Shortcuts: “Should I Renew My Lease With My Boyfriend?”

​​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.

My boyfriend and I have been living in our first apartment for nine months and it’s been really hard. A couple of times I had to pay rent myself because his job was cutting his hours. Neither of us has a car and I’m the one always paying for ubers. He has always been a little irresponsible with his money — spending all his paycheck on clothes, shoes, alcohol, and parting with friends. I, on the other hand, use whatever amount I get paid for the rent. If I have to save two paychecks to pay my half, I do that with no problem. But he hides his money and wants me to pay the ubers even though he knows I barely have any money. I even started taking the bus and bringing my lunch to work to save. He comes home really late sometimes and sometimes he keeps me up all night playing loud music. I feel like he’s being really disrespectful and doesn’t know his boundaries. Our lease is almost up and I don’t know if I should renew the lease with him. I don’t think I can take this for another year. What should I do Wendy? — Paying His Way

You should MOA. The bar is so low that it wouldn’t take much to find a better roommate (you know, one who actually pays her/his half of the rent) and, in time, a better boyfriend, too.

My wife and I have been married three years and I’ve been cruising Craigslist casual encounters ads mostly out of curiosity. I answered a few of the ads, but I never wanted to cheat on my wife and I never have; I was just curious as to what people would say. She has found the emails and is very hurt and doesn’t trust me anymore. I never meant to hurt her, but now I feel like an ass. I love her very much and don’t want to lose her, but I don’t know what to do to save our marriage. This is a mistake I may regret for the rest of my life. — Craigslist Cruiser

You grovel, you beg for forgiveness, you try to explain why you were curious about “what people would say” from Craigslist casual encounters. You go to counseling together. Maybe you go to counseling alone (especially if you don’t know why you were curious about the Craigslist ads). And if you do all that and you still can’t earn back your wife’s trust and your marriage can’t overcome your indiscretion, then you apologize again and you go your separate ways and you accept that, yes, this may very well be a mistake you regret for the rest of your life, but hopefully you learn from it and you don’t let it ruin your life and you do better in your next relationship.

My boyfriend, “Craig,” has a daughter who is 21 months old and the mother has passed on. I am 27 years old and I don’t have a kid, but I told Craig that I am ready to be a mom and he told me that he is not ready to have another kid anytime soon. The reason he’s not ready is because he’s still supporting the child and he can’t afford to take care of another baby. I’m hurt. That daughter will be part of his life forever so should that stop me from being a mother?! — Ready to Be a Mom

No, not at all! What should stop you from being a mother is your total lack of compassion, your disinterest in the child who is already in your life, and your seeming lack of patience and flexibility (qualities that are vitally important in good parents). I hope your boyfriend moves on already.


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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. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

    #1: WWS
    #2: WWS
    #3: WWS AND No, it won’t stop you from being a mother but he is clearly telling you he does NOT want another kid. Please believe him! Honestly, I don’t think that you’re ready to have a kid. What it feels like you’re doing is trying to have a kid, to replace his current kid because you don’t want any of his attention on anyone but you. Please move on and let this man raise his child, AND find a woman who will love him and his baby girl!!!

  2. What the fuck #3. Of course he still supports the child. It’s his fucking daughter. It’s called being a parent. And she no longer has a mother and will never know her birth mom. Learn compassion. And MOA. Not for your sake, but for his and his daughter’s.

  3. LW3: I think the real problem issue you’ve raised is that you don’t see his daughter – who isn’t even 2!! – as part of the family that you want to create with him. The woman he chooses to build a family with will be the only mother she ever knows, so if you aren’t prepared to step into that role, you aren’t the right woman for him. He isn’t ‘still supporting’ his daughter – he’s raising her as a single parent. You need to rethink how you view his daughter.

  4. LW2 – you need to really look and understand why you responded to those ads. What were you honestly looking for. What did that do for you and your ego? If you don’t have those honest answers, I don’t think you can move forward.

    If you gave these excuses when you just started dating someone, it would be different that maybe you weren’t committed yet. However, you have been married and for a few years. You could spend your time doing almost anything and you chose to spend your alone time seeing what would happen if you reached out to someone for sex. You could have been sleeping, working out, building a model boat, playing video games, whatever. But you chose this and you need to figure out why.

  5. LW1: and you actually like this person? You guys must be very young, otherwise I’m not sure why anyone would but up with somebody like this. He seems like a selfish asshole, who is with you to take advantage of you.
    LW2: You fucked up big time, and she has every right to feel hurt. There has to be another reason besides “I was just curious as to what people would say” that just not something somebody would do in a committed relationship, unless maybe you guys were doing it together, because you were both interested in what they would say. But if you had to hide it, you know it’s not right.
    LW3: Do you not participate in the other kids life? It seems like you are dating this guy with this kid that you don’t care about at all, and don’t participate in this kids life, and you are asking him to start a whole other life separate from his daughter.

  6. dinoceros says:

    LW1: Of course you shouldn’t renew your lease with him. He’s mooching off you. Stop letting him.
    LW2: I agree with counseling, but be aware that you may have ruined her ability to trust you. Also, most people who hear the “I wasn’t trying to cheat, I was just curious” think it’s a lie, so don’t rely so heavily on it to help you.
    LW3: When I read that you said you were ready to be a mom, I thought you meant that you were ready to fulfill the mother role with your boyfriend’s daughter. First of all, before you decide to have children with some dude, you need to actually determine whether you’re willing to be a LOVING stepmother to his kid who will treat his kid like your own and just like you will treat your biological child.. Sounds like the answer is no to all of those. Aside from that, the fact that you can’t understand why the single parent of a baby wouldn’t immediately want another one is just completely baffling. Do you have any concept of what it takes to be a parent? Financially, emotionally and practically? If you think this is just a rare lapse in judgment, then apologize to him for being ridiculous and learn to parent the kid you potentially would already have before having another. If this is what you’re typically like, then let him go to find someone who will be a suitable partner for him.

  7. If you’re going to do illicit crap online, create a new webmail account and clear your browser history.

  8. wobster109 says:

    LW1 – Ick. No, you know you shouldn’t renew your lease with him. Unfortunately it sounds like you are both on the lease, so I don’t think you can evict him. But you can refuse to let him in your uber. If you can take the bus, then do so and refuse to get the uber. If you have to, then tell the driver, “I’m paying for this, and he’s not welcome.” If he gets in the car anyway, then get out and find a different uber. You don’t have to pay for his ubers.

    LW2 – Perfect answer from Wendy. No one is guaranteed a happy ending.

    LW3 – I think we’re being a little harsh here. LW never said she was unwilling to parent the other child. She also wants a biological child, and that’s fair. LW, you may love this guy, but you may simply be incompatible on this issue. So although it may hurt to go your separate ways, better to do it now than spend years hoping he’ll change and gradually getting resentful.

    1. Everything LW3 says completely dismisses the kid! He’s ‘still supporting’ her?! She’ll ‘part of his life’?! SHE’S HURT?! This girl just lost her mother and the only perspective the LW has on her is that she’s an obstacle to having her own kid. If the LW could write that letter and not see how selfish and discompassionate she sounds, there’s no way in hell she should be anyone’s stepmother.

  9. LW 1- if I were you I would go get a studio of my own and not live with anyone. The years I lived on my own in my own place were some if the best years of my life and I didn’t have to deal with anyones chit or mooching. If you have been paying for everything anyway, why not? Sounds like the boyfriend keeps a girlfriend to mooch off of… while he spends his money as he wishes…which unfortunately is common.
    LW 2- You need to find another way to entertain yourself /satisfy your curiosity besides messaging strangers. What a dumb thing for you to do. I’m sorry to be rude about it, but dang. And yes, please be smart enough to delete your trail if you don’t want to get caught. Once trust is gone, it is so hard to get back. How would you feel if you caught your wife doing the same thing?
    Actions have consequences. (Reminds me of Stranger Things 2… anyone else binge watch it? I am from GA and it was filmed here, so that made it even more interesting for me.)
    LW 3- He had a child with someone else less than two years ago. Why should he be in a hurry to have more? Obviously you guys haven’t been together very long and you sound very immature.
    Slow down a bit.

  10. Anonymous says:

    LW3: WWS. I think the point the LW is trying to make is that he only has resources for one child, and so that one child is the obstacle to her having one of her own. It is not that he will only ever have the resources for one child for the rest of his life. (For example, his salary may increase.) But I suspect that he has more than just financial reasons for not wanting another one right now. Help with the existing child. Poor her, she has been through a lot.

  11. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    “I told Craig that I am ready to be a mom:

    When I read this I assumed you meant you felt up to the job of being a mother to his daughter, very nice. Then the next sentence, ” he told me that he is not ready to have another kid anytime soon” and you went from very nice to totally selfish. You showed that you wouldn’t consider yourself to be the mother of this child who has no mother. You have no sense of empathy for a toddler who has no mother and don’t see yourself ever filling that role. Then you get even worse.

    “The reason he’s not ready is because he’s still supporting the child and he can’t afford to take care of another baby. ”

    At least one of you is being responsible. He shouldn’t have another baby if he can’t afford to take care of it. That’s what good parenting is about. The only type of guy you want to have a baby with is one who is responsible. The guy who would just go ahead and have a baby because you’ve decided you want one even though he can’t afford it is the guy you want to run away from. We also already knew he was still supporting his baby. He is the only parent she has. Of course he is still supporting his baby and will continue to support her until she is an adult and then beyond that for a while. She is his child. He is the only support she has. If he wasn’t supporting her that would be the sign for you to run away from the situation. You want a man who supports his own child.

    Can you get any worse. Why yes you can.
    “I’m hurt. That daughter will be part of his life forever so should that stop me from being a mother?!”

    So you are hurt that he is a responsible parent who supports the child he has and will continue to support her and she will be a part of his life for forever. You could have been the mother of “that daughter.” Then in the future when the two of you had enough combined income you could add another child to your family. Since you will never see “that daughter” as a member of your family you should move on because you don’t have the love that she requires. Find a man who has no children and spend some years getting to know him and then consider whether the two of you will make good parents and are able to afford children and would love the child that you get and then consider having a baby. Let Craig find a woman who will consider “that daughter” her daughter.

    1. Howdywiley says:

      Yes exactly what I thought too! I was thinking she meant be a mother to his child. But then my opinion of the LW changed immediately.

  12. Anonymous says:

    LW1: don’t renew the lease because it is too expensive anyway. You can’t afford it. And he sounds like a terrible boyfriend. Don’t be a victim here, move out and find a better accommodation for yourself. You have the right to, and you can’t have it any longer, you have already your answer. Good luck!

  13. findingtheearth says:

    LW3: He is probably adjusting to being more of a parent to the child he already has. He may have full custody. Let him get used to being a full time parent.

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