“How Do I Deal With my New Boyfriend’s Cheapness?”

I am dating an Orthodox Jewish man I met on Facebook through mutual friends. He is careful with money to a fault; he lets me travel to see him because he needs a minyan which isn’t available in my area. He hasn’t offered to chip in but has told me he earns £81000 (about $105,097) a year and is due a large tax refund. When we were out shopping one day and I offered him £2 (about $2.60) for a box of candles I wanted as be was already in line, he took it. However, I took my children to his home for a week and he happily bought all the (kosher) food and a gift for them (while buying nothing for me).

He has suggested various things I should buy and, as I don’t have online shopping, he’s offered to order them if I reimburse him, which offended me and I told him so; either buy me a gift or don’t. I have spent at least a couple of hundred pounds visiting him. His ex was financially abusive and he was buying all her groceries and her child’s clothes (child isn’t his). He has struggled to stop doing this. He admits he is still paying interest-free credit for her at £50 a month. I’ve said I’d feel happier if he just pays it off to end the soul tie to what was a very abusive relationship. He says this is financially controlling of me. I have pointed out the disconnect between his generosity to her and cheapness towards me. I’m due to visit him for a week in February and am paying my children’s dad to have them; my boyfriend has suggested I take a train to his house this time so I am less tired but he hasn’t offered to buy the ticket.

We have been friends for eighteen months, in a relationship for two. I want to get off on the right foot and feel we are arguing a lot about this issue very early on. He wants me to convert to Judaism, an expensive process, and has asked me to move in with my children and find a new job where he lives. He has also suggested I buy a Hebrew course and books as part of the process and said again as I don’t have online shopping, he could buy them and I could pay him back. Why was he so generous to his abusive ex who told him she didn’t even like him and yet is very cheap with me (but not so much my children)? How can we avoid falling out over money? — Tired of the Cheapness

Woah, way to bury the lede. You’ve been together only two months and are already discussing moving in together, converting to Judaism, and telling each other how and what to spend money on? These are such inappropriate conversations you’re having after only two months of dating. The cheapness is hardly the biggest issue here. You ask how you can avoid falling out over money, but what about falling out over religious differences, relationships with exes (or at least his relationship with his ex), caring for kids, maintaining a long-distance relationship, eventually merging two households, navigating the controlling tendencies you each seem to exhibit, and that little detail of maybe not even liking each other very much? Or do you like each other? You don’t mention whether you do or not, and that in itself is so telling. You’ve written 400 words about what you don’t like about the guy and not a single one about what you do. I’d say the relationship is pretty doomed from the get-go, and you’d save yourself a lot of potential grief just ending it now.

Also, how do you not have online shopping? What does that mean? If you have access to a computer and email, which you do because I have your letter to prove it, you have access to online shopping, no?

Anyway, yeah: just MOA.


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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. I mean, all of this fast moving insanity is ridiculous, even more so since you have a kid, actually it’s just flat out wreckless but, why the hell does he need a van?

    1. wobster109 says:

      A minYan not a minivan lol. It’s a religious service that’s not in her area. It’s why he’s claims he can’t visit her – he has to be home to go to minyan service.

      1. Haha I totally didn’t even notice it was written that way. I just saw minivan….ah mornings with no coffee. Funny.

      2. I thought she meant Minion. She’s his minion.

    2. LisforLeslie says:

      It’s still a BS excuse. A minyan means 10 people who have gone through bar/bat mitzvah. If he’s super orthodox it could be restricted to only 10 men. Still, unless the OP lives in Nazi-ville or Utah, all this guy needs to do is show up to temple and you’ve got a minyan. You don’t need a minyan as part of your normal day. They show up for rituals that are done at home. Shiva, brisses, and the like. Unless he’s planning on holding shabbat services in her home, he doesn’t need a minyan.

      More likely – her house isn’t kosher, he can’t walk to temple, or he’s just a controlling person.

      Personally I think she should MOA – this is too much too soon.

      1. There are a lot of places where there aren’t enough Jews or enough observant Jews to have a daily minyan. Particularly if they live in the UK.

      2. LisforLeslie says:

        True, wasn’t thinking about UK. Still, it only means he can’t visit her on Fridays/Saturdays. That excuse mostly falls apart every other day. If he’s going to services every day then he is a LOT more Orthodox than I am assuming and she would likely not be welcome into what would be a very isolationist community.

      3. @LisforLeslie this is incorrect. Very observant Jews attend a daily minyan, not just on shabbat.

      4. LisforLeslie says:

        @Spacey – that’s what I said -that if he’s attending daily he’s more observant than I assumed, and if that’s the case, she likely wouldn’t be welcome in his community (even as a convert).

  2. And why are you paying your childrens father??

    1. Northern Star says:

      This is a small point, but it struck me, too. Her ex needs to be PAID to care for his own children? And she thinks THAT’S normal?

      1. I know my old bosses insanely, well insane, ex wife would often trade days with him (normal parenting stuff) but when she asked him to take a day he said sure of course. When he asked her she would figure out the monthly child support (15k you greedy brat) then pro rate it and charge him per day. I mean, she also charged him half of every single thing for the kids while they were with her. A banana, a bar of soap. I am not kidding. Some people are out of their minds and it’ll never change.

    2. anonymousse says:

      This. What in the what??
      I mean this is the nicest way, but lady…are you certain you aren’t a doormat? Why oh why are you paying the father of your children to spend time with them?

  3. Carolina Blue says:

    No LW, get your life in order and care for your children. Also please consider therapy.

  4. It is so complicated, just end it. Money is the least of your problems but you focus everything on this issue. Furthermore, you don’t even live at the same place, so why all the fuss? Give your children a rest and stay where you are. I am sure you can find a nice man there and meanwhile, be happy as a single mother.

  5. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    After only two months you have far too many problems to make this work. Why would you even discuss moving in together or religious conversion after two months of long distance dating?

    If you are this unhappy after only two months your relationship is doomed.

    Yes, if he can never travel to be with you because he needs a minyan then he should be paying half of the expense of you traveling to him.

    Do you really want to be with a guy who can’t travel away from his own area?

  6. You’ve been dating the guy for two months and are talking about CONVERTING TO HIS RELIGION? I’m not Jewish, but my understanding is that Orthodox Jews are strictly observant. It’s not just about where you go to church, it’s a way of living, and it will change many things about your day-to-day life, and will involve big changes for your children, too.

    Nowhere in your letter do you mention being called to Judaism, or feeling drawn to the beliefs of that faith, let alone to the specific beliefs and lifestyle of Orthodox Judaism.

    But this is all moot, because you don’t even like the guy and think he’s a cheapskate. So, long story short: don’t convert to a boyfriend’s religion if the relationship probably won’t exist by the end of the year.

    1. LisforLeslie says:

      There’s a spectrum even within the Orthodox on level of observance. There are modern orthodox who stay kosher, observe sabbath and the like, and there are the super orthodox who wear special clothing, have payas (the little curls on the sides of the head) and the women wear wigs. She is less likely to be dating a super orthodox person.

      But you’re right – there are a lot of restrictions and rules. Some modern orthodox have two fridges, dishwashers and two sets of dishes so that they never mix up the milk and meat. There are a lot of strange rules to be observed.

      Still – being cheap is not a rule. Not being wasteful yes, but not buying gifts for your girlfriend – no. Not a rule.

  7. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    I’m assuming that you would need to pay your ex for keeping the kids because you plan to travel during their time with you. The message your kids will get is that mom likes her boyfriend more than she likes them and if she has to choose the boyfriend or the kids she chooses the boyfriend. In the meantime dad is there for them. Your decisions determine whether your kids respect you or even like you. Ditching them over a new boyfriend will only harm your relationship with them. Kids very much judge you by your actions.

    Travel to visit him when it isn’t your turn to have your kids. When it comes to choosing between your kids or your boyfriend you should choose your kids.

    1. I don’t know what their custody schedule is like but it is NOT a huge deal to trade days to go on a trip. People do it all the time. ESPECIALLY people who do say Monday Tuesday w/ mom, Wed Thurs with dad, back to mom one day back to dad. It would be impossible for anyone to ever leave town for more than, well, travel time, if they never changed days. The kids will not be harmed from this.

      However in only 2 months the kids shouldn’t be aware of a BF anyway and she should be doing a TON of things differently anyway, but switching days with dad so she can do something for herself is fine.

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I doubt she is trading a Tuesday night for a Wednesday night. That would be a trade. She is leaving for some days and dad is keeping them. That would either be her weekend with the kids or they take turns by week and she is choosing to travel during her week.

        She should see her kids when it is her turn to see her kids and go see the boyfriend when she doesn’t have the kids. The exception would be if her ex never has the kids but I doubt that.

      2. anonymousse says:

        She might have primary custody of the kids.

    2. Yes, that’s the message she’s sending to her kids, which is especially sad, because it’s very clear that she doesn’t even like her bf. She may be extremely desperate to have a bf, but it’s clear from the letter that there isn’t much about him that she actually likes.

  8. Where on earth did you find an Orthodox Jew that would even go out with a non Orthodox Jew much less someone that wasn’t even Jewish? Your children would have to convert too and I imagine the father have something to say about that. So he would get custody of the kids. The father also sounds “like a gem”. Do everyone a favor. Stop dating till you get your act together. Spend your money on your children and get a computer where you can do online shopping..

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I found that very odd too. I can’t imagine an Orthodox Jew dating outside their faith.

      1. LisforLeslie says:

        My guess is that this is not serious for him. She is not marriage material because she’s not Jewish. Even if she converts, it would be unlikely.

        Basically, she’s not the girl you bring home to mother, even if she bakes a wonderful babka.

      2. That was my thought as well. Which, ya know, after 2 months, is LOGICAL!!! I wonder if he is casually saying “well I would only be able to marry an Orthodox Jew” and to her that means “I love you and want to marry you so convert!”

        One of my family members actually did this. The guy was kind of trying to brush her off as to why he didn’t want to get serious so he told her it was because he could only marry a Catholic woman. She converted, without ever even mentioning it, and he still didn’t marry her of course. Now she is married and hasn’t even baptized her kids, which, your choice, but one would think if a religion was important enough for you to convert to (since she claims up and down it wasn’t for the man but for herself) you’d baptize your kids two years later. Made her look fairly foolish.

  9. So, everyone’s covered the insanity of this relationship, but I’ll throw it out there that she “doesn’t have” online shopping because she doesn’t use or have a credit card and also either doesn’t have one or doesn’t use her bank card online. Maybe?

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      That makes sense. I was trying to figure out how she wouldn’t have online shopping. Lack of a credit card will do that.

      1. You don’t need a credit card to shop online in the UK, you can just use your debit card. Or PayPal like everybody else in the world.

      2. I have learned many people don’t have bank accounts. I learned this because every damn gas station or chicken joint in this one horse town I was forced to be miserable in cashes checks there. I asked husband why and he explained because people don’t have bank accounts for whatever reason.

      3. Right. But if you don’t have a bank account or a bank account with a debit card, then you can’t use paypal, either, as far as I know.

      4. How do you survive without a bank account? Like how do you pay any of your bills? Your utilities, your mortgage… I can’t even get a cell phone plan here because I don’t have a UK bank account. And what about getting your paycheck? Any kind of salaried position pays by direct deposit. I can’t fathom this lol.

      5. ele4phant says:

        I don’t understand how people don’t have photo ID.

        Now I accept that that’s it’s true, I oppose voter ID laws because I do see they are totally an attempt to disenfranchise certain groups of people.

        But, I think it speaks to how truly segregated and classist our society (and I include the UK/US as being part of the general Western society) is – people live and function in ways that are utterly perplexing to me.

        I can’t imagine how one can possibly live without an ID card, without a bank account in this world, and yet people do it every day.

    2. You would get your paycheck handed to you, or you’d be paid in cash. You’d then either sign your check over to someone else, or get it cashed at a check cashing place that charges a fee. You’d pay your bills via money order or something. And that’s it. If you had any money left over, which you probably wouldn’t, you’d literally put it in a sock. Many people operate this way. You’d have a pay as you go phone.

    3. I really don’t get it. Whenever we watch Live PD I always tell husband how it baffles the mind how many people don’t ever have ID with them. I never don’t have it with me. I have no idea how people do things without a bank account. Cashiers checks or something? Those prepaid cards, I guess. Even if you have crap credit there are banks you can get basic accounts through so i don’t really know why. Mind you, most of the people I see cashing these checks look sketchy as hell and like drug addicts anyway.

      1. ele4phant says:

        People live very different lives according to our class, and we are so isolated from one another so we can’t even imagine how others live.

        I think this works both ways, I know very little about how the working poor live, I also know very little about how the uber wealthy live (and vice versa). Nor do the wealthy understand how I in the middle class lives (cough cough – see many of our cabinet members lecturing federal workers during the shutdown).

        But I accept that while I may not understand or even be aware of what live is like when you can barely scrap by, the working poor aren’t stupid and ignorant, they have reasons for making the choices they do, and those choices make sense given the realities of their lives.

        While I may think a bank account is a must-have and don’t understand how one could function without one, I will accept that if you are working poor, it may not make sense for you, and I’m not going to pontificate about how you should be living without really understanding everything about your life.

      2. Miss MJ I ran into no utilities in my name when i went to get my license too. I had my last cell bill to this address and that was it and they took it luckily. I immediately had husband add me to everything. Didn’t even occur to me since everything has been in my name since I was 18

    4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      Many people pay cash for everything. Banks charge fees if you don’t have a certain amount in your account and if you are poor and barely making ends meet you can’t afford to have the bank skim money off every month as a penalty for not being rich.

      Banks don’t work well for the working poor.

      1. Northern Star says:

        Most banks have account with no fees if you either have direct deposit up to a certain amount, maintain a certain minimum, or make XX number of transactions per month.

      2. ele4phant says:

        I could still see though how people don’t do it.

        Banks have a reputation for dinging people frivolously, lots of people, particularly the working poor, have experienced that. Whether all banks or financial institutions in this day and age deserve that reputation, some people don’t trust them. Or maybe they do but they don’t have the time, energy, or even required documentation to shop around and find a banking institution that won’t fuck them over like BOA or Wells Fargo will.

        So whether it’s rational or not, some people choose not to use them, even if objectively it would be in their best interest to use a nice, no-fee local credit union.

        I mean your one example of what most banks do – no fees if there’s direct deposit. If you get paid cash under the table, you’re not eligible for direct deposit. Or maintain a certain minimum. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, maintaining a surplus of money every month literally may not be possible.

        I know these are just a few examples, but people at the lowest rung of the ladder live very different lives, and what seems so easy for us is just not an option for them.

        Whether or not their objections to banks are legitimate or not isn’t the point, the point is that many people – particularly the working poor – don’t use banks, and they seem to manage okay.

        Or not, but it’s definitely *a thing* in certain economic classes, whether or not it makes sense to you or me.

      3. All of this, plus the photo ID thing. With the new voter ID laws, it’s actually very difficult for many people to obtain the necessary documentation to get a new or renew an ID. To get one in FL, I had to have my SS card, my birth certificate, and two other forms of paperwork that showed my FL address from specified categories — utilities, bank account, mortgage, etc. Our water goes through the condo ass’n, we don’t have cable, and our cell phones and electricity here are in my husband’s name because he’s the one who set the phones up ages ago and dealt the the electricity company. So, I was kind of limited and somewhat scrambling to come up with some proof of address other than the mortgage. Fortunately, I could use the bank account. But, for people who aren’t on the mortgage or lease and aren’t likely to be on any utilities and who don’t have a bank account or other middle class proofs of residence, it’s really difficult.

        In Louisiana, my father had moved between the time he got his old license (pre-voter ID laws) and when he needed to renew. He has a bank account, but he doesn’t have a written lease and his utilities (electric and water) are included in the rent due to the building’s set up. He’s on our family cell account since we had a free line. No cable. So, he couldn’t meet the 2 forms of proof of residence to change his address to his new address and decided to just get a new ID with the old address rather than go get a written lease, then be stuck for specified period instead of month-to-month, which he prefers since he’s looking for work out of state. Fortunately, that was an option that the DMV people allowed him to take, but many people who don’t have access to “middle class” level documentation of their lives don’t necessarily have those options.

      4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        On top of what your dad has to do women have to document their name changes. I work with someone who was divorced from her first husband and she has to document the name change from maiden name to first husband’s name and then name change from first husband’s name to second husband’s name.

  10. ele4phant says:

    After two months of dating – you have no standing to give input into his finances or how he chooses to spend his money, much less demand he spend more on you.

    There, we’ve solved that problem.

    Now go reckon with all the other problems you have with this guy, or more wisely, move on because it’s only been two months and this is already a shit show.

    1. Yeah, like I don’t think he’s that cheap for the short amount of time they’ve been dating.

  11. LW spoke about salary in terms of pounds so they are not probably n America and likely to be in England.

    Also paying the father is not far fetched. If she has complete custody of children and the dad is either full paying child support or has no funds for child support, she may to have to pay him.

    One more thing is they knew each other for 18 months even if dating only for 2.
    WWS and WES everything else. As a mother of 2, I am sure LW may feel this guy can accept her kids and therefore a good match but I think a basic romantic connection is missing.

  12. anonymousse says:

    I don’t think you have a future with this man.

  13. dinoceros says:

    I agree with Wendy. Look, you’re presenting this as an issue where he’s this bonkers person and you’re just trying to have a normal relationship. Yet, you are talking about conversion and moving in with someone you’ve been dating for 2 months?!

    When you rush relationships, you lose all points of reference for how the relationship “should” work, including with finances. Most couples of 2 months would not have this many financial issues because this wouldn’t come up.

    Friends aren’t always compatible as a couple. You seem to have an issue with every way that he lives his life (and he apparently has issues with yours). Why not stop forcing it? Nobody with kids should ever be jumping in this quickly with someone they just started dating. (I dont’ think ANYONE should, but parents DO have to worry about other people when they make bad decisions.)

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