Your paycheck may not matter to a date, but your debt does

When you first start dating someone, you’re evaluating them for compatibility with your values, searching for clues for where their interests meet yours. Two new surveys have found that how much our dates earn is not a concern, but whether or not they are in debt definitely does.

Surveys: Paychecks are ‘irrelevant,’ but amount of debt is not

A survey conducted by job review site found that a date is not likely to walk away if your salary is in the low digits. Both men and women in the survey answered that they would seek a long-term relationship with someone even if they made significantly less money than them.

In fact, one in three men and one in four women said that the thought of their partner’s salary did not even cross their mind, saying that their salary was “irrelevant.”

But a separate survey indicates that when it comes to what their partner may owe, that number was, in fact, a relationship-ending concern.

The price of love is $30,000 apparently

True love can conquer all — until debt gets in the way. A survey from finance site Credible found that debt was a relationship dealbreaker across age demographics. Out of the 1,000 U.S. adults ages 25 to 44 who were asked about student loan debt in dating, 61% of respondents answered that they would be somewhat, or very, concerned about dating someone who owed $30,000.

To put that number in perspective, the average student who graduated in 2016 has $37,173 in student loan debt. In other words, as a young millennial out on the dating market, you are very likely to date someone who has numbers in the red. The finding suggests that many of us are worried that our partners’ financial burdens could one day become our own. One in five respondents said they have decided not to date someone in the past because that person had debt.

In fact, the respondents said that someone’s fiscal responsibility could be a bigger aphrodisiac than someone’s education. More than half (54%) of those surveyed said being debt free can make a potential partner more attractive than them having a college degree.

Money still endures as a great taboo in society. Two in three participants surveyed said they would not tell a potential romantic partner about their debt until the relationship was getting serious, while one in 10 said they would not even bring up the topic until they got engaged.

When we are deciding our suitors’ romantic suitability, we are not just measuring our love and desire for them, we are also counting how much their financial baggage could hold us back. These surveys show us that romantic courtship is full of complicated contradictions — we may say that money does not matter, even when it clearly does.