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ab3264's avatar

Is my girlfriend taking advantage?

Asked by ab3264 (31points) September 10th, 2011

Firstly, I have been with my girlfriend for over two years now and I really love her. I really want to know if my feelings are clouding my judgement or not!
We currently live in a flat, it’s not much and the rent and electricity combined are about 350 a month. She works a part time job and pulls in less than 100pm most months.
Even before we lived in the flat she had that job (we were living with my family) and I kept asking her to find a better job. She’d tell me she was jobsearching, but her searches consisted of going out to the local city once every month or two, and looking about online a little bit. I kept getting angry, sometimes pointing out that she was just leaching off of me and my family, which she’d get very upset about and then I’d end up giving her more chance.
Now we are here, and I am paying all the rent, and for the vast majority of the food and electricity (as I said, she is making less than 100 a month, 60 last month) and still she is not going out looking for jobs.
She does cook for me while I’m working tough shifts and does clean up sometimes, and do runs to family with the washing (as we don’t have a washing machine).
We’ve had a couple of big arguments and talks recently, at the end of them she gets very upset, tells me that she knows she’s been a bad person etc, and promises me she’ll look for a job – but during the arguments she always has a really bad attitude and almost seems to act like I owe her a place to live or something?

The point is, I’m paying our home, food, electricity and it feels like she isn’t even trying (four times she’s been out looking for work in the last 2 months). But whenever I bring it up it feels like I’m being the bad person.

It almost feels like I’m having to be her parent half the time, I know she’s never lived alone before but I’ve been having to tell her stuff over and over (like trying to use less electric, not wasting food, basic hygene etc) and it doesn’t seem like it’s going in! I feel like a horrible, controlling person doing it!

Am I in the wrong here feeling so used and taken advantage of?

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22 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

It does not sound like she is taking advantage. If she had a job but was spending it all on shopping for her self then she would be.

Some people are just not cut out to work, maybe she feels like she has no skills and sees leaving her job and looking for another job as scary and a bad idea. You need to talk to her about it without arguments.

Personally, in your situation I would quit my job instead, and take on one that lets me afford what I need. Quit your job and find one that lets you pay the bills and take care of your girl. Seeing as that may sound a little crazy to you, I offer you this moment to reflect on what your advice sounds like to her.

In an ideal world, she would have a job with pay that matches yours, but if it looks like that is not going to happen you need to take steps your self. One would be to dump her, however your usage of the word love makes that unlikely, the other option is to work harder and earn more.

rebbel's avatar

You feel what you feel, there is no wrong or right in that, in my opinion.
I think what bothers you, is the fact that she is passive.
Had she gone out to search for jobs multiple times weekly, and in the end found one in which she makes $200 you would not feeling used, I assume?
Because it shouldn’t really matter (to me anyway) who brings home more cash, as long as both persons put about the same amount of energy in the household and relationship.
The thing that sticks out from your wording is that she tells you she is sorry, after you had arguments, but isn’t acting according.
Confront her with that first.
People can’t say sorry when they use it just to get out of a heated situation.
Sorry means (one needs to take) action

john65pennington's avatar

At least she is working…..somewhere.

I have seen so many couples where one never works and the other person has to pay all the bills. A big domestic violence erupts in this situation.

This is a catch-22 situation that only you can resolve.

marinelife's avatar

Your girlfriend does not have the same attitude that you do about:

This does not bode well for the future. She is unlikely to change.

That leaves you with a decision to make.

Do you love her enough to plan to support her always? If so, then shut up about the money and do it.

If not, then you need to break up with her, and look for someone else to have a long-term relationship with who better shares your core values.

But don’t just go on as you are thinking you can change her by talking to her. That way lies unhappiness for both of you.

Coloma's avatar

Having commonalities of temperment, habits, values, money, etc. is what makes a relationship compatible, and lends itself to the best chance of success.

If your girlfriend only wants to work part time, that’s her choice, but, if you feel taken advantage of, then yes, you must either find a way to resolve your own feelings or split.

IF you feel she makes up for the income disparity by doing other things, and ANYTHING we do for another that they do not have to do for themselves is a GIFT then, perhaps you can make peace with the situation, although she is not taking responsibility for being able to provide for herself should the relationship end.

Bottom line, if you are feeling resentful now, it will only get worse, and this is where so many relationships go wrong, people will spend, sometimes YEARS, duking it out over issues that never get resolved.

I suggest you get really clear about your expectations and set a boundary with a time frame.

Either she find a job within X amount of weeks, or the relationship ends, or, YOU make peace with the situation.

mazingerz88's avatar

Been there but I won’t elaborate too much. Embarrassing. You’re sentiment about fair sharing is understandable. Hers is as well even if you could never accept that. Took me years before I understood. Lots of women around the world do seek out a man who could support them financially while they support him by taking care of the house, the classic homemaker wife, see? You love her, she loves you. Let her be herself. And if you can’t be yourself with her, it pains me to say this but it’s NEVER going to work.

harple's avatar

I know a (now seperated) couple where the woman earns less from her job than she spends on the cigarettes she smokes each week. What does your girlfriend spend her earnings on? What is the job? (Could she get a similar job that was also part time and fit it around her current hours?)

It may be worth looking at what is stopping her going out and looking for other work (as @poisonedantidote touches on above)... It may be that if she can address that things can change. Is she scared of being rejected? Is she depressed? Is she secretly illiterate? Or is she lazy? Or is she simply not bothering because she has you?

If she is doing all the cooking, some cleaning, laundry etc and doing these well and frequently, she is contributing to the household, quite considerably, and don’t forget it was only x number of years ago that it was considered normal a woman should go out to work – who are her role models in life? Who are yours? You may have had a super-mum who worked and kept house and looked after you [and siblings] but not all women are able to step into such big shoes. Properly looking after a home, after a spouse etc is a heck of a lot of work in itself, and a very valuable role in life.

You sound like you are very self-aware, and it’s good that you are aware of how you must be coming across to her, but sad also – it’s sad that you are having to say those things, and sad that she is having to hear them.

It’s a hard situation that you are in – it may well be time for the two of you to reassess your requirements from life. You are not responsible for her, so think about yourself and what you need, and if you’re not getting it, and if it isn’t going to change, then consider the painful process of moving on. But in moving on, you will be opening yourself up to a much happier future.

Hibernate's avatar

Welcome of Fluther ^^

If you love her you won’t look too much at these things. At some point she’ll change herself. Do not rush it and don’t force her. When you guys will need more money she’ll get the point.
If I were you I’d keep my patience and wait a bit more before telling her you will move on.

ab3264's avatar

@poisonedantidote Are you for real? I work 5 days a week, and pull a wage of about 15k per year. Get real.

The rest of you, thanks for the advice, given me something to mull over. :)

I do truly love this girl – I wouldn’t have been trying to work through all these problems for so long if I didn’t!

Although one thing I will say is that I don’t think that in this day and age, past social norms that truly no longer count (in most of the UK at least) are an excuse for anybody not to work!

It’s not that she does nothing at all, it’s just the lies. She constantly tells me she’ll do things (like in the last year she’s promised on various occasions that she’ll get more active and find a proper job among other things) and then never follows through on them!

Thanks :)

marinelife's avatar

@ab3264 She isn’t going to change. It is up to you to figure out how to respond to who she is.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Help her look. Be the catalyst that makes her life better.

gailcalled's avatar

I’’ve been having to tell her stuff over and over (like trying to use less electric, not wasting food, basic hygene etc) and it doesn’t seem like it’s going in!

In addition to the conflicts over money, you have some powerful other issues. If you need to tell her stuff over and over again about basic hygiene, for example, you both have to examine very carefully what’s going on.

Leaving the lights on and throwing out wilted lettuce or stale bread is one thing, but cleanliness, body odor, teeth brushing is another.

athenasgriffin's avatar

To me, it kind of sounds like you are not phrasing your criticism in the correct way for her to process it. You are accusing her and probably making her feel like she isn’t good enough. This isn’t the correct way to go about getting her to change. If you are always fighting about this, and you are always very accusatory in tone. Offer your advice to her in a positive way, and you are more likely to get the result you want. Phrase it in such a way that it sounds like it is in her best interest to do what you want.

And, if I am right, she is probably just what you call lying because she is desperate to end the fight. Lots of people do this. It isn’t a good method of conflict resolution, but it is not so strange, either.

If that doesn’t work, then it is probably just a basic conflict of interests and personalities. These things are unlikely to change. She could just be as terrible as you make her out to be. I’m offering my advice as if she is a normal person, not a bad one.

harple's avatar

Goodness, is she only working a 10 hour month? I didn’t realise you were in the UK. 10 hours of work a month hardly constitutes working at all. Is she on benefits? (Or does she avoid those so that she doesn’t have to actually job-seek?)

Only138's avatar

The dating phase is a test run for marriage. Is this the way you wanna live the rest of your life? I think not. Just ask yourself…’re paying ALL the bills and I noticed you said she cleans up “sometimes”. If you were to get rid of her, what do you lose? A cook, a person to help clean randomly and someone to help with laundry. What you gain is one less mouth to feed, clothe, ect and you ease you conscience of this matter. Personally, if you think she is a freeloader, then get rid of her. In most cases, shes not gonna just emerge as a butterfly someday. Hope this helps. :)

ab3264's avatar

@Only138 Thanks, brutal honesty is good. I think she does want to sort herself out, but I guess I’m just getting frustrated with feeling like I have to help her all the time. Yes I would lose/gain what you said, but I would also lose a person who through all the problems has been very loving and supportive of me through the times when this sort of stuff hasn’t been going on.

Thanks everyone for your answers, I think I’m gonna go and try to work this out with her now. :)

poisonedantidote's avatar

@ab3264 “Are you for real? I work 5 days a week, and pull a wage of about 15k per year. Get real.”

I don’t know what you mean by that. Are you saying 5 days a week is a lot? or all you can get? I’m not sure what you mean.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Perhaps she wants to be a less-dominant woman. The housewife type that tend the house and family, and get the money from her husband.

Do you think she’s the hardworking type? Have you noticed in your current area if it is really that difficult to find decent-earning job that’s available and suitable for her current skill?

I would personally ask her what kind of job he’s interested or searching for then help her to get one. Stop blaming her and cause unnecessary pain in to your relationship. It might be hard to find another woman who is as kind and as beautiful as her. As long as you’re economically-stable you shouldn’t worry about it.

tedibear's avatar

I have another thing to toss into this mix. Is it possible that she’s depressed? As in clinically, medically, depressed. The hygiene issue is a sign, unless she was never taught basic hygiene skills. Is she overwhelmed by the world in general or just with the thought of a job search? Is she tired a lot? This is a general list of possible symptoms.

Have you asked her what she would want ideally in your relationship? Tell her that you want to hear the whole truth, even if it includes things that she thinks might not make you happy. If those most of those things don’t match with your wants and needs, it may be time to decide whether you should stay or go.

smilingheart1's avatar

Your girlfriend may be very fond of you indeed but there is still something preventing her from going out and mixing in the world. Sounds like she is either lazy or insecure. Do you also support her emotionally and do you want to go long term with her? The answers are there for you and will come to the forefront as you determine if you each want to stand the test of time with each other or not.

kheredia's avatar

She doesn´t seem to be very ambitious. In fact, she seems to be very insecure. Has she considered going to school to pursue some sort of a career? She might just need some motivation. If you’re already paying all the bills and she’s only working part time, she might as well put the rest of her time to good use. Just a suggestion.

augustlan's avatar

I second @tedibear‘s depression guess. I’ve been there, done that, and it sounds a lot like your girlfriend. If it is depression, you’ve got to reframe the entire thing in your head. Understand that she is ill, and needs medical help to get better. Be aware that she isn’t trying to lie to you… she probably means what she says, but can’t actually follow through. Depression is a freaking ton of weight on a person’s shoulders. Please ask her to be evaluated, if you think we might be right.

And welcome to Fluther!

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