Ask Amy: Partner needs man-boy to grow up
Dear Amy: I am a 35-year-old woman. I am eight years older than “Steve,” my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years.
Steve and I seem like a great fit together except he owes me quite a bit of money and seems hesitant to pay me back.
We decided to split our shared expenses, like food, travel and rent and because I end up managing most of the details of our life, his bill is creeping higher and higher.
When he has offered to keep track of expenses, he has fumbled the ball and lost track, so it becomes my job again.
I don’t earn a lot of money, but I am very good at saving it.
I treat him to a meal out here and there, but I can’t really afford to pay for both of us all the time. Often if we are out, there will be an issue with his card, or he doesn’t have any cash, so it goes onto his “bill.”
I’ve told him a few times I would like him to pay me back in a more timely manner.
He will reimburse me part of what he owes me, but then months go by before he pays me again.
I don’t think I’m doing him a favor if I pay for his life. He works and does have enough to pay for his expenses.
His parents are wealthy and pay for his phone bill, car insurance, online accounts, and manage his bank account for him.
I have been on my own since my early 20s. I love him and need to find an effective way to address this issue. What can I do? I don’t want to be a nag. — Sugar Mama
Dear Mama: If “Steve” wants to become a functioning adult, then you can try to inspire him to approach this important issue not as his loan officer, but as his partner.
At the very least, you two should commit to a weekly meeting to review your joint expenses and settle up. You might agree to the concept of “paying yourselves first,” by each contributing an equal amount toward your joint expenses and then drawing down that amount. You should also look at lifestyle choices and changes you can make in order to afford your expenses.
I appreciate the work of Dave Ramsey (Daveramsey.com), whose radio show, podcast, and books feature a lot of good advice, as well as inspiring stories of people who have busted their debt and changed entrenched habits. (Avail yourselves of the FREE resources on his commercial site.)
The real question is one of motivation. If Steve wants to remain an overgrown man-boy who is reliant on his parents and his girlfriend to pay his way, then you should take a hard look at the relationship.
Dear Amy: I’ve been married to my husband for 15 years. I love his family.
His brother has had some ups and downs in the past. He got married last spring. I couldn’t be happier for him and his new wife, but their choice of how to share news is in poor taste.
My husband and I found out about his engagement last year via text message. We also found out they were rescheduling their wedding via text.
Last month we found out they were expecting their first child — once again via text.
I believe my brother-and-law and his new wife could at least give us a call to share this news.
The rest of my husband’s family says, “That’s their style.” They say the message matters more than the way it is conveyed.
To me it feels disrespectful and flippant. I was raised to call family members with life-changing news, whether it be joyous or sorrowful.
I’m extremely frustrated and sad. This has created a rift. I’m at a loss. — Luddite in Nebraska
Dear Luddite: Yes, it feels good to be contacted in a more “personal” way with big news, but these people are not obligated to behave the way you were raised. I agree with your in-laws about this, and if you let your judgment about them create a rift in the family, then your own poor taste far outweighs theirs.
Dear Amy: “Would Like Equality” was trying to figure out how to get his date to pay for her share of the bill.
When the wait staff first arrives at the table, he should — in hearing shot of his date — tell the wait staff they want separate checks. — Karen
Dear Karen: Absolutely. Thank you.