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DP tightfisted with me, but generous with ExW in the past - feel like I'm worth less than her to him.

(29 Posts)
AnotherGirlsParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 11:11:58

I'm aware that I'm probably going to come across as mercenary, bitter, and shallow, but I'm honestly none of these things!

Been with my DP 3 years. In that time, he's never been generous with gifts, in fact he's quite tight. I've always been the opposite - I love treating him to things, big or small, just to make him smile and feel loved. My parents are both financially generous people and I grew up seeing this, so to me it's second nature. If he ever needs to borrow bits of money here and there, I offer to lend it to him immediately. If I need to borrow from DP, he is visibly bothered by it, even if he knows he'll get it back the next day. I know that some of this goes back to his previous marriage.

His ex wife (who I knew before I knew DP, so this isn't just his version of events, I witnessed her behaviour for myself) would often buy people gifts, in order to get something in return. She also did this with DP - buying him things like games consoles, then pointedly asking for something of equal or greater value 'because I just bought you something nice'. DP's marriage to her was unhappy (infidelity on both sides, she's quite a narcissistic type and his self esteem was very low), but he bent over backwards buying her gifts and anything she wanted in order to please her. Flowers, expensive jewellery, whatever she wanted. I do know that she demanded quite a lot of these things, but he always acquiesced. However, following their split she often referred to him as 'tight', which always made me hmm.

DP filed for bankruptcy during his marriage, losing his house. He ran up multiple credit cards, took out loans, all the usual. He admits to being terrible with money, and from what I can gather, he spunked it all on holidays, DVDs, games, and keeping ExW happy. He has nothing left to show for it.

Now, I understand that the bankruptcy has made him significantly more careful with money (a good thing!). I also understand that having a golddigging ex would affect your spending in future relationships too. However, I've never made any demands of him. I have stopped buying him the frequent little gifts, and significantly reined in my spending on him, because it's no fun being the giver when it's ALL one sided - that probably makes me sound awful. I have told him how this makes me feel, and in particular how it makes me feel 'less than' his ExW - she treated him like shit on her shoe, and he couldn't have tried harder to please her. It feels like the better I treat him, the lazier he gets with trying to make me happy - like he doesn't need to, somehow.

I love him dearly, he's a wonderful man in every other way, but this does make me really sad. I guess it comes down to my own insecurity about not meaning as much to him as his ExW (although he says he loves me far, far more and have made him a million times happier), and that I'm not worth the odd silly little gift - even something like a magazine or a favourite chocolate bar.

Feeling crap about this again today due to asking him to pick up some ingredients for dinner later - I have no money for the next few days or I'd have got them myself. He complained he didn't want to chip into our savings for things like food. I snapped and told him it'd cost a couple of quid and to stop being such a fucking miser (he has no qualms buying himself action figures, DVDs etc, is always scouring eBay). He apologised immediately for being selfish, I said it makes me really unhappy. Still feeling crappy now - and again, like if I was his ex, he'd have gone straight out and got whatever had been asked for.

I guess I just needed to vent. I probably sound really childish!

Cocalite Tue 04-Aug-15 11:23:42

I think you have just have to talk to each other. Be brave and say what you really feel. You might be surprised at what you hear back.

AnotherGirlsParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 11:37:02

I think I'll have to Cocalite, just not when I'm upset. He was really sincere when he apologised earlier, and we have had this discussion before. He always says he'll be a bit more thoughtful and that he wants to treat me to things, but then the conversation's forgotten.

It's not even about the presents as such - there's nothing I particularly want! - I guess I just want him to WANT to do nice little things like that, y'know? I want the intention, the desire to do it, not necessarily the gifts themselves.

Jan45 Tue 04-Aug-15 11:39:29

So glad you stopped treating him, he doesn't deserve it!

You don't sound childish at all, you sound fed up with a guy who does bugger all to show you now and again that he's thinking of you.

Does he ever buy you anything? Does he take you on holiday, a wknd away? He sound pretty into himself and inconsiderate, the problem is you've already raised it and it's got you nowhere so not sure what to advise, it would get me down too OP, so don't think you are being a princess.

Jan45 Tue 04-Aug-15 11:41:32

What happens on your b/d and xmas?

Finola1step Tue 04-Aug-15 11:42:08

It does sound like he's "once bitten, twice shy". But this can't go on. Although I do appreciate his reluctance to spend money after being bankrupt in the past. You need to sit down and look at the family finances together and go from there.

ChilliMum Tue 04-Aug-15 11:42:14

I wonder a little at your op. You talk about buying gifts to show affection or to make someone feel loved but for me that would be quite shallow. I grew up with wonderful parents although very little money certainly no gifts I felt very loved and secure as they were generous with the important things like time, affection and support.

My dh can be a little materialistic with his affection (as are my pil evidenced by toyboxes full of plastic crap given to my dc in lui of real affection). Mostly his attempts to "treat" me leave me a little hollow and feeling a little like a kept woman (I cannot afford to reciprocate as I work part time).

I do understand what you are saying but I think you need to have a think about why a material show of affection is so important to you.

GraysAnalogy Tue 04-Aug-15 11:47:32

his ex, he'd have gone straight out and got whatever had been asked for
Yeah, because he had money then and hadn't be burned.

Bankruptcy can be fucking terrifying and it will have changed him.

This gift seeking.. you're together, being with someone doesn't mean you constantly receive gifts. If the only way he can show he loves you or make you feel happy is by buying something then there's a bigger problem here. Does he make you laugh? Smile? Happy? You don't need gifts. Fair enough on birthdays and special occasions, but constantly wanting random ones it's a bit confused And I like you LOVE giving gifts but I don't expect others to do the same

SavoyCabbage Tue 04-Aug-15 11:52:18

To be honest, you sound quite bad with money yourself. Buying presents for a boyfriend but not having enough money for ingredients to feed yourself.

Perhaps he recognises this in you as this is what he used to be like before he went bankrupt.

Have you heard of the theory that different people show live in different ways? I found it quite interesting. So for some people it's spending time together, for others physical affection. That sort of thing.

Guyropes Tue 04-Aug-15 11:58:06

I would doubt he has really learned about budgeting if he thinks he has money for toys and games but not food.

Do you pool finances for shared expenditure?

Preciousbane Tue 04-Aug-15 11:59:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnotherGirlsParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 12:04:01

Thank you everyone for your responses smile

I do get presents on birthdays and Christmas, he always asks if there's anything I want - he's not the kind of person to see something and think 'Oh Paradise would LOVE that, I'll get her that', he needs to be told, like a lot of men!

ChilliMum - your post made me think. My parents were very generous with gifts and money, but emotionally (my dad to a significant extent) were quite damaging in many ways. I have a very strained relationship with my dad now. So to me, I guess I've always had a lack of emotional affection 'made up' to me (although it never made up for it at all) with material things. I didn't feel secure in my dad's affections at all, I was often made to feel like a disappointment. So maybe there's something in that.

Jan45 - he'd love to take me on holiday, sadly we can't afford it right now!

He does make me happy. As I said in my OP, he's a wonderful guy. We got together when he was still quite raw from his breakup with ExW and I had to hear more than I wanted to about their relationship in the beginning. I'd come out of a horribly abusive relationship myself, my self esteem was nonexistent (I'm still receiving counselling). Maybe a lot of this comes down to my awful insecurity and that I don't feel all that 'lovable'.

Anxiousanne01 Tue 04-Aug-15 12:04:09

Who pays if you go out for dinner, cinema, days out, holidays etc?

I can kinda understand where you’re coming from if he doesn’t ever even so much as buy you a bar of chocolate but you don’t elaborate in your OP whether he’s back on his feet financially or not? He will naturally be more careful now he’s been bankrupt, it’d be a hard lesson to most people.

Is he generous with his time and love? Is he generous with his support for you in everyday life and affection? If the answer is yes to all of those then I could live without the gifts etc HOWEVER, I too do like to be treated occasionally and I can understand why it would rile you if he doesn’t ever with you but you knew he did with his EW.

If he is tightfisted in everyday life regarding everything and he has a genuine reason for it (fine) but if he’s just turned into a major meanie and tightwad forever more, even if he’s financially secure then only you can decide whether you can live with that.

Georgethesecond Tue 04-Aug-15 12:05:20

I think it's understandable that he feels uncomfortable to find himself in a relationship with someone ELSE who expects to be bought gifts. He's bound to have bad feelings associated with it. But he needs to find ways of making you feel valued. Does it have to be gifts? Are there other things that would make you feel valued and secure?

IAmLynetteScavo Tue 04-Aug-15 12:09:34

I actually think you've got the previous marriage all wrong. You say he "always" bought her things, but she clearly bought things for him then mithered and pestered him to reciprocate, just as you are now. He's not changed at all, you just didn't believe her when she said he was/is tight. He is, always has been. Bankruptcy is unlikely to affect his obvious selfishness, he just doesn't want to spend money on anything other than himself.
I couldn't be with someone like that personally. You just haven't gone into the relationship with your eyes open. You are both obviously fundamentally different when it comes to money, can you compromise/live with it or not? If not I'd consider moving on or you'll be miserable about it forever.

AnotherGirlsParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 12:10:06

I too do like to be treated occasionally and I can understand why it would rile you if he doesn’t ever with you but you knew he did with his EW.

Part of it is this. It's the KNOWING he did with his ExW. If he'd always been careful, I'd be perfectly accepting. It's just knowing that he was different with her.

He is generous with his time and love. I know he loves me deeply. I know that's what matters, and I know a HUGE amount of my thinking comes down to my insecurity.

GraysAnalogy Tue 04-Aug-15 12:15:25

OP look what mess he got into last time. Don't you see that obviously he's learned his lesson and knows that he can't do that anymore? He took out loans, credit cards... he went bankcrupt trying to keep up with that sort of lifestyle.

You are insecure, I'm glad you acknowledge that. Stop comparing yourself to this woman. Stop thinking your worth is counted by the gifts you receive. You're worth more than a few gifts every now and again, we know this, he knows this, you deep down know this.

wannaBe Tue 04-Aug-15 12:16:40

Needing affirmation through the giving of material gifts is shallow and not sustainable in the long term. It's lovely to get an occasional gift and to give one, but what makes a relationship is how you are with each other. Do you look out for each other? communicate? care about each other? show that in your day to day life? not through the giving of presents but through actions?

Tight-fisted would be insisting that you pay your exact share of the bill when out for a coffee, or charging you for the food you and your kids ate while at his. And truth is that if he's been declared bankrupt then he will have had to live carefully for a very long time. How long ago did he declare bankrupcy? I knew someone who had to declare bankruptcy due to serious health issues etc affecting their finances and they had to live hand to mouth for seven years, not even allowed to have a debit card, only able to pay for things in cash. It would have been a hard lesson to learn but one which I am sure would have given him a greater understanding of the value of money than he could ever have thought necessary.

AnotherGirlsParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 12:18:50

GraysAnalogy, you're talking a lot of sense. I know I sound like a tit. I guess I have been counting my worth materially. It's a hard habit to break when you've grown up with it!

Jan45 Tue 04-Aug-15 12:23:53

The ex bought him gifts expecting gifts back, she got them, you did the same but got nothing in return, you quite rightly noticed and stopped doing it.

The ex mentioned his tightness, he's not changed, he's still that same tight person and continues to indulge himself with his own treats, that's probably got your goat as well.

Talk to him, tell him how you feel, maybe if he stopped spending on EBay he could afford to take you away for a night.

I defy anyone to be offended at their partner buying them a gift, especially one that would be significant to them or have some sentimental value, we all love it! Spending time and being loving is basic in a relationship, sometimes the little extras are what makes you feel that little bit more special.

goodbyemylove Tue 04-Aug-15 12:24:23

Well if he went bankrupt and lost his house, I'm not surprised he is funny about money now. So he should be. And when you say 'his house', do you mean the family home?

Also you say you buy him gifts big and small but don't have money for food for a few days. Where are your priorities?

He obviously treats you differently from his ex but I wouldn't compare. Just ask yourself if he treats you right. Is he caring, kind, thoughtful?

GraysAnalogy Tue 04-Aug-15 12:38:57

Yeah I get you OP, if it's something you've always had then you're going to feel like something is missing.

Twinklestein Tue 04-Aug-15 13:13:22

However, following their split she often referred to him as 'tight'

Whatever her faults, she was right about that.

Personally I don't blame his bankruptcy on her, only a weak man spends money he doesn't have to please a woman, and it sounds like an excuse to cover his impecuniousness.

He's tight, rubbish with money and prioritises action figures and DVDs over food.... If you had better self-esteem, do you think you would see him as so 'wonderful'?

Twinklestein Tue 04-Aug-15 13:15:51

Don't you see that obviously he's learned his lesson and knows that he can't do that anymore?

So why is he still buying tat from ebay, but resents having to spend on essentials such as food?

I don't think he's learnt his lesson, he just has less money to be crap with.

AnotherGirlsParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 14:59:04

Just to clarify, I certainly don't prioritise presents for him over food - I haven't bought him anything for some time now, and wouldn't even dream of it if we had no food in the house! Today I just asked him to pick up a couple of ingredients for dinner on the way home, that's all - that was part of why I was annoyed, the ingredients came to £2-3 max. We have 2 young DC, so my priorities are in order when it comes to money, believe me!

I don't think he's learnt his lesson, he just has less money to be crap with - I think there's some truth in this!

And when you say 'his house', do you mean the family home? - it was the house he'd bought with an ex girlfriend, who he bought out when she left. ExW moved in when they got together - she wasn't on the mortgage, to my knowledge. She walked out after 10 months of marriage, just as he was filing for bankruptcy.

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