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

Two people in the kitchen are calculating the financial business

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 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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  1. 1

    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.

    1. 1.1


    2. 1.2

      Yes, I agreed 100%.

    3. 1.3

      I was in the same situation ….I finely dump him .You have rock on you back that will sink you . Run ….that’s my advise to you .

      1. 1.3.1

        I was in the same situation,   he didn’t pay for groceries or clean up when I cooked every night. He flat out refused to get another job. Grass doesn’t grow under my feet. And I realized I can’t stand a man where grass will grow under his. I left him and now have a wonderful man that totally supports me and cooks and cleans. I enjoy doing for him because that makes him a great guy


    4. 1.4
      The MAN

      This guy sounds like a joker. Nicest guy? Lazy is anything but nice. I bust my ass at 2 jobs, pulling in 3x what my partner makes, pay 90% of the bills AND I make breakfast and dinner every single day and clean the damn house. Then I still find time for the kids and to take the lady on dates. That’s a REAL man.

      However, if you asked my wife, she would reply that she accomplishes all of this somehow from her seated position on the couch while watching real housewives a majority of the day. Delusional thoughts from fantasy island… So first ask yourself how much you ACTUALLY do.

      People with no ambition are no better than a dog, in fact, they are more costly and don’t listen nearly as well. I own 2 dogs.

      1. 1.4.1
        Brooke Jones


      2. 1.4.2

        I agree with you 100%.

      3. 1.4.3

        Sorry MAN, but you sound a little resentful yourself.

      4. 1.4.4

        Curious – what do you even like about your wife? It sounds like you do so much and not only does she not see it, but somehow thinks she does the same thing. Do you have kids, if that’s the reason you’re staying?

        1. Sammy

          To be fair, I would be resentful too if I had a partner like that. Although I wouldn’t even use the word ‘partner’ since that suggests you are a team.

          I’m sick of watching so many gold-diggers and lazy women leech off men while I work my ass off every day and can’t even get a man to date me! It’s almost as if men these days have been trained to only date/marry parasites. I get to listen to married guy after married guy complain to me about their wives, and get to have women like this ask me to hook them up with richer men I know (I work with wealthy clients). All the while I’m left wondering why I’m so repulsive to men in comparison. It’s hard not to feel just a tiny bit resentful after so many years of the same thing.

    5. 1.5


      I could not have said it better!


    6. 1.6

      👏👏👏👏 Absolutely on point.

    7. 1.7

      She is better off by herself! The “boyfriend” has it easy. Let’s see how well he would be doing if he was paying rent, a car payment and child support without her help. He is a mooch! Definitely not a good role model to have around her kids.

    8. 1.8

      I’m in the same situation. My son’s father live with me and he quit his job 9 years ago and he never went back to work. He said he injured his back on his job, and his job paid him disability benefits for about 3 years and when that ran out he started getting SSI because he was not eligible for SSDI. It do not seem like he is disabled at home he runs up and down steps, Walk down the steps without holding on to anything and walk long distances. That do not sound like he have a disability, to me it sound like he is milking the system. I been on my job for 11 years and I get up everyday and go to work while he enjoys a stress free life. Our monthly bills are $2300 per month and he only give me $400 per month and my 20 year old son give me $300 per month for room and board and my son have autism and is unable to live on his own. I also have a 17 year old daughter that’s in her last year of school. I have a lot on my plate. Also our 11 year old son need braces now. I only bring home per month from my job 2200 per month. And I also by every and anything we need for our house and the kids once I’m done with that and pay my student loans I have no money for myself. This is beginning to be too much for me to see him sitting on his butt. He also proposed to me 10 years ago without a ring. This is too much for me.

    9. 1.9
      Yo its me

      Right! They need to live separately or become strictly roomates!

  2. 2

    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.

    1. 2.1

      Your math is incorrect.   You mean, the ex’s child support, plus her half of the child support (based on the percentage of her income), then they shouldn’t split the rest at all.   It’s not his fault she has a lot of bills and has a high mortgage. ($600 should be accurate because that’s probably what he was paying when he had a small apartment)   It’s not like he even gets his own room, he has to share a bedroom with her.   I’m sure she lets him watch her kids for her too and pick them up from school and drop them off.   How much does she pay him for that?

      1. 2.1.1

          “It’s not like he even gets his own room, he has to share a bedroom with her.” They’re a couple not freaking roommates. What’d you expect?  

        1. Jazzy

          Agreed that was a dumb statement for that they might as well just be roommates.

      2. 2.1.2

        They rented the small house and picked it out together! Please read it thoroughly. He is a joke! Lazy and most likely a mama’s boy. As we mothers tend to coddle our sons. They have been together 2 years, then decided to move in together. Note 4 months later he is not contributing equally or even a third of the bills and doesn’t cook or clean. She works 2 jobs with 2 kids and pays $2400 of the bills plus, cooks and cleans. How can you even fathom what you wrote? You obviously didn’t read this whole post!

        1. S

          I agree with you 100%

        2. DoTheMathToo

          Dear Urignorant.

          There are two problems here. One is contributing to taking care of the house and kids in terms of time and energy. This is a question of generousity, and of hours… picking up the kids from school, taking them to activities, etc. If there is nothing there, there is nothing there, and that is a big problem.

          The second problem is financial. The story in his head is that he contributes financially to his kids, and her ex husband contributes to her kids, so there is a “karmic balance”. The story in her head is that she is alone to pay for and do everything… there is a focus on everything he doesn’t pay or do rather than what he does pay or does do.

          He has 600 dollars. He is going to pay 1/3 of the bills. The bills are 2400 dollars.

          He is going to pay 1000 dollars (1/3) instead of 1500. (1/2)

          He has 600 dollars to contribute to running a household. One that is more expensive because of her kids. He is already going to have to do something to not start in the hole from day one.

          We have to look at the math and the feelings, because you can’t just legislate higher payments if there is no money. Aside from emasculating the boyfriend and venting, I am not sure what outcomes you expect from demanding equal payments.

          IMHO, the focus should be on how the bf can make more money and/or how he can better support the gf if she is simply more capable of making money than he is.

        3. Silje

          What a waste of time investing such a   selfish. I can’t even see him as a man. He is there to get almost everything for free. Would be nicer if he cook or clean. He needs a Mother not a wife or a woman in his life. But it’s all up to you if you want to let him continue doing that. But anyway goodluck!

        4. maureen

          When a woman has a child, and wants a serious relationship, or rather HE wants one with her, her children are part of that. There is no “mine, his, hers, BS..”, it’s OURS!! He needs to step up to the plate or end the relationship and date someone with no kids. Sounds like he’s a child himself. He may be sweet and kind, but he doesn’t sound like a grown up, and that woman and her kids need a grown up around to grow a future with. This guy is temporary and needs go back to the playground. And this woman needs to end this immature relationship!! It’s not healthy for her and the kids in the long run.

      3. 2.1.3

        And why would he get his own room when they are a couple? Your comment is ignorant in every way possible. You must be one of those freeloaders dan! Seriously, your way of thinking is what’s wrong with this world. Your blatant ignorance and arrogance it’s amusing and comical. Anyone who thinks he shouldn’t have to contribute equally is wrong. He knew who he was moving in with, his significant other! They share a room (duh)! He should be cleaning and cooking 50% of the time no matter what. Especially since he is not man enough to help support the family he wanted to have (they are not his but wanted and chose to be with her and move in with her and her kids) in a house they picked out TOGETHER! He is just an example of how men think we should still cook and clean and now they want us to pay all the bills and take care of the kids too! Sick!

        1. Georgia Woolery

          Back in the day, people called the free loaders, squatters, lol… I have one of those also! Trying to make the decision.. takes full advantage of me. I’m just trying to get my children raised with help. Co-parenting!! Lol..

        2. Missy

          Whoa! 👏👏👏👏Thank YOU!!

        3. S

          I agree with you 100%

        4. Anonymous

          Thank you! I’m not crazy. This is my current situation.

      4. 2.1.4

        why she wants to be with him? she can just walk away! if she feels that he is not in the same path … ask him to leave! how simple it is .. or she leaves and bring her children with her, moves somewhere else. She is not a tree! she is freely to go and to choose what is the best for her.

        Why the guy has to pay for her children and why she also expect the guy to clean the house .. then she needs a maid not a boyfriend.

      5. 2.1.5

        If you become involved with someone who has children, you know what you’re getting into and you are taking on that responsibility. You don’t get to decide to be with a mother and not be a parent to the kids. So yes he is responsible just as equally as her. She mentioned she had her own place too and was managing just fine. It was a consensual agreement to move in together. He knew it would cost more and still agreed.


      6. 2.1.6
        Naomi banks

        Lmao 600??????? Where do you even find a one bedroom for nearly close to 600??? Maybe in the hood at a government assistance home . 600 is maybe one bedroom if your lucky in California . This guys a bum kick his ass out girl to girl advice !

        1. Sherri


      7. 2.1.7

        They are in a relationship. I would hate to see what you’re relationships are like. ‍♀️

    2. 2.2

      men who think like that shouldn’t date mothers in the first place. If you come into this family then your basically excepting some of the responsibility of those kids it’s a package deal . If not date single childless women only make your own amd support them .  

      1. 2.2.1

        that’s exactly right. Why date a woman with responsibilities such as kids and then move into a home together? He’s taking advantage of her and benefitting off of her children support to minimize his portion of paying. If after his truck payment he only has $600 to pay towards bills, how is he paying for upkeep if vehicle, gas, clothes, fast food, hanging out, and all those other expenditures. He’s a freeloader and using her kids as reason to get out of his fair share. There’s a difference between bf and roommate and he’s living both lives.

        1. Naomi banks

          You said that right !!!!!! First of all for him to even think he’s not “responsible “ for taking care of her kids well then why did he get involved ???? So when they ask him for things is he going to say he’s not “responsible “ to buy these kids things !!! I swear if a guy told me that I would slap him straight in the face and kick his ass out !!!!! Your kids should be considered his life as well if he didn’t want to be “ responsible “ or have anything to do with him then that should be YOUR ANSWER AS A MOM TO LEAVE HIM ! Seems like he’s finding excuse after excuse sweetly don’t be blind there’s way to many men out here ewe he sounds disgusting I wouldn’t even want to give him any I would’ve so turned off yuck

        2. Spuds

          OMG thank you! My bf of 9 yrs last night got into an argument over money. He doesnt make as much as I do but makes enought to cover what needs to be covered with enough left over for fun food gas whatever….he cooks and cleans. We live on a tight budget. Dont go out much. He wants me to pay more for everything since I get child support. I can barely pay all my bills, sports, rent, etc with my salary and support. I feel like I have a roommate. He just started working and thinks hes entitled to his whole check. I cant even ask for him to pick up milk half the time. He doesnt like how much our rent is but I have looked for cheaper and if he contributed more or with out argumenet we could get a better place that would make us all happy. he made me feel like my kid is not important to him. He wants to be called step daddy but doesnt want to pitch him and teach my son how to be a man. when he does contribute he throws it in my face later that he has no money and I want to live this high fancy life style that he cant afford. which is not true. we live check to check. and the fanciest thing weve done in 9 years is camping or went to catalina and stayed in the cheapest hotel for my birthday which i paid for.

  3. 3

    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

    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.

    1. 4.1

      I so agree

    2. 4.2

      Why the man should pay anything?

      What if the man who is in her position? would that fair if she pays only 600$ … surely everyone says yes! because the children are his responsible, right?

  5. 5

    “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

      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

    2. 5.2

      I think that was a general comment, not a negative one towards his wife. He meant she doesn’t HAVE to work and she is lucky and he is lucky that their in that financial position to where she can devote her time to her kids.

    3. 5.3

      Thank you.   I was thinking the same thing.

    4. 5.4

      Upper class/upper middle class women don’t have that bone to pick.   Saying, “I don’t work.” “She doesn’t work.” isn’t insulting to a big slice of the population.

  6. 6

    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

    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.

    1. 7.1

      Perhaps if he’s short on cash he could have just gone to a cemetery, and see if anyone left any flowers.   That way he can afford to give the money-grubbing woman her money, because that’s all she really wants at the end-of-the-day.   I’m sure he watches her kids while she’s working her 2 jobs, but that doesn’t even enter into the equation.   I don’t see any posts that take that into consideration I doubt she’s picking them up, dropping them off and paying for daycare.

      1. 7.1.1

        the “money grubbing” woman also works two jobs & does all the chores & buys the groceries etc. I wish i had a sweet deal where all I had to do was work one job, not do any chores, get free food, buy flowers “when i can” and all I had to do was pick up kids (if that is the case. The story doesn’t specify). Oh, and especially make sure to not do any chores. That’s key. Live with someone who works two jobs, pays five times the bills and I’ve got to make sure not to do any chores because I’m the nicest guy in the world. She’s just a moneygrubbing woman.

      2. 7.1.2

        Instead of bashing her about being money hungry (Dan) feel her frustration …. Ok yes she gets child support that pays for the daycare that he “drops them off at” clothing, food,sports, or anything else that you do for your kids….and on top of that it sounds like she is going everything it take to make sure she has extra spending money with is what you gotta do in life… On top of coming home cooking, cleaning. relationship are suppose to be 50/50 and when you get with someone that has kids then you do help take care of them…. And I can say that I’ve been in a   similar   situation with my kids dad but I was the only one working, cooking, cleaning and he was abusive to   us and now we’re not together and I don’t get child support… My boyfriend pays out 1,000 dollars a month for 2 kid and I don’t agree with the child support laws that’s way to much… we are   struggling and I to am doing all the cooking, cleaning and I’m looking for a second job so   therefore I feel the same way ….. If you don’t have any nice helpful commits maybe you shouldn’t commit…

  8. 8

    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

    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

    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

    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

      You have worded my sentiment better than

    2. 12.2

      Absolutely accurate! Well said Cory. What makes a man?

    3. 12.3

      perfectly stated!

    4. 12.4

      OH YES!! Ding ding ding!! Well said and I agree. A womans ability to work and earn a living should not and does not diminish what women expect of a M.A.N.

    5. 12.5

      It’s not even about gender. It’s about expectations and it has nothing to do with so called enlightenment either as previous generations were not necessarily arbitrarily close minded about those things. They centered survival abilities and divided tasks accordingly. That’s about proportion.

      The central issue is their respective budgets. Don’t move in with someone before discussing your budgets. They should contribute based on their time and availability. It has nothing to do with arbitrary enlightenment but sharing responsibilities. We have read men talking about how women they date not attempting to pay even once and constantly demanding to be taken out even their incomes wouldn’t allow it. As for moving in, they should openly discuss their budgets and time beforehand rather than figuring out what she/he must do and resent it.

    6. 12.6

      Well said Cory I 100% agree

  13. 13

    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.

    1. 13.1

      Yuri, I agree mostly but want to clarify. Her article said 3600 is for rent, utilities AND food. Not just rent in some lavish home. If i read between the lines she is saying when things come up, its on her to pay. Need new blinds/curtains/bedding…anything she has to pay. I also disagree with “she is caring for three and he is caring for one” meaning he should contribute at least 1/4. They are in a relationship as a couple. They together are responsible for the kids as committed adults. Also the kids dont work so they really shouldnt be a part of the monetary equation. We have two adults who should pay 50/50 or they could pay 40/60 based on their salaries worst case. BEST CASE they should be a unit. They should take their combined salaries add it up and that is how much “they” make “together”. Then they should pay out all bills and other things according to their budget as well as determine what the workload around the house is and determine who will do what around the house. Now with that being in a similar situation and feel the same way she does however i would not even complain at all if he stepped up around the house. It’s not about the money for me its about the contribution to the family…step up and do more so I dont have to be stressed about paying everything, managing all the kids sports and school breaks, and all the unexpected issues INCLUDING paying for his car when it needs repair, and cooking and washing the dishes and working site jobs and taking care of the baby we have together. At some point you think what is the point? I could be single and do all of this myself. BUT if he just stepped up around the house you wouldnt even complain. IJS. wow..that got long…lol

  14. 14

    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

    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.

    1. 15.1

      Sounds logical!!! I agree.

    2. 15.2

      You’re a fool! You don’t need a new house. You need a new MAN!!!! He’s using you all up and taking advantage of you. Women shouldn’t even HAVE TO work!! He’s poor and has found himself a dummy that’s paying his way. What are you benifitting from sleeping with him?!? NOTHING. You’re working and contributing like a whole should. Tsk tsk tsk

  16. 16

    @ 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

      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

    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.

    1. 18.1
      Emerald Green

      In my life experience, resentment is a seed that takes root and grows. As a woman who has dealt with resentment over what I knew were unfair financial issues in a relationship; I can’t say that once it began to grow that I was ever successful uprooting it.

      Finances play a big part in relationships. I agree with you that if possible, it would be wise for her to go back to maintaining her own home. The boyfriend can visit and bring flowers. Chances are that she will meet another very nice loving man who is capable of meeting her half way if not further.


      1. 18.1.1

        spot on!

    2. 18.2

      I agree!

  19. 19

    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

    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


      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.

      1. 20.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        To Evan at #20:
        yes and when the stay-at-home mother goes away to visit someone, do NOT pre-cook dinner or do extra laundry or shopping or get another mother to ferry the kids around “so he won’t have to”, because then he never knows all the work that is required.
        And go for half a week or longer. One day isn’t enough to let the mess pile up, and run out of milk and clean kids’ clothes, and learn to plan school lunches, and defrost meat for dinner, and…

        1. Leslie Davis

          I came to this website for answers because I was in a similar situation and just recently booted him we still had a $300 utility bill that he should be personally responsible for but he’s not he says he doesn’t have the money for it. Being a smart woman I’ve learned over the years that you have to be self-sufficient and can’t really depend on anybody else to do anything for you our society has gone on way too long with this messed-up belief that somehow everything should be 50/50 y’all have made this man be able to pick up her children and he is not even done this for her if you reread her paragraph he’s paying the third of the bills because he feels that with her children there she should be responsible for more what happens when her children leave will he then pay half when does a woman finally say enough is enough before she lets go of a freeloader user and abuser who happens to be the best man that she’s ever met maybe so but he’s standing in the way of a better one that you have yet to met. Move out and leave him with 100%. Single mothers should be able to save as well so some of you math logic here just doesnt matter because his money is going into his asset, his truck. Which ag in no where did she says he uses it to pick them up. Boot him or go . mothers please raise your boys better. Sloth like ways are spoken in the bible for a reason. As is why they say money is also the root to all evil. Women unite take back our freedom by declaring no more freebies. We dont owe them especially if they arent giving it.

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