Scrooge McBoyfriend

17 Sep

Letterbalm The MiserDear LetterBalm: My boyfriend is great in many ways, but he has a real problem with money. He’s cheap, cheap, cheap – a major cheapskate. When I had a fulltime job, he made more than twice what I earned. But he insisted we split rent, utilities, groceries, etc. for our apartment equally. I was laid off three months ago, but he still says I have to pay my full share. We eat out and do things only when he can find Groupon deals and online coupons to save money. He never gives me birthday or Christmas presents, brings house presents if we’re invited to friends’ homes or gives gifts for family celebrations. We don’t even have dinner parties (and I like to cook). He seems to view his earnings as exclusively his – and, I know he’s contributing to a retirement fund. I feel like I’m subsidizing him. I’ve tried to talk with him about all this, but he won’t have it. If he doesn’t make a move to change, I’m done.

–Skinflint’s Girlfriend

Living with an Ebenezer Scrooge – or, Scrooge McDuck – is no fun, as you’re finding out. Clearly, your boyfriend has a flawed outlook about money, which is ingrained in his personality, probably beginning in childhood. Do you know if his mother or father was a cheapskate? Did he grow up in poverty? You must try again to talk with your man so he can address his fears about having no money. Ms. L.B. suggests that your boyfriend can benefit from some cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on his attitudes towards money, what in his life rise to them and how he can change his conduct. However he approaches his dysfunction, the issue must be resolved before you and he get married and have children. Otherwise, there isn’t too much hope for this relationship. So, talk with him (not when he’s obsessing about the latest discount) and lay it on the line:

Ralph, brace yourself because I need to talk with you about money again. But this will be the last time. Darling, you’re a great guy in every other respect except your attitudes toward cash. It’s clear to me, my family, friends and a lot of other people that you have irrational concerns about money that stop you from having normal, adult relationships. Maybe this is from your upbringing, your parents, I don’t know. But I do know that you need expert help. Would you consider some cognitive behavioral therapy?  It can help you understand why you behave the way you do about money and how you can apply some changes in your life. I love you so much, but unless you change, I see little hope for our relationship, certainly not marriage and having kids. This is too important for us not to deal with. Please, please talk to me.

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