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How Do I Deal With The Debt My Girlfriend Left Me In?

The problem…

I am 32 and my life is in a mess. For four years I lived with my girlfriend and we had a daughter together who is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. However, the relationship with my girlfriend has fallen apart because we argued all the time. She also saw her ex-husband behind my back.

One day I came home, and she’d gone taking our daughter with her. She left me deep in debt with arrears in rent, water and credit cards, which she talked me into taking out in my name. She then set her solicitor on me to try and claim money for maintenance – which I’m more than happy to do but she didn’t even try to come to some sort of agreement beforehand. I’ve been struggling for two years to meet minimum payments on all the debts she built up.

On top of that, with Christmas coming, she’s decided to move to the other end of the country, and I have to find an extra £20 for petrol every week just to see my daughter. My company has cut back on everything because of Covid and I can’t get another part time job right now to try and cope with this debt.

I’ve been in touch with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for help but all in all, I feel like a complete failure and I cannot see a future for me. I’ve destroyed my credit history and any dream I had for a happy family life and home is gone. I feel so alone and what woman is going to want anything to do with me in this financial state? Will I ever be able to get loans or credit again?

Fiona says…

“Until your current financial problems are resolved, or at best controlled, I think loans and credit are the last things you should be worrying about right now. Because of coronavirus and the subsequent economic effects, more and more people are struggling financially right now. That is particularly challenging with Christmas on the horizon.

“No debt problems are unsolvable though, and whilst it may take time, there is a way to deal with them and the sooner you do so, the better. You’ve done the right thing by going to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and I am sure they will be able to negotiate a workable solution for your debt problems for you. I would also suggest you look at the website for StepChange which is a charity set up to help people get their finances back on track. Their comprehensive website is full of useful advice, and they can help you to set up a debt management plan.

“The very fact you’ve acknowledged you have a problem is a good thing. So many people simply shut their eyes when they get into financial difficulties and hope things will resolve themselves – which of course, they don’t. If debts are ignored, things will only get worse but, in time, and if you continue to make regular payments, your credit history will improve. However, this is not going to happen overnight and, whilst this is probably not what you want to hear, I’m afraid patience is the key.

“You’ve had more than your fair share of problems in the last couple of years and I can understand why you feel so down, but please try to stay positive, especially when you see you daughter. If she gets any inkling that you are finding it difficult to see her, she may start to feel guilty and think she’s responsible for making you miserable – and that’s the last thing you want.

“As for finding a new relationship, don’t assume that debt is going to stop you having relationships.
Not everyone is motivated by money and, if you show yourself to be a responsible, caring person, there are plenty of women who are going to be interested.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to help@askfiona.net for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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