“My Fiancé is a Failure and I Resent It”

I’m 28 and I’ve been with my current boyfriend for almost six years. We’ve been engaged to get married for the last two years but haven’t set a date because we are waiting on him to finish school and get a career. When we met, I’d recently graduated from college and I was unemployed and living with my father. He was a high school drop-out and was also unemployed. At the time, I was looking for someone to hang out with so it didn’t bother me that he was a high school drop-out and was doing nothing to improve his situation – we have similar interests/beliefs, we have great conversations and he made me feel amazing. Before long, we fell in love, and it turned into a long-term relationship. I was the happiest I’d ever been.

I started my career and working towards my long-term goals shortly after. I talked to him about getting into school to get the education he would need to start a career and get a job. He willingly started going to school and got excited about the possibilities that were in front of him. However, since he was also working a dead-end retail job to pay his bills and for school, he didn’t feel comfortable enough to take more than one or two classes at a time. He also had a very hard time deciding what he wanted to do with his life and flip-flopped around in different programs. I was not too worried about it at the time. I mean, who really knows “what they want to be when they grow up”?

Over the last three years, a number of bad things happened: he totalled his car, I spent three nights in the hospital and had two surgeries which put me into massive amounts of debt, our water heater broke and flooded our house, one of our pets was diagnosed with kidney failure, I’ve needed about $4k worth of dental work done, etc. While all this was going on, he was still working his part-time retail job and going to school. Because of that, I had to pay for each of these items without any help at all from him financially. But I was ok with that because there was a light at the end of the tunnel – he would have a job and could help me out financially after he finished school.

I felt certain that he was working hard to get to the life that we wanted. Even still, I was having an increasingly hard time dealing with the mounting debt, the junker cars, the house slowly falling into disrepair, never buying myself anything and never going out to do anything fun. Then over a month ago, he flunked out of the program he was in (and hit my car causing significant body damage in the same day). He also owes the school almost $1k to pay back the assistance he got before he can sign up for another program. Because of this, I have no idea when he will finish school and get a career. And as for my car, the body damage costs more to fix than the car is worth.

At this point, I feel very resentful of him. I’ve had to carry the financial weight for our entire relationship, and now there is no end in sight. It’s been six years, and he’s not progressed much at all in
that time frame. I feel like I’m judged by everyone I come into contact with because I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes that are two sizes too big for me, I’m driving a car that looks like it’s been in the demolition derby, my teeth are in terrible shape and I can’t afford to get my pets’ shots. I wanted us to be married long ago, but his failure to get through school has kept that from happening.

We’ve talked about all of this many, many times. He’s feeling pretty worthless (understandably) and is depressed. I’m feeling trapped and resentful, but like I owe it to him and to our relationship to give him one more chance to get his situation in order. After all, I still love him and these last three years have been hard on him too! But I’m seriously doubting his ability to rise above all of this and actually achieve anything. Should I give him another chance to succeed or should I MOA to avoid carrying more debt and resentment? — Resentful Provider and Girlfriend

One of the most important things a couple needs to survive long-term is trust. It may be the number one most important thing, and here you are basically saying in various ways that you don’t trust your boyfriend — actually, your “fiancé”. You don’t trust him to succeed at anything, you don’t trust him to be dependable, or provide for you, or even meet you halfway on financial contributions to the household. It doesn’t sound like you respect him very much — another important factor a relationship needs. I wonder: do you even like him that much?

What is clear is that you resent your boyfriend a whole lot. You think he’s a failure and resent him from keeping you from the life you want. But that’s the thing — owning nice things (for example, new clothes) and being comfortable and having some savings are things YOU want, but they may not necessarily be what your boyfriend wants. You say, “I felt certain that he was working hard to get to the life that we wanted,” but did you ever discuss what HE wanted? Are you certain his ideal future looked like your ideal future? If he’s so unsure about what he wants to do with his life, isn’t it possible he’s confused about the kind of life he wants?

Six years is a very long time to spend with someone, and I’m sure despite the resentment, there’s probably a lot of love there. Shared history and lots of time together will bond people even when reality threatens to pull them apart. But you can love someone and care deeply about him and his well-being and that doesn’t mean you’re meant to spend your life with him. Six years is a really long time to be disappointed by someone over and over. Are you sure you want to spend the rest of your life feeling resentful?

Here’s the thing: your boyfriend may never change. You can’t bet on him getting his act together and working toward the future you want. It just may never happen. Especially if he’s depressed and fails to get treated for depression. That would be the first thing I would do if I were you — convince him to see a doctor. There may be a medical reason he’s so unmotivated. But regardless, you have to decide whether this is something you can live with. (If he IS depressed, it may be a life-long battle he has to fight to stay well).

I would never advise someone to get engaged to someone she isn’t quite ready to marry just yet. The whole, “We’re engaged, but we’re going to wait until X,Y,Z happens” doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t get engaged until you’re ready to get married. Do you think once you get married, everything good is locked down and you never again have to worry about unemployment or not having money or getting sick or whatever else life might throw one’s way?

Married people have challenges too. So if you can’t deal with challenges before getting married, don’t get engaged. If someone has to change before you’ll be happy marrying him, DON’T SAY YES TO A PROPOSAL. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to him. What happens when you get engaged before truly being ready to get married is the engagement becomes a kind of prison. You can’t MOA, even when the going gets tough, because you’re engaged and that’s practically like being married.

Except it’s not. You haven’t signed any papers. You don’t have to involve lawyers. You probably don’t even have to divide too many assets. You truly can MOA. It may not be easy emotionally. Actually, it definitely won’t be easy emotionally. But logistically, it will be much, much easier to move on before you tie yourself down to marriage.

You can’t change your boyfriend. He has to want to make changes himself. If you don’t see any indication on his end that he wants a different life, then there’s no sense wasting any more time in a relationship that doesn’t have much future. Your boyfriend may not want any better or any more, but it sounds like you do. Why let him keep holding you back?


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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. This is why I live by the rule that I need to be able to support myself through anything, whether I’m dating or not. Because emergencies crop up. Cars get wrecked. Teeth need to be fixed. And in the end, if it’s my need, then I need to be able to cough up the money to do it. And for goodness sakes, LW – START A SAVINGS ACCOUNT. Put $5 aside when you can. It’ll add up before you know it, and you can use the money either for the emergencies, or save it for something nice for yourself or for the two of you.

    And WWS about the fiance – never go into an engagement with goal other than getting married. Not “when we own a house.” Not “when we have this job” or “this income.” When you both are ready to have a life together – period.

    1. AliceInDairyland says:

      Kay, lets be friends! We must have had similar mothers. I remember multiple times my momma talking in the car and saying, “No matter what, you have to be able to make enough money to make it on your own. I don’t care what you do, or if you take time off from the work force, but you have to be able to pay your own way in this world.” Over, and over again. And a strong sense of savings. Therefore when I say “broke” I really mean “No money in my checking account” even if my savings is totally fine.

      Also I agree with you and Wendy with the whole engagement thing. I think that “milestones” should be done with intention only. Therefore if I plan on moving in with my BF, I do it on the intention of spending my life with this person. Engagement is done with an even stronger intention of spending my life with this person. It’s a commitment.

      1. Totally. My mother always told me and my sis, never rely on anyone for anything. So we finished schools, got good jobs, and I am lucky that I can support myself first and foremost. I mean, we all need help now and again, for sure, but you shouldn’t have to rely on others for the basics and emergencies that may arise.

        I am also wondering something: are these two homeowners? She’s talking about the flood and the house needing to be repaired, and all I can think is, you actually purchased a home together when one-half of the couple isn’t even fully employed? By God, just rent! Could’ve saved a lot of money there…

      2. I was wondering this as welll…she goes from “hanging out” with this guy, to falling in love & being in a long-term relationship, to—“our water heater”, “our house”, “our pets”. Like, why combine lives & finances under these circumstances?

      3. I was thinking the same thing, too.

      4. Therefore when I say “broke” I really mean “No money in my checking account” even if my savings is totally fine.

        @Alice – I aspire one day to have your finances… and I think if more people had that kind of mentality about savings the world would be a better place 🙂

      5. AliceInDairyland says:

        Read this yesterday and was like “OMG, it’s my family (mostly Mom).” We aren’t even immigrants, but her family was a farming family so I feel like it’s a similar mentality.

      6. Thank you for posting that… I grew up that way as well (my grandparents are Italian Immigrants), but over the years have moved away from that mentality, and I really needed a reminder to be less wasteful and more careful with my money. I make a decent living, but still live above my means, and that needs to stop. So thank you for the reminder!!

      7. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        While I can in no way, say that I make enough money on my own since I don’t work, on maternity and will be staying home to raise some babies. But also my husband and I both agree that it is equal work and his money is my money too and really, truly, mean it. There is no resentment in our house over money. I do agree with you on the broke= checking account. I have so much in savings that are yearly savings that I never touch (save all year long for birthdays and Christmas, what?)

      8. AliceInDairyland says:

        As I mentioned to Ana, below I totally think if you have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with someone you are spending the rest of your life with… that is totally different. Staying home to raise babies contributes to the household immensely, and since you guys have savings if something happened to the breadwinner you could totally make it work. Smart!

      9. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        It took a LOT of financial planning to decide when we were able to do so, it’s important to us both that I stay home so we waited until we were for sure ready. If anyone else is wondering if they can afford it: we lived solely on my husband’s paycheck for the last couple years and put all of mine into a savings account. I would do this for at least a year so you know if you can save easily for all of your yearly expenses. It’s also a really great way to save! We paid for our wedding, honeymoon, trip to Mexico, $10,000 down on our newish vehicle, $5000 set aside for baby expenses (crib, stroller, etc.) My husband doesn’t make a ridiculous salary but it is slightly over average and as long as we are careful we can make it work 🙂 No more spa trips for my birthday though.

      10. AliceInDairyland says:

        That. is. awesome. You are like, my savings rockstar. I am writing this down on a post it note somewhere because it’s such a smart idea. Although in my case I’m going to be the breadwinner. I incubate for 9 months, then I am passing the little one off to someone else 😉

      11. Eagle Eye says:

        heh, I like that analogy!

      12. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Thanks! I love it if something I’ve done helps others.

      13. “Therefore when I say “broke” I really mean “No money in my checking account” even if my savings is totally fine.”

        This is me! I get a bit panicked if I’m ever in a position when I have less than $5000 in my savings account, and am so excited for the day when it’s a non-negotiable $10000. I’ve been employed full-time for less than a year, so it hasn’t happened yet, but I am really particular about saving money no matter what else I have going on; hopefully my anal-retentive side will serve me well in the future.

    2. My husband and I have two saving accounts. One has $500 in it and we call it the “shit happens” account. That is for random stuff like repairs and home things or a car deductable. Ideally it would be $1000 but we had a major car repair. The other account we named “oh Shit!” and that is for big things like a lost job or major medical bill. That has 6 months worth of expenses and took us 10 years to build up.

      1. That’s awesome csp – and such an easy way to look at it!

      2. Calling them the shit happens and oh shit account seems to make it more fun to save too.

    3. I agree with being self-sufficient. I’ve never been in a relationship where I could rely on another person for expenses. But I wouldn’t be too hard on the LW. If I were living with someone, I would expect them to chip in for new appliances or to repair the house when it flooded. And if I were planning to marry someone, I’d want to know that they’d help share the burden of emergency costs, whether it was mine or his.

  2. WWS re: waiting until x, y and z falls into place before marrying (or before anything, really). why? if your ready for marriage, a baby, getting a dog, i dunno, whatever- just do it. if you live your whole life trying to check things off of a checklist you will miss the point, i promise.

    1. I dunno, some of us have to wait because marriage isn’t legal in our state #justsaying. Wish it was, I’d marry her in a second! And no, we don’t want to get married outside of our home state. The only wedding we can afford (see, monetary intelligence!) is a small, backyard ceremony, with just us and the Justice of the Peace, so going to another state would be an unrealistic financial burden.

      1. Wait are you saying you’re a fellow girl-who-likes-girls? (Don’t want to say lesbian and exclude bi/queer/any number of labels.) I thought there was only me and the rural juror! Welcome to the DW club!

      2. I’m here too!

      3. Hey no shit go team!

      4. Waiting on laws to be passed vs. waiting for a checklist of a “perfect” life are different things.

        And just my opinion, but if you can afford a backyard ceremony, you can afford to go somewhere else and get married- you *want* to wait until you can do it in your own state, which is fine. I hope it happens soon for you!

  3. You started dating a deadbeat, he showed glimmers of hope but clearly over the years he didn’t change. some people never do, and it never happens because your girlfriend has pinned wildly unrealistic goals and ambitions on you. I can’t imagine why you stayed so long… either your hopelessly naive or just hopeless. But as many wise women on this site have said – Aim Higher. And you should never agree to marry someone who really don’t don’t like or respect.

    1. I don’t think that’s really fair. When they met, their circumstances were similar. It sounds like she got her shit together and expected that he would too – since that’s what most people do – but he didn’t. After they fell in love and she kept dreaming of a future she would share with him, I can see how it would be difficult to draw that line in the sand and determine how long is too long to wait.

      My advice? If you’re self-sufficient, LW, then maybe it’s time to quit supporting him if he’s bringing you down. Let him know enough is enough – live on your own for a while and see if that motivates him to step up. It might light a fire under his ass, or you might just see that you’re better off without him.

      1. @ Catsmeow, I’m sorry but I disagree so much – their circumstances weren’t similar at all. He was a HS dropout who had no ambition, she was a college graduate who moved back home and seemingly veged for a short bit before “starting a career and working towards Her long-term goals shortly after” whereas he had a shit job and couldn’t take more than 2 classes at a time. and still has done NOTHING.

        As I wrote originally, there were glimmers of hope – so I could understand holding on for a year or two… but how the heck do you end up 6 years later basically 100% financially responsible for this guy and unable to take care of your pets??

      2. 6 years IS a bit much, I’ll give you that. Haha.

      3. Plus, it’s like they never had a budget conversation at all. She just assumed eventually he would find his magic job/career and start chipping in!?! How are you engaged for 2 years and the extent of your financial planning is hoping for the light at the end of the tunnel?

      4. True, true. Maybe I’m being a coddler today. I just felt like when you meet someone at that time in your life – right after college/high school where everything is up in the air and neither of you knows what the future holds – it’s easy to just assume that things will fall into place. That’s what grown-ups do: get jobs and start making money. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that someone you love is either unable or unwilling to do these basic things required of adults.

        But I also think LW has made it wayyyy to easy for him. He knows he has her to fall back on! I would feel like I was being taken advantage of at this point, and if I wasn’t ready to COMPLETELY call it quits at this point I would kick his ass to the curb so I could at least get my own shit together instead of being dragged down further. He could come back only on the condition that he would be able to contribute.

      5. lets_be_honest says:


      6. “It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that someone you love is either unable or unwilling to do these basic things required of adults.”

        Very Very true. And I’m not saying it is easy, or really should be, but at some point you have to take the bull by the horns 😉

      7. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        “It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that someone you love is either unable or unwilling to do these basic things required of adults.”

        Uh, really? Come on, the boyfriend here couldn’t even do the basic things required of teenagers here… You know finish, the cakewalk of high school. And now, he’s miraculously supposed to become a successful career man? PLEASE…

      8. kerrycontrary says:

        Can I also add: Do not own pets if you can’t afford their vet bills/medicine. Owning a pet is a MAJOR expense. You need to be prepared for broken bones, kidney failure, stomach surgery if they swallow something weird, etc…So her cat is just suffering because she can’t save and he can’t work more than a crap job. And the LW thinks she is being judged because of hand me down clothes instead of the fact that she is letting her pet suffer in pain.

      9. AliceInDairyland says:

        Thank you! And don’t make the veterinarian the bad guy because YOU decided to get an animal. Then we feel like crap when we can’t help you. We have bills to pay too 🙁 And school debt.

      10. To me, that sounds like only people with some level of financial comfort are the only ones who should really have pets. Animals are euthanized every day, aren’t they better off in a low income family than put down? Anecdote time! My MIL has 3 cats, all rescues. She works 2 jobs, barely makes ends meets, and wouldn’t be able to afford thousands of dollars worth of health care for her cats. She loves those kitties, they have good lives with her, and they provide her with a lot of love and companionship. Deciding not to have them because of what might happen when they get older just seems rough.

      11. AliceInDairyland says:

        I get what you mean, and that is a tough one. I think it comes down to having realistic expectations for the life that you are going to provide that animal. Can you provide the very basics (food, vaccinations, litter)? Okay, good. Perhaps a little bit left in case of an emergency?

        But then… are you okay with the fact that you may have to euthanize a suffering animal, even if they could be fixed and you just can’t afford it (or give it away)? I am find with people rescuing animals (encourage it!) but you have to have realistic. Lots of people come into the clinic, are given a diagnosis, and then are angry at us that we can’t “cheap fix” their animals. That’s the part I have a problem with. If your aunt adopted these cats, and is emotionally accepting of the consequences of not being able to financially afford an illness then that’s fine.

      12. It would break her heart to put one of her kitties down (under any circumstances), but that’s the nature of loving a critter. There can be so much grief – both if a pet dies of natural causes, or is put down because the owner can’t afford healthcare. I suspect you get the brunt of a lot of that – people lashing out, feeling inadequate that they can’t help their furry family members.

    2. I agree with catsmeow. A college student and a high school dropout are on very very different life paths. Itwas quite naive of the LW to assume he’d change, but she was young and in love. However, after a year or two she could have realized that he wasn’t moving forward on the path she wanted. It’s definitely time to MOA.

  4. Sue Jones says:

    WWS. 6 years is enough time to see how well someone deals with “real life” and bills, etc. It just might be that he has no real prospects ahead of him and that he lacks a true work ethic, organizational skills and cognitive ability to truly be able to function at the level that you want to function. Think hard about what YOU want for your future and if he cannot supply that or be a co-creator for that and if he keeps bringing you down, time to MOA. When you are young, it is easy to give someone the benefit of the doubt and put up with a little career indecision, but he does seem to have a pattern of lack of motivation and success at achieving his goals. Next time find someone more evenly matched with you as far as education and motivation is concerned. The wrong person can really bring you down and hold you back! Best of luck!

  5. “What happens when you get engaged before truly being ready to get married is the engagement becomes a kind of prison.”

    So true, wendy hit the nail on the head on that one 🙂

  6. Wendy’s response was absolutely perfect. Thumbs up a bazillion times.

    Also, not to change the subject, but Wendy, this line from your newsletter “Thought directs energy. Make your thoughts positive ones and see what good will happen,” is pretty great.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I loved the whole newsletter today. So positive and uplifting during a time when so many sad things have been happening.

      1. Agreed. I think I might have had a tear or two while reading on the bus ride in this morning.

    2. Thanks! Glad you liked it.

  7. All I have to say is, don’t let anyone hold you back, ever. The right guy moves you forward and is right there with you. It’s refreshing, believe me.

  8. I really loved Wendy’s compassionate response to this. LW, you need to closely read everything she’s written, & decide whether or not your plans with this man are worth waiting for… indefinitely

  9. Something More says:

    “He’s feeling pretty worthless (understandably) and is depressed.”

    LW, I really hope you meant the “understandably” part as it’s pretty understandable from his point of view that he feels worthless and not “understandably” because you think he should obviously feel pretty much worthless in this relationship because that is how you see him. If it’s the former, sure, that’s understandable given the information you provided. If it’s the latter, get out of this relationship now.

  10. A lot of wisdom here from Wendy and the commenters above!

    I would add only one thing, and it’s more a question than anything else.

    Why would the guy WANT to “improve”? I mean, he has a place of his own, a willing bedmate, and basically no responsibilities. From his POV, he’s got it good! So, why?

    6 years? This is who he is.

    1. he likely moved from his mom’s house to the LWs house… and still has a mom willing to support him as well (cosigning the loan). It’s pathetic really. Some people would kill for this level of comfort & support in their lives and he is just coasting… he’s in his late 20s. Time for this guy to grow up, and time for the LW to move on and stop supporting this irresponsible behavior.

      Also, this letter is so timely with what Jess commented yesterday — referencing that article on men versus women and how many men in their 20s seem so to be floundering. This guy may have been a subject:)

    2. llclarityll says:

      Amen, j2. My best friend was in this same cycle. Literally, this could have been her, except her parents bailed her out when she needed help. Her boyfriend lived off of her while working minimum-wage jobs at pizza shops. He kept promising that he was going to start school. It never happened. The MAJOR difference in her story was that he smoked pot — a lot. He had no ambition, was always broke. Essentially, he put pot before her — that’s where his money went, after all.

      After a five-year relationship, she made the tough decision to leave him and start fresh. She still says it was the best decision she ever made. Now, two years later, he lives with his mom and is working dead-end jobs. Aka no change.

  11. I agree with what Wendy said about not getting engaged until you are actually ready to marry the person right at that moment. However, have you taken a step back and realized how demanding judgmental you are being to the person who is supposed to be your partner in life? You expect him to support you financially. You expect him to get a great job not for his own sake but so he can give his money to YOU!! Do you actually love this man or do you just see him as a potential money tree? Newsflash! It is 2012, almost 2013 for that matter. You shouldn’t need a man to support you. Pull up your big girl pants and find a way to get the money you need on your own. Empower yourself already!! I guarantee it’s possible.

    Furthermore, there’s nothing embarrassing about driving beater cars and not having nice clothes unless your priorities in life are majorly out of whack. I’ve never had a brand new car, rarely afford new clothes, and live paycheck to paycheck but I make it on my own without help from anyone. I can tell you definitively that being completely independent and self-sufficient is the best feeling ever. Your partner should be just that: your partner, your best friend, your lover. He should not be required or expected to support you financially. Unless you are stuck in 1950. If your number one reason to be with a man is so that he can buy you nice clothes and a new car, maybe you should consider finding yourself a sugar daddy. If you want a real, true partner in life who loves you, you have to face the reality that he may not be rich.

    1. AliceInDairyland says:

      I interpreted it as she wants him to financially support “them.” As in, contribute to the couple. Not only is she supporting herself, but she is supporting HIM. If it’s 2013, they should BOTH be empowered and pull up their respective pants. Unless they have a specific agreement (homemaker, stay at home parent) they really should both be contributing in some way. Or at least have a set plan on contributing.

      I think she has a problem because she can NEVER buy nice things, and she’s at a point financially where she probably could if they BOTH were working on their careers. It’s not fair for her to forsake the things that are important to her (whether they be vacations, nice cars, or whatever she wants) because he is not getting on the train to adult-hood. Not that life is always fair, but I think if she wants to get out of this she should not feel bad at all.

    2. Whoa, I don’t think she’s expecting him to be her “money tree”. She just wants an equal partner—someone who has his own nest of money to pay for things like the cars HE busted up, anything that breaks in the house they SHARE, & whatever medical problems arise between the both of them & their pets. Right now, she seems to be paying for everything in order to keep them minimally comfortable.

      Furthermore, it’s not a sign of out-of-whack priorities to want new clothes & a car that doesn’t look destroyed. Most people in the adult world want to be able to afford things like that. There’s nothing WRONG with not having those things, if you can’t have them without going into debt, but I think it’s reasonable for this LW to be upset where her life is right now.

    3. This all seems very off. At 28 and not married she shouldn’t have to carry the load of her, and her fiancé’s house, cars, medical bills, and basic needs. She sounds like she makes plenty of money to be independent, and on her own, and she is just asking for help with their joint life, she’s not asking for him to make enough money so she can retire, and sit on a beach somewhere. She shouldn’t have to wear hand-me down clothes, drive a crappy car, and live in an unsafe house, all for the name of love, especially when that person is not trying at all to help better their situation. I really don’t see where she is looking for a sugar daddy at all, she is looking for somebody to contribute to the basic needs of life.

    4. While I agree with your sentiment that the LW should be self-sufficient and not expect to depend on anyone else, I didn’t quite get the feeling that she is expecting her boyfriend to completely support her. I could be wrong, but to me it sounds like she doesn’t make enough to support the BOTH of them and he’s not pulling his weight. I’d get resentful too if I supported (enabled?) a partner for years while he continually fucked up and dragged me into debt.

    5. Erm? She doesn’t expect him to give his money to her so she can buy new clothes – she expects him to contribute to their JOINT expenses. Her problem is SHE is the one supporting HIM by covering his share of their expenses and it is getting old since there is no light at the end of the tunnel. This is not a case of someone looking for a sugar daddy – she is looking for an equal – and unfortunately she is going to have to look elsewhere if that is what she wants.

    6. lets_be_honest says:

      Sounds like she is self-sufficient and has been providing for him for 6 years. There’s nothing wrong with wanting better for yourself, “things” included.

      Seems like if she stopped supporting him entirely, maybe she could afford the things she wants with her own money, the only money there is right now.

      Wanting an equal partner is not abnormal. Maybe you should direct your comment to the fiance, not her.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh, I see everyone’s already addressed this.

      2. Haha, that’s what I did too. I wrote a response, hit submit, and then saw that like 5 people beat me to it.

      3. me too!

    7. Eh. I was a bit torn on whether or not I thought the LW sounded like she wanted him to pay her way through life. I can understand wanting him to help with household expenses and any pets they own together, but expecting him to pay for extensive, (presumably) voluntary dental work or her hospital bills from two surgeries seemed a bit much for a couple that isn’t even married. It’s one thing to expect a live-in significant other to chip in for daily, shared expenses. Rent, bills, food, pets. It’s another thing altogether to ask him to chip in for your anesthesia bill. (That shit is so expensive!!! Even if he had a great job, it’d STILL be expensive!!! For an hourlong, routine surgery I had two years ago, the anesthesia bill alone was over $10,000. JUST anesthesia! And we don’t even know that these surgeries weren’t elective!) Maybe there were instances where she contributed that much financial support to him; we don’t know that she didn’t, but I expect if she HAD, she’d have mentioned it.

      And, last I checked, you don’t NEED to walk out of the thrift shop with clothes that are two sizes too big or that are beyond gently used.

      1. Im not convinced the dental work was voluntary. If she isnt buying new clothes or able to fix her car, she seems to have the sense not to dive into braces or something. It sounds to me more like she needed a crown replaced or a cracked tooth something that is definitely *not* voluntary and can cost upwards of a grand per tooth if you dont have insurance. I broke a tooth this time last year and in order to chew my Christmas dinner I had to drop about $500 at the dentist, even with my insurance! That was pretty hard around the holidays, lemme tell you!

      2. dental insurance is a fucking JOKE. they give you a cleaning a year and then after that it is usually ONE tooth for anything. just one. and usually people dont just need work done on one tooth, at least never when i have needed work done or heard of other peoples problems. a lady i know at work right now needs work done on multiple teeth and our dental insurance sucks so bad.. she has to pay for almost everything.

        honestly, i dont buy dental. if its included, fine, but i wont pay for it. its a joke.

      3. Even if dental insurance is awful and the costs of dental work expensive, I still think it’s weird to expect a boyfriend to chip in for dental work. Or surgeries. To me, this read less like she’s mad at him for not pulling his weight in the partnership and more like she’s mad at him for not being able to get her out of her debt. She resents him for dragging her down when it doesn’t even sound like she’d be debt-free or living the life she dreams about without him in the picture because the HUGE expenses here (dental, surgery) have nothing to do with him. Is he an additional burden that she shouldn’t have to deal with? Absolutely. But she’s the one putting up with it for years on end.

        I also REALLY didn’t like the order she listed a few of her needs/wants: nice clothes and nice car come before necessary dental work and shots for living, breathing animals? Really? Trivial, maybe, but rubbed me the wrong way.

      4. To be fair, I think she mostly just wants a car that’s not totalled, and just because she listed clothes first it doesn’t mean it’s most important to her.

        For sure she would still have some of her debt if not for her boyfriend, but she wouldn’t be worried about fixing his car and hers if not for him, in addition to her medical debt. She’s definitely complicit in her situation though, because I think she planned her life by the partner she wanted, not the partner she had – like the example someone else made here about how she shouldn’t have bought a house with him in their situation.

        I think they just need to break up so they can each get their lives in order.

    8. temperance says:

      I normally agree with you, but I really disagree here. He sounds like dead weight, and like he has no goals or direction on life. I don’t think it’s about her expecting him to support HER, but to support HIMSELF and further their goals!

      He’s neither independent nor self-sufficient. He’s living off of her because he failed at whatever program he was in.

    9. Anna: Do you consider wealth a virtue or a vice? I consider it a virtue. I think making my money is a virtue and consider it a virtue in a partner. My husband is a hard worker, smart, and frugal. He considers having money in the bank something to be quietly proud of and he is a confident man because of that. He is shrewd with investments and reads up on different ways to allocate assets. He is goal oriented and was focused on buying a house and wants a stable life for us both. He is worldly and loves to travel and experience new and exciting places. We have both worked hard to see most of the continents in the world (4 down, 3 to go). All of these things I consider attractive and are a big part of why I married him. I wouldn’t consider him my sugar daddy because I have all these same aspects of my personality. I am just curious if you think that these things are the root of all evil?

      1. It’s nice if you have money but you can get by on very little if you don’t have high standards. Also, a college degree is not necessary to get a decent-paying job. The man I loved and lived with for 8 years only had a GED while I am a college graduate but in this economy we can both make about $14-15/hour. The only difference is that a good part of my income goes to student loan lenders while he gets to keep his. He’s typically been employed at factories or warehouses so it’s not a dream job either but it pays the bills so there’s no shame in that IMO. Even after getting my bachelor’s, the job market in my area is so bad that I had a take a job at a call center just to pay the bills. I don’t consider myself any better than him just because I have a little piece of paper worth $50k.

        Sure it would be great to have a brand new car, buy new clothes whenever I want, and go on nice vacations. But I don’t need that to be happy. If the person I really love is broke and all we can afford is McDonald’s chicken nuggets for a date, I would take that over eating filet with someone I don’t connect with but has a great job and lots of money.

      2. But I think the thing is with this LW, when they *started* dating, they were both in a McNugget place, if you will. But she went into it assuming that they both wanted to grow beyond that, where as he didn’t. It doesn’t make either one of them better than the other, but clearly they have mismatched expectations for their lives. She doesn’t want a sugar daddy, she just wants someone who wants the same things in life as her – and I think she’s trying to force those wants onto the guy. I’ve been there before, you convince yourself that the guy wants the same things as you because you love him. I think many of us have done that in relationships before.

        And I agree, you can definitely get a decent job without a college degree, and considering this guy failed out of his program, that’s probably the route he should be heading.

      3. I will say that I don’t equate education with ambition and passion. There is a difference between full time and part time. Or more importantly, this guy FAILED out of college. He has the loans and nothing to show for it.

      4. Erm. How did Anna’s comment about taking pride in independence (even if it means not necessarily owning THE nicest things) get misconstrued as her thinking wealth is the root of all evil??

      5. example 1: You expect him to get a great job not for his own sake but so he can give his money to YOU!! – this leans toward the idea that a high paying job is for money and not for ” his own sake.”
        example 2: Do you actually love this man or do you just see him as a potential money tree? – this is an inflamatory comment stating more about the writer than the actual letter.
        example 3: Furthermore, there’s nothing embarrassing about driving beater cars and not having nice clothes unless your priorities in life are majorly out of whack. – there is more contempt in this comment. There is alot of hate here.
        example 4: Unless you are stuck in 1950. – more anger.

        overall, I found a large amount of distain in these comments. That is why I asked. I think wanting a man with drive and ambition is not the same as wanting a sugar daddy.
        Do you not see any underlying judgement about these comments?

      6. I don’t think these comments are inflammatory and they didn’t sound angry to me; I think you’re reading too far into it. Not NEEDING a significant other with a big paycheck is not the same thing as thinking wealth is the root of all evil. To me it sounded more like exasperation at the idea that some women do want a man who will provide all the financial support, and encouragement to NOT be one of those women. What’s so wrong about that?

        I don’t think what Anna wrote is any more judgmental or inflammatory than your comments, which seem based on the idea that drive and ambition are easily measured by salary.

    10. Hopefully this isn’t too inflammatory but I can understand how having a man that expects a woman to financially support is a big turn off. I support myself and am in a career track to continue doing so but I just can’t fathom being attracted to a man that doesn’t envision working or having a career. I do have traditional notions that men in the marriage should work (and women can too – not necessarily have to stay home with kids) and I think a lot of women hold that view point too (not necessarily in this forum but outside of it too).

      LW maybe you are starting to realize what your values are. There’s no right or wrong value (so long as it doesn’t hurt people that is) but it’s important that they line up with your SO. Here, they clearly don’t and they haven’t for a long time. Although it’s late to realize it, it is far better than realizing it after you get married, as Wendy said. Breaking an engagement is hard but sometimes necessary. There is nothing wrong with leaving someone whose values do not correspond with your own.

  12. I feel like you are holding onto this relationship for the simple fact that if you let go, and he does eventually get a job, that what you did with him would be all for nothing, and some other girl is going to benefit from all of the blood, sweat, and tears you put in with this guy. I know it’s hard, and you have put so much into this relationship over the past 6 years, but it really is time to start thinking about yourself, because he isn’t trying that hard to better his situation.

    1. So true. Been there. It’s god-awful

    2. THIS IS SO DEAD ON!!!!! It is like holding onto a house or an investment that isn’t panning out. amazingly insightful.

    3. I feel she might be holding on for a different reason – he’s already feeling lowly and depressed and has endured a lot in the past three years; his girlfriend dumping him sure isn’t going to help.

      Granted, this isn’t really a healthy attitude to have, but I’ve fallen in that trap before when I didn’t want to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. While she clearly resents him, I still got enough sympathy off of her letter that I think she might feel responsible for his feelings as well as his expenses.

  13. LW, here is a harsh question. Is your fiance smart enough to live up to the dreams you and him have? I have found that people recognize thier physical limits but don’t realize thier mental limits. I just can’t believe that a part time student with a low stress, part time job could fail out of school. I mean, that speaks volumes to me. Either he doesn’t want this and doesn’t have the motivation or he just can’t handle the intellectual requirements. This does not make him a bad person but is this something you need in a man. Versus, if he was in a trade and made good money, would that satisfy you? Or will he always be a person who does the minimum to squeak by?

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Kinda over the ‘oh woe is he, he’s just unmotivated.’ Suppose its possible he’s depressed, but likely he’s depressed because he realizes he’s a loser.

      More and more, unmotivated = a cop out for lazy ass losers who would rather mooch off people who love them. If you ask me.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Didn’t mean to attack your comment. I just read this hoping it was my sister writing in, deciding to finally leave the deadbeat she’s with. It’d be wrong to send her a link to this, right? No? Please?

      2. I don’t think you can send this to your sister. However, a great way to get someone to see thier relationship is to ask about thier long term dreams. If someone really starts looking at that, then she will many times see that they guy won’t get her there.

        It is sneaky. But if you go, “Are you guys thinking of buying a house? ” That’s great! “Is lazy dude getting really strict about saving money for the down payment? that was the worst!” you know the answer is “no, of course not. ” but by staying positive it isn’t you nagging. Or say, “you want to go to Europe, when was the last time lazy dude got his passport renewed?” you know the answer is “never, he has never gone anywhere.” but it make her think. That is how you get a girl to dump a guy.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Good advice. Thank you. 🙂

      4. She´s still with him?

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Ughhh, yes. Apparently an engagement is imminent. He’s coming for Christmas, his 2nd visit in over 5 years. Makes me really angry because now I won’t get to spend quality time with her because she tip toes around him. Guess she’ll be buying her own engagement ring since he hasn’t had a job in years. Grr.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Last time she was home, I was giving her a ride somewhere and she bursts into tears over money issues. She works 50 hours a week, has a degree, spends nothing on herself. Then says she is scared to tell us about her money situation because it’ll only make us hate him. I just said to her that I don’t think he’s evil, I just wish that he would help her like she helps him. She believes she’s happy, but how can she say that as she’s crying hysterically, admitting she hides things from me because of her shame in him? Its just awful. And I can’t help but want to help her, which is only helping him. Its not fair to her, even though she’s the one allowing it. I tried really hard to use the advice I got here once.

      7. Ugh I´d typed out a long reply and it disappeared. I´m so sorry for what your sister is going through, I only hope she will get out, and sooner rather than later, and that she knows you all are there for her when she does decide to dump the guy-

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        thanks JK

      9. That sounds so sad

      10. That is awful but only your sister can help herself get out of this unhealthy situation. It is obvious that he is taking advantage of your sister’s love for him, but it will never stop until she grows a backbone and stands up for herself. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to help her, except support her emotionally the best you can.

      11. Here is what I am trying to get at with my comment. So I think way too many people go to college. They go there “To get a better job” but they aren’t capable enough. They would be much better suited in a trade. I am saying that he is either a lazy, “unmotivated” guy or he is not up to the task. i tried to equate it to physical things. Like, I completed a half marathon. I will never win one. I know that about myself. I will never dunk a basketball because I am five feet tall. I think most of us are forced to come to terms with that early on. But with intelligence, people dont. So no matter how much he wants to, he might not be smart enough to do it.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I get that. But just because he may be not smart enough to get a degree that requires a lot of brains, doesn’t mean he’s not capable of getting a full time job at the very least. You don’t have to be a genius to make a living. If one degree or career is too hard, then get one that isn’t.
        If the lw said he worked full time and contributed whatever he could to the household, even if it was a McDonalds full time paycheck, I’d think a lot differently.

      13. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        He’s definitely lazy and unmotivated. If it was a issue of he’s trying for something beyond his capabilities he wouldn’t be in and out of different programs, he would have graduated high school without prompting from the LW and he wouldn’t be taking advantage of the LW in such a way. This really isn’t a case of one partner supporting the other while they put themselves through school. This is one partner taking advantage of the other’s desire for a better life by half-assing work and school, floating around and then guilting her into not getting on his case about it.

      14. But he could have dropped out of high school because it was way too challenging. I don’t mean to sound like an intellectual snob but I didn’t consider graduating high school or college accomplishments but more milestones. I wasn’t really challenged in either. I did my work which took effort but there were only three classes in my four years that I really had to study and work for. There were other people who struggled every step of the way. When I was younger, I thought it was a lack of opportunity for some versus others. Now I think you have to come to the realization that some are just not as capable.

      15. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Where I am they make it very easy on you to pass high school if you put in the effort. They have different levels of classes in sciences, math, etc. so that you can get the credit you need. I was a lazy stoner in high school so I took the easy math and it was literally rolling dices to figure out probability exists. I wasn’t challenged in school but some of my siblings really were. One of them has learning disabilities and she graduated 6 months early because she was willing to work hard. One of them hasn’t graduated because she didn’t want to go to school for more than 2 hours a day. Considering that he has now passed high school and has successfully taken college classes, he has the capabilities.

      16. you are totally right. I just wonder if some people think the effort is worth it. I just wonder if it is like “I don’t get it so why even bother.” I think that mentality is there for most people in some aspects of thier lives. I think the LW is thinking, “If i just motivate him in the right way, then everything will be great.” I wonder if he is even capable much less motivated.

      17. that is a fair comment. It might be time to come to grips with his situation. I just cannot imagine failing out of a college course that costs so much money! I remember my parents sat me down before I left for college and said, “This college is costing $50 per class. So if you skip one day it is $150 wasted.” Or figure that each college course costs roughly $1500 roughly depending on your school. To fail is just that money washed down the drain. That kind of thing makes my head just explode. I cannot wrap any sort of logic around that at all.

  14. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    Do not date and especially do not marry someone when you are focusing on what “they can become.” Look at what is going on in the present and what has happened in the past and make your life decisions on THAT. The “potential” a person has is meaningless. People act in the ways that they want to act and forcing them to change, even if it is just a better version of themselves, just builds resentments. You’ve been creating this life around this ideal that you want your fiance to be and look at the life that it has got you. That is VERY likely what your life will continue to look like, that is the way it has been.

    One more chance? Why? Because you aren’t ready to say that this isn’t the life for yourself and you want to move on and build a better life for YOURSELF and he’s not helping? Quit with the fucking “chances” and MOA.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      WLGS. I hate when people say “oh but he has potential”. Then why isn’t he doing anything with that potential? Why is he still working at a ski lift when he was 29 and living paycheck to paycheck? People need to stop taking on partners like they are projects that can be fixed up.

      1. @kerrycontrary – are you saying that being a ski bum is not a legitimate career choice? 🙂

      2. AliceInDairyland says:

        This is not house-flipping. This is a relationship.

      3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Yay, my first WLGS!

      4. WLGS – now you have two!

    2. Thank you. Who gives a rat’s behind about “what could be…if only” It is the here and now that matter. Six years? Six years and you have accomplished nothing except racking up debt? He seems very happy with your status quo – because if he wasn’t he had six years to change it. SIX YEARS.

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Yep and it will only get clearer that you should have got out after you get married and then you REALLY feel stuck. My sister married and had a baby with a similar guy. He’s in his early 30’s and switches retail/hotel type jobs at least twice a year. But it’s not his fault, it’s the employers. He’s depressed but medication won’t work. He won’t get off of his ass and try to fix his life but they can barely afford their bills. Like buying the wingless pads when you want wings but they cost $1 more type broke. It’s heartbreaking watching my sister be brought down in such a way, she’s such a motivated and hard worker and she wants the kind of life that I have. I’m sure it’s hard to watch your younger sister with her home ownership and not worrying about the bills and not be resentful at your spouse. She could be so much more without him.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        hahahha “like buying the wingless pads when you want wings but they cost $1 more type broke”…this isn’t funny because it’s real life, but it is a hilarious representation of broke-ness.

      3. Haha, I laughed too, because I’ve *been* that kind of broke. It’s a sad but true representation.

      4. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        The really sad part is that it did happen. I was helping her after the baby came and we went to the store and she’s standing there trying to decide. I was begging her, get the ones you want! I’ll pay! But she’s too proud 🙁 I’m more than happy to help family out but I understand not wanting to take it.

  15. kerrycontrary says:

    Resentment is the death sentence of relationships. If you get married, your marriage most likely will not survive years of resentment and contempt. And I don’t blame you for resenting your boyfriend. He just can’t seem to get it together, and you’ve given him more than enough chances to try. We say it all the time on DW, but love isn’t enough. Break up and stop letting this man drag you into a hole of debt and resentment before you’re too deep to climb out.

  16. llclarityll says:

    I’m not about blaming here, LW, but I think you hold some of the responsibility for the situation. It was good that you had faith in his abilities, but at some point, you’ve started enabling him more than helping him. True, you’ve had some bad luck with things breaking etc., but you’ve got to move forward.

    So, what do next? Making some hard choices. Figure out what you owe, what your expenses are each month, and show him. Your income is clearly not meeting your expenses, so either he starts working somewhere full-time and bringing in more income or you take a second job. Encourage him that by contributing to the household, he will feel good about himself.

    You don’t have to be stuck in this cycle of debt. Just realize that marriage isn’t going to change anything. Either he needs to be in this relationship, fully participating, or you need to take steps to fix and preserve your financial well-being.

  17. WWS.

    LOVE is not enough to make a relationship successful in the long term. It isn’t. No matter how much you love someone, it’s not enough. I wish more people would understand this.

  18. Avatar photo flgirl711 says:

    Simply put, walk away. My sister went through this EXACT same thing with her fiance. It literally is the LW’s story. They were so broke. They tried the Dave Ramsey classes, counseling, he went through bankruptcy, so so much. She kept bailing him out over and over. She finally walked away. LW- please walk away. Better yourself. Don’t resent him, resent yourself and feel guilty. Its ok. You’ve tried really hard!! MOA. He will pick himself up and move on too. You will both be better off. My sister and her ex-fiance are now about 10 months later too. Its hard but it will be ok.

    And the pet thing KILLS me. Try to find new homes for them if you can’t properly care for them. However, I understand how pets are our babies. There are rescues out there that take in animals with special needs. My friend volunteers with one in FL. That was one thing my sister did to her pets and kept bringing in more that would make me so sad/mad. Please try with that if you are having a hard time affording yours. I am very sorry to hear that.

  19. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Why get engaged if you aren’t seriously planning on getting married? If you sit around and wait for him to check off all the things on your “to do” list for him (finish school, get a high paying job, get out of debt) so he “progresses” to your perfect version of him…you’re going to be waiting a damn long time. You either want to marry him “as is” or you don’t.

    Also, have you suggested he get some counseling or therapy? It sounds like he might actually be depressed and could use some professional treatement. I know I’d have some pretty low self esteem after hearing how much of a failure I was from my fiance all the time.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      SHE should be the one who is depressed, imo. She’s spent years on a person who, frankly, is a failure.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, I think they both are honestly. The whole situation just ugh, I don’t know why people stay in unhappy relationships so long.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Hope for change? So much time invested already? Idk.
        I know with my sister, she loves the guy she’s with. Says he would support her if she needed him to. Its bs. Promises he’ll get better. Bs. The whole ‘you’re all I have’ nonsense.
        I think mooches are very good at their game.
        I should just close out of DW for the day, because my blood is already boiling over my sister’s bf.

  20. You know what sucks, when you get old enough to realize that that Patti Smith song was right, and in all likelihood every single one of the Disney princesses ended up battling their in-laws and arguing with their princes about the laundry 😉

    “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough”
    But there’s a danger in loving somebody too much,
    and it’s sad when you know it’s your heart you can’t trust.
    There’s a reason why people don’t stay where they are.
    Baby, sometimes, love just aint enough.

  21. I always hate it when a defensive sounding LW chimes in but I can’t let this one go since it’s come up a couple of times…

    My animals are being very well taken care of. I’m paying for their vet treatments (with a credit card, unfortunately) and buying them very high quality food – better than I ate when I was suffering through health problems last year. And I don’t ask my vet to give my pets free medical treatment. I have the scars from scratches I received giving the sub-q fluid treatments to prove it.

    1. AliceInDairyland says:

      Thanks LW! I wasn’t trying to single you out, I was just grumbling about myself. But I always appreciate knowing animals are well cared for. Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

      1. AliceInDairyland says:

        PS SubQs on cranky cats suck

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Thanks for letting us know! I just went off the part of your letter where you said “i can’t afford my pets’ shots”

      1. No, I understand, I probably would’ve had the same response to that statement. I just consider anything that has to go on a credit card as “I can’t afford it.” (Hard to add these sorts of side notes into a letter that was already running on too long.)

      2. Thanks for clarifying LW, but I have to ask… if you weren’t supporting the entire household would you have had the money to care for your pet without going into credit card debt? I feel like you would…

        Have you ever put all of your money – revenue/expenses/etc. – together and really taken a look at where YOUR hard earned money is going? Maybe check out mint.com or something… I know it can be a stark and depressing thing to add it all up, but if you haven’t yet I highly recommend, as I think the total picture of what you’ve been contributing while having little/nothing to show for it would be eye opening. I mean we aren’t talking about $55 here, or $300 there – we are talking thousands and thousands of dollars to get you to a point where your fiance currently can’t go to school even if he had mom cosign a loan because he owes them money. He’s in a total box of his own making, please get yourself out of this situation, it isn’t your fault.

      3. The short answer is yes, I probably could have paid without a credit card if I weren’t responsible for covering all of the emergency costs over the last two years.

  22. I’ve had a couple of boyfriends like this guy. They were really nice and really caring, but didn’t have their acts together – they were chronically unable to support themselves, they had no goals – so ultimately I had to accept that their lives didn’t fit with my values.

    It’s hard to make a decision that feels like giving up on someone you love. But Wendy is right that the kind of life you want, LW, may not match up with what he wants, and when your values aren’t in line, it’s really hard to have a healthy relationship.

  23. I date your fiance, granted not for 8 years, but for close to five years, and it took me a very long time to realize that it was just who he was, not a “rough patch”. I was working part-time and full-time in low paying jobs throughout college and he was years older than me and I was the one paying for everything! He just couldn’t get it together and there was always some new reason or excuse on the horizon.Honestly, the breakup was the best thing for BOTH of us. I found someone I was happy with and shared my goals, and he didn’t have someone hanging around to enable his behavior.

    Your fiance is unmotivated and you love him, but how did you get to the place where you are responsible for everything? Did you ever discuss him looking for a slightly better paying job to help out or taking on another part-time job to help with the damages he caused to your car, debt, etc? Sometimes when we love people, we think we have to love them unconditionally and accept all their downfalls, when that’s simply not true. A healthy and stable relationship is when both people feel that their needs are being met, but here they are not. You are doing everything, while he isn’t doing much. You’re not his mother, but your relationship seems to have this weird parent-child vibe to it. He needs to contribute somehow someway more than he is right now. If you truly believe he can’t do that, you need to evaluate if you want to spend the rest of your life like this.

    1. Yeah, I dated this guy for 5 1/2 years. And when we broke up, he ended up eventually going to trade school for an actual career. And I found someone who was really a much better match for me. So it was definitely for the best that we were no longer together.

      1. That’s good! Same with my ex, he ended up with a civilian job in the military and moved. Sometimes, the enabler in the relationship can be responsible in addition to the anchor in situations like this.

      2. tinywormhole says:

        I totally dated this guy too. I should give him the credit that he did pay his own way, but I knew that once I finished school and started my career (which I did not long after we broke up) we were never going to be able to afford any other living situation than sharing a room in a house with roommates unless I supplemented his portion, because he was full time at a dead-end, low paying job doing nothing to better his own situation. And same thing – once we broke up he woke up and realized he needed to do something with his life – and he went to trade school as well and is now doing great, and now we’re both married to people who are better matches for each of us. Breaking up sounds like the best thing for this LW.

  24. EricaSwagger says:

    You got yourself into this situation by allowing your fiancé to fall into this pattern, and by making excuses for him the whole way through. I have very little sympathy for that. Get out of the negative situation. Move in with someone who can help you pay the rent and share some responsibility.

    Honestly only one thing really stuck out to me while reading this. You need to give your pets to a friend or shelter who can care for them properly.

    Nothing makes me angrier than people neglecting animals that they CHOSE to have. It’s different if you are having trouble supporting yourself or even a child. I understand reaching out for assistance in that case, and I feel great sympathy for people in those situations.

    But — you purchased or adopted your pets and it seems to me like that was a really irresponsible choice. If you’re worried about being able to afford your animals’ medication or vet visits, you shouldn’t have them. There’s no excuse.
    Your situation is unfortunate and I know how hard it must be to deal with. But your animals shouldn’t suffer because of you. And it IS because of you. You are making an irresponsible choice to keep them when you can’t properly care for them. They have no control over the situation.

    Give them to a shelter who can provide them with the care they need. Even if they need to be put down… I’d rather my animals die as easily as possible at the vet than die slowly in my house as their organs shut down because I was too irresponsible to get them the proper care.
    Focus on YOU and get your life together. You can’t expect to be able to care for others if you can’t even take care of yourself.

    1. EricaSwagger says:

      So I obviously posted this before reading the LWs comment above, but the point still stands. Maybe let the pets go and you could do away with a lot of financial burden. If you can’t take care of yourself because you’re busy taking care of others, is that really beneficial to anyone? Try putting your dental bills or car payments on the credit card instead.

      1. AliceInDairyland says:

        This is totally dependent upon so many variables that I don’t think you can tell her to do something with her animals. Most shelters really shouldn’t take in animals that have major health problems, because they won’t get adopted. So you really wouldn’t be accomplishing much there. It seems like she’s doing the best she can with what she’s got (and would be FINE on her own). With most medical illnesses, there is a spectrum of treatment options and it seems like LW has worked with her vet to figure out the best treatment plan for her and her lil’ critter.

      2. I am not suggesting in any way that the LW change her current situation with her pets, but EricaSwagger’s point is key though… pets are expensive and they should be budgeted for accordingly (a brutal point I’ve had to remind my SO about with his dog, I finally made him add up the vet bills in one year and he was shocked that it had been costing so much — not that we would get rid of the dog, we just aren’t pretending he only costs $50/month anymore).

        The LW could maybe think twice before getting another pet until things are more settled… or if she really loves animals and the companionship consider fostering for a reputable group (which would then not entail the LW being responsible for all vet bills, etc.). Shelters always need help with fostering!

      3. AliceInDairyland says:

        I agree, and I think we are on the same page. But I don’t think a blanket statement of any kind should be used in a situation like this. Everyone has different ideas of what is appropriate care for animals (remember the cat discussion in the forum?) And so saying that she CAN’T take care of her animal without any specifics on the disease is really hurtful.

        I mean, I’m not going to ever give one of my animals chemotherapy as an example. Because I can’t afford it, and for a variety of reasons. But other people would probably be horrified at that. Basically I didn’t like Erica’s accusation of neglect when we don’t know the details. If we applied such stringent requirements upon people there would be a lot more animals euthanized and a lot less people with meaningful animal relationships. It’s not perfect, but real life never is.

        In conclusion, LOOK AT YOUR MONEYZ. Decide up front what is reasonable to spend on an animal, and then see if it seems at least feasible.

      4. I think it´s also important when deciding on treatment of a pet to think of quality of life afterwards. We had a mastiff that in his old age had become aggressive, attacking our other dog and even my husband on one occasion. We already had our eldest daughter, so we had to be EXTREMELY careful with the dog. One day he got a gastric torsion, my husband rushed him to the emergency vet, the options were an extremely complicated surgery, with a 50-50% survival rate, with at least 3 days of post op care in a cage, or euthanasia. It broke my husbands heart, but we had to go for euthanasia, for the ogs sake as well as our own

      5. EricaSwagger says:

        The LW said “I can’t afford to get my pets’ shots.” What are we supposed to assume from that? That her pets aren’t getting their shots.
        I didn’t just make a snap judgement based off of nothing. I took the information I was given and shared my thoughts.

      6. AliceInDairyland says:

        What shots though? Insulin? Vaccinations? SubQ fluids (as mentioned above?) Some of these are deemed necessary, while others are taking a calculated risk that normally is pretty favorable on the part of the animal. If you have an indoor cat, you don’t always need to vaccinate past the first year depending on your lifestyle. Dog vaccination schedules are also variable depending on whether they interact with other dogs, the prevalence of the diseases in your area, etc.

        You can assume this LW is having a financial hardship, offering examples of where she would like to spend her money but is having a difficult time justifying doing so.

    2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      The fiance’s actions aren’t the LW’s fault because she “allowed” him to behave like he has. That’s his own deal. Absolutely, she shouldn’t put up with it and should walk away, but lets not absolve him of the fault because she put up with it. Most men wouldn’t behave that way just because they found someone who would take it. Most men have ambitions beyond their partner’s ideas. He is acting this way because he wants to and it’s not her fault. All she can do is respond to his behaviour, not create it.

      1. EricaSwagger says:

        Obviously this is the fiance’s fault completely. He is in control of his actions. The LW “allowed” it to go on by continuing to support him through his bad choices and poor performance in school. That IS her fault. She could have chosen not to support him anymore, and she didn’t. And by doing so, she is reinforcing the fact that what he’s doing is okay with her.

  25. Ditto everything I said on yesterday’s update post. Why are so many young men floundering? It makes me sad to see this more and more as a… (trend? syndrome?). Letter after letter, we hear about it. Young women are setting goals and bounding toward them and young men, increasingly, are lost.

    Of course I am speaking in massive generalizations. There are countless deadbeat, gold-digging women. And countless successful ambitious men. It’s just an emerging pattern (or a reversal of the old gender system?).

    Either way, it worries and saddens me.

    1. its not a reversal of the old gender system, because if that was the case women would have been judged by their careers back then too, and they werent.

      back then, women were judged on… what? looks? family ties? ability to bear children? i dont know, but it wasnt how successful they were in their careers, and it couldnt have been how successful they were in terms of the day (ie how good they were at having babies) because that couldnt be measured before a wedding and the babies came.

      ill be honest- i dont think this is a thing. i think that more women then EVER now are in college and getting advanced degrees and so the stastistics are skewed- of *course* there arent as many college educated, advanced degree holding, amazing money making men out there- more and more of those spots are being taken by women. and, anyway, not every person on this earth can be a super educated multiple degree holding amazing money making person. if all you go by when seeing whether or not men are up to par for dating is whether or not they are solidly in their career with advanced degrees and making an arbitrary number of money per year in order to provide a comfortable life for a family, well, youll be dissappointed. i wish it wasnt like that. i wish that people looked at a whole person when seeking a partner, not just their credentials and earning potential. i wish that everyone wasnt fed the lie that more and more education is the way to go. our society is getting to the point where it is over-educated. we still need plumbers. we need electricians. we need odd jobs done and we need manual labor. we do not need everyone getting masters degrees and trying to do research as their job. its not a sustainable model.

      i realize that there is a difference between floundering and just accepting what some would say a “lower” quality of life- but i think that the fact that women keep complaining about it relating to date-able men is just a fact of more women skewing the stastistics and not accepting any type of “lower” job as adequate. or a career-changer as adequate.

      i dunno, it just seems to me that men nowadays are only valued if they are very well paid, highly educated, ready for a commitment and a family. thats weird. there is so much more to the whole spectrum of people… that is just one particular demographic of a very diverse world of people, but somehow they are the only ones fit to be in a relationship.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        The point is that the LW wants and needs an equal partner. This guy ain’t that. Women have made great strides in bettering their situation over the past 50-60 years. Men, well, many of them haven’t made strides and have devolved. Better to be alone than to be burdened with a deadbeat, IMHO.

        Think of a reverse situation 50-60 years ago. Guy makes it through college and works hard to support himself and his unmotivated disorganized high school drop out girlfriend. They really need more money to “make it” but she can’t seem to get her act together and crashes cars, fails out of school programs, etc. Don’t you think that he would dump her? I do. Especially since at this point they are unmarried and childless. In fact, LW, this is the IDEAL time to MOA. Before you have to go through an expensive, asset depleting divorce and before you have to consider how it would effect the kids.

      2. we arent talking about the LW, we are talking about the larger “trend” of floundering men.

        and, honestly, 50-60 years ago, the guy would probably marry the girl without a thought as to her education and she would be a stay at home mom with a bunch of kids. she wouldnt be taking any sort of “programs” in the first place, most likely.

      3. Sue Jones says:

        I do agree that this is a disturbing trend for males, however, I disagree that successful contemporary women should settle for less than an equal partner. And if that means they are alone, that is preferable to being in an unhappy relationship like LW. It may be what forces men to grow up a bit.

      4. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I semi-disagree. Honestly, if the woman has a killer career? Great! Then have the guy stay home with the kids… Seriously. All this both parents working/shuffling kids off to daycare / maids spending the day cleaning large and empty houses hasn’t exactly produced the next greatest generation, you know? Somebody should stay home. It strikes me as curiously odd how so many want to have kids, but so few seemingly want to raise them… And uh, newsflash. I think the kids sense this… Look, if you both so desperately want to work? GREAT! Focus on that. Simply don’t have kids… The world is already vastly overpopulated. It will somehow survive just fine without you your oft ignored genetic offspring.

      5. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I think we need to change our ideas on what an equal partner is. I don’t earn an income or have a career. I do think that most of the people on this site would agree that staying home with kids is an equal partner. I also think that there are some that don’t- that think that because I don’t have a career then I am not on the same level as them or that my husband is settling because my idea of what I want my life to be doesn’t look the same as theirs.

        This guy isn’t being an equal partner, I’m not saying that he is. I’m saying that equal paycheck, or even equal hours logged at a job means equal partner. I think that it’s great if a guy wants to be a stay at home dad and his wife provides and that makes them both happy. I think it’s fantastic that I am able to stay at home. I don’t, and my husband certainly doesn’t think that I am less than equal because his education outranks mine.

      6. ill echo what lemongrass said- what exactly constitutes an “equal partner”? is it someone who contributes exactly 50% of expenses? it is someone who provides emotional support? is it a stay at home partner? it is a carbon copy of you?

        its likely some conglomerate of all of these things, but it most certainly is *not* someone with an equal education and an equal salary. that does not give you an automatic equal partner. an equal partner can have an equal education/equal salary, but it is not a requirement.

        that friday links article that said women had to “marry down” is ridiculous. what is this, long-ago india? do we really have such an established caste system in the educated world that anything less to your accomplishments is “unequal”? thats ridiculous! are millennial women really looked down upon for even considering to date someone who -dare i say it- does manual work as his job? doesnt have a masters degree? went to trade school? its a sad comment on our society today that a persons career defines them so thoroughly- that people get written off before even starting the race because of what they did or didnt do with college. its just ridiculous.

      7. AliceInDairyland says:

        I agree with LemonGrass (you are killing it today!) and katie, and other people that say we need to re-evaluate what constitutes an equal partner. I think your partner needs to be “complimentary” more than equal. You need to create a dynamic that allows you to both be happy (most of the time) and achieve your group goals.

        I am thinking about group projects, and the Meyers-Briggs personality tests. Partnerships don’t function well if people go about a problem (in this case, the problem is how do we have a kick-ass life?!) in the exact same way and contribute the exact same things. I think the key is to agree for the most part on the end goals (lifestyle, family, what you value) but then have complimentary ways of achieving them. So although you may be the career-driven part of the lifestyle goal, your SO may have the better-emotional-supporter part, or home-organization part. Or something.

      8. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Thanks! And to think I could have all these thoughts, without a career! But really I’m just procrastinating doing the dishes.

      9. ohh i like complementary rather then equal. im going to start trying to use that in my life.

      10. Eagle Eye says:

        Yes! I’m around alot of PhDs and its really interesting to see what types of SO’s people end up with. And, you know, some of these students are with people equally (overly) educating and ambitious and some are with people who are significantly less so.

        But, everyone seems to be happy (at least from my outsider/ on looker status), many of them have recently gotten married and I think that we’ll probably start to see kinds within the next five years (!) and I think of at least one future-mom and one future-dad who will probably stay at home with the little ones…and that all just seems really awesome!

      11. Eagle Eye says:

        *educated and kids, ugh, apparently typing is now eluding me…

      12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        60 years ago was 1952…

        Women were not being educated at the rate they are today and gender equality was not nearly as popular of a thought as it is today. Also, high school graduation rates in the early 1950’s were between 30% and 40%, today the graduation rate is 87%. It’s not compairable. http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf

      13. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:


      14. temperance says:

        I couldn’t be with a man who didn’t have an education and a good job. I grew up poor, and worked very, very hard to get an education so I will be able to own an actual house (instead of a trailer, like my parents) and have nice things.

        Maybe it’s the place where I grew up, maybe it’s the men in my family … but I don’t have much in common with blue-collar men (and they have no interest in me, either, FWIW.)

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Maybe it’s just the LWs with floundering boyfriends who write in. Not many happy women with successful and well-adjusted boyfriends write in.

      1. I don’t want to repeat my whole post from yesterday but it’s not just here that I see this trend. And it’s not just the umpteen articles I see on this topic. It’s also so many of the young men in my own friend/family circles. To be clear, I am not AT ALL talking about my choice in finding dateable men. I am not single and that wasn’t my issue. I’m talking about the number of young men who are lost without a sense of identity/direction/career/ambition. I work at a large public university and I see so many young men dropping out, lacking focus, struggling to find a goal. I just rarely see young women like this. I’m not blaming anyone. I’m genuinely concerned.

        I agree with some of Katie’s points about society being over-educated and the lack of viable alternative paths for people. But most of the men I encounter are plenty smart. They WANT to find something for themselves but don’t know what it is. Or they lack the… (motivation? discipline?) to get it. And they are UNHAPPY and frustrated. And we are are seeing women outpace men in a variety of sectors (college enrollment, SAT performance, salary, etc). It’s not just that there are more women taking up those spots that used to be held by men. They are taking MORE than 50% of the spots at this point. Maybe that ISN’T a big deal and maybe it’s a coincidence that we also see more and more young men who lack direction.

      2. oh, another point as well is that before men had no choice. they HAD to get a job and be at least a little bit successful to keep their family at home. now, there is the overwhelming choices of every field and direction going on for everyone- the pressure to marry have kids is largely gone, and so maybe its not so easy for them to just choose the first thing that sounds good and go with it no matter how much they end up liking it or hating it, you know?

        i know this happened to me when i finally realized that i had a *choice* whether to have kids or not. before, i just assumed its what happened. everyone does it. people speak in terms of “when” you have kids and not “if” you have kids, you know? and now, knowing that i have the choice is overwhelming. and its not a choice with unlimited possibilities like what to do with your life- its just a yes, have kids, or no, dont have kids. in picking what to do with your life there is just so much to consider, and really not much to lose nowadays if you dont pick *rightnow*. you can flounder for a few/a lot of years, your parents will bankroll it. or girlfriend, i guess. someone will.

      3. and, honestly, to go off of this as well- how many women will flounder and “try things out” or take many different paths to try to figure out their life? many, many women do this, but for what ever reason its not seen as a negative. it is seen as empowering, testing out different things before deciding on one to go with.

        and, ill be honest, many of those women will do that until they find a man to marry and then he just bankrolls all of her various interests and schooling, but this is never seen as bad. i think that gender rolls play into this hugely- if a man is uncertain about a career, takes longer then average to get there, ect, its bad. but if a woman does it, no one really cares, and there are definitely not articles written about it.

      4. I feel like there are a lot of contributing factors, one of which is that typically male-dominated jobs were hit harder when the economy went down the shitter. As far as gender roles playing into it, I think that it’s no longer just a given (and in some cases it is looked down upon) that a woman will get married and have a husband support her. Certainly it can and does still happen. But with women approaching equality in the workplace (not there yet!), this may just be the pendulum swinging one way and it’ll swing back the other way shortly – or take shorter swings and hang out more in the middle. Another thought I have is that since women aren’t QUITE equal in the workplace we feel the need to work harder to get what we want, whereas men typically always just assumed they’d succeed.

      5. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        It probably also doesn’t exactly help that while it used to take ONE job to support a family — it now requires two… Oh, yeah, and all those stable jobs with benefits? Those vanished decades ago… POOF! And if you look even further down the totem pole… More and more, everything is automated now. Nobody goes into the bank now, we use ATMs. And yet, banking fees are as high as ever! Hell, half the time at the grocery store you have ring up and bag your own stuff… We dumbly stood by watching as corporation eliminated damn near all the jobs (or sent them overseas) just to save a few bucks and yet we now scratch our heads and wonder why nobody is doing very well.

        It’s not exactly rocket science, people.

        There was a decidedly deliberate attempt to DESTROY the middle class. One that is so shocking effective it worked in less than one generation…

      6. Yes! That was another point I forgot to make: It often takes 2 incomes to run a household these days.

      7. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        It does often take 2 incomes but also our idea of what a life should look like has changed. Our houses are bigger, we have cleaners come, we take spa trips and want big rings and vacations, concerts, etc. I can go on and on. It isn’t this way for a lot of people, there is a huge low income problem but those that are above low income and say that they can’t afford to stay home really mean that they don’t want to sacrifice what it takes to stay home. If you live in a smaller house, share a car, cut the cable, etc. you can do it. You just don’t want to and you would rather put your kids in daycare and work so that you can afford these luxuries.
        *I’m not directing “you” at anyone.

      8. very true- i read an interesting article that said that we could give everyone jobs and a wonderful work/life balance if we cut the work week to 20 hours…. however, people would have to do without a lot of “things”/downsize houses ect, and so it probably would never work.

      9. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Yup. People ask me “what?? You’ve never been to a concert/gone skiing/insert luxury here. But you guys make decent money!” It is frustrating. Sure, I could go do those things but my priorities are staying home with my kids. THAT is what is most important to me and going without a mani/pedi is worth it to me. Doesn’t make me lazy or cheap!

      10. There are definitely a lot of factors that go into it. Health insurance is a big one. Even if we could live off of my husband’s salary alone (which we can’t, mostly because of stupid student loans), I’d still have to go back to work because he doesn’t get insurance through his employer. I’d gladly cut out cable, expensive rent payments, etc., if it meant I could stay home when our baby is born. Unfortunately no amount of cutting things out can make that happen.

        The good news is that my husband is in the process of starting his own business with a friend of his, and if the game they’ve developed is a success (it launches in the next few months), he eventually will be able to have a full-time job and insurance through that. In the meantime, he’ll be staying where he is. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

      11. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Health insurance is definitely something that I don’t think about- I’m Canadian, it’s taken off automatically and not something that we have to worry about. I definitely wasn’t talking about everyone, there truly are a lot of people that wouldn’t be able to make it work. That doesn’t change that we as a society have become way more entitled. Cell phones, internet, vehicles are all seen as “standard” when they aren’t. We could go without all but we choose not to. I think it is important to not forget that these are choices and luxuries.

        I’m not one to say that everybody SHOULD go without them, that would be completely hypocritical of me. My house is twice the size of what is actually necessary for us to live but I want to be comfortable and provide a room for guests. But I don’t want to go down the road of thinking that I couldn’t do without it. I want to appreciate what I have. I know that I have more than a LOT of people and I feel it would be a slap in their faces to claim that I’m hard done by because I can’t afford to go on vacation when I own a cell phone and they don’t.

      12. THANK YOU. I say this all the time and no one pays attention to me! Toll roads are big on the East Coast, and almost everyone has EZ Pass, so you don’t even pay a toll collector anymore! People talk about growing the economy and stuff, but at the same time they’re finding more and more ways to eliminate jobs!

      13. Definitely agree with what you and Bethany have said. And the jobs that have been erased are all the jobs that someone without a college degree can do. It forces people to think they need a degree in order to get by, when some people (like the LW’s fiance apparently) are just not *made* for college.

      14. Jess –

        I agree with you. I just wanted to add that a strong and growing economy offers more opportunities than what we have had for the last five years. Maybe guys trying to break into the work force have had the hardest time this time?

        About the economy, they say that a rising tide floats all boats. Could it be that an ebbing tide creates more shoals? And guys seem to be the ones most often wrecking on them?

  26. This couple shouldn’t have combined finances and probably shouldn’t be living together. Moving in/combining finances when one partner can’t carry their own weight is a very fraught situation, especially when the dependent partner doesn’t have strong internal motivation to change their situation. LW, maybe your fiance would be more motivated to advance his schooling and career if he didn’t have you to fall back on. So even if you don’t want to break it off with him, consider separating your finances and maybe your living quarters until he can be a real contributor. Taking that step back can be extremely difficult – most of the time it’s easier to just make a clean break – but it’s an option.

  27. LW, since you’re following along, I have a question for you. Do you actually like your fiance anymore? I expect that you love him, but do you like him?

    1. That is a fair question to ask. Right now (and before he flunked out), the answer is (was) yes. When I wrote this letter, the answer was no.

      1. …Don’t take that statement to mean that I’ve decided to stay with him though because I haven’t made any decisions on what to do yet. Still reading and thinking about the (many) good points you guys have brought up.

  28. I’m sorry, but part time employment and part time school and he can’t handle the schooling part? What the fuck?!

    Even with four kids at home, my SO (and most people) can handle a full time job and part time school, or with many trade schools (i.e., University of Phoenix type trade schools), a “full time” class load is 2-3 classes a week, meaning he has a class or two each week per course he’s taking. Estimate 4 evenings a week in class at 3 hours per night (12 hours a week) for a “full” schedule, that’s still PLENTY of time to work a FULL TIME JOB, even in retail.

    Someone is pulling your chain when it comes to working and school, which means: What exactly does this guy really want in life? Does he want the same things you want, or is he telling you what you want to hear because he really just wants YOU to pay for everything and is willing to go through the motions in order to secure it? Was his mother the sole provider in his house growing up (that is actually an important question, because men do tend to marry their mothers)?
    If you don’t own your home, move into a smaller apartment and cut back expenses. Look into some decent dental care (even dental schools can help in that arena). Look into thrift stores for decent clothing and take them to a tailor to have them custom fitted for a better look. If you own your home, look into what you can do to fix it up and rent it out as extra income.

    Ultimately, you need to decide what’s best for you, not for the both of you. If he isn’t on the same wave length for future as you are and only sees you as the provider/sugar mama, then move on, for your own sake. You’ll be much happier. If he truly does see a future with you, then he needs to prove it. Full time job, a timeline for graduating and helping out financially with the house. Call off the engagement and do NOT get engaged again until he has met your expectations as a man. Get some couples counseling to see what the hell is up with you two.

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      No kidding. My friend is a single mom, she gets NO financial help from either the father or her parents. She works full time, does part time school, lives on her own and raises her kid. If she can do it with the cards she’s been dealt, anyone can.

  29. Julesoola says:

    Hmmm….kinda torn on this one. I think I need more info on what the housing situation is and how you got into that and also why you seem to not have insurance to cover these car/medical issues that have popped up. I kind of get the impression that you’ve rushed into a housing situation/”married lifestyle” you couldn’t afford yet based on hopes for the future. If you can’t afford medical and auto insurance or have savings for things going wrong (they always do!), then you can’t afford to buy a house. You need to live according to the situation you are in, not what you think might or should happen.

    I also think it’s pretty ridiculous to hold him accountable for your medical and dental situations. Would you be able to afford these things on your own were he not in the picture? It doesn’t sound like he’s contributing less now than he used to so you need to be honest about how you got in the situation you’re in now in the first place. Were the house, the pets, his schooling all things you pushed for but maybe didn’t realistically plan for? If so, you need to to own up to your mistakes here and not put all of the blame and resentment on him. Even if he finished school, a degree in this day and age never guarantees a job, a high salary, or the ability to buy nice things.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Having medical insurance does not equal not having medical expenses ever. And the car wasn’t worth what insurance would pay for it.
      I don’t think she’s expecting him to pay her medical bills, but I think that if she wasn’t supporting him, she’d be able to pay them on her own.

      1. “I don’t think she’s expecting him to pay her medical bills, but I think that if she wasn’t supporting him, she’d be able to pay them on her own.” This. He’s created a man-shaped financial rut for her. Not out of malice, I’m sure, but that’s the way it is.

        Also, what you said about the car reminded me of the LW’s own words: “the body damage costs more to fix than the car is worth.” This language means the car is totaled. She is driving around a totaled vehicle. She has every right to be upset about that (this is just being said as emphasis, since I don’t think some people are grasping how awful her situation is)

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        A man shaped financial rut?!
        I love you Fab.

        And yes, when your loser bf totals your car, you should be upset. MSLB (my sister’s loser boyfriend) has no car and destroyed her last one, so my parents got her another one, lovely car, gave her downpayment but she has to make the monthly payments. I was happy to see her in a nice car again (nice = working). Instead of her actually using it, he drops her off at work, uses it and her gas all day and picks her up from work, so she can’t even go out to lunch. But he’s super sweet and thoughful because one time he dropped off a coffee for her, using, you guessed it, her money. Less than a month after getting it, he had knocked the bumper off, but you know, it wasn’t HIS fault. Accidents happen. Grr, again.

      3. love you too LBH 😀 & I’m sorry to hear all this shitty info about your sister’s boyfriend (I’ve been keeping up with your comments on the subject above as well!) It sounds like her perspective about him is so skewed at this point.

      4. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Again, the problem here REALLY isn’t the LOSER boyfriend, LBH. It’s that your sister is either fucking pretty damn stupid, or simply has LOUSY taste in men and is apparently BEYOND desperate. (Oh, how sweet! He brought me coffee in my car with my money!! Awww…” C’mon! Truth? Admit it. If this “loser” miraculously vanished from your sister’s life — wouldn’t she simply replace him with yet another “loser” in under five minutes?

        Search your feelings, LBH. You know it to be true…

        The problem is your sister. It’s NOT the losers she dates. It’s her CHOOSING them to begin with that’s the real issue here. Blame her for a change. Hey, at least your anger will be aimed in the right direction…

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        You’re right. I have to be reminded of this, and when I am, I do agree.

        I do think because she is who she is, she’s capable of being brainwashed (can’t think of a better term) and I think she has been by him. She believes he’s worthy of her love, has no one else, that he’d do the same for her (impossible) and that of course, he’ll change.
        It doesn’t change the fact that she’s choosing this life, but I think her inability to not be pushed around mentally is part of it.

        She’s my sister though. I love her. It’s easier to blame him than it is her. I did say to her last time she got upset about money, that she is allowing this to continue. That if she cut him off, she wouldn’t be in this mess. It doesn’t help. Seems nothing does.

      6. i hate to say it, LBH, but hes right.

        no one is putting a gun to your sisters head. she is actively choosing her life. everyone does, whether it is good or bad. and i KNOW how much it sucks to watch people do shitty things (again, i reference my best friend who rushed a marriage behind parents back and is now going through a bitter divorce and thinks therapy is for “crazy people”-i know it sucks), but you cant control your sisters actions, and you cant force her to do anything. she is with him, she gets something out of it, whether she has a martyr complex or he really fulfills something she needs- who knows?

        but please try to get out of the space you are in thinking you cant do anything about it- because you cant. its her life, not yours. be there for her, of course, support her, of course, give her good, honest, real advice, always- but wash your hands of it. its not your responsibility, and you shouldnt have all this anger and sadness because of *her* actions and life.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Thanks Katie. I’ve tried telling myself that if she says she’s happy, believe her and be happy for her. Then another bomb drops, and I just want to make everything better for her. Its hard to believe anyone could be happy in her situation, but you’re right, I need to just let her be.

      8. A lot of this crap can be attributed to wanting to be wanted. Seriously. She wants to be NEEDED, to feel wanted. As long as he wants what she HAS (a car, money, etc), then she, herself, is needed/wanted. Not for herself, but for what she has, but that is a point that she can conveniently ignore so long as she has a “man” attached to her.
        Plus, she has the “badboy” to “fix up”. It’s every “good girl’s” dream (supposedly). She is “rebelling”. Idiots. Fucking idiots.

      9. Maybe your parents need to stop enabling the boyfriend. Just an idea.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        They don’t enable him, he just gets the benefits of when she’s enabled. They’ve tried to stop, and have 90% I’d say. Its unbelievably hard to cut your family off entirely.

      11. Julesoola says:

        A crappy car and a less than stellar wardrobe do not make up the difference between an awesome life and a terrible one. She states that he kept his job to pay his own bills. So she’s not FULLY supporting him, but as the primary breakwinner she is taking on the extra, unexpected expenses, most of which it seems she’d probably have had with or without him. I have just seen all too many times my girlfriends in their 20’s putting the cart before the horse and starting to nest, house hunt and pushing for engagements and this, that, and the other in order to create their pinterest perfect lifestyle as-soon-as-possible. Each assuming it would make their boyfriends/fiances magically turn into financially stable, ambitious husbands. It never works that way and every one of these girls blames the frogs for not turning into princes.

        I’m not saying she should stay with him and accept that he clearly wants to be a loser right now. But if you create a lifestyle based what you think is going to happen and it doesn’t work out the way you want you still need to own up to your own part in that. THAT’S part of being an adult as well.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree she started “nesting” way too soon. However, unless his part time job pays $100/hour, I’m hard pressed to believe he’s contributing to any shared expenses. Because of that, she cannot pay her expenses. But, yes, she needs to acknowledge that she’s enabling him and allowing this to continue.

      13. PREACH. i love this.

  30. This seems another of the many cases of using ‘love’ as an excuse for staying in a relationship you know is awful because you are afraid of not having any relationship at all. You just need to take the plunge, MOA, be alone for a while, and trust in your ability to find a far better bf. I don’t know why women continue to talk of ‘love’ and ‘relationship’ with guys they don’t even respect, like, or trust. It seems a way of excusing recognizing it’s time to MOA. It’s like you’ve spent the past at least 2, maybe 6, years paying this loser to be your bf and he isn’t even performing his role at all well. You talk at the start of your letter how you have so much in common ‘similar interests and beliefs’, except reading through your letter, you don’t have similar beliefs and interests. You wanted to go to college, complete it, and have a career. You had the motivation and ability to do so. He wanted to hang out and loaf most of the day after dropping out of HS. When you started, you may have shared an interest in hanging out, drinking, and sex, but really, what beyond that. You mention no shared interests. You seem interested in living within a budget, not using credit cards, getting ahead, having nicer things. No evidence at all that he shares any of that. It sounds like your engagement is a way he’s found to tie you to him in this perpetual going-nowhere grey place where he is content to stay. You speak of waiting for him to finish his education, but then say he’s flunked out and doesn’t really know what he wants to major in or do. So you are not waiting for him to finish his education, you’re waiting for him to decide that he wants to have an education and a real job. There is no finish date in sight and no plan at all to get to the finish. You should take off the rosy glasses and admit that it just isn’t ever going to happen, because he doesn’t want it.

    1. P.S. I think it should tell you at least as much as it tells me that you felt motivated to write back answering the comments that suggest you are not a responsible pet owner, but nothing with regard to the bf.

  31. LW, I had a similar thing going on in the past. The guy was in the military and got out because for family hardship. He claimed he couldn’t watch his son part time and be in the military. At the time, I had my daughter and was doing it on my own and I was in the military as well. I missed her like crazy, but I still did my time. After he got out, he didn’t get a job, decided he wanted more time with his son, but didn’t have any money to pay for the things his son needed like diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. I became the sole provider for myself and my daughter, him, and his son… then another one… there were many things wrong with this situation. Regardless of all of that, I finally realized there was a problem and kicked him out.

    My point is, don’t sell yourself short. If you think you don’t deserve more than taking care of a dead beat, then you don’t. Well, YOU DO. You work hard to take care of yourself, so take care of yourself. Don’t go into marriage with stipulations on what has to happen before. You should know what you want before getting engaged.

    You need to do what’s right for you. If that means that taking care of yourself AND ONLY YOURSELF is important, then do it. Why do you need to take care of him and be his mother? A wise woman once said “Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you’ve got.” Well, it sounds like you’re doing a whole lot of compromising yourself. Why give HIM one more chance? Give it to yourself.

  32. WWS.

    And may I just say that getting an education does not guarantee he will ever get a job, let alone one with an okay paycheck + benefits, because education is not motivation, nor is it the persistence or fortitude that I genuinely believe most people need to find their way into the workforce today. I mean, obviously education helps open doors, but it really just might be that he’s a directionless person who will bounce from job to job to unemployment to job to job because nothing makes him happy or satisfies him. (I dated someone like that. We both the exact same education (same degrees, same college, same law school). He graduated over two years ago and is still underemployed and lives with/off his parents. I”m gainfully employed in a non-legal. It’s not because I’m special or smarter, it’s because we had VERY different attitudes toward life. I can only imagine what it would have been like if we’d stayed together because I would be supporting us both to live like adults, OR I’d be dating a grownup who lives a cushy child’s life (wealthy parents) with no start of our “adult life” together in sight. Neither option is attractive.) If he’s not a motivated person, or discouraged easily, or just can’t handle adulthood for any reason, that won’t change.

  33. I am 26, and it took me awhile to get my shit together, mainly because of student loan debt and consequences from suffering from depression. I like how Wendy pointed out that he needs to get help for that – I know people who continue to never go anywhere, work dead end jobs, etc., because of their depression.

    And sometimes, you just need to grow up, put on adult shoes, and make some decisions about your life. If this guy is where he was 6 years ago, or pretty close, that is not good. People grow and change, it is a part of life – if he hasn’t started maturing, he may never, and that is not fair to the LW, who obviously wants more.

  34. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Well, gee…Okay. So…you graduate college and desperately want to marry an equally successful man and therefore bask in the shared glory and wonderful trappings of your his and her career triumphs… Oh, and your brilliant plan to do so involves falling in love with a high school drop out and then blaming him not only for all of his failings, but your own as well?

    Sound plan.

    Look, the fact that you somehow failed to take care of your teeth and now need three thousand dollars worth of dental work really isn’t HIS fucking problem… It’s yours. And yet that’s his fault, too. The busted water heater? Hey, life sucks. Your pets got sick? Again, shit happens. All of which would have happened with or without him… In my estimation, the biggest problem in your relationship is YOU and your absurd expectations. I’m sorry, but it’s NOT exactly rocket science to get through high school. And yet you chose to fall in love with a drop out and then expected him to miraculously transform himself into your dream man with a golden gig… Again, brilliant. And now (of course!) you blame him for wasting six years of your life. Wake up, honey. You’re the one who wasted six years of your life! Worse, you’ve wasted six years of his as well.

    You so don’t love this man. You merely love your silly school girl fantasy of what you had hoped he might become. Stop clinging to that. Embrace reality. Go solve your own problems — stop waiting around for him to fix his. Because that only may or may not happen.

    1. Just want to say, my stepbrother dropped out of high school. He had failed three grades (two of which were the 8th grade) and he dropped out as a 19-year-old sophomore. He was kind of a shithead for a while, but he took the GED and enlisted in the Army, and it really turned him around. Dropouts can become something–my stepbrother is currently in college for IT.

      If any woman dated him before about last year, I’d laugh in her face for being an idiot. But now he’s a catch.

      1. tinywormhole says:

        I like this story. People can and do turn around, but it’s always internally motivated. The problem for LW is there’s no telling if or when her fiance will kick himself in the ass once and for all, and right now he doesn’t have the motivation.

  35. melancholia says:

    “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude [about it]. Don’t complain” – Maya Angelou

    “If nothing changes, then nothing changes” – Anonymous.

    1. I like “If nothing changes, than nothing changes”. Quite brilliant, if obvious. I feel like I should repeat this to myself throughout the day.

  36. I’m not really understanding why he can’t work more than part time, as others have said. My dad worked full time, went to school in the evenings, and had a wife and two small children to take care of. Took him 8 years but he graduated with honors. I’m not sure if your fiancé has a hard time learning or if he’s just lazy for him to flunk out of his program, because he doesn’t have a lot on his plate to prevent him from doing better academically or taking more than 1-2 classes at a time. I’m sorry but he doesn’t sound very motivated. Even if he’s depressed, considering he dropped out of HS, it seems like this is more just part of who he is than a result of being depressed. Listen, you can’t make him be a harder worker, more motivated or more ambitious. You’ve been with him for six years. This ambition and drive doesn’t appear out of thin air. You have it, he doesn’t. You feel like he’s weighing you down and you’re super resentful. He’s probably not going to change, so unless you’re ok with dealing with a lifetime full of the same issues you’ve had for the last 6 years, go ahead and move on. And make sure you chose your next boyfriend based on the qualities he possesses that are important to you instead of trying to fit another square peg into a round hole.

  37. LW, you guys just changed in different ways. That’s a risk you take when you start a relationship with someone when you’re fairly young and neither of you have a life plan. Not everyone grows up at the same rate. It just sounds like you guys are too different now. You have certain expectations and he can’t, and probably doesn’t want to, fulfill them. I’d say just to move on and find someone you have more in common with.

  38. I agree with others that have commented on the letterwriter blaming all of her financial problems on her boyfriend. If I moved in with someone (25 and never lived with someone) I honestly would not think I am on the hook for half of their medical bills. You get sick, you need dental work, your car breaks down that is on you to take care of. Being married isn’t going to take care of your money problems, and him having a career isn’t going to as well. People fight over not having money, having money, and everything in between. Through my parents marriage they’ve gone through everything: my dad making more money, my mom making more money, companies going under, oil bust, oil booms, housing repairs…there is always SOMETHING. It sounds as though you haven’t had any conversations on how you want to live, what you want out of life, and that all points to getting unengaged at the very least, and I would probably take wendy’s advice and move on. Your relationship doesn’t sound fun, you don’t sound fun.Your young right? Why are you wasting it?

  39. Working Woman says:

    Ouch! This hits so close to home! :/

    I’ve also been with my boyfriend for six years. I’m now 24 and he’s 36. We both come from very poor families (his parents worked on a farm, mine in a factory), but had big ambitions for ourselves. When we met, we were both a couple of high school drop-outs working crappy retail jobs and taking the bus everywhere, but talked at length about all our big plans and exciting dreams. I now have a car, a college degree, several certifications, my own apartment in the city, perfect credit, and a nice chunk of savings. I’m going back to school for another degree in 2013, and I’ve done it all on my own: no parents, no loans, no nothing. I struggle a lot, but I work hard and I’m determined.

    He has no car, hasn’t had a job in over a year now, has a lot of debt and terrible credit, no further education or career training… nothing. I pay for everything we do together and drive us everywhere. I love him and he’s trying (he’s currently working on a school program with a grant from the Veteran’s Admin), but I am also becoming resentful and I always have to carry him. He’s now suffering from severe depression over this and we no longer even have a sex life (his poor self-image and constant worry have killed his libido and given him very bad ED). He feels he is worthless and says he doesn’t deserve me.

    I try to be supportive and upbeat, but sometimes our dreams just seem like unattainable fantasies. The stress is eating us alive and the lack of a sex life makes us fight. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting to feel like a lady- wanting him to pick me up in his car and take me out for the evening. Sometimes it’s as complicated as fearing for our financial future- what about our retirement? I’m just ranting. I don’t expect anybody to solve this for me. I just needed to vent.

    1. Working Woman says:

      As an aside: yes, he is seeing doctors for the sexual issues and his depression. It’s a painfully slow process, though, because we have to do everything through the VA. He has an appointment with a new doctor coming up, since he is unhappy with his previous doctor and therapist, and asked me to accompany him to speak with the new doc. We have to wait for the approval letter from the VA for the new doctor and for them to set an appointment for him at a time when I can drive him. We’ve been waiting a month now for the letter. They just say, “It’s on its way.”

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Honestly, if you don’t have your shit together enough to have a GED or a car by 36, you’re not going to have it later. You don’t wake up one day in your THIRTIES and say, “oh, now I’m going to become a grown up.” Early twenties, sure, but by 36 you’ve resigned yourself to that life. I give you the same advice I gave the LW: if you don’t want your relationship to continue the way it is, get out. You can’t change him and you will waste your life away trying to fix his.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I have to say I agree with you lemongrass. You don’t just wake up one day at 36 and decide you’re going to live a completely different life. I’m sure that his depression is compounding things but if he got all the way to 30 in his current state, it’s unlikely he is really going to do something to change. I mean you’ve been carrying this guy for a serious portion of his adult life, why would he change?

      3. I’m sorry WW, but it sounds like you have become his mother… Sexless relationship, you paying for everything, overseeing and guiding his medical care. The fact that a 30 yr old man had the “maturity” to seek out and seriously date an 18 yr old is questionable, but its really that you have matured in leaps and bounds over the years and he hasn’t. As I commented to this LW it isn’t your fault, you are not responsible for the (non)actions of others. And I admire the fact that you haven’t combined finances or impacted your credit – you deserve kudos for that at such a young age (I’m in my 30s and I’m just getting there in terms of savings). I hope you have the strength to MOA and find someone who treats you the caring and respectful way you would treat them.

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