What a shock it would be to find out you’ve been turned down for a mortgage, credit card or other financial product because of being unknowingly linked to an ex-partner with a poor financial history.

Well, according to new research (conducted by Censuswide in Feb 2017 with 2,109 UK adults (aged 18+) by ClearScore, the free credit report service. 11.7 million brits have taken out a joint financial product with a partner they are now separated from and are feeling the harsh after effects on their financial future.

Whilst Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the strong connections with our loved one, it’s also important to be aware of the connections we have with our previous partners as a staggering 69% of Brits are in the dark that a ‘financial link’ remains for six years even after a joint account has been closed. It’s no wonder people are struggling to appear ‘desirable’ to lenders when a partner’s financial past is lurking in the shadows.

ClearScore is working hard to build public awareness around the importance of severing any financial connections with past partner’s, way in advance of applying for credit. Allowing past financial connections to linger, may leave you open to potentially being refused credit as lenders trawl through your financial history and that of your ex’s.

With lenders looking to uncover financial behaviour that they may frown upon and up to 60% of applications being rejected every year, there’s no time like ‘now’ to give yourself a little self-love and start severing those past connections.

Justin Basini, ClearScore CEO commented, “Millions of people risk being haunted by the financial ghosts of partners past. Even if your own credit report and score are in rude health, the way you are viewed by lenders can be negatively affected by your ex partners. When a relationship ends, it’s your responsibility to ‘de-link’ your financial records. I’d advise anyone applying for credit to check their credit report and, if you’re still linked to someone whose financial behaviour you suspect could be detrimental, contact the credit reference agencies to request that your connection is severed.”

It’s not all doom and gloom as there are plenty of services available to help you navigate your financial journey. Money Advice Service, Turn2us and Citizens Advice Bureau all offer services irrespective of how difficult a position you may find yourself in.

It’s important to understand that there is help available and trained professionals to talk to who will work with you to paint a better financial picture for the future.