Tell Me About It: My broke fiance lets me pay for everything
His financial irresponsibility has me at my wits’ end – I can’t help thinking about what will happen if we ever get a mortgage or have children
Q I met my wonderful, caring fiance a year ago in a whirlwind romance and we moved in together after seven months. I love him dearly and am so excited about spending our life together, but the way he handles money has me at my wits’ end.
He was finishing a degree when I met him, and although claiming an allowance and working, he never seemed to have any money. I was happy to cover the vast majority of our social life. I don’t earn a great deal, and it didn’t occur to me until much later that the difference between our incomes actually wasn’t much.
Before moving in together, he began to have an awful time in his part-time job. With my blessing, he quit in search of a career. He registered for jobseeker’s and due to lack of thought, offered my address to the social welfare. They means-tested us as a cohabiting couple and paid him a nominal allowance – leaving me no choice but to cover all his expenses. He refused to set the record straight with them even though he knows the pressure I am under.
He found a short-term contract job and moved in to my house. My housemate moved out recently and my fiance preferred to keep the house for ourselves and not sublet. I agreed happily when he assured me he would put a portion of his wages away every week for rent. I set up an account for bills in our name and created a household budget to which we would contribute equally. Since he was taking my departing housemate’s place, he would also save a deposit. But three days before the rent and deposit were due, he had managed to save nothing. He just kept apologising and swearing he would be more responsible.
I believed him and offered a new plan, which included a loan from me, a loan from his mother and my promise to cover his daily expenses. I had to lie to the landlord in order to stall him from coming over to collect the deposit.
The following day my fiance completely withdrew into himself. This upset me because, in my eyes, I offer unwavering support and he doesn’t reciprocate. He knows that no matter how many mistakes he makes with his money, I will be his safety net.
When I said this to him, we had a huge argument. He said many hurtful things. We made up, he sincerely apologised and swore to try harder and to treat me better. Then, after a series of late nights, he texted me at work to say he was tired and stressed and wasn’t going to go to work. His contract is nearly over and is not being renewed. He should be working hard to save as much as he can before he is let go, but he chided for being unsympathetic.
I can’t accept his apologies and promises any longer. If he defaults on the rent, I can’t afford to cover it. (I used to be quite good a saving – now I’m broke.) I know he adores me and we have a fantastic relationship in so many ways, but I can’t help thinking about the future and what will happen if we ever get a mortgage or have children. But the thought of leaving him makes me feel sick.
A You’re at the end of your tether, and rightly so. Your fiance has broken the trust between you. He promises to change, then lets you down. You say he adores you – really? There’s nothing “wonderful, caring” about using you.
“It worries me that he thought it okay to give your address to the authorities without asking your permission,” says Tony Moore of Relationships Ireland. “What else does he think is okay to do without asking your permission and without your knowledge? I see many such cases in marriage counselling – of women suddenly presented with financial situations conducted by their partners behind their backs. Your fiance is already engaging in this behaviour. You had to lie to the landlord. How did that leave you feeling about yourself?”
I am sorry to have to say this, but you should end this relationship now, no matter how much it hurts. “Better the pain now than after marriage and children,” says Moore.
You are the one who is wonderful and caring, which led you to the mistake of becoming your fiance’s rescuer. But if we do not have mutual respect and trust, we have nothing. You deserve better.
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