I’m not the kind of girl who expects my boyfriend to pay for absolutely everything. I believe in going dutch and splitting costs equally, and I’d certainly never have a joint bank account with a guy I wasn’t married to. I’m happy to pay my way, of course, but since I’m the only one working full-time in my current relationship, I foot the bill every single time and I’m over it. It’s not my fault my boyfriend’s broke, but it’s become my responsibility.
- I’m proud of my financial independence. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have college loans to pay off —my parents helped me but cut me off after I graduated (and I realize how lucky I am to be able to say that). I’ve been blessed to have learned early on how to save, and I know not to take my full-time job for granted. It gives me a sense of pride that I’m on my own for all things related to money because it proves I’m growing up.
- I’m not looking for a sugar daddy. Being frustrated with my current situation with my boyfriend doesn’t mean I’d rather date an older man who’s terrible for me but is rolling in dough. I wouldn’t! I love my partner and the relationship we have, and having a guy who paid for everything would make me super uncomfortable as well. I know I’d resent my financial situation and my partner, and that wouldn’t be good either.
- But I would rather things be a 50/50 split. In a perfect world, we’d continue to split things the way we did at the start of our relationship. I’m not talking about keeping track and making sure he covers the exact $15.72 I paid last week next time, but a general practice of alternating when we eat out makes all the difference. I know he wants to be doing that too, but it’s just not realistic at this point in his career.
- It’s not that he’s lazy — his industry just doesn’t pay well. I’m thrilled that my boyfriend is in a career he loves. He’s so passionate and so talented and I couldn’t be more proud. The problem is that from a financial standpoint, his industry choice sucks. Freelance work is not a guarantee, and he can go for weeks or even months without a solid paycheck. The inconsistency is the toughest because even when he has some in the bank and wants to treat me, we both know he might need that money for the next lull in work.
- It’s better to fork up the funds than to sit at home and do nothing. It’d be different if we were both broke and chose to excuse ourselves from activities, dinners out, or going on trips because we legit couldn’t afford it. But I do have the money, so deciding not to have fun as a couple seems like a total waste.
- When he does contribute, it’s allowance money from his parents. My future-in-laws don’t spoil their son, but they also know that he sometimes can’t make ends meet with his job, so they help him with necessities. Sometimes when he’s so desperate to treat me, I know he uses that money on things we do. As much as I appreciate him wanting to help out, there’s something weird about accepting his gesture knowing it’s actually coming from his mom and dad.
- He feels bad about our situation too, but that just makes me feel guilty. I’m glad my boyfriend is totally aware of how much our arrangement sucks, but it also makes me feel crummy. I would never want to date someone who didn’t care how I felt or used me for my solid job, but knowing he’s self-conscious about me paying for everything is hard to stomach too. I know it’s a blow to the male ego and I try to remind him that I don’t blame him (which I don’t), but I know it’s on our minds a lot.
- I know our money circumstance won’t last forever. I have full confidence that one day his career will take off and he’ll achieve financial stability so that we can do with as we please. We’re still young and we’re lucky that at least one of us has a steady income. As hard as it feels now, I have to believe that in a few years, I’ll look back on this time and be frustrated with myself for being annoyed.
- Until then, I’ll just make it work. At the end of the day, all that matters is I have an incredible guy who treats me like absolute gold. Even though he can’t pick up the check as often as I do, I know he loves me more than anything and won’t stop until he gives me the life we are both looking forward to sharing together. In the meantime, we’ll continue to rely on each other and I’ll try not to resent him. After all, having a guy like that is pretty priceless.