My boyfriend of almost two recently asked me to pay his electricity and water bills. I live about an hour’s drive from him, so I really only spend the weekends with him. I’ve washed my clothes there a maximum of three times in almost two years, and I washed his clothes with mine those times.
I clean his house, take care of his dogs, buy food, and share the cost of going out, vacations, etc. I feel like he doesn’t appreciate my contributions in any way. So how should I deal with this situation?
They could offer to bring your own bottled water and generator for your weekends together. You could research common rates for cleaning and dog sitting in your area and then charge your friend for your services. Ask him to reimburse you for transportation at the IRS standard mileage rate.
Better yet, you couldn’t visit your boyfriend this weekend. Or next weekend. Or the weekend after.
At most, he’ll free up a few dollars in his budget when you’re not around using his utilities. More importantly, free up your time. Then you can pursue someone who truly appreciates your companionship.
At best, your friend is an extreme cheapskate. But I can’t help but feel that he is being manipulative in trying to blame you for his bills. Regardless, the right way to handle this situation is to tell your friend, «No, I’m not paying your utility bills. That’s a completely ridiculous demand.” That’s not up for debate.
You can tell him why it’s so absurd on a financial level. You pay for gas and wear and tear on your vehicle because you drive an hour each way to visit your friend. I’m sure that cost alone is way more than the tiny extra you add to its ancillary costs.
But also tell him how you feel when he asks you. I think you are spot on when you say your friend doesn’t acknowledge your posts. It’s not just about what you do around the house. You want someone who values your time and company.
This relationship sounds one-sided, even if we ignore the fact that your boyfriend wants you to pay his bills. You drive to him for an hour, then you buy groceries, clean his house and take care of his dogs. Instead of being grateful, your boyfriend tries to burden you with his bills for the privilege of spending time with him.
What I’m interested in is whether this request is uncharacteristic of your friend. I suppose an extremely charitable explanation might be that he’s stressed about money. Of course, that doesn’t let him off the hook. If money is a big concern for your boyfriend, then he needs to be honest and limit things like going out instead of trying to blame you for his bills.
But given all the work you put into this relationship, I can’t help but think this might be typical of him. If that’s the case, listen carefully. This is not about the cost of water and electricity. This is about how he values your relationship.
Assuming you want this to work, you need to embrace a new mantra: You will only give what you get out of a relationship. This applies to both your current relationship and any relationships you pursue in the future.
Stop cleaning your friend’s house, doing laundry, and grocery shopping on your weekends. He can handle his own chores like a responsible adult. He could also visit you for a change to save you some time and gas money.
Your friend’s reaction will be very revealing. If he fights with you, if you tell him you’re not paying his bills, or if he expects you to do his chores when you visit him, I think it’s time to leave him. It is better to end things now, before you have combined your lives any further, than to continue wasting time with someone who will never appreciate you.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected] or chat with her The Penny Hoarder Community.