Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Makes More Money But Wants to Split the Rent 50/50

It’s time again for Three-in-One, where I answer three letters in one column. This is like Shortcuts, but with fewer empty calories.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for six years. We’ve broken up three times in that span, but after each breakup we got together again after thoroughly discussing why we split and how to fix things.

We are very happy and are trying to move in together. The last time we did I was not financially stable and had a job where I worked 12 hours a week, making my boyfriend the main breadwinner. This caused a lot of tension between us and as a result we broke up. Now, I’m much more financially stable and, as we discuss moving in again, my boyfriend says he wants us to split the rent 50/50, even though he has more money than I do and my bills are more expensive.

I don’t personally find this fair at all. I ask him why he wants this arrangement and he said it’s because he doesn’t want what happened last time to happen again. Thoughts? — Equal Doesn’t Mean Fair

 
My thought is that if you disagree on whether he should pay more rent than you because he makes more money and has fewer expenses, and you aren’t willing to split the rent 50/50 without holding a grudge and feeling bitter about it, then you aren’t ready to move in together. Aside from how to pay for rent or mortgage, you should also see where you stand these other 14 issues before you move in together.

My 16-year-old cousin has offensive body odor and I’m looking for a tactful way to let him know that he needs to bathe everyday. I think part of the problem could be that he can’t smell his own odor due to severe nasal congestion (chronic). What are some ways you can help teach a teen good hygiene if they don’t have good habits already? — Concerned Cousin

 
Assuming you have the kind of relationship with your cousin that it would make sense that you would talk to him about this issue instead of, say, his parents, you could gift him some grooming products, like deodorant, soap, and shaving products, for him to start experimenting with, and hope he gets the message. If that doesn’t do the trick, then you have to be more explicit and pull him aside and say, “I know you have trouble smelling, so you may not be aware, but sometimes you have strong body odor, which is common among boys your age and easy to deal with. Have you tried those products I gave you?”

I met someone while on a business trip. We hit it off instantly, went to dinner my last night in town, and had an awesome time. We have talked for hours on the phone and Skype, several times a day. I have never laughed so much with someone. We have a very playful, flirty relationship. It is easy and we get along so well.

We are both divorced with kids. We have similar views on relationships and family. We discussed how things would work out and how I would be the one to move. Due to his custody arrangements he can not move out of his county. I would have to fight my ex-husband to move, but, if it worked out, I would do it.

I recently went to see him for a long weekend and we had a blast. I met his friends, and he took me to work and introduced me. It was amazing. The following week we did not talk as much and I mentioned about coming to see him the following month. He checked his schedule and said it wouldn’t work. He also mentioned that he is going to start traveling for work and maybe I can meet up with him when he is near me. Less than a week later he told me that he is wondering where we are going and that he does not want a commitment. He still wants to talk to me and he likes hanging out, but he doesn’t want to be exclusive.

We are states away and over 1000 miles apart. How do you do casual when it requires a plane to see each other? This is all new to me and I am trying to understand. Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated. — Just Confused

 
This man has thought it over and he does not want a relationship with you. It may be that he’s gotten to know you better and just doesn’t see himself with you in the long run, or it may be that there are too many complicating factors — long distance visits, a long distance move, custody arrangements, blending two families — that he doesn’t think are worth it. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy your company and wouldn’t welcome a visit from you now and then, but if you are expecting anything more than a friend-with-benefits type of arrangement with this guy — and it sounds like you are! — I would MOA before you get in over your head.

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

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

79 comments… add one
  • katie

    katie September 10, 2013, 10:09 am

    i havent read anything, but “its like shortcuts, with fewer empty calories” is HILARIOUS.

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    cdobbs September 10, 2013, 10:09 am

    LW3….this guy is not interested in you….i would MOA….unless you are looking for a long distance friend that you can occasionally chat with (maybe friend each other on facebook?)….i wouldn’t invest any time, money or travel in to this guy though since it seems pretty clear he is not looking for any sort of relationship with you

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones September 10, 2013, 10:16 am

    LW3, why not just have a casual, non-exclusive LDR with this guy? Why does your relationship have to look like everyone else’s? With children it would be extremely difficult to move them and blend families, not to mention stressful on all of the kids, and it would be more than just the 2 of you in your own little bubble. And kids needs always should come first. Always. Do you really want to get married again? Why not just enjoy what is and keep it casual? Unless you are looking for something more permanent and exclusive, in which case I would suggest then looking closer to home.

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    • avatar

      jbk886 September 10, 2013, 11:28 am

      I don’t know; I read the situation as a likely fade-out. He pulled back significantly, and I think it’s possible that the whole “we can talk and maybe see each other” is part of a process, rather than the end step of where he is on the relationship.
      Also, unless they live in major hub cities or have amazing salaries, it would be awfully expensive for people who are raising kids alone to justify. As the LW said, it’s a lot of money/travel logistics for just a casual relationship.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones September 10, 2013, 11:34 am

        Maybe she gets a pile of money every month from her ex. But true, it is a lot and a bit premature to ask of both sets of kids to adjust to this situation. It could be a fade, or it could be that the guy is seeing reality and doesn’t want her to be planning a future already. Wendy wrote something once about LDR’s. But she and Drew were both single and childless. It gets a lot more complicated when you are both divorced with kids. I think you then need to be open to other possibilities such as keeping it a casual FWB or non-exclusive arrangement, which seems to be what the guy was implying. And if LW3 is looking for the solid committed relationship to replace her failed marriage, this most likely won’t work.

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    • avatar

      Just Me September 10, 2013, 1:27 pm

      LW3 should accept that the best offer from him here is to meet him when you both can, have a blast, then do your own thing for the next few months. If that offer is not good enough, don’t take it.

      My personal opinion is that she should take it, but NOT do that whole “I will walk a thousand miles, if I could just…” thing.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 1:55 pm

        I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more…

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  • katie

    katie September 10, 2013, 10:17 am

    ohh good letters.

    LW1- there are two schools of thought -well i guess three?. one is that you have “our” money and you dont really care who pays for what, but that is one where you dont technically “split” anything so i dont think it would apply to you, as you want to split stuff. so, the other two are- you pay based on percentage, and that you pay 50/50. i dont think that either is objectively better/more fair/whatever, its situational, but if you two cannot agree to a system that works for you, i think your screwed. what about a hybrid? on one of our discussions on that someone said that they pay their own bills, then the rest is split into their communal bills by percentage. maybe that could work for you two?

    LW2- WWS. i love her phrasing too.

    LW3- those fun, crazy quick “relationships” are just that- fun and crazy quick. i have a feeling that you both got caught up in the whirlwind of the romance, made plans to move, emotionally and physically, very hastily, and now he is realizing that this whole arrangement maybe isnt the healthiest thing. if i were you i’d try to take a step back and realize that it really isnt. if you want to, sure, meet up with him when its convenient for both of you, but i dont think that relationships like this have staying power.

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  • avatar

    TECH September 10, 2013, 10:19 am

    LW3, it makes me sick that you would consider moving to another country for a man who hadn’t given you a commitment. You say you would have to fight your children’s father to get custody, ostensibly not because he is a bad father, but because you wanted to move to a new country for your lover. How is that good for your kids?

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    • katie

      katie September 10, 2013, 10:21 am

      to be fair, the letter says county, not country.

      but i still agree.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:25 am

        Oops, I read country too.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:25 am

        And I wonder why he can’t leave his county!

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 10, 2013, 10:29 am

        I would assume he has a joint custody arrangement…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:30 am

        You’re probably right. Something made me think probation for some reason.

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      • avatar

        TECH September 10, 2013, 10:31 am

        Haha maybe he’s on probation and can’t leave his county. I don’t know any one who is restricted from leaving their county for anything other than a legal reason.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 10, 2013, 4:15 pm

        If you have joint custody you can’t take the children and leave without the consent of the other parent so if his ex won’t agree to him taking his kids and moving to another state, or county, then he can’t move if he wants his kids. My cousin had to get consent from her ex to move a distance that was four counties for a total of a little under 200 miles but within the same state.

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    • avatar

      Morgan September 10, 2013, 10:22 am

      I don’t know that it requires moving to another country, just potentially across this one. It said he can’t leave his county, not his country. Unless that’s a typo.

      Otherwise I agree though. LW, where is the consideration about what is best for your children in all this?

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl September 10, 2013, 10:39 am

      County or Country…I think that’s irrelevant. This LW is ready to up and move her family at least some sort of substantial distance for a man she’s spent a handful of days with and who’s said he doesn’t want to be exclusive. Um hell no.

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  • avatar

    Morgan September 10, 2013, 10:19 am

    LW1: Look, you’ve broken up three times, and even though you say you worked on the issues…you still broke up again, right? I’m not even sure if money is your biggest issue here. Regardless, I agree with Wendy that you probably aren’t ready to move in together.

    LW2: That’s a tough one. I defer to Wendy because I have no experience on that front.

    LW 3: If he says he doesn’t want a relationship, he doesn’t want a relationship. How to do casual when you’re so far apart? Well, you can meet up with him when he travels, you can travel to see each other, but otherwise tone it down with the phone calls and the skype, I guess. Maybe all the fun is in the travel fling Or you can find a guy who wants to be casual who lives within 20 minutes of you. Or, you can reflect and realize that you don’t want something casual, and look for someone who does want the same things as you.

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  • avatar

    starpattern September 10, 2013, 10:19 am

    LW1 is a great example of why I just don’t think I will ever feel comfortable living with a SO before we are married and sharing finances. I think sharing a household while maintaining separate finances would tempt me to keep score. I know it works for a lot of couples, but I would be terrible at it.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary September 10, 2013, 10:28 am

      Yeh I think its difficult. My boyfriend and I just talked about budget when we move in together, and I think we decided on a joint account for all household/necessary expenses. So rent, utilities, groceries and we’ll each put X amount in per month, and throw any leftover money in a joint savings account. This way we won’t get nitpicky or have to write each other checks or say “I bought $47 in groceries but you paid $50 on the electric I owe you $3”

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl September 10, 2013, 10:41 am

        That’s basically what we’ve done since day 1 of living together and it works great for us. (And we keep our own accounts for our personal expenses and so I can still shop with out guilt.)

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary September 10, 2013, 10:45 am

        Yeh and I think since we’ll move in before we’re officially married it will give us a bit of a security cushion with still having our own accounts. Then we can look at further combining money after marriage.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow September 10, 2013, 10:47 am

        Yeahhh, LW1 complained that HER bills are higher. If I was the BF, I wouldn’t want to split everything equally and contribute toward expenses that are solely hers (I’m thinking debt?). Mayyyybe after marriage, but just living together? No way. And I would never expect my SO to pay my bills either just because we happened to be living together. I’m kinda weird with money, though, and much prefer the 50/50 split even though I usually make less, haha. Kerry, I’d probably do it your way if I was married.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl September 10, 2013, 10:55 am

        Yeah with you on not paying the others debt! Mutually acquired debt, sure, but a car you financed before we knew each other? That’s on you homie.

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      • Copa

        Copa September 10, 2013, 11:03 am

        Agreed! I have a decent chunk of student loan debt that I’m still paying down and I can’t imagine expecting a live-in SO to either overcompensate for my financial situation somehow OR pay my debt for me. Even if I got married, I think I’d still consider my student loan burden my problem, not a joint one.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow September 10, 2013, 11:28 am

        Same here! I’m getting myself in a bunch of debt for school right now, and it’s mine to pay.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck September 10, 2013, 11:19 am

        I don’t think she wanted him to help pay her bills, just that since she makes less and has more bills, then splitting rent equally would leave her with much less every month. And if he makes more and has lower bills now, splitting his rent in half (by having her pay it) would benefit him and be detrimental to her. Presumably if they were living together it would be in a bigger place than she has now, and she wouldn’t have the option of roommates. She may not be able to afford that.

        It sounds like he’s still punishing her for what happened before, even though it was a different situation and they’ve supposedly moved past it. If he’s still holding onto their past issues despite them “working it out,” then this relationship has way more problems than how to split the rent.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed September 10, 2013, 11:30 am

        But why can’t, since she can’t pay as much, she set the limit for how much she is willing to spend on rent and they work with that limit? Why should he have to pay for choices she made before him?

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck September 10, 2013, 1:44 pm

        That would be fine with me. She gets to set the budget according to what she can afford, and if he wants a more expensive place it’s on him to pay the difference. But splitting 50-50 is not ALWAYS equal, just like paying based on a percentage is not ALWAYS equal.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 11:31 am

        But by allowing her to pay less in rent, he’s essentially helping her pay HER bills anyway. Its just wording it differently, or applying the money differently.

        Also it sounds like, in a twisted way, he’s just being smarter this time around. It obviously bothered him to pay her way the last go around, so he’s making sure he isn’t this time. Him paying more in the past fucked up their relationship for whatever reason. Its wise he doesn’t want that again.

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      • avatar

        CG September 10, 2013, 11:24 am

        This is how I read it too.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay September 10, 2013, 5:55 pm

        I generally agree, but usually your expenses do go down when you move in with someone. Even if you live in a two-bedroom apartment, you’re still going to be paying the same as if you lived with a platonic roommate. And sure, it keeps you from living in a space with two, three or more people, but I don’t know that the difference is THAT big (since you have to get a bigger place for more people).

        I think it can work differently for different couples (like my friend covers more bills than her husband because otherwise, he can’t save money and have any disposable income at the same time), but both parties have to agree with it, and typically, I think it needs to be a favor from the partner with more money, not the other person demanding lower rent.

        So, I’m not saying that all couples should always pay 50/50, but I don’t really feel like living with this guy is that detrimental to her wallet.

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      • avatar

        starpattern September 10, 2013, 11:18 am

        Yeah oh my god I hate the nitpicky stuff. Right now with my not-live-in boyfriend we are good about switching off buying things and not keeping up too much. Like you bought dinner, I’ll get drinks. We never keep track of exact amounts, and just trust it works out roughly the same. I just feel like with bills it might get nitpicky easily, especially since I own a house. If he were to move in with me sometime down the road, I would not want him to pay toward my mortgage/equity – but I also would feel a little resentful if he had essentially no rent to pay and had way more disposable income than me as a result. I don’t know.

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      • avatar

        Morgan September 10, 2013, 1:48 pm

        Same. We have a “it will all work out in the wash policy.” Maybe he pays more one week, maybe I pay more another, but its not a big deal.

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie September 10, 2013, 6:51 pm

      He wants her to be financially responsible and she sees that as an invasion of some sort??? This letter reminds me of a guy who gave each of his girlfriends an equal amount of money to spend as they wished. He was to gauge their qualities based on what they spent the money on. One bought clothes “to make herself beautiful for him”, another bought him gifts to show her devotion, the third gave it to charity to illustrate her compassion. In the end he married the one with the biggest tits.

      Back to the LW, money issues will destroy love, if I were in his place she’d be history so fast…

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:23 am

    LW1 – Wait. He expects you to pay for half of the place you are sharing with him?!?! Gasp! 50/50 IS fair, however, you two sound like a bit of a mess and i wouldn’t personally put much faith into this working out.

    LW3 – For the sake of your kids, which by the way you don’t seem to care much about since you have no problem relocating them to a different country away from their father after barely knowing a man(!!!!), I’m glad this guy broke it off with you.

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    • avatar

      lemongrass September 10, 2013, 10:43 am

      50/50 IS fair but so is % based rent. Especially if the person earning more wants a more expensive place. It’s not that one way of splitting rent is better than the other but if you can’t come to an agreement on that- take it as a warning sign that living together will be challenging.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:46 am

        Yea, breezy commented that she should say I can afford $X and if he wants a place that is more that she can do, that’s on him. I liked that. I just don’t get how people can say 50/50 ISN’T fair (presuming you are choosing a place you can both afford to pay 50% for).
        Totally agree on your last point.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow September 10, 2013, 10:50 am

        I agree with you, and I wouldn’t expect a different arrangement unless we were married (but even still, I might not). The only exception would be if our income disparity was so great that him living somewhere I can actually afford half of would severely limit the quality of life he wants for himself.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:53 am

        Loved that you hit on the point of her saying HER bills are higher than his. I missed that. I just can’t stand the whole ‘you should pay for me and my stuff’ just because you’re coupled up.

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      • katie

        katie September 10, 2013, 10:58 am

        i didnt so much get that she wanted him to actually pay for her bills/debt, but just that her percentage that she can contribute to things is different then his is. like she literally may not be able to pay 50% of the rent… but in that case i like breezy’s tactic.

        i think she is saying that she wants to do the hybrid version, actually.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 10, 2013, 11:05 am

        It really depends on the situation. When Mr. Grass and I moved in together I had to move to his city- a much more expensive place. I couldn’t afford the rent he shared with our then-roommate so I paid the bills while they split the rent- each of them paying about $200 more than me a month. Yep, even our roommate paid more than me and everything worked out fine. The arrangement was the same deal they had when our roommates ex-gf lived with them, my husband paying more rent than her so they just chose to do the same with me. No resentment, no fights. It can be done!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 11:36 am

        It does depend and I have to remember that when I jump in with my opinions on this. Generally, I do like the 50/50 and think that’s the most fair. But I also liked Breezy’s approach (which is similar to yours in a way) of saying here’s what I can afford, is that cool with you. If it isn’t, then you take it from there.

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      • avatar

        thatgirl September 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

        Definitely situational….If my husband paid 1/2 of the rent, I wouldn’t like where we had to live!! So I pay more, because I make more and it matters to me.

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        Liquid Luck September 10, 2013, 1:48 pm

        That’s how it is with us. I’d be perfectly fine in the tiny apartment my salary could afford us, but J wouldn’t be. So he picks up the cost for us to live somewhere h picked out, and I contribute what I can. For us (in the place we live now) 50-50 would not be fair at all.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck September 10, 2013, 1:49 pm

        That’s how it is with us. I’d be perfectly fine in the tiny apartment my salary could afford us, but J wouldn’t be. So he picks up the cost for us to live somewhere he picked out, and I contribute what I can. For us, the percentage-based pay is totally fair.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC September 10, 2013, 1:43 pm

        County, not country.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC September 10, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Replying to myself – just reread the letter -1000 miles might as well be another country and I agree that it’s too far to move away from the kids’ dad.

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  • avatar

    BreezyAM September 10, 2013, 10:24 am

    LW1 I think if it’s important to you to live with your boyfriend, you’ll have to give in on this. However, he needs to compromise as well, by choosing a less expensive place. See the main breadwinner can’t be all “50/50!” and then choose somewhere that is a burden on the lower earner’s budget. I’d just tell him you’re willing to contribute $X to rent, and X should be what you would feel comfortable putting forward in any situation be it on your own or with a roommate or a boyfriend. That might be 50% or it might be 30% depending on what he then goes with (he could be a real asshole and choose something where you would be paying 100% but if he does that, well, don’t move in with him!). Just say “I can afford $X for rent because I really want to be responsible about my budgeting. You’re free to contribute an equal or greater amount to get us into an apartment you feel comfortable in, but I’m unable to contribute more than that and stay within budget.”

    LW3, this is a LD casual thing. Enjoy it. If you have some spare cash and time to go out of town for some fun, see him. If he’s around, see him if you want to. Other than that find people nearby to date and have fun with. Honestly he did you a favour; it’s a mess combining family LD, and it would NOT be as simple easy peasy as you make it sound to pick your kids up and move like that! Sheesh!

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 10, 2013, 10:27 am

      As a 50/50 person, I really like your advice for LW1. Here’s what I can afford in rent boyfriend. You can find a place where that equals 50% or any other percent.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ September 10, 2013, 11:52 am

      That was going to be my exact advice to LW1.

      If she can’t afford 50% of the rent for whatever place it is they’re considering, that place is too expensive.

      And if what she can afford to contribute towards rent, once doubled for his half, leaves them with no choices but shithole apartments they’re not willing to live in, then either (A) find a different percentage agreement where she pays the max she can and he makes up the difference, or (B) don’t move in together.

      I sort of get the sense that maybe the situation is, the LW would be moving into Dude’s existing place, and she can’t afford 50% of what’s already his rent. Again, the options remain the same, arrange a different percentage agreement (be firm that there IS a maximum amount you can contribute to rent, period), or don’t move in.

      But my question for you, LW, is this: WHY do you want to move in together? Why is this important to you? Is it because it’s practical or convenient – is there a long or arduous commute between your separate places? Do you have wonky schedules that make it hard to see each other? Is one or both of you suffering somehow by living alone – or are you living with parents or roommates that you’d rather be free from? Or is your decision based on the romance of it, the “this is the next step” feeling, or even some desire to keep your on-again, off-again relationship “on” for once by tying it to a lease agreement? Do you think you’ll both be happier living together? Do you think it will contribute to, or detract from, your relationship’s chance at longterm success?

      Your reason for wanting to move in together is just as important as the financial logistics. If you’re doing it for simple convenience, or because you think it’s the “next step,” or because you’re trying to insure your relationship somehow, well, you know what they say about building your house on quicksand. If you’re doing it because you feel committed to this new effort at your relationship, because you’re confident you can peacefully live together (and by extension, manage joint finances together), because it would be measurably better than your current living arrangement and would improve the quality of your life, that’s a more solid (though still not foolproof!) foundation to build on.

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    • avatar

      MMcG September 10, 2013, 1:23 pm

      Im a big fan of designating a % of each persons take home pay as going towards household expenses. That way it impacts both people equally. Instead of 50/50 which can get wacky if there is a huge disparity in income… each put in 40% or whatever is reasonable towards the joint expenses and budget from there.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary September 10, 2013, 10:25 am

    So, I’m not sure on the details or the custody agreement, but why would you fight your children’s father to move to another country with your kids? If they have ANY relationship at all with their father this is the wrong thing to do. I’ve seen countless divorced mothers move their kids to other states or across the country for their new boyfriend, forever damaging the relationship with their biological father (and usually the father is highly involve and WANTS a relationship with his kids). You’ve hung out with this guy what? twice? Get a grip and stop living in narnia.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl September 10, 2013, 12:16 pm

      County, not Country.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs September 10, 2013, 10:35 am

    LW1….i don’t think it should matter who makes more money, i think if you are both living in the same place then you should both pay 50/50….if you can’t afford it then you need to move into a more reasonably priced place….then both can pay their other expenses, like cell phone bills, etc, out of their own pocket…..i’ve never lived with anyone but that seems fair to me

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  • avatar

    rachel September 10, 2013, 10:38 am

    LW1 – There is no right answer in how to split finances, but that fact that you can’t agree and can’t seem to talk about it productively means you’re not ready to move in together. If one of you begrudgingly agrees to an arrangement, there will only be bitterness later on as other expenses crop up.

    LW2 – Please tell him, you can take Wendy’s tactful route, but yeah, I think we all knew thatguy in high school, and he was not popular.

    LW3 – Oh honey, I am sad at how naive you sound. He is trying to let you down easy. For the sake of your kids you need to slow down your approach to relationships.

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  • Copa

    Copa September 10, 2013, 10:58 am

    LW1 – While I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to split finances (it varies so much between couples), I hate the assumption that the higher earner should pay more just because he or she is the higher earner. If that’s what a couple agrees to, that’s fine. But your boyfriend doesn’t want to do that. Your higher bills are YOUR problem, not his. You should talk finances before moving in together and come up with a plan that works for both of you. I think that’s the only way this situation won’t lead to a 4th breakup (if nothing else leads to it first).

    LW3 – How do you do casual when you’re a plane ride apart? I don’t think it’s possible, really. Unless you have a lot of spare cash lying around, I think spending on airfare regularly just isn’t something you do for a casual relationship. If you’re looking for a relationship, I’d MOA.

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  • avatar

    Lucy September 10, 2013, 11:01 am

    LW1: Why do you feel entitled to have your boyfriend pay for part of your living expenses? You are an adult; that means you support yourself within your means. The only case in which your expectations are fair is when your boyfriend is not willing to live in an apartment where you can comfortably afford your half of the rent. If he demands a nicer place, he has to pay up. Otherwise, his attitude is completely understandable.

    LW3: He has lost interest in you. Don’t take it too personally; it’s a complicated situation AND you haven’t really known each other that long. Don’t bother with trying to maintain a casual relationship; just move on.

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  • avatar

    Sophronisba September 10, 2013, 11:16 am

    LW1, your boyfriend has a point of view that is not being clearly communicated to you. Does he think you are a moocher or a hopeless financial mess? Did someone steal his piggy-bank as a child and now his money has to be only his money? Does he not see this relationship as a long-term bet? Something is motivating him to create separation between you on this topic, to make sure he won’t be financially burdened in any way by living with you, and I think you should find out what it is.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs September 10, 2013, 11:29 am

    LW2 not sure if this is relevant….but i once gave a friend a gift basket for christmas full of soaps and lotions from the body shop and this girl got so offended! she thought i was giving it to her because she smelled bad, but it was really just a generic gift for someone that i had no idea what to buy!

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  • avatar

    SasLinna September 10, 2013, 11:32 am

    While LW 1 can’t request that her bf pay more than 50% (fairness is purely voluntary and subjective here and she doesn’t have any claim on his money), I do think it could be indicative of the bf’s level of commitment that he’s not willing to compromise on this. (Could. I’t’s speculation and it might also be that he just got burned by their previous experience). Especially if she’s sort of struggling financially and he’s quite well off. In such a situation I would definitely be ready to pay at least a bit more than 50% if I were the higher earner and if I were really committed to the lower earner. Maybe it’s a dangerous argument to make, but I think the LW might correctly sense a lack of commitment behind this.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed September 10, 2013, 11:35 am

      Well couldn’t the same be said for her? She’s not willing to compromise either.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna September 10, 2013, 11:45 am

        Sure. It just doesn’t sound like they have a lot of goodwill for each other. It goes both ways, you’re right. I suspect that their relationship is sort of poisoned.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow September 10, 2013, 11:40 am

    I wonder if LW1 would be one of those women that would want at least an “equal earner” in a partner if she was the one earning more…

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl September 10, 2013, 11:52 am

    I love how dividing money is so polarizing. BUT the bottom line is if you and your partner can’t agree on how to divide money…you’re not ready to move in.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray September 10, 2013, 12:06 pm

    LW1 If it’s doable to find a place where both your boyfriend and you can split rent 50/50 at a rate you can afford, then I would think that would be the easiest solution. But it’s hard to tell if that’s possible (I know it would be very difficult to find a one bedroom apartment if my fiancé and I split it 50/50 at a rate he could afford easily). And if your boyfriend isn’t happy living in a cheaper apartment, then that’s his problem. If he wants to split 50/50, he can’t expect that to mean for example that he would pay 25% of his monthy income on rent, whereas you could be paying 45%. It’s hard to tell if that is what he is expecting. There has to be a compromise here. Maybe you could split bills 50/50 for x amount of time, then agree to a percentage split. I totally understand someone not wanting to pay personal bills for a boyfriend/girlfriend, but if you are heading towards marriage, I don’t think it’s unreasonable once you merge finances (if that’s what you choose to do). I think you need to have a detailed conversation about expectations since it seems your boyfriend had resentment from the last time.

    LW2 Maybe you could buy some deodorant and shower products and suggest that it could help him smell nice for anyone he might want to impress, as he’s probably interested in girls (or guys) at this age. If subtlety doesn’t work, then I think you have to be more blunt, in a nice way, of course.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones September 10, 2013, 12:19 pm

    LW1 and her BF have a long history of financial issues. Perhaps he felt like financially supporting her was a big burden and that caused stress and resentment for him. I think he is trying to avoid repeating that pattern. I like the idea of 50/50 on a place you both can afford. I think if you get married and have kids it changes, but you need to be able to work this out and not look to your BF as your cash cow.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 10, 2013, 12:33 pm

    LW1) Bullshit. I mean, oh come on. If the shoe was on the other foot and YOU made the most money, you’d be calling him cheap if he tried to pull this lame-ass shit. PS. And so would everybody else here presently defending you…

    LW2) Hiya cuz! Ever wanna get laid? Meet deodorant. Oh, and try showering…

    LW3) Yay! Yet another mother of the year who puts her children dead last behind her quest for dick… PS: NEWSFLASH: um, he’s just NOT that into you…

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    • landygirl

      landygirl September 10, 2013, 1:40 pm

      I agree with BGM regarding LW1 and LW3.

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  • Stonegypsy

    the_other_wendy September 10, 2013, 12:35 pm

    LW1: When my husband and I moved in together (a couple years before he became my husband), I was making significantly more than he was. It was a really easy decision to just throw all of our money together. It was all our money, regardless of who earned what. The reason it was an easy decision is because we both viewed money in the same way. As just a thing that is necessary for buying other necessary things.
    It doesn’t sound like you and your boyfriend have similar views on money/finances. It sounds like he still resents you because of what happened last time. I think you need to put the whole “50/50” “But you make more than I do!” conversation to the side and have the more important conversation of how you both view money and finances as a whole. Get on the same page, try and see things from each other’s perspective, and then have the rent conversation again. You will both have to be willing to make small compromises here and there if it’s going to work.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ September 10, 2013, 1:32 pm

      You left out what I’m guessing was also part of your easy decision to combine finances – because you had no reason to believe you’d have to pull apart those finances again in the future.
      This couple does not have stability on their side. If I were LW or her boyfriend for that matter, I would not be jumping to combine finances with an on-again, off-again partner. (Then again, I wouldn’t even be looking to move in with one.) I get the impression that the LW is the one leading the charge on the cohabitation issue with a “This time it’ll be different!” mentality, and BF is understandably balking because of their past.

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      • Stonegypsy

        the_other_wendy September 10, 2013, 1:47 pm

        That is an excellent point, actually. I was fairly confident that we would be staying together, and their situation is a lot more complicated.

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  • avatar

    rieux September 10, 2013, 12:50 pm

    LW1… Let’s put it this way. Either his idea of being in a completely committed relationship is different than yours (aka, he’s going to want to split bills basically 50-50 even when you’re married/coparenting/retired/whatever and doesn’t believe in forming completely shared finances ever), OR his eventual goals are the same as yours, but his idea of where you two are in the commitment spectrum is different from yours, at least in terms of financial commitment. Neither of those sound like a great time to move in.

    That said, it’s possible he’s been burned by feeling (perhaps unjustly) that you couldn’t pull your weight before, and he wants to make sure you’re at least willing to put in 50% for now so that he can be sure that you intend to be a full-fledged member of the household, even if you aren’t earning as much as he is. If it’s the latter, then maybe you can still move in — just make sure that your goals and commitment are otherwise the same as his, suck it up and kick in 50% (without EVER committing to more than you can afford — make sure your joint lifestyle reflects your solo finances) for some agreed-upon period of time until he feels comfortable reevaluating. IF you feel comfortable doing that — maybe you would rather hold off on moving in until he trusts you and doesn’t feel you need to prove yourself, which would probably be wise.

    I mean, making him the breadwinner before caused you to break up, so I’m a little surprised that you’re surprised that he feels this way.

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  • bagge72

    Bagge72 September 10, 2013, 1:34 pm

    LW:1 I think it’s fair for you to pay half of the rent if you can afford it, and the way you are reacting seems to show you aren’t ready to move in with this guy. I would say unless you are married, engaged, or pre-engaged, then you need to pull your own weight here.

    LW:2 If you are a female, and live in the south, I would say just offer to take a shower with him everyday amiright… if not higher some hot chick to do it.

    LW:3 Were you going to just get up, and move away from your kids with out spending a significant amount of time with this guy? If so, this guy did your kids a favor by pretty much telling you he is done with the relationship part of whatever you two have.

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    • avatar

      spark September 11, 2013, 12:51 pm

      I agree; except WTF is pre-engaged?! 🙂

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC September 10, 2013, 1:47 pm

    #3 – my gut is saying he met someone closer to home. Or got a bit scared when you seemed so ready to uproot your entire life for someone you’ve only met in person a few times. It’s not clear when you met, but it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. It sucks, but lots of men (and women) get a bit shell-shocked if a potential mate seems eager to make such a big commitment in such a short time.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle September 10, 2013, 2:16 pm

    LW1, I think maybe this relationship isn’t so great if you’ve broken up 3 times already, but my take on the 50/50 thing is that it’s fair. I mean, he was the “main breadwinner” while you were working only 12 hours a week at one point— the least you can do is kick in half now.

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix September 10, 2013, 4:57 pm

    LW1
    1) If you’ve broken up 3 times, then talking out why you broke up isn’t the helping here. It’s a problem that you guys, or one of you guys would rather break up than give a little to each other. Which, surprise surprise, seems to be the problem you both have now. He thinks you aren’t giving anything, and you think he isn’t compromising. So no, you haven’t solved any of your issues by talking it out.

    2) Rent is part of a larger discussion of finances. What standard of living do each of you want? Do you both want an expensive lifestyle or would one of you prefer or be happy living in a more moderate lifestyle if it meant you had more savings, regardless of whether the more expensive life is affordable? Who is doing the household chores, inside and outside? Whose standard of cleanliness are you applying? Are they also to be split equally and their cost noted? Who is going to pay for nights out? These all have to be part of your rent discussion because they are all part of living together.

    3) Figure out your own budget, if you were living by yourself, and refuse to pay more unless there are compromises elsewhere. I mean this for everything: rent, food, nights outs, chores, etc. That means you give up having a decision in any place over your budget, but you also don’t have to pay for it. But by figuring out your own budget I mean, figure out what is the highest standard of living you want and what you would rather pay lower for even though you could afford more. Also figure out where you could compromise? If you would prefer living above your means in one way, say eating out, would you be willing to do far more of the chores?

    4) Pay your own bills

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