Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Bought a House For Us Without Consulting Me”

House

My boyfriend bought his parents’ house that he grew up in and they just moved out of a year ago. He is assuming that his future wife will move into it and he has voiced that he thinks that is me. We have talked about getting engaged in another year. I told him that I want to buy a home together with my future husband as I have the savings and income to do so, but he is unwilling to give up this house right now. He seems to think there is nothing else on the market this big and finished in our area for this price. He also said his parents will stay out and he will make sure of that. He only sees it as a structure until we make it “ours” and is willing to sell relatively soon after marriage, to move on to a bigger and better home.

My argument is that I don’t want a big house that I had no say in and that his family grew up in. I suggested that he sell when we are about six months out from being married, take the money he’ll make on that, and put it towards a house with his wife. He is adamant that this is not logical and he will not find something as good if he sells. He says it’s more logical to move into this house (that he is renting out right now) after we’re married, when I would be put on the mortgage, and use it as a starter house, redecorating together and making it our home.

He is having a hard time understanding why this bothers me. For one thing, it’s a goal and dream to accomplish something like this WITH a partner. I praised him for thinking ahead and making such a great investment, but wouldn’t it be great to buy with your wife where there are no strings attached? I am fully aware that I do not have a say on whether buying this house was a good choice or not as we’re not married and it was his money. However, he did hide this from me for the past year, and I wonder if this is a sign of future issues we might have with his family or of his not being willing to buy something together eventually.

Am I crazy for being upset? Should I stick to my guns, or should I let the man of my dreams provide for me like he wants to do? If you do think I should get over my negative feelings about this house, how do you suggest doing that? — Man of my Dreams, But Not the House of My Dreams

This isn’t about just a house, is it? The house is simply a symbol, a metaphor, but what it’s symbolizing to each of you is at odds. You see it as a symbol of your boyfriend’s past, not his future. He bought it after a year of consideration in which he didn’t share a word about it to you, the woman he hopes to marry. What does that symbolize to you? That he doesn’t trust you? Doesn’t value your opinion? Doesn’t care what your goals and dreams might be and whether they can work with his goals and dreams?

And for his part, the house symbolizes security. We would assume it’s a home he felt secure in growing up and that he feels financially secure about buying at a great deal and with an idea that it will prove to be a smart investment. (A great deal on a starter house can mean upgrading faster than one would be able to otherwise.) And this investment is on what he believes to be a financially and emotionally secure foundation — something that would be particularly important to someone hoping to create a home with a future spouse in the not-too-distant future.

What is lacking here isn’t love or hope or dreams or goals or even careful planning. What is lacking is clear communication. You need to be honest with him — and yourself — about your reservations regarding this house. What are your true concerns here? Are you worried you won’t ever feel like it’s your house? That your in-laws won’t stop thinking of it as their house? Are you concerned he won’t want to move out as quickly as you’d like? Are you worried that, as symbolized by his buying the house in the first place, that he won’t value your opinion, let alone trust and appreciate your ability to make sound and responsible financial decisions yourself? Get real about these issues and give him a chance to address each one. And then let him get clear about what his true intentions are. How long does he envision living in this house with you? One year? Three? More? And then what? Where do you see yourselves putting down roots and potentially raising kids (if you want them)? How will this house help propel you to your shared goals, assuming you have shared goals?

In order to reach a compromise, you have to remain open-hearted and open-minded. As hurt or troubled as you might be by your boyfriend making big future plans without consulting you, you have to trust that his intentions were pure, if not well-communicated. If you don’t, well, then you have bigger issues than a big house, and you would do well to use this opportunity, before you’ve made the commitment to marry, to do some soul-searching and decide whether this is really someone with whom you share a strong enough foundation to build a future, regardless of where that future is ultimately housed.

65 comments… add one
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom April 29, 2016, 8:17 am

    When two people see each other as life-long partners I think they have reached the point where they make joint decisions. This was a secretive, solo decision. Maybe secret in that he wanted to make sure he could do it and maybe he wanted to surprise you or maybe it was a secret because he knew or suspected you would object. I couldn’t live with someone who made unilateral major decisions that affected both of us. I think the point you need to convey is that if you are going to be life partners you need to be making decisions together. If the two of you can’t figure out how to make joint decisions then you have no business getting married.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom April 29, 2016, 8:36 am

      A compromise you could make is to keep the house and rent it even after you are married. The two of you don’t need to live in it for it to be a nice asset for you. It could generate a lifetime of extra income and help you to pay for a house that you choose together. He can keep his childhood home and the two of you can choose a home together.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 9:36 am

        This was my thought exactly. When I got married we kept my husband’s condo and bought a house for ourselves. Gave us some nice extra income, plus my husband was emotionally attached because it was his first condo, so it made it easier to separate from it and sell it later when he was more detached.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. April 29, 2016, 10:19 am

        This is the perfect solution. I’ll also say that just because someone buys you a house doesn’t mean you have to live in it.

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        MissDre April 29, 2016, 12:41 pm

        Does renting out a home ACTUALLY generate extra income, or just cover your costs? I just bought a condo this winter, and I was thinking the other day that if I were to rent it out, the amount in rent that I could charge wouldn’t even cover my mortgage, property tax, insurance and condo fees (which I’ll still be paying for 24.5 more years!)

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      • avatar

        Gwyneth6 April 29, 2016, 12:56 pm

        It depends what you paid for it / what is your mortgage payment. And if it’s a good investment, you could be breaking even but gaining equity. Also big picture, you could be gaining something (salary?) by living in another place even if you lose $100 a month because rent doesn’t cover it all.i know people who have rented out their condo (and have done it myself) and the only one who is happy about it bought in Toronto in about 2007. (Pretty sure real estate went up there A lot since then, so rent probably did too)

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        RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 1:04 pm

        Our condo was in Toronto and it generated income for a bit, but rent didn’t go up fast enough (it’s controlled here) and we eventually were just breaking even. So we sold it. Still, we did build equity. It really depends if the rent can keep up with the property taxes/insurance/condo fees, condo fees being the big one, especially if they include utilities which ours did. If the fees don’t include utilities and the renter pays those on their own, it would be easier. I don’t think that’s usually the case anymore though.

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      • avatar

        csp April 30, 2016, 4:38 am

        right now, the market has had really stagnant pricing. But, as prices rise, your mortgage stays the same. I think about the people across the street from me bought their house for $50000 in 1980. It is now worth 7 times that. I mean, their mortgage and taxes were close to $300/ a month and now they could rent it for $2000 a month. Just give it some time.

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes April 29, 2016, 8:26 am

    WWS all the way.
    *
    LW, I found your wording/syntax to be a bit …off. As in, you were trying to create the facade of this being your ‘forever” guy, when in reality you (both, maybe?) are still very unsure as to your future with him. That really, when you peel off the veneer, underneath it all, you arent positive as to whether YOU want to ride off into the sunset with him and that you also feel that HE may not feel that you are his forevermore. And the house thing has compounded and confused the issue of longevity of the actual relationship.
    *
    ARE you happy with him? Does he make you look forward to sitting on the porch watching the sun set in 50 years with him? If not, then maybe reevaluate the relationship (that you sound lukewarm about), and not just concentrate on the semi-secretive house buying. Good luck.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom April 29, 2016, 8:43 am

      I think you’re right. They are ambiguous. Him saying that he thinks she is the future wife is far different than him saying you are my future wife. He sounds tentative at best. She talks about buying a home with her future husband, not him specifically. These two are hedging everything they say. Either they are uncertain about whether they will marry or they are both being super self-protective in their wording so that they don’t sound like they know for sure whether they want to be together. They need to become certain about their future to the point that there is no doubt in their minds that they will spend their lives together. They also need to learn to communicate in a straight forward manner. Do they want to get married or not? Does each of them see the other as their lifetime partner? If they aren’t yet certain then they shouldn’t be talking about engagement. You need to be certain about spending your life together before talking about when you will get engaged.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 April 29, 2016, 8:42 am

    Sorry, this would be a deal breaker for me. I mean, he expects you to be put on the mortgage, and to put your energy and emotions into decorating it, and to spend your time living in it. These are things that have a huge impact on you. And he made that decision for you without ever asking how you felt. Now you say you’re not comfortable with that, and what does he do? Calls you illogical. Sorry, I’m seeing a future where he rules the roost.

    I’d say don’t move into the house. Just refuse to move into the house. Don’t put your name on it. Don’t let someone peer pressure you into a mortgage-sized financial commitment that you didn’t agree to. Don’t eat and sleep day after day in a place that doesn’t make you happy just because someone else thinks it’s “logical”. It’s not logical to feel out of place in your own home.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom April 29, 2016, 8:46 am

      I agree. Don’t move in. If you aren’t comfortable in it you shouldn’t live in it. My husband and I choose things together and if either of us says no to something we move on to other options. Neither of us tries to force the other to like something that we don’t like or to want something that we don’t want. There are so many options in life there is no good reason to be pushed into something you don’t want.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph April 29, 2016, 9:32 am

      I think I interpreted it differently. He’s not asking her to move in now and decorate now and be on the mortgage now… but after they’re married. So this is a discussion for a year from now when (if) they are more seriously discussing getting engaged. I would take it as a red flag regarding his communication skills and an opportunity to open the conversation on what each person wants for the potentially shared future, but not a dealbreaker.

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      • avatar

        csp April 30, 2016, 4:40 am

        Honestly, this could be a conversation for 2 years from now because if they plan to get engaged in a year then get married a year later. I think she is freaking out really early on here.

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    • avatar

      Alissa January 12, 2017, 1:27 am

      YES. THIS. THANK YOU.

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  • avatar

    SailBobo April 29, 2016, 8:44 am

    Yes, she doesn’t say how long they have been together … The closest we get is, “Talked about getting engaged in another year.” … As far as I can tell, he is deciding what will give him the best long-term gain on his money … And she is miffed that he isn’t consulting his girlfriend in his financial decisions? … It’s a house, it’s not forever … When they’re engaged, then they can make financial decisions about their future together.

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      wobster109 April 29, 2016, 9:19 am

      I don’t think it’s as clear cut as “his financial decisions”. Here’s what I’m imagining being a “his financial decision”:
      BF – “I bought my parents’ house to upgrade and maybe sell later.”

      Here’s what LW is describing:
      BF – “I bought my parents’ house. I’ll put your name on the mortgage. You’ll live there.”

      Now it’s taken on a future-together flavor. If he expects her to live there, it’s not just his decision anymore.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie April 29, 2016, 1:09 pm

        I think at this point it is still his decision, because they’re still in the ‘seeing if we’re compatible and want a future together’ part of their relationship and they are considering possibly getting engaged a year from now. (Maybe, and if they’re still together then.) And he ‘thinks’ she ‘might’ be the person he marries. I’m curious to know how long they’ve been together. But, to me, it doesn’t sound like they are at the concrete planning for their future together stage yet. The main concern I’d have, if I were her, is that he didn’t communicate it throughout the year. Why was that?

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  • avatar

    keyblade April 29, 2016, 8:48 am

    I think Wendy hit the nail on the head. There is a failure to communicate about the real issues. For me, that issue would be that my boyfriend didn’t feel the need to consult me before taking on a large financial undertaking. This would push on my insecurity because one of my personal points of vulnerability is feeling ignored and disregarded by my spouse. It goes back to my parents. In order to feel safe, I needed a partner who was comfortable sharing a lot of his inner world with me.

    Wendy is so right that the letter writer should truly figure out her mind and asked to be heard. If her boyfriend is right for her, she should be able to put her own thoughts and feelings down long enough to open herself to observing her boyfriends perception of himself, without critiquing it. I think too often people don’t see the value in this. They think communication is pointless unless it is followed by action. Not everyone shares my belief that just feeling seen, heard, and understood facilitates the comfort and sense of safety required for big-hardheartedness and open-mindedness.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar April 29, 2016, 8:56 am

    I think the boyfriend bought a house for himself. With his money. With an eye to the future that may or may not include the LW. I don’t think he bought a house for an “us”. It has the potential of being a nice starter home for whomever he marries – but that isn’t you – not yet. It is odd he didn’t discuss a big purchase with you just as a way of sharing what’s up with you in a relationship but maybe he knew it would brew a fight? He has made assumptions about how any bride would feel moving into a home instead of starting one themselves. But I think that conversation can wait until there is a bride in the picture. As an aside, I’ve had clients buy property as a surprise for their partners before. It happens.

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    • Cassie

      Cassie April 29, 2016, 1:11 pm

      That’s how I read it too.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph April 29, 2016, 9:01 am

    His buying this house without consulting the LW reveals 1 of 2 things: either he’s not that sure she is the future wife in the scenario or he’s just not a good team player. I think it’s important for the LW to figure out which is true.
    If the LW and boyfriend are serious about talking marriage then it seems awfully dismissive of her to not talk to her about it at all. If, on the other hand, he’s not in that deep with the LW and he just wanted to make sure he didn’t lose the chance to buy the house then that’s different.
    I would say that “talked about getting engaged in a year” is hardly a firm commitment and combined with this house thing it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to see them as a “we” that makes big decisions together. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it may speak to a different level of commitment than the LW thinks they have.

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      keyblade April 29, 2016, 9:18 am

      “He only sees it as a structure until we make it “ours” and is willing to sell relatively soon after marriage, to move on to a bigger and better home.”

      I’m not entirely sure he made this decision because he is not a good team player. He might have his own feelings about being told he must sell off his assets before he and his girlfriend are even married. I would also feel uncomfortable not knowing about something big going on in the life of a person I was engaged to be engaged with. It would make me feel insecure. I’d guess fact that this was all decided between him and his parents wouldn’t bother the lw so much if the boyfriend had opened up and kept her in the loop. I’m don’t like big-stake surprises. I find them unnerving. I wonder if the letter writer feels the same?

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        SpaceySteph April 29, 2016, 9:37 am

        I don’t think he did it because he’s not a good team player either. I think the more likely explanation is that he doesn’t see the LW and him as a team yet– it’s just not that serious.
        But the LW does describe them talking marriage, so if he really were thinking he was going to marry her, it would not be good team playing to buy a house without talking to her. I don’t think that’s the situation we have here, but its hard to tell from the LW’s details how serious they really are– and it also strikes me that she’s probably more serious than he is.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros April 29, 2016, 9:07 am

    The reasons that he gives for living in this home (especially now that it is bought already) make sense. And as long as both parties agree on future plans, it’s not a big deal to not have a dream home at first. But none of that matters because the issue is that he made a huge decision about your future without consulting you. I assume he knew you wouldn’t want to do this, so he kept it a secret until it was too late to go back on it. That’s a big red flag regarding his respect for your opinions and his willingness to compromise (or at the very least, talk about compromising).
    .
    I would agree with those who think the boyfriend isn’t actually thinking of the LW of his future wife, but she explicitly said that he is. And that they’ve talked marriage. And that he’s been explaining how *they* would handle the house situation after they get married. If this were some guy she’d barely been seeing who had never talked about the future with her, then I could get on board with that. But if you are actively talking marriage with someone, making a house decision on your own is a bad idea. At the very least, buying a house without even mentioning it is bizarre and indicates he is hiding it.

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      wobster109 April 29, 2016, 9:28 am

      I wonder how much talking about marriage they’ve actually done. Perhaps she said “do you see us getting married?” And he answered “I could see that happening”. And then the two of them interpreted that totally differently. Perhaps he said “we could decorate it together”, just tossing out possibilities, and she heard it as an actual concrete plan.

      Wow, it sounds like an open conversation about where this relationship is headed is long overdue. This is not a topic to phrase things delicately, hint, read into things, and later wonder “what did they mean by that”. That’s a recipe for misunderstandings and feeling betrayed and all kinds of hurt feelings.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana April 29, 2016, 9:15 am

    I think it is weird that your boyfriend didn’t mention this plan to buy a house to you for a year… but maybe it was just something understood between him and his parents and until the actual transaction started, there wasn’t much movement on it. Whatever, that is a bit strange and speaks to an overall lack of communication– what isn’t strange is that someone you are dating, not living with or engaged to, would buy a house with their own money. You aren’t even engaged yet, in fact you have just “talked about getting engaged in another year”. So you could be two years out from living together/being married. Personally, I don’t see why you are so upset and think it is a bit strange what you are focusing your anger at. Maybe like Wendy says it is just a metaphor for a bigger issue. If this were me, I would be more upset my boyfriend had been planning to buy a house for a year without even mentioning it, vs what you are harping on.
    .
    Who knows what will happen when/if you guys are engaged. Maybe you won’t mind living in his old family house for awhile to save money and then trade up. Maybe he will be ready to sell at that point and buy a new house “together”. In my opinion you are kind of cutting your nose off to spite your face right now. A more productive way to frame this is ” I am upset you purchased this house without even communicating about it with me. I hope that in the future, if our relationship continues to progress and we become engaged and are planning to live together, we can revisit the idea of buying a house that will be a home for us to start our lives together in” or something along those lines. I just hate when people in relationships get so focused on a future that hasn’t even happened yet, it ruins the happiness they could have and enjoy in the present.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster April 29, 2016, 9:20 am

    So I’m not sure I see this as a communication failure that can be talked out and resolved. There is no way it didn’t cross his mind to share the house buying information with LW; at some point he decided not to tell her about it and none of the reasons behind that decision bode well for this relationship. I tell me boyfriend when I buy a new t-shirt for crying out loud.

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    • avatar

      keyblade April 29, 2016, 9:26 am

      You could be right. But there is no way for the letter writer to know for sure unless she tries and concludes it isn’t communication as much as compatibility. Of course she can always cut her losses if she doesn’t have a good basis of faith to make trying seem worthwhile.

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      RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 9:44 am

      I’m with you, TaraMonster. He deliberately withheld this info. Why? Either he knew she wouldn’t like the plan so he hid it from her, or he’s not actually planning on marrying her, or he just doesn’t care about her opinion. None of those are good.

      On a side note, remember when Jim did this to Pam in The Office? That pissed me off so much! And they played it off as a sweet thing to do. Ugh.

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        keyblade April 29, 2016, 9:58 am

        Lol, But Jim and Pam were already engaged and Jim bought it assuming it would be their home together.

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        RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 10:20 am

        Yeah, which makes it even worse!!! At least the LW isn’t engaged yet.

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        keyblade April 29, 2016, 10:21 am

        I know! I was trying to make the point of why it was worse.

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        RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 12:57 pm

        Hahahahah 🙂

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        jilliebean April 29, 2016, 10:33 am

        Yes that was my first thought when I saw the headline! What I loved about that storyline was that EVERYONE told Jim it was a horrible thing that he did, that Pam would be so pissed, that he shouldn’t have done that without asking her. But then he told her and she was so touched and happy. Point being, he knew her very well and knew she would love the surprise.

        Anyway – back to the LW – I don’t think this guy did anything wrong. They aren’t married or even engaged. I think they both need to stop arguing about the future and her wanting to sell the house and him not wanting to, because the future is not here and who knows what will happen? He has every right to make plans on his own right now and neither should dig in their heels making pronouncements about what they will or won’t want to do in a year, two years, etc.

        Most importantly – I love Jim and Pam.

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  • avatar

    Essie April 29, 2016, 9:50 am

    Man, I haven’t been this on-the-fence about a situation in a long time.

    I’m a very practical sort, so I really do see his point. Real estate is very much about timing, and he saw an opportunity to get property that will give him a good financial foundation at a good price. That’s hard to argue with. It’s not like he’s saying “We will live in this house till we die!” It’s clearly a starter home for him, meaning he’ll want to sell it at some point. I think it was a very smart decision.

    I see the LW’s point too. But I think we have a conflict between something that’s purely emotional – her vision of buying a house together with her husband-to-be – and something that’s financial/practical – getting a valuable asset at a good price.

    I think I have to side with the boyfriend here. First, they’re not even engaged. They’re “talking about” getting engaged next year. He’s “voiced” that he thinks she’ll be his wife. Someday. I don’t think she has the standing to insist on a say in major purchases with that kind of vagueness in their relationship.

    It’s clear that she treasures the idea of those “firsts” with her someday-husband. Who may not even be this guy. But to me, anyway, financial practicality wins out over the romantic vision.

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      RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 9:57 am

      For me, it’s that he should have told her what he was planning, instead of hiding it for a year. That’s the messed-up part. If you want to make a major financial investment, yes, go ahead. But at least share that info with the person who it’s going to presumably affect in the future. Because now he’s saying she’ll be on the mortgage, which means if she wants to marry him she’s really had no say in her own major financial investment.

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      • avatar

        keyblade April 29, 2016, 10:06 am

        The parents moved out and started renting a year ago but I didn’t take that to mean the boyfriend knew for a year he would buy the house off of them at a deal.

        I’m not saying the letter writer should leave things as they are. Clearly, she isn’t comfortable. But I will say that I think including her on the mortgage would be to her advantage in the case of a divorce because many jurisdictions consider property acquired before marriage as solely the original owners. He is basically offering to give his future wife full ownership of pre-existing assets. He is thinking very unilaterally about things, which might reflect where he perceives the relationship to be (not a done deal) or could reflect a lack of communication and compromise skills.

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        keyblade April 29, 2016, 10:13 am

        “However, he did hide this from me for the past year, and I wonder if this is a sign of future issues we might have with his family or of his not being willing to buy something together eventually.”

        Maybe he did hide it for a year. But I think Essie makes a good point that after six months of dating he might not have been ready to start including the letter writer in family finance discussion. The only way to get at any answers is to communicate.

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        Essie April 29, 2016, 10:06 am

        Yeah, for sure, hiding it wasn’t good.

        But still, I don’t know. You could take it two ways. He’s controlling/not interested in her opinion, or he was trying to do something nice for her/thought she’d see it as a gift and a smart financial move.

        Or, he wasn’t thinking of her as a potential wife until more recently, so during that year, he didn’t see a need to include her in the decision.

        I guess a lot depends on how long they’ve been together. A year and a half? No, he really didn’t have to include her in a decision that he made six months after they started dating. If they’ve been together for 4, 5 years? Yeah, he was out of line.

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        RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 1:07 pm

        For me, even if we’d only been dating for six months, I’d have expected it to be mentioned. Not in a way where he’s asking me and planning it with me, but just in a way that you share things when you’re in a relationship. Like hey, I’m gonna buy my parent’s house and rent it! I mean, you’d tell your friends that stuff, right? Why not your girlfriend? It’s just weird. And then if he’d done that, she would have known all along and when it got serious she wouldn’t have been blindsided. It’s odd that he wouldn’t just share such a big piece of info.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ April 29, 2016, 10:05 am

    I get the feeling that the LW and the BF don’t see their relationship the same way. She sees them as *going* to get engaged in a year and *going* to get married and therefore, all large decisions should be made with “us” in mind. He sees them as dating and *maybe* getting engaged in a year and *maybe*, eventually, the LW will be his wife, but for now, he is making large financial decisions for himself and his 5 year plan/short-term future.

    He bought this house as an investment/starter house with his own money because it made financial sense to him, not as a house for him and the LW to move into immediately or anything. Viewing their relationship from the POV of “exclusively dating, but not living together or engaged,” I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

    It also makes financial sense to him for him and his hypothetical wife to live in a house he’s already bought for a bit after the wedding until they can afford their house. Obviously, his future wife should have some say on where she lives and the money and ownership situation should be hammered out (Does her name go on the mortgage or deed? Does she contribute to payments on the house? etc), but again, right now, that “future wife” is not the LW, and I think that while the BF has talked about getting engaged “later” and can theoretically talk about the LW as his wife, he’s not really there yet and therefore, he’s not considering her opinion as to what he should do with his financial investment as equal to his. He’s still “me” not “we.”

    It’s probably time for the LW and the BF to have another, more definitive relationship talk, but what he does with the house isn’t really her business right now and is a side issue to the real questions of (1) where is this relationship going and (2) how does he envision financial and other large decisions being made when he is engaged/married?

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    • avatar

      Gwyneth6 April 29, 2016, 1:07 pm

      Not an expert but i think it would make more financial sense to collect rent for the house and live in a smaller place. Assuming no kids will be involved and they don’t need a garden.

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  • avatar

    Ron April 29, 2016, 10:28 am

    I think LW and most commenters are seriously over-reacting to this. She is not a wife. She is not even engaged to him. If they were close enough and sure enough about their shared future, then they would be engaged today, not talking about possibly/probably being engaged a year from now. Many people have quite long engagement periods of a year or more. There is many a slip between cup and lip and at present LW is no more than an exclusive gf with a hint of more in the future. It sounds like they have not discussed the details of where they will live and finances, because they aren’t that close to an engagement/marriage.

    Also, first and foremost, from the standpoint of the bf and his family, this is a family matter. His parents wanted to sell their house to their son. Perhaps they needed a quick sale in a slow market. Perhaps the house needed some fixing up, which they didn’t want to do. Perhaps they had a burning desire to keep the house in the family and bf is letting them down slowly (this one is a potential problem for LW, as is the next). Perhaps bf needs a little longer to say a final farewell to his childhood home. For whatever reason, this may have been a family situation in which it was very difficult for the bf to give an answer other than yes.

    When she is actually engaged and especially when she is married, LW should expect to be a full partner in a major financial decision like this, but as the gf, it really is only very peripherally her business. Entirely his money. They don’t seem to be living together now, the house is rented, so he isn’t expecting her to live in it soon. He isn’t asking that her name be on the mortgage now. Really, it sounds like this is an issue that she raised and his response was that he would be perfectly happy to add her name after they were married. From everything she says, including that the house is rented, he is perfectly able to carry the mortgage on his own and isn’t seeking financial help from her. Nor is he asking her to redecorate it now. It sounds again like, in response to her objecting to his purchase of the house, that he has said that if they do live in it in the future, that of course they could totally redecorate it together and make it theirs, as he is only purchasing the bones of the house, as it were.

    It seems presumptuous that, as his gf who may be married to him perhaps two years from now, that she would expect to have so much say in his current finances and decisions with his parents. Today, it doesn’t concern her. At all! If they do get engaged and married, then they can discuss whether or not they will live in this house together and for how long. That is not a decision/discussion for today, unless one of his deal breakers is that his future wife must be willing to live in this house.

    This is a big red flag, but I think more for the bf than for the LW. She is WAY jumping the gun here.

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      SailBobo April 29, 2016, 11:11 am

      Bingo! … Indeed … A big red flag for him (God, I hate that term … Remember when they just used to called, “concerns”.) … This is not something that, “potentially affects her life forever.” … It’s a house – it can be sold, not moved into, whatever. It’s an asset that has very little to do with her, and yet she is all involved in it – “Should I stick to my guns.” – please. I agree that there is a communication problem, but I can understand his reluctance to communicate when it really has very little to do with her – indeed, he seems to have made matters worse when he tried to explain himself. … On a side note, do you remember when you were young and, “My boyfriend”, was a very important statement?

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        keyblade April 29, 2016, 11:56 am

        “I wonder if this is a sign of future issues we might have with his family or of his not being willing to buy something together eventually.”

        I think this is what the letter writer is really worried about. They are not engaged yet and she is still trying to determine if this is the right road for her. They are still learning about each other and they are still assessing what the other is willing to do and put in.

        As Wendy so wisely put it:
        “you have to trust that his intentions were pure, if not well-communicated.”

        If the letter writer is not confident that her boyfriend and her will know how to make choices together (when and if they get to that stage) then perhaps this is what she should talk about with her boyfriend. If she is unclear about how serious he is about their relationship is at this time, perhaps they should discuss it without bringing the house into it. I think discussions that center on hypothetical resolutions involving the house are not clearest way to acquire the information the letter writer seems to be seeking. But I’m not at all sure on this one.

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      keyblade April 29, 2016, 11:37 am

      You make some really good points.

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      saneinca April 29, 2016, 12:00 pm

      I was about to write the same. The LW and BF are currently just that. Until they are married or engaged they are entitled to separate financial transactions. Once they get there they can discuss their options.

      However, I still agree there is a lack of openness in his actions. I mean he could have been open with her. Even if he knew she would have objected. Avoiding conflict by secretiveness is not a good trait.

      But could be he is the type to play cards close to chest and it does not reflect on their relationship.

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        Ron April 29, 2016, 1:41 pm

        Absolutely no lack of openness on his part. This was literally none of a gf’s business. The guy made a financial investment, buying a house from his parents. He owes her no more parti cipation in this decision, thean if he was deciding whether or not to buy 1000 shares of IBM. Does she get his input on how she manges her money. Unless one of them is gambling it all away or snorting it all up their nose, it just isn’t a SO’s concern, when the SO is just a gf/bf. If he is musing in the back of his head that he’d like to live in this house with a future wife, once again his daydreams are his business and don’t involve her until they are engaged or discuss where each might want to live in future if they did get married. It seems that he told her about the house during just such a discussion, which is the first time that it makes sense to bring it up. Since the house is already rented, it wasn’t just purchased yesterday. She has a perfect right to decide that she won’t live in that o house although the tax reasons to live there at least briefly are quite compelling. But he certainly was not sneaky to buy the house without consulting her.

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        Emily April 30, 2016, 7:41 am

        I think the difference is between “consulting her”, which I agree that they do not necessarily have the commitment for [depending on details like how long they’ve been together etc. which the LW hasn’t provided], and “mentioning it at all for an entire year”.

        Buying a house takes time and energy, and it seems very odd to me that it wouldn’t have come up in conversation at all… That the conversation
        LW: “What’ve you been up to this evening?”
        BF: “Paperwork, for purchasing my parents’ house as an investment”
        never happened surprises me a little. I don’t expect to be included in my boyfriend’s finances (if anything, I would probably freak out if I was asked to be right now) but my boyfriend mentions his financial decisions in conversation, like all the other things he does with his day, and I do the same. I hear about what he’s investing in, because it’s important to him, and therefore interesting to me. Not mentioning buying a house for a whole year, in a relationship like mine at least, would be really weird.

        The boyfriend may be very private about his finances, and therefore, as Wendy said, been acting with pure, if miscommunicated intentions. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable of the LW to wonder if he’s hiding things from her deliberately. If he is, that is her problem. If he isn’t, excellent, they just need to be better at communicating.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 April 29, 2016, 12:46 pm

      Ron nailed it! These two might be getting engaged in a year, and then if they do get married another year after that, and this guy just provided a nice little place for them to stay in if they choose while they search for their dream house, and probably provided a nice little down payment from this house as well when that time comes. The boyfriend specifically says that if they do get married this isn’t their forever home, and they can look for a house of their own. So this girl actually seems to have it really well with a future husband. This seems like somebody creating an argument just to argue.

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    • Monkeysmommy

      Monkeysmommy April 29, 2016, 1:32 pm

      I agree with you, Ron. I think that the LW is seriously having an over reaction. She isn’t the wife. She isn’t the fiancée. She really doesn’t have a say in how the man spends his money. It really sounds like she thinks there is more in their future than he has really decided. Also, did he really “hide ” that he was buying the house? Or is it something that simply hasn’t been a topic of discussion for the reasons mentioned in the opening sentence.

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  • avatar

    Essie April 29, 2016, 10:56 am

    “There is many a slip between cup and lip and at present LW is no more than an exclusive gf with a hint of more in the future. It sounds like they have not discussed the details of where they will live and finances, because they aren’t that close to an engagement/marriage.”

    @Ron hits the target again. 🙂

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 29, 2016, 11:54 am

    B. O. O. H. O.O.
    .
    Talk about first world problems.
    Sorry, I am cynical today. Very.

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      RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 1:08 pm

      Just today? 🙂

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    • Cassie

      Cassie April 29, 2016, 1:29 pm

      Haha, I agree with RedRover. 🙂

      Now I noticed that you wrote ‘Boo Hoo’ as an abbreviation. Beyotch, Opportunities Only Happen Once Okay? Bae’s Objections Over Home Oddly Offensive?

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark April 29, 2016, 1:57 pm

        Actually, there is some movie where somebody sarcastically spells it out that way and I love the quote but I am now BLANKING on what film it is…

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    Wonderland April 29, 2016, 11:56 am

    First of all, you’re not married or even living together, so it is HIS financial future he’s securing. People get themselves into all kinds of financial issues by making large decisions based on a relationship that they haven’t decided is sticking around. Sorry, but he is making a smart decision right now.

    Second, your idea to sell 6 months before getting married and then buy a house at some point after the wedding has massive tax implications. He would literally lose tens of thousands of dollars to tax by not immediately putting that money into the purchase of a new house.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 29, 2016, 12:03 pm

    Also — as Ron says. Back off, LW. You aren’t even engaged yet. Stop acting like his wife. Honestly? I can’t imagine being pissed off that some vaguely significant other of mine bought a fucking house. Some of the comments in here are just… I dunno. Bizarre.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom April 29, 2016, 2:59 pm

    I don’t think she had any right to tell him whether or not he could or should buy the house. What is odd is that he did the whole thing without mentioning it at all. When most of us are in a relationship we tell what we’ve been doing and share the important things, even if we don’t know whether we’ll end up married or even have serious doubts about it. Most people would share with their partner that the parents were offering to sell their house to him. Most would share that they decided to buy it. Most would share that they bought it. At this stage in the relationship he doesn’t need to ask for her input but the lack of sharing of these major things occurring in his life is troublesome. Most of us would also tell our friends as these steps were happening. That’s what people do. He didn’t treat her like a friend. She needs to think about whether he shares the things happening in his life or if he is very closed off. Emotional intimacy is based partly on sharing day in and day out so that the two of you know each other and understand each other. When one partner doesn’t share that connection and intimacy is hampered.

    I’m guessing that she is feeling that she doesn’t know him. He’s done something quite significant without mentioning it. It leaves her feeling disconnected. He doesn’t need her permission or even input but he should be sharing the major events of his life if he wants the two of them to be connected.

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      RedRoverRedRover April 29, 2016, 9:19 pm

      This is my point exactly. It’s not her place to give input on his decision, but in a normal relationship you’d mention a big thing like that. When I bought my first condo, I told my boyfriend. I wasn’t expecting him to help make the decision, I wasn’t expecting him to move in, I wasn’t expecting us to get married, it’s just something big that was happening in my life so I told the people in my life. That’s normal. Why didn’t this guy even mention it for a year???

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  • avatar

    Mike Z April 29, 2016, 3:03 pm

    I have seen this situation happen with family and with friends who aren’t quite married or even engaged. It is becoming more common in the new age of really late in life marriages. Yes, this is one part communication but I think it’s many more parts the fact that the future is being planned without a ring on your finger. He goes ahead and makes this huge financial commitment but he hasn’t fully committed to you by dropping down on that one knee. This makes someone think that the future is not as tightly secured as one would think. My sister had this issue with her now husband who wanted to buy a house before proposing. His family had an intervention with him. They sat him down and told him that it was really f’d up to buy a house before being engaged to my sister. He relented on the house and did his husbandly thing and proposed. Then he bought the house, lived in it while engaged and they have been happily married for almost 15 years now. I also had another couple that broke up over this. Man wanted to buy a house together with his gal and she wanted to get married first. He did not want to waste a down payment on a wedding. She could see the marriage proposal taking a long time after house expenses started. Impasse. They broke up. 6 months later they got back together and she conceded that buying the house should come first. There are 2 other couples I know in this situation.

    So maybe you should consider this. If he bought the ring today and proposed would you feel better about him buying the house? To simple chalk this up to “it’s his parents house and not OUR house” is missing a big part of the problem. I think there is more to this especially in the “women shouldn’t pressure men to propose” context. So maybe it’s as simple as asking him why he is buying this house instead of proposing to you. Maybe it’s letting him know that when he says things akin to “we’ll get married someday” is really something that is really hurtful to you but you are not allowed to admit that.

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  • avatar

    Wendy (not Wendy) April 29, 2016, 8:24 pm

    Dude, this guy is a winner. If I was single I’d be asking for his number. LW, have you not read about all the losers out there who write in to DW? This is a man making a smart investment in his future.

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  • avatar

    Anon April 30, 2016, 6:49 am

    I have been in this exact situation: boyfriend bought a house without telling me, expecting us to live in it after we got married, when he hadn’t proposed yet. In my case, it was a stunning example of his “I do whatever I want without consulting anyone else and they have to go along with it” mentality, and I ultimately dumped him for it. At the time it happened, I thought it was a communication issue. It wasn’t. It was a clear demonstration of how he looked at relationships in general, including with a wife. Instead of making excuses, I should have recognized it for the huge issue it was and dumped him then.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 12, 2017, 12:52 pm

    I am still very much confused by many of the responses to this letter…

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