“My Boyfriend Won’t Help Pay For My Birth Control”

I have been with my partner for nearly nine years. We have travelled together and have lived abroad. When we met, he was unemployed and living at home and I was working full-time, which was fine as he was on benefits and living rent-free. When we arrived at our new country, I was employed within two weeks and working 75-hour weeks paying rent and giving him money to drink with his new friends as he kept saying he was out of money, but whenever I didn’t have any to give, all of a sudden he’d have his own.

Within a month and a half, he landed a very well-paying job, and since then he has been up and up which is amazing and great for him. The only thing is he makes double what I made at my best income, but he wants to split expenses equally. A lot of my friends’ partners pay more rent or pay bills if they are in the same situation. I am all for being independent, but I just wish he was more generous.

I have been unemployed (my choice) for the last month, making sure I was at least a little financially secure before I ventured onto a new career path, but I am still expected to pay equally for everything and I get calls to pick things up for him when I’m out and about. In the entire nine years that we have been together, he has refused to help pay for birth control and up until now I let it slide, but now, being unemployed, I find that $110 is a lot to pay in a month. When I brought it up, I got no reply. What do I do? — Unsupported

No question, your boyfriend is a dick. He’s taken advantage of you, doesn’t seem interested in reciprocating your generosity, and flat-out refuses to pay for the birth control that benefits you both? Oh, hell no, girl. What I don’t understand though is why you are unemployed by choice. This puts you at a very big disadvantage, and it seems short-sighted to have seemingly quit a job without having another lined up, especially when you don’t have a supportive partner backing up such a decision. How do I know your partner doesn’t support your decision? Because a supportive partner would assume financial responsibility in a way your partner has not.

All that time you supported him and he doesn’t do the same for you? I hope you can see this for the selfishness it is and find the courage to leave. Staying with someone who has so little regard for you is enabling that kind of behavior, and I don’t know how you find leverage going forward. If the guy won’t even help pay for your birth control — something HE clearly benefits from — while you’re unemployed, after you paid for his booze when he was making new friends and he pretended not to have money, the writing is on the wall. He is not someone who is magically going to become the supportive partner you want. If I were you, I’d get a job, move out, and move on.

P.S. If you’re going to continue sleeping with him, please, please, please don’t stop using birth control.

A guy — let’s call him X — and I have been forming a romantic relationship. It isn’t anything official, but we have been on a few dates and agreed we don’t want to be seeing other people. We were close friends before and had spent a lot of time together then as well.

We are used to being each other’s emotional support, so naturally, when his best friend passed away last weekend from an overdose, he came to lean on me. The issue is that due to my own past — I overdosed on pills a few years ago and a close friend of mine passed away a few months ago — it was very triggering for me. The old thoughts being brought back were just another thing that was going downhill for me, in addition to my therapist moving, and my being worried about losing my job, putting me in a horribly depressed state where I’ve found leaving my bed hard. Because of this, the two of us haven’t been talking. He told me he was going to need me the night his friend passed, but he never reached out. I assume that means he found comfort in someone else (which is for the best), but I worry that isn’t the case. This makes me scared to say anything about it to him, but it also makes me scared he isn’t ready to start transitioning into “normal.”

We’ve somewhat resumed communication as normal, but I find it very hard to find the energy to talk to anyone, and I’m scared I’m going to say the wrong thing to X and hurt one or both of us. I don’t know when it’s okay after something like this to go back to normal behavior with him and if I should continue pursuing the relationship or back off and stay friends. Any advice? — Triggered By His Friend’s Death

I’m concerned about your mental state and hope you will make finding a new therapist a top priority. Relationships, even more than friendships, are about give and take, and it doesn’t sound like you are in a position to give much of yourself right now. That doesn’t make you a bad person or even a bad friend, but it does make you someone who probably needs to be single right now so that 100% of your focus and attention can go toward stabilizing your own emotional well-being. You can’t be strong for a romantic partner if you aren’t feeling strong for yourself. There will be times in a long relationship when one person is stronger than another; there will be times when both partners are feeling emotionally depleted and will really need to dig deep as well as rely on support from other loved ones to get through. To START a romantic relationship without the footing you need to develop the kind of strong foundation to get you through such times is to doom the relationship. To begin a relationship when you’re feeling emotionally unstable is to doom the relationship. If you want to save the friendship, put the romantic stuff on hold until you are able to give as much as you need to take.

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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. Sea Witch says:

    Birth control: Have a baby! Babies fix everything!
    Just kidding, get a job and break up with this cheapskate.

  2. Bittergaymark says:

    Lw1). Yeah. There’s just no defending this guy. My only quibble with you is that quitting your job while dating this dolt was a bad decision. Get a new job — stat! Then find a better boyfriend or just enjoy bring single for a while.

    LW2) You have a lot going on. Therapy will help you put things into a better clearer perspective.

  3. Part-time Lurker says:

    I’m in a mood today.

    Tell your boyfriend he owes you $5,940 for birth control and $50 a month going forward or you won’t be having sex.

    On a serious note. Please reevaluate this relationship. Wendy is dead on.

  4. LW1: what do you do? Get angry, so much that the walls are shaking on their foundations. Request to be reimbursed, recall him all what you paid for him and really don’t accept any longer to be taken advantage of. Then, as soon as you have found a job, just ditch this guy. Obvious.

  5. LW1- Throw the whole man away. He has benefited from 9 years of you taking all the responsibility for birth control. Cost of the prescription is a big part, but there’s also the Dr appointment to get the prescription, remembering to take it regularly, any physical side effects you experienced (some of which you may not even be aware of– things that you got used to or happened gradually or are silent until they become a big problem, like the elevated risk of blood clots).

    Add in that you supported him through a period of un/underemployment and he won’t do the same for you. Ew. Why are you with him?

  6. Allornone says:

    Pretty much the moment he and I became sexually active, my boyfriend offered to split birth control with me. I have insurance and don’t pay anything so the issue was moot, but he offered on his own. We weren’t even technically exclusive yet (though neither was having relations with anyone else).

    This boy is a self-centered mooch. Just walk away.

  7. Lw1 your boyfriend is a taker. He takes & takes & takes, but never gives. That’s not a happy relationship. Dump him. He will only drain you

  8. anonymousse says:

    This has nothing to do with the argument, but what birth control is $110/month? Mine is free. If you’re struggling to pay that you should call your doctor and ask if you can switch to something else. It might be worth talking to your pharmacy first.

    1. She may not have insurance or insurance coverage for birth control. In my case I am in the US and have insurance through a non religious employer and they take the position that they only have to cover one brand of each type of contraception under obama care. She may take a different one that they refuse to cover. She may be in another Country too. Lots of reasons and I don’t think people realize how much it is to pay out of pocket for birth control. Certain women can only take certain types.

  9. Anonymous says:

    LW1, oh wow, your boyfriend is a complete jerk…selfish and stingy. You gave him money all those times. My advice is you can do SO much better. Imagine being stuck to such a stingy man for the rest of your life?! Yes, he should pay for half of birth control. No, you should not split your bills 50/50 when he makes so much more than you. Wow. Just wow. Dump him. Find a kind, generous person to spend your life with. And find a new job quick! Good luck.

  10. allathian says:

    LW1: Get a job and dump him, STAT. I don’t usually recommend refusing to have sex for any other reason than simply not wanting to have sex, but when he refuses to pay for birth control, but I can’t imagine wanting to have sex with such a dickhead either…
    Good luck on the job hunt.

    LW2: You have a lot going on here. Does your friend/boyfriend know about your history with suicidal ideation, etc? Clearly, you’re not in a place where you can support him in his grief, and it would be honest to tell him so.

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