Alanna in Kenosha writes:
I am really hopeful that you will answer me really soon. I am completely lost and uninformed about my situation, and I don’t really know which way to turn. My story is this:
My boyfriend and I have been living together for 4 years with my 13 year old son. During this time, he hasn’t taken on any financial responsibility for either me or my son. We were supposed to get married, which was the reason I moved away from our home town in Illinois. However, because of our financial situation, we have ended our engagement. We are trying to deal with either selling our house or my ex-fiance taking over the mortgage. Now, after arguing over our finances for so long, he wants to come to a resolution regarding our situation. I don’t know that I trust him anymore to commingle our funds as I don’t feel he is coming to this conclusion out of “generosity,” but rather only because I am ready to walk out the door.
I am fearful about the effect this is having on my son. I am wondering if I should give my boyfriend another chance to work on a “couples'” budget or just leave it be, take my losses and move on. Please, please, please help! I am truly at a loss and this is a time-sensitive situation. Please let me know which road the spirit guides suggest I follow to pursue my real goals on this planet. Thank you!
I know that you are disappointed in how your relationship has progressed, and struggling with financial issues on top of it has somewhat tainted the love you once felt for this man. It is true that his willingness to step up and bear more financial responsibility has been provoked by the threat of you leaving, but at least he is now willing to step up.
Time may not feel like it is on your side, but it is. Sure, you can pack your bags and go at any moment, but that choice isn’t necessarily the easiest option. Even though it’s battered and bruised, you still have love for this guy. Be aware that if you leave now, you will struggle with whether or not you made the right choice.
Since you now have your boyfriend’s full attention, you can use that to your advantage. Not only is this a prime opportunity to straighten out your finances, but it is also an excellent chance to heal your relationship. Encourage your man to refinance the house in his name, because that lifts a pretty hefty burden from you, even if you still contribute to the payments. With that issue taken care of, you will be free to make your decisions based on how you feel and what you want, rather than legal responsibility. Put that “couples budget” on paper, outlining what each of you is responsible for, and open an additional joint account that each of you deposits a set amount into for your shared expenses. You believe that your boyfriend doesn’t financially take care of you or your son, and he believes that you should be the primary contributor because there is two of you and one of him. He believes that he does contribute, because without him, you would be shouldering the entire financial burden of life. Since money is a volatile topic between the two of you, it isn’t a bad idea to enlist the aid of a couples counselor to help each of you work out the finer details. With negotiation and effort, you can reach a fair and workable budget that will relieve some of the stress, and not leave either one of you completely strapped.
Once the money side of things is taken care of, you will have to work on releasing your resentment in order to repair your relationship. If you keep looking at your relationship in terms of your boyfriend getting the better end of the deal, it will fail, and you will leave. It’s not easy to let go of the past, but it is sometimes necessary in order to move forward. With both of you adhering to a new financial plan, the two of you are free to concentrate more on each other, and your relationship. By working together once again toward future goals, the trust will be rebuilt and the passion reignited. This is one relationship that can be saved. By trying to work through things as a couple, you will actually get further ahead than if you leave now. Unless and until you marry him, you have every day to decide whether you want to go, or stay.
Your son is going through the stress and drama of your relationship trials pretty much in the same fashion as any other kid. It may not be the best atmosphere at all times, but the three of you do present as a family. Because both you and your boyfriend offer him love and emotional support in your own ways, he is actually okay. He’s just waiting for you two adults to figure it out. Continue to be honest with him and supportive of him, and he will be just fine.