The other STD: Sexually Transmitted Debt 

No, I’m not talking about ‘Save the Dates” or even being proactive on sexual health, (which is sexually-transmitted diseases) but another important form of STD – sexually transmitted debt.

This other STD – sexually transmitted debt, means that you take your partner’s debts, either knowingly or unknowingly. It has been occurring for centuries. But only in 1991 did the term become formed. 

While growing up, all of us have been educated about the use and expenditure of finances, and the value of a dollar. However, in the dating world it can be a different ball-game when getting into a relationship. 

What are the risk factors for sexaully transmitted debt?

We do (unfortunately) live in a very globally narcissistic and entitled society, where material wealth is deeply treasured, but not everyone is that money-smart or money aware of their finances. 

More often, when it comes to romantic relationships a person may have the expectation (either knowingly or unknowingly) of their partner to take care of them, of financial means. However, times have changed, and women especially have been living more independently. 

But money matters in any relationship can be a tricky situation to bring up. There are a lot of risk factors involved in realising if your partner, friend or family relative may get you into debt: 

Financial signs of a addiction: 

  • Money missing from bank accounts, wallet/purse or money jar
  • Household items and valuables missing
  • Regularly short of money even though they earn a wage
  • Borrowing money on a regular basis
  • Having many loans at the one time
  • Being secretive about financial records or payslips
  • Unpaid bills or disconnection notices 
  • Lack of food in the house
  • Promising to repay money back but doesn’t 

Mood or behaviour signs of an addiction: 

  • Becoming withdrawn from others/family events
  • Performance at work is being affected
  • Seeming worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason
  • Reporting feeling hopeless, depressed, frustrated or suicidal
  • Changes in personality – sleeping, eating, or sexual relationship patterns
  • Controlling and/or manipulative behaviour
  • Using threats, lies or charm to manipulate others.

Time related signs to addiction

  • Spending more and more time gambling
  • Being secretive about unexplained absences
  • Often being late for commitments
  • Taking a lot of sick days or days off
  • Taking an unusual amount of time for simple tasks (e.g. taking two hours to get the paper from the shops).

Being someone’s guarantor 

People who are guarantors are usually parents who help out their children – particularly if their child is a student. 

While the standard definition of STD is the debt you become liable for because you’re married or in a de facto relationship. While this may differ in various countries around the world, in Australia you’re not legally responsible for your spouse or partner’s debts unless you knowingly sign a joint loan agreement with your partner; or go guarantor for loan that they’ve undertaken, or they’re a director of a family company or partner in business. 

You are not obligated to be someone else’s guarantor (especially if you are dating this person). 

if your partner ran up gambling debts or had other loans only in their name and didn’t pay them, you’re not legally responsible.

But if you had a joint credit card or a joint loan with them, well, that’s a different story. This becomes more complex. 

How to Prevent yourself from Sexually Transmitted Debts (STDs):

Don’t sign any legal documentation –  if you feel uncomfortable with being a guarantor, and get professional legal and financial advice.  Never sign anything and get legal advice about the consequences, if you inherit the loan. 

Remember to say “no” – Don’t feel pressured or obligated to lend money to other people, even if it’s a family member, friend, neighbour, romantic partner or other person that is somehow known to you – or even someone whom you don’t know that well, or even a stranger.

Set Boundaries: Set boundaries with this person asking for money. If they keep on persisting you, and harassing you, please go to the police or seek legal advice. Block them on your phone, or other electronic devices, and on social media. Do not engage with them. 

Being Aware & Mindful: Being aware that someone you know has a problem. Whether they will seek out help and support for this problem – is their choice. However, being mindfully aware will also mean that you will be more prepared for any outbursts, tantrums, crying, arguments, lies, guilt trips, manipulation or deception that may happen if this person (or persons) decides to control you. You will not take the bait. 

Record everything: If you feel that it is necessary to show your bank, financial institution, accountant, financial consultant, financial counsellor or even the police, please record what you can about financial information between you and who may be harassing you, or asking for money (if they keep on persisting). This could be in the form of social media messaging, financial statements, bills, point of sales, etc. 

In conclusion, you are not responsible for someone else’s financial security. Sadly, there are some people who get an addiction, and it gets out of control. However, no one deserves to be harassed nor to be transmitted the remaining debt of someone else. 

To be in love is wonderful and joyous, but it’s important to always be aware, not to be taken advantage of sexually transmitted debt. Unfortunately, this is no Monopoly game, and we all cannot get $200 when we pass GO. 

This is REAL life. This is it. 

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