Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I are in love, and we’ve been together for five years and have lived together for the past three years. He moved in with me after his divorce. Now, from that divorce, his credit was horrible. So, since living together, I pay all of the household bills and occasionally help him with his bills because he is “trying to get his credit straightened out.”
Herein lies the problem. I had no issue with this when it began, and it was actually my idea to help him in this way, but it has now been three years and counting. He still claims he never has any money to help, yet we make the same amount of money. How is this possible? He seems to have money for alcohol, cigarettes and anything else he wants. What started out as a loving favor now feels like a nightmare. I try to communicate my feelings to him, but he always makes it emotionally devastating for him and manages to end the conversation or change the subject.
I now feel taken advantage of and see no end in sight. I have great credit and carry very little debt, but he somehow cannot seem to get his act together, and it is starting to change how I feel about him, mainly because I feel walked on, unappreciated and taken advantage of. Am I wrong to feel this way? Should I continue to help the man I love? I do not want to hurt him, but this is starting to take a serious toll on my finances, as I cannot get ahead this way. I do not want to ask him to leave because he has nowhere to go, and I feel responsible for him and I still love him. Help me decide what to do. – Feeling Stuck
Dear Feeling Stuck: It sure sounds like you’re being taken advantage of, so you’re definitely not wrong to feel that way. At the risk of sounding cheesy: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” In other words, rather than simply giving him money, sit down with him and help him assess his finances, create a strategy to get out of debt, boost his credit, etc. You should also explain to him how this imbalance makes you feel – unappreciated, taken advantage of, used.
It’s possible that he was never taught how to be financially literate, and he is embarrassed. Or maybe he’s lazy and wants to get money out of you. Neither is acceptable in a partnership, but having these conversations with him will help you get to the bottom of it and find a solution.
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