Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: She's wary of her boyfriend's generosity

Q: I am in a great relationship with the man of my dreams. We have plans to live together, and we each make a comfortable living.

The problem is his family. None of them is very financially stable, and all of them depend on his help. I love that he is so generous but am bothered that they take advantage of him.

If we are going to be sharing our lives and our finances I want to suggest that he set limits with them but am unsure how.

Anonymous

A: You basically just said you want to jump in and tell him how to deal with his family, and that's not a great way to start off this next phase of your relationship.

For one thing, you do not, do not want to move in with him unless and until this is resolved in a way you both can embrace fully. Not tolerate, not bear — embrace.

You need to understand why his family is this way. Why is Man o' Dreams okay with this; what is his limit when it comes to sacrificing his (or your) comfort for theirs; when would he be willing to revisit this arrangement; who would be a higher priority to him than these family members, if there ever came a time when he couldn't support everyone?

Would he ever help you out, as live-in partner? Would he only help in the context of marriage?

If he ever has a child, will the child come first?

So get right at this: Say you're struggling to understand the arrangement with his family. Ask him to explain more thoroughly. If you expect both of you to have some say in how the other deals with family, then you need to get that out there now.

Then you need to take whatever he says and give it time to prove true. People may want to behave a certain way around family, but nothing's real until it survives the reality test. In this case, the test of the likely pushback from his family if he reduces their cash flow.

Again, don't sign any leases till you're both fully in agreement on how to handle this, now and in various possible futures.

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