Shortcuts: “Am I Crazy To Expect My Boyfriend to Pay Rent?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

In nearly six years, my boyfriend, Bryan, has paid rent one time and has never ever paid a full month’s bills. He has had multiple jobs and just finally got back to work in May after being off for two years. We are in July now and he has paid me a total of $500 that he won at the casino. He has lost every car he has ever owned, and I have bailed him out of jail, while I have also been paying for our rent, food, and everything else. If I bring it up, he tells me I am attacking him. I explain that, no, I am not — I am just sick of his living for free.

Please help me. Am I crazy to think it’s wrong to have a boyfriend pay his half of the bills? — Paying His Half for Too Long

Of course not, but you sure are crazy to stay with the gaslighting loser mooch all these years. It’s way past time to MOA.

I asked my boyfriend to attend my cousin’s wedding with me, and he said, “No, if I have a day off I’d rather do something else.” However, when it comes to his family’s events, I’m expected to attend. It’s not “Will You?” but: “WE have to be there.” I give him the dates for things I want him to attend with me months in advance, while he gives me hours. I realize he’s being selfish in this case but usually he’s a good guy. I’m not sure I want to tolerate this new behavior. Should I stick it out or just leave him? — Minus One?

You should leave him, and you should adjust your idea of a “good guy,” because this dude sounds like the opposite.

My girlfriend and I recently split up. I had moved away to a new job, and the long distance and the busy lives we were both leading meant we didn’t talk much. At the time I thought it was mutual and for the best. Days later, I quickly realized how wrong I was to let this woman go without trying to work on our issues – especially since weeks before we had been speaking about moving in together and in a few months’ time she will be moving to the city I live in! I told her this and acknowledged where I had messed up, but she is adamant that she wants as much time to herself as possible to dedicate to her sports career.

We had spoken about spending the rest of our lives with each other, so her change of heart seems a little drastic to me. I desperately want to win her back and hope we can make a go of it when we live in the same city. What should I do? — Change of Heart

Huh, it’s funny that you dumped your girlfriend only a few weeks after you were talking about moving in together and, yet, you think HER change of heart, now that you have second thoughts about the breakup, is “a little drastic.” It’s also funny that the subject line of the email you sent me was: “My girlfriend of two years broke up with me to focus on her sports career,” when that is so not the case. YOU broke up with HER. She’s just wise enough not to take you back. Let her be; there’s probably some other woman who is lonely enough to put up with your bullshit (see a couple examples above…) until your next change of heart.


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


  1. LW1: Kick him to the curb.

    LW2: Kick him to the curb.

    LW3: That’s some classic Nice Guy ™ bullshit and you need to take a good hard look at yourself.

  2. dinoceros says:

    LW1: I hope you’re being sarcastic. Why would you date such a deadbeat? Dump him and then do some work to figure out why your standards are so desperately low.

    LW2: Your definition of “good guy” is being selfish? See the above advice about your standards.

    LW3: I was with you until the part about her “change of heart.” Your change of heart was a lot more abrupt than hers. A lot of times when you dump someone, that person often either has a realization of their own about why it wasn’t a good relationship OR stops trusting you. Who wants to be with someone who is so uncertain about the relationship?

    But also, trust yourself — I assume you broke up for a reason. A lot of people forget this and look back on their breakup and think it was ridiculous, while failing to remember that they actually thought about it quite a bit before making that decision.

  3. anonymousse says:

    What do you mean, lost every car? Like, had it repossessed, or literally forgot where he parked it?

    You’ve been paying for everything since 2012. Why stop now?

    It’s insane you’ve let this go on for so long.

  4. LisforLeslie says:

    I want to hold these women with my palms smooshing their cheeks so I can look them directly in the eye and say “Just because he doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean he’s a ‘good guy'”

    #1 – he wants a mommy, he’s a user. You can do so much better. So. Much. Better. Jail? Not working? So much better.

    #2 – nope. Nu-uh. He’s selfish and ridiculous. His family comes first to him. He’s not even considering your needs.

    #3 – you missed the boat on this one. She didn’t pine for you. She moved on. She realized her life is just fine without you in it. Sucks to be you.

    1. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

      Just because he doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean he’s a ‘good guy’”
      RT! Just because he’s not smacking you around and cheating, doesn’t mean it’s a good relationship.

      1. LisforLeslie says:

        Seriously! Why is the bar set so low??!?!

        Well he always calls back
        He picks up a pizza once a month
        He lets me use his Neflix account (that is actually a relatives or ex’s)
        He breathes


  5. Rangerchic says:

    LW1-seriously – you’ve been putting up with this for 6 YEARS! Why would he change when you continue to cover for him with no consequences. I’d dump his ass like yesterday, he’s just using you.

  6. LW #1 —
    I’m guessing that if this guy did the cooking or most of the housework and food shopping, that you would have mentioned this. So, I’ll conclude that he isn’t. It really sounds like you are paying him to be your bf. His ‘job’ for most of the past 6 years has literally been to be your bf, in return for you paying for everything. Are you really that desperate for a bf? Why?

  7. LW#1- a few questions- Is there a lease? Is his name on the lease? Have you been living together since 2012 in the same place? When is the lease up? There may be some legal issues involved. If I were you , I’d check my lease. If it is up soon, I would not renew it- I’d leave him behind and find a new place, by myself or with roomies. If you pay for everything, then you can live by yourself. Do not bail him out of jail anymore. If you are bringing him to work, he seems like the type – if you won’t bring me, I won’t go to work- so that may have to continue until you dump him. Figure out a way to dump the loser. You are not his mother.

  8. Bittergaymark says:

    More proof that most people are just too fucking dumb…

  9. Juliecatharine says:

    These letters make me sad. LW1 & 2 -it’s all about them, not the two of you. DTMFA and aim so much higher. LW3 are you deluded? You dumped her out of nowhere ‘because you thought it was mutual’ and you’re baffled about why she doesn’t want to get you back? Why should she? Either you’re right and it was mutual or you completely shattered the trust you two had. It’s over, MOA.

  10. So many people are in “relationships” because one of them only cares about having someone pay half (or in LW1s case ALL) the bills.
    This can go both ways male or female, but I will say that most of my friends/ acquaintances in life have been men. (I am kinda tomboyish and a giant car buff, so my circles have been male dominated ) I have had so many of them tell me they only had a live in girlfriend for steady sex and someone to help pay the bills. That it was too hard to afford a place alone. (They actually could have, but then they wouldn’t have as much spending money etc) It was clear that they had little to no real feelings for their SO and were using them. Them didn’t do a very good job of hiding it
    BUT the women clearly thought they were all in LLLLLLUUUUUUVVVVV and on the way to marriage because they were “lucky enough” to have a man willing to live with them. (barf)
    Like I said, this can go either way… but men take advantage SO easily because some women (a lot of them if you judge by dw letters as well as many other advice sites) are so desperate to lock a man down that they make themselves super easy targets for this sort of thing.
    Sigh… I do not like to put other women down, but it is hard not to in situations like this.

  11. LW1, It has been 6 years. This man is never going to change. No, you are not wrong to think he should pay half. In a normal relationship you both pay half of all the bills. You both work. You both are responsible. You don’t go to jail or lose cars. You can do so so much better than this…this guy is beyond a loser with major problems. My advice to you is to move on…leave him and live your life with higher expectations. You and your partner should be a team in life. Right now you are in a situation where you are the mommy and he is the child. Yuck. You can do better.

  12. LW1, If the guy is just mooching off of you, then I think that you should reconsider your current setup. Not meaning to influence on your decision, but having a partner as a liability is never a good investment….

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