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 thishurts123 (original poster member #58848) posted at 1:51 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

It's been a while since I've been here. My divorce happened 3 years ago - separated almost two years prior to that. One year after the divorce, I dipped my toe into OLD and found I was not ready. Fast forward another year; I tried OLD again and met a great guy! We are dating just over a year. He is a BS like me and married even longer than I was.

We get along in many ways and our differences do not cause issues. My children, who are young adults, have met him and like him very much as does my extended family. He is retired and I still work so we spend week days apart which we are fine with. The weekends are 100% spent at my house since I still have my youngest at home - an intellectually disabled young adult who he has accepted as part of the "package". He is very kind to her and we enjoy our weekends together.

Lately it has started to bother me that while we spend every weekend at my home, he does not contribute to the home. Now don't get me wrong, we enjoy each other very much. But the reality is that my child support/alimony mostly supports my home expenses, i.e., utilities and food. He freely helps himself to whatever is here and does his laundry here weekly. Initially it did not bother me in the least. In many ways he is very generous to both me and my child. The truth is that we don't live together full-time so we don't share expenses.

I approached him a month or so about this and he seemed surprised. He also got a bit defensive - more in demeanor than in words. He responded with "well I take you and Susie (my daughter) out to eat at least a few times a month so it all evens out. My response was that while yes he did do that in my mind that was more about our dating life than evening out our expenses. When I asked if he didn't "live" here on the weekends would he not take me (and yes sometimes my daughter) out? Financially he is more set than I am. There have been a few times when I've treated us to a meal out - at my invitation - and he has always accepted. Then he'll tell stories about how his daughter might offer to take him out to eat and he refuses because it's too expensive. For the record she's in her late 30's married and both spouses have successful careers.

My guess he is clueless on this matter. If we could stay at his place, I'm confident he would be find if we acted like he does at my home. He paid for my daughter and myself to fly to his summer home and he treated us very well. His house was our house and it was a lovely week.

Since I mentioned this to him, I've noticed the he brings some groceries here on the weekend soI feel some movement on the issue but still when he walks into my pantry and starts rummaging through it I feel my spine stiffen. Or when he empties my laundry from the dryer into a heap in a basket so he can do his, I bristle. Am I just selfish? I want him here and I want him to feel comfortable but at the same time it is my home, not ours. His behavior indicates he thinks it's ours.

When we stayed with him I always asked to use something or take something. That's who I am. When I stay at someone's home I always bring something. Even at his vacation home we brought him "treats" we know that he likes as a gesture of gratitude.

He will talk about us getting married and while that is not off the table for me it would take a while to get to that place. I like our arrangement, minus the afore mentioned and don't want to change our status. Honestly, money is the big reason I'd hold off on getting married. I don't make a lot at my job (I'm there for the health benefits). I get way more in support from my ex-husband and a lot of that would go away if I remarried. Plus I have a trust set up for my children and I would could not change my will due that and a guardianship in place for my daughter. Financially it is complicated for me.

Am I being selfish? Not ready for a committed relationship? I don't want to end my relationship and think this could be worked out. There is a lot of good in our relationship. Any insight is appreciated :)

posts: 333   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2017
id 8753779
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Sickandafraid ( member #72338) posted at 1:44 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I understand this a bit because my SO and I spend most of our time at my house. We do that because I have more commitments child wise that make it much harder for me to stay at his house.

One thing I’ve had to remind myself is that spending all his time at my house vs his own is an investment on his part unto itself. In my situation, we live 45 min apart. Depending on gas prices, this means he has to spend at least $15-20 per trip just to get here. It also means he can’t get any of his household chores done, or just be at his own home in general.

Investments into a relationship are more than just financial, so it may help you to get some perspective by considering the whole picture. I do understand how stressful it is being on your own financially, but you want to be careful not to let this impact a relationship that is very positive in almost every other way (assuming that’s the case).

[This message edited by Sickandafraid at 1:45 PM, Sunday, September 4th]

Too many DD’s to list
Divorced 2020

posts: 90   ·   registered: Dec. 18th, 2019   ·   location: St Louis
id 8753815
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messyleslie ( member #58177) posted at 5:34 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I don’t think it’s possible for people who have not experienced the financial devastation of being the spouse who is not the main breadwinner in the middle of a divorce with kids in the mix.

I have a friend who went through something very similar to me in terms of his wife having a mental breakdown and then an affair and ending their marriage and leaving him with the kids full time. But he owns his own company, makes a bunch of money, sold their family home and made a bunch on the equity, could easier pay for childcare, had flexibility since he was his own boss etc. And I had to remind myself that his experience of this was horrific, but was much different than mine. I had to sort through how I was going to feed my kids and had to find a job in the middle of complete crisis and worry about health insurance and had my ex try to control me with money. And then I had to learn how to pay for it all on my own. My lifestyle changed drastically outside of just being married and then not being married.

And so if and when I ever get married the finances will be huge for me. I will never again be dependent on a man for anything. I don’t know if I could even own a home with someone - like it might be something like we l live in my house and he pays rent or we rent my house out and I live in his house. The thought of putting a man’s name on my home deed is anxiety producing. I would 100% have to have a prenup even though I have no assets other than my home.

And coming to the table with that sort of baggage around money has made me super weird. In my current relationship (my first since being divorced) I make way less than him. But I very early on told him that I am happy to have him over here and happy to sit on my patio and chat or watch a movie on my couch but I couldn’t afford dinners out or babysitters all the time and so if he wanted to do that it would be on him. I feel a lot of guilt about thay and thank him a ton for all he pays for. And I don’t spend money I don’t have, so I’m happy to have him here and he can drink wine I have, and I can drive to his house sometimes (he lives 45 mins away so it’s a lot of gas) and he can have anything in my fridge because that’s how I would act with anyone in my family or any good friend. And I think to myself that I’m fine paying for that even if he was never paying for anything because I can afford that and I love him. If I was being asked to pay for stuff I could not afford then I would want to have a discussion about it. But I am not keeping score and I know when a bill comes at a restaurant he picks it up without hesitation (he even asked if he could pay for his own birthday dinner because I was trying to treat him that day and had taken him to a winery and for drinks earlier).

I think his response to your feelings is probably the most important of all of this and if you didn’t feel like it was what you needed then I would talk again. And try and figure out what you what they solution to be - is it that you go to his house or is it that he gives you money? And if it’s that you want him to give you money - is that because you are having trouble paying for the extra or just because you want it to be equal? And maybe figure out what is at the route of that.

posts: 284   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2017
id 8753843
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phmh ( member #34146) posted at 2:15 AM on Monday, September 5th, 2022

For background, my BF and I have been together almost 7 years, and we live separately, about 30 minutes apart. We spend much more time at my house. He eats/drinks anything I have but he has never brought over his laundry.

Can you identify what exactly is bothering you about your arrangement? It sounds like he pays/has paid for some larger-ticket items, like the plane tickets for you and your daughter, so it's possible that on a money basis, you might be even. I'm guessing it would also be more challenging for you to have to go to his place all the time, given your daughter's needs.

If you can figure out what you would like, or where you feel an imbalance is, you could talk to him to see if he'd be willing to meet your needs. Do you want him not to do his laundry at your house, but otherwise you're fine with the balance? Do you want him to pick up groceries/takeout, take you out to dinner more often, give you $500 cash each month to cover his additional expenses? Do you want him to not spend the entire weekend with you so you have some non-work alone time (I need this!)

I want him here and I want him to feel comfortable but at the same time it is my home, not ours. His behavior indicates he thinks it's ours.

The above quote stood out to me. When my BF is at my place, I want him to feel at home, and when I'm at his place, I feel at home. Within limits :) If he'd rearranged my cabinets or moved furniture around without asking me I'd be miffed. But eating food that's in the pantry? We do that at each others' houses.

I can understand his confusion (and it sounds from your message that you might be a bit confused as well) - he doesn't seem to have specific, actionable things for him to do. He sounds like a lovely person, and would probably be amenable to making changes to make you feel more comfortable.

Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

Character is destiny

posts: 4986   ·   registered: Dec. 8th, 2011
id 8753916
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 thishurts123 (original poster member #58848) posted at 2:23 PM on Monday, September 5th, 2022

Thank you to everyone for your response. I've gotten great feedback. After mulling over your responses, I think I've come up with a few ideas:

If I lived alone, I believe I'd feel differently. This is my children's home (well child now - two are away at college laugh ). When my BF is helping himself to things here, taking the last of something or dumping our laundry out to use the machines, it feels inconsiderate to my daughter - and me I guess. It all stems from the baggage of living with my XWH who had little to no consideration for me or my children. So this would be a good topic for my IC and I to dig into.

Money is a trigger topic for me. While XWH was an ass, he made an excellent salary and we lived well in that area. I gave up a great and lucrative career (willingly) when we had our first. I am grateful for all the years I had to raise my children as a stay at home mom. Had I known how it would all end, I most likely would have kept myself somewhat in the working world to secure my finances. Now I am dependent on my XWH financially so it's hard to think about giving that up. My job is F/T in the school system where I live and it pays very little but gives me very good health care coverage, which I lost in the divorce. I like my job very much and it allows me to be home with my daughter when school is closed. An excellent option for sure at this stage in life and feel blessed to be where I am.

As I stated in my original post, we cannot and do not stay at my BF house on the weekends. He lives in a very small apartment and there is just no room for three of us. If we could bounce between our homes it would be different in my mind in terms of sharing expenses.

In every other way our relationship is great. We share many interests and enjoy each other's company. He understands my daughter's situation and although retired, is willing to love us both. He is generous in a lot of ways, i.e., paying for us to travel to his vacation home. The fact he could hear my concerns about the groceries and now brings some when he comes on the weekend tells me he's willing to compromise. Nothing bad there....

Clearly this is my issue and it embarrasses me a little to be honest. I would assume that's why I didn't bring it up with IC before now. Putting it all out here has helped me to see that this is not a hill to die on and that with some more self examination, I can get past it. To be given a second chance in loving with a man who is willing to put in the effort is nothing I ever expected to find.

Thank you again for taking the time to reply. You've helped me very much!

posts: 333   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2017
id 8753967
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nothisfriend ( member #53171) posted at 9:30 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

My BF and I were in a LDR (2.5 hr drive apart) for the first 4 years of our relationship. Most of the year was spent at his summer place close to my house. He paid that rent and after 2 years I started chipping in what I could afford. When we drove back and forth on the weekends in the winter it was basically he paid at his house and I paid at my house. Dinners, drinks, groceries etc. It evened out. He had a roommate so those rules applied with groceries and I just let him take the lead. I never went to the fridge or pantry unless he got something out for us.

Now he is retired and we are living together in my home. I bought it just before he moved in so it is not the marital home or place that DS grew up in. I pay mortgage, etc. and he pays all the utilities and it equates to an almost even split. I buy groceries at home and he buys for the summer place, and he spends a much longer season there with me coming down on the weekends and him coming home once a week (to do laundry smile )

I understand totally your feelings. I was left in very precarious finances after my D. My house is my house and BF understands that. I told him that I'm going to take care of it and my DS is my beneficiary. He has no kids and understands my wishes. However, when DS graduated college during covid and came home for a year he came home as just a roommate. Got his own groceries, meals, etc. Essentially he moved in with BF and I and everyone was very respectful.

Money is a hard topic in my family to talk about but I'm getting better and teaching my son that it isn't a taboo subject. BF and I started off openly talking about money and history with our exes taught us how we want our relationship to be. If we are planning a trip or special weekend plans we discuss how to pay before we go. In the winter when we are both at home we generally take turns buying groceries. We are creatures of habit so it's very few surprises.

We have also talked about getting married but it will have to "make sense" financially, for both of us.

Me: BS 50 (at the time)
Him: WH 53 (at the time)
D-Day: 10/25/15
Married: 5/14/1988
One son, age 18 (at the time)
D final 9/13/16

posts: 1273   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2016   ·   location: Illinois
id 8754661
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EvenKeel ( member #24210) posted at 2:45 PM on Thursday, September 15th, 2022

I would assume that's why I didn't bring it up with IC before now.

If you haven't broached this topic in IC yet, I would encourage you to do so.


I don't want to end my relationship and think this could be worked out

I do too. If this is your biggest issue, you are golden. smile

How do the household dynamics work on weekends for day to day? Meaning, do you cook meals as you usually would if it was just you and your DD? If you are like me, I always make too much food so one more person would not be a big financial burden. However, if you are going all Martha Stewart and upping your meal game while he is there, then it would make a financial difference.

Maybe it just has to do with how you were raised. IE I was raised to always knock on the door when I go to someone's house. My friend's mom was applaud and said "No one knocks...just come in". I would never go through someone's pantry whereas others are very comfortable with that. I have been with my SO for 6yrs. He typically stays on the weekend but he have never gone through my pantry or cupboards. It is almost like the opposite of what you have....sometimes I think "why do I have to be the mastermind behind all the meal planning, etc...you are no longer a guest" lol

I would never expect him to contribute to my home financially. But when we go shopping, sometimes he pays for the groceries, etc. so it feels fair. Ditto for vacations, I pay for one part (say lodging) and he pays for the others (car rental, food, etc).

While your SO is only there on weekends, it is still a blending of people within your household. There are going to be things to work out. I think what you are feeling is very natural. I sense because you are trying to be so independent (ie "your" house for an example) that is why the little things he is doing (that makes him feel at home) is giving you anxiety. Girl....he can look for snacks all he wants in your pantry, that will NOT make your house any less your house.

Besides, everyone knows that a mom who has a child at home always has the best snacks!!!! Your pantry probably feels like a wonderland compared to his bachelor pad.

I would again encourage you to talk to your IC about this so you can target what is really bothering you and learn how to deal with it together. You guys are navigating a lot (new relationship, weekend cohabitation with a child still at home, etc).

posts: 6762   ·   registered: May. 31st, 2009   ·   location: Pennsylvania
id 8755372
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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 3:24 PM on Friday, September 16th, 2022

I like the actionable items concept. It sounds like he has done some work there. How much does he do around the house? Does he fix things, yard work or otherwise help out, or is he just a guest? You may be able in your mind to view that as non-cash payment.

You sound like you need a careful conversation on the laundry. He shouldn't have a problem starting your laundry in front of his to clear the machines. Truthfully he shouldn't have a problem with buying supplies on occasions.

The careful part is you want nothing to do with a relationship with tit for tats where everything has to be balanced. The best ones are where the partners are competing with each other to do more for the other.

posts: 1313   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2021
id 8755551
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 thishurts123 (original poster member #58848) posted at 5:38 PM on Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Wow - I've gotten some great insight from your responses.

It has a lot to do with how I was raised. We never walked into anyone's home without knocking nor helped ourselves to anything in the home. I'm still that way and he is not. Now that's not to say he is wrong, we are different.

Another point/question raised was does he act like he's on vacation when he's here and the answer is yes that's how it felt to me. This and the previous point I've decided are the two things that were eating at me the most, not "financial" as I first suspected. I don't expect him to contribute money to my home. At the same time, I don't have "weekends off" lol. I work full-time so a larger part of my weekends can include those "catching up" items on the to do list. I'd be busy doing whatever I needed to do around the house and he'd, for example, say I'm going to take a nap. That would irk me.

I am also the person that needs some down-time on my own - not days but maybe and hour or so. He's retired and goes about his business all week then jumps into couple mode because he's alone all week and he'd come here within minutes of my arriving home. I never said anything about that because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. This is what I did through my entire marriage - kept my needs and/or wants to myself; that certainly didn't serve me.

Since my original post, I've had a few IC sessions to go over these things. My counselor has helped me come to the conclusion that my feelings are valid and not selfish; that I need to express my needs and feelings to my boyfriend which was a very uncomfortable notion to me. She also reiterated that feeling the discomfort and dealing with it gets me to comfort so she helped me put together my talking points to feel more grounded in my concerns rather than emotion.

My boyfriend and I had a long talk about this and he was wonderful. He heard all of my concerns, did not get defensive and worked with me to make some changes in our weekends to make me feel better while keeping us connected. I was so blown away at how kind and loving he was - again a very new experience for me when having this type of conversation. First off, he offered to come later in the evening on a Friday to give me some downtime. We did that this Friday and it was great. I had time to pay some bills, make my daughter and I dinner, take a shower, journal a bit, etc. When he came I was so happy to see him! My mood was so much lighter.

Then he said he would be happy to help on the weekends with whatever I wanted or needed help with. So far this weekend he has fixed my garbage disposal, hung pictures, moved some furniture around rooms for me and fixed our bikes :).

After dinner he cleaned the kitchen. Also he said he's taking over making breakfast in the mornings. All this was happily offered; no moaning or complaining. He also said if he had made me feel like he had to entertain him, he was sorry. I honestly didn't feel that way but it warmed my heart how considerate he was trying to be about my feelings.

Thanks again for all your kind responses. This is a great community where no judgement is spewed; just thoughtful responses offered that are honest yet empathetic. Bless you all.

posts: 333   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2017
id 8757001
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Fablegirl ( member #56784) posted at 5:52 PM on Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Sounds like you are doing some great work in recognizing finances as a trigger point. The key thing in relationships, at least in my experience, is to state expectations clearly and make sure the relationship doesn't turn transactional.

posts: 240   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2017   ·   location: Mid Atlantic
id 8757002
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