I'm in a relationship now where my boyfriend pays for everything, and I mean everything. Restaurants, bars, the rent, utilities, clothes, presents, it's all on his tab. It makes sense, I guess, since he makes a lot more money than I do. I'm still looking for a job after college, and even my senior year he was paying for a lot of stuff. He says it doesn't bother him.
I wouldn't really have so much of a problem with it (of course not!) if it wasn't for the fact that he gets mad at me every now and then when I'm slow with the wallet. Once, we were at a bar, and I was going to pay but they didn't accept debit cards. I asked him if I could borrow some money and that I'd pay him back, and he got all frustrated. He said he was tired of having to pay for everything and wanted me to be responsible, but then when I paid him back the next day, he got all frustrated again and told me not to insult him, he likes paying for everything. We've already had a few disagreements like this.
I don't know, are there just some issues here that he needs to work on? Am I clueless about money? I don't really care if we ever go out to eat or if we live in the kind of apartment I can afford all on my own (a hovel), I just don't want to fight about this anymore!
So you've got a generous daddy who's sending mixed messages about his money. As Liza sang in Cabaret, "Money makes the world go 'round! That clinking clanking sound!" I've answered questions on how money can affect relationships before, and it's something that I've honestly struggled with in my own relationships. What it comes down to is communication.
Money is power. And skewed power relationships are easily the fastest way to screw up a romantic relationship. I'm a personal believer in egalitarian relationships. Egalitarian parenting, egalitarian sex, and of course, egalitarian purchasing choices. In an ideal situation, MM, you and your beau would be able to communicate open and honestly about your finances and both give equal proportions (as relative to your incomes) to your communal activities, housing, etc. Unfortunately, this world that we live in is very seldom ideal, and it sounds like your boyfriend isn't being honest about his feelings about money and who pays.
His economic flip-flopping is puzzling and leads me to believe that paying isn't really the issue here. Clearly, when he tells you he doesn't mind paying, he's lying through his teeth. And, hey, it's possible that at the beginning of your relationship, he didn't mind being your sugar daddy, but has become more anxious about the growing gap between your places in your life journeys. I assume your boyfriend is older than you, and has been working and therefore has a greater amount of economic stability. What once may have been a minor nagging in the back of his head may have grown into an anxious realization that you two are in different places in your lives. Maybe he feels old, maybe he's concerned that you'll never "grow up." Who knows, but it all starts with communication.
Aside from talking it through, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the actual money issues.
1. Pay for yourself - Instead of having one person picking up the tab for an outing, try and pay for each of your own costs. Paying for your half of dinner will let you show your boyfriend that you can be responsible for yourself and help ease the weight on his wallet.
2. Choose different activities - Some of the reasons why you may be slow to the wallet may because you're living beyond your means to an extent. Since you're used to your boyfriend paying for you, you might consider choosing more cost effective activities that will be easier for your to jump up and pay for.
The best thing to do is talk to him about it. It's clear he's pretty passive aggressive and a direct confrontation is the best way to deal with that. Good luck!
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