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MilkyWay's avatar

How to approach this situation with my partner?

Asked by MilkyWay (13695points) July 12th, 2018

Okay, so first of all, good to pay a visit. Hello to all that may remember me.
I’ve been with my current partner/bf for a year now. When we met it wasn’t meant to be a serious relationship but we fell quickly and hard. He wasn’t planning on moving out (he lived with his mum at the time) for at least a year or two originally. I was also living at home. However he asked me if I’d want to move in together after 3 months of being together. I said yes because I was ready to leave home and had been wanting to for a while, and also it would make it a lot easier to see each other. (I was staying at his most nights/days)

So, couple of things to keep in mind:

1. He’s 11 years older than me and in his mid 30s
2. He is earning a lot more than me. He gets paid almost twice of what I get per month
3. He had/has outstanding debt to credit cards/family members.

My problem is this. Ever since he asked me to move in and we decided that we would, we agreed to save up for a deposit/rent/furniture etc. He also wanted to clear his debt to family members, which meant he had very little to spend each month. I ended up paying for most of our dates and activities, lets say 8/10. I didn’t mind at the time, as we both had a goal to move in together and I wanted him to clear his debt to family.

We moved in 2 months ago and now he’s still running out of money 2 weeks after getting paid. We hardly ever go out, because he can’t afford it, and I’m sick and tired of always being the one doing things/organising things. I took us out for Valentines, multiple trips to spas and such, because I believe it’s important to do things together and take care of each other. I am a romantic and love to spoil him whenever I get the chance.
I suppose my tipping point was last month, when I got him gifts for his birthday and also for our anniversary. I got a card for my birthday but nothing for the anniversary, even though he had said he was planning on getting me something. That really upset me, most probably because of the significance of the occasion, and because he’s often promised to do things but never sees them through. I feel like I give and give and give but get very little effort back. I don’t want him to think I’m being shallow and materialistic, but am I? I’m not sure what to do or how to approach this situation. Any sincere words of advice would be appreciated.

Also thanks for reading all of that. Phew!

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13 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Money is one of those things that can derail a relationship.

You need to have a long sit down with your boyfriend to talk about money: equal or proportional contribution, how long before he is out of debt, levels of spending that require consultation (i.e., anything over $50? $100? $350?). And you need to do so in a non-blaming way, make sure it is communicated as something to keep the relationship healthy.

And, you need to separate out for yourself the money concerns vs. the planning/remembering stuff. Don’t bring that up when talking about money because that is a distraction and a different issue.

If you get through the money issue and can work that out, then have a separate conversation about your needs and wants regarding anniversaries and events.

And, if you later feel like you were not heard, or that he blows you off with promises that are not fulfilled, time to think about what you are willing to accept or not, and decide to stay or move on.

janbb's avatar

I guess this is one of the reasons not to move in too quickly with someone. It’s good to know them warts and all before going all in. He does seem irresponsible financially and also somewhat selfish. I think the two might be tied together so I might think of talking about both in the same conversation although i can understand why @zenvelo suggests dealing with them separately. On another tack, maybe your expectations of what activities you do together could be adjusted so that you do cheaper things. Do you need spa visits or would a picnic in the park be fulfilling? How about finding some free outdoor concerts to go to?

I know one couple who when they were dating had a kitty that they each put equal amounts of money in for their entertainment? Perhaps you could set up an arrangement like that and only do things that the kitty has money for?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Regrettably, most men require training when it comes to outward displays of affection. The average man hasn’t a clue as to how important these things are to the ladies and you can easily pick out the young men who do understand, because they will always be the ones smothered with adoring
women.

So you’ve settled in with a man in his mid 30s previously living with his mother? Here’s the deal. Put the romantic aspects aside (if you can), and stop lavishing captain romance with extravagances. It’s a waste of both money and effort. You have bigger fish to fry. And chief among those fish is the running of the household, including and particularly management of household finances. I don’t know what your setup is, but I believe you would be on solid ground insisting that the basics, rent utilities, etc. be divided in proportion to your salaries, and from what you’ve told us thus far, the obligation of the timely liquidation of those bills falls in your lap, as will most of the other decisions. Take the initiative, and explain (tactfully) the necessity for it. I think you might beat the odds and live happily ever after.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I agree with @zenvelo to a degree, I do think it’s time to have a talk.

He doesn’t owe you all the details of his income to debt ratio unless you are planning on marriage or long term financial goals together. At this point he’s basically your roomie with benefits.

The first question I have is, is he paying his half of the actual bills?
That’s the only money he’s obligated to give you.

If his being poor is causing you to feel bad, then you need to decide what’s important to you.

1) If you love him, perhaps you can come up with a plan to help him pay down debt without stretching your own budget, then you can both enjoy life with all the perks and spa’s you want.

2) If you don’t love him, then discuss ending the relationship and just be roomies, then you can date rich men who may be able to afford the luxuries you enjoy in your life.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Maybe you should have asked about this before you moved in with him. Being in his thirties and living with mom should have been another smack-in-the face hint. Leave. Run. Don’t look back.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, his money issues would have been a flag to me. Outstanding debt for credit? Out of control spending? Still living with his Mom? Forget birthdays and anniversaries. Who has been paying your living expenses?

It’s OK that you do what you want for things like his birthday, but it’s important that you don’t expect him to do the same in return.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Leave this moocher!
He obviously mooched on his relatives and now has found another who is willing to be taken granted for.
Get out of your lease agreement now!
Take your name off and leave.

MilkyWay's avatar

We have split the rent/bills in proportion to our salaries, so it’s not unfair in that regard. And we split the grocery shopping as well.
I’m not complaining that he’s not taking me to “spas” rather there’s no effort from his side to actually want to do things, it’s always me organising stuff. Most of the stuff is just going out to dinner, or nature walks/picnics and going to the movies, but he never does it himself. And when he says he will do something, 9/10 he doesn’t see it through.
The thoughtfulness is not there. I’m not after “rich men” who will take me out every week and spoil me and take me shopping. I just don’t understand why I’m not getting the same level of effort/care that I’m putting into the relationship. The anniversary/birthday gifts don’t need to be expensive, hell I would have been happy with a home made card or anything that would have shown that he’s thinking about it and making an effort.

Thank you for the helpful suggestions. I think it is time for me to communicate my feelings/frustrations across but I don’t want to make out as if I’m being insensitive. I suppose I’ll have to figure how to approach him without being too confrontational. And I do quite like the idea of having a kitty. I’ve always been very responsible with my money, so it’s frustrating for me to see him like this.

Also, he had been living with his mum only for a year, after his father passed away as she was on her own. Before that he was living in his own rented flat. The credit card debt was really stupid, but that’s from 9 years ago.

MrGrimm888's avatar

May I ask, are drugs involved?

Are you sure he isn’t hiding an addiction?

This would be the easiest explanation for his constant money problems, and lack of follow through.

This is with all.due respect.
I like to rule out the worst, and easiest possibilities first. Then, I could potentially offer better advice…

MilkyWay's avatar

@MrGrimm888 No, I would know if he had. We spend pretty much every day together apart from when at work.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Ok. That’s good news. So. There is likely another thing leading to his financial issues. Drinking at bars can be very expensive. I am friends with a couple that probably spends a few hundred dollars a week hanging out at bars, when they could just buy a bottle and stay home.

Anyways, I wager there is a habit, that is causing the money to go. That could be an easy fix, or at least a diagnosis. I knew a girl that used to spend $30 a day on Starbucks. That adds up…

The only thing stopping an analysis of where the money is going, is honesty.

Doing stuff.
Men get into patterns quite easy. We can often think/perceive a relationship as perfect, and not see a female’s unhappiness in certain areas. As long as things seem ok, we’ll stay whatever course.

Men are pretty simple. You can train us easily. For me, sexual stuff is a big motivation. I’ll remember that I get that something special I like, every time I take my girl dancing, or bring home flowers and wine. There is actually a episode of South Park, where the men in town start realizing that they get a certain favor, when they take their wives to plays. Very funny.

I’m not trying to be pervasive, and different couples have different styles. Sex should never be used as a weapon, but it can be a great motivational tool.

Talking, of course, is important. Don’t be that girl who is always mad, but never tells the guy why. We can be clueless. If you make him aware of a problem, and he fails to correct it, then you can be upset.

Ideas.
Maybe you could talk about a date night, each week. Make sure to mention that it alternates each week(your week, then his week etc,) and that it’s up to whomever’s turn it is, to come up with something to do, and finance it. That could develop habits of him having to figure out stuff to do, and teach him what you like, whilst kinda forcing his hand to be more of a contributor to your relationship…

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think you will be fine. You can train him to be more considerate, or accept him as he is. I believe the latter course to be preferable, as both of you will adjust over time. Romantic adventures and thoughtful presents would be nice, but are trivial against the fact that he genuinely cares for and is dependably there for you. Besides, if you train him too well, those pesky adoring women start paying attention.

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