Where Do You Draw The Line When Your Girlfriend Asks For Money?

Hi Evan,

I’ve been reading your blog weekly for almost 6 months, and have been many of your past archives. I’ve not seen this question answered before, so here goes: Where do you draw the line when your girlfriend asks for money? We’ve enjoyed each other immensely for the last 9 months… until she decided to return to school to get an advanced degree. She now can only work part-time, and has trouble paying her bills. On top of that, her car recently died and she had no money to get another one. I gave her some money to help her get a used car, but she still struggles to pay her ($1,000 per month) mortgage and other bills. She says that since she would do anything for me if I had problems, she expects her man to do likewise for her. I have a decent job (making about 100K per year), but I just don’t like the idea of giving anyone money. We appear to be breaking up over this, since she says she really can’t stand the thought of her man not helping her out if he can afford to do so. Am I wrong?


Dear Bob,

Congratulations. You’re her sugar daddy.

As I see it, the real problem here is that you bailed her out without having a commitment – and now she feels entitled to more bailout money. You’re the U.S. Government, she’s AIG – and your relationship is still ill-defined.

She’s relying on you as a husband even though you’re not a husband. Which makes this a good time to ask yourself: do I want to marry this woman

And, if not, breaking up might not be the worst thing in the world.

As I see it, the real problem here is that you bailed her out without having a commitment – and now she feels entitled to more bailout money. You’re the U.S. Government, she’s AIG – and your relationship is still ill-defined.

That ill-defined relationship – 9 good months together without living together or getting engaged – seems to have created a blurry set of expectations on her part. She genuinely thinks that your money is her money and is depending on you to carry her while she tries to work and go to school simultaneously.

And unless you agreed to that arrangement, you’re allowing yourself to be used by her. It’s really easy for her to say that she’d do anything for you – in theory, I’m sure she would. But what if you decided you were going to quit your six-figure job to be supported by her as you attend art school. And to supplement that, you asked for an allowance, because affording rent, tuition and supplies was suddenly cost-prohibitive? I’ll bet she’d be singing a different tune.

The rules do change when you’re living together, engaged, or married. If I’m paying $3000/month rent and my fiance lives in my room and can’t afford to contribute much to our monthly expenses, that’s fine.

If her car gets dinged and she’s too cash-poor to fix it, I’ll offer a loan, which she may or may not repay.

Hell, this year, my wife underdeclared her taxes and I had to spend a decent chunk of change to make it right with the IRS. Was I thrilled? No. But that’s the sacrifice of marriage. That’s what you do in a partnership.

The bigger issue, Bob, is this: the RIGHT woman doesn’t WANT you to bail her out. The right woman wouldn’t ASK you to subsidize her education and strain your finances.

Think about what would happen if you were to break up with her. Would she be homeless? Would she have to quit school? Would she have to get a different job? Would she have to move to a cheaper place? Whatever it is, she is fully responsible for herself. And by taking responsibility for HER lack of finances, you are the enabler who allows this to continue…and then you resent her for it.

The RIGHT woman doesn’t WANT you to bail her out. The right woman wouldn’t ASK you to subsidize her education and strain your finances.

If you think this woman is your future wife, then perhaps this is a sacrifice that you want to make on her behalf. But if she’s not, I’d put a stop to it right this second.

So, in answer to your question: “Am I wrong?”: if you’re wrong about anything, it’s in being TOO generous with a woman who is perfectly content in exploiting your generosity.

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  1. 121

    You are an ATM machine. hahahahaha

    1. 121.1

      Spoken like a man.  A greedy man.

  2. 122

    I am kind of dating my ex husband.  I raised our daughter alone since he wanted out of our marriage and chose to have very little to do with our daughter.  I have worked multiple jobs, one the same for over 20 years and have struggled to get by all of my daughter’s life.  My daughter and I have lived at the poverty level.  I have a mortgage and lots of bills I can’t pay.  He owns two homes and two cottages mortgage free and has never had to pay a mortgage.  My daughter was not transported by him anywhere throughout her childhood.  I have a 2006 focus sitting in the yard with 215,000 miles on it.  The brakes are done.  I am sick to my stomach because I won’t be able to pay to get them fixed and will be without a car.  He has 67,000 miles on his car.  Why????????  Because he transported our daughter nowhere.  I think the law should stop men from getting away with this kind of thing and I think he should offer to pay for half of my car repair or help me to buy a new car.  I wore mine out transporting a daughter that he walked away from.  My advice to this girl is to run away from this guy quickly.  Greed will cause nothing but suffering for her forever.  If they do get married, she will end up paying her own way for everything.  I have done the work of raising our daughter every single day and I have gone without basic necessities while my ex carried on his life in bachelor style.  This girl should recognize that the courts allow this and if she marries him and then divorces him, he can walk away almost scot-free.  Love should be more important than money and if it isn’t, then that guy is a greedy jerk. 

  3. 123
    Jackson Ludwig

    I’m going through almost the exact same scenario.  After dating my gf for about 1.5 yrs, she decided to go back to school on a scholarship, and also receives student loans.  Lately she’s been cross with me because I’m not leaping at the chance to help her out and throw her some dollars, yet at the same time, I’m trying to pay off my own debt, as well as money I already spent on us on a vacation.  She told me it was a cultural thing, and that in Asian culture a guy would leap at the chance to financially help their significant other.  A few weeks back after lots of arguments, I decided to throw her some money and she was very happy about it, but I fear I’ve opened the flood gates.   To be fair, however, when she does have money, she’s always good about helping me out or repaying me.  
    For me, it goes back to entitlement.  What person  feels they are entitled to another person’s money?  I mean..if I offer it on my own accord fine…but to get mad at me because I didn’t offer it seems backwards.  I fear if I give any more money I will be used. 

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