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Do I owe them anything? Long, sorry.

72 replies

DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 11:23

Namechanged because someone might be on here. Please don't out me if you think you know me. Sorry it's long and rambly, I'm just not sure it'll make any sense without background.

A few years back, before I got together with my now DH, he was absolutely skint and, because he was waiting for a work permit, couldn't legally get a job. Some friends of his who rented a house had a small spare room and kindly offered to let him stay with them rent-free. It was incredibly kind as they knew full well he might be months before the work permit came though.

About two months in, I came to live near them. I was in a right state as my nasty ex had just left me high and dry and I'd moved to a new city where I knew nobody. A mutual friend put me in touch with the household as they were nice people. Their approach was to ply me with lots of alcohol and tell me that they had open relationships which were vastly superior to the kind of monogamous relationship I'd just come out of - again, they were being very kind, albeit slightly odd. I slept with a couple of the guys, decided the open relationship think was, to put it politely, a crock of shite, and got on with my life. My now-DH (emphatically not into the open relationships!) took me out for coffee and we got together a month or two later.

About 6 months into our relationship I was getting the feeling that this household weren't very keen on me being around when I came to see then-DH, and I put it down to them being a bit strange about us having got together. I asked one of them and he said he actually had been wanting my boyfriend to move out for a while, but hadn't liked to say anything. I was a bit mortified on my boyfriend's behalf as I felt he'd overstayed his welcome and I felt he should have realized that it was a very long time to stay with friends. One of the other house members then insisted he was still welcome as long as he liked, but I was moving myself and DH and I decided to move in together.

Still with me? Sorry!

After a couple of years DH and I got married, invited the household. One of them said he 'felt weird' about seeing me and wouldn't come (he is a bit of a strange guy). The other two rang us on the morning of the wedding to drop out.

I don't personally feel I owe these people anything. I think, as it happens, that they are quite fucked up and unhappy, and don't like seeing me and DH being happy. However, I've now heard that they have been saying that I owe them for putting up DH and that it was 'rude' of me not to move in with him the first week we got together. I should point out I was a student living in digs for the first 6 months of DH's and my relationship, so this wasn't remotely an option, even if we had been stupid enough to move in together on the strength of a one-week relationship.

Should I ask DH to offer them some very belated rent money? DH has debts into the thousands but we (read I) could afford to pay something if they wanted - I just feel they've taken a kind gesture and then been really rude because things didn't turn out as they expected. I'm really confused as to what my responsibilities are here.

OP posts:

bubblecoral · 19/04/2011 11:27

Your responsibilities are non existant. Your DH owes them a favour.


kenobi · 19/04/2011 11:27

Want do you want to happen?

Do you want to stay friends with these people? If so you need to call them and find out exactly what has been going on rather than getting it second-hand.

If you don't care about these people, let it go and move on. They haven't been in touch with you or your DH for money so you're not really being asked for anything.

It's clear there were some expectations all round that you accidentally squashed and there are bad feelings because of that. But I can't really tell from your post what these expectations were and I'm guessing neither you nor your DH know either.


sausagesandmarmelade · 19/04/2011 11:28

If they didn't have the front to say something to you both at the time...and even now are saying things behind your backs rather than to your faces I would forget it and get on with your lives.


cookcleanerchaufferetc · 19/04/2011 11:29

I can't understand why you have any contact with them at all given the history. Why would you want to see them, or even have them at your wedding when you were sleeping with them. Not being judgy, I would not want to see people like this as they were not friends and were taking advantage of you.

It sounds like they are asking for rent from a long time ago. I think they think you have money and are going to ask as they may think - sorry - you are stupid enough to pay it. I don't think you owe anything. Had they asked back then and you said no then that is different.

I would get on with your life and ignore these people. My experience is that these people come back to haunt you and create trouble.

Be strong and say no and end contact.


DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 11:30

kenobi - I don't honestly feel I ever was friends with these people. I find them to be smug about their 'alternative lifestyle' in theory, and a rather messed up about it in practice, and it's DH who's stayed in touch with them. He sees them fairly regularly though, as they're part of a large group of friends.

I am utterly confused as to what the expectations were where. A bit of me feels that surely if they are still cross with DH for not paying rent (that they said he didn't need to pay, but still!), then maybe snubbing us at our wedding was payback enough?

OP posts:

LovelyDaffs · 19/04/2011 11:30

You don't owe them anything. They did a kind thing, the arrangement wasn't that he pay up in the future. How the friendship ended and the fact you haven't stayed friends with them has no baring on it.


violethill · 19/04/2011 11:31

No, you don't owe them anything. They offered the room free of charge. It sounds as though there are probably a lot of mixed emotions going on here, and that the 'open relationship' thing wasn't as black and White as they all wanted to believe. My first reaction was that they sound awful, but tbh I suspect the truth is more complex, and that in some respects they were kind - you mention that word several times- and they certainly helped your dh out when he needed somewhere. Perhaps they feel that you 'bought into' the open relationship idea and then rejected it when you'd had enough?
I think you just need to draw a line under it and move on and learn from it. Often there are strings attached when something seems too good to be true. But no, you don't owe them.


DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 11:34

cook - we had them at the wedding because DH thought of them as good friends who had been very kind to him. He was really upset they cancelled on the day.

In theory, it shouldn't matter I've slept with them - their whole philosophy is that they are very 'mature' and 'relaxed' about this, and don't mind at all. In practice, they have seemed very ill at ease with me since then.

OP posts:

stdorothymantooth · 19/04/2011 11:35

You owe them nothing, just sever ties, move on.


violethill · 19/04/2011 11:59

I think you've worked it out for yourself- the reality doesn't match their philosophy. But then I imagine that's frequently the case where people claim 'open relationships', as its very difficult to detach all the complex human emotions which characterise most human relationships.

A question - and I may be totally off track here but worth asking- are you feeling perhaps regretful on a personal level about your involvement with this group, and thats clouding the issue? You say you slept with a couple of them and THEN decided the open relationship thing was a load of crap- which implies you were influenced only by THEIR view of it, rather than feeling able to make a decision based on your own feelings?
I still don't think you owe them anything at all, but it may help you to move forward and make future decisions on your own convictions, rather than getting involved with people on their terms, not your own


DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 12:12

Good question, violet.

I don't think I was influenced by their view of open relationships at all - I had an open mind, gave it a go, didn't think they were very good in bed (didn't say so, obviously), and found that I rather liked this nice guy who was taking me out for coffee.

I feel that, although from their point of view it was kind to take someone who'd just come out of a bad relationship and encourage her to sleep around, it didn't really work for me. I don't regret sleeping with them at all, but I do feel a bit pissed off that they seem to have a double standard in that they say that sleeping around shouldn't require emotional attachment, yet they seem put out that I didn't get emotionally attached, if that makes sense? They kept saying that the great thing about their situation was you could just have fun, meaningless sex - well, I had it, it was meaningless but wasn't especially good, so I didn't fancy any more. I get the feeling I was meant to rave about how wonderful it was and/or fall for them?

I just don't like feeling they might be guilting us for money because they felt they got burned by a bad decision they made about sex, if that makes sense.

OP posts:

kenobi · 19/04/2011 12:14

Like PPs I also think you need to draw a line if you're not friends with them, and perhaps DH does too, though obviously that's his choice.

I think by getting married you and DH let them down by turning your back on their lifestyle and they obviously had greater expectations from you. Open relationship or not, people are still people with all the neuroses and insecurities of those with vanilla relationships. Let it go.

On a purely practical level, you can't ask for money at a later date from something you were given for free. No court of law would support this. I can't, say, give Bob a sofa when he's broke, then a few years down the line when Bob's got some money, demand payment for it. It's daft and probably unethical. What is given is given.
Though your DH probably owes them a good turn at some point.


dittany · 19/04/2011 12:15

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dittany · 19/04/2011 12:17

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stream · 19/04/2011 12:19

I don't think they were kind to you.
I think they were users and they didn't like it when you escaped got together with dh.


dittany · 19/04/2011 12:20

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diddl · 19/04/2011 12:21

No, they weren´t be kind to you.

You were vulnerable & they took advantage of you.

As for you owing money because your now husband lived with them-before you knew him/married him-that´s just ridiculous!


violethill · 19/04/2011 12:24

Did the op say it was just men who plying her with alcohol and encouraging her to try an open relationship?
The op says she slept with two of the men, but I v
Get the impression the household was men and women


jeckadeck · 19/04/2011 12:28

eh? I'm a bit lost. If I've understood this correctly they basically are pissed off at you and DH for having broken their code of having open relationships and by implication at DH because they wanted to have sex with you. They offered to put your DH up for free, if I understand it, so they can't retrospectively come and moan about him not paying up. All sounds very bizarre to me.


DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 12:30

I should say that I had sex with them perhaps not for the best reasons, but certainly there was no coersion. Honestly. It was just not very exciting sex. Just to clear that up. I do think, though, that they might have realized that they weren't being very bright, though. I don't feel remotely taken advantage of.

They think we as a couple owe them money, dittany. They reckon that we were effectively getting half 'our' rent free as he was living with them.

They certainly didn't want me to move into their house! As soon as I got together with DH they got funny - I thought at the time they were just surprised.

The household is a married couple, and they share a mortgage with another guy who has an open relationship with his girlfriend. I met them through an old schoolfriend who is very nice and sweet, so I didn't initially realize what they were like. Actually the married couple got together when she was 15 and he was 22, and in my opinion they're not very healthy mentally.

I don't feel it's my place to get in touch and say 'what's going on then?' and DH said before (at our wedding) that he didn't want to make a fuss - I just don't massively want DH's friends to be thinking he owes them money and they've got the moral high ground, if that makes sense?

OP posts:

Sidge · 19/04/2011 12:32

I think they are angling for you to owe them sexually, not financially.

I think they are disappointed that you didn't move in with them and your now-DH to facilitate lots of shagging.

You owe them nothing, financially or otherwise. Cut all ties and move on.


DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 12:34

Btw, they know perfectly well DH would never have brought home girlfriends they could have sex with. DH doesn't do casual relationships. I knew when I got together with him that if it worked out we would end up getting married, and if it didn't we'd split up - there wasn't a middle ground. His housemates can't possibly have thought he'd be a potential part of their open relationships.

OP posts:

dittany · 19/04/2011 12:35

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DontOutMeIfYouKnowMe · 19/04/2011 12:47

Would I have had sex with them without the alcohol? Yes.

Do I think it makes you look a bit bad if your patented cure-all for someone who's just ended a relationship is booze and free sex? Yes.

I don't think they did anything to hurt me, but I think you've made me realize why I feel so fed up at the parading around as if they have the moral high ground.

So do you think I should get DH to talk to them about it all, clear the air,or maybe give them some money for the old rent so we can't be seen as beholden to them any more? Or do I just leave him to get on with things and hope he doesn't hear that they think he owes them money?

OP posts:

Lawm01 · 19/04/2011 12:48

What concerns me a little is that your DH is still friends with them (although I can understand from the perspective that they had previously been kind in putting him up).
Will they try to exert any pressure or influence over him? Perhaps try to come between you and he?
How does he feel about them seemingly wanting pay-back for their hospitality?
If he is against it, then perhaps you both can now distance yourselves from this household.
If he still feels beholden to them, perhaps suggest that you'll welcome them into your home for a slap up meal (or whatever) as a token 'thank you' for them allowing your DH the use of their spare room. tell them that this is the reason for the invite - your DH is not financially in a position to pay them back-rent, but you'd like to express your gratitude for their past kindness. Then you can cut ties with them without any feeling of unfinished business.

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