A Relationship Controlled by Money



My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year.  We are great in all areas except for money.  He makes a ton of money, especially compared to me.  I am a few years younger and about to go back to school and make even less than I am now.  I pay my bills and I never borrow money from him or anything, but he always complains about how he pays for me more than he has for any girl he has ever dated in the past.  I pick up lunch and dinner at least once a week, and I always buy a round when we’re out.  I bought him a ton of Christmas presents and actually surpassed what he bought me.  He still complains.  He is stingy as hell with his money.  I love him, and I’m sure I’ll marry this one, but this money situation is enough at times to drive me insane to where I want nothing to do with anything.  I spend more money picking up dinner once a week than I would just eating Lean Cuisine at the house –  which I would actually prefer and do if I were single.  He is so social and always wants to go out to eat every day and have drinks about 4-5 nights a week as well.  We also travel a lot, and I miss a lot of work and I’m always struggling to try and catch back up.  He doesn’t effing get it.  We’re not all rich like him.  I’ve told him on a million occasions that I do the best I can.  I had $136 in the bank and still bought his $18 drink when we went out the other night.  He has millions!  I don’t get it.  He says he love me and wants to spend all his time with me, but I can’t friggin’ afford it.  I can’t get a decent job because I wouldn’t be able to travel a week out every month.  What do I do?  This is really stressing me out.  He paid for a trip we’re going on, and now he wants money from me.  He’s like, “Am I supposed to pay for this, too?”

I mean, really?  If you want me to go with you, then yes, you need to pay for it.  But, he has no problem building and buying expensive things.  I’m really confused.  Help, so I don’t combust.


Your question seriously makes me mad because I went through the exact same thing. Not just a similar situation. The exact situation. Reading this made my blood boil, because girl, I know how frustrated you are right now. I’ll tell you one thing—I didn’t stay with that guy.  I’ve heard he’s different now, and good for him, but I’m pretty sure it took me leaving for him to realize that terrible attribute about himself. Actually, I know it did because he told me so.

Your boyfriend has a huge ego and major control issues.

And guess what? You’re the little puppet he gets to manipulate. It’s like he’s hanging a great life over your head, but every single time you try to reach up and grab it, he pulls it up even higher. Because he can.

I was with my ex for a very long time, and that part of him never changed. In the beginning he didn’t have a lot of money. As a matter of fact, I was making more than he was, so I picked up the majority of the tabs. Over the next few years, we were in serious money Heaven because he worked and fought hard for a good life. I shouldn’t have had to work at all because I was going to school. I had a full-time job during the day, and I was taking twelve hours of school at night. You want to talk about stress? Add all of that to a guy who still insisted, after five years, that I help pay half of his mortgage.

I did love him, so I hung around, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Eventually though, I started to resent him, and in the long run, I fell out of love with him.

Did he actually want us to thrive and succeed in life together? I couldn’t tell.

He would buy me outrageously expensive things, but when I actually needed something (tuition, books, etc), it turned into an argument, and it ended with him telling me to figure it out on my own.  So, the things he surprised me with—cars, jewelry, watches, shoes —I’ve come to realize, were purchased for me to make him look good. Mahvelous, dahling. Juuuust mahvelous.

So, stop going to dinner with him.  Tell him you can’t afford it.  If he wants to go to dinner together, he’ll have to pay for you.  Otherwise, offer to cook him something at home because it’s cheaper.  Stop going on trips with him.  You can’t afford it.  If he wants you guys to jet over to the Bahamas for a week, he’ll have to pay.    Don’t offer to buy his drinks!  He is perfectly capable of ordering his $18 drink on his own.  (Oh, and tell him to put his pinky down when he drinks it.)  Don’t buy him so many gifts.  One will suffice.  You can’t afford it.  You should be stingy with your money since you’re going back to school.

I hope he’s not trying to teach you a “lesson” or “responsibility”. That’s what I was told. And, that was crap. I’d been working since I was 15 because I had to. I knew damn well what responsibility was.

If he doesn’t change, and you don’t nip this in the bud right now, I swear you will resent him.

Being with someone who makes a lot of money is nice if he doesn’t throw the fact that you don’t make a lot of money in your face. Your boyfriend makes me mad, and to be honest, he kind of sounds like a jerk. He’s controlling you in the easiest way possible because he knows you have no other choice but to rely on him.

You guys are going to have meet in the middle if you ever want this relationship to work. So, for now, focus on yourself and what you want to do, even if that means having to forgo a bunch of his plans. Do what makes you happy. You can either decide to live your life your way, his way, or in a way where you both feel you’re getting the long end of the stick. Right now, you’re living the way he wants to, and it’s not working for you.

Cut those strings he’s hanging above your head.

You are not his puppet.



  1. Oh my gosh, yes! I’ve experienced something like this, and honestly I had to leave him. It was like money was really just more important than me. Like if it was me and a $100 bill hanging off a cliff, and he had to rescue only one, he’d choose the money.

  2. Barbara, you’re so wonderful! You’re right – thank you for writing that.
    “Things” don’t mean squat in a relationship if it’s lacking that compromise and understanding. When those “things” are from the heart is when they mean something.

  3. I met Sarah at this stage of her life, and what can I say, her life seemed so perfect – young pretty girl, amazing condo, nice car! But in the end, those are just THINGS! Things that can be lost, stolen, replaced and broken. The most important thing in a relationship is compromise, and understanding. You give a little, he gives a little and then the two take from the same pot. Not keeping tabs on what one has done for the other; that is NOT a relationship, that is a business partnership.

    While I understand that not all relationships are set up with the mentality of what is mine is yours and what is yours in mine, I do believe keeping tabs will only help to reinforce the fact that the relationship is more a partnership than a relationship and in the end one person will just feel less than the other.

    As always, great advice Sarah!

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