DEAR AMY: I’m a young woman currently dating my first boyfriend. We’ve been together for about seven months. While I really do like him and we usually get along well, one thing about him that irks me (sometimes) is that he’s cheap. We’ve known each other for about six years. Before we started dating, whenever we hung out, we would each pay for our own share. This was fine with me. However, since we’ve started dating, we seem to either do free activities, or I usually end up paying for the both of us, whether the activity is my suggestion or not. He doesn’t ever offer to split the bill or pay his own way at all, and if I don’t pay, then we don’t get to do anything. I try to do little things for him and feel like he isn’t doing the same for me. He makes more money than I do. I never expected to have a claim on his money, so it frustrates me when it seems like he feels he has a claim on mine. He says that he really likes me and that he sees me as family. He says he can see a future for us, one in which he’s the main provider. But I have the general idea that if he’s like this now, he most likely won’t change. Do you think I should stay with him longer to see if things can truly work out between us, or should I cut my losses early and spare myself some potential serious trouble?
Confused by a Cheapskate
DEAR CONFUSED: Before you leave the relationship, you should run a little test. The next time you go out, pull out only enough money for your own share and then slide the bill toward him. Will he crowbar open his wallet or will he wordlessly slide the bill back to you? And if he is refusing to pay his share, why is this? You don’t seem to have confronted him about it, and you should.
I love the idea of choosing free activities, but if he chooses an activity that costs money, you should say to him, “We either share this expense, or you treat, or I’m not doing it.”
The only potential “serious trouble” I see in your future is if you stay with someone who behaves in a way that is both ungenerous and confusing, and you don’t have the courage to even ask him about it.
DEAR AMY: My family will be getting together for a mountain cabin vacation again this year. One family insists on bringing their two pets. The dog is untrained, messes on the carpet and growls and snaps at people. The cat howls loudly during the night. We have pets, but we choose to leave them at home, as a courtesy to others. Am I the only person that thinks that “pet people” should leave animals at home for group vacations?
DEAR IRKED: During a group vacation at shared accommodations, pet owners should get every other participant to approve their desire to bring their pets. Many people are allergic, and/or simply don’t want to spend their own vacations around other people’s animals.
So far, your family members are lucky that you don’t bring your own pets along; I could imagine that if various sets of animals don’t mix well, it could create big problems for humans and animals alike.
I assume readers will offer their own perspectives.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the dilemma presented by “Possibly Overprotective Mom,” regarding the sudden pregnancy of her son’s troubled ex-girlfriend, here is something I said to my son from the time he was a young boy (he is now 31 and a new father): anytime a man has sex with a woman, she does not have to ask his permission to have the baby. And if it’s yours, it is yours. Now, as toxic as the girlfriend may seem to be to the mom who wrote to you, she was not so toxic that “sonny boy” wasn’t having sex with her. I suggest that son “man up” and affirmatively take steps to establish paternity. If he is the father, then he should get a child support and visitation agreement. And, Amy, you are right, if the young mom is unstable, he should do more — not less.
DEAR JUNE: I really appreciate your brand of frank and honest parenting. Good for you.