It’s up to you: Should my well-paid boyfriend pay more rent? | Relationships
The charge: Roland
James doesn’t like paying more rent than me and constantly criticizesspecify my spending habits
My boyfriend, James, is a good guy but he’s very tight on money. We moved into a lovely two bedroom apartment six months ago when I was earning a fantastic salary and working in finance. Then I switched to work in the charitable sector, which I had always wanted to do, and couldn’t afford half the rent.
James is a lawyer who earns almost a six-figure salary, so for him money shouldn’t be an issue. But when I asked if we could split the rent 70:30 or 60:40 while I found my feet, he made a big deal out of it. He told me that I should “learn to budget” and that he would “give me money” every month by paying higher rent. I don’t see it that way – he just pays a little more because he can afford it. James agreed to a 60:40 split, but now takes every opportunity to criticize my spending habits.
He waits for the fridge to be completely empty so I have to go out shopping. He also always tells me to turn off the lights and turn down the radiator because “it costs him.” And when I recently bought a scented candle for our house, he asked me sarcastically, “is this really a wise purchase?” Before leaving the room. I also don’t remember the last time he scheduled a date.
When we first met he was not like that. He took me on a regular basis and we both spent our disposable income looking after each other. Since he started paying more rent, he has grown bitter. I traveled last year before this new job and he talks about it often, saying it wasn’t a good financial decision. But I paid for everything myself, so why does he keep talking about it?
James grew up on less money than I did and seems to have a scarcity mentality despite his brilliant salary. It’s like he wants to teach me a lesson because I’ve never had it hard. My family is not a millionaire, but when we first got together he stayed in my family home, rent free, for weeks. James should remember that when he insists on reminding me of my past spending. And if he wants to help with the rent, he must be happy to do so, or not at all.
Of course I want to support Roland, because I love him, but that can’t be the case forever
Moving in together was a big step. I was pretty happy with where the relationship was, but Roland convinced me that we would see each other more and that it made financial sense. It had the opposite effect.
A few months after moving in, Roland decides to travel to South America. He paid his share of the rent because he was on sabbatical, but obviously it was up to me to cover all food and other expenses while he was away for three months. It also put a little strain on our relationship, getting things done on Zoom.
On his return, Roland quit his job, a decision that I supported. He had always wanted to work in the charitable sector and he is much happier now. But Roland needs a lot of help sharing the rent and the bills. Having less money stresses him out in a way I’ve never seen before. I agreed to help, but of course I think he should try harder to budget. He always buys lunch at work, or comes home with futile apartment purchases that we don’t need – like the scented candle.
I have a better salary than Roland, but it took me years to get there. I grew up with a lot less and I understand the value of money better. Roland shouldn’t be counting on me to finance his life. The trip was indulgent and if he had thought about the future he could have used some of that money to support his career change.
When we discussed the possibility of paying higher rent, I was initially reluctant. Of course, I want to support Roland because I love him, but that can’t be the case forever – it’s a temporary safety net until he climbs to the next rung of his career.
I don’t agree that we’re going on fewer dates because I blame him. I just think moving in together means we both try less. We take ourselves for granted – it happens to a lot of couples. We could spend more time for each other and we both should have date nights in the apartment. I’ll try not to criticize Roland’s spending habits so much, but I think it’s fair that I keep an eye on the heat or lights. I pay more, after all.
The Guardian Readers Jury
Should James continue to pay more of the rent?
James needs to remember that they are not roommates. All about who pays for what behavior that should have been left out in the student digs. What’s next: label the food in the refrigerator? This relationship seems doomed to failure. James knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Roland seems to be the type to have his cake and eat it. Going on a trip to South America just before you hit a huge pay cut and then expecting James to subsidize it seems perfectly legitimate. All relationships involve give and take, but I suspect James will grow resentful over time.
James seems mean and passive-aggressive. He does not treat the relationship as a partnership. At the same time it looks like he never really wanted to move in together. He even hates having to pay for his own food.
James, your attitude to the finances of the house is more that of a roommate than that of a lover. Roland, you can’t suddenly “realizeâYou can’t pay your rent. You are both as bad as the other. But James, you need to stop moaning about a candle.
HÃ©lÃ¨ne, 38 years old
The money conversation should have happened earlier so they both knew exactly what was going to happen. I have sympathy for James because he is rightly afraid of becoming a cash cow.
Marguerite, 71 years old
Be the judge
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We’ll share the results next week, it’s up to you.
Survey closes Thursday, January 6, 2022, 9am GMT
The result of last week
We asked if Aileen should stop being a bully with Christmas decorations, which her daughter, Ciara says, takes all the fun out of the holiday season.
seven% of you said no – Aileen is innocent
93% of you said yes – Aileen is guilty
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