“He Wants Me to Pay Up”

I recently got out of a month-long relationship that, despite its brevity, didn’t end well. My now ex-boyfriend made plans several months ago, while we were dating, with some of his friends and me to attend a concert that is now happening in a few weeks. He bought a block of tickets, planning on finding other friends to use the extras. We broke up a few weeks later and the concert was never spoken of again.

After several weeks of receiving some nasty texts and emails from him that I did not respond to, we eventually ended up with him apologizing and declaring friendship, me accepting his apology and keeping my distance. We have not seen each other or spoken to each other since this time, and after dealing with our breakup, it’s my belief that no one could possibly expect me to still want to go to this concert with this man who undoubtedly spoke poorly of me to the very same people who would be attending this concert when he took our breakup like a fist to the face.

I thought this was a non-issue but today he asked if I was still interested in going to the concert, as one of his friends backed out of going. I declined, thanking him but explaining that I had other plans, and he then stated that he would expect me to pay some of the difference if he was unable to sell the ticket to someone else. This is somewhat of a big deal to me, as this isn’t a $20 ticket, and I am currently in graduate school and just lost my job.

Is there some alternate universe where it would be appropriate for him to expect me to pay for a ticket that was forgotten when our relationship dissolved? Am I in the wrong for feeling like the ticket is not my responsibility? Am I making too big of a deal out of this? — Change of Tune

Oh, hells to the no. If there is an alternate universe where it’s your responsibility to pay for the ticket to a concert that your ex’s friend backed out of at the last minute, I surely want no part of it. You never heard about the concert again after your breakup because your ex found someone else to go in your place. That person has now dropped out, seemingly without paying for the ticket, and now your scummy ex is trying to recoup his losses by bugging and manipulating you, the very person he treated like shit for several weeks. Tell him to go eff himself and then use the money he wants for his stupid ticket to do something nice for yourself, like buying a cool fall jacket or going to the salon and professionally washing that man right out of your hair for good.

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


  1. If you two had planned on going to the concert by yourself, I would say that you owed him for the ticket, but he bought a BLOCK of tickets, and found someone to use yours, who then backed out. At this point, you owe him nothing. There’s a little thing called stubhub- tell him to use it!

  2. Purple thumbs aside…I would want to know more details before stringing the ex up and beating him with verbage…the other person is always an ass hole when it ends badly.

    Regardless of THAT….it is very tacky to invite you to an event during the relationship – not mention the ticket for weeks post-break up – and then try and get money back from you…so that is pretty douche-y…tell him to sell it.

  3. I was once seeing this guy for a little over a month and there was a concert I wanted to see so he got me a ticket as a lovely surprise – I didn’t feel that we were that exclusive to the point that concert tickets could be bought for the other. When we decided to end the physical aspect of our relationship and just remain friendly acquaintances, I mentioned the concert and offered to pay for the ticket he bought me. He gave me the ticket and told me not to worry about buying it from him – I think he felt bad that he wanted to go date someone else exclusively and the ticket was his way to do a gentlemanly apology.

    I don’t care if you date a guy for a month or date a guy to the point you almost marry, if an ex truly respects you and want to remain friends, they will understand that you need space and will not judge you harshly if you can’t make any plans with them. Said ex certainly wouldn’t take advantage of your considerate nature and try to exploit you for money when you’re currently undergoing budget constraints, especially if they already spoke badly about you to all the people you may be attending the concert with! Since you already justifiably MOAed from him, Fuck him accordingly. Yet since he’s showcasing some douchetastic behavior on his end – Unfuck him as well!

  4. Professionally wash that man right out of her hair?


  5. If you’re in a relationship and it ends badly and your ex spend weeks treating you like shit, please do not try to be friends with them again, even if they apologize for their shitty behavior. There are a lot of other people in this world to be friends with, and I doubt you would put up with that kind of behavior from any of your real friends.

    And no, he can eat the cost of that ticket since he was the one that bought it in the first place. That’s how it works.

    1. From how she said “we eventually ended up with him apologizing and declaring friendship, me accepting his apology and keeping my distance,” I took it to mean that “He apologized for being an asshat, asked if we could be friends, and I agreed because it makes him leave me alone. I still avoid him at all possible.”

      1. Excellent use of “asshat.”

  6. Elle Marie says:

    My senior year of high school, I dated a college guy for a couple months, and we had planned to go to my senior formal dinner together (my school didn’t have a prom, but did a dinner instead). I had paid for tickets, and he bought a suit to wear. We broke up about a month before the dinner, and in the process of breaking up (it was fairly mutual at that point), he said he still wanted to go to the dinner with me. At the time, I said okay, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that I just wanted to be at the dinner with my friends. Maybe two weeks before the dinner, he called to make plans to still go together, and I told him I really wanted to be there with just my group of friends. He got really upset with me – on the one hand, yes he had already bought a suit. On the other hand, he had bought a suit partly for the dance, but mostly because he didn’t have a suit that fit, and had been planning to get one anyway.

    I know (because he told me off later about it) that he was really pissed over the whole situation, and felt I was being unreasonable/awful about it. From my perspective, I had a really great time with my friends – and the spare ticket I’d bought for my ex, I gave to a friend who had originally not been planning to go, because he didn’t want to go stag, so going as a group of friends felt right to me, and I (and my friends) had a great time.

    1. wait … what? a college guy was really upset that you didn’t let him come to a high school dance??

    2. wait … what? a college guy was really upset that you didn’t let him come to a high school dance??

  7. Yeah I say you’re not obligated because it wasn’t a one on one thing you both agreed to go to together, it was a group. And from the sounds of it he found a replacement and that person backed out. Not your fault. I would have assumed like you that I was no longer attending once you broke up. Unfortunately having people back out is a danger when buying a block of tickets. If people don’t have to give you money up front they are more likely to back out without thinking twice. But that is not your fault, it’s his. Hopefully he learned his lesson.

  8. From the moment he found someone else to take your ticket, it ceased to be your responsibility. You can not be held to account in any way because this other guy backed out.

  9. lets_be_honest says:

    I suggest you use my favorite slogan (if that’s the right word): NMFP! not my f’in problem.

  10. Why would you “declare friendship” with someone you don’t want in your life? You dated, it didn’t work out, you broke up, he acted like a jerk, the end. You don’t have to be friends with every person you once dated.

    1. it doesn’t sound like she did, it sounds like he said something like let’s be friends and she was like sure whatever and hasn’t talked to him since. at least that’s what i got from that part of the letter….

    2. You’ve always got the possibility that they hang out in the same circles and it’s easier to “declare friendship” to stop all the fighting and minimally communicate at events they’re both at.

    3. neuroticbeagle says:

      I don’t think she really ‘declared a friendship’ with him; it feels more like a (seemingly one sided) truce.

  11. “Oh, hells to the no.” <——————

    1. parton_doll says:

      Exactly my thought.

    2. parton_doll says:

      Exactly my thought.

      1. TheOtherMe says:

        I know right ? 😉 Actually, I adore Wendy’s feisty-ness this week !

        So, really, no more email notifications ?? 🙁

      2. theattack says:

        No more email notifications? And someone above mentioned the purple thumbs again. Was there an update somewhere that I’m not aware of?

  12. fast eddie says:

    If you had agreed in advance to pay for your ticket it’s a verbal contract and therefore your obligated to fulfill it. From the tone of this letter it was simply a date, not a legal commitment. If that’s the case, he’s stuck with it and trying to manipulate you into paying. All the more reason to sever contact. You may get bad mouthed as a result but so what eh. Judge Judy would love this one and tell both of you to shut up and move on already.

    1. Love the Judge Judy reference! She would totally think this was ridiculous.

    2. Haaaa! LOVE Judge Judy! And you’re right, she would throw his sorry ass outta that courtroom like he was shot out of a cannon!

  13. This isn’t a court hearing, you’re not required to justify your decision or prove you’re not obligated to pay him. You dated for a month. Tell him to screw.

  14. Something like this happened to a friend of mine. She routinely bought a museum membership for her long-term boyfriend as a present. Then, they broke up. Guy had the nerve to ask if she was still going to buy him the membership as he really liked it and couldn’t afford it himself. Needless to say, she said no. When the relationship ended, so did her obligation.

  15. It sounds like the ex bought all of the tickets BEFORE the break-up. At that time, the LW wanted to go to the concert. The now-ex purchased one of those tickets for the LW. Therefore, it was the LW’s responsibility to pay for her ticket … unless someone else took the ticket instead. The Ex found a person to take the LW’s ticket (I have to assume this means he found takers for all of those extra tickets he bought, too). At the point that Other Person agreed to take the ticket, the ownership of the ticket transferred to Other Person and it became Other Person’s responsibility to pay for it.

    This would be the case if a friend or family member bought the block of tickets, so I see no reason why it should be different in this case.

    1. Exactly this. Until the ticket was given to another person, I would have said there was some gray area in deciding whether or not LW should pay for the ticket. I say gray, because I also think it depends on the circumstances surrounding the break up, etc. However, as soon as someone else said they would take the ticket, that person became responsible for payment.

      LW – you don’t owe anything.

    2. I think the LW’s responsibility was voided when the ex decided to act like an asshole to her.

      1. I personally think his asshole-ishness during the break-up is a totally separate issue. This isn’t a situation where her only defense is to lay down an Asshole Tax. She has a stronger case than that. Someone else claimed the ticket. It isn’t her problem anymore.

  16. Are the tickets assigned to certain seats? Will the new person have to be seated next to the ex’s group of friends? In that case, maybe you can give the ticket to a homeless person. Or to a girl that has a crush on him. Or to one of his acquaintances you know for sure he can’t stand. Or to a lovely older couple (maybe that would be too expensive), with the note to the ex: learn from them how to treat another human being.

    All that aside though, you are not obligated to pay for the ticket.

  17. What is he going to do, sue you for it??? Although it would make a pretty entertaining episode of the People’s Court. Tell him to go f himself!

  18. Maybe it’s not about the ticket. Sounds like a little surrogate topic to work out remaining attachment he has to this gal.

    But thanks for the memories on this one. I broke up with someone once with a concert date we had made still a month or so in the future. Closer to the event, I had asked her what she wanted to do with the ticket. She asked if she could still come and I said yeah. It was a warm and friendly night, set to a soundtrack we both loved. And it was never about the ticket. That was 20 years ago, and I hadn’t thought about it until just now.

  19. Please send him this message in its exact wording:


  20. LW, no matter what you do, DON’T tell this guy you’ll pay for the ticket to get him off your back. I remember reading about a court case years ago where these people were dating and the man had bought the woman expensive gifts, taken her on nice vacations, etc. When they broke up, the guy started demanding payment for what he spent on her. She just said “ok, sure, I’ll pay you” to put him off. But he took her to court, and the judge made her pay up because she had said she would, even though she hadn’t meant it. If she had said “hells to the no!” the judge wouldn’t have made her pay. And it was a really huge amount, like $80,000 or something, so it wiped out her life savings and then some. So whatever you do, DO NOT tell this guy you will pay him!

    1. fast eddie says:

      Fantastic reply CG, I do hope the LW reads it.

  21. It is absolutely not your responsibility to pay for this ticket. It is the responsibility of the friend who backed out at the last minute. Please do no pay him and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t be friends with this guy. As a girl who tries to be friends with the guys I’ve dated, even I know when the “friendship” just isn’t worth the hassle it will cause.

  22. Tell him people in Hell want ice water and don’t give him a dime. Oh, and it’s now officially okay to stop communicating with him because he’s always going to be manipulative and petty with you.

  23. Let me say first that the term “month long relationship” is an oxymoron.

    With that in mind – you are under no obligation to the guy that you dated for a month. He bought the tickets, it is his financial obligation. He could also, most likely, sell the spare on Craig’s List, or ask his friends to put the word out that one is available.

    But to make the LW feel this is her obligation is just moronic.

  24. The LW should send him the link to her letter to Wendy.

  25. Letter Writer says:

    This is the LW, and I wanted to say thanks to Wendy and all of you commenters for the support and advice. When I wrote the letter, I had more-or-less already made up my mind to refuse to pay him anything, and the responses I read here assured me that that was the right decision. I received a text message yesterday telling me that he had been able to sell the ticket, and to not worry about paying him (oh, thanks). I almost told him I wasn’t going to pay him in the first place, but that seemed confrontational and unnecessary so I chose silence as my response.

    Thanks again for all of the responses to my letter!

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