Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “Should My Boyfriend Help Pay My Rent?”

From the forums:

Love or money

My man and I have been together for a while (almost a year), and we have talked about living together. My lease renewal on my apartment has come up, and I had every intention of just letting it renew for a full year, but my boyfriend wants to move in together later this year and has asked me many times over the course of the last two months if I could go month-to-month. I had initially said no because my landlord’s policy on month-to-month involves paying an extra $100 every month. (I live alone and my boyfriend has a roommate, so I already pay much more than he does and the extra rent definitely doesn’t help me on saving money.) However, I’ve had a change of heart as our relationship becomes more serious and I can start seeing a future together, so I ultimately decided to go month-to-month to leave open the option of moving in together when we want to. Several of my friends feel that it’s not unreasonable to ask him to cover the cost — or at least half of it since this was his request/idea in the first place. He says the fee is not his responsibility. Am I within reason to ask that he help pay that extra fee, or do I not have a leg to stand on? — Renewed

You are within reason to ask him to help pay the extra fee and he is within reason to be a dipshit and tell you it’s all your responsibility and you are within reason to say, “Fuck that,” and call off moving in together. This is a red flag and a big warning sign of what your future with this guy could look like. When a partner can’t imagine financially contributing to something that benefits both people — like this apartment fee, for example, or birth control, as another example — it does not bode well in the long-term. This is someone who is looking out for himself first. He’s the kind of guy who, if you were planning a weekend getaway, would ask you to drive because he wants to nap and then tell you he’s not going to pay for the gas because it’s your car you’re taking.

If you don’t break up with him over this, I hope you will at least proceed with caution. Renew your lease and explain to your boyfriend that you aren’t comfortable paying an extra $100 a month simply because he wants you to move in with him on his timetable. If he’s still interested in living with you when your lease is up next year, you can talk then, but for now you’re going to renew your lease and stay put for at least twelve more months. That should be enough time for you to see some more red flags, which I predict your boyfriend will proudly wave in your face at some point.
 

I’m currently a freshman in college living in the dorms. I know that by the end of April I will need to have found a a new place to live. I have a boyfriend that I have been in a relationship with for a year now and have wanted so badly to move in with him for months as I have pretty much already been living with him. The problem is that my family — especially my mother — disagrees on moving in with him. I tried to explain to her the pros of moving in with him. He’s offering to pay for everything. (I plan on helping out, but he says I don’t need to feel pressured to do so.) Second, we would be living near the college campus. If I live with my mom, it would be an hour and a half drive to class every day which seems unreasonable. These clearly aren’t the reasons I’m moving in with him, but, in order for my mother to let me move in with him peacefully, she needed reasons other than “young love.”

This is the first time that my mom and I have ever disagreed on something and the first time that I’ve spoken out about my opinion and she didn’t take it well. I am the baby of the family so I’m thinking maybe part of her isn’t ready to accept that I want to start a life on my own. She likes my boyfriend a lot and he gets along with my whole family. She just doesn’t want us moving in together and, once she has decided something, she also dictates how the rest of the family should feel as well. In the end, it is my decision and I will probably move in with him. I just can’t seem to figure out a way to do so peacefully or without seeming like a disobedient daughter. — Not a Disobedient Daughter

 
Don’t move in with your boyfriend. Not yet. At your age there’s so much that can change and evolve, and you would benefit greatly not only from having your own space to escape to but also from being more easily able to end things if the relationship suddenly goes south. There’s also a lot to be said for fostering a little independence, especially if you think this guy is the one you want to spend your life with. Moving in with someone at your age, with literally zero experience living on your own, and then letting him pay for everything, sets up a very unhealthy precedent of dependence and power imbalance. Instead of moving in with him, stay in the dorms another year or find a roommate to share an apartment with close to campus. You can continue spending most of your time with your boyfriend, while establishing some independence and maintaining a strong relationship with your family.

If you are dead-set on moving in with your boyfriend, you’ll need to accept that there will be consequences. One of those consequences will be disappointing your mother. I predict that won’t be the worst consequence. Before you make this potentially bad decision, I urge you to read this post I wrote on the 15 things every couple should do before moving in together. Couples twice your age have referred to that post and for good reason. This is an adult decision with adult consequences. If you can’t even figure out how to deal with a disappointed mother, I wonder how you’re going to navigate some of the bigger consequences that will arise when two people share an address.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

37 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MoeP February 25, 2016, 10:11 am

    My take on the first letter is that, while I think it is reasonable he pay the $100, and I think he DOES sound selfish, I think they both seem to be going into this as two separate people with separate needs and separate finances who think in terms of “How much do I owe you and how much do you owe me,” rather than, “How are we going to make this happen for us?” I think it would be very important to ALSO talk about what would happen once they DO live together and to ask who rent and other expenses would be divided then.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Bcamber February 25, 2016, 10:14 am

    It really has never occurred to me to ask any of my boyfriends to pay for half of my birth control pills. And I don’t think I would- yes it benefits both parties but if I was taking it before I met him, would continue taking it after, I dunno it just seems like something that’s between me and my doctor. Maybe if I hadn’t been on the pill and my BF and I jointly decided that that’s how we would contracept, maybe?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      wobster109 February 25, 2016, 10:39 am

      Agree with you on if you were already taking it. I think (with anything) it makes a big difference who is pushing to change whose mind. Like, “I got a dog and was perfectly fine financially with my dog and now BF enjoys playing with dog” is a very different situation from “BF pressured me repeatedly to adopt a dog even though I repeatedly said I couldn’t afford to care for one”.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 10:43 am

        Yeah, I agree, I think it makes more sense for someone who wasn’t on BC already, you started as a couple with condoms, and then you both decide to do something other than condoms. Assuming you were both buying the condoms, which in my experience has usually been the case (we each kept our own home stocked), then why would BC be any different? You’re both benefiting from it, so it makes sense that you would both contribute to the cost.

        Link
    • avatar

      SpaceySteph February 25, 2016, 11:23 am

      I never thought to do this either, although I also never paid for my BC out of pocket…

      I think that in a committed long term relationship, its not a bad to discuss the cost of BC and how it’s paid, along with other things like why you use the method you use vs other methods. Idk… just because you used it when you were single doesn’t mean you can’t renegotiate during a long term relationship. I also like the idea that sharing the financial load forces the guy to take more ownership/responsibility for preventing pregnancy. Only because I think that guys get off easy on that subject currently and it SHOULDN’T be all on a woman. That’s one reason I liked condoms– it forces both people to be conscious and involved in contraception.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 11:35 am

        I always used condoms when I was single (and even after we were married for a few years!) and that’s one of the things I really liked. I paid for the ones at my place, he paid for the ones at his place. He ended up paying for more because we stayed at his place more, but then again I had to pay for gas etc to go there, so it still worked out well.

        Link
      • avatar

        ktfran February 25, 2016, 2:06 pm

        I’m currently in the condom boat. I buy and keep my apartment stocked, the guy keeps his. My yearly gyno appointment is in April and I’m going to discuss my options with her. I’m confident the guy, if I ask, will help with whatever we decide will work best for us.

        Link
      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl February 25, 2016, 11:52 am

        I agree on the long term. Radiostar had asked if he could contribute after we had the “exclusive” talk, but it was a nonissue because mine is free. Good to know he would pony up though. I think even my ex husband paid half when we were dating before it was free

        Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy February 25, 2016, 11:51 am

      Yeah, I’m mostly referring to women who decide to start taking birth control in response to/after starting a relationship (though sharing the cost certainly be discussed at any time, regardless of how long a woman’s been on the birth control). It’s bad enough there are so many fewer birth control options for men and that the onus of responsibility falls on women; why should we be further penalized by being financially responsible for the whole thing, too? This is absolutely a feminist issue and if you’re a woman who started taking birth control after you got serious with someone, you should be asking for help paying for it, especially if you’re paying out-of-pocket!

      Reply Link
      • Portia

        Portia February 25, 2016, 12:55 pm

        This was a tricky issue for us to navigate, especially when I became fed up with my birth control options. Even though I took birth control before entering my relationship, there was a time before birth control was free when I brought up sharing costs, because I was the only one shouldering the physical and financial costs for something that benefited us both. In part, this was because I was considering no hormonal birth control or an IUD as options. I’m also eagerly awaiting the reversible male birth control shot/procedure/whatever it may be, especially because it may make this type of conversation a more equal one in the future…

        Link
  • avatar

    Northern Star February 25, 2016, 10:17 am

    LW 1, listen to Wendy. “Not my responsibility?” Then not your problem, because you’re staying put…

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    SpaceySteph February 25, 2016, 10:32 am

    For LW1, I agree overall with Wendy’s advice– this is definitely a red flag. I do wonder though, if how she addressed it contributed to the problem. If she’s like “Susie and Betty totally think you should be paying the extra $100 since it was your idea to go month to month” then yeah, I’d be put off by that, too. But if she brought it up in context of her finances and her needing to save an emergency fund (remember that Fuck Off Fund article? You need one!) and he was still dismissive, then yup, red red flag.

    For LW2, oh my gosh DO NOT MOVE IN WITH HIM. If you need to get an apartment near school rather than live at home, get roommates. You couldn’t tell your mom “young love” is the reason because you know it’s a bad reason. But so are your other reasons. Keep dating him, fine, but also keep making sure you are forging your own path and making your own friends, your own life.
    Trust me, sleeping over regularly is so not the same thing as living together all the time, 24/7, cleaning their toothpaste scum out of the sink and knowing when they poop. Also I think if you are already “practically” living with him, do you have friends of your own? Are you involved in extracurriculars? Get out there!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 10:39 am

    Totally agree with Wendy on the first one. He’s the one who pushed the situation where you have to spend more, but he doesn’t see it as his responsibility in any way? If I’d pushed my bf to take on an extra cost to benefit me, I’d automatically think we should split it, even if we hadn’t discussed it before. This would be a red flag for me. I think he’s not seeing you as a unit.

    On the second one, definitely do not move in and let him pay for everything. You’re not his child. If you move in, pay your part. Although I agree with Wendy that it would be better to not move in with him for now. If he’s the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, then you’ll have plenty of time to live with him later. Being away at school is a time of change, and you need the freedom to become the person you’re going to become. Being a dependent to your boyfriend is going to limit how much you can experience, and how independent you can come.

    Reply Link
  • Diablo

    Diablo February 25, 2016, 10:48 am

    Wow, you are planning on living with someone and he is going to sweat 50 bucks a month? Is he gonna count how many cornflakes you eat compared to him and then ask you to pay for 2/3 of the box? Will he offer to pay for more than half the internet because he is on it more than you? “Not my responsibility” is one of my least favourite phrases for a successful relationship. We are all each others’ responsibility all the time, people. We need to realize this. If you can’t deal with that in your own relationship, how are you going to be a halfway worthwhile citizen of this shrinking planet?

    Reply Link
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 25, 2016, 11:45 am

    Wendy’s example, maybe fictional, for the first LW of the guy asking a partner to drive when going on a trip so he could nap and then telling her it was her car and so she had to pay for the gas reminded of a true story of a former roommate. Her husband borrowed her car and wrecked it and then told her that since it was her car it was her responsibility to get it repaired and her responsibility to find an alternate way to get to work. LW, think about it. That’s the type of guy you are dealing with in this situation. There is no we in his outlook. He is out for himself. He wants you to financially shoulder the extra cost that lets the two of you move in on his schedule, due to his lease. This is all about him. Only consider moving in together when the two of you are a we and an us. When decisions are joint and mutually decided and you mutually share the burdens and perks. I think this situation clearly shows you that the two of you aren’t ready to live together. As Wendy said, give yourself a year for him to show you other red flags. They are probably there.

    Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 25, 2016, 12:16 pm

      The third line should say reminded me of a true story.

      LW, this situation shows that the two of you don’t communicate enough to live together. You don’t work out problems together. You don’t plan jointly. You aren’t there yet.

      Reply Link
  • mylaray

    Mylaray February 25, 2016, 12:16 pm

    I know I’m in the minority but it would really rub me wrong if a partner wanted me to pay extra towards their apartment. I wouldn’t do it. If it was discussed and agreed upon beforehand, maybe. But if it was thrown at me like I should be pitching in, then I wouldn’t. And I would (and do) split and share other things. But in a relationship, I wouldn’t see this as my responsibility…and it would be a red flag if my partner couldn’t afford the extra expense (also, I should say I wouldn’t choose that option to begin with). I agree with sharing birth control costs, etc, but to me this is like pitching in for a car payment. So I don’t completely agree this is a red flag for the boyfriend…he may just think about this differently.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 12:29 pm

      But what if you were the one who had pushed your partner to take on that extra cost, because of the timeline of YOUR lease? It sounds like he asked her a bunch of times, too. He wants her to do what’s convenient for him, and couldn’t care less if it costs her more.

      If it had been her who came up with the plan, and he was like “sure, whatever”, then I would agree that it wouldn’t make sense for him to pay anything. But he’s the one who wanted her to do this, and then when she tells him it’s costing her extra his answer is “tough”?

      Reply Link
      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana February 25, 2016, 12:42 pm

        It isn’t like he is forcing her to do it though, I mean she wants to, changed her mind after telling him she wasn’t going to do it. Yeah he “pushed” her, but I mean she wouldn’t have changed her mind if she did not want to. At some point he switched to the mindset that she was going to renew her lease for the entire year and then she came back and changed her mind about the original discussion. At that point, I think it became mostly her decision and he really doesn’t have that responsibility.

        Also, logistically it may make a lot more sense that she is the one going month to month– so its not just like he is just doing the only thing convenient for himself– like if when they talked about this he had 6 months left of his lease, but she had 3 so in that case, the person with the shorter lease sort of has to accommodate the one with the longer lease. Last year my boyfriend and I talked about moving in and my lease was up 5 months earlier than his, so it would have made sense for me to find a more temporary situation (or go month to month) and him to ride out his longer lease.

        Link
      • avatar

        Northern Star February 25, 2016, 12:52 pm

        If the boyfriend has now adjusted to the idea of a year-long lease—that is EXACTLY what should happen. If he’s changed his mind, she should go with her original plan and sign that year-long lease. Something tells me the boyfriend would all of a sudden be upset because what he wants is for her to be available to move in whenever he was ready, no matter the extra cost to her.

        And that strikes me as VERY selfish.

        Link
      • avatar

        dinoceros February 25, 2016, 1:00 pm

        It wasn’t clear to me that it’s to align with the timeline of his lease, though. The way she worded it made it sound like it’s because they aren’t ready yet and might be later in the year. That would be good information to have, though. Is his lease ending in three months or 8 months? Is it just for the “possibility” of moving in together or can they set a concrete date?

        Link
      • Portia

        Portia February 25, 2016, 1:16 pm

        Based on more information in the forum post, it sounds like she also didn’t want to move in at the end of her lease because she wanted to have some more big picture conversations first. So it is also benefiting her to go month-to-month. And paying $100 a month is not a ton to make sure you don’t move in with someone too soon and also learn that you need to think about and discuss joint costs (especially ones that aren’t straightforwardly joint) before jumping into moving in together.

        Link
      • avatar

        dinoceros February 25, 2016, 1:24 pm

        Ah, that makes sense. In that case, I’d personally just commit to another year on my lease and go from there, but I can see how a year might seem like a long time.

        Link
      • mylaray

        Mylaray February 25, 2016, 1:15 pm

        I guess I kind of skimmed over where he wanted to go month to month so I can see the point of her wanting him to pay, but I still don’t see it as a red flag for him to not want to pay. Was it clear to him that it would cost her an extra $100 a month? It seems easier in my opinion for him to just have moved in with her when his lease was over until hers is and then move into a new place. I just don’t like the idea of doing something like this without really negotiating the fact beforehand that she would like to share the cost…I think it’s fair if it was discussed beforehand. I see it more of a small red flag on her part for assuming he would be okay with sharing the cost (which is fair) just because it was his idea and what he wanted. Even if I didn’t think we would break up, I just wouldn’t agree to something like this, and I don’t think that should necessarily be a red flag. I would rather have one partner pay the extra cost and the other pay for the security deposit on a new place when it happens…even if it evens out, I would be careful on getting into a arrangement like the LW wants when you’re still living separately and not splitting major finances.

        Link
      • avatar

        Steph February 25, 2016, 4:56 pm

        It doesn’t even seem like it was her idea to have him pay the $100 or half of it. The way the letter is written was that her friends brought it up and now it seems that she is trying to get him to pay for it. That to me is a small red flag on her part. She is letting her friends have too much input on her finances and her relationship.

        Link
    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana February 25, 2016, 1:08 pm

      @Mylaray — I agree with you, I am actually really surprised so many people see this as a huge red flag or even a reason to break up with someone. I think this has a lot to do with how people view money in their relationships, or in general and different levels of independence/”unitness” within relationships as a whole.

      I mean if she had to sublet a place for 6 months to wait for his lease to end, would he be obligated to pay half of that? No, I just think its weird that he is on the hook to help pay for something so she can keep living somewhere until they can move in together. In this instance, it makes sense for her to accommodate his lease if it is like the situation I am imagining where he was obligated to a longer lease when they made this decision and hers was coming up to be renewed.

      Reply Link
      • mylaray

        Mylaray February 25, 2016, 1:21 pm

        Yeah the subletting is a good example. I do think this is just about the differences in their views about money. I like to keep major things like that separate until living together and its fine if someone else wants to do it differently, but it doesn’t sound like their expectations about it matched. Like what if they broke up, and because of their agreement, she still wanted half of the $100 each month…it’s a sticky situation I would rather avoid, and it’s very reasonable for others to want to avoid too.

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 2:47 pm

        She’d just go back to a year-long lease though, and avoid the $100 altogether. Literally the only reason she’s doing this is so she can be free to move in with him when he’s ready.

        Link
  • Portia

    Portia February 25, 2016, 12:20 pm

    For LW1, I see this more of a wake up call to bring up what are shared costs in a relationship. In my relationship, at various times, we talked through decisions and costs and actions that we individually did for the “unit” (that’s what we called both of us). When I moved to another city with him while going to grad school and had to pay for buses or trains to get back to my university, those costs we shared because I was traveling for the unit. There were a lot of other examples, but things that might ordinarily been one person’s costs became shared. However, we discussed this and laid out what those costs were when making decisions. Like when I decided taking buses on a regular basis made these trips unbearable, the decision to use trains (more expensive) was joint. If I all of a sudden asked or demanded that he pay for half my train tickets, especially after the fact, and he declined, it would have been a different discussion.
    .
    The LW or the boyfriend may not have encountered this type of situation before and are just playing it by ear, which is why I don’t think this is a red flag. However, definitely don’t move in together before you start addressing potentially joint costs and other decisions as a unit.

    Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 25, 2016, 12:44 pm

      This wouldn’t be him paying for her apartment. It would be him paying his share of the cost of being able to move in together when they wanted. He would be paying for freedom from a lease agreement that would keep them apart. That is freedom to move when they want which is different than her choosing a more expensive place and then asking him to make up the difference.

      Reply Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 25, 2016, 12:45 pm

        Sorry, this should be under Mylaray up above. There is no delete to allow me to remove it and post it in the proper place.

        Link
      • Portia

        Portia February 25, 2016, 1:02 pm

        Haha, no worries.

        Link
  • FireStar

    Firestar February 25, 2016, 12:48 pm

    LW1 your boyfriend sounds like a special little snowflake that expects the world – and you – and your wallet- to revolve around him. Sign your lease. Let his schedule for moving out (I’m guessing when HIS lease ends) not be your “responsibility.” He’s too selfish to have a girlfriend.
    LW2 Listen to Wendy. If this is the man you want to be with then be with him as an equal. When you are both financially independent and stable (after school) then that is the time to talk about living together. You are going to regret not standing on your own two feet and living independently. You don’t to live with your mom – but you shouldn’t live with him either. The fact that you are scrambling for “excuses” to appease your mom as to why you should screams that you aren’t ready.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    dinoceros February 25, 2016, 1:07 pm

    I am wary of determining based on this that he’s a terrible person. I think if she’s going month-to-month to solve their joint problem of syncing up leases or whatever, then he should pay some of the fee. Because if she chose not to go month-to-month, then what? Would he go month-to-month? Would he pay a fee? Would they never move in? But I agree with an earlier comment that this is a new situation to both of them, probably, and not one that tends to have a rulebook associated with it. So, I think this is more about looking at the whole thing with him and finding a way that no one person is going to have more of the burden (like could he move in with her when his lease ends and they move to a new place after that? Could someone sign a six-month lease?). If he’s unwilling to compromise and only thinks of himself, then yeah, maybe that’s telling about who he is.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    K February 25, 2016, 2:45 pm

    See, this mom makes sense. My mom who doesn’t want me moving in with my boyfriend doesn’t. (I’m 31 and have been dating my boyfriend for over 2 years.) LW2, you are still so young. Listen to your mom. Enjoy college and spending time with your friends while you can. Things are different after college. You have plenty of time to be in a committed, live-in relationship post-college.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      dinoceros February 25, 2016, 5:13 pm

      Yeah, I have some friends who never lived alone, and they regret it. They’re married now and love being with their spouses, but they often say that they wished they had a few years to enjoy living alone.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        SpaceySteph February 26, 2016, 1:33 pm

        I am always so glad I lived on my own before living with an SO. Before I moved in with my husband I:
        Scrubbed a toilet where I knew for 100% sure all the fluids and pubes on it were mine.
        Decided how I liked to organize my clothes, my shoes, and my pots and pans.
        Bought a house and painted the dining room purple.
        Hung my own pictures, my own hook by the front door, assembled my own Ikea furniture.

        Nobody can take those things away from me!

        Link

Leave a Comment