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The unfolding of a relationship(26 Posts)
Apologies for the long post, but if anyone has anything to add I would be most grateful...I am looking for advice on an ethical dilemma..there's a bit of a build up!
My ex and I (both female) bought a house together last July after 6 years together and in January of this year she broke up with me and moved out. I was completely blindsided by this - she had never previously brought up any problems about the relationship, and we never really argued. (In hindsight, I see that this may have been a communication issue in itself). I suspected she was interested in and had possibly already started an affair with someone from her work - in the couple of weeks before we split she was suddenly on her phone constantly and didn't let it out of her sight. Her behaviour and demeanor shifted and I knew something was up. She began coming home late from work and fibbing about what she'd been doing - I finally asked her if there was anything she needed to tell me and she started saying that she didn't feel the same any more. When I asked her about if someone else was in the picture she denied it. I was gutted about this, about her complete lack of communication about any difficulties she was having, and her unwillingness to work on the relationship - it was like a switch had been flicked in her mind.
She went to stay with her mum and I agreed to cover all the bills for the house to free up her money to find somewhere else to rent or buy. Throughout this devastation was the nagging feeling that I had been lied to about what was really happening and this was confirmed in April, when I saw on her Amazon account that items were being delivered to the house of a colleague from her work. (My laptop was still logged in to her account and she had flagged up that she had bought stuff using our joint account by accident so I checked it out - I don't feel that bad about this - it was the only snooping I did and it brought to an end the weeks of gaslighting and lies). Even then she lied that she was just getting stuff delivered there and I had to straight out ask for an honest answer before she admitted she had moved in with her colleague and they were in a relationship.
She said nothing had happened before but of course I don't believe that after my suspicions at the time and the lies that have now been revealed. I don't think she would have broken up with me had she not been entirely confident about this other person. After the breaup I lost weight and developed insomnia which I still experience. I have felt extremely hurt and angry, and maybe I'm naieve but I never thought I would need to distrust her and I feel a bit broken over it. I have supported her in everything she has done, gone out of my way for her family too (who I am really missing) and I am gutted that she has treated me in this way. I understand relationships end and I would never want her to be in a relationship with me when her heart isn't in it - but I just feel so, so hurt by the lies and the callous way I have been treated when I have always practised care and love for her. I should also say her dad died towards the end of last year, so it has been a hard time for her in particular, and I have been focused on supporting her and her family during this and it didn't cross my mind that something might have been starting up at her work.
So we have to sort out the house and I have agreed to buy her out of her share. However the house is worth less than we paid for it by a fair amount. She suggested I return £15,000 of her £20,000 contribution to deposit and I agreed to this. It won't really cover her share of the drop in maret value (if you were to look at this as a 50-50 split) but it's probably not too far off. And here's where I have my dilemma: I am fortunate to have some money and I am financially much better off than her - I can afford to return her full £20,000 if I want to. Every day I feel differently and I can not come down on one side, on some days I feel the £15,000 is fair, reflects the market value, and that why should I be the one out of pocket given everything that has happened. Why should she not face the consequences of how she has acted? If she had broken up with care and honesty I would have found it much easier to return the full amount, but I feel so badly treated. Other days I think, just return the full £20,000, she needs it more than I do, it will mean much more to her for her future....and I don't know that I should enact financial repercussions for what are emotional transgressions.
What should I do?
(At the moment we communicate about the house business and our shared dog, who she still comes to see and walk when I am at work, but otherwise I don't really want anything else to do with her and I don't honestly have it in me to make small talk about what I am doing, or where I am going on holiday etc, so I just don't reply to these communications)
Try and seperate how she ended it, with the ' business ' of the house. It was shitty, but really shouldn't have anything to do with how you split your shared assets.
I have no idea about the split!
I suspect go with current market value. However, perhaps you would feel better knowing that you took the high ground, returned her money, and that you don't owe her a cent.
Maybe I'm just a bitch but market value for me imo.
If the relationships had ended mutually or for reasons other than her cheating on you then I'd strive to give her as close as possible to what she put in.
But she decided to do you over instead of having a frank conversation with you so why should you be out of pocket?
I understand you're feeling guilty now but she's brought this situation on herself and you're not exactly scamming her are you?
You are just adjusting costs based on market rates which I think is reasonable.
I'm not scamming her, no; I am just aware I am fortunate, money-wise, mostly through no dealings of my own (parents have been very generous). I think it is reasonable but at the same time I am hung up. She tried to put pressure on me quickly at the end of the relationship to return her full 20k and I realised she wanted to get this done before I became aware of what was really happening with her colleague. When I delayed and it came to light what had really happened she then suggested 15K which was in line with the valuations. I just feel played but at the same time I know I am fortunate and I suspect it will be hard for her to be financially independent.
If she suggested and agreed to £15k then return that to her and don't feel guilty over it. Remember that you haven't done wrong here, she has and she should be the one feeling the guilt.
My sister could have written a very similar post to yours last year when her wife did similar to her except she did cheat and admitted it. They have had to sell their house though as my sister wasn't able to afford it by herself, so you are very fortunate in that respect.
Please don't forget that this isn't your fault and you haven't done anything wrong.
If she herself suggested 15k then absolutely go with that!
Sorry that this has happened op.
£15K is fair.
£20K is saintly and I doubt she'd be grateful (or feel guilty).
Give her back what she's owed and that's it. Integrity all the way. You are sending a strong message that there are decent people in this world.
What's the equity in the property? Surely she's entitled to half of that? Disclaimer: I'm no legal expert but have been bought out of a property in the past and was advised that's what I was entitled to.
I'd say, because you'd feel bad about it if you didnt and you could afford it, give her back the 20k and be done with it.
That way your conscience is clear, you took the high ground like a pp said and she can never come back at you for not paying her in full.
I'd much rather be less well off and know I've done the right thing (not that the 15k wouldnt be, as she's already agreed to it)
I just feel from your post you would regret not paying her in full in the future and if you did it would give you peace of mind and that's the main thing here.
I think there are a lot of ways of looking at it and it really depends on which one you are most comfortable with.
When you split up you covered all the bills for a few months by yourself. I don’t know what that would amount to but mine are in the region of around £800 a month. Using that figure, you’ve already paid the additional £5000 that your ex contributed to the deposit.
But, it’s entirely your call. If paying the full £20000 is what you think you would be most comfortable with then you should do it. I try to live by the motto “Don’t let your standards slip just because someone else has let theirs slip”. That doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to be feel take advantage of, though. It just helps me put things into perspective and think about what I would do if there weren’t emotions and frustrations to account for. What is going to leave you feeling the most content, rather than that you got even.
I hope my tuppence worth helps a bit.
So sorry you’re going through all of this. Sending love your way.
She doesn’t care about you as much as you care about her.
Give her £15k. You can always give her the remaining £5k in the future - once you are sure you know the full extent of her betrayal and how you really feel.
* £15K is fair.
£20K is saintly and I doubt she'd be grateful (or feel guilty).*
this ^ wot category12 said
It might be worth doing some work, alone by writing or thinking or whatever works for you or with some support to get to the bottom of why you are even considering giving her the full amount back and thus shielding her from the consequences of her actions
Is it possibly that that is the role you have tended to play in her life? Do you tend to do that with others, too?
Apologies if that is way off. There will be some reason you are not just going with her suggestion. You have as PP pointed out already been more than generous by covering the full costs as soon as she moved out. That was to help her set up home herself but in fact she has just moved in with someone else.
It would be very helpful for you to work out why why you heal from this break up and start another one.
Do you think deep down you're thinking of giving her 20k because it'll make her feel guilty and potentially make you look better and therefore she'll regret what she's done?
I only sugfes this because after my ex screwed me over I still gave him a few hundred quid because I wanted to look good.
Now I look back and think I was an idiot x
MaidofKent78 - we specified contributions in title deeds, so no she's not entitled to half. That would be a very easy way to make money if one person contributed a huge amount more to the deposit and then their partner upped and left a few short weeks or months later!
It's been very interesting to read all the comments because I think I've thought/felt them all at some point or other.
Category12 that made me think about her not feeling grateful or guilty -this might sound strange but I'm really not interested in her feeling any particular way about it, certainly not in relation to me and that is also what hinders things - I don't want it to look like I am trying to influence her in any way at all... I just want to move on and have no interactions with her as far as possible. I think this is more about me.
I'm pretty sure she already feels guilty by the other ways she's been acting. But your comment reminded me of a time when someone tried to give me money in a similar way during a strained relationship and it actually made me feel angry and somehow not like an equal player in the interaction - like I had been patronised. I don't want to patronise her either and I have a sense that she has reached this agreement in her head as a way of atoning for what has panned out.
That said I agree with the overall idea that finances and emotions should not interplay, but I guess that it is hard when there are several different ways of establishing what might be a fair split.
How do you think your parents would feel if they knew that you gave away £5k from their gifts to you unnecessarily. Would they see it as generous or stupid?
Market value is correct and fair.
Make sure you get it in writing that this ends her claim to your property.
Give her the £15K. She is very, very lucky that you could keep the house on - she sounds incredibly irresponsible just leaving like that.
I think that giving her £20K will make you a mug - a nice one, but still a mug.
I hope you meet someone much nicer very soon.
Look at it like this.
If you sold the house you may well end up with a lower price than the value.
Then you have agent and legal fee’s so in reality £15,000 is still a good deal for her.
You are saving her time and hassle.
Thanks so much for all your responses, they have been really helpful for me trying to work through what I am thinking and the best way forward - which I think really boils down to 'what actions will cause me least future mental discomfort'.
@filka my parents would probably think I was being generous AND stupid, but I believe they would be kind enough not to say!
Looking back over these last few months it has been the times when I have tried to be generous that have caused me more mental anguish, that have woken me up at night because I have felt complict in being taken advantage of. eg, in a moment of stupidity and bravado when she was struggling to look after the dog when I was away I said not only did I not mind if she stayed here to taken care of him but that I didn't care if her new partner stayed as well if that made things easier. Big mistake when I realised she had taken me at my word; no fun to find the hairs of the other woman in the bathroom.
The times I have slept better are when I have stood up for myself, protected myself more and put up clearer boundaries as to how I expect to be treated.
I am coming down on 15k is fair, for reasons already explored in this thread. I have a feeling giving 20k will make me feel stupid in the future and will cause me more discomfort, given everything that has happened.
Thanks again for all the input - i really needed it to try to make more sense of what I've been thinking and it's not an issue I've really wanted to discuss with friends and family.
Get the property valued, then hand it over to a solicitor. Agree to whatever amount the solicitor recommends. That will take all the emotion out of it, and you will sleep at night knowing you didn't make any decision. There will be legals involved anyway irrespective of whether her name is on the title or not.
It's already in the hands of a solicitor for the transfer of title - if the 2 parties have an agreement between themselves it's far, far less costly all round and quicker to complete.
I would split the loss equally. You're not in a relationship any longer, so you are both equal and neutral parties.
I'm really sorry this happened, OP x
What is the current market value of the house and what is the amount of the outstanding mortgage? If the mortgage is more than the current market value, she can't get anything as there is no equity.
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