AIBU to feel sad for my niece?

(42 Posts)
matchpoint Wed 12-Dec-12 15:03:52

I was in London today for work, and I arranged to meet up with my lovely 22 year old niece for lunch. She is a student.

We were in the restaurant, and my niece was umm-ing and ahh-ing over the menu making lots of noise about 'things being tight' and 'Christmas budget', I offered to pay for her but she wouldn't hear of it.

She then whipped out her iphone and calls her boyfriend. From what I can gather, he transferred some money into her bank account yesterday (he has a full time job). She then proceeded to ask him for permission to order food. Direct quote "Well, I just wanted to check it was OK and you didn't want me to use the money for anything else. It is your money."

My face was basically this --> hmm. Anyway, they ended the conversation-permission granted, we had a nice meal and then we had to go our separate ways.

AIBU to be completely and utterly shocked that a grown woman thinks she has to ask permission from her significant other to spend money? I obviously love my niece very much, and I feel really sad that she thinks it's totally normal to ask her boyfriend before she does anything.

(FWIW, her boyfriend is a lovely young man and I don't think there is any kind of abuse in their relationship-although I could be wrong)

If he had put the money into her account for a specific thing then she was right to ask. Without knowing them/the relationship then it's hard to tell.

If my OH puts money in my acccount, I always ask how much of it I can spend, not just assume I can use it all

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:07:21

the money might have been transfered for her to pay for something specific, so she was actually asking for a loan to be taken out of that amt and that amt for the original item would then have to be made up? that would be my take

for example if I transfered money to DH to pay off a holiday, then he didn't have enough for lunch out but had the holiday money on his card, I would expect him to ASK if he could effectively borrow the lunch money as I'd then have to put more in for the holiday

Renatica Wed 12-Dec-12 15:07:33

Well, if things are so bad that her boyfriend had to give her money, he may have been expecting her to use it for rent or things like that, rather than a meal out.

I would be worried at her asking as well though. Especially as she must have known you were going out- why not mention it earlier?

Don't worry about it, my bank balance would be a lot healthier if I did this, grin. Really, don't worry about it, I can understand why she would ask if he had just put some money into her account, maybe she didn't know why he had so. Maybe he does this on a regular basis for some reason, but so HE can spend the money. We quite often use MY bank account for online purchases as there is never very much in there, rather than using the main account over the internet.

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:08:52

"AIBU to be completely and utterly shocked that a grown woman thinks she has to ask permission from her significant other to spend money?"

she does, because it's HIS money, if she was asking permission to spend HER money that would be different!

Blu Wed 12-Dec-12 15:09:58

Surely it depends on all sorts of things. Whether as young unmarried people they retain, ostly, independent finances, why he gave her the money, whether he expects to support her as a student, how long they have been together, whether they intend to stay together forever.

When i was a student and in my v early 20s I never expected a boyfriend to support me, or to have joint finances. Maybe he gave her the money to cover a specific emergency, rather than for general spending?

I can't quite understand why she didn't let you treat her when you offered.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 12-Dec-12 15:10:25

I think I would have just paid and not accepted any argument. She is obviously hurting for money and relying on a BF for cash is not a great idea.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 12-Dec-12 15:10:59

I think it depends. If she lives with him and they share finances, then yes, I would be worried too. But then I'd also wonder why he wasn't invited out with you. If he is just her boyfriend, doesn't live with her, then I'd see it no differently from her asking a mate for money, and in that situation you would naturally ask your mate if it was ok to use the money for a posh dinner as they might be fed up to find out it was a luxury not a necessity.

To be honest, I find it really odd she would refuse your offer of paying then do that in front of you. It is really strange behaviour - she must have known you would find it odd. Why would she not sort it out beforehand? Did she have some kind of unexpected issue, like a card cancelled, or is she normally very bad at managing money?

Agree with the above posters.
She's short of money.
He transfers some.
Only curteousy really to check "Can I spend it on a meal out"

Different if she was buying essentials like food shop/Petrol/Oyser Card Top Up.

But a meal out isn't essential.
Far from being under the thumb she sounds quite responsible.

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:13:18

even if they lived together, it might have been the rent or bills money that he paid in?

I also don't get why she didn't let you pay, and why you let her umm and ahh and didn't assist, as a student if I met aunts or uncles for lunch/dinner there was no question about them paying, and my DParents would always pay for their nieces and nephews if they met them when they were students

MaxPepsi Wed 12-Dec-12 15:13:52

I check with my DH before I treat myself to something I don't actually need with his money.

If he's given me some money for a specific reason I wouldn't then go spend it on something else without checking. It's rude.

As it is, it's never a problem but i'll still ask.

In fact, when money is tight and I want something new to wear for example I will still check he doesn't mind. Just like i'd expect him to check with me before he spent an afternoon in the pub spending money we don't really have.

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:15:03

are you sure she didn't initially make a token attempt to pay to be polite thinking you would insist, and that's why it never occured to her to ask her boyfriend earlier? that would make more sense

cathpip Wed 12-Dec-12 15:15:33

Maybe its the first time her boyfriend has transferred money and she feels awkward about it, i know i was worried the first time i had to use my husbands account (joint but its just his wages that go in) and immediately told him how much i had spent and where when he got home (he was not bothered either).

LessMissAbs Wed 12-Dec-12 15:17:11

YANBU. I think its a bit pathetic for a 22 year old woman to be in a position of being financially dependent on her boyfriend. I also think it odd that she didn't accept your treat - buying lunch for your niece is hardly unusual. Clearly something about it has made you uncomfortable.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Wed 12-Dec-12 15:18:59

Yep, what everyone else said.

Also what jingle said - I'd pay for my god-daughters. They'd offer - knowing I'd refuse wink. I'd pay for my nieces too - but given they're still under 7 that's to be expected grin <Godsons & nephew as well who would all get paid for>

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:20:14

"I think its a bit pathetic for a 22 year old woman to be in a position of being financially dependent on her boyfriend."

who says she is?, she might be paying her own rent, and paying her own bills, and on top of her fees, and all the essentials. Not having enough left over for a lunch out doesn't make her financially dependant, that's a luxury and perhaps a luxury she wasn't expecting to have to pay, so she borrowed it from her boyfriend out of the amt he put in her account for whatever (might have been his share of festival tickets, his half of a holiday, his share of rent or something that doesn't make her dependant) and perhaps she will pay it back in a few days??

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Wed 12-Dec-12 15:20:52

LessMissAbs -that's a bit harsh. She's been given/lent some money from her boyfriend, this might be a one off - it's not fair to say she is 'financially dependent' on her bf!

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 12-Dec-12 15:22:26

If she's a student, it's unlikely she is financially dependent on him - wouldn't she have a loan?

I think jingle has it right, she probably expected the OP to pay and make a token polite effort that was misinterpreted.

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:23:57

besides, though our 20s there were times when I had more money than DH, and times when he had more money than me, and it all balanced out - sometimes he'd treat me or cover a bigger % of a holiday/gig/whatever, and sometimes I'd cover a bigger %

My flatmate only did anything with her boyfriend if they could split every single meal out 50/50 which I found odd - so if one of them got a bonus and the other was skint that month they just sat in and watched telly!

I can't see a problem. She's skint bf transferred her some money, I presume to live on so she asked if it was ok to spend some on a meal. He obviously didn't have a problem with her buying a meal so hardly controlling or anything.

choceyes Wed 12-Dec-12 15:32:46

I think YABU. It was his money and presumably was lent to her to use up for an emergency, which a meal out isn't it. Whilst the BF probably wouldn't have minded anyway (from your post it seems like he's a nice guy), it is nice that your niece asked him, as a curtesy really.

I remember when I was earning full time wages, and my BF was still a student, he was on his last couple of pounds, so I send him £20 to buy himself some food (this was 12 yrs ago). He phoned me up and asked if I minded him spending some of the money on a couple of pints as he'd like to go out with his mates that night. Ofcourse I didn't mind, but it was nice of him to ask. We've always been very easy and relaxed with money, neither us takes the piss with the other persons money. we have a joint account and pool all out money now and we don't ask each others permission to spend it, as we trust each other.

No alarm bells ringing re your niece OP. I think she was just being polite.

Hoppingforsun Wed 12-Dec-12 15:36:46

I share your discomfort. If she is not careful, your niece WILL one day end up in an abusive relationship as she is carving out this role for herself. What is her parents' marriage like?

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 12-Dec-12 15:41:11

wow what a leap Hopping!

you never put someone else's money in your account to cover a shared expense? you would think it fine for you to dip into it without asking? the op doesn't say what the money was actually for

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Wed 12-Dec-12 15:42:25

HoppingForSun (do you realise you are hopping - as in jumping on one leg, and not hoping - as in wishing?) What a HUGE leap - fucking ENORMOUS LEAP. Totally ridiculous.

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