My Fiancé Has Money and Treats Me Well, But He’s Soooo Cheap! What Should I Do?

My Fiance Has Money and Treats Me Well, But He's Sooo Cheap, What Should I Do?
Evan, what should I do?

I am engaged to a guy who I have been dating for 4.5 years. I love him but I have so much anger and resentment towards him. He is a good person and we have a great time together and I enjoy his company/companionship. He always is happy to see me and be with me. We have a lot in common, but I feel we have some major core differences. He is extremely selfish. He is wealthy and I think this has affected his outlook on money. I am very generous with a big heart, but I find that I am always disappointed. I don’t expect to be spoiled by someone, but he spends a lot of money on his (our) house, cars, gambling when he can, but if I need $200 to go to the store, he makes me feel awkward and here we are supposed to be getting married in December. All our finances are separate, I would be fine even with a pre-nup which I know is coming, but I am not fine with having a husband who puts himself that far above me because of his money. I do expect my husband to help with car payments, medical insurance, basic stuff, I am not even talking about shopping and material things, and this is a guy who is a multi-millionaire, and I made $100k up until last year because of the economy and now until I do something else, am only making about 45k. I am worried about marrying someone who would watch me struggle and not offer to help or was that spoiled that he doesn’t have the “right” consideration for me. HELP!


You know what they say about rich guys, right? The reason they’re rich is because they don’t spend any of their money

Dear Lara,

You know what they say about rich guys, right? The reason they’re rich is because they don’t spend any of their money! Ha! I kill me.

So first of all, let’s get one thing out of the way first: he’s definitely selfish. There are plenty of people who have issues around money – including yours truly – but your multi-millionaire takes the very expensive wedding cake.

As I’ve said before, many women don’t appreciate the difference between being cheap and being poor. If he makes less than $50,000, pretty much ANYTHING he does for you is generous. However, your guy isn’t poor. He’s rich, and yet you don’t feel he is generous of spirit. That really sucks when you’re facing a lifetime together.

But if you’ve been seeing him for 4 ½ years, I suspect you knew about this trait all along, but dealt with it as just one compromise you had to make in the relationship. It didn’t suddenly surface out of the blue. “He USED to throw me $10,000 birthday parties, but now he only has the Pizza Hut staff put a candle in my calzone!”

I’m not going to defend his penurious ways, and I’m not going to suggest that you don’t have the right to be frustrated. I am, however, going to try to look at the other side – something that you may not have done yet.

So let’s recap: you love him, he’s a good person, he’s super-wealthy, you have a lot in common, you have a great time together, he’s happy to be with you, and you’re engaged to be married in December. Sounds like a promising start, no?

But there’s this one thing – this big thing – you don’t get out of him. It’s a definite character flaw: no generosity. Yet he probably pays for the bulk of the house, car payments, medical payments, vacations, etc. He’ll buy you things and provide a nice life. The only thing he doesn’t want to pay for is you, spending the money that he earned. And since you’re now making less, you expect him to make up the difference.

At least that’s HIS perspective.

I think two things: he’s genuinely cheap, and he genuinely loves you.

Your perspective is that it’s not his money, it’s your money – together. And even though you have everything you want in your life, you can’t get over the fact that he’s so stingy that he won’t let you spend what he considers “his” money. In your mind, it’s not about the money, it’s about the principle! I hear you, and I’m sure a number of readers do, too.

The real sticking point is that his take on “his money vs. your money” is not changing any time soon. It’s deeply ingrained in him. Which gives you two choices: leave him because you feel like you can’t spend your life with a rich man who is cheap, or stick around and appreciate that you have a super life, filled with love, companionship, fun, and tons of material possessions – but your husband is simply a skinflint.

Life is about tradeoffs, y’know?

I also think you may be equating his lack of generosity with a lack of love. He can provide for you in 100 different ways, but because he’s hesitant to give you $200 to go to the store, he doesn’t truly love you. Do you believe that? I don’t. I think two things: he’s genuinely cheap, and he genuinely loves you. If he didn’t love you, he wouldn’t be marrying you. In his mind, he just doesn’t want his wealth to be taken for granted.

Just the other day I was talking with a semi-successful guy – not a millionaire – who took care of his girlfriend when she was unemployed and couldn’t afford to pay rent. The problem arose when, one year later, she STILL didn’t want to pay rent because “he could afford it”.  Ironically, the same way that she feels that “it’s not about money, it’s about principle”, so does he. You think he should pay for you because he can. He doesn’t want to pay for you because you assume he’s supposed to.

Another thing: your boyfriend may be cheap, but I’d have to guess he’s better than the rich guys who equate money with love. Their theory is: “If I buy you a Jaguar, maybe you won’t notice how emotionally distant and abusive I am!”  These type of wealthy men  make the worst husbands because they think that they can buy your affection and don’t have to actually, y’know, listen to you.

All of this begs the unfortunate and delicate question: is it possible that you take your boyfriend’s money for granted? Maybe just a little? After all, you may have taken a pay cut, but you probably still live in a big house with a nice car and have everything you need. So while I’m not going to defend your fiancées behavior – cheap is not cool – I’d have to ask you one really tough question:

Would you be marrying him if HE made $45,000?

And, if not, are you also equating love with money?

It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to your plight, Lara, but it’s my responsibility to point out the side of things that you may not have already considered. Please let me know what you choose to do.

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  1. 151

    I’ve read some of the responses and am taken aback.
    I feel this is why Americans can’t hold a marriage. Marriage is not a business negotiation. It’s a PARTNERSHIP. You join this person with vows. You want to help each other rise and want to genuinely enjoy your lives together. Key word here is together. When you marry someone you join entirely. Your money, debts, family, friends, and entire lives are now joined. To even consider fully separate financial lives  is alien to me.
    I am a woman. If I was extremely wealthy and I’m about to marry someone, or am married, I would not have the mentality that this is mine and this is yours. (Except for personal belongings of course. For those who like to nitpick I’m referring to clothing and such) I would merge our finances into one. The responsibility lies on me to find someone who is financially responsible and trustworthy. I’m not marrying anyone I can’t trust and have a fulfilling partnership with. 

    1. 151.1

      most of my parents fights were over money. keep your money separate and pay for your own things

  2. 152

    He’s not selfish.
    you shouldn’t be asking him for 200 to go shopping. grow up and shop at salvation army like the rest of us if you cant afford to shop with your own money.
    he’s testing you to make sure you don’t just like him for his money

  3. 153

    Reading this I thought she was going to the store by them groceries, which he probably eats most of anyway. I wasn’t under the impression that she was looking to go on a shopping spree. 

  4. 154

    I do think this is a love rather than a spending style issue.  Why?  Because he spends on himself freely, even to the point of gambling, but if you “need $200 to go to the store, he makes (you) feel awkward.”  Okay, sure, women and men have different priorities.  Maybe he thinks that gambling is a sensible use of money, but if you want to spend $150 for a cut, color and style at the salon you are unreasonable (today’s prices are unreasonable, but that’s the reality).  However, it is not the expenditure, but the attitude that is the issue.  This “Big I, Little You” is an attitude that can permeate all kinds of issues that may not even involve money for the rest of your lives together.  My advice is to go to pre-marriage counseling over this issue and get it resolved before you get married.   It may be that you decide to accept this flaw in his character and, if so, that’s fine – it’s your choice.  You should, however, make sure that you have dealt with the issue thoroughly and accepted that which you cannot change before you embark upon your new life together.  Good Luck!

  5. 155

    I raise two small children alone on $45k. A single person making $45k is practically a millionaire unless she/he has a spending problem. Reevaluate your personal budget.
    Also, the World doesn’t care what you use to make or about your excuses why you make less. If you made that much before and can’t make that again you’re doing something wrong.
    I kind of hope he trades you up for a younger, faster model that makes $16k a year.

  6. 156

    Get A Life, that’s great that you can raise two kids on $45k. But advocating for the hurt and pain of other people and hoping someone is “traded” in might be reason for you to do some reevaluating yourself. 

  7. 157

    Hm, not enough details.  What did you need $200 for?  I dunno, if I had a boyfriend who was paying for house, car, vacation – and I could spend my entire salary on myself – I’d be psyched!  Bc right now I’m doing it all on my own ;)  I guess when you’re married it becomes a little different; then I’m not sure if you should have more access to his $ for lifestyle stuff.  Nevertheless, I have to say, it always seems to be folks w/o any $ who claim to be generous – but what are you giving?  Are you giving more emotionally, timewise, etc. than he is?  I don’t quite understand that statement.  From a financial perspective it appears that he is much more “generous” than you are given his cash outlay vs yours??

  8. 158

    So to simplify, One side is saying – They wouldn’t have a problem with helping someone they love when needed, but providing for a healthy, able adult nowadays Should Not be the consideration when entering marriage. The other side is saying – Well it is so……stop complaining, lol.

  9. 159
    Helaine Kaskel

    A different take:  I am a wealthy, self-made woman, a mother of 3 who has worked all her life, and after 20 years got divorced.   My ex-husband froze our assets and for awhile I was under severe stress because I could not access my money.

    My ex- boyfriend – yes, ex – was a wealthy self-made man who sat by and watched me undergo tremendous suffering – mental, physical, emotional – when he could have helped.    I left him because in his shoes, I would have helped.  And have helped friends, family, and employees in the past because these people were important to me and I could not watch them suffer.

    I never asked this man to support me.  I dined at Jack in the Box with him and shared a drink and loved every minute.

    MEN:   women need to feel protected by their men.
    WOMEN: men need to feel protected by their women.
    PEOPLE:  when you love someone you share it all – time, thought, energy, love, compassion, warmth, touch, and yes, that sensitive tricky area, the bank account.
    This does not mean a shopping spree at Neiman Marcus.  This means that when someone needs help and you can give it, you do so.  This does not mean signing up to pay for someone’s mistakes over and over again.   This means stepping up for someone you love.

    Guys, not all women are golddiggers.  And nothing will send her running away faster than your failure to provide and protect.  Gals … do the same if he needs it.  That is love.  It’s really simple. 

  10. 160

    I do have another question… what about when they have kids?
    Is he going to have to carry the baby of both in his body and being working at the same time to be able to subsist?
    Men are providers, we need then in order to provide our children a better life… other wise we dont need any man… Men need woman to have children, they are not able to have them with out us. Generosity is just a way to understand that our men will be there when we procreate our common children and wont leave his family fell down.
    I am European, woman pay their stuff and dont wait for any man to save us from the misery, but this couple are about to start a lifetime together, and hopefully a family, this man is not acting as a provider and a reliable head of family.

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