Money and Relationships: A Matter of Control?

Last week I gave a talk at Powell's bookstore here in Portland. During the question-and-answers session, one woman posed an interesting question. (I've forgotten her name, so let's call her Kim to make things easy.)

Kim has been aggressively paying down her debt, and is pleased with her progress. However, her boyfriend thinks she's doing it wrong. If I understand correctly, Kim's boyfriend believes she should pay down each debt part way (perhaps a half or a third) so that none of her obligations is near its limit. He believes that this will increase Kim's credit score. Kim wanted to know if this was a good idea.

Too much control
Obviously, it's difficult to give a complete answer without knowing more about the situation. Still, I think this is a great example of how financial decisions are often about more than just the math involved. There are three basic approaches to debt here:

  • Tackle the debts in order of interest rate, knocking off the high-interest debts first. Mathematically, this is the best option because — if you follow through — you'll pay less interest in the long run.
  • Tackle the debts in order of balance, starting with the debts you owe least on first. Psychologically, this is usually the best option because you can get some quick wins, knocking off several debts in a short amount of time. This is the method Dave Ramsey recommends. (And so do I.)
  • Or, as Kim's boyfriend recommends, try to coordinate payments so that each debt is paid down to a certain level before focusing on a specific obligation. For various esoteric reasons, this method should have the greatest impact on your credit score.

My recommendation during the question-and-answer period? No surprise: I told Kim that she should use the approach that makes her most comfortable, the approach that actually leads her to pay off her debts most quickly. I think it's great that her boyfriend is eager for her to improve her credit score, but I think it's dangerous to be dogmatic, especially if it involved becoming controlling about another person's financial situation.

I believe it's vital that both partners have an equal say in the finances, and that one person doesn't take the role of “controller”, especially if, as in Kim's case, it's to move from a perfectly good option to a seemingly better option. If the option is good and your partner is happy with it, then leave well enough alone. Why pursue financial perfection at the cost of your relationship?

Not enough control
On the other hand, it's important not to be completely ignorant about your partner's financial situation. Recently, an anonymous user at Ask Metafilter posed an interesting question. She writes (in part):

My husband and I have been married for almost nine years and we have one giant recurring problem. For our entire relationship, even before we got married, he's been full of nasty financial surprises.

[…]

The trick is that aside from all of the bullshit surrounding finances, Sam is a fantastic husband and father to our kids. I've got health issues — big ones — and Sam has been unfailingly supportive. He's considerate, sweet, with unending patience with the kids, and just an overall good guy, except for this one, glaring area.

The full question describes the “nasty financial surprises” in detail. Suffice it to say that Sam, the man in this relationship, has accumulated some “surprise” debt, and has lied about his financial situation.

I've thought a lot about both of these situations. I feel like Kim's story and Sam's story show two extremes:

  • In the first instance, one partner may be trying to exert too much control over a financial relationship.
  • In the latter case, the partner isn't exerting enough control over the financial relationship.

This made me wonder: How do you find balance in a financial partnership? I'm wondering how do you balance the fact that both partners are adults while recognizing that sometimes people need help?

Striving for balance
In my own relationship, Kris has always given me the space I need. Because we have separate finances, she's had to exercise extreme trust that I'll follow through on my obligations. Even when I was in debt, I did my best not to let her down. Sure, I may have been struggling to make ends meet, but I never missed a payment. I always paid my debts and other monthly obligations before spending on fun.

Still, I'm sure she was nervous at times. I remember that in 1994 she was reluctant to buy a house because of my debt. I think if she'd known the true extent of my financial problems, she might not have been so easy-going about the situation.

All of this is a stark reminder that money isn't just about the math. There aren't any magic formulas to help you decide what to do if one partner is a saver and another is a spender.

So, I'm wondering how you folks handle these situations in real life. I'm not just talking about the spender/saver dichotomy, and I'm not just talking about joint and separate finances. I want to know how you decide how much control each partner has over the finances.

Regardless of whether your finances are joint or separate, how do you handle situations like these? If you were dating, would you demand that your partner's credit score be a priority? Would you insist that his debt be retired (or reduced to a certain point) before making a long-term commitment? Or are finances completely irrelevant?

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JonasAberg
JonasAberg
10 years ago

I think that if you are married or planning to get married, all cards should be on the table and you should agree on a financial gameplan. When you’re married, you should handle everything like a team, finances included. However, if you’re just dating, I believe each person should be able, or learn how to handle their own finances. A person should be able to accept responsibility for all their actions. That includes debt. No one should expect to be “bailed out” by getting married. I can’t say I wouldn’t marry anyone with debt but I would definitely not marry… Read more »

Mrs. Money
Mrs. Money
10 years ago

My husband and I had been dating for quite some time when I found “the debt shoebox”.

http://ultimatemoneyblog.com/the-debt-shoebox

I was sick to my stomach when I found that. I ended up letting him borrow money (I know, not a good idea) and he paid off his debt (it was less than $3,000). We ended up getting married and he is much better about finances now. Looking back, what I did was kind of risky, but I am thankful it worked out well!!

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

This post applies to a recent development in my own relationship. I am very responsible with my money – zero debts, pay of my CC in full each month and stick to a budget. My girlfriend works for a non-profit so she makes much less than I do. She has college loans to pay off. We have been together for 10 months now. She recently told me that she has gotten into a bad habit of buying starbucks’ latte frappa mocha nevada…whatever the hell they sell, EVERY DAY. These things cost $4.50 each! I don’t like to tell others how… Read more »

Rob Bennett
Rob Bennett
10 years ago

The question you are asking here is the entire reason why I find money questions interesting, J.D. Money is the fuel we use to pursue our Life Goals. So what we do with our money is really what we do with our life. That means that there are an endless number of angles to explore. Balance is the key. I would never advise someone not to marry a particular individual just because of a money issue. Not because money doesn’t matter. But because it is not the only thing that matters. I would ask the person to explore whether the… Read more »

Jan
Jan
10 years ago

@Brett- It is possible to buy things daily to make the day go nicely. Could you have gone to the store and bought her the favorite soda and put it in the company fridge? How about buying the favorite coffee at the store and brewing it in the morning before you both leave? How about an allowance to spend money on what ever you want (BBQ / Coffee/ whatever)? You need to have daily pleasures- especially when the trip is sooo far away (and possibly not as important to her as it is to you?) Currently, I control the money… Read more »

Danielle
Danielle
6 years ago
Reply to  Jan

Brett:

You’re a fool. 75 cents? Really? …controlling much?

Jess
Jess
10 years ago

In response to Brett: With an income and debt disparity like that, it’s both frustrating and challenging for each of you. She probably buys the Starbucks lattes because they’re a small splurge that make her not feel poor. For a long-term change, she’d probably be happier switching to once or twice a week and saving the difference. I find that when something’s forbidden you become obsessed with it. When you cut back slowly, over time you hardly miss it. Free/cheap plain coffee with the occasional (once a week or so) something fancy is very doable for a coffee lover. I’m… Read more »

Tiffany
Tiffany
10 years ago

I just got engaged and we’re buying our first house. Though we have lived together for the past year, our finances have been separate. But this month, we’re merging everything. Our financial priorities are pretty similar, and nobody has any hidden debts, so it’s been fairly easy to create a budget and financial plan…except for one area… i have a high amount of grad student loans and a car loan. he has a smaller student loan and car loan. I want to debt snowball those loans so that in a few years our only debt will be the mortgage. he… Read more »

Kat
Kat
10 years ago

Brett, you say you only have ONE vice to go out to the BBQ, but it seems your girlfriend has ONE vice: beverage purchases. It’s not like she buys the beverages AND new shoes AND goes out for alcoholic drinks AND gets manicures every week, etc etc etc, and you only said she had school loans, not credit cards paying for these beverages. You obviously don’t enjoy the Starbucks drinks (or else you wouldn’t have seemed so dismissive of the mocha nevada whatevers), so since you don’t value them, you think she shouldn’t. You said she was defensive already of… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
10 years ago

I don’t know that we ever actually formally “decided” how much control we each have over our finances – we just kind of settled into roles that work for us. I’m more interested in money and personal finance than she is, so I handle watching our budget and investing our retirement savings. But each month, I do a complete “Net Worth” workup that includes every last asset and debt, and she goes over it with me. I make sure to keep her up-to-date on our progress toward various goals, and alert her when our budget is getting tight and we… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
10 years ago

@Brett:

Clearly, her coffee and soda habits make her happy. If all it is costing her is $800/year, then I would recommend she work towards getting an $800/year raise at work. Then she can enjoy those indulgences guilt-free for the rest of time, and it will no longer be affecting your budget, or your relationship.

Tiffany
Tiffany
10 years ago

I agree with the above poster about respecting her financial situation. I’ve been in relationships where I’ve been expected to spend more than I could afford (for trips, household expenses, etc.) and it doesn’t lead anywhere good. If she makes less than you and has more debt, you need to respect that and either help her with trips that you want to take together or do cheaper things…like camping…without making her feel inferior. I think that buying her soda and brewing coffee for her in the morning will show her that you want her to have little indulgences in her… Read more »

Chickybeth
Chickybeth
10 years ago

My husband makes a lot more than I do, and when we first got together, we were struggling to make ends meet so there were many, many fights about money. At that time, he was in charge of the checking account and we were constantly overdrawing the account because he doesn’t believe in balancing the checkbook. If there is money there, he spends it. We finally decided that I should take over the finances, and although it does get to be stressful having to be completely responsible for both of our futures, I can sleep at night knowing we aren’t… Read more »

ami | 40daystochange
ami | 40daystochange
10 years ago

with respect to Brett #3’s question, perhaps you and GF could sit together and work out each of your respective budgets, including amounts for retirement AND saving for the trip but also covering all necessary expenses. Whatever is left she (and you) should be able to spend however she (or you) likes, whether it’s starbucks super yum lattes or special BBQ. (if there’s nothing left- perhaps that’s a seed for a different conversation ;))

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

@Kat You really should get to know me better. I am not forcing my GF to do anything. This was an agreed upon pact and she sees the ultimate goal of saving for our trip. The trip was her idea. Before we met, I hadn’t taken a vacation in 3 years because I hated the cost associated with it. I took my first vacation in 3 years in February with her to ski in Vermont for 4 days. Again, her idea. SHE admitted the Starbucks was a bad habit. My intention was for her to use the planned trip as… Read more »

steven@hundredgoals.com
10 years ago

What I think it the absolute most important part of finances in a relationship is that you both are on the same page as far as what you want out of life. Do you have the same goals, desires and ambitions and do you have a plan to accomplish these things financially? It isn’t so simple as to just not have debt because, really, there is nothing to work towards or to preserve the lack of debt in a relationship if there aren’t common interests to work for. If one partner wants to travel but the other wants to buy… Read more »

Robin
Robin
10 years ago

I am engaged to a man substantially more well off than I am. Before we got together, I could take care of my monthly expenses, and was building an emergency fund, but not much more than that. This summer we have two major events to attend for his family, and he is covering all our travel expenses plus helping me out with some money for fancy clothes for me and my daughter for the events. However, I am actually “in charge” of keeping our budget, paying our bills, staying on track. The level of trust he has in me is… Read more »

Wysteria
Wysteria
10 years ago

This is particularly relevant to my life at the moment. There is someone who I might someday date, but their interest in financial management is not the highest. We’ve talked about dating, but we live on opposite sides of the country and are not yet in a position to move closer. I can’t see tying my finances to someone without assurances that their finances were in order and would stay in order well in advance. That, and moving isn’t really an option without the financial structure to pay for it. There’s really nothing I can do about it, but I… Read more »

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

My girlfriend has worked as a retail manager for the past 8 months at a clothing store. She would bring home a new something 4 days a week. It frustrated me because I used to be extremely conservative with my money. I ended up letting it go and not confronting her because it was her first real job and finally had money to spend on clothes or whatever else she wanted. About a month ago she asked me to help her save more. We figured out how much she could put away and started very small with the intention of… Read more »

lisa
lisa
10 years ago

I don’t owe her a single thing financially. I don’t mind taking her out to dinner, a movie, etc. every now and then, but until I am legally obligated to, she will not see any of my income. I am not in anyway OBLIGATED to maintain our standard of living.

and she is in no way obligated to change her standard of living to pass your test.

Kat
Kat
10 years ago

A boyfriend who won’t buy a $3 case of soda to show his support to his girlfriend or as a sweet/romantic gesture for her giving up the coffees. What a winner. I wasn’t saying to buy her a $300 espresso maker. If you think that vacations are too expensive, why take another one with her? If you hate the costs associated with vacationing, take cheaper vacations. You will never know how she would act if her child’s happiness is at stake by testing her now. Does she know that you are making her give up fancy coffees today so you’ll… Read more »

Holly
Holly
10 years ago

@ Brett: I think the posters were suggesting to buy her a case of coke almost as a ‘romantic gesture’ as well as to show a bit of support. She may find it easier to give up one habit (Starbucks) at a time if she has one afternoon soda pick-me-up to look forward to (and will think of you and your support of her efforts). I doubt anyone thinks you should ante up and start covering a lot of misc. expenses… Try not to place too much pressure on her (or on yourself) around this one experiment as it may… Read more »

april
april
10 years ago

I personally would have a hard time marrying someone who was in debt. But even more importantly is how they acquired that debt, and what their spending habits are. If they acquired the debt in the form of student loans, I would want to know which school they attended. I personally could not justify the cost of a private school, and would end up being resentful of paying someone’s school debt because they just had to experience private school life. If they went to a public school, I would wonder if they took out extra large loans while attending just… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

My DH would prefer to leave money decisions to me, but I force conversations to get his input. Whenever there’s a big decision I ask what he thinks– I think it takes the pressure off me a bit. Once a year he does the taxes and we go over the big picture of our finances. He’s got his own individual allowance that he takes care of on his own. I tell him if I’m going to be doing a big amazon or clothing purchase. We discuss any big purchases outside his allowance.

Kevin M
Kevin M
10 years ago

Isn’t anyone else intrigued that JD was hiding stuff from Kris when they bought their house? Maybe I missed those posts, but this paragraph caught my eye: “Still, I’m sure she was nervous at times. I remember that in 1994 she was reluctant to buy a house because of my debt. I think if she’d known the true extent of my financial problems, she might not have been so easy-going about the situation.” @Brett – I think it’s important she admitted it’s a bad habit and wants to kick it. I see no problem with your approach to reallocate the… Read more »

Shane
Shane
10 years ago

I really messed up. I bought a house at the beginning of this year, and allowed my girlfriend to move in and not pay towards anything so she could pay her debt off. As you can see where this is heading, now I feel as though she is not putting enough effort into her debt reduction. I have become controlling, trying to push her to pay her debt off, which is probably wrong. Unfortunately, I allowed her debt to be put into a position that also affects me. I want a truthful opinion on this. She feels as though I… Read more »

Erin
Erin
10 years ago

I’m divorced (from a financially irresponsible man), so my perception might be skewed from someone never married or burned. Plus I was forced to file bankruptcy because of my ex-husband’s constant poor choices…it will NEVER happen again! I’ve worked VERY hard to rebuild my life and my credit and financial security after that mess. If I’m going to be in that situation again, it will be my own fault…not someone else’s. So, no, I would not commit to a man who was in debt and did not take his finances as a priority. I would not marry until we were… Read more »

RMoM
RMoM
10 years ago

The problem in our relationship for the longest time (I mean years) was ME. After reading the question at Ask Metafilter and all of the responses it generated, I pretty much know what’s going on here with ‘Sam’ because I did the same things. Sam has pathological psych issues that are governing his negative behavior and this is how those issues are manifesting themselves. I generated debt that my SO knew nothing about, I lied about it and was very obtuse about our finances because I was allowed to get away with it. My SO who, it turns out, has… Read more »

Andy
Andy
10 years ago

I personally don’t understand how married couples could have separate finances. My wife and I look at our marriage as a company (financially speaking, only!). Money in and money out. All the money that comes into our lives goes into the pot and all the money that goes out goes to those things we value and our mutual goals, such as paying off debt now and saving later. We can throw all of our joint money at our debt together and conquer it alot faster than if we were paying off our separate debts. I was lucky to marry someone… Read more »

Kat
Kat
10 years ago

Shane, you are doing her a huge favor letting her stay free, and she is taking advantage of it if she isn’t putting extra towards debt. At this point, it is no longer a favor, you are enabling her to keep up bad habits of expecting others to pay her way (as her mother seems to have instilled in her). Why don’t you find out what a typical rent would be for sharing a house of your size in the neighborhood, and ask her if she is putting that much extra towards debt every month since moving in. Maybe she… Read more »

Alexandra
Alexandra
10 years ago

I think we have pretty even “control” over the finances. Neither of us had real debt issues when we got married – my husband has some student loans which were offset by the fact he owned a house, and I had no debt, but also very little in savings. Essentially, we both started at zero and have built everything up from there. We have similar philosophies but keep our finances separate.

I think that similar goals and a fair amount of trust are the basis for our financial marriage…control doesn’t really factor into it for us.

Holly
Holly
10 years ago

@ Shane: I most definitely think you are doing her a huge favor by having her stay rent-free at your place. Maybe you could help her to set up a budget where 15% (or whatever) of her pay is set aside automatically for debt repayment and 15% is set aside for a future savings goal of hers (em. fund, apartment, car, furniture, computer, whatever); this may help her to stay motivated while she works off her debt. I use YNAB to budget for our goals. If you have a budget of your own, you could also share some of its… Read more »

Shane
Shane
10 years ago

Wow, thanks Kat! That is extremely good advice while being completely unbiased. I will make sure to break down exactly how much she is paying for debt. Most of the items she has are things she will never use again, and also lots of clothes that don’t fit her anymore. She gained weight over the past couple years, and hasn’t attempted to lose it at all, so I don’t know why she still has the clothes. For Christmas a few years back, I bought her the entire dish set, silverware, and glasses that we use. I’m actually the one who… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

Brett– One of my pet peeves is when people constantly complain about something but get upset when people suggest fixes. Shane– Your current relationship doesn’t sound great. It sounds like resentment is building on one side and possibly guilt on the other. Wish I had some recommendations, but other than a lot of calm honest talking which could turn into a break-up just as easily as it could bring you closer together, I got nothing. p.s. Shane– if you bring up the clothing DO NOT say anything about her having gained weight and not being able to wear the clothing… Read more »

Dave
Dave
10 years ago

Brett, I can appreciate you testing your relationship with your GF. I wish I had done more of it before marriage. My wife of 20 yrs. and I have gone back and forth with various tests of our own. A little over a year ago she wanted a treadmill to get more fit. In the back of my mind I was pretty sure since she does not regularly walk, jog or run outside that she would not use a treadmill. She bought the (expensive!) treadmill with her earnings and has used it maybe a dozen times. I scratch my head.… Read more »

Mike Crosby
Mike Crosby
10 years ago

I went to Vegas with my girlfriend. I paid for the room, the food and her Starbucks coffee. Every morning she stood in line to get her Starbucks coffee. On our last day in Vegas I told her I had no money. She still wanted her coffee but went to another line that had cheaper coffee. But after deciding a bit, she left that line too and told me she wasn’t in the mood for coffee. When we got back home, I dropped her off. Later I drove by and told her our relationship was over. I know I’m the… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
10 years ago

@Shane: You most certainly ARE doing her a favor. Housing is a legitimate expense. If you weren’t letting her live with you, she’d have to be paying to live somewhere else, whether it was in the form of paying rent or her own mortgage. Housing is an ongoing utility cost, and by letting her live there for free, you’re essentially giving her the equivalent of an income stream equal to a housing expense. In short, because of your generosity, she has an additional $800/month (or whatever it would cost for her to rent comparable accomodations) in her budget. The fact… Read more »

Annie Stith (Gr8fulAnnie)
Annie Stith (Gr8fulAnnie)
10 years ago

Hey, All! I’ve had personal finances work every which way with partners: keeping them separate for a while to make sure payments get made before combining them; one partner wanting me out of debt before having any joint expenses; and, usually with my being responsible for paying the bills when they become joint. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to avoid the high anxiety, stress, and sometimes arguing is to live separately so there *aren’t* any joint expenses. (Seriouly-that’s how it went in my last relationship because I was going to once again be responsible for the… Read more »

Shane
Shane
10 years ago

Thanks Nicole,

I’m going to talk with her, so we can figure out the best thing for us.

Reading the above posts, I think I am going to by my girlfriend a pack of coke on the way home from work. Or some M&Ms, she likes those.

@Kevin

I realize this, but she will make the argument that she will live with her mom for free, which is where she would go if I had her move out.

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

Oh– one general recommendation… After I started reading Your Money or Your Life (based on a recommendation from this site) I asked DH to read it too. If you haven’t read it, it isn’t really about money– it’s about goals, dreams, life paths, and how to achieve them. After we both read it we had lots and lots of deep discussions about it and financially we’re closer together than we were before, and he’s more interested and invested than he was before. (I’ve also gotten a bunch of friends to read it and they all found it thought provoking and… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
10 years ago

@Shane, If you’re in a relationship with a 20-something who doesn’t feel the slightest bit of shame in the idea of moving back in with her mother, well … let’s just say she’s still got some growing up to do. I do wonder how her mother’s attitude (“You should be spending more money on my daughter!”) might change if her precious little princess were to show up back on her front doorstep, proclaiming she’s moving back in indefinitely. 😉 I don’t know you or your girlfriend, but it sounds like you guys might be at very different points in your… Read more »

Steve
Steve
10 years ago

I think it’s OK for Kim to discuss the issue with her boyfriend, and for him to give his opinion on the topic. It’s no different than talking to any close friend about a topic. However, he can give advice but he can’t insist what she do, he doesn’t have that right as her boyfriend. My wife and I have joint finances. I am mostly in charge. I frequently make attempts to give her more control. I discuss with her when I’m opening and closing accounts, moving money around, investing in this or that. She’s not really that interested and… Read more »

Shara
Shara
10 years ago

I agree with RMoM, the hiding money stuff is big enough that I have a hard time with the “he’s perfect in every way but…” That question implies psychological issues and they should bee a couples counselor. @Shane A lot of couples who come from different perspectives wind up coming together, the frugal one spending more and the spender getting more comfortable with savings. However in an unhealthy relationship they can get MORE different as they each dig in and scare each other and make it worse. If you and your girlfriend are looking at a permanent relationship does she… Read more »

M
M
10 years ago

@Brett, I’m with you, buddy. My husband I had the same issue when we got together. He was previously married with debt, a house, not earning much money due to just starting a job. I had a decent job at the time (age 25), a house of my own and a car payment. He had some habbits that I knew about, but didnt think they’d effect our budget, and I had some habbits that he knew about. It wasnt until we bought a house together (and were trying to sell my home) that things started to get tight. We decided… Read more »

ebyt
ebyt
10 years ago

Hoo boy… I could write a 5,000 word response on this, but I won’t. From personal experience, I think you MUST be on the same page concerning finances before you get serious in a relationship (moving in together, marriage, buying a house together, etc.). My ex and I weren’t on the same page, and our miserable relationship ended before it really began. We lived together, had debts, he didn’t care about paying them down, I “nagged”, and we broke up. No shock there. Glad we didn’t get married or buy a house. I will discuss finances fairly early in any… Read more »

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

I got married last year. We each had our own house, and we agreed to sell mine. I had built up about $18,000 in *STUPID STUPID* consumer debt that I refinanced with a second mortgage on my house. Before I proposed to my wife, I told her about my financial situation. I thought it was necessary to disclose everything about my money situation before we got married. She understood and told me about her credit card debts. Thankfully, I was able to pay off my debt in full with the home sale, and some of her debts as well. When… Read more »

Ely
Ely
10 years ago

I haven’t read the comments yet because I’d like to answer JD’s really excellent questions. One of the reasons I love reading JD’s stories is that his relationship is a lot like mine in many ways. My husband has been the profligate spender, in debt to his eyeballs, and it’s been work for me to keep my hands off and let him be a grownup and deal with it himself. He doesn’t lie about it, and I don’t make ultimatums. He’s come so far since we first started dating, when he was chronically unemployed and declaring bankruptcy. (Not as far… Read more »

ctreit
ctreit
10 years ago

I think that my wife and I have a very open relationship. (I’d like to think that she agrees with this assessment.) We talk about anything. We also talked about finances when we were dating. I was in a stronger financial position than she was when we dated. When we talked about money while dating I was mostly concerned about gauging her general attitude about money. Since we got married, money has become just one of the many things that are a matter of trust between her and me. Neither one of us has ever violated that trust which has… Read more »

Adrian
Adrian
10 years ago

@ Brett #3 Unfortunately, it has become apparent that a small “war of the sexes” has began on here, and I know it was not your intention. Here is what I propose: Relationships are built mainly on trust, love and compromise. If you both truly love eachother, you will compromise by both making the necessary sacrifices in order to better your future together and to reach your financial goals. It takes two to make things work, so if one partner refuses to comprimise, then things will not work; it is that simple. Therefore, I suggest creating an “allowance” system where… Read more »

Tiffany
Tiffany
10 years ago

Shane: is it wrong for me to charge my girlfriend a small rent and some of the utilities? absolutely not. but ideally this would have been discussed Before she moved in. now it’s going to be quite akward to change the previous agreement. Also, is it wrong for me to try and push her some on her debt, given the situation? not if you are planning on a future with her, because it will affect you both. in my humble opinion, the best way to approach this conversation is in terms of the relationship. is this sustainable for you long… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
10 years ago

@ Dave #34 “Being married, but living single isn’t much fun.” Hoo boy, that is true, and so very sad. I have seen an awful lot of “married” people who are really just roommates. They don’t necessarily fight, they aren’t necessarily out tomcatting with other partners, but they don’t share each others’ lives in any meaningful way. Domestic relationships take work from both partners. If only one partner is willing to do the work, then the other person isn’t really being a partner. Sometimes, there’s enough good stuff left to gloss over the fact that one partner just isn’t pulling… Read more »

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