Really interesting discussion. Pizza1, I hope you'll let us know how the situation works out.
How they end up splitting expenses (if they stay together) seems like the secondary issue and a question of individual choice. If I were in the situation, I'd go for proportional contributions based on income, mostly because there's such a disparity between what the two make. As others have said, though, that's up to them and they should be talking about it without always ending up in arguments.
The real crux of the matter is that he asked her to move in and only AFTER THE FACT decided she should be paying him nearly $1,000 a month. This is not only bad communication, which they seem to have on both sides, but it indicates some sort of agenda on his part. I don't know what that agenda is, but an after the fact demand like that is way out of line.
One thing, Pizza. Don't put so much emphasis on her getting a wedding ring before she agrees to that kind of expense split. Whether they're married or not doesn't have that much to do with it. In fact, if they can't work out issues like this now, getting married would be about the worst thing they coul do.
That's where I draw the line on it too; I'm probably a little unromantic in this statement but relationships are all negotiation - any decision which affects the two of us (theoretical lady moving in with me or vice versa) is going to be discussed and that includes in cold financial terms too.
Everyone's going to come to a different arrangement - someone moving in offering split food / utilities or better and I'd be happier than a pig in the proverbial fecal matter frankly but that's me; if I were coming from a rental situation in moving in with her instead, I'd probably offer some form of rent too (I do see that as proper personally but only what I could afford) but in my case with my holding my own mortgage too it probably wouldn't be entirely appropriate unless I was renting my own condo out.
Just spitballing here, and it's entirely possible there are other arrangements that I might even wind up in when I do figure out what I want in life; however, in any event it will be discussed... that at least, is non-negotiable.
Ok, I as a woman would not move into a man's house without paying my share regardless of whoes name was on the mortgage period. If I rent my name is not on the mortgage. Just because I move in with someone do I think I am moving in expense free. Never would I think that. While paying half might be excessive relative to her income, I would definately figure out how much I could afford to help. With utilities while I know they may not go up a lot I would make sure I at least paid my share for the simple fact that just because I moved in with a man in no way inplies he is supposed to support me.
Now they could work out an arraingement where she buys all the groceries and contributes part to the utilities or if she contributes to everything they either take turns with paying for groceries or whatever works best for them.
Same goes if a man were to move in with me. I would expect him to contribute he lives there too and if we were to get married we would be sharing expenses anyways. Might as well get that out of the way and in a habit before hand.
I currently cover all expenses, by mutual agreement in an arrangement that works for us.
The RV we're living in belongs to him. The only vehicle we have (the minivan we used to live in together) belongs to me.
When we moved to this spot with nearly $700/month rent, he had a full time job with great pay and full benefits. I had just landed my first part time job ever (after being severely disabled by chronic illness since age 16) and was excited about pulling my weight sans SSI (which was only about 700/month income at most and disallowed saving). We split all bills 50/50 and I paid a little extra to contribute to RV maintenence costs that he paid as they came up.
Less than 3 months later, his job fell apart. After experiencing some shocking treatment, including being dramatically fired and then the next day asked to return as if nothing happened (!), he was going down a deep, dark hole. I told him I'd fully support him resigning, that I'd rather take his happiness over financial stability with him miserable. Not to mention that the way the job operated it'd be impossible to attend interviews for other jobs while he still worked there. He resigned and I still feel that was a good decision.
We assumed he'd get another job, but after 2 months straight of him applying to an average of 2 jobs per day, we realized we couldn't rely on that happening. Meanwhile my freelance business was thriving, I had picked up a couple more high-end clients and my part time job offered my more hours if I want to take them.
I sat my partner down for a talk. I said look, I'm making enough to pay the bills. You're miserable searching for a job in a market that's not curently in your favor. You've been dreaming about making money off youtube your entire life, and keep trying but don't have the time to make it happen. How about I support you so you can pursue your dreams full time?
His response: *shocked* "You would do that for me?"
I was a bit taken aback. "Of course I would! You would do the same for me!"
And it's true. He's actually offered to in the past.
So now I cover everything. And he's pouring hours into his self-employment dreams, putting out a video every other day and learning how to market himself. It might flop, and that's okay. We're still happier living life this way. Perhaps he'll make it big, or perhaps it will be a small side income, and those would both be awesome. But for the immediate foreseeable future, I'm covering everything, because those are the cards life dealt us. We're making it work and we're feeling much more relaxed and stable than we would be if we were still trying to make a 50/50 split of finances happen.
I totally don't understand how she gets to live rent-free because he already owned the home. Or at least cover an appropriate portion (e.g. so that they are contributing equitably to THEIR cost of living) of other bills.
How is he stringing her along? I hate the notion that all women are just twiddling their thumbs, hanging on hope that a man will finally propose to them. If she doesn't want to be there, she can move (ahem, she never had to move in!). If she wants marriage and he isn't ready/doesn't want it, she can break up. She is not a victim of him.
I make ~4x what my husband makes and had my place when he moved in after we got engaged. So he should have been able to just pay a little on the electric, gas and water bills plus some groceries? Puh-leeze. That's crazy!
eta: I DO think that he was wrong for springing this after the fact. But I still think that there is no 'free lunch'. They should've hammered out the details about bills and domestic duties BEFORE they agreed to live together and she gave up her place.