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My boyfriend is broke but I'm not

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by avatar Moe 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #665810 Reply
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    Jaqui

    I’m recently divorced after 20 years of marriage. I’ve always made a decent living, $200+ a year, so I could maintain a comfortable life after divorce. I met a wonderful man (warm, loving, funny), my same age who haa always made a low income, about $14,000 a year. He is a single dad raising two children’ now 17 and 18 years old. He is struggling to make ends meet and I would like to help, by buying them things or giving him money. But am afraid of how these actions would impact the relationship. Will he eventually resent me, will I eventually resent him? Will he have less respect for himself, will I eventually have less respect for him? But also, what kind of person would I be if I see him struggling and not helps? Any advice would be welcomed; how do I navigate this relationship to a successful conclusion?

    #665814 Reply
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    Essie
    Participant

    How long have you been dating him?

    #665822 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Ok, be careful here. You’re recently divorced and just starting to date again. Take this really slow and get to know the guy well before you start giving him or his kids any gifts. Paying for dinners out, sure. Helping pay the rent? Buying him a watch? Clothes for the kids? No, not appropriate. You need to get to know him and his character before you even consider stuff like that. Not only because you could be taken advantage of but because, like you said, you *dont know* him well enough to know how he’d react to you helping out / subsidizing his family / giving gifts he couldn’t match. Proceed very cautiously here. Don’t talk about how much money you make with guys you date until things are pretty serious. Date around, get experience, have fun.

    And this:

    “what kind of person would I be if I see him struggling and not helps?”

    Please remember this was his life long before you came into it, and you have NO obligation to give financial assistance to a man you’re dating, no matter the discrepancy in incomes. For now, you’re just dating, and you either can treat or cook for him, or do low/no-cost things together. That’s your only responsibility at this point. Do not give him money.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by avatar Kate.
    #665830 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    Based on the info you have, I think it’s too early to get involved in that. Sure, treat him on dates more and things like that, but gifts for his kids would create more involvement then may be appropriate at this time and paying larger expenses is risky. Yes, someone might resent the other, you may get taken advantage of, it may create a weird dynamic where the time comes to breakup but he isn’t honest because t would mean a reduction in his lifestyle.

    Financial help, IMO, is best saved for either joining your lives together (whether that’s marriage, moving in or just deciding you have a long term future) or if one person encounters a rough patch. He’s not in a rough patch. This is the lifestyle he has appeared to choose. Not your responsibility.

    #665832 Reply
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    Ron

    $200K/year is more than a decent living.

    I agree with all the others, the risks of giving $/gifts to new bf at this stage are huge: hurt his pride, change the relationship dynamic, get taken advantage of financially, his family becomes dependent and then this nascent relationship dies.

    Post-divorce, you should be moving slowly. You are in the relationship honeymoon period and caught up in the easy initial start of a relationship.

    Big differences in income frequently are flags for other big differences. The assumptions about almost everything can be vastly different if you’ve almost always been $200K/year and he’s been getting by on $14K/year with kids.

    Choice of career/family balance, recreational activities, interests, educational level, how you think of and handle finances, often your whole social/political outlook are greatly influenced by your income level. There are no generalizable assumptions that extend to all individuals and you and bf may be congruent on most of your views, such that you have far more in common with him than with someone else in your financial bracket. But… it does mean you have to think seriously about these things. What one does on dates is not always a true reflection of what one likes to do in one’s settled state. You need to know how you want to spend your time going forward and whether he will be content with that.

    #665834 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Yes, I was also thinking that $214K vs $14K is a HUGE discrepancy to try to get past in a relationship. Especially if these are your long-established lifestyles. It would take a very strong, unique connection and a lot of very thoughtful consideration and logistical effort to make that work. When I was dating a while back, I probably made more money than most guys I went out with, and finances are, TBH, a sensitive issue in dating, but I never ran into that much of a lifestyle difference. This is gonna be tough.

    #665844 Reply
    juliecatharine
    Juliecatharine

    Yeah…$14k a year with children is way below poverty level which definitely skews things more than $200k vs say $40k. Take things very very slowly and, I’m sorry to say this but watch yourself with this guy unless there are very good reasons for his lack of income.

    #665854 Reply
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    Jaqui

    Thank you all, very sound advice. Some of the same thoughts that have been in my head. We’ve only been dating for a couple of months after meeting in June 2016. For the record, he has never asked me for any money; I’ve paid for a few meals but he has also cooked me a couple of dinners. I just feel bad when I hear his struggles and I’m not offering to help. But I will heed the advice I’ve heard.

    Thanks, Merry Christmas

    #665856 Reply
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    saneinca

    Are you sure he is not playing for your sympathy and monetary support by recounting his struggles to you so early in your relationship ?

    #665865 Reply
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    Jaqui

    Good point saneinca, the only way I know is because he once talked about it, in despair.

    He is a sports coach for small children, which is how I met him taking my 6 yearn old nephew to play on his team. I watched him for months. He was great with the kids. His co-workers liked and respected him. I heard the parents talk favorably about him. I flirted with him for almost a month and was unclear if he was interested. So I called him and asked him out. He immediately said yes. On our first date I asked him why he didn’t respond more clearly to my feeble flirts. He said many of the parents are nice to him and his kids, he just thought i was being nice. But once I asked him out everything made sense.

    My read, he was a jock in high school who excelled in all sports but not academics. Once he got injured and could not play anymore, he and his wife had hourly waged jobs and when she passed away he kept doing what he knew how to do in order to feed his children. All my instincts tell me that he is a good guy. If it was business, my instincts have never let me down. But at this point in life, I can’t trust my instincts on romance.

    #665897 Reply
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    Kate

    Ok… he may be a guy of good character, but please promise you will not give him money or try to change his life because you can. That’s probably never appropriate during dating, maybe if you got really serious, and then if you ever got to the point of marriage, you’d want to seriously think about a prenup. You’re not in a position to take the risk of possibly losing your savings, because then what would you do in retirement?

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by avatar Kate.
    #665951 Reply
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    Jaqui

    Thank you Kate, I agree. You and the others have given me great advice. My course of action is clear.

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