• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Wedding Woes

It's OK to be the voice of reason, lovingly.

Dear Prudence,

Over the past couple of months, my boyfriend has been having an unlucky bout of car troubles. He has spent close to $2,000 on maintenance and repairs on his 10-year-old car. While he has had to dip into his savings to make these repairs, he isn’t ruined by the expenses. I’ve been trying to be as helpful and supportive as possible, and it wasn’t hard for me at the beginning.  However, as he continues to be emotionally distraught over his situation, I have noticed that I am struggling to continue to be empathetic. The thing is that I grew up poor. If these expenses had happened to me, I wouldn’t have anyone in my life who could afford to bail me out. On the other hand, his family is very comfortable and would give him an interest-free loan if he truly needed it. I hate that my past seems to cloud my ability to empathize with his financial stress. How do I drown out the voice in my head that screams, “You have help while a lot of people don’t, and you’re going to be fine”?

—Not That Bad

Re: It's OK to be the voice of reason, lovingly.

  • You don’t! “Hey I know this is upsetting, but this is what savings are for! So you can handle situations like this.”  And I think you can also escalate to “sorry babe, but it’s been weeks and ya gotta move on. Cars break.”
    mrsconn23
  • You don’t! “Hey I know this is upsetting, but this is what savings are for! So you can handle situations like this.”  And I think you can also escalate to “sorry babe, but it’s been weeks and ya gotta move on. Cars break.”
    Also, "I don't understand why this is stressing you out so much.  I'm trying to understand why we keep coming back to talking about the car?  Is there something else going on that's got you worried?" 
    STARMOON44banana468missJeanLouiseOliveOilsMom
  • He’s not wrong for being stressed or upset. You’re not wrong for being tired of hearing about it. 

    But, just because he has family who have money doesn’t mean it’s his money to spend, or that they should/would/must help him if he needed it. 

    What upsets people isn't relative. Sure other people have it bad, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard for him now.

    If he keeps lamenting about the past, tell him you’re tired of hearing the same complaints over and over but not because you were poor and other people have it worse but because you want to talk about something new. 
    OurWildKingdom
  • If I'm understanding this letter correctly, it isn't that the LW is annoyed that the b/f keeps complaining and stressing about car trouble, they're annoyed that he is responsible enough to save money and also has a good support system.  So he should count his blessings and stop complaining? Did I get that right?  WTF, smh.

    Talk about complaining about a really positive thing.  I'm glad the LW does at least seem to realize this is more a "them" thing and not an actual problem.

    So, first off, they should give their b/f practical advice.  Like maybe it's time he looked at a new vehicle or an after-market warranty.  I also don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to lightly/gently point out the ways he is fortunate.  Like, "Oh, babe! I'm so sorry something else went wrong with your car!  I know it's hard to see your savings depleted like that, but at least you've put money aside for a rainy day and you're so lucky you can count on your parents if things ever got really bad."  And, quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this last part is merely a huge assumption they are making*.

    But, at the same time, they need to rein in their own financial insecurity and past.  Because all of that is strictly in the "their problem" category.  People should be able to stand on their own two feet and not rely on others.  Not side-eying that sometimes it happens.  Just pointing out that if they don't have their own rainy day savings, then they should focus on what they can do to change that.  Cut expenses.  Find a higher paying job or a p/t job or gig work.

    *I had a b/f in college whose parents had beau-coup money.  Dad had a high 6-figure salary for years, before retiring early.  But they emphasized they expected their kids to make it on their own.  This was the deal they had with all of them, "We'll pay for everything you need until you are 21.  All living expenses.  College, if you go that route.  But on your 22nd birthday, you're cut-off.  Not another dime."  My buddy had kinda gone to college during that time, but mostly screwed around.  I knew him in his "second" phase of college when he was in his mid-20s and taking it seriously.  And paying for it with student loans and delivering Dominoe's, part-time.  Because his parents had meant what they said!  That would have been a little too harsh for me if I were in their shoes, but I also totally understood their POV and didn't blame them one bit.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlotte989875
  • If I'm understanding this letter correctly, it isn't that the LW is annoyed that the b/f keeps complaining and stressing about car trouble, they're annoyed that he is responsible enough to save money and also has a good support system.  So he should count his blessings and stop complaining? Did I get that right?  WTF, smh.

    Yes, it seems that LW is weaponizing the BF growing up privileged or at least with more security (money, family, support, etc) than LW did.  It's pretty bonkers considering this person is their partner.  That's LW's problem and they need to sort that out.  

    That said, persistent belly-aching about something is annoying to listen to.  But I do wonder where the truth of this situation lies and/or if LW has some underlying shit to work out that has nothing to do with BF. 
    charlotte989875
  • If I'm understanding this letter correctly, it isn't that the LW is annoyed that the b/f keeps complaining and stressing about car trouble, they're annoyed that he is responsible enough to save money and also has a good support system.  So he should count his blessings and stop complaining? Did I get that right?  WTF, smh.

    Talk about complaining about a really positive thing.  I'm glad the LW does at least seem to realize this is more a "them" thing and not an actual problem.

    So, first off, they should give their b/f practical advice.  Like maybe it's time he looked at a new vehicle or an after-market warranty.  I also don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to lightly/gently point out the ways he is fortunate.  Like, "Oh, babe! I'm so sorry something else went wrong with your car!  I know it's hard to see your savings depleted like that, but at least you've put money aside for a rainy day and you're so lucky you can count on your parents if things ever got really bad."  And, quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this last part is merely a huge assumption they are making*.

    But, at the same time, they need to rein in their own financial insecurity and past.  Because all of that is strictly in the "their problem" category.  People should be able to stand on their own two feet and not rely on others.  Not side-eying that sometimes it happens.  Just pointing out that if they don't have their own rainy day savings, then they should focus on what they can do to change that.  Cut expenses.  Find a higher paying job or a p/t job or gig work.

    *I had a b/f in college whose parents had beau-coup money.  Dad had a high 6-figure salary for years, before retiring early.  But they emphasized they expected their kids to make it on their own.  This was the deal they had with all of them, "We'll pay for everything you need until you are 21.  All living expenses.  College, if you go that route.  But on your 22nd birthday, you're cut-off.  Not another dime."  My buddy had kinda gone to college during that time, but mostly screwed around.  I knew him in his "second" phase of college when he was in his mid-20s and taking it seriously.  And paying for it with student loans and delivering Dominoe's, part-time.  Because his parents had meant what they said!  That would have been a little too harsh for me if I were in their shoes, but I also totally understood their POV and didn't blame them one bit.
    Are you talking about my H here?!  Because this is him and his family exactly. 

    Now that he’s older & more mature things have changed but 10 years ago? His parents would not put out anymore money for him to get drunk and screw around. He got kicked out of his very expensive private school college because of that are they were done paying. 

    But now, sure if we ever really needed something that we absolutely couldn’t swing, they would be there in half a heartbeat. They are wonderful, generous people. But we would also never ask. Doesn’t mean we don’t stress about money when there are major unexpected expenses. 
    short+sassy
  • *I had a b/f in college whose parents had beau-coup money.  Dad had a high 6-figure salary for years, before retiring early.  But they emphasized they expected their kids to make it on their own.  This was the deal they had with all of them, "We'll pay for everything you need until you are 21.  All living expenses.  College, if you go that route.  But on your 22nd birthday, you're cut-off.  Not another dime."  My buddy had kinda gone to college during that time, but mostly screwed around.  I knew him in his "second" phase of college when he was in his mid-20s and taking it seriously.  And paying for it with student loans and delivering Dominoe's, part-time.  Because his parents had meant what they said!  That would have been a little too harsh for me if I were in their shoes, but I also totally understood their POV and didn't blame them one bit.
    Are you talking about my H here?!  Because this is him and his family exactly. 

    Now that he’s older & more mature things have changed but 10 years ago? His parents would not put out anymore money for him to get drunk and screw around. He got kicked out of his very expensive private school college because of that are they were done paying. 

    But now, sure if we ever really needed something that we absolutely couldn’t swing, they would be there in half a heartbeat. They are wonderful, generous people. But we would also never ask. Doesn’t mean we don’t stress about money when there are major unexpected expenses. 
    Not unless he grew up in Rio, Guatemala City, and Tai Pei, lol.  That guy had a seriously, interesting childhood!  His dad was a big-wig for the international division of the company he worked for.  He had 5-year international assignments.  So, from the age of 2, my friend grew up overseas and actually spent very little time in the US until after he'd graduated from high school.  He spoke Spanish and Portuguese fluently and without an accent, because he had learned them as a child.  His parents were fluent in those languages also, but had accents because they'd learned them as adults.

    I asked him once if he'd ever approached his parents about at least paying for college.  Since he was now taking it seriously.  He said he hadn't, but he wouldn't.  They'd always been very clear about their rules.  He had two siblings and laughed that his sister was the only wise one.  She went straight to college, didn't mess around, and graduated in 4 years.  So she was about done by the time she turned 22 and the parents ended up paying for all her college, plus all/most of her living expenses.  But he and his brother only dabbled at college when they were young.  At least got some of it paid for!  They also bought all their kids new cars.  My friend at least took care of his and still had it when I knew him.

    I dated him for the second half of my senior year and we still casually dated after I graduated.  I moved back to my mom's house after I graduated.  All of this was still So. CA.  I spent almost a year working "starter" jobs and "finding myself".  Then I moved to NOLA to start my "for reals" adult life, lol.   
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlotte989875
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards