How to stop being so anxious when my boyfriend is experiencing financial difficulties?
October 9, 2012 7:00 AM   Subscribe

How to stop being so anxious when my boyfriend is experiencing financial difficulties?

I've been in a wonderful six month relationship so far with my boyfriend. We're both heterosexual, he's in his late 20's and I'm in my mid 20's. It's really great other than the fact that his financial situation has been stressing me out and sometimes would trigger an anxiety that easily could lead to a panic attack.

I had a depressive episode a few months back with the stresses going on in my life, and I also was incredibly anxious and experienced anxiety attacks in public, and was generally miserable and waltzing closer to suicidal ideation. My boyfriend was my only social support, and because of him, I sought out counselling and am currently taking anti-depressants. I'm now in a happier and more stable place in life. He's been wonderful in enabling me taking better care of myself, and I want to do the same for him, but I don't know how to do it without me getting triggered into the anxiety spiral.

I worry about him. He's been living paycheque to paycheque for a while now, but I have more reason to worry about him now because his work contract ended a week ago, he's applied to one workplace but hasn't applied to more since he's burnt out and stressed (because he's spent all his energy taking care of others), and either doesn't eat or eats incredibly poorly.

I try to offer him food or buy food for him, but he's incredibly proud and doesn't want to be "one of those jerks that take advantage of their girlfriend", and he also doesn't ask money from his family. In fact, part of the reason why he doesn't have much savings is that he's been contributing several hundred dollars per month to the health care of a family member (a young child) with a major illness and has been hospitalized for over a year, and pretty much the rest of his family is in debt because of everyone's been helping out with paying off the health care. That's the other reason why he doesn't ask for financial help... because they're also in debt.

It could be worse. At least we're in Canada, not the US where health care expenses would be higher. I understand that he's doing his best, but still, I feel stressed and frustrated. I want to take care of him and enjoy life together with him, but the last time we were together, he refused anything I offered him, and he talked about how he hoped to find a meal later that day because all he had was two pieces of toast and two pieces of fruit the day before. And he also said that we probably no longer go on bike rides together (we both enjoy biking) in the near future, since he doesn't have the energy since he's basically starving.

To add to that, I feel frustrated at how much more difficult it is for us to do things together. I feel bad about hanging out with him, and I'm the only one having coffee in the cafe. Or how he won't let me reimburse him for his bus tickets now that he can no longer afford a month pass.

Another thing too is that I sort of saw this coming, and I kept on bugging him to file his taxes months ago so he could get a tax refund (didn't happen), I bugged him to lower his interest rate to deal with his credit card debt (which he did), I've been encouraging him more to cook for himself instead of letting a huge chunk of his income go to fast food (he eats fast food because he lives far away from his work, family, and volunteer commitments)... he's been cooking more for himself, which is good. I also bugged him to apply for work earlier while he still was employed, but he didn't. I also got angry at him for getting the new iPhone instead of guarding his savings when he needs it most, but he said that it was one of the few pleasures that he has and he uses his phone a lot (which is true). It's not a bad track record for a few months, but I worry about what would happen IF I didn't try to change him. And I don't like the dynamic of trying to change one's partner anyway!

I don't know what to do. I don't want to be a nagging shrew, and I've asked him on how I could be more supportive and less presumptuous. I want to help him out, but considering this is just six months in, I feel like I didn't sign up for Money Problems (tm) and I'd consider leaving in the future if it gets too much for me. But at the same time, he didn't sign up for my issues, and he helped me get through depression.

The other factor that I find it more complicating is I'm not sure what is just a difference of class/culture, versus incompatible financial priorities. He and his friends will make jokes about how much debt they are in, and have anecdotes about how long they've gone without food or the worst thing they've ever eaten from 7-11. I can't relate at all. I've been privileged enough to be receive some financial support from my parents as I look for work (just graduated this year) so my rent and utilities are covered at least, and my savings can go towards feeding me and my self-care. My family is financially well off, so if anything terrible happens to me, I feel comfortable enough to ask for more support. Whereas in his family, there was never enough money, and he takes it as a given, and even has said that the shared experience of debt between his family and friends has brought them closer together. I don't get it and it makes me nervous.

I really really really care for his man, but I'm not sure what are just cultural/class baggage I just need to get over (so I can respect his agency and his life priorities), and what is financial incompatibility. And I want to learn how to be supportive/useful rather than condescending/naggy/presumptuous. Help? Advice? Tips?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't sound like you live together from your question, in which case his financial situation is not really your business. All those things you said you did - bugging him about his taxes and interest rates, lecturing him about getting an iPhone, trying to control what he eats from the view of what you believe to be more cost effective - that's going to get real old, real fast, and I'm surprised he hasn't already had it out with you over this behavior. You're already way over the line with the nagging and you need to stop that right now. You can privately be worried or frustrated with his financial situation, but he's already shown you how he's going to deal with it and you cannot change him. Let him life his life and make his own decisions.

If you get to the point where you're talking about cohabiting or marriage, then I think you have more of a leg to stand on with regard to how he deals with finances. In the mean time, try to plan evenings in and cook him dinner and watch movies together - create opportunities to spend time together that aren't tied to finances at all. If he won't let you buy him a coffee in a coffeeshop, maybe he'll let you feed him some homemade lasagna.

I also think you need to talk to your doctor about your anxiety. Someone else's financial issues should not be triggering panic attacks for you. It's great that you think the meds are working and you're feeling better, but it sounds like there is still room for improvement.
posted by something something at 7:11 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

You are complicating this dynamic with the socio-economic stuff. Your boyfriend chooses to be financially insecure.

He could be looking harder for work, he could file his tax return, he could take you up on offers to eat dinner with you at your house, but he's stubbornly refusing to do so.

What would happen if you let him do what he's doing? Would he really starve, or would he figure a way out of his problem?

He's presumably a grown man, as such you need to treat him like one.

If it bothers you to eat or drink when he won't, don't dine with him. If you want to go bike riding but he's too hungry to, then go bike riding.

He's manipulating you, and you're responding emotionally. Exactly what about this is healthy for you?

A lot of moochers and con artists do this kind of thing. Make a HUGE deal out of how reluctant they are to accept "charity" and then turn around and ask for a LOAN, which they fully intend to pay back (but don't). Don't fall for this.

Don't feel guilty about how good you have it, you're fortunate, so what? He's had plenty of time to anticipate his current work situation and he's not done anything about it. That's on him.

If you can enjoy his company and not have any financial questions come up, then do so. But if you find that his words stress you out, that his situation stresses you out, and he starts sniffing around for a handout, then you need to give him some space to sort out his money issues before continuing to date him.

You can be strong for yourself. You need to be.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:11 AM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

I think this was linked here on MeFi once, but it bears re-linking many, many times :

"Are You a Jesus Girlfriend?"

Because you, anon, definitely are. Stop the endless nagging about his situation. If it makes you anxious to hear him talk about only having two pieces of toast to eat when he doesn't want any help, say that.

"I feel like I didn't sign up for Money Problems" - I can't stand when people say things like this about their relationship. Of course you don't want issues in the relationship, who does? But you either work through them together, or you don't, and you split up.
posted by HopperFan at 7:19 AM on October 9, 2012 [10 favorites]

It sounds like you two may be financially incompatible. YMMV, but for me, that's a deal-breaker. I once lived with a guy who was very financially incompatible with me - it took me way too long to realize it should have been a dealbreaker, and even though he was paying his share of the bills on time, it was incredibly stressful for me. I don't think you're overreacting by being stressed out, but it doesn't sound like he WANTS to change, either (and if there's one thing I know to be true, it's that you cannot change people for them). You've got a hard decision in front of you. Do what's best for you. Good luck.
posted by csox at 7:20 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I understand him being prideful and not wanting to accept charity but him then complaining about hunger (and telling you how little he ate) when he knows what your reaction will be puts him in the manipulative category. I would back off from the relationship (since seeing you costs him too much cash and energy) and if he is motivated enough he will improve his situation/stop the manipulation to resume a healthy relationship.

Also, I'm in Canada too with lots of experience with healthcare ... Has he told you what health care expenses he and his family have been paying for? For low income families, especially when the ill person is a child, there is actually a fair amount of cash and "in-kind" help. I worry he has been playing you, especially since to him you appear "rich".
posted by saucysault at 7:24 AM on October 9, 2012 [11 favorites]

the last time we were together, he refused anything I offered him, and he talked about how he hoped to find a meal later that day because all he had was two pieces of toast and two pieces of fruit the day before. And he also said that we probably no longer go on bike rides together (we both enjoy biking) in the near future, since he doesn't have the energy since he's basically starving.

I'm really sorry but he's being proud to the point of weird and selfish with it. Like if you can't ever go out to dinner or do anything else even if you pay that utterly kills your social life dead. Additionally, complaining that one is suffering (ie hungry) without allowing people close to you to help you is either deeply issue-laden or just weirdly manipulative. Going hungry so you can buy an iPhone is a kind of financial insanity I'd stay far, far away from.

This man is attached to an identity of non-functional poverty in a way that is destructive. And I say that as someone living in functional poverty.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:36 AM on October 9, 2012 [21 favorites]

I don't ascribe any Ill motivation to him personally. Because he could or could not be doing these things on purpose, I certainly don't know.

What I do know is that you are taking a very interventionist approach to his finances. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why?

It looks like your attempts to help only furthers your investment in his trouble and furthers your anxiety. Furthermore he seems to resent these attempts, which likely creates tension. Which furthers your anxiety.

I'm not saying he's good with money, the iPhone this is childish and stupid. But:

From his perspective you might be doing worse financially then him, or at least are on equal footing. Neither of you currently have jobs and for the last couple years you've been in school (and apparently also didn't have a job then?) and until a week ago he was gainfully employed.

I know I wouldn't take money from someone who's only source of income was their family. I know this because I've been in this exact situation and didn't see the benefits of accepting (having some money) the money worth the risks (feeling beholden to her parents, feeling like a mooch, not paying my own way).

I think you need to consider how your attempts to "solve" his problems are making both your problems worse. You may be happier not trying "fix" this.
posted by French Fry at 7:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The thought flashed through my mind that he might be playing you, but I thought, no, I'm seeing this stuff everywhere.

Now two other people have mentioned the possibility that he's playing you! So, there is that to consider.

You're right, nagging is insufferable, and I see that you already know that. I think the only way to stop yourself from nagging is to acknowledge that your bf is choosing to be financially insecure. Some people do choose this, because they think self-deprivation is morally right in some way, or else on a deep level they don't know how to do otherwise.

It's not surprising you're stressed out. Anybody would be. It really sounds like flaunting, his telling you stuff like he anticipates not being able to go on (free, wholesome, simple pleasure in life that doesn't cost anything) bike rides with you because he claims to be "starving", while at the same time refusing to let you give him food. I wouldn't put up with that, TBH.

I think you have a right to be annoyed because your bf is choosing to self-deprive and also to provoke your anxiety about it. I also agree that you won't be financially compatible long-term. I think you should tell him what you've told us.

No, wait, first I think you should take a step back, let him make his own choices, and stop yourself from nagging him. If he talks about medical bills, ask him what [insert name of Government department] says about this situation, suggest that he contact them, and then change the subject. Basically, refuse to get enmeshed or drawn in. To the extent that he is playing a game, the solution is not to play and see what happens next.
posted by tel3path at 7:43 AM on October 9, 2012

I'd read up on the jesus girlfriend stuff. I date a guy who is less financially secure than me, but it's not usually a weird problem like this. That said, I think the point you need to get to in this relationship is

- You have the relationship that you want, where you can do the things you want with your partner. It's easy to see this issue -- "he also said that we probably no longer go on bike rides together (we both enjoy biking) in the near future, since he doesn't have the energy since he's basically starving." -- as a money issue but it's realistically a priorities issue. It's totally fine to want to have a partner who can feed themselves well enough to hang out with you. Seriously it should be the bare minimum.
- If your partner wants help with something that is in your wheelhouse, you can discuss the outlines of that help and set boundaries. I helped my partner assess his bills and look for places that he could save money and get him set up on Mint so he could then work on this on his own. We outlines what would be constructive for me and when I should back off and let it be his problem. That needs to go BOTH ways. When he needed some extra money to buy a car [a few hundred dollars] I lent it to him and set up a payment plan and it was fine.
- You have to manage your own anxiety. I had to deal with the fact that my boyfriend getting an overdraft fee on his checking account [which he would tell me about, I didn't spy on his finances] was acceptable to him and as much as my anxious brain might position it as "This bodes poorly for our ability to have a nice house in the future!!" that was my baggage, not his.

But yeah realistically you may want or need to be in a different place relative to financial security than he is and as much as you may try and nudge him he may never get there. If I were you I'd focus on concrete things that are happening, not your own vision of what SHOULD happen and see if that situation is okay with you or not.
posted by jessamyn at 7:57 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

This man doesn't have money issues—he has issues with making choices and setting priorities. The "here are my problems, solve them for me, NO WAIT DON'T SOLVE THEM" dynamic seems quite toxic to me. Look out for yourself, give help if asked, and work on your own boundaries and needs.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

One of my clients runs a food bank and has shared stories about the first time someone asks for help. I am sorry you are in the position. I suggest you take a step back and start to do nothing again, accepting his situation may improve from his own volition.
posted by parmanparman at 8:16 AM on October 9, 2012

What did he do for your depression other than standing back and letting you figure out what you needed to do for yourself? If thats all he did then you need to do the same for him.
posted by dgeiser13 at 9:10 AM on October 9, 2012

I worry about what would happen IF I didn't try to change him

Eek. Heyyy.

Anyway, I can't stand dudes who won't get taken to dinner. It's just so ridiculous. I *want* to buy you dinner! Accept it! Eat it and shut up! So off-putting.

Soooo: I want to learn how to be supportive/useful rather than condescending/naggy/presumptuous.

That's easy. "Please let me know if there's something I can do to help out! I'd really like to, it would make me happy." Repeat, repeat, do not alter, walk away, and his no means no.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:14 AM on October 9, 2012

It doesn't sound like nagging to me. I'm not a nagger, but if I saw someone I cared about heading for problems that were at least partially preventable, I'd be giving them the same heads ups!

I'm concerned about the way he talks about not being able to go on bike rides or hoping to find a meal - it sounds manipulative to me. I also wondered briefly if he isn't going to ask you for a "loan" at some point, because it sounds like he could be setting that up.

He's to some degree doing this to himself, and refuses to help himself, and it sounds like in his world that's okay (bragging with his friends about no food, etc). This isn't only a socio-economic issue, it's a priorities issue (iphone?!!).

I get that you care about him, but it sounds like this relationship is going nowhere pretty fast. He's not emotionally or financially mature (on the facts given here) and isn't leading what I would call a healthy life, which you recognize and would like to change, but he cannot or will not change.

You either get on board exactly the way things are now, or get off this train completely. And you're not abandoning him in a time of need - you're well within your rights to get out of a relationship that isn't good for you. I understand that he was there for you when you needed emotional support, but that does not tie you to him while he figures this money stuff out. Wanting the person you're with to be financially responsible isn't a class bias you need to get over.

I don't mean to be bashing him - he might in a lot of respects be an awesome guy. I just don't think you guys are compatible in several important ways.
posted by mrs. taters at 9:26 AM on October 9, 2012

Stop dating this person. You're correct, culturally and financially you are not compatible. Worse, you can not help him or fix him, despite your very good intentions and example, because on a fundamental level he is doing all he knows to do.

Yes. He likely sees himself as different than you. Like, he'll never be able to achieve your level of security, etc.

The kindest thing you can do for both of you is to step away. He won't learn by nagging, your more secure situation sets up an uncomfortable feedback loop for both of you, and this experience should come to a quiet and spectful close before one of you gets really hurt.

I don't know what the "jesus boyfriend or girlfriend" stuff is about, but a friend of mine recently broke up with her live-in and perpetually financially challenged bf who does, infact, resemble Jesus in his style of appearance. In two years of living together, he did some wonderful stuff for her (saw her through a difficult physical illness) and he was a man-child. No. More correctly he was a child-man. Especially towards the end of the relationship.

Hon. You can't parent this guy. You don't want to parent someone you are seeking for equal partnership. These two dynamics are in opposition to each other.

I'm very busy this morning and took time out to write because your situation struck a chord, and all of the people telling you his financial situation and choices are not your business and should not effect you are thoroughly laughable from a practical perspective. If you are emotionally and physically intimate with someone, their shit effects you! The is no other way for that to play out!

It's OK to notice this is not working out. Altruism or Charity has no place in this equation. It's OK for you to notice you are not entirely compatible with this fellow. Move on.
posted by jbenben at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

You do not want to be dating someone who is so financially insecure and unmotivated to improve their situation. You clearly don't. It's causing you a lot of problems yourself just being in the relationship. But you ARE dating someone who is financially insecure and unmotivated to improve their situation.

You really need to step back and look at this guy for who he actually is. I'm sure he's a great guy, but he's not actually what you want. Why is your solution to this to put in all that effort and stress trying to reform him into your idea of a good match? Would you want to be in a relationship with someone who wasn't actually interested in you and spent your time together pushing you towards being a different person?

Either leave him to his life and enjoy him as he is, or find the person you actually do want to be dating. He's not a project to be worked on and improved.

(I have family who work at one of the largest children's hospital in Canada and I am also raising an eyebrow at the whole family being in debt for the illness of a child. Have you met his family? )
posted by Dynex at 9:33 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I dated an older version of this guy and he LOOOOOOOOOVED loved loved to tell stories about The Year he Almost Starved to Death. And I would ask, but why didn't you go to a food bank for meals or even a box of non-perishable groceries? Why didn't you apply for food stamps? Couldn't you ask your parents for help with food? But that wasn't the point -- he could have done those things, sure, but he was more interested in his unique and wonderful struggle. When we were dating he had the choice between a job that paid $10/hour and a job that paid THREE TIMES THAT and he picked the $10/hour job. That to me was a clear indicator that when it came down to me versus his deep-seated desire for poverty porn I was going to lose out every time.

I'm not saying you should break up with this guy (although I broke up with the guy I was dating and I am happy every single day that I did), but you should stop thinking about his finances, full stop. He is a grown-up. He lives in a country with a thriving economy and an amazing amount of social services designed to help people who are struggling. Thinking about what he's buying or not buying, how he's spending or what sounds like the start of his own person Year I Almost Starved To Death will just make you anxious.
posted by kate blank at 10:02 AM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

He'd rather have an iphone than eat? He's crazy, maybe specifically about money but who knows? What's his next baffling decision going to be, stealing your stuff? dramatically starving to death on your doorstep? Sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen. You don't have to play along with this mess, you should get out before your own problems are made worse.
posted by jacalata at 10:06 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I keep trying to put myself in your shoes and come up with different perspectives, but I always end up dumping your SO before I get more than a couple thoughts into it.

His pride really bothers me. It's an absurd roadblock in the "partnership to get through life" version of relationships I like. He doesn't take care of himself, and he won't let you help pick up the slack (if things really are so dire).

If he can't get out of his own damn way long enough to have a relaxed meal with someone who cares about him, he's not in a place to be in a romantic relationship. It's stupid and crazy and selfish.

He's being pitiful and not doing much to fix it, which puts you in a position to either "parent" him or "neglect" him by letting him neglect himself.

There is a mandate in relationships to take care of each other and look out for each other, but that comes AFTER the mandate to be able to sustain yourself before getting into the relationship in the first place.

He's not working towards being worthy of you. Get out.
posted by itesser at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

This feels like a variation on a theme of unavailability - you want to go for a bike ride, but he's too malnourished so you try begging and cajoling to get him to eat with you.

If instead you said, "well, do you want dinner at my place?" "no thanks" "oh well, too bad, it's lasagna night" and then went home for dinner by yourself, and then "want to go for a bike ride?" "no, I'm too malnourished" "that's too bad, want a sandwich?" "no, death before dishonour" and you then hopped on your bike and rode off...

Well, who knows what he'd do. But you'd have done your part without nagging, and withholding might seem like a less good option to him, perhaps.
posted by tel3path at 3:01 PM on October 9, 2012

If you really want to continue a relationship with him, pull back, if you are able. Date him, enjoy your time with him doing whatever you/he can do, until the relationship runs its course.

Do not move in together. Do not become further entangled in each others lives. Do not counsel or nag or suggest things he should be doing differently. Do not lend him any money. Do not expect or home for him to change. Do not resent him when he doesn't change.

Do as I say, not as I do.
posted by thrasher at 3:50 PM on October 9, 2012

Mod note: From the OP:
"Thanks for the responses, everyone. Wide diverse range of answers and lots of ideas for me to chew on, thanks.

About treating him like a grown man: Yeah. We've had this discussion in the past. I've given him permission to call me out when whatever I'm saying is not relevant or helpful to him, but it's just my natural response when the first thing he responds after "How are you?" is his money problems. So yeah, I'll definitely take a step back, and it's a boundary that's easily enforceable since we don't cohabit, and I don't plan to for as long as he's financially insecure. I won't try to "fix" him from now on, but only provide him suggestions when he does ask, but it is frustrating that I can't do normal things with him since his savings went to the iPhone, yes?

"That's easy. "Please let me know if there's something I can do to help out! I'd really like to, it would make me happy." Repeat, repeat, do not alter, walk away, and his no means no." Okay, I'll do this.

Jesus girlfriend: Interesting article. Funny thing is I like my independence, and I hate the activity of "mothering" because it makes me lose respect for the boyfriend being mothered, because we're supposed to be equals.

Healthcare/family: Yeah, I have seen his family, and we get along super well, visited the hospital several times, etc. This sick kid is the sickest kid in the province, according to the doctors. I don't think all of the money necessarily goes towards only medical bills, but also helping out with the parents' financial situation since they now spend all their time with the kid in the hospital and no longer work. Spending time with the kid is a high priority for the family since according to western medicine, there is nothing else they can do and it's pretty much only palliative care, but the family is trying out many other treatments and the kid seems to be getting better.

I think another priorities issue that we butt heads on is that I'm not comfortable with the boundaries he draws around family and friends. He's the kind that lends out money easily, or will drop whatever he (or we're) doing to pick up something for a family member, pay for other people's taxi fare and doesn't ask for money back etc. I really like his friends and family, but ultimately it's up to my bf to sort out his priorities. He understands that he has a problem with neglecting himself and that he needs to change it but yeah, it's something I'm watching out for, because I want him to be more proactive on this front. I won't be happy with "sometime in the future he'll take care of myself", it's more like hey, "I want you to take care of yourself and put yourself first today!!"

About possible manipulation: Nah, not it. When he had some savings and was financially more stable, we did normal couple things. Eat out, go hiking, bike, watch movies, etc. and we paid for our own share, or sometimes he'd pay for my meal one day, and I'd pay for his the next. Also, he would eat food that I made for us both, or we'd make meals together. But NOW that he talks about how he's starving, he refuses anything I offer him, and he does the same with family. It's ridiculous, I know. I don't think he's refusing food because I'm partly supported by my family. My parents pay for my rent, but I pay for everything else from my savings from my years of working while going to school, and I'm going to take over the rent once I find employment again.

The DTMFA advice: I knew that Metafilter likes this a lot, I don't feel like it's time, but I let him know that we're definitely going to have a discussion about priorities next time we meet, because I don't want to date a martyr on the verge of another crisis for the long-term. I need to figure out whether this just has been a rough couple of months for him, or it's a systemic priorities thing that we're not compatible on, because financial security is a sexy thing to me. I don't need a Mr. Money Bags, I just want a guy with some savings and makes enough money to feed himself and do normal date stuff, like go out biking. I don't even need him to be out of debt at the moment, I just want to know that he's following a plan out rather than digging a bigger hole. I want a guy that's available to do normal things. Everyone has baggage and problems and couples are supposed to work on them together, but the priority of iPhone over food, if it continues, is going to be deal breaker territory for me.

Anyway, thanks for the great answers, it helps me think clearer about the situation and my options. Keep them coming!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2012

Don't try to change him. Stop trying to manage him. Disentangle a bit; he's making choices that are his to make, so let him. He'll deal with his job/taxes/etc., when he's ready. or not. Tell him you enjoy being with him, and are happy to share meals. Find free/cheap events to enjoy, if you do, in fact, enjoy them. Let him pay for things sometimes, like making you dinner. I wouldn't get too worried about your baggage. He's brought his own baggage to this relationship. He's going to grow and change in life, but he may always make financial choices you don't get. Do his wonderful characteristics outweigh his financial lifestyle?

I married a guy who was always broke. It wasn't lack of opportunity, bad luck, etc. He was, and is, irresponsible, and prefers to let others take care of him financially. This approach pervaded out relationship. He hid it before the marriage, and I didn't want to see it, anyway. Before you make a commitment, be sure you can live with his choices.
posted by theora55 at 7:52 PM on October 9, 2012

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