Is His Financial Situation Really The Problem?

Name: V.
Age: 50
State:
Question: I’m an attractive, well-educated, debt-free 50 year-old widow who’s childless (by choice), that’s been seeing a man for 3.5 years. Nearly all of this time he was legally separated–4 months ago he finally divorced, amicably. He has two children, a 13 year old and a freshman in college. I’m not over-joyed about having kids in my life, but I enjoy their company and have spent many pleasant weekends with them. We’ve recently begun discussing if he should give-up his apartment now that he’s divorced, but as the possibility looms, my concerns over his financial situation deepen.
I know divorce is expensive, but he left the marriage with a lot of old, shared debt ($50K). He makes enough to pay for his modest apartment, considerable child support & alimony, and his son’s tuition at a private college. Yet when it comes to contributing to our home, there isn’t much left to go around! I use “our” because he has, essentially, been living with me for the last two years, returning to his apartment only when his kids visit. While it’s true that I’d have to pay all the bills if I lived alone (he does split the groceries and pay for most of our entertainment) I worry that his kid’s wants–they’re  getting what they need–will always come first (an iPhone for a 13-year-old? Really?).  In all other respects he’s a loving, smart, thoughtful man who seems very committed to me.  Am I being taken for a ride? Or is this par for the course when dating a divorced dad? By the way, we have put together a budget;  by time he pays all his obligations to his children and ex-wife and actually begins to pay his debt down, there’s not enough to pay half his share.

Are you be taken for a ride? Why? Because he’s taking care of his children and not dressing you and furs and diamonds? You’re a grown woman. If you want your apartment to look a certain way, pay for it. It’s not his responsibility. He has responsibilities. Ones he’s legally required to prioritize.Without getting too personal….if you’re a widow…I’d think that your late husband did what he good to make sure you were taken care of, yes? So then..what’s the problem here? I mean..the real one. Because I’m not buying that this is about his financial situation. This goes deeper.

Yes, this is part of dating a divorced Dad. If you want to live together, then you can do what men have been doing for years…pay his way. Cover what he can’t pay in rent. If it’s that important that he makes some move that makes you feel as though you’re a priority, then you’re going to have to pay for it. You rarely if ever hear men complain about having to do this. It’s expected that men do it. Are you paying your mortgage? Or is that coming from money that was left to you? What is your financial situation? You conveniently failed to mention that.

As for his kids and being a priority, I hate to tell you, but this is how it will always be. If he’s not investing in them financially, he’s going to be investing in the emotionally. Will it get better? Sure, a little bit, when they’re out of college. But  the times that you’re in the top spot will be few and far between. That’s just how it is. I don’t know how my step-mother handled it with the grace that she did.

In all other respects he’s a loving, smart, thoughtful man who seems very committed to me.  Am I being taken for a ride?

I want you to re-read this sentence and ask yourself how you are able to say, in one breath, that this man is loving and thoughtful and then in the next question his motives. There’s something not right about that. I don’t mean that in a “Molly, you in danger, girl” type of way. That is a comment about quickly you can go from one thought about this man to the polar opposite. That should really give you pause.  You don’t want to come out and say how you resent his kids because you fear that makes you sound awful. It doesn’t. In fact, it’s pretty typical. I’m sure many people in your position feel the same. You didn’t want children. So you either need to learn how to co-exist with his kids and accept your place in this relationship or you need to move it along.

What you’re looking for now is a statement of his commitment to you. You could always just keep doing things the way you’ve been doing them. It sounds like that has been working for you. If he’s already staying at your place so often, then what’s the difference? That’s why I don’t think this is about wanting to build a home together. This is about you wanting confirmation that you are a priority. You want a gesture from him that reveals that he is just as committed to you as he is to his kids.

He’s not. He can love you and commit to you as a partner but you will never, ever, ever mean to him what his children mean, because those are his children. That doesn’t mean he won’t do everything he can to show you how much he loves you and what you do mean to him. But you can’t continue on in this imaginary race with his kids for his affection. You will lose.

 

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81 Responses to “Is His Financial Situation Really The Problem?”

  1. Ashley Pariseau Says:

    I completely agree with this. It is just part of dating a divorced dad. Unfortunately I have witnessed cases where “new wife” takes top priority and kids are left for 2nd rate, and that never turns out well. But he should be able to find a way to make you feel special in your own way, but his kids are his kids. And as far as money goes, his hands are full and these are the obligations that come with being divorced and fathering kids. They will come first. As long as he isn’t borrowing money from you and not paying you back (which doesn’t sound like the case), I don’t think it’s an issue.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. wishing u well Says:

    You are definitely not being taken for a ride. Moxie is dead on here. But my question is this: if you are that adamant about not wanting children, then why are you here? I’ll take it one step further – if you do end up with this guy, including marriage – hasn’t it already occurred to you that YOUR income is also going to be expected to help take care of his children? In some states, if child support is court ordered, once you get married, the new step-parent gets hit for it as well. And since you knew from the beginning that this is a loving, involved father with his children, isn’t it a bit obvious that you have to love him and love his children accordingly? When you date a single dad, you don’t get to come first. And if this is a serious problem for you, do them all a favor and gracefully bow out of their lives. Selfishness and parenthood or even step-parenthood do not mix. And the kids will be able to pick up on resentment that you may have for not coming first….they pay attention to everything. As far as him “not being able to pay his share” is there any way that you could scale back somewhat to create a nice, comfortable life for you guys together? Compromise isn’t a bad thing, and it sounds like you may have a good guy here. Maybe this is a adjustment that you should make, depending on whatever the big picture is for you. Anyhow, I wish you well.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

    • India Says:

      The kind of devotion you are asking the op is unrealistic. The op is NOT a step-parent, and she has no biologic or life experience ties to his children. She is a partner in a relationship and she is looking out to protect her financial interest. It sounds like the op has already worked hard to provide a comfortable life for herself. Unless she is married to the guy, he and his children do not have the right to demand anything financiall from her.
      I suggest the op to have a frank and open conversation about the money situation prior to any further development of the relationship. Come to some agreement to what each partner’s financial obligations are prior to moving in, etc. the most important thing about finances is to talk about it and prepare for Worst case scenarios. People who are all romantic (iie “we love each other so we do not worry about it”) are also the ones getting divorced over the issue about money 5 or 10 years later.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 18

      • wishing u well Says:

        She has been with him for 4 years and is talking about living with him. If you are seriously involved with a single parent, at some point – there is an investment on your part both emotionally and financially. That’s just a fact of life and NOT a romantic notion as you put it. There’s no dating as if the children do not exist. Day in and day out: children require a lot of sacrifice, time, etc. It’s part of the package. And if she puts such a high priority on protecting the comfortable life that she has built for herself, then she is not ready to sign up for the full package that comes with this man on a more serious level, period. It’s trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Neither is a bad person, but both have different priorities and life goals. Talk and plan as you will, being a parent involves things that you can’t necessarily plan for. Such is life.

        And no, that type of devotion is not unrealistic. Perhaps for you it is, which is why you should never date someone with children. But I’ve seen single persons date persons with children and step up in the child’s life on both sides, male and female. And it’s tough but can be rewarding. But make no mistake about it: it’s never as cut and dry as you are trying to make it seem.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  3. MrWombat Says:

    Please note that in some jurisdictions if a divorced am is paying alimony and CS and finds a partner, the courts will count the partner’s income as part of his ability to pay.

    It’s outrageous, but a lot of family law is.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  4. Helena Says:

    “by time he pays all his obligations to his children and ex-wife and actually begins to pay his debt down, there’s not enough to pay half his share”

    This is the salient point I am concerned about. There’s the risk that the man will increase his spending on unnecessary gadgets for his kids, or waste his limited free funds, safe in the knowledge that the OP can cover his share of the bills.

    To the OP: your concerns are valid. You are not looking to be draped in furs and diamonds – just a fair split of the expenses. While you’re not being taken for a ride, your beau is taking advantage of the comfortable situation you are supplying him. I would suggest you find a non-confrontational way to approach him about paying his share.

    Also ask yourself whether this issue outweighs what else he brings to the table, and what your options are if you decide to end things.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 20

    • mindstar Says:

      The OP notes that “he splits the groceries and pays for most of our entertainment” so she is certainly not being taken advantage of. It appears that op is not incurring any additional expenses from her relationship with a man she herself described as “loving, sweet and thoughtful man”. ALso if they do move in together he will not have a separate rental expense so that should free up some funds. Moxie hit right on target when she noted that his children will always come first. They’re his children why shouldn’t they? I my opinion OP comes across as petty and somewhat jealous. I can imagine her chatting with girlfriends and saying “Oh he splits the groceries and pays for most of our entertainment and he’s loving and thoughtful but we have no future because he pays his court ordered child support and alimony and is involved with his kids”.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

    • Alan Says:

      I’m leaning towards Helena is on to something but she is premature and going a bit too far. Ok they have done some budgeting and it appears he is not going to be able to contribute as much as they have tacitly agreed to. It seems to me then the two of you need to prepare a new budget and an agreed-upon sharing arrangement that may not be 50-50 but which you can both live with and which might also entail a curtailment of some discretionary expenses (both in your household and as far as discretionary expenses goes for his kids). In short I think you do get some input into how he is spending his discretionary budget on his kids vs your household (I use the household term loosely I know you are not really living together). One thought that immediately came to mind is his rent. If you are not ready to invite him to live with you without an escape hatch, maybe you can help him manage his rental expense by suggesting to downsize or otherwise lower his rent.

      I too sense some of the complicated emotions you may have regarding your own life choices concerning kids, your widowhood and how he prioritizes his kids that Moxie has noticed. I believe; however she has over-emphasized the degree to which you must accept your second class status with this man. I would say that there are times when you must accept his kids needs come first and there are times he needs to accept your needs come first. Even when they conflict. You of course need to be an adult when there are conflicts and choose the most important times to make your needs a priority. If your most important needs never come first then you got the wrong guy.

      One final point: it is impossible to have an amicable divorce take 4 years. Even with kids. That is in any state. Either the parties were ambivalent about divorcing, were economically unable to divorce or had an ugly un-amicable divorce that ended with a truce.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • Veronica Woods Says:

        Alan,

        Thank you for taking the time and effort to write such a measured response. Your advice is most welcomed, especially the part about downsizing his apartment–that’s something I hadn’t considered…. I’m also grateful you didn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that I’m a greedy, child-hater that demands my boyfriend only pay attention to ME, ME, ME!

        As for the 5 year divorce: the economy, finances and nihilism were all at work. To paraphrase my partner’s own words “why, what difference will it make if we divorce or not, she’ll still get everything and I’ll owe an attorney 10 grand, too”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Selena Says:

      “by time he pays all his obligations to his children and ex-wife and actually begins to pay his debt down, there’s not enough to pay half his share”

      As someone who was a single parent and was parterned to other single parents, this is a salient point to me as well Helena.

      If he can support himself in apartment on his own, plus his family expenses, why can’t he pay his share of housing costs with the OP? Does half her housing expenses exceed what he’s paying on his own now? If that’s the case, I can see why he would be relucant to sign on for paying half. If she is renting, then she could continue to pay the extra beyond his budget, or they could find a less expensive place together. We are talking about people in their 50’s here, so retirement and how that is going to be financed isn’t so distant. The OP needs to consider if the lifestyle she has/wants is going to be compatible with – or even possible with the cost of private extended schooling of her partner’s children. It is something to weigh.

      I do understand that people who don’t have children, (and grandchildren) may not grasp the sense of helping them out financially if they have the ability to do so – But….the fact this man has been essentially living with V for two years and using his family obligations as a way to not pay his living expenses there strikes me as odd.

      Children grow up. They form families of their own. They may move hundreds/thousands of miles away. You and your partner remain. And that is the reason you do what you do what you need to do make your life together as important as raising your children to adulthood.

      If this partner isn’t thinking that way…I can see why V is feeling uneasy and maybe feeling a bit taken advantage of.

      V, maybe there are some adjustments each of you can make. Sending positve vibes your way (as corny as that sounds. :)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. Veronica Woods Says:

    OP:

    I’m an educator and make $55k in the midwest. I live nicely, not lavishly, but it is paycheck to paycheck. I took the life insurance my husband left me and put all of it in the home I now mostly own—a 3 bedroom bungalow. The rest of the money he left to “take care of me” is in a retirement account that’s not easy to get to and requires paying fees and taxes.

    This is not remotely about resenting his children. I grew up with a single mom when my father left me, and my three siblings, when I was four. I’ve seen my father three times since. There was no child support, needless to say. I deeply respect my partner’s commitment and responsibility to his children. As a matter of fact, I suggested he establish a designated night with his 13 year-old daughter that was “their night” especially now that she spends more of her weekends with her friends. There’s plenty of love and attention to go around for his kids whom, as I said earlier, I enjoy.

    What wasn’t said in the initial post is that I’m now confronted with my mother’s aging and she lives just above the poverty level—retirement homes are expensive! She is as much a priority to me as his kids are to him. I often wonder why our society emphasis so strongly “the children come first”? I don’t expect my partner to love my infirm mother, nor do I expect him to take care of her financially. And yet I’m expected to finagle my financial life for his daughter’s iPhone while my mother can barely afford groceries?

    You’re right, it’s not so much about the divorce…it’s about how I’m going to pay for all of this? I now know what it feels like to be the “bread winner” guys! And it’s mighty stressful.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

    • novelty718 Says:

      Do you know for certain that he alone is paying for the iPhone? Maybe he bought the phone and him and his ex are sharing the bill?

      If you can’t handle him living with you tell him that financially it can’t work and not to move in. Focus on your mom, continue to pay your bills, in your home, alone…or find a way to make it work.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • LostSailor Says:

      I don’t expect my partner to love my infirm mother, nor do I expect him to take care of her financially. And yet I’m expected to finagle my financial life for his daughter’s iPhone while my mother can barely afford groceries? You’re right, it’s not so much about the divorce…it’s about how I’m going to pay for all of this?

      These are conflicting statements. Apparently, since you don’t approve of a 13-year-old with an iPhone (not that uncommon or outrageous really), you’re somehow “finagling” to pay for it? By comparing his daughter’s phone to your mother’s groceries, and wondering how you are going to pay for it, you are explicitly conceding that you actually do expect him to contribute to your mothers care, even if by taking on other household expenses to free up “your” money for that purpose.

      So no, you’re not being taken for a ride…

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

      • Selena Says:

        Disagree LS. An older parent needs groceries more than a 13 yr. old needs an iphone. Prioriites? C’mon.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

        • LostSailor Says:

          Of course an elderly parent’s daily sustenance would take precedent over a child’s luxury. But they’re not married.

          So you think his daughter shouldn’t have a phone so he can pay for her mother’s groceries?

          That’s why these are conflicting statements. Veronica says she doesn’t want him to pay, but then criticizes his choices about paying for his daughter’s phone because her mother needs groceries…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            Exactly. It all comes down to the fact that Veronica wants him to spend more money on her/their relationship, possibly so she can useless of her money . The aging mother was only trotted out because she saw the direction of the comments.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

            • Veronica Woods Says:

              Wow, and you are a moderator? You might want to look up the meaning of that word….

              On another note, I’d been following your comments for sometime now and thought you were frank and honest and I really admired that about you. What I’ve seen today is you’re just mean. Also, you’ve made a grand assumption here, not based on any factual information.

              I “trotted” my mother out because it’s relevant. Why is it we’re supposed to love and provided for each others children, yet we don’t expect the same considerations for each others elderly parents? Both the child and the elderly parent are dependents that need love, time, attention and care? Yet we don’t demand that our spouses/partners LOVE them. We don’t demand that our spouses/partner play second fiddle to their needs. We don’t declare that our parents are part of the “package” and if you don’t LOVE them you better move on! Doesn’t that seem a bit one-sided?

              Family is family. whether they’re 8 or 80.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

              • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                If it was relevant, you would have brought it up in your original letter. Instead, you focused that letter on the attention and money he gives to his kids. You admitted that your concern was the there might not be enough money for him to pay his share. Your “problem” in a nutshell is that you want this guy to move in with you so that your financial burden can be lessened. Anybody with a functioning frontal lobe can glean that from your letter. The fact that you continue to explain yourself and backpedal enough only confirms that suspicion. And when it was put to you in black and white terms, the trademark of this blog, and you saw how self-centered you sounded, you decided to alter the story to make it sound like you just care for your aging mommy so much that you need to find a way to take care of her.

                Family is family. whether they’re 8 or 80.

                Oh. That’s why you just said:

                And he has said he’d be willing to live with my mother if it came down to that. (He’s nicer than me, because I’d prefer not to live with her. : )

                Yeah. You’re just a concerned daughter wanting to make sure her aging Mom is taken care of.

                I don’t write comments pandering for thumbs up. Sorry.

                Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

                • Veronica Woods Says:

                  I’m pointing out that we have different expectations in our society for our children and our parents.

                  The reason it wasn’t brought up in the original post is my question was, essentially, should we live together given his responsibilities and my concerns? I also didn’t bring up my job and income, but was happy to respond to that when you asked.

                  I don’t need my partner to move in with me, but would I live more cheaply if he weren’t there? Yes! I wanted to cut the cable several months ago because we don’t watch it (we use Netflix and Hulu mostly) and he became very upset and said he’d really rather I didn’t so, yeah, I still have it. Mind you, he did offer to pay for it, but he hasn’t. I realize that’s my fault that I haven’t asked for it, especially given how greedy I am.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

                  • Selena Says:

                    Veronica,
                    He likes living with you, but he doesn’t want to PAY anything to live with you.

                    This is already clear to you after 2 YEARS of co-habitation without calling it that.

                    You can have a talk with him about it, but I suspect you already know what he’s going to say, don’t you?

                    This is it for the two of you for the foreseable future. Either accept it’s good enough, or decide it isn’t. Your call.

                    Wish there was something more hopeful to say….but after 2 years.?…can’t come up with anything.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

                  • LostSailor Says:

                    I’m pointing out that we have different expectations in our society for our children and our parents.

                    Not sure I buy that about our society. But it’s clear that you have different expectations for the care of your mother and his care of his children.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

              • LostSailor Says:

                Wow, and you are a moderator? You might want to look up the meaning of that word….

                It doesn’t mean someone who is moderate. Besides, Moxie’s not a moderator, she’s the sites proprietor.

                [I] thought you were frank and honest and I really admired that about you. What I’ve seen today is you’re just mean.

                The frankness and honesty in advice directed at others often is perceived as “mean” when directed at one’s self. It’s still frank and honest, it just stings more.

                Why is it we’re supposed to love and provided for each others children, yet we don’t expect the same considerations for each others elderly parents?

                So, you’re providing for his children? The most you’ve indicated is that you’ve spent a couple of pleasant weekends with them and that he is providing for his children. If your concern is that if he moves in that his precedence for his children will come at the expense of your mother’s groceries, you’ve not expressed that. Only that he’s agreed to have your mother live with the both of you.

                We don’t demand that our spouses/partner play second fiddle to their needs.

                Actually, we most definitely do demand that spouses/partners play second fiddle to the needs of elderly parents and children.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

          • Selena Says:

            I’m seeing it from the point he has been living with the OPmost of the week for the last 2 years without….assuming here, paying basic household expenses towards rent/mortgage/utilities. He buys some groceries. He pays when they go out. Not discounting that as a contribution, but as a contribrution….does it compare to to the rest of the cost of living in that home?

            And yeah, if paying for a 13 yr olds iphone is more important than buying food for an eldery person – priorities are skewed and screwed.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

            • Veronica Woods Says:

              Selena,

              Your assumptions are correct.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

            • LostSailor Says:

              Selena, my point is that while he may be staying at her house a lot, they are not in fact living together and he is maintaining a separate residence. Has he asked her for support of his apartment’s rent and utilities?

              She’d have those expenses whether he was there one night a week or 5 nights a week. He’s contributing to the extra expense–cable notwithstanding–he causes by his presence.

              Is the expectation that even though they are not living together, not engaged, and not married that he should sacrifice the welfare of his children in favor of her mother?

              It is implicit in the complaint about the iPhone that Veronica clearly thinks that it is an unnecessary expense that could be put to better use in providing for her mother, either by his direct subsidy of her groceries or an indirect subsidy by his increased contribution to Veronica’s household expenses, thus freeing up some of her money for the support of her mother.

              If they do move in together, she will be necessarily stepping into the role of quasi-step-mom. And they’ll have to find a balance between care of children and care of parent. If her concern is that he won’t be able to contribute as much as she expects, then they shouldn’t move in together. But that’s something she should be talking about with him, rather than hashing it out here.

              For several years before I moved in with my now-ex-wife, I was living in Brooklyn and she in Manhattan. Since I used to live in her neighborhood and worked in Manhattan, I spent considerable time at her apartment and very little in my own. Yes, I, too, helped with mutual groceries and most of the cost of going out, but it never occurred to either of us that I should help with the rent or utilities. When I moved in, we share expenses. Now, we didn’t have kids, but her father was quite ill and she frequently traveled home to visit. But she didn’t ask me to subsidize it.

              The point is that at the moment, he has no obligation to buy food for her mother, whereas he does have an obligation to provide for his daughter. We can quibble whether an iPhone is too much, but at the moment, it’s not Veronica’s call.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

              • Veronica Woods Says:

                This is spot on Lost Sailor. I’m using the iPhone as an example of how he spends money and you’re absolutely right that it’s not my call and I’ve said nothing about it either. If we were to live together we’d have to establish 3 pots of money, his, mine and ours. What he does with his is none of my business and what I do with mine is none of his, provided there’s enough in the pot that’s ours it will all go well. Since he’s been divorced though I’ve bought gifts for family members (a niece’s wedding, an elderly aunt a Kindle, a nephew a baby shower gift) he said he wanted to go fifty-fifty on them, but he hasn’t paid me–and I haven’t pushed it, it’s nice that he wants to contribute but it’s not necessary. I do buy his family members gifts and he doesn’t ask me to, but I see his children a lot and it just seems right. Instead of paying me for the gifts he wanted to split, he bought some luxury items for himself and his daughter. He’s not a bad guy, but I’m a wee bit worried if we have compatible financial styles.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

                • LostSailor Says:

                  If you decide to buy gifts for his family, that’s on you. If he says he wants to split and doesn’t pony up, that’s on him.

                  It sounds like he’s used to being successful and living well and has perhaps not adjusted to his new financial realities. But that, as I’ve said, is a conversation you need to have with him. If your relationship is solid, it might be a serious conversation, but needn’t be a difficult one.

                  I definitely agree on three pots of money. It’s what my ex and I did for nearly 18 years, and it allowed us to avoid a lot of arguments about money. If the relationship is going to work when you join living spaces and presumably lives on a more permanent basis, you both need to agree on and act on shared priorities with regard to his children and your mother.

                  Have you shared your concerns with him as you’ve shared them here?

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                  • Veronica Woods Says:

                    Yes and no. We’ve discussed living together and we made up a budget but I can tell he prefers not to talk about it because it’s so depressing for him. I understand. It’s hard to have a conversation with somebody about money. He’s really a good guy and he rarely buys things for himself, rarely! But, yeah, I’m a bit worried about it. I said something to him a couple of weeks ago about his share of the gifts and he said–oh, yeah, I’ll get that to you, but it’s pretty clear he doesn’t have it or he’d have paid me. It’s a small thing, really. I’m not sure why I’m so worried about having this conversation. And you’re right that he’s used to having a successful life….

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

                    • Veronica Woods Says:

                      Thanks for all your responses! Even yours Moxie. : )

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

                    • Selena Says:

                      Veronica,

                      Have you considered moving in to his place and splitting the bills there? If you own a property you could rent it out. Might take some pressure off you.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • Selena Says:

            LS,

            “So you think his daughter shouldn’t have a phone so he can pay for her mother’s groceries?”

            No. I don’t think he should use paying for his 13 yr. old daugher’s iphone as an excuse not to pay basic living expenses. Especially knowing the person who IS paying his living expenses is finacially helping out an older parent.

            He lives with the OP for free. He spends his ‘disposalable’ income on luxuries. What is so hard to grasp here?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

            • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

              Nowhere in her letter did she say that he’s denied her payment of expenses. Nowhere in her letter has she said that he wants to live with her knowing he can’t pay much. You’re picking up on a nuanced statement made by the OP after the fact and trying to make it a separate issue. Please drop it.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

              • Veronica Woods Says:

                From the original posting:

                “I use “our” because he has, essentially, been living with me for the last two years, returning to his apartment only when his kids visit. While it’s true that I’d have to pay all the bills if I lived alone (he does split the groceries and pay for most of our entertainment).”

                He pays nothing to live with me–no rent, no utilities, no insurance, cable, nothing, nada. I’ve been okay with this because he’s had his own place and I wasn’t about to live with him while he was still married. My God, is so awful that I’d like a partner than can share the expenses?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

                • LostSailor Says:

                  My God, is so awful that I’d like a partner than can share the expenses?

                  Not at all. But your concern seems to be whether, given all his other obligations, he can share enough. Merging lives at this age (and I’m around your age) isn’t always easy. You are single through tragic circumstances but were well-provided for. He is single with what sounds like massive obligations.

                  Selena, and your comment here, paint him as being a freeloader just looking for an easy ride, but your OP and subsequent comments don’t really support that.

                  If you do move in together in your house, you need to talk to him about priorities and you may have to accept that his contribution may not be as much as you’d like. It’s up to you to decide whether you can live with that. A couple of your comments indicate that you expect living together should make your life easier. You need to decide what your priorities are in the relationship.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  He pays for groceries and entertainment. That’s not nothing, especially given the fact that he has alimony and children. He has his own place so that he can bring his children over and they can spend the night. He HAS to pay for that. What the hell did you do before this guy came along? How did you get by? If you got by then, you can get by now.

                  As for insurance…I’m seriously hoping you aren’t expecting this guy to pay for yours.

                  My God, is so awful that I’d like a partner than can share the expenses?

                  But that’s not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for someone who will lessen the burden you have placed upon yourself. Move out of that home and downsize a bit. Problem solved. But no, you want to stay in that home you bought with your husband’s money. You don’t want to make any financial adjustments. You want to stay in the life you created. You also apparently want to date a divorced man with children – despite clearly not wanting children – and have him not be financially strapped. Good luck with that. Anything else you’d like turned upside down for you?

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

                  • Veronica Woods Says:

                    I’d have no trouble getting by without him. None. As I said earlier, I’d live more frugally but I have enough resources. And not that it’s relevant, I massively downsized when my husband died. His income was gone! I’m quite capable of living off what I make, even if I take on my mom’s fees. So let’s be clear I don’t need him to move in! I’m more worried about what will happen if he does move in that if he doesn’t!

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

              • Selena Says:

                I picked up on the nuance he wouldn’t share basic living expenses with her from her initial post and her subsequent comments. My interpretation is he likes the arrangement (living with her most of the time, but not paying rent & utilities) AS IS. And further, uses his family obligations( and perhaps generosity?) as an excuse.

                Since the OP in this case is commenting herself, I (and perhaps others) can stop speculating, eh? ;)

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  She didn’t say wouldn’t. She said couldn’t. And that is HER interpretation. Not his.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

            • LostSailor Says:

              Selena, he’s maintaining his own residence, which are also living expenses, so he’s not living “for free.” And it was never said he was using his daughter’s phone as an “excuse,” you made that up.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

              • Selena Says:

                Okey Dokey. For two years he’s been living with Veronica *most of the time* not paying rent or utilities there because he has a separate residence. After 2 years, she’d like a more ‘partnership’ type arrangement. How unfair of her to ask such a thing. Silly woman.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

              • Veronica Woods Says:

                Couldn’t is more accurate–as Lost Sailor succinctly pointed out, he has massive obligations. If he moves in, obviously, he won’t have the expense of his apartment and this will free up some resources so that he could help more and I know he will! But what if because I can cover all of it, there comes a time when he says–“hey, I can’t pay this month because my daughter needs a new, I don’t know, violin for school? I happy to do this from time-to-time because it all comes out in the wash, but if I take on a monthly fee for my mother’s care I won’t be able to do this without giving up some of my luxury items (provided I have any discretionary income after my mom’s bills).

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                • LostSailor Says:

                  Finances are always a worry, more so in these tough times. But overly fretting over all the possible “what if” scenarios will only drive you mad.

                  Sometimes you need to trust each other and take the leap together. It doesn’t sound like things would be entirely precarious if he moved in, but you might need to budget some and put something aside if you can for unexpected expenses.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

                  • Veronica Woods Says:

                    Thank you, you completely grasp the situation. I don’t hate children, I don’t need his money! I don’t need to be fawned over! I just want some reassurances. You’ve given me that…I’m not greedy, nor is he….just fretting, and that’s the perfect word for it.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                • Selena Says:

                  Veronica,

                  After two years together, only you can know how financially capricious this man might be. If you really believe it might come down to him not paying the bills in favor of buying his daughter a violin….should YOU being considering partnership with him?

                  Consider please…do you want to be partnered to someone you don’t really trust? Take the children and the ex out of the equation for a moment, – is this man the type of person who would make any excuse to shirk a household bill if he thought you would cover it? Is this what you are afraid of deep down?

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

                  • Veronica Woods Says:

                    Selena,

                    No, he’s not that type of man….I’d be long gone if I thought he was mooching off of me. The situation is, well, what it is because he has dependent children and an ex that was a stay-at-home mom that needs support until his daughter’s finished high school.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • wishing u well Says:

      Not to mention it depends what model, if there was an on contract discount. iPhone 5 for $200, expensive. iPhone 4S for $99 or iPhone 4 for $49 – all of which less than an XBox or Playstation 3, which kids also seem to get both these days, and back in my day, and I’m in my 30’s. In addition – a teenager these days needs their own line, period for parents to keep up with them. Back in the day, you got your own line in the house. Now it’s via cellular.. So if he got the right family plan to cut back on the expenses and data, along with the Smart Limits feature, it’s an adjustment but not an insane one.

      And yes, if you have an infirm mothere, at some point, your partner will have to be supportive of you as you support your mother. There’s just no getting around that either. At some point, either you may be chipping in towards your mother’s bills, or maybe time away consistently to support her or go with her to doctor’s visits, the managing of her affairs and such….giving would be a two-way, supportive street. What if your mother needs to come live with you? You have every right to want to do this as a daughter and hopefully he will be just as supportive of you as you have been with his children. Have you broached this with him? He’s been upfront with the children, do the same. Your mom is a part of the full package that comes with you. And if his attitude is less than positive over time, then that is information that you need to know.

      Maybe it’s just me: but in a situation such as this, keeping score should go out the window if you guys are going to stick together. There will never be an even 50 / 50 contribution here on either part. Rather what should be more important if you choose to stay together is what is the overall spirit / attitude on both sides? Are you both giving 100%, listening to each other’s needs, supporting each other, and appreciating that both are doing the best they can in the process consistently? The team of you two is going to be critical in such a situation with these variables, and it needs to be a strong one to prevent things such as resentment or frustruation from setting in once life throws a few curveballs at you.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

      • Veronica Woods Says:

        Thank you, wishing you well. This is where I’m trying to go–where I know my partner and I need to be–mentally and fiscally. And he has said he’d be willing to live with my mother if it came down to that. (He’s nicer than me, because I’d prefer not to live with her. : ) Such thoughtful words. Thanks for your time.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • wishing u well Says:

      Did anyone catch the fact that the Veronica is a homeowner and the divorced boyfriend is currently renting? The attitudes about money matter as she stands to have a larger financial investment potentially “at risk” if this relationship were to continue to progress further. Combine this with the fact that she’s looking towards not only her own future but her mother’s now increasing needs, she has a right to be somewhat concerned about whether or not the blended situation would fully work.

      Veronica – please continue to keep your eyes open. What is also important is whether or not he delivers on the things he says that he will do monetarily. The going-in half on a gift that he never brought up again – was this a one time instance, or is this indicative of a habit of his over the years? Pay attention to the little things as well as the larger ones…they matter. The whole key is whether or not both of you are giving your absolute best. Have you guys talked about this? What happens if you decide to get married – is he going to be able to “buy in” to the property itself? You mentioned that your home is already paid for…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. novelty718 Says:

    Is there a piece that I am missing?
    OP- You knew this man had kids and that he was in the process of getting a divorce at what point during the building of the relationship did you think those two responsibilities would vanish?

    I’m not a parent but I have dated a few single dads and their kids always come first…and SHOULD!!!

    “Yet when it comes to contributing to our home, there isn’t much left to go around! I use “our” because he has, essentially, been living with me for the last two years, returning to his apartment only when his kids visit. While it’s true that I’d have to pay all the bills if I lived alone (he does split the groceries and pay for most of our entertainment) I worry that his kid’s wants–they’re getting what they need–will always come first (an iPhone for a 13-year-old? Really?)”

    “I’m not over-joyed about having kids in my life, but I enjoy their company and have spent many pleasant weekends with them. ”

    It sounds like you are jealous of the kids. Point blank
    You said that you put together a budget. What more do you want him to do OTHER than not buying his kids expensive items? Which by the way as his girlfriend is none of your business. They are his kids, his choice to spoil. Like others have said if he isn’t asking you for money to pay off/for his stuff then you really shouldn’t be complaining.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  7. Rick Says:

    Quite honestly, if you’re looking to supplant his children in the hierarchy of importance, my advice to him would be to get out now. Expecting him to put his children after you does not reflect well on you at all. Maybe you need to be dating only the childless in the first place.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  8. John Says:

    OP- Just out of curiosity, if he did pay his equal share of the housing expenses, would he get the tax write off that you currently enjoy? Nope. Would he have veto power on any kind of expense associated with the home? Nope. Would you be the one to move out if in the future if things didn’t work out? Nope.

    So while to you it seems that he is getting the deal of the century by living with you and only paying part of the household expenses, he is taking on some serious risk. The bottom line is that you are benefitting from that arrangement as well. If you feel that your benefit is less than his, you are entitled to that feeling. But dont make him out to be the bad guy or that he is doing anything seriously wrong here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    • Veronica Woods Says:

      It’s not about my relationship with his kids! His kids needs are a higher priority than my needs, I get that and I have no problem with it! I’m not jealous of them, nor are they of me–they like me, I like them. it’s all good as far as the kids go.

      I also agree with a previous poster that it isn’t any of my business as his girlfriend what he does with his money–and I don’t say anything because it’s not my business! But I am concerned how we’ll make it all work…my mother, his kids, etc.

      @ John–of course if he moves in there will be risks, this is why I want to minimize them before he does, because it’s not just about me or him, this involves his children, too. I suppose any two people who decided to live together or marry need to sort out who gets what if all blows up? And yes, I’d keep the house, but I’d make sure he didn’t pay for it, too–there are other expenses he can provide. I know my partner worries about this–not about getting my house–but about providing a stable home for his kids and so do I.

      @718 I Never thought the responsibilities would vanish, but given that he wasn’t divorced he, nor I, had no idea how much he’d be paying in alimony–which turns out to be considerably more than he expected (especially since she inherited quite a bit of money). That’s life, I don’t begrudge his ex-wife anything, she’s essentially raising their children and she’s a fine mother, they’re his kids he should pay for them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    Whether he’s in your life or not, the alleged concern for your infirmed mother would still be an issue.

    But I am concerned how we’ll make it all work…my mother, his kids, etc.
    Make what work? If he moves in, then he’ll be contributing more, not less, since he’ll be giving up his apartment. I don’t see how any of this is related to your mother. Honestly, the more you reveal, the more it sounds like you want a man to move in with you and pick up the slack so you can continue to live in the lifestyle that your deceased husband provided for you.

    If caring for your mom is so important, sell your home and get something smaller. The money you save from that in addition to the money you save by having him share part of the expenses should help you cover your mom. Or you could do what most *truly* concerned children do when their parents are ill and have her move in with you. As for that retirement fund, it’s not *that* difficult to take that money out. That’s just an excuse for you to not break into your savings.

    You’re concerned that your guy’s money might be spent on his kids and not on you. That’s the bottom line. Don’t drag your aging mother into the sceanario just to make yourself sound less greedy.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Veronica Woods Says:

      You’re right. I do want to return to the lifestyle I had with my deceased husband….and I miss it and him. I’m very sad as I write this, it’s clear I need to come to grips that I’m not going to have that again…and deal with the reality in front of me. Letting go is hard. Thanks for your help, it was harsh, but right on.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • India Says:

      The above comment is really off. The op is not at all asking her boyfriend to sustain her life style – or to replace her deceased husband in supporting her. Going there is really unnecessary. The op is not asking for luxuries. She is having realistic concerns about making it work when both partners have dependents an outside responsibilities
      Look, it is a tough economy. People are stretching their paychecks even without house, kids, or elderly parents. It is entirely fair for the op to voice her concerns and establish boundaries with her boyfriend now. She is not being selfish – she is just being responsible.
      Being selfish, to me, is rejecting partners based on superficial things (“omg he lives in jersey city!”). Now that is entitled behavior. Not the op.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

    • LostSailor Says:

      As for that retirement fund, it’s not *that* difficult to take that money out.

      Actually it is. Well, not “difficult” per se but very, very costly.

      I came out of my divorce with fairly substantial debt as well. In order to pay it off and avoid rather outrageous interest charges, I closed out an old 401K from a previous job. Between the Federal and state taxes–assessed on the total amount of the account, meaning at the highest marginal rate–and the 10% penalty, the cost ate up nearly half the fund.

      I judged it worth it to retire the debt, the projected interest was pretty much a wash with the penalties for early withdrawal, but this should only be an option in the direst of emergencies.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    cloons

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  11. Trouble Says:

    Yet when it comes to contributing to our home, there isn’t much left to go around! I use “our” because he has, essentially, been living with me for the last two years, returning to his apartment only when his kids visit. While it’s true that I’d have to pay all the bills if I lived alone (he does split the groceries and pay for most of our entertainment) I worry that his kid’s wants–they’re getting what they need–will always come first (an iPhone for a 13-year-old? Really?).

    This is such a weird paragraph to me. The guy is maintaining his own dwelling, splitting groceries, and paying for entertainment expenses, and you don’t consider him to be paying his share? What is it that you think he should be doing, exactly? Paying half of your rent? Splitting the power bill and cable fees?

    Listen, you are in your 50s. Things are different. You have to think about this in a different way. You’re dating a guy whose disposable income is considerably less than yours, so he isn’t going to be able to go halvsies with you on everything like roommates would. You’re in the same scenario as a male stockbroker who dates a female teacher. She can’t afford to pay for expenses at the same level that he can. So, they have several chocies. They can move to a less expensive apartment where she can afford to pay half of the rent and utilities. Or, they can subdivide the expenses so that he pays rent, she pays for power, cable, and groceries, and call it equal. Or, they can work out some other financial arrangement that works for both. Or, they can get married, put all of the money into a single pot and be a real team whose relationship transcends who earns what.

    Beyond that, divorced dads get caught in a trap of trying to maintain a connection with their kids. It is what it is. I wouldn’t pay for my 14-year-old to have an iphone, because I don’t think he needs that at this point in life, but his dad did. That was his way of reminding his son that he was part of his life. I don’t have to do stuff like that because I’m the person who pays for school clothes, school lunches, school fees, class trips, yearbooks, etc. My son is with me 70% of the time and knows what I do for him. His dad, though, feels more pressure to give him stuff that I would consider impractical.

    It’s fucked up, but like I said, it is what it is. You’re in it now, so to a certain extent, you’re either going to have to talk through and compromise on some of these things, figure out what he can and will pay for, and get over being bitter because he bought something for his kid; or walk away and find a childless guy.

    I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but I’d say that loving, smart, thoughtful committed men aren’t a dime a dozen here, so you have to weigh the odds of finding someone better. Either you go in all the way, and put some skin in the game, or you walk away and try to find someone else who can go sharesies with you at 50% or higher.

    There are ways to make this workable. If you move in together, split expenses by type. Have him pay for groceries, power, cable, and phone, and you pay for rent. You will have more disposable income because he’s paying the power bill and groceries. He will have more disposable income because he’s no longer paying rent elsewhere, in addition to buying groceries at your place. .

    Or, you will end up paying for all of it yourself again.

    I don’t think your thinking on this subject is very clear or realistic. Most men in your age group are likely to have kids. Are you likely to find someone better, or is this a situation that can be made to work for you both?

    I think you should think about it.

    FWIW, nothing made me love my husband more than the day when I was trying to figure out if my daughter could go to the school she wanted to attend, and how I (individually) would pay for it out of my income and savings, or if she should get loans (we’d originally planned for her to stay at the local university). And, we weren’t even married yet, but he turned to me and said, “Of course we should pay for this stuff, and no, she will not be taking out any loans. She is our kid. And, this is what we need to do.”

    He has never said a single resentful word to me about paying for books or dorm fees or meal plans or any of her other expenses. He just says, “Okay. We will make it work.”

    If you can’t be that person, don’t do this. Because if you aren’t that person who can give unselfishly to his kids, you will end up making both of you miserable, and you will damage his relationship with his kids.

    On the other hand, if you are that person who can give unselfishly to his kids without constantly nitpicking or getting bitter about it, there are a lot of priceless gifts that come with that (my uncle married a woman with four young daughters, and twenty+ years later, he is everyone’s beloved grandfather, and his life is so much richer than it would have been). But, it’s a choice. It may not be for you, and that’s okay, too.

    If that’s the case, Just have the self-awareness to recognize it and walk away so you don’t do harm.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    • Alan Says:

      This is much better said than I did as a reply above. Agree with entire sentiment up to FWIW. After that is lovely as well but not everyone will be in a position to be as gracious as Trouble’s husband. I don’t think you need to be as great and unselfish as Trouble’s husband to become a terriic step parent.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

      • Trouble Says:

        You are correct, Alan. He was and is a great stepdad without helping with college.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Veronica Woods Says:

    Trouble,
    Trouble,

    Wow, thanks for thinking this through and spending so much time responding. I really appreciate it!

    Oh, the irony! I am an educator and he’s a high powered business man!

    As for as my partner paying his fair share….He is and then some in so many areas of his life! I did say it was fine to only pay x amount! And I even offered to loan him the money to consolidate his loans. Sometimes, I don’t think he wants to do it because he feels the pressure of society saying “you should take care of your woman”! Just as it feels odd to me to be the one with more disposable income, but I’m willing to go down this road, together and not do tit-for-tat. (Right now there isn’t any of that because we’re not co-mingling our money. It’s just me on the side-lines trying to think it through.)

    I’m very much aware of the fact that most men my age have children….and debt, etc. But then again, I didn’t plan on being a widow in my forties, either. So it is a weird situation that I’m trying to adjust to and your advice helps me to understand a bit more clearly. Like pointing out why he may want to buy an iPhone for his daughter–to remind them of his connection. Makes more sense, now.

    Anyway, thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Trouble Says:

      I would avoid loaning him money…wait until you’re sure that the two of you have a longterm future before you do more than split living expenses.

      The other thing about the iphone…it’s a way of always being able to get ahold of your kid. I also think that if he’s a high earning guy, he is used to being able to give his kids the stuff that they want and that their peers have, and they’re used to asking for it. He may need to learn to have some boundaries there. If you’re an educator, you’re used to working with kids, you may be able (kindly) to help him with some of that, in an indirect way.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. John Says:

    Veronica,
    This is a “tough love” site for sure. But you seem to have taken the input here well and are a good sport about it. Can’t imagine losing a spouse at that age and then trying to learn the new rules of the dating/relationship landscape that have changed considerably in the past decade.

    You guys have made it this far with what you are doing. Why not just keep the staus quo? Its not like you have to “take the next step” or else break up. Leave well enough alone. Drop the talk of him officially moving in with you and continue what you have been doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • Veronica Woods Says:

      Thanks, John.That’s a real possibility, too. Yet, at some point, it will come-up again, especially when his lease is up in March. But that’s still months off.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • wishing u well Says:

        The status quo sounds like the safest bet for now. Let him get back on his feet and get used to the “new” financial normal now that his divorce is final. In addition – so he has a 13 year old? Who will be in college in the next few years? And your home is almost paid off?

        Okay, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and lay out a potential scenario. Say it’s about 5 years later and you’ve already moved in. It’s time for child # 2 to go to college. How would you feel if he asked you to refinance the home to pull cash out of the equity, in both names, of course? That to me is a real possibility here – based on the debt, the alimony, child # 1 in college, and child # 2 knocking on high school. To me – this is the type of thing that you should think about before letting them move in. Because I can potentially see the point being made of “I’ve been paying the mortgage / my share for the XYZ years that I’ve lived with you, and you know that I’m doing my best based on my situation.” And he would be telling the truth! If you know that in your heart of hearts this would not be okay with you…maintain the status quo for now….or talk and come to a written agreement before anyone moves anywhere….

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Selena Says:

        In your shoes, I would consider your house a personal investment. Each monthly payment is a payment to yourself in the future. Eventually you may want or need to sell that investment to provide housing for yourself in your retirement or advanced age. In that light, you can say you don’t need your love’s contribution towards your mortgage. Should the relationship end, you will not have any obligation to split the equity with him as he never paid into building it up.

        If you think he should be able to contribute more financially given you are putting a roof over his head, following Trouble’s suggestion of having him take on the power and cable bills may be a more equitable solution. If his lease is up in March, you have plenty of time to discuss this.

        Also consider: if the two of you are still together 10 years from now , your housing preferences may have changed. The daughter will have finished school. Hopefully your love will have paid down or off his debts from the divorce. The two of you will be deciding how and where you want to spend your retirement. And you will still have your “nest egg” in terms of your property to keep or sell as you wish. This sounds pretty good to me, rather than hoping for a 50/50 split with someone who may not be around in your later years.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. offensivedan Says:

    I generally hate kids and their parents.

    Get out of this, OP. I don’t know why, but a lot of people in this country maintain teheir kids all the way into their twenties. You should not be second fiddle to some kid whle you are banging their dad. Once a kid reaches 18 years old they should be able to go their own way and not be an albatross on their parents’ neck.

    Op find a guy without kids or one who treats them a s adults. O/w you will be living the “failure to lauch” nightmare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  15. Trisha Says:

    OP, I am also childfree, closing in on 50, and dated a wonderfully sweet but financially stressed dad of a 5 year old. I didn’t want kids in my life either but thought he was worth it. He was paying about 33%-50% of his take home pay in child support. When the decision was made for him to move into my house, I had him sign an 8 page document that stated that his kid’s expenses were his alone, I was not a “step mom” etc. (It was based on a pre-nup.) I knew it was a mistake from the beginning but, as the debt-free girlfriend, I would be looked upon as a shrew if I did not offer to let him move in to help get a handle on his expenses so I felt I had no choice. In my case, he was so determined to pay what we had decided upon (way less than 50% of the living expenses, but I was trying to help him out, remember?) that he made sure I was paid before other things like med insurance for his kid, etc., and that I would not allow. Anyway, I asked him to leave so he could get his priorities straight. I doubt I will ever seriously date another man with kids. Twenty years ago I was married to one with three kids, 75% of his takehome went to child support, so this wasn’t the first time I’d been in around the issue. No matter how wonderful your guy is, I fear the time will come where he will start asking you to finance something for his kids because he can’t afford it. If you are ok with that, then fine. I went through bankruptcy 20 years ago because of my ex’s child support and I will never do that again. If you feel you are going to resent ANYTHING here, then do the humane thing and realize this is not a relationship for the long haul. What happens when the kid drops out of school and wants to come live with dad? When the girl has fights with her mom and wants to live with dad? It could happen. Just make sure you are ready for all that. I am childfree for a reason and if you are as well, then this situation may never work as you hope.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

    • Veronica Woods Says:

      Trisha,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. It is hard to know what to do! My partner and I are in different places–he’s loaded down with obligations while I’m not, and my freedom could create resentment on his part, too. know he chose to have the kids and he loves them, but parenting is demanding and requires sacrifices. Your words of caution are noted and have kept me awake many nights. Like tonight!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Lidia Says:

    Agree with above statement of failure to launch.
    He has baggage, it’s called kids or a liability. Let him find
    Another woman who has kids and make house with her.
    A man should always pay for a woman. Or else we might
    as well chase them.
    When the man finds the woman of his dreams he will
    Find a second job or higher paying job.

    A woman should not pay for a man. He needs to find a sugar daddy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  17. D'Alias Says:

    I think society demands our life-partners love the in-laws. Or, maybe I just demand and expect to reciprocate it if the time comes. Loving and liking are two different things.

    OP, I think you should think about whether or not you will let his kids move in with you. If so, for how long, etc. I’m sure you know many – if not most – kids return home to live with their parents after college. They might pick the mom but who knows? And I think this man would expect that of you because he would be willing to live with your mom.

    OP, you don’t sound awful but a little clueless about most people’s finances these days. . . 50k is not really that much debt for a divorcee with kids. And I don’t buy that u aren’t a teeny bit jealous of the kids. Come on! I think it’s normal to have tinged of jealousy. If you don’t admit it, then how can u deal with it in a healthy way? I don’t know what grade u teach but an iPhone for a teen isn’t outrageous where I live. I taught in NYC public school for a yr and 11 yr olds had cell phones so their parents could check on them afterschool. I think it bothers u cuz u r a little jealous. Honestly, your statements make me think you have a small selfish streak running through you. A little selfishness isn’t necessary a fatal flaw. I just think you should own it so you can analyze your thoughts, fears, and expectations about this relationship a little more clearly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • Veronica Woods Says:

      D’Alias,

      I’m truly not jealous of his children: They’re good kids, smart, respectful, funny and often fun to be around. They’re young people trying to make their way in the world, are they a bit sheltered? Sure. But I suspect had I had children, I would have spoiled them, too.

      His daughter has had a mobile since she was nine! It’s just not an iPhone. I get parents want to be able to reach their kids…I also understand parent’s desire to make them happy. I work on the university level.

      $50K seems like a lot to me….so, yeah, maybe I am a bit clueless. As for either of them coming to live with us down the road? I have thought of that….I don’t believe he’d allow his daughter to live with us while she’s in high school–he wouldn’t do that to his ex and he’d expect his daughter to deal with her situation and not flee when/if the going got rough (he’s said as much). His son is more a possibility because his mother is way out in the burbs and we live in the city. There’s the possibility that he might want to stay with us after graduating if he got a job in the city and wanted a shorter commute. But I think his son would rather chew-off his right arm rather than live with one of his parents again. It wouldn’t be ideal but I’d cope. I had two nephews (not at the same time) live with me and my late husband, one for his senior year in high school (his parents moved and he desperately wanted to graduate with his friends), the other for a couple of summers while attending college in my city. It was fine. His son is very bright and I suspect will go straight to graduate school.

      Thanks for you response!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  18. Carol Says:

    This relationship seems mis-matched from the start. Why would a man with children seriously date someone who has shown no interest in having or raising her own kids?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Terry McConnell Says:

      You do realize some women choose to remain childless and sill like children? I have two friends who chose this: One because bi-polar depression was rampant in her family and the other friend because her husband’s family was riddled with schizophrenia. I’d also add, there are plenty of men who’s joint-custody arrangements suit them just fine–children two weekends a month–because they enjoy their lives without the kids considerably more than with them! And yet they sill love them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        This comment was written by the OP. Not sure why you’re commenting under a different username.

        But Carol’s point does raise an interesting question. Why would a man with children want to be in a serious relationship with a woman who clearly has no interest in kids. Sure, you can *like* kids. But if you’re someone who chooses not have have kids, that’s because you don’t *want* them. Therefore, you really don’t have a deep enough understanding of what parenting involves. For example, you don’t understand why a divorced man would buy his teene=aged daughter an iPhone. Answer: because she wants what the other kids have and he wants her to fit in. Because he doesn’t get to see her as often as he likes and he feels guilty. Because he wants his children to have the best because they are his children. Which brings us back to the original question: why would a man with kids date someone who doesn’t want kids? And why would a woman who doesn’t want kids date a man with young children???

        I’d also add, there are plenty of men who’s joint-custody arrangements suit them just fine–children two weekends a month–because they enjoy their lives without the kids considerably more than with them! And yet they sill love them.

        And those men would be awful parents.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  19. offensivedan Says:

    Man, reading these comments makes me glad I never married nor had kids. Also, dating women who were going thrugh a divorce has been enlightening. As a man, you will get screwed by having to pay alimony and child support. Alimony should be gotten rid of in cases where the woman has a job.

    I recall this one broad asking me if I regretted not getting married or having kids. My reply was, “well, I’m not paying alimony nor child support while the ex-wife is banging some other guy or guys. What do you think?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

    • Eliza Says:

      Offensivedan: Unfortunately there are plenty of bitter, resentful divorced men out there, who lash out at women in general. Women who have done absolutely nothing wrong to them too might I add. Why? Because their “ex-wives took them to the cleaners”, or because they don’t have great relationships with their children…or their relationships are limited. Or because they are now in their 40’s–having to live with their mother no less! Due to financial limitations – due to child support/alimony, whatever else. A lot of bitter men out there. It’s a shame. Not every woman is out for blood, or looking to put their hands in a man’s wallet. There are many women who are self-sufficient, handle their own financial matters and are looking to be with a man to be friends, partners and lovers–based on common values a true connection, etc. It’s such a shame that some men view marriage, and having dhildren as a liability. But I can see your point.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  20. Jaclyn Says:

    If I were in your position, I would give serious thought as to exactly how much you want him to contribute if you move in together. You own your home, so he is assuming all the risk in moving in together Therefore you should let him know ahead of time exactly how much you want so he can make an informed decision before moving in with you.

    But I would give the number a lot of thought for the reasons trouble descibed. Your dating pool at 50 is not what it was before you got married. UResentment over money can easily eat away at your relationship so you will either need to come to a financial agreement or let go of your frustration or end the relationship. I’m sorry – I know this isn’t the life you expected and being a stepparent is a tough job with lots of obstacles. I am really impressed moxie s stepmother did such a wonderful job in a challenging role and wish her all the best

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Steve From the City Next Door Says:

    I would encourage the OP to really think about things. Today was the family birthday party for my niece so I didn’t get the details but my brother’s ex-wife/ his kids bio mom is dragging them into court again. That means will take at least $1000 of my brother’s budget (lawyer, missed work for court etc) which was not expected. I could see the frustration on his current wife’s face — she said something but I didn’t catch it.

    His current wife was unable to have kids and really wanted them. And I have seen many problems…some things she just didn’t realize. Things like she had tickets for concert for date night bought along time ago…the kids were going to be with their mom, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Money goes fast and they both have good jobs.

    And just because things seem reasonable with the ex at one point don’t mean they always will be. After the divorce settled down things were pretty ok….then my ex-sister-in-law married some guy and he seems to think they can win all these things in court so again there has been a lot of problems…not too mention the kids don’t like him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. David Krishan Says:

    “There’s not enough to pay half his share.”

    Why the hell does he need to pay half your house’s expenses on top of his own? Somehow you’ve confused yourself with that old adage, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is ours.”

    He’s paying for ALL his expenses right now, plus some of yours. You’re paying for all of yours. You worry that if you get closer, he’ll not be able to pay for HALF of yours, while you express complete reluctance to pay for ANY of his? (Kid’s iPods, etc)

    Lady, you’re delusional. You’re living in the past. If you REALLY wanted him to pay half, YOU would be willing to pay half. That is to say, you’d be paying HALF of ALL expenses, not just half of YOURS. That includes his alimony and child support. Only you’re not; you are selfishly wanting him to INCREASE how much he spends on you, without spending on him.

    How unfair is that?

    The fix: do a REAL budget. Figure out how much he owes on EVERYTHING. Both overall and per-month. Then do the same for yourself. Now merge the two. If you aren’t willing to pay HALF of the result, then you have some seriously messed up expectations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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