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Established Contributor
Posts: 687
Registered: ‎09-28-2016

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

[ Edited ]

BrutalBodyShots wrote:

LOTR, thanks for taking the time to weigh in with your thoughtful response.  I think a lot of what you said makes a lot of sense.  One thing I disagree on, however, is when you said, "Lesson 1 learned: people who have never shown financial responsibility won't magically become financially responsible."

 

While I think this is certainly true of those that have been adults for a while (mid-late 20's or older) I don't think it's always true of those just entering adulthood. 

 

When people first move out of living with their parents, they can enter any number of different living situations with respect to money.  Some are off at school and have only the money provided by their parents (still) where some may take on part time jobs and start learning the value of money.  Some start working earlier at 16 or so and already have somewhat of a concept of this.  Some move out and get their own place.  Some move out and get a place with a friend to keep expenses down.  Some move in with a significant other.  My point is, I think the quote above is a broad generalization and one that doesn't work when you're talking someone in their teens just starting their adult life.  Some become financially responsible immediately almost as if it's second nature where others don't until they are forced to do so.  With my #1, I took a chance with this.  She had worked part time jobs for about 3 years while living at home so she did have some concept of money and it's value, even though she hadn't paid her own bills yet.  It was a gamble for sure when I let such a person move in with me.  A gamble that I lost.  I think if it had been someone else there's more than a good chance that they would have inherently felt the need to contribute.  You just really never know with someone of this age group, where if you're talking an adult in their 30's they essentially are what they are at that point.  Sure there are outliers that can change, I get that, but you get my point I'm sure.

 

I agree, totally.

 

#3 was on her own since the age of 16-17, was super independent as a result and had been paying her own bills for 10+ years when we started dating.  While I think she did always like to have nice things and was materialistic to some degree, she always made sure her financial obligations were met prior to any splurging.  She had an average car, average phone, etc. when I met her and didn't seem to be living outside of her means.  She worked tipped jobs for the most part so her income fluctuated.  If she worked more and made more, she spent more.  If she worked less and made less, she had no choice but to spend less.  The bottom line though is that she always paid her bills first and ensured all financial obligations were met.  The major difference that I saw after we had our son was that she was NOT willing to meet her financial obligations first.  Spending to her was more important.  She felt entitled since her income was somewhat reduced and mine remained the same after the birth of our son.  While I can understand her inability (and some unwillingness) to contribute to our combined household bills, I CANNOT understand the choice to not pay all of HER OWN bills while unnecessarily spending money on materialistic stuff.  (But when given a choice, you now see what #3's choice is!)  I'm quite sure she was suffering from some depression and was using the excessive spending to make herself feel better and fill a void, but that's not being financially responsible.  Financial obligations come first, spending comes second.  That's what I always told her and while she agreed, she didn't follow this philosophy.  Ever.  When it got to the point last summer where I was seriously looking into taking on a second job myself (I already work 50-60 hours per week to her 25) and I told her so since i was having so much trouble getting by due to paying for everything, that was her chance to step up and offer some help.  She never did though and seemed content letting me drown.  I mean if you're in a relationship and tell your significant other that you want to go out to dinner or want to plan a vacation etc. and the significant other says that he can barely pay the current bills and that there's very little money left over for those types of things, what type of message does it send when you go ahead and unnecessarily spend rather than help your partner whose head is barely above water?  That's where my resentment came from. 

 

I think that super independence is part of the problem. The reason I say this is, bascially #3 carried the full load from a early age (I get it, I started working before I was of legal age to work).  

 

Two problems that I know personally that can arise from being super independent early on:  

 

1) you get use to having to carry the full load and don't really know how to depend on anyone else (or more accurately, have learned not to depend on anyone else)  It's also hard to trust others judgement as you have learned to trust yours and yours alone. You've HAD to embrace financial responsibilities all on your own - whether you wanted to or not.  You never got rid of that HAD to feeling.

 

2) you have been carrying the full load by yourself for so long, that when you finally don't have to carry that full load, you kinda let yourself go and be free for a change.  You feel like you deserve it!  You've struggled for so long and now you have breathing room.  NOW you can have all those things you were denied because, as you so aptly stated, you had no choice.  You're tired of being financially responsible. You're glad to get rid of that HAVE to feeling!

 

Both of these attitudes are detrimental to a relationship.  

 

With the first attitude, you must learn to become partner with someone else. To depend on someone else. You have to learn you don't have to do it alone anymore - and embrace the fact you now have a partner in crime, so to speak. Smiley Wink  

 

With the second attitude, you decide to become financially lazy.  You don't want to have to do this, that or the other.  You're use to calling your own shots. In their mind, I've struggled long enough.  I want to live! Won't you let me live, BBS?  Won't you let me LIVE!  LOL!  (an attempt at a little humour to lighten things up a bit). It is a real problem in relationship.  They like the help, but not being accountable to someone else.  

 

Both of these fiercely independent persons will resist anyone trying to steer or guide them somewhere they have decided they don't want to be.  

 

Two fiercely independent people: One embraces financial responsibility so tightly, they can't let go of their control of it and resent anyone who threatens it.  The other, can't wait to get rid of financial responsibiilty and resent anyone who tries to make them embrace it again.  Both approaching it in a way that will destroy the relationship anyway. The first, will have back control and all that comes with it. The second will have back freedom and all that comes with it.


BBS, you're so right on Lesson 1.  I suppose the statement should read, people who have never shown financial responsibility won't necessarily become financially responsible.  

 

It's basically uncharted waters There is a big difference between working and paying bills vs. working and paying no bills.  The value you put on money takes on a different meaning when you have financial obligations.

 

Your point regarding the differences in young adults is well received. Case in point, I have a niece whom I am helping out while in college - basically paying part of her rent. Watching her becoming more and more entitled with her parents, I wanted to help give her a taste of the real world.  Knowing how eager she was to "be out on her own", we came to an agreement - which she is faitfully keeping.  Well, even though she is paying her bills (along with her roommates), I clearly see signs of fun first attitude and I can tell where this is headed long term if she doesn't turn that mentality around.. But my nephew, whom I am also helping while in college (and is close to the same age as this niece -his cousin), is completely different. School first, fun second!  Two different young adults, two different responses to the exact same help.  So again, you couldn't be more right in your point. Thank you for reminding me of this!

 

 

 

 

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Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.


BrutalBodyShots wrote:

LOTR, thanks for taking the time to weigh in with your thoughtful response.  I think a lot of what you said makes a lot of sense.  One thing I disagree on, however, is when you said, "Lesson 1 learned: people who have never shown financial responsibility won't magically become financially responsible."

 

While I think this is certainly true of those that have been adults for a while (mid-late 20's or older) I don't think it's always true of those just entering adulthood. 

 

When people first move out of living with their parents, they can enter any number of different living situations with respect to money.  Some are off at school and have only the money provided by their parents (still) where some may take on part time jobs and start learning the value of money.  Some start working earlier at 16 or so and already have somewhat of a concept of this.  Some move out and get their own place.  Some move out and get a place with a friend to keep expenses down.  Some move in with a significant other.  My point is, I think the quote above is a broad generalization and one that doesn't work when you're talking someone in their teens just starting their adult life.  Some become financially responsible immediately almost as if it's second nature where others don't until they are forced to do so.  With my #1, I took a chance with this.  She had worked part time jobs for about 3 years while living at home so she did have some concept of money and it's value, even though she hadn't paid her own bills yet.  It was a gamble for sure when I let such a person move in with me.  A gamble that I lost.  I think if it had been someone else there's more than a good chance that they would have inherently felt the need to contribute.  You just really never know with someone of this age group, where if you're talking an adult in their 30's they essentially are what they are at that point.  Sure there are outliers that can change, I get that, but you get my point I'm sure.

 

#3 was on her own since the age of 16-17, was super independent as a result and had been paying her own bills for 10+ years when we started dating.  While I think she did always like to have nice things and was materialistic to some degree, she always made sure her financial obligations were met prior to any splurging.  She had an average car, average phone, etc. when I met her and didn't seem to be living outside of her means.  She worked tipped jobs for the most part so her income fluctuated.  If she worked more and made more, she spent more.  If she worked less and made less, she had no choice but to spend less.  The bottom line though is that she always paid her bills first and ensured all financial obligations were met.  The major difference that I saw after we had our son was that she was NOT willing to meet her financial obligations first.  Spending to her was more important.  She felt entitled since her income was somewhat reduced and mine remained the same after the birth of our son.  While I can understand her inability (and some unwillingness) to contribute to our combined household bills, I CANNOT understand the choice to not pay all of HER OWN bills while unnecessarily spending money on materialistic stuff.  I'm quite sure she was suffering from some depression and was using the excessive spending to make herself feel better and fill a void, but that's not being financially responsible.  Financial obligations come first, spending comes second.  That's what I always told her and while she agreed, she didn't follow this philosophyEver When it got to the point last summer where I was seriously looking into taking on a second job myself (I already work 50-60 hours per week to her 25) and I told her so since i was having so much trouble getting by due to paying for everything, that was her chance to step up and offer some help.  She never did though and seemed content letting me drown.  I mean if you're in a relationship and tell your significant other that you want to go out to dinner or want to plan a vacation etc. and the significant other says that he can barely pay the current bills and that there's very little money left over for those types of things, what type of message does it send when you go ahead and unnecessarily spend rather than help your partner whose head is barely above water?  That's where my resentment came from. 


There it is.  Right there^^^^. It's not what people say, it's what they do.  She agreed that it was the right thing to do. That's all.  Her actions said something otherwise.

 

Something else that I noticed, if fiercely independent, she may have felt you were calling the shots on whether there was money to do this or that and her spending may have been a way to rebel or gain control.  

 

Did you by chance ever layout for her - hey dear, her are the bills... here is what is in the bank.  Let's look at things together and see if we can find a way to do this?  Basically let her come to her own conclusion that the money wasn't there to do it (instead of telling her it's not in there)?  Do you feel she felt included in the decision to not do this, that or the other.  Being fiercely independent, she would need to to feel included and a part of the decision making process.  I also wondered how much she was on board with what it was going to cost her personally to have a child together. 

 

My point being, there may be a vast many things that are coming into play that may have sparked this behavior in her. She is responsible for her own behavior. You are not responsible for her behavior. However, as a partner, we can encourage or discourage a response from our partner.  Perhapsyou read her completely right at the beginning but when the other components came into play (having a child, reduced work hours, etc), other parts of her personhood revealed itself under the new circumstances.  

 

You mentioned possible depression and spending money to meet some need.  You mentioned working 50-60 hrs a week.  Was she lonely?  Was her asking for vacation or dining out a way of her saying - I need a break from the day to day?  Fiercely independent people find it hard to ask for what they need.  I wonder if she was able to communicate that effectively.

 

I'm not accusing her or you of anything. I know neither of you.  I'm just posing questions that you may want to consider.

 

Ofcourse I, with a failed marriage, have all the answers. NOT!  LOL! But I have learned from my mistakes and hope to help others with what little knowledge I may have.

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Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

Nice post above and great examples with your close in age family members that are in college on how they can be so different when it comes to the financial end of life.

 

With your examples above regarding what may have been the case with #3, I'd say your second example is most fitting.  Perhaps she felt since she was so independent for so long that once we got together she could finally let off the gas pedal.  I would think such a person would find a happy medium, but it seems #3 went to the other extreme where she felt zero need to have any financial responsibility for a number of years.  She actually used the words, "let me live!" several times throughout our relationship which I find funny after you writing them.  She didn't use them with respect to money though, moreso with other aspects of our relationship but it's the same general concept.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 3,007
Registered: ‎08-13-2009

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

About how long did you know the person before she moved in?

 

About how long did you date the person before she moved in?

 

About how much time was spent in overnights at your place?  At her place?  Before she moved in?  

 

Did she (any of the she's) treat you to a meal out?  Or just pay the tip on a meal?

 

Did you gift them and not receive any kind of gift in return?

 

Back in the school days, if a guy treated me to a meal out, I would bring back half of it for another meal.  (Things were super, super tight back then.   Like rent was almost every penny of my monthly paycheck, kinda of tight.  Like ice formed INSIDE the apt because I couldn't afford the electric bill to turn on the heat kinda tight.  I always paid my bills though.)  If I was comfortable with the guy, then I would make the offer to cook a meal if he bought the groceries.  That worked too.  The guys felt like they were being treated and it wasn't a one way street.  I even did the clean up and the dishes.  Smiley Happy

 

I don't think I would consider living with a guy until I had known them for a full year, at least.  Some people overspend near the holidays.  Others binge once a year for a super bowl party.  Some people spend all year long.  Some are miserly all year long.  Just never know.  But a year of watching the spending, hearing them talk about money, and seeing what's appearing or disappearing in their life will give some pretty big clues as to what is going on.  (Do they have 16 jars of unopened peanut butter in the cabinet?)

 

With my last relationship (DH), he always wanted to go out to eat.  After a few times, I asked if I could just cook at home.  There were no signs of money problems, but I had observed that the credit card came out every time we got together.  He almost never had cash.  And the reality jolt was when I was with him and he was looking for a specific bank's ATM machine so he could do a cash withdrawal (translate - cash advance) off a credit card.

 

I didn't throw him away.  I did start gently asking questions to learn more about his finances.  We did the you buy groceries, I cook.  And sometimes I bought the groceries and cooked.  So it became a more [financially] balanced relationship.  He made, by far, WAY WAY more money than me, but he felt that things were almost equal.  I learned that he had a large amount of credit card debt.  A vehicle that was almost paid for.  Student loans.  A routine of eating breakfast and lunch and almost every dinner out.  It took time for him to be willing to make small changes.  Regarding the debt, it was chipped away at until he let me have control of the finances.  While he didn't like to talk about money, I did freely.  Not about how much I made, but about how I had put away an amount for the car insurance every pay day and I had x projected to be left over after I was paid.

 

Small things like that.  Eventually, he talked a little about money.  He was embarrassed that he had made some bad choices.  He was uncomfortable that he wasn't living within his means when he finally realized it.  When he moved in, he couldn't afford to contribute any money towards the living expenses if he was to make his minimum payments.  (I did NOT know this at the time - I really thought I would have financial relief cuz he would pay half the bills - but he couldn't pay anything...)   He once left me a few hundred dollars on the kitchen counter.  Didn't say a word.  Later he said it was because he felt badly that I worked 7 days a week, 10+ hours a day...and I couldn't afford to renew my passport.  Yeah.  That was probably a turning point for us.  He saw that I put the bills first and food second to last and me last.  I think at that point, I had to delay the passport thing going on three months.  Shortly after this, he turned over his finances to me to take care of.  

 

If I had to do things again, prior to letting someone move in with me, I would openly talk about money.  I'd want to see bank statements and pay stubs and tax returns.  Now I know that I am not going to be willing to show those things to others...it's the part of me that hates sharing THAT kind of personal information with anyone that have me saying, "Oh HEL* no!"  And if I am not willing to do it, I won't expect someone else to do it.

 

I can easily talk about putting aside money each payday to save up for car insurance, taxes, etc.  I can easily talk about my payment strategies.  I can easily admit that I have to save up for something that I want. This part is getting easier for me - and I did it today - to tell my friend I will meet her at the restaurant (where she wanted to eat) but I probably won't have anything.   Shocking, I know.  I have even met friends at restaurants and not gotten a thing while they eat.  It's about them eating out (their want, not mine) and not spending money I don't have.  And it's about visiting with them.  There are some friends I just don't have over, period.  I use to provide food for visits, but I got tired of one person coming over, eating what I had, and leaving the dishes for me to wash.  It was never reciprocated.   She never brought food.  She never did her dishes.  (I probably shouldn't chuckle about this, but she's never been to the new place.  She doesn't even have the address.  We meet at public places now.) 

 

Before letting anyone move in with me, I would spend time at their place.  Is it clean?  Do they pick up after themselves?  Is there a pile of unopened mail every time you come over?  See any past due or final notices?  Seeing their place will give you a pretty good idea of what it would be like to live with them and if they pay attention to details, like the mail.

 

Does the person treat me like I want to be treated?  Do they treat me with respect?

 

You've had some expensive learning experiences.  Maybe it's not so much about focusing on the past mistakes/grievances as it will be about talking about the future.  I'd want to know what the person was willing to pay, how they were going to pay, what their expectations were, and expressing my expectations.  

 

At the end of the day, you have to know that you can afford the living situation even if you have to pay it all yourself.  

 

At the end of the day, YOU have to be happy.

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 3,007
Registered: ‎08-13-2009

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

About how long did you know the person before she moved in?

 

About how long did you date the person before she moved in?

 

About how much time was spent in overnights at your place?  At her place?  Before she moved in?  

 

Did she (any of the she's) treat you to a meal out?  Or just pay the tip on a meal?

 

Did you gift them and not receive any kind of gift in return?

 

Back in the school days, if a guy treated me to a meal out, I would bring back half of it for another meal.  (Things were super, super tight back then.   Like rent was almost every penny of my monthly paycheck, kinda of tight.  Like ice formed INSIDE the apt because I couldn't afford the electric bill to turn on the heat kinda tight.  I always paid my bills though.)  If I was comfortable with the guy, then I would make the offer to cook a meal if he bought the groceries.  That worked too.  The guys felt like they were being treated and it wasn't a one way street.  I even did the clean up and the dishes.  Smiley Happy

 

I don't think I would consider living with a guy until I had known them for a full year, at least.  Some people overspend near the holidays.  Others binge once a year for a super bowl party.  Some people spend all year long.  Some are miserly all year long.  Just never know.  But a year of watching the spending, hearing them talk about money, and seeing what's appearing or disappearing in their life will give some pretty big clues as to what is going on.  (Do they have 16 jars of unopened peanut butter in the cabinet?)

 

With my last relationship (DH), he always wanted to go out to eat.  After a few times, I asked if I could just cook at home.  There were no signs of money problems, but I had observed that the credit card came out every time we got together.  He almost never had cash.  And the reality jolt was when I was with him and he was looking for a specific bank's ATM machine so he could do a cash withdrawal (translate - cash advance) off a credit card.

 

I didn't throw him away.  I did start gently asking questions to learn more about his finances.  We did the you buy groceries, I cook.  And sometimes I bought the groceries and cooked.  So it became a more [financially] balanced relationship.  He made, by far, WAY WAY more money than me, but he felt that things were almost equal.  I learned that he had a large amount of credit card debt.  A vehicle that was almost paid for.  Student loans.  A routine of eating breakfast and lunch and almost every dinner out.  It took time for him to be willing to make small changes.  Regarding the debt, it was chipped away at until he let me have control of the finances.  While he didn't like to talk about money, I did freely.  Not about how much I made, but about how I had put away an amount for the car insurance every pay day and I had x projected to be left over after I was paid.

 

Small things like that.  Eventually, he talked a little about money.  He was embarrassed that he had made some bad choices.  He was uncomfortable that he wasn't living within his means when he finally realized it.  When he moved in, he couldn't afford to contribute any money towards the living expenses if he was to make his minimum payments.  (I did NOT know this at the time - I really thought I would have financial relief cuz he would pay half the bills - but he couldn't pay anything...)   He once left me a few hundred dollars on the kitchen counter.  Didn't say a word.  Later he said it was because he felt badly that I worked 7 days a week, 10+ hours a day...and I couldn't afford to renew my passport.  Yeah.  That was probably a turning point for us.  He saw that I put the bills first and food second to last and me last.  I think at that point, I had to delay the passport thing going on three months.  Shortly after this, he turned over his finances to me to take care of.  

 

If I had to do things again, prior to letting someone move in with me, I would openly talk about money.  I'd want to see bank statements and pay stubs and tax returns.  Now I know that I am not going to be willing to show those things to others...it's the part of me that hates sharing THAT kind of personal information with anyone that have me saying, "Oh HEL* no!"  And if I am not willing to do it, I won't expect someone else to do it.

 

I can easily talk about putting aside money each payday to save up for car insurance, taxes, etc.  I can easily talk about my payment strategies.  I can easily admit that I have to save up for something that I want. This part is getting easier for me - and I did it today - to tell my friend I will meet her at the restaurant (where she wanted to eat) but I probably won't have anything.   Shocking, I know.  I have even met friends at restaurants and not gotten a thing while they eat.  It's about them eating out (their want, not mine) and not spending money I don't have.  And it's about visiting with them.  There are some friends I just don't have over, period.  I use to provide food for visits, but I got tired of one person coming over, eating what I had, and leaving the dishes for me to wash.  It was never reciprocated.   She never brought food.  She never did her dishes.  (I probably shouldn't chuckle about this, but she's never been to the new place.  She doesn't even have the address.  We meet at public places now.) 

 

Before letting anyone move in with me, I would spend time at their place.  Is it clean?  Do they pick up after themselves?  Is there a pile of unopened mail every time you come over?  See any past due or final notices?  Seeing their place will give you a pretty good idea of what it would be like to live with them and if they pay attention to details, like the mail.

 

Does the person treat me like I want to be treated?  Do they treat me with respect?

 

You've had some expensive learning experiences.  Maybe it's not so much about focusing on the past mistakes/grievances as it will be about talking about the future.  I'd want to know what the person was willing to pay, how they were going to pay, what their expectations were, and expressing my expectations.  

 

At the end of the day, you have to know that you can afford the living situation even if you have to pay it all yourself.  

 

At the end of the day, YOU have to be happy.

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 3,007
Registered: ‎08-13-2009
0

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

Um - unintentional that my message posted twice.  Maybe it's worth reading twice?  Smiley Happy

Regular Contributor
Posts: 146
Registered: ‎10-14-2015

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

[ Edited ]

BrutalBodyShots wrote:

 

#3 was on her own since the age of 16-17, was super independent as a result and had been paying her own bills for 10+ years when we started dating.  While I think she did always like to have nice things and was materialistic to some degree, she always made sure her financial obligations were met prior to any splurging.  She had an average car, average phone, etc. when I met her and didn't seem to be living outside of her means.  She worked tipped jobs for the most part so her income fluctuated.  If she worked more and made more, she spent more.  If she worked less and made less, she had no choice but to spend less.  The bottom line though is that she always paid her bills first and ensured all financial obligations were met.  The major difference that I saw after we had our son was that she was NOT willing to meet her financial obligations first.  Spending to her was more important.  She felt entitled since her income was somewhat reduced and mine remained the same after the birth of our son.  While I can understand her inability (and some unwillingness) to contribute to our combined household bills, I CANNOT understand the choice to not pay all of HER OWN bills while unnecessarily spending money on materialistic stuff.  I'm quite sure she was suffering from some depression and was using the excessive spending to make herself feel better and fill a void, but that's not being financially responsible.  Financial obligations come first, spending comes second.  That's what I always told her and while she agreed, she didn't follow this philosophy.  Ever.  When it got to the point last summer where I was seriously looking into taking on a second job myself (I already work 50-60 hours per week to her 25) and I told her so since i was having so much trouble getting by due to paying for everything, that was her chance to step up and offer some help.  She never did though and seemed content letting me drown.  I mean if you're in a relationship and tell your significant other that you want to go out to dinner or want to plan a vacation etc. and the significant other says that he can barely pay the current bills and that there's very little money left over for those types of things, what type of message does it send when you go ahead and unnecessarily spend rather than help your partner whose head is barely above water?  That's where my resentment came from. 


I'm so sorry you're in this position. I've read through every post here, and I can see that each time you're choosing smarter and being more pro-active, and things are still failing because of money. Breaking up is already tough enough.

 

I'm wondering, did she recognize this depression, see a therapist, or did you suggest that she do so? When people who are depressed spend frivolously to fill a void, it's giving them what they actually require to maintain function. For example, her reasoning could be "I'm spending this money so that I can physically care for my child's needs today", because otherwise she could be too depressed to get out of bed at all and you're at work and the kid is hungry, what now? Or how does the housework get done? Independent people have a heck of a lot of pride and depression has a HUGE amount of SHAME attached to it. Knowing that she's not meeting her financial obligations would had increased the shame. Then, you resenting her for it would have increased the same even more. Shame unravels connection. Any connection, any relationship. This TED talk by shame researcher Dr. Brene Brown is quite enlightening.

 

She knows what she should have done. For whatever reason, she found she couldn't meet financial obligations while keeping the rest of her life intact. But that doesn't make sense because according to the numbers, she ought to be able to! Thing is, I don't think her financial mindset changed at all. I think her mental health changed, the spending was a coping mechanism to keep afloat for the sake of the kid and the relationship. Not an appropriate coping mechanism, but perhaps the only one she knew.

 

Now I'm going to say a few things. For me, one of the most crucial factors in a realtionship is whether we can be on each other's "team" to tackle life stuff together. If my partner is struggling, or if I am struggling, the other comes alongside and says "hey, I notice you're struggling, can we talk about what's behind this and what might be a good way forward?" And we do, and set up a game plan moving forward. And sometimes that first game plan doesn't work, so then at some point one of us goes "Hey, about that issue you're having, this approach doesn't seem to be working. Can we talk about it?" And we usually end up brainstorming other ideas, and coming up with a new game plan we both feel good about.

 

For example, when I felt my partner, who's been unemployed since a major car accident we survived together a year ago, wasn't looking hard enough for work, we had talks about it before my resentment could build. Turns out he wasn't informing me of most of his application efforts, so we set that up that he keep me in the loop more. Then there were still problems, his deep shame regarding the matter started affecting our relationship, so I got him talking more. We tried other approaches, and the failure of those approaches led to realizing he most likely has undiagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury from earlier in life, which the car accident may have exacerbated. He's affected badly enough that he could probably claim disability, but his pride won't let him.

 

It doesn't make our financial situation any easier on me, but now that I understand I can be by his side supporting him through the process. I never would have gained that understanding if I had simply told him that he needs to get a job and pull his weight, and stressed the financial aspect. (As for me, I've been significantly disabled my entire adult life, and with ~$800/month income, $500 of which is SSI, I'm the main breadwinner for us. He manages $100-$200/month most months from odd jobs)

 

I'm a big believer in personal responsibility and self-awareness, but I'm also a big believer in the importance of community and relationships. And everyone has blind spots, everyone needs a bit of help sometimes. My partner felt our relationship was safe enough space emotionally to communicate his shame to me, and when I engaged in the topic we were able to figure out together a LOT about the issue than he could alone. The choices of how to pursue a solution are still up to him, and if I feel the need for ultimatums I now know where to draw them. And it wouldn't be at "get a job", it would be at "get professional help sorting out both TBI diagnosis and your PTSD that prevents you from seeing doctors."

 

I share all this because it looks like that's something that didn't happen with this third relationship of yours. You did not end up getting on her "team" to support her through a struggle. Financially, yes, but emotionally, it was not a safe place for her to discuss her shame and figure out what's really going on. All she knows is you aren't on her side anymore. She needed a partner who was on her side.

 

Ideally, she would have recognized she needed therapy, made it happen, and/or sought more support from friends, and/or was aware enough to realize the spending coping mechanism was unsustainable and taken drastic measures to figure out another way of doing things. She should have tried those things. But, depression is REALLY tricky to navigate, and she might have been unable to on her own, or needed more support than she had. I don't know.

 

Bottom line is that's the only thing I can recommend for you to do differently next time around, is recognize when you're no longer on a partner's "side" in life, and then stop to figure out what's going on. You might gain new understanding that combats the resentment, and a solid plan to address the issue that you can support.

Senior Contributor
Posts: 5,550
Registered: ‎04-11-2016

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

Great post above and thanks for taking the time to write it.

 

I did recognize earlier in our relationship, probably a year or so before the excessive spending started that #3 was depressed.  I tried to "get on her team" as best I could, but she wouldn't recognize the problem.  She had lots of warning signs of depression.  She was drinking every day (not getting wasted, but more than a couple of drinks) which to me was a sign she was trying to escape.  She was sleeping excessively.  She could sleep 10 hours at night, get up for an hour and then go back to sleep for 2 hours.  She wasn't taking care of herself very well.  She wasn't eating particularly well.  Her irritability was through the roof.  She always talked about how she felt unaccomplished and sort of trapped in terms of career/financial constraints that were revealed after having our son.  I tried to talk to her about these things, be there for her and help her through them but she wouldn't ever admit to depression.  I think she saw that as a sign of weakness.  She would admit to some of the problems (warning signs) I referenced above, but would never say that they were because of depression.  I mentioned several times that I thought WE should go see a therapist (I never pointed the finger at HER) and she always shot down the idea, citing "If we can't solve our own problems somebody else isn't going to be able to help."  I found this type of attitude quite difficult to deal with, especially when it got to the point that our relationship was in jeopardy and she still wasn't willing to go and talk to someone with me.  The excessive spending was sort of the last warning sign that emerged a year or so ago.  When we talked about it, she admitted that it felt good for her to splurge on things as it was filling a void.  I told her I was there for her and would like to help her fill that void in other ways, but she seemed disconnected from that idea.  

 

I'm sure her pursing another guy at this point is exciting to her and is making her feel alive again - another way to fill that void.  I question whether or not it's going to really solve her underlying issue, though, which I truly to believe is depression.  

 

I suppose by the time we got to arguing about money, the damage was already done as we weren't on the same "team" at that point as the previous post mentions.  I felt like I did everything in my power to get on the same team and it just came to a point where financial arguments simply had to happen due to bad financial place were were in.  I'm sure she resented me more for that in the end, but when it comes down to being able to pay the bills or not the choice really needs to be obvious at that point.   

Regular Contributor
Posts: 146
Registered: ‎10-14-2015
0

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

[ Edited ]

Gosh, well in that case I'd say you dodged a bullet.

 

I know that doesn't help it suck any less. But there was nothing you could do. I'm sorry. Smiley Sad

 

It's something that can be added to the list of things to watch out for in future prospects. And, perosnally, I wouldn't chaulk this one up to money. I'd say the heart of it was she was unwilling to seek help for mental health issues. Someone like that is a ticking time bomb, IMO.

 

I have complex PTSD, as does my partner, both for different reasons. And the way functional relationships work for people with mental health issues is "So, I have these issues. Here's what it looks like sometimes [examples]. Here is how I manage it, to try to prevent that from happening or minimize the damage when it does. [Examples] Here's some things you could do that would be helpful to support me. [Examples] Here's some things I need to ask you to NOT do because they trigger me or are just super unhelpful. [Examples]"

 

It's a learning process, and generally an ongoing conversation. The nice thing is you get to discover incompatabilities early on, or just how responsible they are with their mental health. Unfortuantely because she became depressed early on, you didn't get that chance. If you did, you'd have found out right away that you were fundamentally incompatible. :/

 

 

Senior Contributor
Posts: 5,550
Registered: ‎04-11-2016
0

Re: THREE failed relationships due to money... unreal.

I guess I just hoped that over time things would improve with respect to her depression.  Things were getting easier with our son (he has special needs) so we were getting better as a team managing him.  She finished up her masters degree last year and was starting to career-search.  We started having some talks about our future (marriage) which I always knew was something she deeply desired.  Basically I felt like things were on the upswing and as a result she could potentially start to overcome the depression.  She still does have some underlying issues, such as a really bad/unloving childhood that I know continue to haunt her though.  I guess it's just hard to not blame yourself and that's the point that I'm at right now.  Especially because she was the one to leave me.  All I can do is try and learn something from this long relationship to some how take a positive away from this mess.

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