Red Responds: She Took On a Financial Burden

Casey in Naugatuck writes:

I am recently divorced but have fallen in love with a wonderful man that has quite a bit of baggage. I feel that once the challenges before us have calmed down we will marry and grow old together. My dilemma is the challenges of the financial burden I have taken on since he has moved in.

Namely being able to meet my bills on time and he has not been able to meet his own. I know in my heart he has the potential, I can feel it but given his current circumstances and economy he just can’t help me out. It does leave me feeling unsupported and very insecure in myself. I have taken on a part time job to help myself, but it depresses me that I even had to take that route. I guess I need to know what other alternatives should I look into? Should I sell my home next year or stay put?

Dear Casey,

Since both you and your man are financially struggling, you have to prepare for the stresses this will introduce into the relationship. It’s coming. Do your best not to let it overwhelm the good things about the relationship you share. Money problems can break a relationship, especially when the relationship isn’t being treated as an equal-effort partnership.

The two of you really need to sit down and lay all of the financial mess out on the table. He has his debts, you have yours, and then there are shared obligations. Currently, there isn’t enough income flowing into your home to meet all of these expenses, but that doesn’t mean that both of you have to swirl down the financial toilet. You seem to have taken on more responsibility of the financial burden than is your right. That most certainly needs to be addressed.

You have taken on additional work to try and help yourself out, and if you properly allocate the money you are earning, you will. Even though it is a depressing situation, you have to do what you need to do in order to financially survive. With or without him, you have bills and expenses that need to be paid. You aren’t married to this man yet, so the categories of debts should very clearly be labeled, “Yours”, “Mine” and “Ours.” Money isn’t the relationship, but it sure as heck can negatively impact the relationship. Look out for yourself first, and help him out when and where you can.

As for your man, all the potential in the world isn’t going to pay the bills. He needs to look at any and every work opportunity that he can find, even if it means looking at things that are “beneath” him. During these troubled times, any job that pays is better than no job. From what I can tell, he needs to bite the bullet and work two jobs for awhile, instead of sitting back waiting for you to come up with the answer to this financial mess.

Selling your house is an option, but I strongly want to advise you against it. It isn’t the answer. Sure, it can alleviate both of your current financial struggles, but once that money is gone, what will you have left? Keep your home, and chip away at your bills. Be as supportive as you can with your man, but understand that you aren’t his financial bailout plan.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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