Imagine you’re on a date and it’s going well. You just finished appetizers and you’re not in a hurry for the rest. You have a lot in common and the conversation doesn’t break at all. How would you feel if your date asked you about your credit score?

It may seem like an intrusive question, but for people seeking life partners, it isn’t too surprising that they don’t want to get swept into a financial situation that will prevent them from achieving their goals. Credit scores are important indicators of whether someone is financially responsible (though there are exceptions) and whether they will be able to take out a new line of credit; for example, many couples plan on buying a home at some point in their life together.

According to a survey by Bankrate, 42 percent of Americans consider credit score a deciding factor when dating. Most agree that it isn’t an appropriate topic to bring up in the first few months, but if the relationship gets serious, it becomes more important to start planning for a joint financial future. That means that if it doesn’t look good, your partner might decide to exit before any big promises are made.

If you’re one of the more than 44 million Americans with student loan debt, you may be wondering what that means for your credit score, and by extension your dating life. The good news is that student loan debt isn’t good or bad for your credit. It’s all about how you manage it.

Good for Your Credit Score

Just having student loans is good for your credit for two reasons: it establishes credit history and it improves credit diversity, which are both beneficial when trying to get another line of credit.

Moreover, the amount of student loan debt doesn’t matter, as long as you are on top of payments. The most important thing to credit reporting agencies is whether you’re making timely payments on your credit lines every month. If you’re doing that, then you shouldn’t worry about your credit.

Bad for Your Credit Score

The worst thing you can do for your credit is miss payments, especially if you continue to do so. If your account goes into delinquency or default, your credit will take a hit. Worse, it might illustrate to your partner that you aren’t financially fit.

The good news is that if you cannot make your payments, there are some solutions. You can enroll in an income-based repayment plan, which bases your monthly payment amounts on your income. You can also go into deferment or forbearance. None of those options will negatively affect your credit. However, if you choose to defer or enter forbearance, remember that interest may still accrue, which could increase the total amount you pay and make it more difficult later.

If you are stuck with bad credit from debt and you’re afraid your partner might start eyeing the exit, it’s always a good idea to communicate. There are valid reasons to have bad credit, and it isn’t always your fault. If you’re upfront about it with your partner and have a plan to improve your credit for your joint financial future, there’s no reason you can’t be optimistic in your relationship.

If you ever need help establishing a plan to repair your credit or planning to prevent credit slips in the future, never hesitate to reach out to people who can help.