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Don't Buy Me Love,Pay My Rent
August 7, 2010 11:25 AM   Subscribe

How can I politely but effectively ask my significant other for financial help?

I've been dating my boyfriend for over half a year and we're seriously involved. We currently don't live together but we have plans for me to move in with him early next year. In the meantime however, I'm unemployed struggling financially with university and living expenses in our expensive city while he makes an incredibly profitable living. With my demanding school schedules it's relatively impossible to squeeze in time for a part time job and remain successful with my education. I find myself having to ask my parents and friends for help with my rent and living expenses,they always oblige but they're all curious why my affluent SO never seems to help me out. I never have a good answer for them. He really has no financial obligations except his own living expenses, and he's always bragging about how much money he's been able to save and how I should do the same.

My boyfriend is well aware of my circumstances so I'm surprised when I more or less ask him for the things I need, it seems to go right over his head. I even directly asked him for a little help with my rent(so I wouldn't get evicted) he promised and reassured me how he was going to help me out, he never did. I fear that he might feel I'm only interested in his money but that is truly not the case. I feel very awkward and embarrassed even approaching the subject with him, and I don't think I should feel that way. We're in love and shouldn't feel so dreadfully uncomfortable talking about such things with my husband to be(yes we've even discussed all of that).
Also, the most annoying part is because every cent I have goes to keeping me off the streets my boyfriend complains and scolds me when I don't show up in new sexy dresses for our nights out or wow him with different intricate lingeries. I cannot afford it!
Sometimes he'll treat me to a little shopping spree and he always covers the bill when he take me out, but I'm still struggling along. He's not by any means cheap or frugal when it comes to the things he want, so I'm always surprised when he seems to watch himself with me.

Mefi is there something I'm doing wrong here? I know I've never done or said anything to imply that I'm only interested in his money, but I do need some help.. There has to be a certain tactic I can use to get my SO to help me out? I'd prefer to so in the politest or sweetest way possible.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you talking about loans or gifts of money? Banks and credit unions are better places to go to for loans; six months of dating doesn't seem like long enough to expect financial support from a boyfriend. If you've explicitly asked him for help with rent and he did nothing, it's obvious that he wouldn't feel comfortable with such an arrangement.
posted by halogen at 11:33 AM on August 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


I don't know. I don't think anyone's entitled to money from anyone, boyfriend, parents, or friends - unless you're explicitly in a partnership that includes financial/domestic support that goes both ways.

It doesn't sound like he thinks you're in that kind of partnership. Talk about getting there - but it's not really about the money.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:35 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were you, I'd look where I could trim some of the excess spending so that you didn't feel like you had to rely on anyone else. Do you own your car outright, or do you have a car payment? If you have a car payment, sell the car and buy something you can afford. Move into a cheaper apartment. Cut out the cell phone. Do you have credit card debt? Refinance it onto a lower percentage card or one with 0% interest rate.

As for you showing up in new sexy dresses, yeah, I'd be a little pissed and I'd let him know I was pissed about that.

As for asking your SO to help you, I wouldn't.
posted by TheBones at 11:42 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You need to tell him everything you've told us. Tell him frankly and honestly. At the very least, he needs to understand this so he stops scolding you for not having expensive clothes. If you two can't have a conversation about this, then you absolutely should not get married. You might as well start having the conversation now.
posted by smorange at 11:42 AM on August 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've been dating my boyfriend for over half a year and we're seriously involved. We currently don't live together but we have plans for me to move in with him early next year.

Why the delay in moving in with him? If he knows that you're *this close* to being evicted, why doesn't he invite you to move in with him now? He knows that you're struggling financially, yet he chastises you for not dressing in haute couture for your nights on the town? Either he's testing you to see whether or not you're a gold digger after his money, or he's an insensitive lout. Neither scenario translates very well as far as long-term relationships go.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:45 AM on August 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


If he scolds you for not dressing up for him, maybe he truly doesn't understand your situation.

Sit down with him and have a heart to heart. Tell him you're barely scraping by and that you appreciated it when he said he'd help you out and that now is the time when you'll need that help the most. Make it very clear if its a loan or a gift, though, I've seen enough episodes of Judge Judy to know that can be a big issue when a breakup happens.

While you're not entitled to anything from him monetarily, it certainly wouldn't be wrong to ask. Just be prepared to be declined.
posted by inturnaround at 11:46 AM on August 7, 2010


One thing about when parents and friends ask why your significant other is not offering help: please just tell them in a really nice way that that's none of their business. Hearing from your family and friends that you should be expecting your well-to-do SO to take care of you is just toxic. I know they mean well, but I think you should nip conversations about money with people outside the relationship (or a therapist) in the bud -- it's just very personal and really none of anyone else's business.
posted by superlibby at 11:51 AM on August 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't think your bf has an obligation to help you out financially, but from what you've described he seems more than a little tone deaf to the reality of your situation.

Since he appears to think that having spending-money is approximately as simple as plucking $100 bills off the money-tree, try doing this: Tell him you are coming up with a personal budget for the upcoming school year and ask him to sit down and work on it with you. Tote up the sources of your expenses and income. Hopefully if he sees how tight things are for you, he will at least ease off on the insensitive remarks about how you're not spending your (imaginary, non-existent) money on his sexytime needs.

If he actually does love and care about you, he'll open his eyes to the kind of selfish prig he's been -- selfish in terms of being blind to the damage his comments and attitude makes. Whether or not he'll use his own resources to ease your burdens is another thing altogether, and I think it's a bad idea to outright ask for assistance. However if he sees your situation laid out there in black and white and isn't at least compelled to find a way to help you out, then you've just gotten a valuable lesson in what sort of person he is.
posted by contessa at 11:52 AM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


>> "I find myself having to ask my parents and friends for help with my rent and living expenses,they always oblige but they're all curious why my affluent SO never seems to help me out."

Because you aren't married, or otherwise in an agreement that makes him financially responsible for you.

>> "We're in love and shouldn't feel so dreadfully uncomfortable talking about such things with my husband to be (yes we've even discussed all of that)."

Is there a ring on your finger? I don't mean to be crass, but lots of people kick the tires on the idea of getting hitched without actually moving forward into that arrangement.

That your SO makes more money than you entitles you to exactly nothing. He doesn't need to be recalibrated—you do. So do your family and loved ones who agree that he somehow owes you cash.

From this post, you sound like a blatant golddigger. And I'm sure that you are not... I'm sure you are a lovely person who fully intends to always take care of him- or herself and stand on her/his own two feet, and that you are not just in this relationship because it fits your economic needs.

But that's how you're coming across here. Looking for recommendations on the best "tactics" to get him to pick up some of your expenses is not making you come across like a very good person.

You are a single person in an unsustainable living situation: you are going to school full-time, and not working, and have no source of income that you shared with us... (therefore am assuming your parents aren't paying for your education?), plus you live in an expensive city.

How would you handle this if you weren't dating Mr. Gotrocks? How would you deal with this if he got hit by a bus and weren't there to float your preferred lifestyle?

You need to either reduce your cost of living, or you need to take out a loan from your parents. That you feel that you are owed some sort of financial support from your boyfriend—not for a health emergency... not for a car emergency... not for any kind of urgent one-off but just for your living expenses—signifies a fairly immature understanding of how the world works.

It does sound like he is unaware of your circumstances, so to be fair to you both, you need to clue him in, honestly and (here's the key) without entitled expectations. You should sit down with him and explain that you are a poor college student, one who can't afford luxuries like expensive lingerie and shopping sprees. You should explain that, even though it's not fair or rational, it makes you feel resentful or jealous when he brags about his savings and discretionary income.

And you should suggest that the two of you take a workshop or read a book together about responsible joint finances, if in fact you plan to get married. It sounds like you come from very different upbringings around financial responsibility, and you ought to work out those kinks right now.
posted by pineapple at 11:52 AM on August 7, 2010 [38 favorites]


: "I've been dating my boyfriend for over half a year and we're seriously involved. We currently don't live together but we have plans for me to move in with him early next year."

One, six months doesn't entitle you to much. I'm not trying to be dismissive of your relationship, but really at six months, you're just about entitled to assume you'll be together at Christmas. You are definately not entitled to financial support from your SO. I know there's a style of dating where financial help is very much par for the course, but your boyfriend appears to not be a fan. You've made it crystal clear you need it by asking for it, and he's made it crystal clear he doesn't want to do that by not giving it to you even when he's said he will.

Having said that, I think the two of you very much need to have a conversation about expectations, and I would do this around the idea of moving in together. Something like "Hey, honey, I was just thinking about the possibility of us moving in together at some point. We make such different amounts of money; how do you think that will work between us?"
posted by DarlingBri at 11:54 AM on August 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't see it as selfishness on his part if he is not frugal with his own money when it comes to spending on himself. It is not a question of luck that he is well off. Presumably he got a solid and financially rewarding job because he wanted to live that affluent lifestyle. He may have to work very hard for that money, or perhaps there was another career he would have enjoyed more but that didn't pay enough. My point is that it is his money and he doesn't deserve to be guilted by anyone over how he spends it - even his girlfriend, or his girlfriend's friends and family.

Please also don't see it as a sign that he doesn't love you. You may feel you have explained to him the extent of your money worries, but financially he is coming at things from a very different angle. Perhaps it just hasn't got through to him yet how incredibly difficult it is for you. I have friends who I have known for ages, but now we are all doing different jobs with different wages. Which means a very different attitude to what we can afford to do together. Sometimes it is difficult to explain that, no, I'd rather not go to that expensive club or restaurant, and no, I'd rather not go out to a place if there are no night buses running nearby because I can't afford to 'just get a taxi home' (they may as well suggest that I charter my own private plane). On the flip side, I have a friend who often turns down offers to go to the cinema with me - I only recently discovered that it was because he couldn't afford it. Hence, when your SO asks 'why aren't you wearing a nice new outfit for our date?' etc, it indicates not a lack of sensitivity, but just that it is tricky to empathise from his own position. But it doesn't sound like he is being insensitive on purpose.

It must irk you that things are so tough for you, and it must seem that it would take no effort for him help you. But the fact is that paying for you is not a condition for his going out with you. You can understand why it would start to make him uncomfortable if he was to be paying for your livelihood - that is a very big step for a fairly new relationship. If he were to ask advice from his friends about whether he should do it, what do you think they would say? My point is not that it is wrong for him to help you financially - obviously that's between him and you - but that the decision to help you is not really as straightforward as you present here.

You say he already takes you outs and treats you occasionally. If you were to push the point, he might ask why this isn't good enough for you.

And ask yourself whether it would be an improvement if he were to pay. A lot of relationships break up and you need to be prepared for that eventuality, even if you don't think it would happen to you. If you are financially dependent on him, that may put extra pressure on the relationship (I find that relationships become more strained when you bring money into it - you need to have a solid basis before you take this step). It may also put pressure on you to stay with him, restricting your freedom to make future relationship choices. And if you were to split, what happens next - what if he asks you for the money back?

It might not be the answer you want to hear, but perhaps you would be better off taking another look at your finances? Look at all the options no matter how big or small, and see if there are any ways you can make things even a tiny bit easier for yourself (for example, I recently discovered this brilliant post which has left me feeling both fuller and richer).

Best of luck OP.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


How can I politely but effectively ask my significant other for financial help?

You cannot. Asking your significant other of only six months for cash is not really polite. Moreso when he has demonstrated that he is not really interested in giving you cash. Your expectations (and those of your parents and friends) are off here.

His expectations that you buy fancy clothes are also off, but that is a separate matter.
posted by grouse at 12:10 PM on August 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Please also don't see it as a sign that he doesn't love you.

Yeah, maybe, or maybe not. I'm not sure how so many people are sure this is a standard sign of a good guy.

He could just as easily be playing the OP. Someone she identifies so surely as "her future husband" is unwilling to help her go the rent when she's that broke and he's loaded? Speaking as a guy, that doesn't ring right, and nor does the part about deferring cohabitation in such a situation if he's a) really into her and b) can see she's struggling and c) they're in the same city and planning to cohabit anyway.

Don't see it as a sign that he does love you either. I don't think this is gold-digger rationalization at all. Dude sounds cold to me.

Money is always a symbol for control.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:14 PM on August 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth, it's taken nearly eight years and marriage for me to ask my affluent husband for help financially--and that's necessitated a lot of discussions about expectations and long-term monetary goals, conversations that would be both uncomfortable and boring had we not already made a public legal contract with one another.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:16 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone she identifies so surely as "her future husband" is unwilling to help her go the rent when she's that broke and he's loaded?

Yeah, but as other posters pointed out, this is not an emergency situation, the OP jut doesn't have her finances figured out.

Maybe this is regional or something (or just that I'm a self-actualized woman), because I'm surprised you'd think it was ever ok to ask for money from friends and boyfriends just to pay the rent and normal things. Why not get student loans if you're exceeding your resources to go to school? Don't forget student loans are one of the cheapest and most forgiving types of debt you can acquire. Especially compared to owing money to friends or racking up credit card debt.
posted by parkerjackson at 12:33 PM on August 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


It doesn't seem like you two necessarily have different ideas about how money should work in relationships -- instead, it sounds like you two don't even have the correct background information about each other's finances to start a conversation about how money should work in a relationship. He's telling you that you should be saving money? That means he thinks you have money to spare, and that sort of belief can radically change how he's behaving towards you, just as your belief that he has loads to spare alters your behavior towards him.

Your situation sounds desperate enough that it matters, it really, really matters. If you're on the verge of being evicted, your financial situation is big enough a part of your life that someone as close to you as a significant other really should know about it. Not in the, "Haha, I'm broke today!" way, but in the "I have $X in my checking account, but bills a, b, and c lead up to $Y" way. As others have said, you need to sit down with him, and you need to have a serious conversation about your finances.

I don't think you should do this as a way to get him to give you money. As others have also said, you two actually haven't been together that long and asking for money just isn't that wise an idea. However, you should have this conversation with you so he can seriously see what the world is like from your eyes. He needs to know, when he scolds you for not owning a fancy dress, that he is being seriously unfair. He needs to know just how much of an expense every little luxury is for you.

Maybe this will lead to him deciding to help you out. Maybe, but that depends on him. It doesn't seem like you're in a position to make any demands of him, so you shouldn't. But, you are in a position to make him understand just how hard life is for you now, and the quality of your relationship probably depends on you doing so.
posted by meese at 12:34 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd be pretty perturbed if someone I had been dating for a mere 6 months, whom I was not living with or engaged to, was trying to get me to pay their rent or other significant expenses beyond me covering the cost of dinner/nights out.

You have every right to point out to him that you can't afford certain things (be they holidays or fancy new clothes), and he may need gently reminding of your differing financial situations. So clearly he's not Mr. Perfect in this scenario, but I still think you need to vastly recalibrate your notion of what you think you 'deserve', here.
posted by modernnomad at 12:44 PM on August 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


The very highest and best use of money, and the most thrilling, is to spend it making the lives of people you care about go better.

If he fails to grasp this, as it seems he does, then he doesn't need to worry about being cheated out of his money by you or anyone else, because he is cheating himself out of his own money.

If, on the other hand, he just doesn't care about you enough, well, that tells you enough.

I don't see a future in this relationship for you.
posted by jamjam at 12:48 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


he's always bragging about how much money he's been able to save and how I should do the same.

my boyfriend complains and scolds me when I don't show up in new sexy dresses for our nights out or wow him with different intricate lingeries.

Your boyfriend sounds a little self-absorbed, a little entitled, and mostly incapable of understanding that his situation and yours might not be the same, and that his needs and desires aren't the only ones that are important to take into account.

If you want help with your finances I think you're going to have to flat-out ask him, although like some of the other commenters I'd be personally uncomfortable doing so. Asking him to pick up the tab for expenses like going to the nice restaurants he might prefer or vacations he wants to take or even buying you these clothes he wants to see you in is one thing -- your rent is another.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:56 PM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's way too early for either of you to discuss your finances, let alone asking him for financial support. You are uncomfortable in asking, and he's cagey with his responses, because it's too early.

Going down that road repositions your relationship. If he does pay up, he'll start to wonder if he's getting his money's worth, and what, exactly, he's paying for. He already "treats" you to shopping sprees and pays for every date. Let's say your rent is $500/month. You're asking for $6000/year, plus shopping sprees and dates? What does he get for that $6000? Can he get it better, for cheaper, elsewhere? Do you really want your relationship to devolve to that line of thinking?
posted by Houstonian at 12:56 PM on August 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Until you're living together, you're not really entitled to ask for financial help.

However, it is traditional that if a better-off guy wants to see his girl in fancy clothes she doesn't have, he buys them. I think a simple, "You know I can't afford those kinds of clothes" ought to cover that.

Otherwise, I'd expect to take care of myself, and simply make clear that you may need to see him a bit less because you're taking a part-time job to support yourself.
posted by musofire at 12:58 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


With my demanding school schedules it's relatively impossible to squeeze in time for a part time job and remain successful with my education.

When you need money from friends and relatives just to pay your rent and meet basic living expenses, then it's time to re-evaluate your definition of educational success. You've dated your boyfriend for only 6 months. Any money that he would give you would be an outright gift, and you can't demand gifts. Your question screams of self-entitlement, maybe your boyfriend (who obviously works and pays his own bills) is waiting for you to wake up and smell the coffee.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:00 PM on August 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think the fundamental issue is that you cannot support yourself at your current standard of living. Help to me sounds like a temporary thing (like you had to fly out to your great aunt's funeral and then your car needed a new transmission and now you're just going to be short this month). You aren't asking your boyfriend, family, and friends to help you, you're asking them to support you. That doesn't sound like something he's willing to do, at least not after six months of dating.

I'd look at fixing that first. Here's a small list of things to look at: student loans, family loans, part time work, cutting your course load to enable part time work, a living situation with a bunch of roommates, ditching your car and using public transportation, cutting cable/phone/internets/etc, TA/RA/etc at school, research grant, and so on.

Yeah, tell him to knock it off if he's suggesting you buy expensive things you can't afford.

But beyond that figure out how to live within your means first.
posted by 6550 at 1:04 PM on August 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


anonymous: "He really has no financial obligations except his own living expenses, and he's always bragging about how much money he's been able to save and how I should do the same."

"able to save" is different than "big spender." For some folks, spending money is painful. To lift a Simpson's quote, Bill Gates didn't get rich by writing checks. I've lent money to friends and family, but it always came with a monthly repayment agreement, rather than in the form of a gift. Frankly, speaking, with high expenses and no income, you're a credit risk. When family comes to me like that, we open the books first and reverse course, then discuss a transfer of money. contessa's suggestion sounds like a good idea to me.

And I do make big purchases on occasion, but here's the deal: it can be cheaper in the long run. The chief example I can give is buying a smartphone without a contract, but even buying a reliable new car rather than a used car can be worth it if you're job's at risk when late. Luxuries though, don't fall into this logic, so any rolexes, Armani suits and M-series BMWs paints a different picture. I can't be the judge of this, as I've never met the guy, but it kind of sounds like you might not be judge frugality either.

anonymous: "the most annoying part is because every cent I have goes to keeping me off the streets my boyfriend complains and scolds me when I don't show up in new sexy dresses for our nights out or wow him with different intricate lingeries."

However, that part is strange. I can't tell if it's a gentle ribbing about about the state of your financial affairs, or if he genuinely feels entitled to something. It almost makes me wonder how long before he decides he needs a new SO more than new lingerie, and makes me wonder if his version of helping out is letting you get evicted so you move in sooner. The balance of money and power here is not in your favor, to say the least. If the behavior continues, it makes the relationship sound a lot more... mercantile.

Combined, it's almost like the Gift of the Magi in reverse.
posted by pwnguin at 1:13 PM on August 7, 2010


People are making a lot of assumptions here. The amount of time they've been together is a nice rule of thumb, but it's nothing more than that. People get married after three months. It depends on the people and the relationship. None of us know much of anything about those things in this case.

We don't know how flexible her finances are. She might be locked in to a lease, cell phone contract, etc.--these things aren't always easy to change. What's more, she might also be in a demanding academic program--e.g. law--in which high grades are necessary for long-term financial well being.
posted by smorange at 1:45 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems it's not so much a question of how appropriate, reasonable and such it is to ask for help as a question of the response to you asking.

You asked for help, he said he would help and he didn't.

Not a great sign.

Not clear how many times he has admonished you for not dressing to his standards, if it was a moment or two of brain fade after a long, stressful day or if it happens more often. Assuming you've said something along the lines of, "As much as I'd love to, I can't afford those things," what was his reaction?

Also, "always bragging" about how much money he's been saved is something that strikes me as tacky.

As people have said, hard to see how there's an alternative to having a big-picture, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may conversation about all this.
posted by ambient2 at 1:46 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


When people make a lot of assumptions in AskMe, it is often in lieu of essential information that was not provided by the Asker yet is critical to the question.

>> "We don't know how flexible her finances are. She might be locked in to a lease, cell phone contract, etc.--these things aren't always easy to change. What's more, she might also be in a demanding academic program--e.g. law--in which high grades are necessary for long-term financial well being."

I get these possibilities. I just fail to see where any of them are her boyfriend's responsibility.

When one enters a demanding academic program where there is little time for work, such as law or medicine, one usually makes multi-year plans for one's living expenses before entering.

A high-profile education that affords long-term financial well-being is not a right. It is a privilege—available to those who get accepted to the program and who work their circumstances very hard to be able to pursue the education to completion. How the rent gets paid is one of those circumstances that has to be dealt with.
posted by pineapple at 2:06 PM on August 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


This scolding business has me worried, very worried. Asking for his help with daily expenses also has me worried. It suggests that, as fourcheese noted, there is a power imbalance in your relationship. He enforces it by telling you what you should do with what little money you have - buy cute undies, hot dresses, savings. You enforce it by assuming that because he has money, he ought to help you out with expenses that are your responsibility.

Scolding is what adults do to children. Running to someone for money who has no obligation to help is a bit childish.

The best way to ensure that your boyfriend doesn't feel like your checkbook is to not treat him like your checkbook. That means taking care of yourself and not expecting him (or anyone else) to take care of you.

That said, it's seriously uncool of him to ask someone who doesn't have a lot of money to spend it on things just to please him. Sexy lingerie of even decent quality is outlandishly expensive. Fabulous dresses too. If he's insensitive to this, you need to explain it in detail. Most guys I've known are benevolently clueless about the costs of being girly. It's not their fault. I loved that my ex enjoyed how I looked - both in and under cute clothes. He loved sexy undies as much as the next dude, maybe more. Much to his credit, once I told him how much good lingerie cost, he stopped dropping hints that I should put more effort into acquiring it.

Politely asking for money isn't really the main point here. What seems more to the point is that you guys haven't had a frank, direct conversation about money, and not just about numbers - though that's important. The potential for money/control issues has to be addressed. What if you move in and it doesn't work out? Can you afford to leave? Will accepting his help to finance your life also mean accepting some control over your life? If you aren't financial equals, are you equals in other ways? This last part is critical. You don't have to make the same amount of money to be equals. Sometime simply being independent is enough. Knowing that both people can make it on their own goes a long way in leveling the field between two people.
posted by space_cookie at 2:07 PM on August 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I know this isn't what you want to hear, but...

Dating someone who makes a lot more money than you do (and especially someone who is cavalier about it) is a recipe for resentment on both sides. My experiences have been so universally bad and hard that I no longer date guys who make considerably more money than I do. Since I'm an adult student, that means almost never dating guys right now. Them's the breaks. But it means more peace-of-mind and sanity for me.

In my experience, in these days of going dutch, men expect you to be able to keep up with them: expensive restaurants, nice clothes, weekends skiing, movies and other paid events. You name it. When you're buying groceries they also have a tendency to want you to buy the most expensive cheese, gallons of milk, and huge boxes of cereal, things you would never buy for yourself because you can't afford it.

Then again, I've also floated rent for guys who make over a hundred grand a year, when I was making less than ten. Maybe I just know a lot of assholes. I'm just sayin', be cautious. Money is *always* about power, whether you're thinking about it or not. As a woman, you need to think twice as hard about these things.

One vote for breaking up with the guy. It isn't going to work. You tried the open and honest way: "Hey, can you help me out here?" and he didn't. Let him go. You aren't in a situation where you can keep up with him.
posted by tejolote at 2:25 PM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Might I refer you to this previous thread? Very similar situation to yours.

I concur with most people that (a) he's not financially responsible for you unless you live together/are married, and thus you need to live off of your own money and not his, (b) especially since he clearly doesn't want to operate as a sugar daddy (to be fair, some folks might think that adds a bad power dynamic to the relationship and he may just not be comfortable doing that), and (c) the part where he apparently doesn't comprehend that you don't have extra money to buy sexy clothes for him does not bode well for him as a human being anyway.

But if you are seriously about to be evicted, and are theoretically going to move in with him anyway, now's the time to really discuss this stuff.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:42 PM on August 7, 2010


The part where he's pestering you about clothes--have you called him on it? Not joking back, not laughing, just, "Dude. I'm barely able to pay rent and you're seriously hassling me about my underwear?" Have you done that? Because, while I absolutely don't think he "owes" you money, he definitely owes you respect, and respect means accepting that you have limited money and not pressuring you to spend it on things you can't afford.

It sounds like you have two things that are clashing--your expectations regarding money (your family seriously expects that your boyfriend of six months is going to subsidize your rent?) and his obliviousness regarding money (the bragging and the hassling you over your clothes). I think you should start having a very serious conversation about your respective ideas, plans, and goals around money--not in the sense of "you owe me $X" or "you owe it to me to buy new lingerie" but in the sense of what your long-term adult plans for managing money are. Out of that conversation, you can branch into who might be willing to take responsibility for which expenses or whether moving in together sooner might be feasible.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:12 PM on August 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I really don't think he owes you anything. But I grew up in a family where a very high value was placed on being able to take care of yourself, so my money issues may be different than yours :) I love the suggestion of sitting down with him and telling him that you are trying to work out your budget for the coming school year and would love his advice and help. That way you can lay down the entire situation for him, and he will either a) offer to help you, in which case, great (but do not go in expecting this and being disappointed if it doesn't happen) b) realize the extent of your situation and stop pestering about about the dresses and such or c) none of the above, in which case you realize he is a jerk and move on.
posted by JoannaC at 4:46 PM on August 7, 2010


2nd space_cookie's comments on a power imbalance.

Is this guy a lot older than you? Are your backgrounds perhaps a bit different? I'm not enjoying pointing this out but some of this makes it sound like you're a bit of fun on the side for him and that there's no cohabitation in your future, much less marrying. Are some of your ideas of him paying your rent coming from his stringing you along a bit with o-my-beloved-just-think-of-our-honeymoon-in-gay-Paree big talk?

It sounds like he wants a little thing in "different intricate lingeries" to amuse him. If he was genuinely interested in you as a life partner... Well, I don't know. I recently heard that an acquaintance, somebody I don't know particularly well but who I think of as 'friend,' was struggling to make his rent. I PayPalled him what I could when I found out. It does not speak well of him or for the relationship that he would hear of the threat of eviction, make reassurances, and do jack. I am hard pressed to think of anyone I would be that callous to.

I am not siding with the 'these expectations are ridiculous six months in' because, while you do sound rather naive/greedy/unrealistic here, it also sounds like you are being led to believe there is a happily married future in your future here. I doubt that that is the case. It is possible (likely?) that he thinks you understand that the stuff about marriage is just bullshit.
posted by kmennie at 7:19 PM on August 7, 2010


It's up to you to live within your means. If you're not living within your means, that's something you're going to need to resolve. You can't be betting your liquidity (current or future) on someone else, especially in the timeframe you've outlined.

If he's asking you to spend money you don't have, start telling him "I can't afford that, sorry" and stick with it. Keep doing that. If he wants to contribute to your ability to keep up with the lifestyle he prefers to exemplify, that's up to him at that point.

Meg_Murry (& those with similar points) are spot on.
posted by batmonkey at 8:11 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why on earth would you or your family and friends expect a boyfriend of 6 months to subsidize your basic living expenses? Seriously.

I made it through private law school while waiting tables. I graduated with honers and a bunch of student loan debt. I paid that back without assistance from others. It can be done, although I suppose it would have been easier had mom and dad or a rich boyfriend subsided my law degree.

But to your question. There is no way for you to politely or sweetly ask for the ongoing living assistance you are looking for from him. it is simply rude and shows a marked sense of entitlement to something you have not earned.

Get a roommate, live within your means and stop expecting other people to bail you out of the life choices you have made.
posted by murrey at 8:29 PM on August 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree with everyone else in this thread.

But -- I say this as someone who (while I've never made a shit-ton of money) has usually dated broke student/struggling artist type guys with a lot less money than me -- your boyfriend sounds really self centered and insensitive to me.

NOT because he won't pay your rent. Frankly, I think he shouldn't pay your rent, or any of your other expenses that are your own responsibility. I'm talking about the part where he brags about all his new purchases and all the money he's saved up, and the part where he tells you that you should spend your money on things that make him happy like hot lingerie. Talking about how much money you have in the bank is tacky as fuck. Bragging about your new stuff to people who can't afford it is rude and boorish.

It's even not about money per se. It's like as if I had a giant cookie, and I crammed my face with it while telling my hungry friend how good it was and how they'd love one if they had it.

He's self-centered and he's not generous. He's under absolutely no obligation to be generous. But you don't have to like that about him and you don't have to date him if it makes you uncomfortable.
posted by Ashley801 at 10:03 PM on August 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


um, 6 months is really not long enough to be asking for him to pay your rent. 2 years, maybe. or if you were already married or partners and shared everything but your finances and had lost your job, of course your partner would take over paying the rent for your (cohabitated) apartment. but he's only been dating you 6 months! i'm amazed your parents and friends are aghast that he's not coming to your rescue. my parents and friends would be telling me to get the fuck out if a new boyfriend of less than a year were asking me to pay for rent. there's a huge difference between buying you dinner or shoes and supporting you financially.

if he really loves you and really knows your situation, then he should tell you to move in with him now. otherwise, he either doesn't love you, or doesn't know your situation like you think he does.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:21 PM on August 7, 2010


If he is aware of your financial situation he should be more sensitive to what you can and cannot afford.

Also to answer your actual question which everyone else skimmed around, try saying something like, "Sweetie, I saw a beautiful negligee at the mall today but I don't think I can afford it...."or "Hunny I've been saving for weeks for this dress I know you'd love, but my rent so expensive..." More often than not an able man's ego will take it from there. Since he's apparently pressing you to look the part, I doubt he'll have any particular objection doing those little things for you. Plus, your guy doesn't want to see you struggle, especially if he can so easily and effortlessly afford it.

Perhaps you should rethink your expectations. Usually men would rather purchase a gift/object for you than give you actual money. Instead of asking for rent or money try asking for the actual things you would like. I don't think it's gold digger like at all, it's real and no BS is what it is. He obviously has no qualms about what he expects and requires from you, and you shouldn't either. It is true that he's entitled to every bit of his own income but if he loves you like you say he shouldn't be "okay" watching you struggle like the way you are.

6 months isn't a very long time into a relationship, however if you're as serious as you describe: about to move in, having marriage discussions.. Then he should be more willing or at least approachable to oblige you. Consider this though, if you feel that uncomfortable bringing up the topic, it could be possible that he structured your relationship that way to benefit him. He could just be stingy with you. If he has the money, then he also wants the control.
But remember, if you don't ask you don't get.
posted by xbeautychicx at 11:56 PM on August 7, 2010


When you are at the point in a relationship where it's okay to ask for money, you won't have to.
posted by mckenney at 12:59 AM on August 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Good god, I should never post with a couple glasses of wine in me. First, they typos are excruciating. Second, I was kind of hard on you. My apologies.

My opinion still stands that you shouldn't ask for money from your boyfriend. But you may not be the entitled brat I implied you were last night. It seems that you have been raised in an environment where this is expected since your family is wondering why he isn't helping you out. If that is all you have ever known, I suppose you must be bewildered at your bf's "lack of generosity". He was probably raised in an environment where self-sufficiency was valued or demanded so being asked to pay your rent is not likely to be received well.

My opinion that you need to change your lifestyle stands too. But my reasons go deeper than I stated before. Had it not been for a change in my parents' financial condition (for the worse) when I was in college, I might never have learned the value of earning things for myself, living within my means and not being dependent on others for my financial well-being. These are absolute gifts that keep on giving to me throughout my life. I won't go into the myriad ways this has given me freedom, but that freedom has made my life infinitely better.

I know it might be daunting to get a job and go to school, but you can excel in school with a job. People told me I was nuts to wait tables in law school, but given that I had no choice, I did. I graduated with high honors (spelled correctly this time) and I think the work ethic I had to develop by doing both helped me do better in school than had I not worked.

Finally, your bf seems pretty oblivious or insensitive--not because he won't subsidize your rent, but because of the bragging and epectation that you buy fancy underthings. Tell him to cut that out.
posted by murrey at 6:37 AM on August 8, 2010


There are two sets of expenses going on here. First, there are the expenses you'd be responsible for whether you were with your boyfriend or not - rent, etc. Second, there are the ones that come up because you're with him - ie keeping up with his lifestyle (eating out, clothing etc).

It sounds like you're confusing the two. It's OK to let him know that you can't afford to go out a lot, buy fancy clothes etc. These are expenses you have specifically because you're with him. But asking him to help you out with rent, etc is not part of the equation unless you both decide that it's time to merge your finances (that doesn't mean joint bank accounts, it just means that you have some kind of financial life together). Given that you've only been together 6 months, and you're not living together, that's an unrealistic expectation. Talk about marriage/living together etc is just that - talk.

Having said all that, your boyfriend sounds like he also has unrealistic expectations that you'll keep up with his freewheeling lifestyle. I'd question whether he's the right guy to make longterm plans with.
posted by media_itoku at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with fourcheesemac and jamjam here - it's not that the poster is "entitled" to his money. It's that she is having a hard time squaring his supposed deep caring for her with his financial unhelpfulness. Him chiding her about her clothes is a big red flag that he doesn't seem to get it.

You are struggling. If he is serious enough about you to plan to move in together, and you are struggling, and he doesn't help you. . . it's confusing at best, whether it's about money or anything else.

It sounds like you have different expectations about money. Don't expect to get him to do things exactly your way - sit down with him, talk about this situation, really listen to each other, try to understand each other's point of view. If at the end you feel respected and cared for, great. This may or may not be the same as him agreeing with you. If you don't feel respected and cared for at the end of the conversation, move on.
posted by mai at 7:47 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to say one last thing ... if you've talked about marriage, have you talked about what will happen if/when you have kids? Will you stay home / otherwise rely on his income.

Despite all the "golddigger" jabs, if the two of you plan for you to be a stay-at-home parent, this is a completely valid thing for you to think/worry about, and I think you really have to resolve it before you get serious.

Marriage doesn't change people. You don't want to be in a situation where you're relying on his income, he's freely buying himself all the things he likes, while keeping you on a strict grudging budget to supply for yourself and the kids. That is something that happens all the time.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:58 PM on August 8, 2010


@fourcheesemac - I see what you are saying, but there is no indication that OP's boyfriend identifies himself as her future husband. Even if they are moving in together, that doesn't mean he has taken on obligations to pay for her basic living costs. When I moved in with someone else it was on the understanding that we were equally responsible for shared finance issues (rent, food, bills, etc).
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 8:32 AM on August 9, 2010


Maybe he is hoping and/or waiting for you to get things together financially before he will commit to anything. I think you should talk to him about his future expectations and then consider whether this is a good relationship for you or not.
posted by meepmeow at 8:22 PM on August 9, 2010


"Also to answer your actual question which everyone else skimmed around, try saying something like, "Sweetie, I saw a beautiful negligee at the mall today but I don't think I can afford it...."or "Hunny I've been saving for weeks for this dress I know you'd love, but my rent so expensive..." More often than not an able man's ego will take it from there. "

This is not how adult relationships work. This sounds more like a child appealing to their parent for more pocket money, or worse, someone thinking that they should be 'expected; to be taken care of rather than doing it themselves. Nobody should expect you to turn up in new clothing if you're struggling to pay the rent. Have you been honest about your financial situation with him? If you have, and he still expects you to play the part of arm candy, I'd be rethinking this relationship. There are no 'tactics' to get someone to give you money - just honesty and generosity.
posted by mippy at 3:23 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


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