Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Subsidized and Confused” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Subsidized and Confused” who didn’t tell her live-in boyfriend that she used her parents’ credit card to book their flights to her older sibling’s wedding. He was upset when he learned of the fact after he gave he gave her money to reimburse her for his flight and she took it. “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.” She continued: “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.” Keep reading to see how she decided to resolve the issue and find out what her new question for us is.

I’d like to thank you and your readers for responding to my letter. The responses were very eye-opening for me, and I agree that I was viewing the situation in the wrong light. I apologized to my boyfriend and promised that we would split travel expenses in the future, including money my parents pay towards airfare. He accepted my apology, and we didn’t discuss it again. We have had many other points of tension though, from a lack of quality time together to lack of common interests, opposing sleep and work schedules, disagreements about housework, and, of course, disagreements over money.

Fast forward a few months, and I finally realized how unhappy I’ve been in this relationship. I ended things and found a new place to live. I just paid the security deposit on my new place, and I’ll be hiring movers very soon. There was nothing scandalous about the circumstances of our breakup, and communications have been civil and calm. We agreed on how we would split our joint property, which was fair, and we are both happy with the outcome. Unfortunately, we had already purchased airfare to visit my out-of-state family over Christmas.

My ex now wants me to pay the $200 transfer fee for him to put the ticket money towards a different flight, which I should be responsible for because I decided to end our relationship. Has anyone had a similar experience with an ex? I can’t believe we’re having another airfare-related issue. — “Subsidized and Confused”

Since you’ve stated that you both earn good money and that your break up thus far has been civil and calm and you’re both happy with the outcome, I would offer to pay half of the transfer fee — so $100 total — and be done with it so you can both move on. If you split his airfare with him in the first place and he’s planning to transfer the ticket to somewhere else, he’s already getting a deal out of the whole thing. Paying for half the transfer fee is more than fair, and, if he still has a problem with that, oh well. Just make sure you have everything from your breakup that is rightfully yours or that you would want to fight for.

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If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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19 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Kate October 20, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Yeah, I’ve always been of the mind of “just give them whatever” in a breakup. It keeps the peace and moves things along quickly toward an end without unresolved bad feelings. I like Wendy’s suggestion, but I’d probably just give him the $200 and say bye.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar October 20, 2014, 1:46 pm

    The appropriate response to his request is “Seriously?”.

    But by all means if he paid for the ticket then offer to split it as a consequence of the break-up (if you are feeling generous). If you paid for half the ticket then tell him that – and he can reimburse you the half you paid and you’ll give him the $100. But given that he even asked over something so petty – you sound well rid of him.

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    • avatar

      freckles October 20, 2014, 7:27 pm

      I dunno I’ll be honest. I think if my SO broke up with me I would want them to pay the money. If they did the breaking up, why should I have to be out that money? I’ll admit though I’ve never been in this situation. My ex and I planned a vacation together, and he had to pay some fee because he was trading a timeshare, but we broke up before the vacation. Because he initiated it though, he didn’t ask anything from me.

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  • Portia

    Portia October 20, 2014, 2:20 pm

    I was thinking about the original letter the other day because we’re organizing a trip with part of it being a family wedding. That being said, I agree with firestar. You didn’t force him to buy a ticket and he’s going to get some use out of it. Plus the “it’s your fault we broke up, now you have to give me money” doesn’t sit well with me, given the rest of it was amicable and split up fairly. I think he’s got some hangup on the price of travel or something…

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    • Portia

      Portia October 20, 2014, 2:22 pm

      Also, I took out a sentence, but apparently didn’t take out “that being said” – oops! Are dangling transitions a thing?

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  • Miel

    Miel October 20, 2014, 2:23 pm

    I just feel like losing plane tickets is part of the breaking up process. Since day 1 of my long distance relationships, I bought tickets to go see my boyfriend. And I’m a student with very little money, and I have to buy plane tickets at $800-$1000 a piece, multiple times per year. How did I know I wouldn’t break up with my boyfriend and lose the ticket ? I didn’t know, I just took a chance! At every step on the relationship, I had to take a risk. “we’ve been together for 2 months, but I’m buying tickets hoping we will still be together at the 5 months mark”. “We’ve been together 5 months, but I’m buying tickets hoping we will still be together at the 1 year mark”. Losing the tickets is just part of the things you lose with the relationship.

    If your boyfriend wants to save the ticket and pay $200 to go somewhere else instead, that’s on him.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 20, 2014, 2:36 pm

      I agree. It’s really petty to ask for that 200 bucks. It’s common to lose some money in a break up and it’s especially annoying that he’s assuming she owes him money back just because she was the one to end the relationship. Still, I’d probably transfer him the money just to shut him up. It’s not worthwhile getting into an argument. See it as your moving on tax.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 October 20, 2014, 3:04 pm

    I don’t get why he wouldn’t just want to pay the fee, and cut ties. It seems like this guy gets really caught up on money, and thinks he deserves a lot of things (which I think he did in the original situation).
    I agree with Wendy that it would probably be better for you to at least split the cost, if he paid for the ticket himself, but I also think he should have just paid the transfer fee, and went on his merry way, unless he really does resent the break up, and is just looking for a reason to fight. I know this is confusing me saying that you should pay, but he should have paid, hopefully you don’t use that to prolong the fight with him.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 20, 2014, 4:26 pm

      I agree with Bagge. This guy seems petty and like a nickel-and-dimer. (Is that how you spell nickel? It always looks so weird to me.) He really seems to be looking for a lot of freebies. (That’s another hard on – “freebie”?). Was he so generous with his own money during your relationship? If not, I’d tell him to suck it up and be done with him.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 20, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Whoa, meant HARD ONE.

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  • avatar

    Lucy October 20, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Despite making good money, this guy is clearly petty and cheap. The idea of nickel and diming someone because THEY broke up with YOU is really, really small. But $100 is probably money well spent to be rid of him.

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  • kare

    kare October 20, 2014, 3:35 pm

    What is the stance on splitting things up after a relationship? For instance, my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend would like him to pay for the couch they bought as a couple. After their breakup, she told him she would leave the couch at their apartment (along with a couple of household items) and then moved out. Months later she is asking for him to pay for the couch. In my mind, it would be polite to pay for the couch but it’s not necessary because she originally left it behind without expecting him to pay for it. I guess I’m always the type to cut my losses and move on because dealing with money or exes can be frustrating on its own, why combine the two?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy October 20, 2014, 5:18 pm

      If the ex-bf wanted your boyfriend to pay her for her half of the couch, which she was entitled to if they bought it together, she should have made that clear from the get-go. Asking for payment months afterward is tacky. But your boyfriend could just pay what he thinks is a fair price for half of what he thinks the couch is worth now just to get her off his back and truly move on.

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  • avatar

    Muffy October 20, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I hate penny pinchers that won’t just screw off . Is everything already all done and split up? If so I would just ignore the email/message from him and give him nothing. If not, give him 100 dollars and after that just ignore him going forward – the fault is not yours for breaking up – it’s both of yours, a relationship doesn’t work because of the PEOPLE in it not because of one person. People like that piss me off. I knew a girl like that – sued her ex boyfriend after they broke up for the airfare of a trip they took together while still dating. She felt that since they had broken up (well after the trip) and she had gifted the trip, now was the time to collect on all those “gifts” which were really just conditional upon staying together

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana October 20, 2014, 4:37 pm

    Woah yeah-him asking for the $ to cover the flight he paid for just proves you made the right choice. I would balk at paying the $ myself, but agree that just paying 1/2 it so you can be done with the situation and move on may be the best bet.

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  • veracityb

    veracityb October 20, 2014, 5:56 pm

    Yup. Agreed with those who say that that’s money he chanced on losing should the relationship end. I wouldn’t give him the money out of principle.

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  • MackenzieLee

    MackenzieLee October 20, 2014, 6:12 pm

    I think it is so tacky of him to ask and I can’t even imagine if someone asked that of me. The only even close experience I can think of is when I won a gift card to a men’s clothing store and I had mentioned in passing my boyfriend and I could pick some things out for him because what could I need from a men’s clothing store. That never happened and fast forward to us breaking up. He messaged me about it months after the break up and had the audacity to act like I owed it to him and to ask for the recipt because he was a college athlete and would be reimbursed for clothes by the school or something like that. I obviously said no. That boyfriend also bought me a trip for Christmas that we never ended up taking because again we broke up. I surely didn’t ask for my ticket so I could go alone. That was a lot of me me me but basically you lose things in break ups and that sucks but it’s life.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. October 20, 2014, 7:11 pm

    Him asking for the money reminds me of a friend’s breakup. She used to buy memberships at the local museum for them to use together. When they broke up, he had the nerve to ask if she was still going to buy him a membership for the year. Um….no. I, however, did think of asking the ex to reimburse me the $1000 I spent on plane fare to visit him, but then decided it was worth a $1000 to be rid of him.

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  • Portia

    Portia October 20, 2014, 8:25 pm

    Also, what is with this break up hush money? Is this a normal thing that I just haven’t encountered? Because I really can’t remember it happening either in my own life or in my friends’ lives.

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