My boyfriend and I have been living together officially for about 4 months, and our relationship is only about 8 months old altogether. It's worked out fine for the most part, but now we're moving to a new place and I'm about to reach the end of my rapidly-fraying financial patience rope. (advance apologies for length)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So we decided to "shack up" after a very short time of dating, for a number of reasons: 1) I lost my job and was panicked about money 2) He had been living in a house with several buddies and the lease was up, and his buddies were scattering all over the place 3) He was over pretty much 99% of the time anyway.
For the most part, this has worked out well. I was out of work for a couple of months and to my surprise enjoyed playing "housewife" (cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, etc.). The problem was that it wasn't like he was "supporting" me - he started a new job right after I lost mine, and he doesn't make great money, plus it took about a month to get his first paycheck, and meanwhile I had drained my savings paying rent, plus my car payment, plus the bills, etc. I had been credit card debt-free for years but busted it out again to pay for gas, groceries, and used it for my boyfriend to get a couple new "toys" with the agreement that he'd pay me back.
Other caveats: He doesn't have a car/license at the moment, leaving the burden of transportation for me. He takes the bus occassionally and has no problem doing so, but I still drive him/us EVERYWHERE. This also makes it so that I'm the one who buys all the things on those "quick trips" to the grocery store simply because I have the means of getting there. My car is leased, and mileage is getting to be a problem, especially since I've started working again, but far from home.
The bills are already all in my name, since it was my place to begin with, so now when he gives me his half of the bills (after I bring it up several times, and make little sheets for each of us detailing what we need to come up with every month) I still wind up paying those few extra bucks that we didn't count in, for a $44 electric bill that I told him was $40, etc. I know that's not a lot but it adds up.
I'm very, very stressed out about money. I'm angry that I have credit card debt again and that I can't seem to get out from under it. He's a pretty easygoing guy (I guess it's easy to be easygoing when this stuff is all getting taken care of for you) and always tells me to relax and that things will get better.
So, I guess what I'm asking is, how do I get more assertive when collecting money from him? I can get so fired up when I'm at work and want to go home and walk in like gangbusters and tell him that this is bullsh*t, I'm sick of being the only one who's responsible, etc. but then as soon as I see him, I get all soft and start to feel bad for even being angry at him. It's nothing he's doing on purpose, it's me, but still.
It's starting to take its toll on our young relationship - I'm always stewing and stressed, he's working a lot of hours and working very hard and tired, I hate this job I'm at now and stressed that I'm basically "breaking even" (I don't make good money either). Combined, our income is pretty decent and we're looking to move into a new, bigger/more expensive place, that by all accounts we should be able to afford. I need him to meet me halfway and have told him as much, I told him just last night that I'm tired of handling this myself.
It would be one thing if the "roommate" part of us was good too, but I'm the one doing all the housework, the laundry, the driving, the bookkeeping, buying the shampoo and soap and groceries, and feeling guilty if I ever ask for a penny. So I often feel like the man of the house, the housewife AND the girlfriend trying to be as fun and happy as I was when we first met, all at the same time. It's exhausting.
This is just as much my fault as it is his, as I have one of those "take care of everyone" personalities and it's driving me crazy.
I hasten to add that despite this (all of this) we're pretty damn happy together. We laugh a lot and genuinely care for each other. I can't imagine my life without him. I just want to know how to be more assertive, how to get my needs met, and how to make our household run fairly for both of us.