DEAR AMY: I am a 24-year-old woman. My 18-year-old boyfriend doesn’t make enough money and won’t save. The age difference between us doesn’t bother me, but his money management does. We split all the shared bills, but he lost his job and in the three-week gap before getting a new one he managed to borrow $1,200 from me (which he wants to pay back). He says he wants a second job, but just comes up with excuses. I hate feeling like I’m nagging him to make more money. He’s an amazing and sweet guy that I love, but I’ve started resenting him. I have taken him out and paid for movies, dates, etc., but I want to feel financially stable. I want a man who can take care of me (more than just emotionally). I want to talk to him about this, but he gets so defensive. Am I being ridiculous? He did nothing for me on my birthday last month, and when I confronted him that it hurt that he couldn’t even write me a love note, or buy a $1 card, or do anything cheap (or free), he just made excuses. I told him I knew he spent money on weed instead of on me. Normally it doesn’t bother me when he smokes weed, but it hurts to know he’s spending money he doesn’t have on pot, rather than paying my money back, or celebrating my birthday. Am I becoming my boyfriend’s sugar mama?
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: It is shocking that — knowing how you feel about money and what you know about your boyfriend — you would give him $1,200. You will NEVER see that money again.
Your boyfriend should not have to “take care of you” financially. You are obviously capable of taking care of yourself. If you resent bankrolling him, then you shouldn’t do it.
He is 18. He is handling his money the way many 18-year-old people do, and making choices that immature people make. If he is a heavy pot user, it will naturally soak up a fair amount of his income, as well as affect his initiative. Maybe he will grow out of this phase — maybe not.
You are 24. If you want someone who is more mature, financially stable and grown-up, you should probably find someone who matches your maturity and initiative. Stability is obviously an important value to you, so choose to be with someone who fulfills this value.
Also — I highly recommend being on your own for a while. Being alone is much more preferable to baby-sitting and bankrolling your romantic partner’s weed habit.
DEAR AMY: As a smartphone user, I have been guilty of using my phone at inappropriate times, but the more I am around people on their phones the more I am seeing the rudeness of people using them. I was with some family members and an older friend when two of the family members, (both older than 60) were talking on their phones and texting while at dinner. It was embarrassing! They were upset and defensive when I made a comment about it.
Sick of Cells
DEAR SICK: Would these family members go out to dinner and then invite another person to come over and sit in the middle of the table to converse with them during the meal? Probably not. But this is what they are doing when they talk and text during the meal.
My casual observation is that adolescents do this, and then the distraction wanes until people hit the age of 60 or so. Older people seem to be very heavy smartphone users, and also oblivious to the impact on others.
The next time you go out with them, ask your companions if they would be willing to play a game: The first person to reach for their phone pays for dessert.
DEAR AMY: Regarding “T,” who said his wife was having secret chats with an old flame after many years of marriage . . . family members should please consider that she might have early onset dementia. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which can strike when people are young (in their 40s and 50s), has a few variants. The behavioral variant causes people who have it to exhibit behaviors like T described, including the apathy for his emotional distress. It is an awful disease.
DEAR BEEN THERE: FTD is relatively rare. Hooking up with a former flame is relatively common. But I agree with you that dementia is a possibility, and thank you for the suggestion.