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Is there any way I can get back the money my girlfriend owes me?
February 22, 2007 3:28 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way I can get back the money my girlfriend owes me?

Over the course of a year and a half, my girlfriend has repeatedly borrowed money from me for various small items. Sometimes she'll ask me to pick up something for her from the store and sometimes she'll be with and forgotten to bring her wallet, yet again. I'll trust her to pay me back when we get to her place, but that almost never happens. Now she owes me around $800 from all of those little items, and as a reasonably poor student myself, I could use that money.

Unfortunately, since I stupidly trusted her each time and because I haven't been the most organized, I don't have any receipts. Even if I did, I'm not sure I could prove that I didn't simply purchase the items as gifts or buy them for myself. I've finally gotten to the point where I've asked her to sign a piece of paper indicating that she owes me the amount stated, but she refuses to do so. She's willing to tell me verbally that she'll pay me back, but won't write it down. I have to say I'm tempted to slip a voice recorder in my pocket the next time I see her, but I'm not sure if that would really prove anything.

I've put a hell of alot of work into this relationship and done so much for her that I've sometimes felt like a parent. However, I'm concerned that whether I leave or stay, my money will stay with her.

Is there anything I can do to get my money back?
posted by abkadefgee to Human Relations (101 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not and keep the girlfriend, no.
posted by pjern at 3:30 AM on February 22, 2007


If I decided not to keep the girlfriend, would that actually make it any more likely?
posted by abkadefgee at 3:34 AM on February 22, 2007


No, whether you keep the girlfriend or not.

I mean, in theory, you could beat her up and steal her stuff; or hold a gun to her head and force her to withdraw cash from the ATM and give it to you; or hire a lawyer to sue her and her parents. If it was $800 million I might say go for it. $800, not so much.

Since you are a student, I would say: think of that $800 as a sort of tuition that you have paid in order to receive a rather unpleasant lesson.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:38 AM on February 22, 2007 [7 favorites]


If your girlfriend is giving your cause to doubt her willingness to pay you back money she admits she owes you, it's probably not the greatest sign, surely?

If you haven't any receipts, filing a claim at the local small claims court might be difficult, but I haven't any experience...?
posted by dance at 3:38 AM on February 22, 2007


I do feel sorry for you, and can completely understand your position. It's unfortunate that your girlfriend didn't respect your contribution. I've been in a similar situation. On the bigger stuff, cut your losses, don't lend again. On the smaller stuff, expect that she'll chip in sometimes too. Don't keep track of every cent, because it's just stressful and pointless.

I don't have any constructive advice on how you might trap your girlfriend into admitting more, but really you have to decide between $800 and the relationship.
posted by kaydo at 3:38 AM on February 22, 2007


Write the money off and take a good look at your situation would be my advice.
posted by fire&wings at 3:38 AM on February 22, 2007


Oh, and here's a free hint: your relationship's over. You just haven't formalized it yet.

This level of resentment doesn't occur in healthy relationships; when it starts to crop up, healthy people communicate about it and compromise on a solution to the problem. What happened here is: you got screwed to the tune of $800, you worked up your nerve to get mad about it, you presented an ultimatum, and it was summarily rejected out of hand. That's not the relationship you want to be in.

I'm guessing you're possibly on the younger side and maybe not so experienced with these things, so that's why I'm telling you this.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:42 AM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


She won't write it down because she knows that'll bind her to paying it back, and she has no intention of it. She conveniently forgets her wallet because she knows she can manipulate you into paying her way for her.

IANAL, but AFAIK, the voice recorder thing won't work, since recording someone's voice without their knowledge doesn't hold up in court. You can record visuals without someone's knowledge, just not voices.

...I've sometimes felt like a parent.
I'd encourage you to think about this statement and why it has a place in your relationship. You shouldn't feel like a parent in a relationship (supposedly) of equals, IMHO. You also might want to re-think being in a relationship with someone who knowingly and willingly extorts money from you.

However, she's not completely at fault; a year and a half is plenty of time for you to realize that she's walking all over you and your wallet, and also enough time for you to put your foot down and say "I'm not going to pay your way any more." If she's going to be "forgetful," remind her to bring her wallet. If she doesn't, too bad. She doesn't get her stuff from the store.

Bottom line is: she's an adult (or at least I assume so since you mentioned school, which I'm assuming means college). If she needs something, she can pay for it (unless it's a date and your treat or whatever). If she can't pay for it, she doesn't need it.
posted by Verdandi at 3:46 AM on February 22, 2007


Ditto Verdandi - she's manipulating you and she's not even subtle about. You're probably a great guy, but yeah - you should have awakened yourself to her by now. This relationship is over. And you won't see the $800 again.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:50 AM on February 22, 2007


I stupidly trusted her

I've put a hell of alot of work into this relationship and done so much for her that I've sometimes felt like a parent.

These are not signs of a healthy relationship. Listen to your own words.

I made the same mistake when I was a student. When we finally broke up after 2 years together, I told her that I didn't expect her to magically come up with the money, but it would mean a lot to me if she could show some good will by paying me back whatever she could, a little bit every month. I never saw a penny.
posted by fuzz at 3:50 AM on February 22, 2007


Since you are a student, I would say: think of that $800 as a sort of tuition that you have paid in order to receive a rather unpleasant lesson.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:38 AM PST on February 22


That lesson, it set me back $500 and that was 20 years ago, so I think you got off good, considering inflation. And the lesson is this.

1. if people don't try their hardest to pay you back as soon as possible, then quite quickly, they will resent the fact they owe you anything at all. The value of whatever the money was for has gone, and they don't want to pay for something that doesn't exist.

2. if you lend something to anyone, consider it a gift. If it comes back, what a lovely surprise. Otherwise, meh. If you can't afford to give it (your favourite book, money you need), then you can't afford to lend it.

3. Writing it on paper only helps if it's big enough to take to court. Otherwise not so much. Imagine standing before the judge with 10 pieces of paper all for amounts under $10 and trying to explain why you kept throwing money at that bad debt.

4. Keep the girl if you want, but don't spend another cent on her. She'll get rid of herself, (by finding a bloke with deeper pockets) and save you the trouble.
posted by b33j at 4:02 AM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


You are sentenced to $800 and time served.
Might be a good idea to change your credit card number after you leave her, just to be safe.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:05 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


she's manipulating you and she's not even subtle about [it]

Amen to this. You're getting fucked. Get out of there.
posted by dmt at 4:10 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think you know yourself that this relationship is over.

Voice recorders are never a good sign :)

My two cents:

1. Accept the fact you guys are dunzo.

2. Ask her nicely for the money. Explain that you really need it for books, materials, food, car insurance.

Pander to her reasonable side, if she has one. Be adult about it.

3. Failing that, take 47 hit financial combo on the chin and take solace that you're out of this horrible cycle. She'll be the one who looks bad, either way.
posted by ReiToei at 4:28 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


listen to everybody, the money's gone, and you'd better be, too
posted by matteo at 4:31 AM on February 22, 2007


2. if you lend something to anyone, consider it a gift. If it comes back, what a lovely surprise. Otherwise, meh. If you can't afford to give it (your favourite book, money you need), then you can't afford to lend it.

This is very important. Unless you're a bank, or it's a special circumstance like you're buying tickets next to each other so one person pays and the other pays back, never give a friend or family member (or, really, anyone) money unless you're OK with never getting it back.

The way you talk about this problem, I thought for sure by girlfriend you meant a friend of yours. This sounds like a problem between friends, not lovers.
posted by lampoil at 4:34 AM on February 22, 2007


Some basic math tells me that $800 over the course of a year and a half (18 months) comes out to about $45/month. That's equivalent to a couple of things from the grocery store a few times a month.

Did she honestly say she was going to pay you back for those things each and every time? Or did you just assume she would?

Even when I was reasonably poor college student I certainly spent way more than $45/month on beer, much less attending to the girls I was with at the time. Relationships aren't about keeping constant tabs and making accusations, they are about learning about yourself and others.

Mostly sounds to me like you are being a bit of a scrooge.
posted by caflores22 at 4:45 AM on February 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


For those of you starting up on relationships: you can actually set up a very nice pattern of treating one another for meals (or lending money, buy things, etc). So long as you're clear and let each person "take turns" it can be quite nice and fun to treat someone in the knowledge that they will treat you back as well. There's no obligation, and you're not doing it because you expect to be repaid somehow, but because you have the sort of relationship with the person where there is a balance of giving from both sides.

Oh, and it is possible to collect money from someone after you break up with them (I did, and later a different ex called me on a smaller debt herself), but it generally helps if it was one or two large payments rather than an ongoing pattern.

If you want to stay with her -- and hell, you may have your reasons for doing so -- don't ever lend her money again, and let the issue drop. Don't bring it up, don't lend her cash. Stop going out to restaurants that she conveniently forgets to bring enough cash to, or ask her to get a credit/debit card instead and she can worry about the debt on it (since it sounds like this is not a long term committed relationship, you do not have to worry about getting her set in proper debt management). Some people have areas of their life in which they simply draw a blank, and this may be one of them. It may be she simply has money dyslexia or something.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:48 AM on February 22, 2007


I don't think you're being played or manipulated, and I think if there's a lesson to take from this situation it's that your behavior sets the expectations in your relationships as much as your partners. From what you've written, it seems like things started normally in your relationship (it's normal for partners to float each other here and there), but that you never changed your behavior when the floating was not returned or reciprocated. That's your fault, not your girlfriend's. It's possible that she's someone who thinks men should pay her way, but even if that's the case, it's still your responsibility to make it clear what your expectations are. Now, down the line, you've decided you want the money, and frankly you're asking for too big a nut. If you want to be as fair and balanced about this as you're trying to present yourself, ask her to pay you the $800 back over the course of a year and a half.

But, yeah, you're not going to get the money back, and you'll probably lose the relationship. Were she to write a question here at AskMe I'm pretty confident that she'd get a lot of advice telling her to leave the passive-aggressive guy who didn't tell her to pay back what she owed, and kept lending her money, until he got her into a position that was too large to address without undue suffering. (I'm not trying to suggest you're a jerk, just that your own part in this is considerable, and which person looks the best has an awful lot to do with how you frame it. That's because occasionally paying for your SO is standard in relationships, and keeping a running total while continuing to pay out, is not.)
posted by OmieWise at 5:27 AM on February 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


I did the gradual-debt-over-a-year-relationship thing. It came out to about 1000 all told. I agree with what people have said thus far, especially ikkyu2, you have invested in a life lesson, learn it and move on. It also sounds like there are some other issues besides money, when you say things like, "I've put a hell of a lot of work into this relationship". Work? What work?
I thought I would never trust someone when it comes to money in a relationship again, but now my bf and I have a system. He pays for some meals, I pay for others, and we try to keep it even-ish. If one of us is broke, the other will pick up the tab for a little while, then it switches. However, the only reason this works is because we trust each other, and we don't forget our wallets that often.
posted by nursegracer at 5:30 AM on February 22, 2007


I've got to chime in with caflores22 on this one. In any relationship I've been in, friends or more, we buy each other small things on a regular basis and don't expect to be paid back. I don't mind buying people a coffee or picking up something from the grocery store or covering dinner once in a while at all. Doubly so for serious relationships.

If you've been going over your budget to do this for her for the last year and a half, that's yours to deal with. You never had to pay for her. You were perfectly able to say 'no' each time. Maybe you couldn't afford it. Maybe you felt that she should pay every other time, or you couldn't eat out after all.

I just can't believe that you would keep a tab on this for a year and a half! I have no idea how much my boyfriend 'owes' me at this point, because I would never think to add it up and demand it from him. We do these favours for each other all the time. This is normal. That you would do these little things for her and begrudge her for it signals that you don't understand this aspect of relationships. Do you keep tallies on everything else too? How many back rubs does she owe you? How many compliments?

If you had lent her a large sum (say, $500 for rent), that would be different. If you guys had set out an agreement at the beginning that you would alternate paying for meals and she broke it, that would be different. But if you just sat back and paid for little stuff and never brought up repayment until it was a huge figure, just sitting back passively expecting her to pony up, and she thought you were doing her a favour? Yeah, that money's gone.
posted by heatherann at 5:44 AM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


I remember reading this somewhere. Write her a note reminding her that she owes you 1600 dollars ( or some figure way above what she really owes ) and that you expect it back soonest possible. She would quickly write ( hopefully ) that you are mistaken and that 800 is what she owes. There you have it, her admission of her debt. But i think it is a bit too late for that now.
posted by kryptos at 5:50 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


You can get another $800.

You can get another girlfriend.

You'll never replace the lesson you've learned here. Thank the teacher for the challenging course material and assure her that while you may not have been her best student, you have learned a lot. Despite this, you will not be recommending her class to anyone else.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 AM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


She's being a jerk for not respecting your generosity or reciprocating it.

But you are also being a jerk, because you are keeping tabs on small, meaningless amounts of money in order to build up a lot of self-righteous resentment, which will ultimately make you feel justified in doing whatever cruel or unfair thing to this girl that you can imagine.

People are ugly. That's the lesson you're learning here. But you ought to be learning it by looking in the mirror every time you obsess over this matter, not by watching every penny she spends elsewhere and feeling attacked because you know it's owed to you instead.

Let it go. You may feel that as a student you need the money, but no one needs money so badly that they should tie it to matters of the heart, debasing both in the process.
posted by hermitosis at 6:29 AM on February 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


The relationship is definitely over.

It's hard to tell from one side of the story, but the impression that I get is that she's irresponsible with money (and possibly inconsiderate) and you're a tightwad.

I can't imagine ever keeping a tally of when I've picked up something small for my now-husband while we were dating as poor college students, or vice versa.

Furthermore, the fact that you've kept this tally *and* kept paying for her while resenting it tells me that you are not able to communicate effectively with your girlfriend. If you couldn't afford it and felt uncomfortable paying for her all the time, the mature thing to do would be to (1) Stop buying her things or paying for her and (2) Have a conversation about how you feel and (3) Set some boundaries (e.g. I can't pay every time, I can't buy you something else when you promised to pay me back for the last item and still haven't).
posted by tastybrains at 6:33 AM on February 22, 2007


With regards to lending money, I take the mental approach that when I make a personal loan, that money is gone and won't ever be coming back. It makes me think twice about giving money out and better about humans if it does get paid back.
posted by plinth at 7:06 AM on February 22, 2007


A year and a half is, what, 75 weeks? If you spent $800 on her over 75 weeks, that's like 10 bucks and change a week. Not lots and lots of money. She figured this was money you gave her, boyfriend to girlfriend, and the "loan" part, if that's what she called it, was a friendly fiction. Boyfriends give stuff to girlfriends; girlfriends expect it. It's financial lubrication. As far as she's concerned, she owes you nothing. She probably thinks she's worth several times that much from any boyfriend, but she settled for a low amount from a poor student.

So let past payments slide. And if you don't split up, remember from now on not to hand her money with any expectation of repayment. What you call a loan, she calls a gift.
posted by pracowity at 7:07 AM on February 22, 2007


I agree with heatherann.. This doesn't even sound like a loan, and frankly it's a bit bizarre that you have kept such detailed track things that are presumably along the lines of "picked up loaf of bread at 7-11 for the gf... damn bitch didn't pay me back!".... if you didn't ask for the money back at that point, then you aren't owed anything.. people in relationships buy each other things or "take care of things" for each other all the time... if it went unsaid at the time that you had a problem with that, then its a bit late for y ou to be complaining about it now.

so, in summary, a) you are out of luck, and b) probably time to move on with the gf anyway.
posted by modernnomad at 7:15 AM on February 22, 2007


pracowity is 100% right. This is how relationships work; sometimes, you buy things for her; sometimes, she buys things for you (right? Please say you didn't stay with a woman for a year and a half who wouldn't shell out a penny for you). You're trying to make her pay her back for all that random stuff? Geesh. Your relationship must really be in the tubes. Write off all money lost, take a break from the girlfriend, take stock of what you're willing to give in your next relationship, and be up front about it from the beginning i.e. if your next girlfriend tries to mooch, don't let her.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:29 AM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Honestly? Don't be so cheap. As pracowity says... it's 10 bucks and change a week. That's not even a movie date a week. If it was bothering you this much, you should have stopped when your tally hit around $200, at MOST. Waiting till it hit $800 and then saying "Hey, where's my $800??" is a bit ridiculous. Write it off, and don't give her any more money if it bothers you that much.
posted by antifuse at 7:34 AM on February 22, 2007


I'm with Tastybrains.
When you asked your girlfriend to write you IOUs for every hamburger or box of tampons, and she refused, what did she say? That people in love don't write IOUs for $4.33? She's right, there. But then again, people in love don't mooch endlessly either.

abkadefgee wrote If I decided not to keep the girlfriend, would that actually make it any more likely?

This makes it sound like you know the relationship is over, but would be willing to pretend awhile -- at least until you got your money. This is not the person you want to be. If your relationship with this girl has turned you into this nickel-and-diming, score-keeping person, you have to know that being alone would be better than this.
posted by Methylviolet at 7:37 AM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's at all bizarre, and I don't think the OP is a scrooge.

I've often had friends say something along the lines of, "I'm short $5, can you cover me?" at dinner. Like any normal person I a) remember it, and b) expect the money back. It sounds like the gf took advantage of this, and did it repeatedly, without any intention of paying it back.

Everyone is saying that it's not a large amount of money, but if you're a student, $800 is a large amount of money. Even $45 is a large amount of money.

How about you start forgetting YOUR wallet? Or ask her to pick something up for you? You might be able to get some of it back before the inevitable breakup.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:41 AM on February 22, 2007


Take her out to an expensive restaurant and consume $800 worth of dinner and vintage wine. Half-way through dessert, tell her you're going to the bathroom and leave the restaurant.

Not sure how the relationship would go after that, mind you.
posted by Phanx at 7:52 AM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


Turnabout is fair play.

Treat the money as lost, then start conveniently forgetting to bring money when you go out, or conveniently forget that you put your money in a different pocket. Start asking her to pay for small stuff. If she calls you on the money you owe her then you have permission to call her on it.
posted by mikshir at 7:54 AM on February 22, 2007


Furthermore, the fact that you've kept this tally *and* kept paying for her while resenting it tells me that you are not able to communicate effectively with your girlfriend.

Bingo. Look, having someone constantly mooch off of you is annoying, even if it is less than 10 bucks a week. Everyone's got that friend who is consistantly just a little short of what they owe on the bill or whatever.

But if you don't like the mooch behavior, stop enabling it. Well, that's hard now, since you have a year-and-a-half of habit built up. In the future, don't do favors for people if you're going to keep score or resent it.

Perhaps you've found yourself in a situation for which you need funds, so you're casting an eye around looking for monies owed? Wondering if you could have tallied up reciepts to prove that your girlfriend owes you 5 bucks x 160 is not likely to be your best bet.
posted by desuetude at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2007


This is like eating 3/4 of a sandwich, realizing it was made wrong, and demanding a new sandwich. If you loan someone a small amount of money and aren't paid back within a week or so you generally don't expect to see that money, ever, and you keep that in mind next time you want to loan that person money, you don't keep loaning that person more money expecting to see $800 magically appear one day in the future.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:58 AM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Break up with her.

Not necessarily because she deserves it, but because getting irked that you're spending $10/week on her is a sign that things are headed down the crapper, anyway. If you really liked her, you wouldn't be nitpicking about every little thing you get her from the grocery store; you'd be thinking that she's worth at least $10/week.
posted by universal_qlc at 7:59 AM on February 22, 2007


Oh, and you won't be getting money back from her. I wouldn't give it to you if I were in her shoes. I might sarcastically hand you a few nickels, though.
posted by universal_qlc at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2007


$45 per month is a lot of money to me. I wish I had that much to throw away on beer each month.
posted by avagoyle at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2007


I've often had friends say something along the lines of, "I'm short $5, can you cover me?" at dinner.

Yeah, friends. But if you're a couple, the social norm is to pay together. I've often had a waiter ask me if we'd like the check split when I'm with a group of friends, but it's the rare occasion that this happens when I'm on a date. I've never had someone say "I'm short $5" on a date, though. That just sounds tacky -- it'd be a lot more likely to hear "I'm a little short on cash, can I pick up the next meal?"

How you deal with money is something that needs to be determined early in a relationship. I've been in ones where I paid for dinner most of the time and thought nothing of it, and I've also had experiences where we've traded off paying for meals from the first day. If you date someone over a month and they've never once reached for the check, it's not going to happen.

Maybe a year ago you could have asked her to pick up something from the store and started a pattern, but it's too late now. You have been buying her things. That's pretty much all there is to it. If you're just now thinking that you'd like your money, then you've probably decided that this relationship is a drain on your finances and your patience.
posted by mikeh at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2007


Allow me to summarize by referencing the ever-wise Onion: Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam.

Some people believe that the essence of a relationship is that one person pays for everything. If you two don't agree on that, well, it's kind of a sticking point.
posted by GuyZero at 8:23 AM on February 22, 2007


you sound like a twit and i doubt the money is the real issue here. being upset about 10 dollars a week, or paying for dinners, is really ridiculous. keeping tabs for a year and a half sounds like you're expecting to receive equal treatement from you girlfriend and the fact that you kept a tab for 18 months rather than approach this BEFORE NOW means you're not very good at communicating your needs/wants/whatever to another human being. You had some expectations and didn't spell it out earlier in the relationship and your failed expectations are causing the problems here, not the money.

the fact that you want to break up over change means that this relationship is over and has been for quite sometime - you just don't have the guts to actually break up with her. so go ahead and finally leave, forget the money, and learn how to actually tell a girl how you feel about certain things. that's a difficult thing to learn and you should practice now while you can.
posted by Stynxno at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


The point a lot of you are missing by saying it's not that big a deal is that she will verbally commit to paying you back but won't commit in writing.

Here's a little test. If she's on her way over to your place, ask her to pick something up for you on her way over, something small but around $5. Maybe a notebook or a burger or whatever.

If when she gets there she says "Oopsie! I forgot my wallet and I couldn't get you the thing, sorry", she's inconsiderate at best (she also forgot you wanted something) and a liar at worst (she agreed on the phone to get you the thing but actually had no intention of doing so). Dump her.

If whe she arrives she gives you the thing and says "Here's the thing - can you pay me back for it now?" or makes some joke about how she can ask you for money because NOW you are doing it, then she's inconsiderate (she doesn't care how valuable the money is to you) and obsessed with money. Dump her.

If she gives you the thing and there's no problem, then you are overreacting and probably looking for an out. You don't need an out, if you aren't happy in a relationship, by definition you'd be better off outside of it. Dump her.

See the pattern?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:35 AM on February 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


I agree with almost everyone here, but I want to share a personal anecdote.

In college, I was poor and working my ass off to pay for school, which left little money for dinner, movies, etc. My boyfriend got a lot of money from his parents, so he'd treat me very often to dinners, movies, etc. He probably spent well over 1000 bucks on me over the 3.5 years we were dating if he had wanted to keep track.

Now, I have a job and he doesn't. He's living with me, so I pay for all the bills, food, etc. In other words, what goes around comes around.

You're obviously not happy, so leave her and kiss the money goodbye, unless you want to be a total jerk and harass her for a measly 800 bucks.
posted by muddgirl at 8:36 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


a measly 800 bucks.
posted by muddgirl at 11:36 AM EST on February 22


A lot of people saying $800 isn't a lot of money. Maybe you all can start a collection and pay him the $800 then? Hello? Anyone?

$800 is a month's rent, or a couple of months of car payments. $800 is a decent computer. It's a lot of night's out at the movies. It's food for one for almost 3 months. Things are relative.

He has said that to him, it is a lot of money. Accept that.

It's obviously a lot of money to her also, because she's not willing to pay it back or to even reciprocate. Keep in mind the poster isn't talking about money spent taking her out to dinner or to the movies, it's stuff that she needs for herself.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2007


I'd say, you just bought yourself a lesson.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:49 AM on February 22, 2007


JFK Jr. was legendary among his friends for never carryig his wallet. While he could most afford the meal, drink, item, whatever, he would always ask someone else to pick it up for him as he didn't have his wallet. Apparently it happened in cabs a lot too. My guess is that his relationship with money was significantly different than his friends. He just assumed that $20 here and there was no big deal to his friends as it would not have been to him had he actually had his wallet with him. Or he was cheap.

Your girlfrined could just not realize how much this has meant to you, she could be cheap, she could be malicious. Either way, you are not getting your money back and you are cheap and foolish for having let it go on for this long if you were worried about getting paid back.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:49 AM on February 22, 2007


I have a slightly different perspective. I don't understand what you are upset about. She's your GIRLFRIEND its expected that you would pay for things, take her out to dinner. There is no reason why there should be financial parity in a relationship and you shouldn't expect it.

Ultimately, most (yes, yes yes, I know there are tons of child-free folks out there) relationships are an exchange where women take on the burden of having your baby, and men provide. Yes there are lots of relationships that are different - but there is nothing wrong in what your girlfriend has done. Its fairly typical in most relationships that a boyfriend would pick up the tab for small meals, movie tickets and grocercies and so on. At $10 per week, you got off easily.

I'm going to be contrarian and say you should stop being petty and think about why you are really angry with your girlfriend. Dump her if you want, but if you go into subsequent relationships expecting financial parity, you are going to be disappointed. That's just not the way things work in adult relationships.
posted by zia at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2007


Pastabagel, it's not like she stole 8 $100 bills out of his wallet. According to his own account, it was little by little over a long period of time. Each time, he could have said NO, but he obviously didn't value that $10 so highly that week.

Of course $800 is a lot of money, but it's money that's he's already lost, and it's best for him if he just gives it up. What is he gonna do, break her arm? Take her to court? (good luck!) Post angry rants about her on Craigslist? Start sending her bills with 20% interest?
posted by muddgirl at 8:53 AM on February 22, 2007


The $800 is a bit of a red herring. Of course when written that way it looks like a lot of money, but it was loaned in very small increments that could have been stopped at any time. It's precisely part of my argument that framing the issue as one over $800 allows the poster to ignore his 18 month failure to communicate about this issue, and leads him to think that his gf is much more solely at fault than she is. By agreeing that the issue is an owed $800 we accept that framing, which is unlikely to help the poster in the long run (which is the only thing at issue here, since the money is gone and the relationship seems to be too).
posted by OmieWise at 9:09 AM on February 22, 2007


He obviously is never getting the money back, so he should simply leave the relationship, and I suspect he has other reasons for doing so. There's an issue about not having the confidence to dump her for the more substantive reasons. Perhaps money is a proxy for something else - you are more giving emotionally in the relationship than she and that's what bugs you, etc.

But this:

Each time, he could have said NO, but he obviously didn't value that $10 so highly that week

I think is the wrong way to look at it. It obviously didn't bug him at first, but at first he may not have realized he'd be shelling out $10 every week.

The other way to look at this is to read only the end of post. He is asking her for money now, because he's a semi-poor student, and she is saying no.

Yes there are lots of relationships that are different - but there is nothing wrong in what your girlfriend has done.
posted by zia at 11:51 AM EST on February 22


Also, this is bizarre. They aren't married. She and her boyfriend are both students, equally situated (i.e. poor). She took/borrowed money from him. He didn't complain. Now he is asking her for money. But she's not willing to reciprocate. That is a problem, and probably symptomatic of some other bigger problem.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:11 AM on February 22, 2007


Stynxno is wise.
Pastabagel less so.

Break up with the girl. The sex might still be good, but you're wasting her time.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2007


Oh, and the money is gone.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:21 AM on February 22, 2007


He has said that to him, it is a lot of money. Accept that.

As a student, I must say that this is absolutely correct. $800 is a pretty big amount of money relative to my income.

But the relationship is over.
posted by oaf at 9:24 AM on February 22, 2007


I agree with everyone else: the money is gone and you will never get it back from her. I also agree with Methylviolet, and I want to add that the fact that it has come to a point where (1) you are trying to issue written IOUs and (2) she is flat out refusing them, indicates that the two of you have very different understandings regarding your financial role in this relationship.

She's only going to cost you more, and it sounds like you're just not that into her. To echo Saucy Intruder, $800 and time served.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 9:36 AM on February 22, 2007


Does she ever pick things up for you here and there? If so, perhaps she just figured you were even.
posted by necessitas at 9:36 AM on February 22, 2007


I'm tempted to slip a voice recorder in my pocket the next time I see her, but I'm not sure if that would really prove anything.

It would prove that you're a nutter.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


As an anecdote, my father-in-law was in a long distance relationship at a time when he was unemployed, collecting foodstamps, and living with my wife and myself. His SO was about four hours away and often requested that they should meet at the SO's expense in a hotel about two hours away. The SO also bought numerous items for my father-in-law and paid for their meals out (fast food type meals, mainly).

During this whole relationship my father-in-law was in the process of attempting to gain social security disability status. My FIL finally got approved and thus was slated to receive backpay from the time he had applied and was also slated to start receiving monthly social security payments. At that time his SO presented him with a bill for half of everything the SO had purchased for my father-in-law in the previous two years of their relationship. The SO had never mentioned that he was keeping a tab before. He had never provided any indication that he expected to be paid back.

I found this behvaior rather offensive and told my FIL in he should break it off and not pay, people in serious relationships shouldn't be keeping score in that manner. Needless to say, the relationship was over soon after and the SO never saw a dime.

Also, my FIL had borrowed a small amount of money for an emergency car repair from the SO during the relationship. This money was explicitly stated at the time to be paid back, and it was. Is it at all possible, as many posters have mentioned, that you haven't communicated your expectations well enough?

Kiss the money goodbye, but from now on make your expectations clear from the outset, or just don't make the loan at all.
posted by caflores22 at 9:48 AM on February 22, 2007


Keeping the tally isn't as weird to me as it seems to be to some people here. I've repeatedly loaned small (and sometimes larger) amounts to someone I was in a relationship with, and kept careful track. We agreed on the running total each time I loaned her more. By the time we went our separate ways, the debt was up to several hundred dollars, which was repaid some months later when she had the money.

I think there's a big difference between asking for a loan and asking for a gift. I would have been happy to just buy the things for the person I was seeing, but she didn't want to feel like a mooch. Your girlfriend sounds like she's not only willing to be a mooch, but also willing to lie to you. The lying would bother me, even if the mooching didn't.
posted by aneel at 9:52 AM on February 22, 2007


Look, if you're considering a relationship in terms of how much money it costs you, it's not a good relationship. Seriously.

On preview: Yes, aneel, but the keyword there is agreed.
posted by SoftRain at 9:58 AM on February 22, 2007


em>I think is the wrong way to look at it. It obviously didn't bug him at first, but at first he may not have realized he'd be shelling out $10 every week.

When it started bugging him, he could've said "no," instead of waiting until it was a festering cumulatively considerable chunk of change.

She took/borrowed money from him. He didn't complain. Now he is asking her for money.


Do you really, truly think that asking someone for $5 or $10 here and there over the course of a year and a half is the exact same thing as asking for $800 all at once? (If so, you and abkadefgee may have a future together.)
posted by desuetude at 10:00 AM on February 22, 2007


Don't know how I lost a < there./small>
posted by desuetude at 10:01 AM on February 22, 2007


Do you really, truly think that asking someone for $5 or $10 here and there over the course of a year and a half is the exact same thing as asking for $800 all at once? (If so, you and abkadefgee may have a future together.)
posted by desuetude at 1:00 PM EST on February 22


No, I don't think they are the same. My point with this:
She took/borrowed money from him. He didn't complain. Now he is asking her for money. is that she isn't offering to give him any money. Not $800, not $10.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:26 AM on February 22, 2007


You want to bill your girlfriend for the equivalent of buying her dinner twice a month over the duration of your relationship?

You realize that you're going to be the Epic Crazy Ex-Boyfriend Story, RIGHT? The story this girl will tell at parties for the next twenty years?

I doubt she's the evil manipulator some answers are making her out to be (REALLY, guys, a cute college-aged girl who's of a mind to be a golddigger can do a LOT BETTER than 800 bucks spread over a year and a half)-- it sounds like the two of you have differing beliefs about how finances should be handled between a couple:

She sounds like she feels that a couple's finances should be more fluid and relaxed, and that it's okay for a man to take care of his girl in little ways, and buy her things. (A lot of people feel this way-- it doesn't necessarily mean that they're reactionary fundies.)

You sound like you feel that your finances should be completely separate. (A lot of people feel this way, too.)

Both of those attitudes are okay. They're just not very compatible. And that's okay, too. These are good lessons for you to learn, that not everyone has to feel the same way about this, and also that it's really important for you to be in a relationship with someone who wants everything to be 50/50, moneywise, just like you do. Now you know!

I can't see how the very slight chance that she'll pony up the 800 bucks you think she owes you (I think it's very likely that she doesn't agree with you on this at all, by the way) is worth the stress you'll undergo in trying to get it. Let it go, appreciate the lesson, move on, and look for a girl who has similar attitudes toward the intersection of money and romance.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:29 AM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


This reminds me of a co-worker I once had. If you were in the breakroom, staring at the vending machine in dismay because you were five cents short, sure, he'd lend you a nickel. But within about an hour, he'd be all "Got my nickel, boy? Can you pay me back now? Maybe tomorrow?"

Small sums spent over such a lengthy time period should be written off as relationship upkeep, not loans. It's just the cost of doing business.

Since you've reached the point where you can no longer be happy until she signs legally binding documents to enumerate her obligations to you, I would say you no longer have a girlfriend because you no longer even see her that way--you view her as a deadbeat. Let her go because you aren't doing her any favors in sticking around and haranguing her about her debt.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel: Why do you insist on defending atrocious behaviour on technicalities?

He created a situation where she had no reason to expect that the debt really existed. He can't change that. He did it to himself.

Now he has outright stated that he is willing to trade in a 1.5 year relationship for $800 cash.

The only thing of importances here are:
a) Pointing out that the OP will not get paid.
b) Pointing out that the OP really needs to break it off with this girl.

Trying to defend his accounting does nothing except expose you as a cheap shit and a lousy man.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 10:48 AM on February 22, 2007


Tacos-

I'm not defending his accounting. I simply trying to explain to people who think $10/week is not a lot of money that it is in fact a lot of money depending on one's particular circumstances. I've already pointed out (a) and (b).

If this is confusing you:

She took/borrowed money from him. He didn't complain. Now he is asking her for money. is that she isn't offering to give him any money. Not $800, not $10.

what I was trying to point out is that while the poster was willing to give her a few bucks here and there, she isn't willing to do the same, even outside the context of paying him back. She won't lend him $10, apparently. This goes to the "dump her" part of my earlier argument.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:05 AM on February 22, 2007


I love that we all agree he should dump her and kiss the money good-bye, but we're arguing over tangentials like "motivation" and "gift vs. loan" and other intangibles that ultimately don't matter. The point is that short of physically forcing her to the ATM, the money's all but gone.
posted by muddgirl at 11:10 AM on February 22, 2007


I thought this warranted repeating:

You want to bill your girlfriend for the equivalent of buying her dinner twice a month over the duration of your relationship?

You realize that you're going to be the Epic Crazy Ex-Boyfriend Story, RIGHT? The story this girl will tell at parties for the next twenty years?


And putting a recorder in your pocket will make you look more nutty, not less.

She's a mooch, but you're being petty and cheap. The time to put a stop to it (and perhaps demand repayment) was in the second month. At this point, let it go and move on.

Also, think carefully about whether there might be things she could be retroactively billing you for. Did she ever get a UTI and have to pay a copay at the health center? Has she ever cooked you dinner, or helped clean up after a party? Who pays for the bikini wax that turns you on, or the new shoes that looked great when you invited her to a formal? How many of her cellphone minutes go towards calling you? Who pays for birth control?

Similarly, have you kept a detailed log of which of you gives more oral sex, has more orgasms, or any other relationship "stuff" that makes things nice?

Personally, I don't think keeping detailed scores (of money, sexual favors, or anything else) is the foundation of a the kind of relationship I want to have. But it works for some people, so you aren't at all alone. But you do need to find ways of communicating, rather than letting frustrations build up over time.
posted by Forktine at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I simply trying to explain to people who think $10/week is not a lot of money that it is in fact a lot of money depending on one's particular circumstances.

This is exactly what I mean by defending his accounting.

You are defending the whole process of spending $10/wk on your girlfriend and keeping a tab of it, when nobody would expect that such a tab was being kept. (or that if it was, they would be notified and cut off FAR earlier.)

You are defending the idea that it is acceptable to make a big deal of it, simply because he let the number reach a value that he considers large.

I mean really, it's not like he did it accidentally. At any given point he could have just said "sorry, but I'm too broke to pick that up." He chose not to.

now the relationship has failed and instead of viewing it as just the financial expense of a relationship, he is trying to tally it up and get the sums from her.

And you are defending this idea, by going on about how important it is for us all to understand that it's a decent amount of money to him.

The amount is irrelevant. it could be $0.80 or $80,000. It would be the same either way.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 11:23 AM on February 22, 2007



You are defending the whole process of spending $10/wk on your girlfriend and keeping a tab of it, when nobody would expect that such a tab was being kept. (or that if it was, they would be notified and cut off FAR earlier.)


I see the confusion. I never, in fact, defended what you are describing. I would never keep a tally of this kind of thing. I was simply suggesting that all other things ignored, $10 a week is not something to automatically dismiss as a paltry sum, as some people in the thread are doing. But even if the poster thinks it is a lot of money, he should still just write it off.

But I think you need to read the original post again, because the poster himself never said he kept a tally of everything he spent on his girlfriend:

Over the course of a year and a half, my girlfriend has repeatedly borrowed money from me for various small items. Sometimes she'll ask me to pick up something for her from the store and sometimes she'll be with and forgotten to bring her wallet, yet again.

...

I've finally gotten to the point where I've asked her to sign a piece of paper indicating that she owes me the amount stated, but she refuses to do so. She's willing to tell me verbally that she'll pay me back, but won't write it down.


Two things: one, he is not talking about buying her dinner or money spent going out on dates, at least I don't think he is. I assume that he spent money on those things and isn't including them what he's asking her to pay back. You may not draw the distinction, but he does.

Two, notice that she has verbally committed to paying him back. Assuming what is presented is true, this means that she considers this stuff that he paid for to also be outside what would normally be spent on dating/gifts. Otherwise I can only assume she would have argued with him about it.

In other words, there is no disagreement between her an him. They both seem to agree that he should be paid back for this stuff. He won't of course, and he shouldn't expect that closure to come from her either.

(Also, I'm quite surprise she didn't dump him when he asked for the money back.)
posted by Pastabagel at 11:46 AM on February 22, 2007


If the gf used the word "borrow", then the expectation is that the money would be paid back. This is different from him buying her dinner then going off like a miser and writing it down in a little grudge book.

It looks like the whole reason he's in this situation is that he wasn't keeping track - he trusted her, didn't pay attention to how much she was mooching, and only after time did the pattern emerge.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:47 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


She took/borrowed money from him. He didn't complain. Now he is asking her for money. is that she isn't offering to give him any money. Not $800, not $10.

We don't know that he ever asked her for $10 -- we only know that he would like to invoice her for $800.
posted by desuetude at 11:51 AM on February 22, 2007


I have to point out that this plan...

Write her a note reminding her that she owes you 1600 dollars ( or some figure way above what she really owes ) and that you expect it back soonest possible. She would quickly write ( hopefully ) that you are mistaken and that 800 is what she owes. There you have it, her admission of her debt.

...would only work if you are Encyclopedia Brown and you are dating Bugs Meany.
posted by turaho at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


The best part of this thread is that the original miser paid $5 to ask his question.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2007


so the things you were picking up from the store... did you use them? like, if you bought a loaf of bread for her, or a bottle of shampoo, did you wash your hair or eat a sandwich?

i buy things for my boyfriend all the time - deodorant, soap, shaving cream. he, in turn, picks things up for me - dinners, midnight tampon runs, etc. did she ever purchase things for you? or were you the sole purchaser in the relationship (to the tune of 10 dollars a week)?

and if you're keeping tabs on the amount of money you spend on her each week, well, no offense, but i think it's petty. you had every opportunity to say, "no sweetie, sorry, i can't swing by mcdonalds for you, i'm broke right now" but you never did. and that's your fault for not saying no even after you realized she would probably not be paying you back.

let it go.
posted by kerning at 1:10 PM on February 22, 2007


I think you and your girlfriend think about money very differently, and also that something has changed so that you're less willing than you used to be to do things her way.

When two people have very different attitudes about money, they often have to find a third way. She wants to be totally casual about it; you want to keep track and be paid back. Neither of these approaches looks feasible for you two. From now on, you should give her money/cover her costs only if you can do so without wanting/expecting to be paid back. And from now on, no loans. You can either say to her that the new plan is that when you need your money, you're going to hold onto it; or you can wait till the next time it comes up, and just politely say you you don't have it, or that if you give her money, you'll be short later in the week. (if you do it this way, there may be an embarrassing discussing in a checkout line.)

Forget about how you did things up to now, all the times she said she'd repay you, the 800 bucks, and asking for money back. Just start doing things a new way.

It may be a good time for you to try to see past the money issue to whatever else you're not happy about with this girlfriend. Because you can bet that when you stop paying for little things here and there, whatever else she doesn't like about you is going to become pretty clear to her.
posted by wryly at 1:28 PM on February 22, 2007


what I was trying to point out is that while the poster was willing to give her a few bucks here and there, she isn't willing to do the same, even outside the context of paying him back. She won't lend him $10, apparently.

Again, this is all very one-sided. I can't help but imagine myself in his girlfriend's shoes. If one day my boyfriend decided that I owed him $800 for all the little things he bought me over 1.5 years, I'd think he was a total jerk and flat-out refuse to do anything for him, when in the past I probably *would* have been happy to pick him up dinner or take him out or spot him $5.

Then again, I'd probably dump his ass if he tried to invoice me for $800 out of the blue. I'm kind of shocked she hasn't done the same.

OP kind of reminds me of Darren Sherman.
posted by tastybrains at 1:51 PM on February 22, 2007


Is there anything I can do to get my money back?

No, forget the money. If the girl is not worth the money, forget the girl too.

No matter how poor you are, $800 is actually a very cheap way to learn your lesson.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 2:27 PM on February 22, 2007


First of all, there are obviously some misconceptions, assumptions, and miscommunications that need to be corrected here:

1. The weekly estimates are not quite right. My girlfriend actually owed me $800 over the first 10-12 months we dated, but I forgave that debt. She knew about the debt and knew that I was forgiving it. I hoped this would help us build a stronger relationship, but the cycle repeated and now we're back at around another $800 unpaid. Also, the individual loans were usually for larger amounts than estimated with larger gaps in between than a week.

2. I spend more money than she owes me on gifts, dates, and favors and haven't asked or expected to get that money back. She has bought me almost nothing over the course of our relationship and rarely does me any sort of favors. The imbalance is far greater than some of the posters are assuming, so asking to at least receive the money she explicitly told me she would pay doesn't seem that unreasonable.

3. Every time she has borrowed money from me, she gave me a time by which I could expect to be paid. She clearly understood that these were loans and not gifts. Almost every time, another emergency would arise, her paycheck would be less than expected, or something would happen where she either couldn't or wouldn't pay me at that time. She would give me a new time by which she said she would pay the total or pay me over time. On about 3 or 4 occasions, she has paid me $50 or so. I didn't hide the total or forget about it and just fling a bill in her face. We have both agreed that she owes me a great deal of money.

4. I have had great difficulty refusing to lend her any money for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I didn't feel comfortable refusing to give her money for necessities like the $40 medicine she needed right away. In that situation I knew I wouldn't have money for gas, but I wanted to trust her.

5. $800 is a lot of money in my world. I make $8 an hour, working 16 hours a week, so it would take a little over a month for me to get that money back. However, some of you are right in assuming that it's not entirely about the money.



Let's be honest, though. I realize that I could have stopped the cycle somewhere along the way. I should have done this. The truth is, I have low self-confidence and I've stayed with a verbally abusive, controlling, and incredibly demanding person because I've been too scared to leave. My sense of control over my own life has become nearly non-existent, as I've tried to do whatever I can to win over her approval.

I think that, in a naive way, I've felt like getting that money back would help me regain some of my confidence as I'd feel like I had the power to actually make something happen for myself. It would also help me to gain more respect for my girlfriend and would make an amicable, mutually beneficial break-up more likely. But of course you guys are right and you've confirmed for me that I will almost certainly never see my money again. And if I do, it won't be because I made it happen.
posted by abkadefgee at 3:03 PM on February 22, 2007


Please keep in mind, that in the end of that last post, I don't mean to blame her for everything that has happened. I do have the power to take control of my own life and that I haven't is my fault. I've just found it very difficult to do what I should.
posted by abkadefgee at 3:07 PM on February 22, 2007


abkadefgee: thanks for your honest and forthright update. I hope this will be a great big learning experience for you. Namely, never lend money to friends or family if you expect to get it back. I'm sure every single poster here has made that mistake (or seen someone make that mistake) at one time or another.
posted by muddgirl at 3:13 PM on February 22, 2007


Thanks for clearing up the misconceptions. Best of luck.
posted by OmieWise at 3:29 PM on February 22, 2007


abkadefgee - (of the Jeklminop Qerstoovitzes?)

Your clarification was very important, but doesn't really change my advice much. No, you're probably never getting the money back. You could work up the nerve to demand it and she might throw a few bucks your way with a derisive sniff, but don't count on it. The girl is a money seive -- by your own account, she cannot hold onto enough of it for her own immediate health-related needs, much less accumulate enough to pay you back. She's adapted by learning to manipulate guys into paying her way.

You know you have to get out of this "relationship," asap. Neither of you have reason to have a shred of respect for one another, and it's doing you harm.

But also important is:

* Don't expect any money back. Let it go. Respect the value of the lessons it has bought you and don't even wish for it back.

And WAY more important is:

* Get some help. Work to get a grip on your life before you involve someone new in it. Read some books about codependence. Ask around for a good therapist. There's a reason you've found yourself in this position, and it's not fate or destiny -- it's just the way you think about yourself. You can learn to change the way you think and react, the same way you can learn to dance better or floss regularly. Find resources, get a teacher, practice.

Make this a turning point in your life. You cannot change other people. You can change yourself.
posted by Tubes at 4:41 PM on February 22, 2007


And don't feel bad either. Most advice here that you read may seem harsh, but it's all true. And it's all true because most of us are messed up, have done things to screw up relationships, and stepped in big piles of poo also. And we've all paid the price of lending people money. I bet it'd be pretty interesting to find out the dollar amount of every poster's most costly mistake. Even though $800 IS a lot of money, you'll feel a helluva lot better knowing that other's lessons cost more. Also, there is no shame in getting professional help. It takes a very strong person to ask, not a weak one. It's one of the best places you'll spend your money, no matter how much it costs.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:08 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Certainly don't tie your self-esteem into getting the money back -- that's once again relying on some action from her in order to prove your worth.

You're worthwhile without her having to do anything. Really.
posted by occhiblu at 6:53 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


. I have had great difficulty refusing to lend her any money for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I didn't feel comfortable refusing to give her money for necessities like the $40 medicine she needed right away. In that situation I knew I wouldn't have money for gas, but I wanted to trust her.

So your girlfriend doesn't have enough money to live.
She borrows for MEDICINE.
and you PUT IT ON A TAB???

Christ man. You are worse than I thought.

I don't care if she said she'd pay you back for it. You are a cheap, shitty person who clearly holds no love at all for this woman.

Forget the money and break up with her. That way you can have your precious money, and she can have a decent fucking man.

Honest to god.

I almost posted a story in here earlier, and now I feel compelled to do so. When my parents were dating, my father was working his way through college, and was extremely poor.

One day, they were out on a date, and my mom suggested they go get some iced cream, that she really wanted some iced cream. My father said yes, and bought it.

He did this even though it meant he didn't have the money for bus-fare home. (A distance of 5-10 miles. 45 minutes driving, today.) He didn't even tell her, because it was more important to him that he enjoy his time with her, and she enjoy her iced cream, than that he had to walk.

That is what a man in love does.

You are neither a man, nor in love.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:55 PM on February 22, 2007


Honestly, Tacos, I really don't think you know what you're talking about and you certainly don't know me.

My girlfriend is not just some poor soul who can't afford to buy her pills. She has the money! If she didn't, I would help her just like I have by spending hundreds upon hundreds of hours helping her with things unrelated to money. I have given her a great deal of support because I know that she needs it.

When it comes to money, however, she could easily provide for all of her needs if she managed it effectively or if she would simply remember her wallet. The only reason she couldn't buy her pills without my help is because she bought herself some new clothes a couple days before, knowing full well that she would need the medicine a couple days later. I can't imagine anyone not being a little frustrated by someone who takes no responsibility for their own actions and then presents you with a false choice about whether you will deprive them of medical care.

I asked her to pay me back because I didn't want her to make the same decision the following month. I wanted her to be aware that her poor decisions had costs for me if not for her. And hell, there's a good chance I wouldn't have asked if she would have at least admitted her mistake or been gracious, but she just wanted the money. I hoped that I could avoid encouraging her to continue making bad decisions, but that obviously hasn't happened.

I find it absurd that you're challenging my masculinity because I don't like someone taking advantage of me and violating my trust. I know that I have been weak and failed to assert myself or leave the relationship, but that has nothing to do with what I have between my legs.

Look, you have no idea how much I've done for this girl because I wanted us both to be happy. Your story reminds me of the time two weeks ago that I let her borrow my car to drive to a meeting she goes to for fun. She could've found a ride, but she just assumed I would let her take my car and asked me at the last minute. I asked her to try to make other plans for the following week and let her take the keys. I kept quiet about the fact that an hour later I would have to ride my bike through the snow for 5 miles so I could go to work, because I knew how much she would enjoy the meeting.

Stop assuming that I'm just some cheapskate with no compassion or that I haven't made sacrifices. You don't know me.
posted by abkadefgee at 11:18 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tubes, you get 1,000 cred points for recognizing the name. Maybe a gold star too.

I also wanted to address something you and iamkimiam mentioned in your posts. I actually have seen a therapist before and I have been very open with people about this because, you're right, there's no shame in seeking such help. I have hoped that others around me might realize this. Unfortunately, I have to admit to making an incredibly foolish mistake related to my sessions.

After talking about my relationship problems with my therapist and making clear plans to leave the situation, I failed to do so repeatedly. I found this really embarrassing. So embarrassing that I stopped seeing the therapist because I didn't want to face him. I'm finally going back to see him next week, but I feel like more of an idiot for not seeing him than I would have when facing my mistakes.

I mention this just because I hope someone else will avoid making the same mistake.
posted by abkadefgee at 11:36 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


abkadefgee, it happens. Change happens in fits and starts. There's no shame in backsliding a bit; we all do it from time to time. It's good you're getting help and support. I wish you well!
posted by occhiblu at 11:39 PM on February 22, 2007


Never lend people money. Give people money, and if they give you back the same amount after a while, goody. But never ever lend people money.
posted by markovich at 1:22 AM on February 23, 2007


abkadefgee, thanks for your responses, they have been insightful.

Maybe one thing you could do is make it a habit of yours to ask her if she has her wallet before you leave the house with her. In the very least then you are being proactive and not allowing her to use the "forgot my wallet" excuse.

Does the girl not have her own credit cards that she could charge these unexpected expenses to when her finances are low? If not I suggest you have her get one.

As far as your relationship is concerned, buck up, grow a spine, and stop letting her walk all over you. I've seen this behavior several times among friends and family, and learning to speak up for yourself as indeed and important lesson. Next time she needs to go to the meeting and you need to work, tell her you'll drop her off and she'll have to get a ride home.
posted by caflores22 at 4:49 AM on February 23, 2007


Hey, how about it YOU carry around her wallet? Maybe buy a cheap one, and have her keep it stocked with some cash and her atm card; that way when she asks you for cash, you can give her her own money, and when she's low on cash, you can remind her to get more.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 6:52 AM on February 23, 2007


You are a cheap, shitty person

What a disgusting thing to say to someone asking a question in AskMe. There are obviously some issues Tacos Are Pretty Great has to work through, abkadefgee, that have nothing to do with you.
posted by mediareport at 7:37 AM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


You probably should have included those clarifications in your original question... That probably would have tempered the responses a little bit. All the advice in here is good - ditch the girl, consider the money gone, and use it as a life lesson. Sort yourself out before your next relationship. Best of luck with all of that.
posted by antifuse at 8:08 AM on February 23, 2007


[comment removed, Tacos, take some time off until you can participate in AskMe without name calling.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:09 AM on February 23, 2007


Look, you have no idea how much I've done for this girl because I wanted us both to be happy. Your story reminds me of the time two weeks ago that I let her borrow my car to drive to a meeting she goes to for fun. She could've found a ride, but she just assumed I would let her take my car and asked me at the last minute. I asked her to try to make other plans for the following week and let her take the keys. I kept quiet about the fact that an hour later I would have to ride my bike through the snow for 5 miles so I could go to work, because I knew how much she would enjoy the meeting.

Did it make you happy? You don't sound happy about it. If you're not really happy to have biked through the snow, then don't do stuff like this. It'll make you crazy.
posted by desuetude at 8:43 AM on February 23, 2007


Hey abkad, I think you're on the right track here. I'm pretty appalled to see that a couple folks decided to pile on you, because it just wasn't warranted. You're growing and maturing in your own way and it's just not right for folks, especially perfect strangers, to judge you harshly because you're not doing it as fast or as perfectly as they think you should be.

So, you know, just remember that some of those folks likely have problems of their own - serious problems - that make it hard for them to be helpful to you. You don't need to justify yourself before them - just ignore them.

Don't feel bad about going back to your therapist and saying "hey, I screwed up here, and this is how, can we talk about it?" Therapists know you're not always going to get it right, and they know that's hard for you, and I'm sure your therapist is probably wondering how you're doing and hoping that you'll come back.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:36 AM on February 23, 2007


"I bet it'd be pretty interesting to find out the dollar amount of every poster's most costly mistake. Even though $800 IS a lot of money, you'll feel a helluva lot better knowing that other's lessons cost more."
posted by iamkimiam at 11:08 AM AEST on February 23


Few years ago I received a small inheritance. I hadn't figured out what to do with the money yet, so I loaned 20,000$ to my boyfriend at the time, and 3,000$ to my OLDEST friend (I've known her since I was 3.) I figured this way, I was helping out two people I just adored, and also ensuring that I couldn't spend the money.

From the boyfriend, I received 10,000 back, but not without a lot of pain and arguments. He in fact, lorded it over me, & used it as a way to control me. I will never receive the rest, & the worst part is, he earns a lot of money.

The 3,000 that I loaned my oldest friend... I loaned it to her when her car broke down, because she is the most thrifty person I know and if anyone would pay me back, she would. But she hasn't, and in the meantime has managed to go off the rails, and accrue a massive credit card debt, while simultaneously regaling me with tales about her purchases of plasma screens etc etc. And how she has a kickass accountant who got her 5k back on tax.. yet instead of paying me even 100$, she blows it all on a trip overseas.

I don't mean to derail this thread, but I just want you to know, I feel for you dude! I was soo naive – I mean I really thought I'd be doing such a "nice" thing and these people would appreciate the gesture so much! Well let me tell you, people don't appreciate things that come easily, I suppose. And oh yeah, I am a poor student too, and every time I have to drop 500 that I don't have on textbooks, I feel like I'm getting robbed – & I can't help but think about how technically, people do owe me money.

We both need to get over it though, you & I... I hate thinking about it. As everybody said, an expensive lesson, but one that had to be learned somehow. I bet there are guys out there who suddenly came into a fair amount of money, & loan their pals hundreds of thousands, and get shafted. That must TRULY suck.
posted by mjao at 5:14 AM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stop spending the money on her, dude. And just know that when you're dating a girl, you'll be spending money on her. So don't date a girl unless you're willing to spend money on her.
posted by onepapertiger at 8:46 AM on February 25, 2007


Also, why don't you start borrowing money from her in small amounts? Or make up some bad break story about how you you need this or that and can't afford it. She'll probably start splitting the bill if you boohoo'ed more about it. Trust me. There are a lot of lame girls out there who carry their poor boyfriends' asses around. You just have to pull the sympathy strings.
posted by onepapertiger at 8:52 AM on February 25, 2007


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