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Ideas on splitting bills/expenses in relationships?

Established Contributor

Re: Ideas on splitting bills/expenses in relationships?

I accept we're in the minority on this one, but we've been married over a year now and lived together for close to 3 years. If you asked me how much is in my wife's checking account or even where she keeps her savings, I couldn't tell you. Likewise her for me. I know what some of her bills are but I also couldn't tell you how much her phone bill is or if she makes monthly payments on things I don't even know about. The only time we even look at each other's financial data is tax time.


This system works great for us, so there's more than one right way to do things. Saying people living together should disclose everything is painting with a broad brush.

Message 61 of 65
Super Contributor

Re: Ideas on splitting bills/expenses in relationships?

DrPeaceCraft wrote:

I'm kinda late to the discussion but I'm curious Brutal, why wasn't your money and her money together? Why wasn't her money included in your monthly budget? I can understand if she wasn't making much but not contributing at all seems unfair IMO

I agree with Atomic, when you're living together everything including finances should be tackled together but there has to be an agreement between the two parties from the start of moving in together that's the way you'll handle it. 

Doesn't seem like you and the other person did this.

There was always a reason/excuse (not sure which) as to why.


At first it was because she had just moved in.  Then it was because we had gotten pregnant and she had to save for the baby.  Then it was because she was working less in preparation for the baby.  Then it was because she was out of work.  After that it was because she now couldn't work as much.  That was the first year where not a single penny contributed by her for anything.  I understand that my "role" was the provider as I was still working the same and that she had to make sacrifices, including working less.  I can accept that to a point.  What point?  A year?  Two years?  I don't know how you put a time stamp on it.  But, when it reached 5+ years and she hadn't contributed a single penny to any of our combined bills and I was still paying several of HER bills my resentment got the better of me and I put my foot down.  I guess I was hoping that post-baby as she started working more and eventually returned her income to near the level it was pre-baby that she'd naturally "want" to start contributing.  She was well aware of my past failed relationships for financial reasons and vowed very early on in our relationship that she "would never do that to me" [make me pay for everything].  I thought around year 2-3 that she'd start contributing financially.  She didn't.  In years 3-4 I started dropping hints here and there, even having a few "soft" conversations about it.  Finally in year 5 it got completely ridiculous and out of control as she was spending every single penny she had on herself and all of the materialstic crap that was showing up at the house every day was killing me.  It's tough to explain how it got to that point, but it did.  I guess when you're in it you don't realize everything that's going on.  

Message 62 of 65

Re: Ideas on splitting bills/expenses in relationships?

The cracks in any relationship can be insidious, they sneak up on you and before you know it a small issue has snowballed into something that tanks everything. I've always been the more responsible person in the relationship but I came to realize I was enabling the other person not to be responsible so I vowed to make sure that in every relationship I made sure it was a partnership instead of me being the Captain of the ship, for lack of a better term.

Thanks for clarifying your situation, not sure what I would've done in the situation but at least you're trying to come up with a better way of dealing with things. 

Message 63 of 65
Super Contributor

Re: Ideas on splitting bills/expenses in relationships?

I hear you.  I too think it's important that both individuals take responsibility and be involved in the entire process rather than just one driving the bus.


In my situation, everything "seemed" fine at first.  As early on as during the dating process before we ever became exclusive we talked about expense-sharing in relationships and I'm certain she was on the same page as me.  I explained how past relationships of mine had failed and she made it very clear that she could never be that way in a relationship; she said it wouldn't feel right if she wasn't equally contributing.  When we first became exclusive, we did share expenses briefly until we got pregnant.  At that time, all bets were off and the expenses went 100% on me.  I always thought based on our early relationship conversations and actions (sharing expenses) that eventually it would revert back to the way it was once her income went back up.  It never did though.  It was very odd.  It almost seemed as if she felt entitled to never having to pay a penny for everything for whatever reason.  I'll never understand it.

Message 64 of 65

Re: Ideas on splitting bills/expenses in relationships?

Maybe she did feel entitled. unfortunately some people think that because they have a kid everyone should automatically give them a break. Not everyone feels this way but some do and I think she was one. 

My sister is married, her husband could support her and their family on his income alone; they've done it before but she chooses to work because she can't stand the thought of him working his butt off without her contributing. In her mind the more they make together the more they'll have together. It seems like that's your mindset and its sad she didn't share that same ideal but hopefully you'll find someone who does.

You can plan with someone all day long until the cows come home but in the end if someone inherently shares the same mindset as you, instead of just paying lip service, things will always work out. From the responses I've seen the couples who had success with their finances didn't gain it from just from their approach alone, they shared the same ideals as well.

But that's just my 2 cents, I still haven't found anyone like that yet. Smiley Frustrated

Message 65 of 65