Looking for advice/opinions

(86 Posts)
lookingforopinions Fri 09-May-14 17:50:26

Hello all, this is my first time posting and I�m looking for advice/opinions please. I�m conscious that this is a predominantly female based forum which is great as I�m looking for advice/opinions on if I�m thinking wrongly or not! Any opinions valued.

Background situation, I�m male 39 years old. She is 28 years old. We have been together for 10 months and she moved in with me in December 2013. She does not contribute to any bills or mortgage or shopping, I don�t mind this at all. I earn about 4 times more than her so have no issues with this at all and we have no money concerns at all. Not just me but also her. Whenever we go out I normally pay for things, again I�m fine with this and she will sometimes pay for a lunch out, again I�m fine with this. My concern comes from a recent holiday we had, last week. It is our 3rd holiday together. The last 2 were both to the Caribbean and were high end holidays which were both fully all inclusive and paid for by me. No problems with this again as they were my idea.

The latest and 3rd holiday was to Spain last week for 6 days and I paid for the hotel and flights, this was not all inclusive so we ate each day there. All the day time food and drinks were added to hotel bill which I paid for. What I thought was strange was that at no stage did she once offer to pay or contribute towards dinners or drinks in the evening at all when we went out each night. Actually she hadn�t even brought any Euros with her. I think the amount spent was just over 1000 euros. I just found it strange that she wouldn�t or didn�t contribute to anything. I get it with the Caribbean holidays as I selected them and they all inclusive so real need for any additional spending.

I�m just a little concerned that maybe she is taking me for granted? I don�t want to approach the subject with her directly yet in case it creates a big deal. I DO very much love her and I am 100% sure that she loves me. It is obvious not just in words but actions and emotions that we both have a lot of love for each other so I do not for one moment think she is a �gold digger� just after an easy life. I�m just curious as to why she doesn�t contribute to anything or offer to? Am I wrong? Should I pay for everything as I earn more? Or should she contribute something? How would other people out there view this? How DO other people out there sharre and/or split such things?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated

deakymom Fri 09-May-14 17:54:21

if you have never asked for or discussed money with her before she will continue to make the assumption that you will always pay

this doesn't mean she is a gold digger she could just have made the assumption that you would pay her way (as you always have) the true test is mention it if she protests or bolts she is a gold digger if she doesnt she is naive and made assumptions

WyldChyld Fri 09-May-14 17:55:43

My OH earns. I don't (student). He pays the rent and bills and the "big" shops. I buy the day to day food, pay some of the bills and (when I graduate and my salary suddenly booms), we have discussed having a joint account i.e. our money. We both pay when we go out for meals / drinks etc - not religiously but if he pays one time, I pay the next to balance hits to the bank accounts. Depending on the state of the accounts, it varies. However, we do both contribute as much as possible to be financially equal (not in terms of giving £500 each etc but proportionally similar).

I hate to say it, but she is definitely taking you for granted. Taking no euros is disgraceful - even just buying drinks etc. It's totally unequal. My OH when we started going out (previously been screwed financially) said he didn't care how much I could contribute but was pleased to see that I made the effort to be balanced and have never had any expectation that he would pay my way.

meditrina Fri 09-May-14 17:59:23

It's generally better to discuss his finances are to be shared before you begin to cohabit.

But on the basis of 'better late than never' you need to have this discussion as soon as possible. There is no one objectively "right" way to run household finances, but it's extremely important to have a common understanding about them, reached together through discussion until you reach agreement.

Cornettoninja Fri 09-May-14 18:03:07

I'm curious about what she does spend her money on tbh?

I don't think you're putting yourself in a good position here, it's lovely to be generous and to take into account the fact you earn more, but it's actually quite infantilising to assume financial responsibility for her. If she's earning she should be contributing imho.

Things may change down the line e.g if you start a family together, but starting out that way doesn't exactly ate the standard for a partnership does it?

I think the fact you're questioning it shows it bothers you - the only way to find out is to ask her to contribute (grocery shopping maybe?) and gauge her reaction.

Maybe it hasn't crossed her mind - personally that's not a quality I would like or be able to overlook. How does she treat you on your birthday, Christmas, valentines etc.?

Cornettoninja Fri 09-May-14 18:04:30

Ate = set

smartypants1000 Fri 09-May-14 18:07:07

It sounds like you have a heck of a lot more money than us so difficult to compare! Money here is communal, so don't separate things out. I think we did initially, when we first started living together but only for about six months - that is, we had separate accounts and each paid half the rent etc, some bills were from ine and some his. It very quickly all went into one pot.

icanneverremember Fri 09-May-14 18:07:16

Hi, it sounds like maybe a joint account would be a good idea. My DH andvI have our own personal accounts and a shared account which we both pay in to each month. Youcould either contribute a proportionate amount of money each month or agree on an amount of personal money to be left after contribution. For example my dh and I both pay an amount which leaves us both with X pounds in our personal accounts.
The idea then being that anything which is for both of you (holidays, meals out etc) are paid for by the joint account and any other item such as cars, clothes etc are paid for from personal accounts.
This method has worked very well for us for nearly 15 years and we have never fallen out over money (touch wood!).
FWIW I don't think she was necessarily being strange about not paying for things. She may have assumed that because you had paid for holidays in the past then it was in your remit. It's possible she feels quite awkward about the money situation and might welcome the suggestion of a shared account...hth

lookingforopinions Fri 09-May-14 18:12:19

I should further add, we have discussed marriage and starting a family. She likes the option of a full time mum. I�m happy to support this and/or support her if she wants to continue work. I�m really quite easy in case you didn�t notice!

We have discussed money previously, but only small things, it normally ends in an argument�.. I am fairly bad with money (I�m a man and I like boys toys!) tend to spend higher amounts on things like wine and restaurants than she would. She is quite sensible and has a really good eye for a bargain and value. Her money goes on a loan she has after she needed to pay off her ex for some work on their previous place. It�s not a lot. She earns about �24k, so not sure if that is high or low or average. I see a LOT of parcels coming to the house so online shopping a lot! I don�t really care what she spends her money to be honest, but yes it does bother me a little� its not the actual money or amount just the worry I am being taken for granted�..

meditrina Fri 09-May-14 18:15:35

"We have discussed money previously, but only small things, it normally ends in an argument"

This would be a red flag to me.. Do you have difficulties in any other areas of communication?

Preciousbane Fri 09-May-14 18:27:12

When we first lived together DH and I only had a smallish disparity in earnings. We worked contributions so specifically that most people would be a bit hmm. I had lost out financially due to a previous marriage though so I wanted the money aspect water tight and never wanted a joint account again.

We then married and his earnings as he had finished his PhD rocketed and he did end up earning about 3 times as much as me. For the last 13 years since I had our DS he has paid for everything apart from food and one off big purchases like a new sofa. I also bought and ran my own car until recently.

We don't have a joint account but do sit down once a year for our state of the nation giant financial spreadsheet update.

I am not working at all now so DH pays for everything and gives me money.

We have only had words about money twice and both times it was because we didn't agree with the way each of us had handled savings, all about risk levels.

The way we have separate accounts is quite frowned on generally, well definitely on MN.

I must admit gender aside there is no way I would have subbed someone to such an extent at the start of a relationship.

Joysmum Fri 09-May-14 18:29:53

Personally you need to be clear on what you want. If you sometimes expect her to pay then she'll always wonder if she is doing enough unless it's consistent and clear. Ad hoc leaves too much room for discord.

If you want to start a family together, please make sure you've discussed finances first because she's been used to spending £24k and if you are then topping her up and are being bad with money with your boys toys because you've never had to budget before then this will place great strain on the relationship.

Roseformeplease Fri 09-May-14 18:31:36

Doesn't she have any pride?

kirako Fri 09-May-14 18:37:19

She earns 24k and doesn't contribute?
She may have as much disposable income as you, after you pay all the bills.

Until recently I've always earned a lot less than DP (now it's just a bit less, lol) and i would be ashamed to let this happen. The way we do it is to split the 'essentials' down the middle and then extras might be a treat from one to the other. I earn slightly less but make sure it's my treat from time to time.

She's not just letting you pay, she's setting herself up for a future in which she is utterly financially dependent on you and you resent her for it. 10 months into a relationship you might not, but 10 years in you might do.

You sound nervous about approaching her about it, which doesn't sound great. My personal view (and this is AIBU so I won't apologise for giving it!) is that if she earns 1/4 of what you do, she should contribute 1/4 of the household bills / rent / mortgage / food at least. If you then want to treat her to a nice holiday or a meal out then that's kind of you and reflects your higher income.

But your finances are not 100:0, they're 75:25 and it's not right that she should treat her income as pocket money and your income as necessary expenditure. It sounds like you moved in together very quickly and perhaps without negotiating this stuff? If it's just that she's following a pattern that you established early in the dating part of the relationship then a discussion about it should sort it. If the discussion turns into an argument then I'm sorry but IMO she's being an entitled arse.

[This is the first time I've said 'entitled' on MN, I feel like a full member now. grin]

Preciousbane Fri 09-May-14 18:37:40

I should add the only reason I no longer work and DH now has to pay for everything is that I have serious health problems so stopped working about a year ago. We had already been together for 18 years when this happened.

Cornettoninja Fri 09-May-14 18:38:43

Eye for a bargain? Well she's definitely got a good deal on her living costs...

I would not personally stand for anyone commenting on my spending habits if they'd never so much as offered to pay for a meal out let alone had it occur to them to contribute to a shared household.

Sorry op, but 10 months is no time to truly get to know someone, you could go onto have a fabulous life together of course, but a lot of trust is still on faith not evidence at this stage.

You either need to talk to her directly or test the waters by asking her to pay for something (again groceries is what I would go for) and see where that leaves you.

Anything else is assumption and will never give you a satisfactory answer. Don't let it niggle away at you, it'll turn into resentment eventually and you won't be able to broach it giving her the benefit of doubt.

Cornettoninja Fri 09-May-14 18:44:30

Actually reading those I've cross posted with, how about offering to open a joint savings account? Obviously one she's unable to access easily and vice versa. Set amount each month - say £100 (£24k is a lot if you're not paying bills - I've run a house on that!).

Fairly low risk but it would be a small sign to see how take on how she views the relationship with you.

DaffodilsandTruffles Fri 09-May-14 18:45:51

Well.... You have rather set up expectations that you pay for everything - if she doesn't pay for anything at home why would she particularly think it was necessary while on holiday?

That said, if your relationship is serious enough to be living together it should be strong enough to withstand a perfectly normal financial discussion.

Relationships where the couple can't talk about key things (money,sex etc etc) do not fair well long term).

Time to be a grown up.

Pleasejustgo Fri 09-May-14 18:58:22

Wow, sounds like you're really being taken for granted. How would she react if the holidays etc stopped?

Money discussions ending in an argument would be a deal breaker for me.

Before DCs we would split holidays/dinner/ whatever 50/50 as we have an equal partnership, granted we had similar earning power so not actually an issue. During maternity/at home with children OH covered it all and my maternity pay/other income was/is for treats and a temporary eBay fixation. OH works damn hard though and in return I do whatever I can to pull my weight as we are a team, doesn't sound like this happening here. Maybe she thinks being a SAHM is an easy like and you'll provide the means?

And yes as another poster said, has she no pride.

magpiegin Fri 09-May-14 19:14:01

She will have lots of disposable money every month if she is on £24k and is not paying any bills etc. You really need to talk to her, there is no reason why she couldn't be paying over £500 a month on bills etc (and that would leave her with plenty for 'spending money').

Doesn't sound good that all your conversations about money have ended in arguments. It does make her sound like a bit of a gold digger.

lookingforopinions Fri 09-May-14 20:00:34

OK I REALLY appreciate all the feedback so far, many thanks to every contributor, I truly appreciate it.

So I have looked at details in more detail. It would appear her “take home” after tax is going to be around £1600 to £1700 mine is around £7k. I hope it doesn’t offend anyone talking about such matters or if it is normally frowned upon, if so apologies. I guess one of the points is age difference, and yes I had to get by on a next to nothing until after passing my phd and progressing a career for a few years. Now things are comfortable. To be fair to her (my GF) we have discussed spending habits before and the issues were around that my expectations/spending habits were much higher than hers and she thought I was a little “silly/reckless” when buying wine at saying £100 in a restaurant. Just a weakness of mine good food and wine! So we have totally different views on weekly shopping, I just buy whatever I want she tends to be careful or look for better deals or lower value products, I’d rather pay for everything and not worry her or me by worrying about what goes in the trolley, so actually it makes my life easier by paying for everything and not causing me any financial difficulties, again I am happy with this arrangement and I just worry that she thinks I should pay for everything. We looked at bills also, and she would have paid for less than me, things like sky a lesser subscription, so again it’s a small amount of money we discussed she thought it was crazy to pay for some subscriptions so I AM happy to pay for these. So we discussed her contributing to house items, she thought I spent too much on some things so we left it I pay for these and she doesn’t
The joint account? I am happy to provide for the family, pay into joint account all bills, money for family and money for GF to spend on what she wants, clothes, food beauty products (whatever she spends on now like hairdressers etc!). Right now does not seem to be a lot of point in a joint account.

Now these things are open, again am I being unreasonable questioning why she never contributes or offers to pay? Escpecially on things like meals out or holidays?

Again sorry if discussing income offends or contravenes forum rules

Cornettoninja Fri 09-May-14 20:10:02

Envy might come into it for some - just ignore it, it makes no odds either way. (For the record I'm very jealous but have a lottery ticket so fingers crossed grin)

So, the problem is that you have no issue with paying for anything but it's the principle of it? I can see how it could be difficult to broach if you have no issue otherwise and ideally you want to think she's not a gold digger and if that's true you'll hurt her feelings or cause offence....

I just can't imagine never putting my hand in my pocket for what I could quite comfortably afford, she's either oblivious, tight or taking advantage financially. I suppose it's possible if you've insisted enough she's taken your word at face value?

What did she get you for Christmas?

So you prefer to pay for things because that way you don't have your extravagances scrutinised?

I don't think it would be reasonable to expect her to contribute as much to the 'champagne lifestyle' element if that is your choice not to reduce costs on that. As you say, if you can afford it and want to pay for it, then that's super - but your choice. I'd regard a Sky Plus subscription or a £100 bottle of wine as a treat not part of the household expenses.

How about asking her to contribute to the essentials, such as taking responsibility for the council tax or electricity or something? She can't say that's an unreasonable expense.

lookingforopinions Fri 09-May-14 20:19:33

Thanks Cornettoninja, yes I guess you hit the nail on the head, “principle”. I never “insisted” on paying for everything, just the way everything worked out, for me love and future and family is sooo much more important than money that I don’t care. It was just that last week with airports, taxis, meals, drinks even ice creams and magazines it made me worry, “hang on she never offers at all”

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