My Live-In Boyfriend Doesn’t Contribute Equally To Our Joint Expenses, And I’m Starting To Resent Him

My Live-In Boyfriend Doesn’t Contribute Equally To Our Joint Expenses

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years. We’ve decided to rent a place together. We have been living together for 4 months. He rented a room in a house previously and I rented a small house with my two children. Now we are renting a small house together. With his child support, truck payment, etc…. it leaves him only $600 to contribute to the household. That leaves me to contribute the rest, which is about $3000. That is just rent, food, utilities. I work two jobs and he works one. He says he wants to help but is unable. He is trying to find some extra jobs, on the side, but not very hard. He doesn’t cook or clean either. He is the nicest, most wonderful man I know. He treats me nice, he never expects anything from me. I am starting to resent him though. I don’t know if I am right or wrong to feel resentful. Even if he made more money he says he won’t pay half because, in all fairness, I get child support and he shouldn’t have to pay half. He says he will pay a third. I can’t help feeling he is treating me like a roommate and not his woman. If he is a real man shouldn’t he want to work together to build a life? He tells me everyday how much he loves me, he brings me flowers when he can. He never yells at me or criticizes me. Should I just keep paying and just let him pay what he can? He never goes out or spends foolishly on himself. He really doesn’t have enough.

Money is a big topic on this blog.

We’ve talked about how some women take advantage of good-hearted low-earning boyfriends.

We’ve talked about how some women expect men to make more money, even if they make a good living independently.

We’ve talked about how some women refuse to even reach for a check.

These are all arguments I’ve made for equality. In this day and age, with women earning more college degrees and masters degrees, it’s anachronistic to expect men to ALWAYS pay and ALWAYS earn more.

But Lisa’s question really cuts to the heart of women’s issues around money. What happens if you’re dating a man without skills, without ambition, and without the desire to be a better provider?

This is not about who earns more. This is about two things: what’s fair and what you’re comfortable with.

This is my client’s worst nightmare – even though I can’t see any of my clients dating a man with a truck payment and $600 to spare each month. So let me begin, Lisa, by expressing my admiration and sympathy to you. You fell in love with a man based on what’s in his heart and not in his wallet, and that says a lot about your character.

The question is whether it’s enough.

My answer to you will be a gender-blind one, because that’s the way we need to begin to look at financial issues. This is not about who earns more. This is about two things: what’s fair and what you’re comfortable with.

Objectively, this arrangement isn’t fair. But then, in a gender-blind society, who said things had to be fair? I made about four times what my wife made when we met. Would it have been fair for me to ask her to split our rent in half? No, it would not. We split it based on our means to pay. I could have resented the fact that I made four times more than her, but I chose not to. I wasn’t with her for her money or ability to split costs. I was with her because of how I felt in her presence.

These days, my wife doesn’t work at all. She stays at home with the kids, goes to Mommy and Me classes, swimming classes, MyGym and Disneyland, all of which I pay for. Do I resent her? Not one bit. This is what she wants to do, and I’m fortunate to have the means to allow her to do it. This is the bargain we struck as a couple. This is the bargain any woman can strike with a man, as long as she doesn’t resent him for earning less or being a stay at home dad.

I’m guessing every reader here had the same initial reaction to your email, “Lisa, you poor girl! Dump him!” I can see where that impulse comes from, but I don’t think it’s acknowledging your deep feelings for your boyfriend. You’ve spent two years with him. You say that he’s the “nicest, most wonderful man” you know.

In order to salvage this relationship, a few things have to happen.

First, you need to have an authentic conversation with him. You need to start by acknowledging how much you love and appreciate him. Then you need to acknowledge that you’ve been feeling a little bit of resentment. You’re not proud of it, but you’re owning it.

Next, you can break it down for him. You contribute five times more to the household than he does, even though you only make X dollars more. Even though you appreciate his pre-existing payments, that’s imbalanced and is a serious burden for you to carry alone. Get his acknowledgement of this fact.

What you’d like to do is sit down and do a budget of how much each of you makes and would like to pay the rent and bills proportionately, whatever that means. This would include how much money you make from child support and would exclude how much he pays in child support. We’re talking about take home pay only.

There’s nothing wrong with marrying a poor guy if you have the means to support him. There IS something wrong with marrying a poor guy who doesn’t have a sense of fairness and appreciation for your efforts.

If it still comes out to $600 for him and $3000 for you, you can suggest a work around. He can sell his truck and buy something cheaper, if that’s possible. You can go to Mint.com and look at how to better balance your budget. But the one thing that is going to have to change is how much he contributes to the household in non-monetary ways. He’s gotta do 50% of the cooking and 50% of the cleaning at a bare minimum to ease your burden as the primary breadwinner.

Make it clear that you don’t resent him because he makes less than you. Not everyone can have a high paying job. The reason this feeling is building up inside is that you feel taken for granted. And if the roles were reversed and he was paying $3000/month AND doing all the cooking and cleaning, he’d probably feel resentful, too, no?

His reaction to this conversation will tell you whether you have a relationship worth preserving. There’s nothing wrong with marrying a poor guy if you have the means to support him. There IS something wrong with marrying a poor guy who doesn’t have a sense of fairness and appreciation for your efforts.

Please come back and let us know how that conversation goes.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ruby

    This stands out for me; “He doesn’t cook or clean either. He is the nicest, most wonderful man I know” In this day and age, the “nicest, most wonderful man” should be able to lift a finger around the house once in awhile. The woman works two jobs, takes care of two kids, and this nice guy expects his girlfriend to do all the cooking and housework too?
     
    Even if he made more money he says he won’t pay half because, in all fairness, I get child support and he shouldn’t have to pay half. He says he will pay a third.” 
     
    Yet, he doesn’t have to do at least a third of the cooking and cleaning? What’s “fair” about that? We can quibble about whether or not he should be paying half or a third, but right now, he’s only paying one-fifth, and not doing any household chores to boot. All he needs to do is to show up with flowers once in a while. Sweet deal for him.

  2. 2
    amydkl

    I love the gender-neutral advice but I’m not sure why he should support her kids that another man is paying for. In the breakdown, the child  support should pay for the children’s portion of the household and then they should divvy up the rest. Although that sounds kind of cold, I think that math would be more fair to him.

  3. 3
    Zara

    this is a tough situition for blended families, regarding how much a person needs to contribute. I feel bad for lisa it’s frustrating when your partner has limited funds but she knew he pay child support to his ex when she met him. Considering she is receiving child support from her ex he is correct that he should not have to pay 50 of the bills. Also by giving to her kids he is taking away funds from his kids. It puts him in an difficult position to choose who kids are more important. 
    you can only give what you have and have to work within you budget. 

  4. 4
    Goldie

    OP, why did you two not sit down and go over finances before you signed the lease on that house? It looks to me like you both are stretching yourselves, and putting yourselves in real danger of not being able to pay the bills if something happens to one of your incomes. But what is more relevant to the subject of your letter, the fact that he can only pay $600 and you’re stuck with paying $3000, should not have come as a surprise after you moved in. You should have been aware of it before you signed the lease on that house; and if you felt you were not okay with that situation (I probably wouldn’t be – paying 5x what the other person does is too much pressure financially!) then you two should not have moved into that house to begin with.
     
    As far as the arrangement not being fair. I started typing a long reply about how the man gives as much as he can, and how I’ve been in that situation myself with my most recent bf (our incomes were the same, but my discretionary income was a fraction of his, because his children are already out of the house and mine are not). But then I saw a few details in the letter that made me reconsider.
     
    I work two jobs and he works one. …. He doesn’t cook or clean either.
     
    Why is he not pulling his weight around the house, especially if he only works one job and you work two? It wouldn’t require any extra money on his part to do most of the housework, so you don’t have to do it after you come home from your two jobs.
     
    Even if he made more money he says he won’t pay half because, in all fairness, I get child support and he shouldn’t have to pay half. He says he will pay a third.
     
    What is that supposed to mean? You get child support because you have children under 18 living with you, who probably cost you a lot more than you ever get in child support. It’s not just some free money that you receive for no reason. He should pay proportionally to what you both have, and not worry about where your money came from. How is that “in all fairness”? There’s nothing fair about this statement of his. It sounds to me like this man, nice as he is, is not pulling his weight around the house. This is why you feel resentful, not because he has less money. I suggest you two sit down and talk about how he can contribute more in non-monetary ways (since he really and truly doesn’t have the money).
     
    PS. Why does he keep buying flowers when he can only contribute 20% of what you do to household expenses? Can’t he give that money to you instead, to go towards paying the bills? There are plenty of ways for a man to make a woman feel loved and appreciated without spending the money he does not have, especially if she will then have to pick up his monetary slack.

  5. 5
    Alicia

    “These days, my wife doesn’t work at all.”  Ummm……don’t you mean, that your wife doesn’t earn income?  Because not only does she work, she’s given up her career to spend her days shaping the lives of your children.  I’m just sayin’ lol.

    1. 5.1
      Dennis

      That’s wayyyyyyy sexist. My wife doesn’t work, I do all the cooking and she does maybe half the cleaning and laundry (maybe). I’ve dated LOTS of women that haven’t got the slightest idea how to cook. As a matter of fact, I think these days, men cook more than women (unless you consider pulling something from the freezer and putting it in the oven cooking). Basically, YOU ARE A SEXIST

  6. 6
    Zara

    But Goldie, he is already paying child support for his own children. Is it fair to ask him to pay 50% of someone else. He can’t afford to give anymore. I’ve experience the same situation with an ex … I became resentful of supporting his children and was excepted to contribute 50. I feel it was unfair … and lead to us breaking 
    it really helps to talk about these kinda issues before you move in. I can’t express enough create a budget … 

  7. 7
    Ruby

    Goldie #4
     
    You can buy a $5 bunch of flowers from the grocery store. I once dated a guy who gave me flowers he had picked from someone else’s community garden plot.  It doesn’t necessarily mean shelling out big bucks.

  8. 8
    Angie

    I agree with Evan’s opinions about cooking and cleaning, but I’m also seconding Goldie #4’s sentiment… How did you not know eachother’s budgets BEFORE moving in? 
     
    I don’t see how he managed to live off $600 a month before as a subletter, but if that’s his claim, I suppose it’s possible.  I’m confused how he managed to iive in an area where $3600 is an average (?) household expense for that area. Or… did you find an overpriced place because it is something that you really like?  Does your ex pay a lot in child support that makes this affordable? (even with two jobs?)
     
    I’m just trying to read between the lines because $600 seems low and $3600 seems high.  That’s over $40k towards rent, utilities and food per year. I’ve lived in Los Angeles and NYC and never paid that much total, even factoring in roommates’ share.  I know Evan mentioned your boyfriend give up his truck, but I’m not sure that’s fair… Are you in an overpriced house?  Having a lot of frivolous extras like cable channels, etc, that you could get rid of?
     
    Granted, now that you are in the scenario, you have to deal with it.  I can see it leading to resentment on both sides.  Yours is obvious, but if he truly was capable of thriving off $600 a month for living expenses (which I doubt, unless his old roommate was supporting him), I could see him resenting you for insisting he work a second job to pay for a household that is expensive.  I’d look to cut costs in other ways… couponing, being more conscientious about your utilities, perhaps downsizing to a less expensive home, before broaching your boyfriend about his truck.  That seems like a recipe for disaster.
     
    Good luck in getting him to do chores, though! And perhaps find out which chores he hates.  I am friends with a couple where the husband does 95% of the cooking and the wife does 95% of the cleaning… because they like it that way. I know another couple where the man pays 100% of the rent and utilities and the girlfriend buys groceries and does the cooking.  My mom does most of the “inside the house” chores like vacuuming/dusting and my dad does yardwork and big projects like renovating the kitchen.There is no formula for any of this stuff… It’s means, talents, etc.  
     
    Your problem is really that you are not on the same page. You need to find a working solution, not figure out who needs to do what and resenting eachother.

  9. 9
    Goldie

    To Zara, I’d have to see how much her child support is first (and his.) Mine is a drop in the bucket, compared to both what I make, what the children’s father makes, as well as to my expenses. And from talking to other divorced mothers, I get more than most. I heard numbers like $60/month for two kids. That would hardly be worth taking into account in my opinion. Either way, like Ruby said, we can argue about whether he should pay 50% or 33%, but in the meantime, he pays 16%. That’s nowhere close to him supporting her children, or himself even.
     
    Also, he lives with her. He knew what he was getting into. I get it that expenses related to children are high, and only get higher as they grow older, all the way until they’re out of college with full time jobs of their own. But, if it is that big of a deal to him, then he could’ve said, when they were discussing finances prior to moving in together, Honey you spend X dollars a month on your children. I’m not their dad and I don’t want any part of these expenses. Let’s divvy up the rest, but your kids are your responsibility. He could even go into details and split up the electric bill, gas bill, water bill… you know how much time those teenagers spend in the shower? right? why should he pay for that? What I’m saying is, he should’ve said what was on his mind before they moved in together. Then she would’ve had a choice to decide NOT to move in together, because of what he said. But no, he’s surprising her with this stuff now, when she cannot back out.
     
    Ruby, $5 on a regular basis is still a lot when all you can contribute is $150/week… Community garden plot? Oh my. Men can be so creative. *chuckle*

  10. 10
    Sunflower

    I have to say, Evan’s advice is fair and reasonable.  Good luck to the OP.  Hope her boyfriend responds in a way that will preserve the relationship.

  11. 11
    Jackie H.

    The least he could do is cook and or clean sometimes…

  12. 12
    Cory

    Gender-blind advice sounds very enlightened on paper or a computer screen. But in the real world, genders exist. And we cannot escape millions of years of biology based on, at most, the past say 100 years of enlightenment.
     
    The fact is, even deep down, the most enlightened among us really do expect men to be providers, and women to be good nurturers. We ignore that at our peril. Evan is absolutely right, we can make accommodations for a man who earns less. But that man better bring a sense of manliness to the table somehow. This man simply does not. The most damning evidence: he would not pay more than an arbitrary third even if he earned more. There is no sense of chivalry or courage or self sacrifice or honor there. Those things should define a man more than his genitals. I think we all instinctively understand that, which is why even enlighten people feel uncomfortable with his behavior.
     

    1. 12.1
      Salad

      You have worded my sentiment better than
      anyone.  

  13. 13
    Yuri

    I have been living with my boyfriend of two years for over 6 months now.  He makes less than I do, but we split the rent in half.  Prior to moving in together, we looked for an apartment that would be under his monthly budget, which has consistently been $1,000/month.  The apartment we have is under his budget.  Meanwhile, I pay for the more costly utilities like electricity and Comcast bundle while he pays for gas and water.
     
    As for household chores, I cook mostly, but that’s because I enjoy cooking.  I mop and clean the bathroom and kitchen while he vacuums and dusts.  And dishes are done by the non-chef individual.  We both do laundry, and we both fold clothes.  We have it down to a science at this point.  Neither one of us is resentful, and both of us are accountable.
     
    When you make quadruple the salary of your partner, even triple, bearing the majority of the financial burden is logical – depending on your partner’s salary.  I make almost double what my partner makes, but with all the other bills I have (and he does not), it would not be comfortable for me to pay for this entire apartment…especially because we live in DC.  That’s why we chose an apartment the both of us could afford comfortably, and I took on the majority of the additional household expenses.

    However, the household burden is even.  We are both working people, and we both have lives.  Our home is our responsibility.
     
    Honestly, I don’t think you’d feel half as resentful as you do if your man just helped you around the house.  You have kids.  That is not easy.  You probably have your hands full when you get home.  Yes, you have child support, but you don’t have (non-financial) help.  And, like a previous commenter said, nice men generally are more helpful at home.

    While I see this is mostly about money, I feel like your concerns would be better addressed with just having help at home. Personally, that would be my main area of concern.
     
    However, if you would like to discuss expense distribution, here is some food for financial thought that you really should consider:
    You want him to contribute more to a single-family home when it’s your family.  You’re responsible for three individuals, and he’s only responsible for himself.  For this reason, you should most certainly be paying more.  How much more is a different story.  If your place is $3600/month, then he should be able to pay at least $900.  That would be at least 1/4 of the monthly rental expense.  As for food and utilities, like I said, you are caring for three and him only one.  There is more math involved in this than just 50/50.

    However, at the same time, I do believe you said you two moved in to this place together.  $3600 for a family home is quite expensive for a house, especially a rented house sans utilities.  If you knew how much he made prior to moving in, why did you decide on such an expensive place?  When you first moved in, did you agree to pay the majority of the costs?  If so, that was your decision.  Attempting to make him pay for a place he couldn’t afford to live in to begin with NOW is a bit harsh.

    Before I moved in with my boyfriend, I thought this out.  I made a spreadsheet.  I logged monthly expenses, his and mine.  I logged monthly paychecks, his and mine.  I’m an accountant.  If you didn’t know, now you do.  Checks and balances is what I do best.  FYI, your monthly rental payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly salary (or his, for that matter).  That’s just a recipe for financial disaster.

  14. 14
    Selena

    I’m surprised this guy can live anywhere for $600 a month total household expenses. Including food??? The girlfriend had to know that though before they rented this house together, so it seems they picked a place based on HER income rather than their income. If she wants to pay less, she will have to be willing to move to a cheaper place.
     
    Very much agree with EMK’s proportional split. Child support is intended to pay towards rent/utilities/food so yes that should be included in the gf’s income portion. She is the one who needs extra space/utilities/food for her two kids to live there, and their father is contributing for that.
     
    Not really fair for her to have two jobs to his one. Does she need two because both of hers are low paying? What would a proportional split look like if she had only one job? Also sounds like he might get a second job to pay his child support/truck payment. Or as Evan suggested, find an alternative to the truck payment (cheaper vehicle) whichever is more practical.
     
    Is she the one who wanted a pricier rental? Sometimes we get caught up in how “we want to live” without considering how that will really work out financially month by month.  If he would have preferred a more modest place, she might have to bite the bullet if she wants to stay where they are.
     
    Housework: yes, it should be split 50/50 with the kids taking on some if they are old enough. Good luck with that though. My experience has been more of the person who wants it done, ends up being the person to do it.
     
    I think this situation is salvagable, but the couple is going to have to sit down and come up with a realistic budget both of them can live with. And that will likely mean sacrificing some things – being ruthless when it comes to “wants” vs. “needs”.

  15. 15
    LC

    It kinds of sounds like he resents paying child support and that he resents that she receives child support from her ex.  He’s actually punishing her in a passive aggressive way.

  16. 16
    Selena

    @ Yuri #13  Good points.
     
    If the monthly cost of rent/utilities/food for 4 people is $3600 – then the boyfriend’s share would be $900.  Part-time work should cover it.
     
    Not really fair to ask him to pay more to subsidize her kids living there when he is paying out for his kids living elsewhere.

  17. 17
    Peter 51, 61 was non standard.

    I have always worked on the basis of separate banks accounts with a jiont account for the house.  All income is paid into the joint account and then the surplus is split into the personal accounts in proportion to orginal income, as per Evan’s arrangements.  Half each is for temporary flatmates not permanent couples.  If the higher earner says half, that might be an indicator of short term intentions.

    1. 17.1
      Jane

      Your advice as to managing finance for couples is wise! I had similiar idea to yours, but yours is better and more feasible, which is really enlightened.

  18. 18
    starthrower68

    If she can afford it, she should seriously consider going back to separate residences. If he’s wonderful, he will continue to bring her flowers, and she doesn’t have to be stressed out by what he’s not contributing, monetary or otherwise.  She sees what she will have if she wants this guy for a husband.  I posit that she accept what is, without complaining or she sets up her own residence and does not look to him as marriage material.

  19. 19
    Androgynous

    The big elephant in the room here is the children from her previous relationship. I do think that is a big contributor of Lisa’s issues with her partner. Like Evan said, finances can be negotiated between a loving couple, but it all gets very complicated when there are children from other relationships. I suspect that Lisa’s man feels that whatever he does to contribute to the household, whether by taking a second job or doing household chores, he is doing it for someone else’s children.
    The fact is that a LOT of men feel that way, rightly or wrongly. That is just the way it is. I’d bet a lot of women are not prepared to maintain a household for another woman’s children either – maybe for the occassional weekend visits, but everyday is a bit of an ask.

  20. 20
    Katie

    Evan, do you know what might be super cool for you and your readers?!  (It would be cool and eye opening for every couple to do, but I bet you and Mrs K are in a position where you actually COULD!)  To swap roles for a fortnight and see if it makes you appreciate each other more, whether their role is as good/bad as you imagine and so forth.  I always think (and I think there has been a UK TV programme along similar lines) that if a man and women are starting to get resentful of each other, swapping roles can be a useful tool
     
    I know you and Mrs K are not resentful, as you clearly say, but you could run it as an experiment to recommend to other clients if it works!  Mrs K could spend a couple of weeks writing articles for this blog and giving some of your clients an exclusive relationship coach’s wife advice deal!  And you could try out daddy and baby classes, the gym and lots of cooking and housework!  What do you think?!  It would take some planning, but I bet you could, and it would be nice to hear from Mrs K again – I have read that post you asked her to do for this blog more than once (though obviously yours are still the best…  :p )!  
     
    Thank you for all your wonderful work which helps no end your poorer followers who could never hope to afford you by the hour!  We love you xxx

    1. 20.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Katie

      Appreciate your idea, but can’t run with it. It’s super cool for you, in the way that “reality TV” with its put-on premises is super cool. Not so much for us. To quickly respond, point by point:

      “To swap roles for a fortnight and see if it makes you appreciate each other more.” We literally could NOT appreciate each other any more. That’s the strength of our relationship.

      I always think (and I think there has been a UK TV programme along similar lines) that if a man and women are starting to get resentful of each other, swapping roles can be a useful tool. Probably. But that would presume that we were starting to get resentful of each other. We’re not. By point of comparison, it would be like telling an investment banker that he should try working in a factory for two weeks. Just to, you know, appreciate how good he has it. Dude doesn’t have to work in a factory to know he has it good. He CHOSE his vocation. I chose my life. My wife chose hers. We’re both really happy with our choices.

      You could try out daddy and baby classes, the gym and lots of cooking and housework!
      Yes, this is called “weekends” in the Katz household. They are far harder than my weekdays, when I only have to produce new content three times a week, coach hundreds of smart, strong, successful women from around the world, and get yelled at by total strangers on my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.

      Some people are cool with being stay-at-home moms. My wife is, after 16 years at the same job. I would not be. I don’t think I need to walk a mile in her shoes to really understand that. But if you’re with a man who is unappreciative of you as a wife and mother, I highly recommend that you go away for one day to visit your best friend in another state. He will very quickly realize how hard your job is – and back off of his criticism of you.

  21. 21
    Anthea

    The fact is that a LOT of men feel that way, rightly or wrongly. That is just the way it is. I’d bet a lot of women are not prepared to maintain a household for another woman’s children either – maybe for the occassional weekend visits, but everyday is a bit of an ask.
    @19…Im currently engaged to a wonderful man with two teenage children 14 and 19 living with me on my farm FT 24/7…Bio mum dosent want them…not even for an overnight stay! I pay for everything as my fiance is facing property court proceeding, family court for custody and a massive accountants and tax bill all mixed into one big debt…
    I told him…Ive got your back…we are in this together. I am essentially supporting him and HIS children. Bio mum pays nothing. Your partners attitude worries me when effectively his contribution wouldn’t even feed him, and he has said he wont pay anymore? You are supporting another child and Im not sensing there’s a committed partnership here.
     

  22. 22
    Henriette

    No way should he have to pay 50%, considering that she has children living with her.  However, he’s currently only paying 1/6th of the total while doing next to no housework and that is ridiculous.   Have a gentle talk with him and explain that he  needs to help more around the home and/or increase the amount of money he puts in to the monthly kitty. 

  23. 23
    Gabri'el

    I agree with Evan 100%, it’s more about the fact that he doesn’t do anything about the house, than it is about the money, he has a lazy and selfish character when it comes to helping out around the house and being a responsible adult around children.
    But my comment is for the people condemning him for his financial attitude. My older brother is in a similar situation so maybe I can help a lot of the readers understand where her boyfriend “MAYBE” coming from emotionally and mentally. The boyfriend was living a bachelors life, because it seems to me that he doesn’t have custody of his child, which was why he could live in just one room; my brother also has no children of his own, but his much older girlfriend does. So to help her out with her 4 kids, he traded in his 2 seater for a van, which cost more gas than his sports car; he moved out of my parent’s house and instead of renting an apartment, he rented a house, because they need the extra room, and it’s her kids who mess-up the house (as children will naturally do), and of course 4 children will eat a lot.
    I’m not sure of the age of the original letter writers children, but I’m thinking that when he makes comments about not helping cook, clean, or pay rent, it is because he see’s her kids as being the reason for a messy house, lots of dishes needing to be washed, and them having to get that expensive house. Again, I’m agreeing with Evan, I’m just giving a possible reason from what I have seen personally. I think her true problem is that she doesn’t know what the definition of a “wonderful nice guy” is, because it seems to me like this guy is just NOT ready to be a boyfriend to a woman with children, which may be why the letter writer only spoke of him paying child support and not of him having his child come to stay on the weekends

  24. 24
    Gina

    Sounds like the boyfriend has got a sweet deal: Someone to work two jobs, pay most of the bills, do most of the housework, and have sex with him when he wants? Heck! For that kind of arrangement I’d be a sweetie, treat you like gold, and bring flowers too! My late mother use to say, “The way that you start out in a relationship is the way things will stay unless YOU decide to take the necessary steps to change it.”  
    If he’s not willing to compromise, then either stay with him on his terms, or move out, get an affordable place for you and your kids, and simply let Mr. Wonderful court you.
     

  25. 25
    Kiki

    I can not imagine that this conversation will go well, whichever way the lady words it. I read here that Evan constantly gives advice to women not to judge men by their wealth, earning ability etc., but by how they treat their women. While this sounds both logical and fair, I have not seen in real life, a happy long-term couple where the woman has significantly greater earning power than the man. Here I am disregarding the Madonas, and talking about ordinary people. A big difference in earning power usually comes together with a big difference in ambition, drive and competitiveness. These are masculine qualities, and it works really well when the man has them, but not the other way around.
    In the short run, especially when being in love, women would disregard these differences, at their own peril. Then, when the smoke settles, and they realize that they have ended up with an underachiever, resentment will keep building up.
    Men in those circumstances think – well – she knew what kind of a guy I am, and she wanted me at the beginning, but not any more. Women think – if only he would try a bit harder for me…
    I am very pessimistic about the possibility to solve this imbalance through conversation, if at all.

  26. 26
    josavant

    OK, I’ll be the first to say it: this man is a leech. He’s worked it out so he has to pay only $600/mo for a fine residence, home-cooked meals, someone to clean after him, and someone he can have sex with on a regular basis – while the woman pays $3000 a month?  How can he possibly be OK with that unless he is a leech. 
     
    The OP says he’s “nice.” big whoop. Anyone can be nice, it doesn’t cost a thing. Anyone can especially be nice to someone they’re taking advantage of on a grand scale like this guy is doing.
     
    OP, here is my suggestion. Kick this leech out of your house and out of your life. Replace him with a roommate and charge him or her $1000/mo.  You get an extra $400/mo, and you don’t have to clean and cook for your new roomie. it can’t get better than that.

  27. 27
    Frimmel

    First off you need to find a cheaper living arrangement and cut down somewhere on expenses. $3600 a month seems kind of crazy to me without knowing the area of course.
     
    Anyone telling this guy to make more money should bear in mind that anything more he makes is going to lead to an increase in his child support. So you might look at that as part of the reason for being unmotivated to work more at paid employment. Particularly when the part that doesn’t go to the ex will be expected to go to supporting another man’s children. (It seems likely the expensive housing is partially to get her kids in a good school.)
     
    As to not doing house work. I suggest it is part of the alpha attitude that made him attractive to her in the first place. Doing more of the chores will likely make her lose even more respect for him and since it likely means more care for another man’s kids. Well, we can see the lack of motivation once again.
     
    Seems pretty standard woman trying to change a man stuff.
     
    If we further consider that this guy has already been through the ringer he’s probably not ready to get hit by a truck again by getting in too deep here. He probably did the good beta provider thing and it still landed him renting a room and not seeing his kids (guessing on that.) The whole situation is probably just a big ugly reminder of what he lost in the first place. He just doesn’t know how to cut the cord on the mindset that got him into the mess.
     
    If we take the attitude Cory expressed in #12 and consider the LW’s man probably bought into that hook line and sinker (I take the regular flowers as evidence of at least a small chivalry streak and “blue pill” thinking) only to still end up divorced and expected to get more work in order to help raise another man’s kids because he doesn’t have any money left from supporting the kids he doesn’t see?
     
    I think she’d be doing him a favor to break up with him.

  28. 28
    Dawn

    it’s a little late, but my first thought on reading this was “didn’t you guys talk about expenses before you moved in together???” 

  29. 29
    Goldie

    I feel so idealistic reading this thread. The silly idealistic me assumed that the man had agreed to move in with the LW and her kids. That he had accepted them at least in some capacity, otherwise he wouldn’t have agreed to move in? I mean, I see a lot of comments there referring to her kids, the way he supposedly sees them, as if they were a tumor on her body, a DUI or a police record that’s not allowing her to drive and jacks up her insurance premiums, or any other kind of major inconvenience, that he really cannot stand, but has to put up with. “Another man’s kids” really? These are the children of a woman he loves. They also are the two people that he has knowingly agreed to move in with. I am not saying that he should buy them new cars and send them to Ivy League schools on his dime, but assuming that he doesn’t want to cook because the food will just be eaten by another man’s kids, so why bother… God, if it’s really that bad, I say break up then!
     
    I guess I just can’t relate. Granted, I haven’t had to live together with a SO’s kids, yet. With my recent bf, his kids were grown and out of the house and I only saw them on occasion. But I miss them, and honestly consider it one of the worst downsides of our breakup, that I will never see them again. Never did it occur to me to think of them as, “another woman’s kids”.
     
    As for the finance breakdown, here’s my two cents. For ten years, my ex-husband and I kept a spreadsheet where we added up all family-related expenses and split all those down the middle. Meaning, if I wanted to buy myself a new pair of shoes, or if he wanted a new set of fishing equipment, the other person would not have to pay half of that. But things like mortgage, utilities, family dog, family electronics, furniture, food for the family, those were the expenses that we divided in two. Any new expense was up for discussion – if I wrote something down as a family expense, and my husband thought it was something that only benefited myself, and that he shouldn’t pay half of it, he could always say so and explain why. We’d discuss and come to a decision that worked for both of us. Maybe LW and her bf can do the same. They can leave the kids’ clothes, school supplies and related expenses out of the spreadsheet, and only include those expenses that benefit both her and the BF. Then split them 50-50, 70-30, or any way they’d like. I actually wouldn’t want a bf to pay for anything at all that is meant strictly for my children, because then he’d get to call the shots on how I raise my kids and what I do for them. He’d then get the right to say things like “your son doesn’t need braces” and I want that to be my decision, not his.
     
    Also, agree with everyone else, $3600/month is pretty steep for what the LW says is a small house, unless they live in an area with very expensive real estate. Maybe they can find a way to cut down on the expenses a bit.

  30. 30
    Selena

    @ Goldie
     
    LW says the $3600 is for rent/utilities/food only. Those expenses obviously benefit not only the couple, but the kids as well.  The LW doesn’t like the split they have now. Can’t say as I blame her, but she has to support her kids whether he lives there or not. He’s supporting his own through child support payments.
     
    She said he wouldn’t give her more than a third  (even if he had it) and she is apparently resentful of that? Why should he have to support her kids (by paying more in rent/utilities/food) ? She’s not helping to support his.
     
    It kinda sounds to me like she wants him to pay 50%, (as if he were her kids father living with them)  but that’s not really fair to him. Especially since it appears a considerable amount of his income is already going for child support as it is.
     

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