Debt kills love like a criminal record

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(MoneyWatch) Looking for love? You'd better get your finances straight, Valentine.

A recent survey by CreditCards.com found that women would sever a relationship with a lover who couldn't pay routine bills as quickly as she'd cut off a guy who revealed he had a criminal record.

Specifically, 70 percent of women said either a criminal record or crushing debt was a relationship deal-breaker. Men, on the other hand, are far more tolerant of a lover's runaway debt. Only 37 percent would call off a relationship if they found their female friend couldn't meet all her bills.

However, 57 percent of women and 48 percent of men say that a partner with debt -- any debt -- is a "turn-off." A whopping (and somewhat difficult to fathom) 68 percent said the same attitude on money is the "most important factor in a relationship."

When asked if they'd want to know their partner's credit score before getting seriously involved, 57 percent of women and 47 percent of men said yes. On the bright side, only 16 percent of Americans would dump a partner who lost his or her job.

And there might be hope if your partner disagrees with your approach to money. Fully seven in 10 -- both men and women -- said it was OK to insist that a partner change their spending habits. Of course that may explain another survey finding: 73 percent say that couples argue most about money.

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