- 3 years ago
- Wedding: October 2014
Hi bees. FI and I are running into some sticky financial times and I’m really needing advice.
When we got engaged, I was aware of the fact that he had some outstanding debt–medical bills and student loan debt. He guesstimated the debt was less than what it actually amounted to. On top of that, I make about double what he makes (and I would call my salary very modest–but I work in an office environment and he has more blue collar work). While I make about double what he makes, I wind up paying two-thirds of our bills, and our arrangement has worked out so far. Previous to living with him, I lived alone, so I was used to paying all the bills on my own. I figured I’d rather pay more bills now and allow him to pay down his debts and contribute to his savings. The problem is he hasn’t started to do either of those things, and he’s constantly coming up short. I pay rent and utilities and his contribution is paying for groceries, but a lot of times I wind up stopping at the store to pick up things we need because he either forgot to get things or can’t afford them. We both also just exchanged birthday gifts (we have back-to-back birthdays) and I knew what I was getting him was going to cost more than what he got me, but I was surprised at how little what he got me cost. I spent about $250 on him and he spent about $40 on me. A gift is a gift is a gift, but reciprocity has always been important to me. In fact, in previous relationships, I’ve always set gift “budgets” to ensure that one of us isn’t going overboard and making the other feel guilty for spending less. I didn’t suggest that with FI because I knew I’d be spending more, and I was okay with that. He doesn’t seem to recognize the huge price difference though. If it were me, coming from my values and my past, I’d feel guilty accepting a gift that costs 5x as much as the gift I bought somebody else, and I’d say something about it. I’d at least say, “I know what you got me cost a lot more, and I really appreciate that. Unfortunately I don’t have the money to reciprocate but I still wanted to get you something nice for your birthday,”…blah blah blah.
Every time I think about this, I feel like a spoiled brat, and it’s preventing me from confronting him about it. I can’t help but feel like these financial troubles are going to follow us into our marriage. He talks about picking up a part time job to help pay for things but I have yet to see him apply for one. I asked him if he was happy with our relationship and if he saw any room for improvement, and regarding finances, all he said was, “I wish I had the means to save more.” He didn’t address the fact that I pay the lion’s share of the bills. It seems like it doesn’t even bother him–he’s just accepted it for what it is. Meanwhile I feel like my ability to save is hindered by the fact that I’m putting so much money towards bills each month, and it’s slowly making me resent him.
He also owes his ex-roommates something like $300 and refuses to pay them. It bothers me that he’s the kind of person that knowingly f**ks people over. These are things I didn’t realize about him before we got engaged. I’m not saying that I don’t want to marry him, but I want to have an open discussion about our money issues without making him feel bad for the fact that he makes less money. The last thing I want is for him to feel like he has to be defensive. Conversations like this in the past have turned into him saying things like, “I’m sorry I’m such a loser. I’m sorry I didn’t finish college like you did. I’m sorry I don’t make as much money as you do,” and I don’t want that. I just want to know that he strives to be more–for himself, and for us. Me paying all the bills with what my income level is is not something I see as maintainable in the long-term. I just want him to know how I feel, and I want to feel like he has gratitude for the financial help I’ve given him and will continue to give him.
I still feel like I’m a brat, though. 🙁 He’s not a bad guy. He’s so sweet, so loving–he cooks for me, he packs my lunch before work, he wakes up early to fix me breakfast, he does the majority of the housework. He is certainly not lazy, I wouldn’t even call him unmotivated–it’s just that he’s been running from his problems, especially his financial problems, for all of his life, and now he’s having to face them, and I don’t think he knows how. How do I nudge him in the right direction?