Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend’s Mad I Didn’t Pay His Way to My Sister’s Wedding”

Much money 07

My boyfriend and I have been living together for the past year, and we recently traveled out of state to attend my oldest sibling’s wedding. My parents always pay for my youngest sibling’s airfare because she is still college-aged and needs the help. In an attempt to be fair, my parents paid for my airfare to the wedding too. While I didn’t consider their help to be a secret, I also didn’t mention this fact to my boyfriend until it came up in conversation last night. I had booked our flights at the same time using my parent’s credit card, and, when he gave me the money for his flight, I passed that along to my parents.

My boyfriend has very hurt feelings that: (A) my parents did not offer to pay for his airfare; and (B) that I did not offer to pay for half of his airfare since I didn’t pay for my own. My parents like him, but they are also thrifty and frugal. I know that in this type of situation his parents would have paid for both of us. I feel terrible that his feelings are hurt over this, and I don’t want this to cause a rift between him and my parents. However, I don’t agree that I should have subsidized his airfare. I don’t believe I should have to give my boyfriend half of a gift that my parents give me. Am I being unreasonable?

He and I both earn very good money, and my parents and his parents are well-off. I want to talk to my parents about how my boyfriend feels, but I’m not sure how to approach this sensitive subject. I would greatly appreciate any advice you may have on making things right with my boyfriend. — Subsidized and Confused

Absolutely do NOT discuss this with your parents. This is an issue between you and your boyfriend and, by inviting your parents to be part of it, you risk turning it into an argument between your boyfriend and them (“They should have paid my way!” “No, we shouldn’t have!”), or an argument between you and your boyfriend that your parents take sides in, which, in turn, risks alienating your boyfriend and turning him off to the idea of attending future family gatherings with you (especially ones in which he is expected to pay travel expenses). How your parents spend their money and whom they decide to share it with is their business, and it would be rude and tactless to express anything but gratitude that they paid for your ticket to your sister’s wedding (despite not offering to pay your boyfriend’s expenses).

Honestly, I don’t blame your boyfriend for being upset (with you; I don’t think he has a right to be upset with your parents at all). He accompanied you to YOUR sister’s wedding — something he would not have spent the money and time to attend if he weren’t your boyfriend — not the other way around. How would you feel if you went to his sibling’s wedding and you found out his parents paid his way but he let you pay your way entirely? And how would you feel if you found out AFTER the fact? Like, if he didn’t even tell you his parents were subsidizing his trip (and it’s interesting that you used the word “subsidized” when referring to the idea of you paying for his ticket, but, when your parents paid for your ticket, it was a “gift”), and didn’t offer to pay for yours, either partially or entirely, with the money he was saving? I bet you’d be pissed. Or, at the very least, hurt. Like your boyfriend feels now.

You may not believe you should have paid for his ticket or that you should have shared half your parent’s “gift” with your boyfriend, but, at the very least, you could have been open about the situation. You could have invited a conversation about whether or not your boyfriend should still pay for all of his ticket (who knows, maybe he would have refused to let you pay for any of it, but you didn’t give him that chance). For all you know, the hurt feelings he’s expressing now may be mostly, if not entirely, related to your omission of your parents’ help. You may not have meant to keep the gifted ticket a secret, but that’s the way it seems now. And secrets can be hurtful.

I respect that you want to make things right with your boyfriend, and I’m going to trust that you are genuine in that sentiment. So here’s what you should do: apologize to him. Apologize for not being up-front about the entire situation and for allowing him to believe you were paying equally to attend your sister’s wedding. Thank him (again, I hope!) for traveling to the wedding with you. If he took time off from work, express your gratitude for that. Tell him that it meant a lot that he went with you because you are partners — partners who live together now (and maybe have plans to spend their lives together?) — and part of that means showing up to things like siblings’ weddings together, and part of that also means being open and honest about money matters. It means discussing the payments of big items that affect each other — and in this case a plane ticket is a “big item” and it certainly affects one partner if he’s expected to pay for his while his girlfriend’s ticket is subsidized by someone else.

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

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

60 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Amanda June 26, 2014, 10:06 am

    LW, your boyfriend is absolutely right to feel as he does. You owe him a huge apology and an offer to pay for his ticket. Then, split the cost of your sister’s wedding gift if he is amenable to that. He likely will be because he sounds pretty reasonable, unlike you.

    And FFS, do not involve your parents in this matter.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna June 26, 2014, 10:13 am

    As a point of comparison: My mother invited me to a concert she will perform in. She offered to pay for my ticket (it is rather expensive). My boyfriend will accompany me and I’m going to pay for his ticket. I figured it’s nice of him to accompany me to my mom’s concert and since I don’t have to pay for my own ticket I can cover his. I would feel weird not offering that, but obviously it has a lot to do with my bf being generous with me, too. He’ll probably offer us some drinks while we’re there.
    As an aside, I’m slightly amused this whole conflict is taking part between well-off people.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna June 26, 2014, 10:14 am

      I meant taking place in the last sentence. Can’t write today.

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    • avatar

      Tax Geek June 26, 2014, 10:33 am

      I don’t think it is about the money. I think it is more about she kind of kept a secret from him.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 26, 2014, 10:36 am

        I agree that having kept it a secret is part of it, but don’t you think it’s also that she didn’t offer to pay for (half of) his ticket? I feel it would have been natural for her to offer that.

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      • avatar

        Tax Geek June 26, 2014, 10:42 am

        I think not offering to pay is part of the secret. It looks a little like he was being taken advantage of.

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  • avatar

    missliss June 26, 2014, 10:20 am

    WWS! I wouldn’t involve the parents at all. I would apologize for basically hiding this information from him. It sounds like you all can afford the tickets, but it just felt rude to not even offer to treat him to your sibling’s wedding. If it feels weird to pay him back for his own ticket, I would just treat him to the next big event or trip you go on.

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  • avatar

    ktfran June 26, 2014, 10:24 am

    I know with 100% certainty that I would be quite taken aback if I found out that I had to buy a plane ticket for my boyfriend’s sibling’s wedding and his was being paid for. That’s kind of crappy. Wendy is right. This discussion should have happened before, not after the fact. And you guys should have discussed your options. But what is done is done. To rectify the situation, maybe the next couple of times you go out, you pay in full. Or if you all are into sports or concerts or something, you buy the tickets. He might not even take you up for it. Maybe all he really needs to know is that you were in the wrong and you understand why he’s hurt and you will take his feelings into consideration next time something like this happens.

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  • avatar

    csp June 26, 2014, 10:24 am

    LW, you are 100% wrong here. I will tell my boyfriend, “It was thoughtless of me to not think about you and your ticket. How can I make it up to you?”

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  • avatar

    Essie June 26, 2014, 10:26 am

    Sorry, LW, I’m with your boyfriend on this one. Since you ‘both earn good money’, you could have paid for your own ticket, and explained to your parents that you didn’t feel right having your ticket paid for while your boyfriend was paying his own way. I also like Wendy’s idea of dividing up the money your parents gave you so that you were both paying for half of your airfare.

    It’s difficult, sometimes, negotiating that borderline between being your parent’s daughter and being half of a couple. I think the best way to make it right is to apologize and give him half of the cost of his ticket.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 10:41 am

    I think it’s hard to judge the situation here without knowing how the LW and her boyfriend typically handle expenses. If they have a history of each paying his/her own way and not even really discussing money matters, etc., then it does not seem so weird that LW would have forgotten to mention the gifted ticket and it may seem out of left field to hear her boyfriend say she should have offered to split his airfare. Also I feel like there’s a difference between “gifts” from parents and gifts from others or scoring free stuff. Like, for me, my family and I are really close and share money all the time. If my mom gave me $300 for a ticket, it wouldn’t feel like a gift, it would feel like my money, and vice versa. I know this is weird – b/c all of my friends think it’s weird – but that’s just how things work for us. I routinely pay family members’ airfare and stuff and it’s not a gift – one of us has to pay and who cares who pays because it’s all the same. … Anyway, all this to say, it would seem really tacky to me if my boyfriend expected me to then write him a check for half his airfare. … But, I think the situation would be different if, say the LW won a free ticket. It would seem weird to not share that jackpot with her boyfriend. On the other hand, the fact that his parents routinely pay for her make me feel like she should pay for him as a thank you for the free tickets his parents have given her. Because along the same lines, his parents’ helping them is like him helping her and she should reciprocate even if her parents don’t. I’m kind of all over the board here. I just have a lot of “if this, then that” thoughts going on. … Money and how couples handle money is SO FASCINATING TO ME. As our other couples’ sex lives. But we can focus on money now.

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    • avatar

      ktfran June 26, 2014, 10:46 am

      So… you mentioned it would feel weird for her to hand over a check for half the amount to him. But… he handed her a check (or cash, or whatever) so she could pay her parents for his ticket. She bought both tickets on their credit card. That’s a little weird to me too.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 10:50 am

        Well, yeah. I mean, I would have just planned to pay for both tickets from the git go (git go? git go.) whether my parents had decided to gift me my share or not. But couples do expenses differently and routinely write each other checks for half the cable and half the milk and je ne sais quoi. I don’t necessarily like that set up but if that’s what they do then I could see how it might feel weird for her boyfriend to expect her to cover him.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 26, 2014, 10:56 am

        True, but then handing it over to the parents without telling him how it went down just seems weird to me. I have no idea why. But I was totally weirded out by the entire transaction. To each his or her own I guess.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 11:00 am

        Yeah, there’s something icky about it; I didn’t quite visualize how the transaction happened – parents paid for both and then she took his money and sent it to them? For some reason that is weirder to me than if she had paid for both and then her parents sent her a check for $300 and her boyfriend passed her a check for $300 (or whatever). But in the end it’s all the same and they clearly don’t share or talk about money … And I guess what I’m saying is if that’s how they handle all things it would seem they should handle this the same. I’m not entirely sure why I”m falling on this sword here (ha) because I personally would not have been able to take his money for that flight in any scenario. ESPECIALLY when his parents had paid for me to fly places. I would feel really icky doing that.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 26, 2014, 11:13 am

        Haha. This discussion is hilarious. For the record, I did not down thumb you. I thumbed up you to counteract it. I’m in a weird mood today. U.S.A.!
        .
        Weird is apparently my word of the day. I’m going to overuse it.

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      • avatar

        Rangerchic June 26, 2014, 12:50 pm

        I agree with AP. I don’t think it was weird to not tell him. She didn’t realize he would react this way…now she knows how to handle it in the future. I mean if I were in the same position I probably wouldn’t mention it if asked. However, I probably would have offered to help somehow since they are not married and he was accompanying her. But I don’t think her not specifically mentioning it in the beginning was her being mean or spiteful or trying to hide it or whatever.

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  • avatar

    BecBoo84 June 26, 2014, 10:49 am

    LW, I’m going to echo what everyone else is saying. I’m definitely with the boyfriend on this one, and in strong agreement with Wendy to not mention anything to his parents. Your boyfriend’s feelings are legitimately hurt, and you need to apologize. I believe you that you didn’t think it was a big deal and you didn’t mean to hurt his feelings, but you were definitely in the wrong.

    If it’s really not about the money per say, instead of offering to pay for half of his ticket retroactively (which you would obviously only be doing because you got called out on it), I would maybe make reservations at a nice restaurant in town that he really likes (your treat), buy concert tickets for some band he’s been dying to see, etc.

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    • avatar

      BecBoo84 June 26, 2014, 10:50 am

      Typo… you’re boyfriend’s FEELINGS are legitimately hurt…

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      • avatar

        BecBoo84 June 26, 2014, 11:50 am

        This just keeps getting more embarrassing… YOUR boyfriend

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 12:03 pm

        Haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Typing/spelling/proofreading is hard! And overrated, ha.

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      • avatar

        BecBoo84 June 26, 2014, 12:17 pm

        Most embarrassing would be the fact that editing is part of my job… I guess it’s a good thing my boss hasn’t discovered Dear Wendy yet

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning June 26, 2014, 10:59 am

    “While I didn’t consider their help to be a secret, I also didn’t mention this fact to my boyfriend.”
    If her parents had paid his way she would have told him, so yeah, it was a secret.

    As part of a committed couple, he’s right to be upset by her (to me) sneaky behavior. I think she should apologize and ask him what she could do to make it right.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh June 26, 2014, 11:06 am

    I think this is more a communication issue than anything. There should have been a discussion abut who pays for trips, etc and then there should have been another discussion when the parents changed it up and paid for your ticket. I don’t think he should be hurt by your parents. But, I would be hurt that you weren’t communicating the information about them paying for you to me. Especially since you’re now living together and splitting finances, etc.

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    • avatar

      Stillrunning June 26, 2014, 11:41 am

      Totally agree. This is a good opportunity to discuss communication issues in their relationship.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray June 26, 2014, 11:11 am

    So you got a “gift” from your parents and took all of it, so to speak, and didn’t share with your partner (or even tell him about it upfront!). Presumably you wouldn’t do that with a tangible gift. If I were your boyfriend, I wouldn’t feel like I’m in as much of a partnership. I also think this is one of those tricky things to navigate as you grow further from your childhood family. He did you a favor by going to the wedding with you for your family. Things aren’t always as simple as this is mine, that is yours. Being generous (and upfront!) goes a long way.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 26, 2014, 11:14 am

    I see this as a matter where as an individual you think in terms of “I” and as part of a couple you think in terms of “we.” Your boyfriend attended this wedding as part of a couple but you let him pay for it as an individual. You had all the benefits of a couple, like a traveling companion who sat with you on the plane and spent time with you at the wedding but you didn’t share the ticket as a couple. You took his money and let him think you were paying an equal share but you weren’t, that is a lie of omission. As a member of a couple, traveling as a couple, presenting themselves at the wedding as a couple I would expect you to think in terms of we when attending the wedding and to share the cost of his ticket. Especially since this was the wedding of your sister, a wedding he wouldn’t attend if he wasn’t your boyfriend. As half of a couple, attending this wedding, I would expect you to tell him that your parents were paying for your ticket so the two of you only needed to pay for one ticket.

    If you value this relationship you need to do damage control. You need to apologize and you should reimburse him for half of his ticket or even for his full ticket since he went for you. The long term damage is that he may find that he no longer trusts you because he has found out the hard way that you’re secretive when it benefits you. You need to assure him that you won’t be secretive in the future unless you’re planning a surprise for him and try to be open and honest. Secrets can and do destroy relationships all the time.

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    • Miel

      Miel June 26, 2014, 11:31 am

      You said what I wanted to say, but much better!

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    • avatar

      John June 26, 2014, 1:23 pm

      “The long term damage is that he may find that he no longer trusts you because he has found out the hard way that you’re secretive when it benefits you. ”

      This is the million dollar statement. It needs to corrected quick. I think the way to restore that trust is to pay for half/whole ticket and then maybe take him to a steak dinner or something else he might like. Going above and beyond just covering his cost of transportation will truly show you are sorry and I think his faith will be restored again after that. I think when apologizing for something, taking that extra step gives it more credibility. Since your credibility right now is in the crapper, this will go a long way to restoring it. A Porterhouse, mashed potatoes and broccoli is good damage control and will probably make him forget the whole thing.

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      • Bucky

        waterbug June 26, 2014, 4:03 pm

        I think a nice dinner is a nice gesture but probably won’t make him forget! I totally agree that it will probably take time to rebuild that trust.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth June 26, 2014, 11:23 am

    I don’t think you should discuss this with your parents. How they want to spend their money is their choice. Maybe they are semi-frugal people or aren’t sure of how serious of a relationship you are in with your boyfriend, and did not want to pay his way too. I also think you omitted important information from your boyfriend, and that is not good. A discussion should have been had, at the very least. A relationship takes two, and you have to discuss all aspects, including finances and major gifts.

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  • Miel

    Miel June 26, 2014, 11:27 am

    I only have one relevant experience regarding this. My boyfriend and I went to his sister’s graduation last month and to attend we both had to fly and stay at a hotel for the weekend. My boyfriend’s dad offered to “help” us with the money, so we discussed “how much is both plane tickets+hotel” and “how much do we ask from your dad”, and eventually we split the money up so some of my expenses and some of his expenses we covered by the money his dad gave us.

    I would have been pretty upset if his airfare was covered by his dad but mine weren’t, especially if he had kept that from me. I feel like when we go places as a couple, we definitely should split the cost. So either we both pay full price, or we both pay a little less, or we both pay nothing (although that never happened to me). It’s not so much a question of how much money you have, but more about how you want the two of you to take financial decisions.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 June 26, 2014, 11:35 am

    I just think you are looking at it wrong, you should be looking at it as a combined expense to your sisters wedding, and just because his name is the only name on the ticket doesn’t mean you two shouldn’t be splitting the cost of this trip, especially since it is something for your family. You should take the total spent for the hotel, plane tickets, and gifts subtract the amount your parents gave you towards that, and then split the difference.

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  • avatar

    Anne June 26, 2014, 11:42 am

    Any time my husband, now or before we got married, took me with him to an out of town family event, he paid my way for tickets, gas, etc. The few times Ive taken him along for some of my family’s stuff, ive done the same.

    I don’t know that we will always keep track like that now that we’re married, but when we were dating it just didn’t feel right to invite my boyfriend to something like a family wedding where he pretty much would probably look like a jerk if he didn’t go, so he is compelled to say yes, but then also has to dole out several hundred to go. if he is YOUR guest then you should provide for him to come, or vice versa.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. June 26, 2014, 1:30 pm

      Yep, that’s a good rule. I agree that she should pay at least half his ticket, but preferably all of it.

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  • Portia

    Portia June 26, 2014, 12:10 pm

    Money is a tricky thing in relationships. And people assume all types of money stuff, even after having attended many family functions, weddings, whatever together. I feel like I’ve been through many iterations of this before – my sister’s graduation, my cousin’s wedding, his friend’s wedding, his cousin’s wedding, his sister’s baby’s christening, visiting my parents, visiting his parents – the list could go on. Sometimes we’ve paid for each other, sometimes we’ve split, and sometimes one of us has decided not to go.
    .
    However, each time, before committing to everything, we’ve had a discussion about any outside offers on the table (or offers amongst ourselves) and like others have pointed out, that is obviously what was missing here. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a lie of omission, but it doesn’t sound like you thought it was worth a conversation when it really was. Apologize for not initiating a discussion about it and allowing him to assume certain things and offer to make it up now, either by splitting the cost or paying his way. Consider this the first of many conversations about money that will hopefully take place over the course of your relationship.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 12:16 pm

      aw that was well said. I’d like to replace whatever i said with this, thx.

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      • Portia

        Portia June 26, 2014, 12:32 pm

        Thanks Addie!

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    • Portia

      Portia June 26, 2014, 12:31 pm

      I actually had a conversation about this type of thing with Bassanio a few months ago about his friend’s wedding. He’s really excited to go to this friend’s international wedding in about a week. I know this friend pretty well, so I was also invited, but even before the invitation came in the mail, we discussed whether I was also going. I reminded him that I didn’t really have a lot of money coming in right now and that if he wanted me to come, he was going to have to pay for my ticket. I know he was at first disappointed that we weren’t going to take this trip together, but I’m glad I put it all out there on the table for him far in advance for him to make the financial choice.
      .
      By the way, in this situation, assumptions about who paid for what could have gone either way because there was no one way we’ve done this: he has paid for my ticket to his friend’s wedding, he went to a cousin’s international wedding by himself and acted from the start as if I would pay my own way if I came, my parents paid for my ticket to my sister’s graduation and offered to pay for his and he’s turned it down, and tons of other situations over the years. So, I don’t agree that it should be assumed that gifts/tickets/parental offers are shared or offers should be made for family events, but there should be a discussion each time anything like this comes up.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 26, 2014, 12:56 pm

      This is the definition for a lie of omission from Wikipedia.

      Lying by omission

      Also known as a continuing misrepresentation, a lie by omission occurs when an important fact is left out in order to foster a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. When the seller of a car declares it has been serviced regularly but does not tell that a fault was reported at the last service, the seller lies by omission. It can be compared to dissimulation.

      I called it a lie of omission because I think she purposely left him thinking that she paid for her ticket and he paid for his ticket when she knew that wasn’t true and didn’t nothing to let him know that it wasn’t true. It doesn’t matter how it is done, when someone feels deceived they begin to lose respect for you and to not trust you and that destroys relationships.

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  • lynn

    Lynn June 26, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Let me guess LW, your parents got to keep those frequent flyer miles too since you paid with their credit card and probably put in their info or your own…

    I’m with everyone else, you were in the wrong and need to do some damage control. Sorry, my rule is if it invite someone sir where, I pay for them.

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    • Portia

      Portia June 26, 2014, 1:57 pm

      Unless they got it using an airline credit card and can earn miles separately that way, the person who flies is the only one who can earn frequent flyer miles.

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      • Portia

        Portia June 26, 2014, 2:01 pm

        PSA: Anyone who flies for work or gets a trip some other way, make sure you put in your frequent flyer number. I have a friend who recently got enough miles to fly to Asia because of work trips and I accidentally racked up a bunch of miles from my birthright trip that way (put in my frequent flyer number because I covered the first leg of the trip getting to NYC then it was in the system for the rest of the trip).

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet June 26, 2014, 2:12 pm

    I think the fact that they both earn “very good money” coupled with the fact that this trip was specifically taken for the LW is what makes this issue black and white. This line stood out to me the most:

    “I don’t believe I should have to give my boyfriend half of a gift that my parents give me.”

    Maybe think about it on a smaller scale. Let’s say the gift in question is a gift card to a restaurant that you and your boyfriend never dine at. When you each take your separate checks at the end of the meal, would you use the gift card for your meal only and let your boyfriend pay for his own? Or would you put the gift card towards the whole of the meal and then each split the remainder down the middle? Either would be fine if it was previously talked about, but the former would be deceptive if your boyfriend was unaware of the gift card.

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  • avatar

    Lucy June 26, 2014, 2:27 pm

    Hunh. I guess I’m with the LW as I don’t see a huge issue here. If you strip all the ancillary stuff out of the situation, to me it comes down to: if my parents give me a gift, do I owe my SO a) an accounting of that gift and b) half the gift? I was married for a long time with shared finances, and it makes me laugh to think my husband would have been hurt or upset if I didn’t tell him my parents gave me a few hundred bucks. Certainly I wouldn’t have been upset if the situation were reversed. I can see this making sense if the LW and/or her boyfriend were struggling with money, but they have plenty. So yeah, I really don’t get it either.

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    • something random

      something random June 27, 2014, 8:55 am

      If this was a ticket to a concert or something they both enjoyed I would agree, but the lw made a special request that her boyfriend buy a ticket and take time off to accompany her to her family event. She asked him to meet her halfway for something that was exclusively for her benefit. And then it turns out she wasn’t even contributing at all. I don’t think its about the monetary amount I think it is about the principle and feeling taken advantage of.

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  • avatar

    Liquid Luck June 26, 2014, 3:24 pm

    I agree with the LW only on the point that I don’t think personal gifts need to be shared. If my parents gave me a gift card for my birthday, I wouldn’t feel the need to take my husband shopping and spend half of it on him just to be fair. Likewise, I would never expect him to give me half if he got money as a gift meant only for him. If the LW truly saw the ticket as a gift to her, then I could see how this could be an honest mistake.

    That being said, I have a hard time believing that an intelligent person in a committed relationship with no money problems wouldn’t think that the fact that her boyfriend is the only part of the couple shelling out money for both of them to attend HER family’s event was not necessary to discuss. It’s naive at best, and hopefully this was a learning experience rather than an indicator of future behavior.

    LW, if you and your boyfriend are planning to have a future together (which seems likely as you are living together and shelling out decent money to fly cross-country for family events), then you need to start thinking as a team. Your parents covering your airfare on a joint trip with your boyfriend is not the same as them giving you a birthday or Christmas present. He paid a lot of money to go to an important event for your family, and you left him holding the bag for your own benefit. This has nothing to do with your parents and everything to do with you and your boyfriend not being on the same page about your relationship.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    monkey's mommy June 26, 2014, 3:32 pm

    Leave the parents out of it. They can spend their money anyway they like. I accompanied my college age brother to Italy last year. My mom paid for my ticket and my brother’s. She did NOT pay for my husband- if he wanted to go, that was on us. (And he did, and we paid). Not once did I accost my mom as to why she didn’t cover my spouse as she did my ticket.

    As for his hurt feelings, I guess it depends on your relationship. I don’t think it’s a big deal that you didn’t pay and he did, but I guess it is different for everyone and how he feels counts.

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  • Bucky

    waterbug June 26, 2014, 4:01 pm

    I’d be mad if I was your boyfriend. Especially living together which indicates some seriousness to the relationship and probably sharing expenses in SOME way (rent, food, internet, something ). If you were just casually dating I think you’d get different responses. I agree with damage control. I’m not sure handing him a check will work unless you can do it nicely and really want to. But you could take a trip and pay for it all or even just a sincere apology and a discussion about money.

    In the future, if you are in a similar situation and don’t want to share your parents help, be honest and offer to pay all other expenses (gas, car, food, hotel etc.).

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 4:10 pm

    So a friend of mine and her live-in boyfriend don’t even know how much the other makes. Do you think that’s weird? I think that’s really weird. (Also, hi L, if you’re reading DW like I told you to and you’ve figured out (i) I am me and (ii) this is about you!) Like, at that point they are actively NOT telling each other, you know? Like, I don’t expect people who live together disclose every itty bitty detail about their life, but to not talk about income means they’re avoiding it. In this case, I know first hand she makes a fuck shit ton of money (think, like, hot shot, big league surgeon kind of money) (so proud of you, L!) and at this point I’m sure she hasn’t told her LIVE-IN BOYFRIEND because she thinks it’ll sound braggy or make him feel SUPER INSECURE – and now maybe L has a point. …. But, anyway, what do you think? I think it’s crazy weird.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 4:14 pm

      everybody: we agree, that’s weird.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 4:14 pm

        ok good, me too

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 June 26, 2014, 4:46 pm

      I do think it’s a little weird if they have NO sense of how much the other is making.

      If he knows she makes a shit-tonne of money (at least more than him, more than enough to cover x,y,z) I could see how it maybe never came up and in the moment isn’t important. But when you start combining finances, or move to a system of sharing based on how much you make, then yeah, it would be weird not to know.

      I mean, I live with my bf and he sorta knows I have a pile of savings that I don’t count as my ‘money’ (aka down payment, TFSA, retirement savings etc), and he sorta knows I’m making absolutely nothing while I’m in school (or negative money because TA’ing doesn’t cover tuition or rent or food). But he doesn’t know the extent of how much money I’m making (or losing) while I go to school. So I can sorta see it. But at some point, it’s gotta come up!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray June 26, 2014, 4:50 pm

        she’s a surgeon – so he knows she makes a lot. but i guess it’s just weird to me b/c i have such a hard time not sharing every detail. like it’s weird to me in your situation he doesn’t know down to the penny what you make and what you save and whatnot. but, frankly, i wish i had NOT talked about money with my ex because it caused a lot of weirdness. so i should always remember: whatever urge i have, do the opposite if i want to make it work.

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet June 26, 2014, 5:21 pm

      I think that’s weird, but as long as they both have a general idea about how much they make and where their money goes (i.e. debt and expenses), I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. As long as there are no surprises if they ever get married and join finances one day.
      .
      I was with my ex for 3 years and lived with him for 2. At some point well into the 2nd year of our relationship, I found out (through his mother) that he had a large sum of money in a savings/investment account (I don’t remember which kind) that he never told me about. I was SHOCKED. I felt deceived- like what else was he hiding from me? I didn’t care about the amount, it was the secretiveness that bothered me.

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      • Portia

        Portia June 27, 2014, 9:41 am

        I assume that means it was money his parents had given him? Maybe it’s because me and Bassanio are both in that position, but I get not telling about that. That kind of knowledge can be dangerous not only for a breakup but also just in your everyday life. Would you start thinking, he’s got all this money, why isn’t he spending more on me? Also, I have a friend who once confided in me he’d broken up with a fiancé because she was acting weird about it. So it may have seemed like a violation of trust or whatever, but that’s really not info to be shared. I’m surprised his mom told you, to be honest.

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        snoopy128 June 27, 2014, 10:00 am

        I kind of get it. I have some money like that (from when I had to put 1/2 of anything I ever got as a child away and my parents invested it)….but I don’t even think of it as “my money”. LIke it isn’t there for me to spend whenever. I’d consider taking out a low-interest loan before taking that stuff out of the stock market. So, I wouldn’t necessarily bring it up in a conversation, mostly because I don’t think of it as mine to spend and use. It’s there for down-payments and long term life goal stuff. I guess I treat it like a retirement fund…completely untouchable right now.

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    • Portia

      Portia June 26, 2014, 11:16 pm

      Only in the last year-ish has Bassanio been more providing of details about his income. He makes a lot of investing. I had a general sense of how much he made at his actual job (I ended up guessing right within about 3k), but he doesn’t like sharing how much he makes on the stock market.
      .
      It can be tricky when it’s not really a necessary fact to share. Like, above a certain point where you’re making more than enough to keep up your lifestyle, does it really matter other than to satisfy curiosity? I think that’s why when people start talking about splitting expenses based on income, I’m always a little surprised people are so aware of their (non-spouse) significant other’s income. Like, if you both kinda know that one person makes 3x what the other does, I get using that general term as a metric. But specifics?

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  • avatar

    thatgirl June 26, 2014, 10:42 pm

    I’m trying to imagine the conversation…
    My parents bought our tickets for us.
    Thats great! How much is our share?
    Your share is $500….
    .
    It was secretive…and more than a little shady.

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    • Portia

      Portia June 26, 2014, 10:58 pm

      Or, the LW could have a credit card linked to her parents and picked out the tickets and went online to purchase them. My parents have me do stuff like that. Actually, I didn’t this last time because my mom said she would do it and it was difficult trying to get her to actually sit down and do it, partially because my sister is also coming out.

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