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Wedding Woes

Is the 10% headache worth it?

Dear Prudence,

My family is very dysfunctional and very poor. I basically had to claw my way into financial stability, and it’s made me very frugal. My boyfriend isn’t. He’s from another country originally and comes from old money, although we both make middle-class salaries. He’s very generous with his friends and family, and while I love that about him, he doesn’t really understand why I don’t treat my family the same way. I don’t speak to my parents. My father took out credit cards in my name when I was a child. My mother tried to convince me to give up my scholarship money to her in college. I have a limited relationship with my siblings and never give them cash or easy-to-pawn gifts after my sister once took the money I gave her to pay for rent and blew it at a casino instead. My boyfriend doesn’t understand why I don’t give my nephews the expensive sneakers or video games they want. He teases me for being a “miserly old aunt” and says I’m being petty and trying to punish my siblings with my success.

That hurts. I want to help my siblings, but I learned a long time ago that they’ll squander my gifts. I pay private tuition for my brother’s two girls and try to encourage my nephews in their schoolwork. My sister pawns anything expensive I get for her boys. I don’t have a safety net outside of what I’ve made for myself. My boyfriend can always fall back on his parents and grandparents. I have tried to relate my personal experience to him, and he just tells me the American dream is a mirage. How do I get through to him? Ninety percent of our relationship is perfect, except for his opinions on my family. It’s exhausting to argue about this.

—No Family Loans

Re: Is the 10% headache worth it?

  • This sounds like somewhat typical of the way many relationships are when one comes from money and the other doesn't. It's often hard for the one from money to put themselves in the others shoes.

    I wonder if LW has explained the full story to their spouse .... not that they should but out of understand past history and reasoning.

    But SO should have respect enough to not push the issue
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Even if he doesn’t understand why your relationships with your family are the way they are he needs to do more to respect them, and you. You’ve been extremely generous paying for school and you’re jot expected to do that, or anything else. 

    One thing tho, once you give a gift it’s up to the receiver to do what they want with it. It hurts and it sucks your family turns your gifts into cash or spends it in ways you don’t agree with, but that happens with gifts. As for the kids, I’d focus on experiences/tuition/things their parents can’t take away until their older or out of the house. 
    This.  “You and I don’t see eye to eye on this subject so lets avoid talking about it”.  But why does she even have to give them anything?  “rich” or “poor”? 

  • WWOOOWWWW!!!!  She pays the tuition for her TWO nieces to go to private school.  We don't even know how many thousands of dollars a year that is.  Which, to me, is a big sacrifice especially on a middle-class salary.  And her b/f actually has the audacity to call her "miserly".

    I would give him two acronyms to choose from:  STFU or GTFO.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Her BF is not getting it.   This isn't a cultural impairment.   He's ignoring that his GF is leaving an unhealthy environment and is using his callousness as someone from another country to imply that he's somehow superior? 

    This guy is an asshole too.   That 10% of your relationship could cause nearly 100% of your financial problems.   End this now. 
  • There's a fundamental lack of respect here on the boyfriend's part. Yes, it can be hard to wrap your mind around someone who comes from family situation that is vastly different from your own. But that doesn't give him the right to criticize LW for doing what's right for her when it comes to her difficult family. This is a pretty big thing to argue about with an SO, and I think LW really needs to consider whether she wants to put up with long term.
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