I recently had a conversation with a virtual stranger on the Twitterverse which gave me great pause. Let’s set the stage here and give you some points to ponder.
My boyfriend and I have been together almost 16 months. We live together and share in our mutual expenses (i.e. rent, utilities, groceries, auto insurance). Going into the relationship, I was debt free with the exception of a minimal bankruptcy payment from when I was married. Otherwise, I have paid my student loans, I have no credit cards, and my car is paid for. I have no desire to ever have debt again and I will do all the I can to keep it that way.
Now, my boyfriend still has some student loans to pay off as well as some minimal credit card debt. He as well, does not use credit cards and like me, everything we pay for is in cash. A very good method for keeping up with our expenses as well as ensuring that if there is something we want, we will not go into debt in order to get it.
My boyfriend are very much in love and are in a committed relationship with a higher level of commitment to come in the future (i.e. marriage….I hope lol). I digress…..We have lived together for a year now and are pretty much set in our routine and love each other and know that our lives are together and we are in this relationship for the long haul.
Enter in this conversation I had with said virtual stranger on the interwebs. He stated that I should help out my boyfriend financially with his debt and bills that he has. Bills and debt that he obtained several years prior to meeting me, that he has been chunking away at to get paid. I don’t begrudge him for any of this by the way. The amount is not substantial enough that I would want to go into hiding to avoid any further financial pitfalls in the future. Far from it honestly.
Let me also mention, that at this current point in my life, I am not financially able to contribute towards my boyfriend’s debt. I sometimes struggle with bills and “surprise” expenses that might come my way, but I am stable enough to always pay my bills, rent, and have some leftover for other fun stuff and extras for us and my children.
This person that I was talking to has substantial means to help his girlfriend of 6 months pay her bills and debt. He’s able financially to contribute towards that, and if that’s something he decides he wants to do, then so be it.
Here comes the part which I just can’t agree with. This person stated that because I don’t contribute financially to pay my boyfriend’s bills that it shows a lack of commitment to the relationship and my boyfriend. He states that it’s a sad situation and it sucks. That my commitment to my boyfriend comes into question because I don’t contribute my finances to his debt.
This coming from someone, by the way, who easily makes 4-5 times my salary and still pays some of his ex-wife’s bills. That’s asinine in my opinion but again, I digress.
One, I cannot financially afford to contribute towards my boyfriend’s debt at this point of time, but even IF I could and didn’t, this is NO WAY shows a lack of commitment to my relationship.
Second, we are not married yet, not even engaged at this point. To me, even though I’m fully committed to my boyfriend and our relationship and our future together, it would be foolish to commit such finances to him at this point in our relationship. Because even though we have the best intentions to be together forever and our future together, lets be honest. Life happens, and sometimes, beyond our control, things happen.
This person stated that in any relationship, we are partners and a team. That “what’s yours is mine and mine is yours.” And to an extent, I agree with that. My boyfriend and I are definitely partners and make decisions together, especially those that are dealing with joint finances. But until we are joined in marriage and have a “legal” commitment to each other, I don’t agree with the fact that I or he needs to contribute towards each other’s personal financial obligations. This just really leads one to rough waters at times.
You see, I would NEVER expect my boyfriend to help me out financially with my bankruptcy payments that I incurred over 3 years ago. I would never ask him to help me pay my personal loans or debt that I have had over time, prior to meeting him. And I know for a fact that my boyfriend would never ask that of me as well. In fact, we have had this discussion on several occasions. Once we are married, then we will revisit that conversation and discuss details. But for now, this is not something we are going to do.
And in going this route, the route of being independently responsible for our own bills and debt, we are maintaining financial responsibility for our own expenses. This is something important to myself as well as my boyfriend.
Just like I would never expect my boyfriend to pay for things associated with my children. In a relationship or down the road when we are married. Even after marriage I would never assume that he would have an obligation to pay for school fees, or lunch fees, or field trips, or anything like that. No….they have a father that pays for things for them. He contributes equally towards those expenses as well as pays child support for his children. If my boyfriend wanted to pay for something or treat the kids to something, then by all means. That’s HIS choice and it’s something that he wants to do for them, and ultimately for me. But by no means is that expected from him, at all.
So in the same token, and again, this is something my boyfriend and I have discussed, I have no obligation to help him out financially at this current point of our relationship.
Does it lessen our level of commitment? HECK NO! I am committed to my boyfriend come hell and high water. I love him with every ounce of my being and I am here, standing by his side no matter what. But for this person to claim that it shows a lack of commitment to my relationship or that my relationship is in a sad state is in very bad taste. In fact, it’s quite the contrary to that!
My boyfriend and I are in a very good place in our relationship. We are in a very committed relationship and we love each other with all our hearts. We have a great relationship. We laugh together, we encourage each other, we build each other up, we are each other’s listening ear when we need to vent or talk something out, we don’t judge each other, and we are a team. We are in this, together, 200%.
So, to you virtual stranger in the Twitterverse, I say this:
If you believe that substantial financial contributions to your girlfriend of 6 months shows a higher level of commitment to your relationship than mine, so be it. To me, that actually shows a lack of maturity and wisdom. To believe that your relationship is better than mine because you give your girlfriend money to pay her debt, and you do that because you love her and want her to do well in life, you are sorely mistaken.
When you have moved in with her, helped her to raise her children and instill positive ideals and be a role model to them, when you can be an unwavering support system for her regardless of what the world throws her way, when you can say that you can’t live without her in your life, when you know that your life is better with her, and that you want to spend your life with her, no matter what,THEN you can come to me and we can discuss commitment levels.
Until you get to that point, you have no room to judge what I do in my relationship.
Until you are at that level in your relationship, you have no idea my true level of happiness in my current relationship.
Until you would move heaven and earth to ensure your relationship lasts forever, you have no room to lecture me on what I have done in my relationship and what I intend to do in the future.
I’m not going anywhere, and neither is my boyfriend. We love each other more than we could imagine. We know that our future is together. We are confident that we are with the person we are meant to be with.
That sounds pretty committed to me, don’t you think?