I’m just posting to get an idea of what is “normal” in relationships because I’m unsure of myself in this area. Sorry if this is long, I’m trying to give an accurate picture.
Background: SO and I have been in a relationship for a little over 3 years; we are in our late forties. We do not live together, nor do we have plans to do so in the foreseeable future. We both work, although he earns about half of what I do. In addition, he has had some periods of unemployment and underemployment in the past, plus overuse of credit (high debt), so he is in a position of just barely keeping his head above water financially. In contrast, I was raised to value avoiding debt, frugal spending, and an emphasis on saving so my financial situation at this stage of life is pretty good. However, my expenses are naturally higher than his – I own my home and he is a renter, so my regular housing costs are triple what his are, plus upkeep and maintenance. He doesn’t own a car (he has never been a licensed driver) and I do, so I have all the expense associated with that as well. Neither of us have children.
Most of our time together is spent at my house. We eat supper together most nights, and I bear most of the cost of that. He will occasionally chip in for groceries. I also drive him back and forth between his place and mine plus drive him to other places that he needs to go; he seldom gives me gas money. We generally trade off on paying when eating out, and we have each paid our own expenses when taking trips.
All along he has made little digs at me for being “cheap” and pinching pennies, which he has said were teasing/joking if I’ve commented in return. I definitely get the sense that there is some resentment toward me because I make and have more money, although he will acknowledge that his situation is the result of choices he has made in the past.
However, the comments have been getting a little more nasty and pointed recently. I happened to mention the interest rate on my line of credit (which I have NEVER used) was really low and not long afterward he mentioned that he wished someone would loan him the money at a lower rate of interest to pay off his credit card. I didn’t bite the hook; there’s a significant amount of money involved here, and I don’t think he’s a good risk for that sort of personal loan. Nor do I think that this sort of financial arrangement is a good idea in a romantic relationship. His brother ended up loaning him the money.
A while later he was facing some really steep dental bills and was venting to me at length about this. Again, I didn’t bite. This time he actually lost his temper and became quite angry at me, accusing me of not “helping” him and not being “supportive” by not offering to help pay his dental costs. I was appalled at his attitude, so then he back-pedalled a bit and said that he was only expecting me to make the offer and he would have refused anyway. But I got a creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach that he has a bit too much interest in my money.
More recently, he has been putting pressure on me to get cable for my TV. I don’t watch TV on my own and I think in 30 years of having my own household I’ve had cable for a total of 6 months (they had a deal on, lol) and got rid of it because I wasn’t using it. He wants me to get cable because he sometimes likes to have the TV on at my house, and the antenna reception is really lousy. I just keep telling him it’s a waste of money for me. The latest was a discussion about taking a trip to the UK and I basically shot down the idea because of the cost, knowing that he is still paying his brother for the loan and has the new dentist debt (but I didn’t say specifically that HE couldn’t afford it, just that the trip was too expensive). Then he said, "Well you could treat me..."
Now he’s kind of nattering at me about this daily, making remarks about such-and-such being “free, unlike cable and trips”, calling me (sarcastically) “indigent”, stuff like that. And it’s ticking me off, particularly considering I figure I already carry more than half of the relationship expenses. Nor do I like being pressured about how I manage my finances.
Am I being too tight-fisted? Is there really an expectation that the higher-earning partner carry the other one? Or is this guy trying to take advantage of a free ride?
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! (I should mention that I may not respond to posts right away, as I will be in and out of here during the day.)