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oatmeal1642's avatar

How should I resolve this problem with my boyfriend?

Asked by oatmeal1642 (180points) March 11th, 2012

Hi. I’m writing here in order to get some opinions on my situation with my boyfriend before him and I try to resolve the problem tomorrow. The situation almost seems silly, however, it’s been making us feel disconnected in the last two weeks.

Basically, my boyfriend is currently in college and rents out a room in a house to live. He’s been pretty tight on cash in the last year, so we haven’t been able to go out together much as he has to pay for his school and rent. I am fortunate to be able to live at home while I attend university, so I am not as financially tight. So, my boyfriend and I usually spend our time together at his place, and sometimes we will go out for a coffee. I don’t expect him to take me out for dinner often because I know he does not have the money for it. Instead, I have taken him and bought him dinner a few times since he’s moved into the new place, and I always insist on paying my own tab to help him out.

The problem though, is that in the last week, I’ve been feeling very upset about the fact that we hardly go out. I love spending time with him, no matter what we do, but I feel it’s important to go out and do things together once in a while in a relationship. I’m sure we’ve only gone to dinner about 5 times in the last year. What’s upsetting is that I suggest to go for dinner often, even for an inexpensive meal at, for example, Swiss Chalet. Dinner there is about $15 each. However, my boyfriend’s reply is always that he does not have enough money.

What bothers me.. is that sometimes he does have some extra cash, and although I completely agree that he should treat himself to a blu ray, a game or whatever he likes.. I feel a little bit hurt that in the last year, he hardly ever spends that extra cash to go out with me on a date. Even if I pay for myself. I’ve been upset about this, and he can tell. However, he feels that I don’t ‘understand him.’ I haven’t told him how I feel, out of fear that he will take it the wrong way. I believe he already feels that I am expecting him to buy things when he doesn’t have the money. But it’s not that. I understand that he is tight, but I’m a little hurt that he never thinks to take me out with the extra money he has once in a while. It seems he’d rather buy a new video game with his money than put some aside to do something with me. And it’s been a YEAR since he’s had the money problems. I’m sure he could have put $15 aside every now and then to take me to Swiss Chalet.

I need advice on how to approach him with how I feel, without him taking it the wrong way. I don’t want him to feel like I don’t understand his situation. I need him to understand me and get where I’m coming from.

Any tips? Do you think I’m in the wrong? Any opinions would be great. Thank you.

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17 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

If you really like this guy then you should respect where he is financially. Does it matter if you spend time with him at a restaurant vs. his house? Shouldn’t the focus be on being together and not where you are together?

There are plenty of things you can do that are free, or nearly free. Be creative and surprise him.

He won’t be broke forever. You should give him a break.

I respect the fact that he has boundaries with regards to his finances and he’s sticking to them.

chyna's avatar

He’s just not that into you. He could spend time and effort to make you feel special, yet he doesn’t.
It’s up to you to decide how you want to deal with this.

Paradox1's avatar

You’re not wrong. Sounds like he does not appreciate what he has (you) by spending things on himself (blue ray are you kidding me??) or he does not understand money or women. He should want to spend his money on you, I think, if he cares, right?

deni's avatar

Tell him it makes you feel like he doesn’t appreciate you. It’s not that you’re being a gold digger obviously and I think you explained it well here, it just hurts that he always spends his money on something else. It’s easy to come off sounding like the bad guy in this situation when you bring it up, but I think if he has a brain he’ll understand, maybe you just need to point it out to him. Is he spacey? Maybe he has no idea. It’s a possibility.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Stop trying to guess how he feels and keeping your feeling inside. Talk talk talk to each other. This is the very things that ruins good relationships sometimes. Guessing what the other is thinking and contriving what you want the other one to think you are thinking. Good grief, just talk to him….................HONESTLY!!

JLeslie's avatar

How about you both come up with ideas for “dates” that are free, or close to free. A picnic, museum, out to a bar and just have a coke, dollar theatre, a community event. I don’t know where you live, maybe there is not much to do where you live? Tell him how important it is to you to go out, but let him know you respect his financial situation. It might be very difficult for him, men tend to feel very badly when they are in a tight financial situation.

DrBill's avatar

If money is that tight, don’t expect him to spend every spare dime. He is more likely holding it back for some future expense. After a period of having to conserve money, it gets harder to spend money “just because you have it”

Men (generally) hate not being able to buy things for their SO, and if you insist on “going out” you are reminding him of this inability.

If your true intent is to be with him, be with him at his place, or your place, and not at a “cost to go there” place. You don’t have to have a restaurant quality meal and service to spend time with each other.

oatmeal1642's avatar

Thank you for your answer.

I just wanted to point out though, that this is not about my need to go out and spend money. It’s about the fact that when he does have some spare cash, he never chooses to use it to do something nice with me. Instead, it’s always spent on something like a game. He definitely deserves to treat himself, but it hurts a little that in the last year, he never thought to use the opportunity to do something with me, outside of the house. I don’t think a couple can sit inside every time they spend time together. However, I think it’s a great idea to try to plan some outtings like a picnic, etc that @MollyMcGuire suggested.

gorillapaws's avatar

If he doesn’t want to do free stuff with you, then it’ll be pretty obvious that he’s taking you for granted. If he does the free stuff, just not ever spending money, then he’s probably just broke (or a tightass with money, or both). There’s lots of stuff to do on college campuses that costs nothing like visiting the student art gallery, listening to a musical performance, watching a student play, going to a poetry reading, frisbee golf, volunteering at the SPCA, a club sports event, going to the gym and playing racket ball together, pointing and laughing at the bible-thumper-dude who calls everyone that walks by sinners and whores and tells them they’re going to hell, etc.

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funkdaddy's avatar

If he prioritizes you with his time and affection, then the money problem is probably as simple as a lack of funds. Think about how important it really is to you and don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. If it’s a big deal, that’s fine, but just don’t let it become a bigger deal than you want it to be. Don’t blow it up in your mind because of someone else’s expectation or relationship.

If he doesn’t prioritize you in with his time and attention and the only way you can quantify that is with the money he’s not spending on you, then that seems like a larger deal and you should address the fact that he doesn’t make you feel valued in his life.

If it’s not about the money, don’t make it about that. Money is complicated. It’s hard not having enough, you’re constantly reminded of it and generally people find escapes from that. He may be thinking a dinner out is an hour or two of fun for $30, while a video game or a movie provides better “bang for the buck” in terms of entertainment. He might even think you understand that.

Maybe tell him you want to go out in two weeks, to Swiss Chalet, you’ll be looking beautiful and will pick him up at 7. Tell him it’s a big deal. Ask him to pay. If he can’t get together $30 in two weeks, then it’s probably not a priority. Don’t wait for him to read your mind, or the hints you’re dropping, tell him what you want and most likely he’ll do all he can to make you happy.

lonelydragon's avatar

In addition to all the other possibilities suggested, could it be possible that he’s just a homebody? After all, he is investing his free spending money on in-home activities like video games instead of, say, going out with the guys. It may be that he’ll never want to go out often, but if it’s important to you, then he should try to do it occasionally. I like @JLeslie‘s idea of free dates so that money won’t be an issue.

jca's avatar

From reading your question, it seems the majority of time you are spending at his place, and once in a while, out for coffee? Other than the 5 times or so you’ve been out to Swiss Chalet, you hang out in his room? That would make me claustrophobic, honestly.

JLeslie's avatar

Is it possible he is depressed?

redhen4's avatar

I’ve been in this situation before, or something similar.

1. husband yelled, furious, that I spent $.79 on a bag of candy. He smoked and drank yet I was the one overspending out budget?

2. when married, both of us working, me making the more money, HE said that since we didn’t have enough money for BOTH of us to go out, it should only be HIM because he works harder (I had a desk job)

3. a friend lost her home and job, so I invited her to move in for a while. She didn’t get unemployment right away so was unable to help with the bills.
Knowing she has issues spending too much money, I told her upfront that we would have ISSUES if she started shopping and not helping pay the bills. Yet she did just that – spent any money she received on herself instead of paying me back.

Based on my experience, he is using/taking advantage/doesn’t care to make the effort and take your feelings into consideration.Like @Paradox said, “a blue-ray, are you kidding me?” He is only thinking of himself. And why shouldn’t he? Yyou are taking care of paying all the time except for the occasional coffee.

You don’t need that!

jca's avatar

If it were me, I probably would tire of this and move on, relationship wise. However, only you know how much you are willing to tolerate. This is something that only you can determine. Some people may feel differently than I do, some people might feel like if you love the person (and again, only you can determine this), you should sacrifice to the ends of the earth. I have been in relationships that were pretty one-sided, and I was the money earner and paid most things, and in order for us to go out, I was paying for both of us. I did it for years, and it got tiring, and thankless. I think in my case I was taken for granted. If I had to do it over, I wouldn’t. That’s just me. Like I said, others may feel differently.

wow100's avatar

The answer is don’t say anything at all and just save the money you have to treat yourself. Plain and simple guys just dont understand and truely dont give a hoot about going out to eat. My boyfriend is the same way, he would rather spend 600$ on a computer for World of Warcraft than buy me flowers. You can show that youre upset and talk about it as much as you want, things may change but not for long. If you dont love him then I would suggest to move on because it can really only get worse.

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