After 14 years, will I ever get the $ 2,000 my ex owes me?


    Dear Penny,

    Around 2007 I loaned my then boyfriend about $ 10,000 to buy a car. He said he would pay me back $ 500 a month. Well, he couldn’t handle it because he kept losing his job. Then he started paying me $ 250 a month.

    He paid me up to $ 8,000 and then stopped when he owed me the last $ 2,000. He moved to Florida because he could no longer afford to live in LA and he claimed he couldn’t afford to pay me the rest of the money. After that, he never tried to pay me back.

    I feel betrayed and used. Can i do something about it?

    -Feeling needed

    Dear feeling,

    Move on. Let go of hope that you will ever collect the last $ 2,000.

    I would advise you to review your state’s procedure for bringing actions in a small claims court if it is a recent debt. But it has been 14 years since you took out this loan. The laws vary depending on the state and whether you had a written or oral contract. Presumably, the limitation period has long expired.

    If you can’t sue your ex, your only option is to contact them and get them to pay you because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe he’s changed in the years since you split up. But the chances of getting him to make a voluntary payment seem extremely slim. I don’t think $ 2,000 is worth the cost of opening old wounds.

    Is this really about the money? Or are you looking for an end to your feelings about this relationship? Remember, even if it isn’t about money, many people feel taken advantage of by a relationship.

    The $ 2,000 he still owes you is easy to focus because it’s quantifiable. But if you feel like you have been drained of your time, energy, or goodwill, those feelings won’t go away in the unlikely event that you are collecting those old debts.

    For what it’s worth, if they paid back the first $ 8,000 with significant difficulty, it doesn’t sound like your friend was cheating on you or taking advantage of you. Of course, this does not release him from responsibility. It’s just that during tough times you were probably easier to call off compared to his other creditors.

    Think about what you learned from this experience. Are there any lessons you can apply to current or future relationships? Are there any limits to lending money that you would like to set in retrospect?

    Ultimately, I think that if you destroy any hope of getting your $ 2,000 back, you have a better chance of breaking free of your lingering feelings about this relationship. With the money off the table, there’s no need to contact your ex again. You have completed this chapter of your life. Chalk this up into an expensive lesson.

    Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].


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