Should I consider marrying someone always behind the 8 ball with money?
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  1. #1
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    Default Should I consider marrying someone always behind the 8 ball with money?

    I will try and summarize as quickly as possible: I (41 y/o male) have been dating a woman (34y/o) for almost 6 years. She has a 12 y/o daughter. We are both divorced. I have no kids and had a recent vasectomy. I moved in with her in her apartment 4 years ago, then we bought a house together in December.

    Money has been a touchy subject with us. Even bringing up the topic has led to many fights. We don’t share bank accounts. The bills are in my name and she gives me a chunk of money every two weeks to pay her share of the bills (50%). After taxes, I take home $44K and she takes home $33K. Note that her child stays with us about 4-5 days per week (with her deadbeat dad the other days) but we don’t factor her in the bills.

    She is really struggling with money right now actually she pretty much always has. Her student loan payment spiked temporarily and will stay high through June. Her expenses with her child are rather high and the ex helps out very little even though I believe he is legally required to help more. In short, she agreed to buy a house without me that she really couldn’t afford.

    Before you beat me up, I don’t look down on my partner because she doesn’t make a lot of money. She is a great woman who works very hard at her position of program coordinator and is a successful musician with a female drum band. She is a very giving person but perhaps to a fault….

    You see, we butted heads a lot when I was living with her in her old apartment. When I moved in, her brother (now aged 24) was also living there. He has mental health and addiction issues, worse at the time, and he was contributing very little to the bills in addition to barely helping out around the house. She also has another alcoholic brother and a sister who dates an addict. While I do not know the full details, a lot of money has gone from her to them over the years to help then financially when they make poor life choices. I am not sure if she still gives them money, but I wouldn’t rule out it still happens on occasion. I don’t feel she is the best with money. She smokes 3 packs of cigarettes a week and splurges often on her daughter, spoiling her with money she really doesn’t have.

    To help with the situation, I offered to pay more of the bills based on percentage of income. I do have about 12K in a RRSP (401K) and 10K in savings so I am in better shape than her, but I also have $40K in student loan debt so I am in no means in great financial standing. I’d say my monthly expenses are just as high as hers.

    I know partners need to work together as a team. Of course, I would not let her slip into poverty but at the same time I feel I shouldn’t be pulling most of the weight. I should also point out that while my partner does work very hard as an employee and mom, she is a bit lax around the house. I do a larger portion of the housework and on many occasions do the laundry for everyone. Her daughter, almost 13 really doesn’t do much in the way of chores. My partner also doesn’t drive so I do all of the driving in the family. My fear is that if I marry her or get deeper in the relationship, I will just become a human ATM, paying more than I can handle and not getting enough in return.

    Do I have a right to be concerned? I love this woman and care about her child and we have a history together, but I do not want to blow though what’s left in my bank account. A small part of me feels like I was almost used into buying a house (my name is on the mortgage btw because her credit was not good enough). I know bringing all of this up is painful for her and always starts fights – some of it is maybe not her fault because she has addicted family members and a deadbeat ex but then again she could cut probably cut back on expenses on her end.

    What should I do?

  2. #2
    Registered User RABBIT's Avatar
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    My 2 cents. If you are questioning marrying someone than the answer is most likely no. I would never marry someone unless I was 110% sure.
    I'm too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.

  3. #3
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    Run! This sounds like such a unhealthy situation. It's really important that you are prepared for retirement. If you are involved with an addict or codependent, it only gets worse. They are masters at getting other people to do things for them.

    Things can happen as you get older. You could get sick, or need surgery, or lose your job...It's so important to be prepared and on solid footing. I think your fears are real.

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  5. #4
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    I'm still stuck on the why you moved in together. Were you sympathetic towards her single mom status/family donations to the down-and-out relatives/lack of financial priorities or all of the above?

    I'm not the best person to give advice, even after 25 years of marriage. I understand separate bank accounts. But I think it has to be known your expectations and show her what YOU need. If it's bills not getting paid, show how much things cost and the percentage you're paying. Are you a traditional man? Do you like a clean home? Then say it. She has to focus on 3 people right now and no other distractions. Focus on the family and a life balance. Help each other. What are the issues? What can be done so it's solved in a fair way? Nobody wants to feel used or unappreciated.

    I know people with very similar issues. I'm sending out feelings of hope, peace and a happy ending.

  6. #5
    Registered User josantoro's Avatar
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    If you don't mind being the ATM for her needy family members, go for it. The more you get involved, it will be harder to say NO because of your love for her. I would not have bought a house with her in the first place (although my DH and I did buy a house together 6 months before we married). What was the contribution of each of you toward the down payment for the house? What are the prospects for getting out of this joint house ownership if things go downhill?
    Make America Kind Again.

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