What is a fair way for me to engage with my boyfriend’s vastly different financial situation? I am from a family that is comfortable financially, and I have zero debt. I make reasonable money for an above-entry-level job and live within those means.
My boyfriend moved here six months ago for two reasons — to stop being a ski bum, and to be with me (a bit of a spontaneous decision on his part).
When he moved here, he was underemployed and working food service. I paid more than my share of our expenses (dinners, concert tickets), but grew resentful when it seemed like he was making decent money but was always tight-fisted.
About three months in, he said he wanted to live together. The main motivation seemed to be financial, which I found offensive. However, I have come to realize that in addition to significant student loans, he has almost $8,000 in medical and credit card debt (from a skiing accident and from moving here, respectively).
I revisited the idea of living together. We spend basically every night together anyway, it almost seems silly to be paying rent in two places. He has also managed to get a full-time, salaried position with benefits, and is still working food service on weekends.
Still, I feel slightly torn. I love this man who moved here to be with me, but at the same time, the idea of building a future with someone with such massive financial liabilities is daunting. The student loans and medical bills are one thing, but I find credit card debt un-stomachable. Is it simply too soon to do something so radical for someone I’ve only been dating six months?
Hax offers good, solid advice about the question of moving in together. A few excerpts:
- When people stay together for reasons other than being happy together, regrets ensue.
- Don’t throw things out of balance by trying to take on his debts as your responsibility.
- You apparently love each other, you’re growing closer, and you’re both making good/better financial choices. Why push what is progressing well on its own?
However, she fails to focus on the main issue: Financial security. The writer states that her boyfriend moved nearby "to stop being a ski bum” and that he has been “underemployed.” There is no indication of new stability—especially given that his suggestion to move in was mainly financial, something that she admittedly finds “offensive."
By failing to validate the advice seeker's natural need to feel secure, Hax follows the course of too many relationship experts, assuming that any problem can be solved by relying on patience and love. While these character traits are a necessary part of the solution, nothing will change until the boyfriend takes on his responsibility as Provider.