation in asking for money back. If you don’t regularly talk about money or feel uncomfortable even bringing it up, I personally wouldn’t recommend giving someone a loan.

    Great article!

    1. So glad you have a success story to share. Often, those lending experiences turn into nightmares, but good to recognize how much of a difference transparency and openness in the financial dialogue can make!

  2. The first rule, never lending more than your willing to lose, is fantastic advice. Advice than can be applied towards entertainment like gambling and even risky investments! Be prepared to lose money to gain something potentially much better (in this case, helping a friend).

    1. “Gift it or nothing” is definitely a solid policy. And helps you avoid a lot of the potentially awkward and relationship damaging situations.

    1. I like the idea of paying for the item directly. That way you can make sure funds are getting directed appropriately, though there could be some push back/awkwardness if it’s something like rent.

  3. my girlfriends are the broke type. its like I have a way of seeking financially struggling bit&es. Now the one I met yesterday I thought she had her finances in order. But she is casually borrowing money just now from me today.
    I liked her but now I am doubtful this shit will work.
    Where the hell does someone get a woman that is is in charge of their own shit.

    1. Oh no, that’s definitely a red flag :/ Almost all of the women I know are financially independent, but that may be a factor of living in NYC

  4. Help!
    My boyfriend is a heart surgeon in residency and doesn’t make very much money right now (he will in a few years). I am an architecture student and don’t work. My family is paying for my school and food etc. him and I live together and he pays for everything besides food. If I wasn’t living with him I would live with my grandma and not have to pay for anyone else’s food but my own. And likewise if he wasn’t with me he wouldn’t have to pay for the extra toilet paper etc. I offered for him to live in my grandmas house, so he could save money… but he said no.. I looked for an affordable apartment for us, but he only wanted one with enough space and luxury feeling so we went with a more expensive one. He btw is over $200,000 in loan debt… and things are starting to get iffy… First he asked if my mom would lend him like $15,000 and my mom said she can’t. This made him upset and he asked me to take out a loan. He has been asking me again almost every few days… He says that I need to be independent from my parents, and it’s true! Though, I am an architecture student and know that I will be able to cover myself when I am out of school. But right now, I have just enough from my parents to get by and have an education. My bf told me that everyone has a loan except me and that he has tons! When I told him that loans will be easy for him because he will make millions.. he was like “ya but your going to be an architect and will make billions!” But he knows that the median wage for Architects is about $50-$75 k per year. He says that I am different and will be a famous Zaha Hadid… ya that sounds swell and all but lol no one can be Zaha Hadid… it was a nice compliment though!

    So now we had a fight… just before our 1 year anniversary. He says that “changed my mind all of a sudden” about getting a loan.. when I never said that I would get one, just think about it… and so I told him that I would take out a loan if he needed it for him, just to be honest and ask instead of saying it’s for me. So I said that if he really wanted me to take out a loan, I would if he signed a paper saying that he would promis to pay it every month. Or that I would if I was married I would because that would give me a sense of security… but he got mad and said that I wouldn’t trust his word and that our love means nothing because I would ask him to sign a paper. I honestly don’t know what he wants… if he wanted money he would date a rich girl which I’m not… if he wanted love he wouldn’t push me to take a loan for our relationship would he? He says that it’s for my independence but should I believe him? Am I doing fine living off my parents help until I graduate?

    1. Dana, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like there are a lot of red flags here. The living above the means and refusing to downsize despite significant debt. The chastising of your financial situation. The dismissal of the future impact of the debt. And the guilting of you into taking out a loan on your bfs behalf. I would highly recommend you DO NOT take out a loan to support your bf. Even if he were to agree to a repayment plan on paper. And the fact that he won’t do that (and is guilting you for asking) makes me think this might not be a good relationship to stick with long-term. I know that’s really tough to hear, and ultimately, you’ll have to make the decision that’s best for you, but these kinds of disagreements about money, tend to be a reflection of disagreements about deeper values. You might consider working with a financial planner or therapist who can act as a neutral third party as you have these discussions.

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