My boyfriend of three years moved in with me a little over a year ago due to loss of a job in his city and him finding one in mine. I have two daughters that are 18 and 21 and still live with me. He buys groceries from week to week and spends about $300 - $400 a month but has not offered to pay any rent or utilities.
How should I approach him to share in these expenses too as he is living with us full time? The house is only in my name. Thanks.
By Robin from New Orleans, LA
You really need to know what the monthly expenses total before you can approach him. That includes everything you pay for and everything he pays for. And to be fair, keep in mind that if you break up, the house is still yours so I wouldn't try to make him pay for a full half of your mortgage. You need to come up with something fair for the living expenses you both share.
Talking money is tough. It's one of the hardest things on any relationship. Tell him you'd like to set aside some time for the two of you to discuss finances. Agree on a time when both of you will be fairly relaxed and not running late to some other appointment. Then, just tell him how you feel. Literally say "I feel... " Avoid saying things like "you never..." or "you always..."
If you have a good relationship and he's a good man, using kind, not accusing wording you should be able to work out a more fair arrangement. Saying something like "I really appreciate your buying groceries. It helps a lot. But I feel that we're not splitting our overall living expenses in a fair way and want to discuss how we could make it more fair."
In my mind, I would think he should be paying somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 of all living expenses, depending on what your kids financial situations are (if they're full time students I don't think they should be expected to pay as much as if they're simply working) You may want to figure what the total monthly expenses are before you sit down together. It's honesly possible that he simply isn't aware that 300 - 400 a month isn't his fair share.
If the two of you have a good relationship you should have no problem approaching him. Just say you appreciate his help with buying groceries but you would appreciate his help with other expenses. Like paying the rent once every 4 months (the girls are old enough to be responsible for bills a well). Or once every 3 months if you still feel responsible for the 18 year old.
Or you can suggest restructuring how the bills are covered by everyone. Put all the general bills in a list: electric, water, phone, cable, sewer, rent. And decide who is responsible for what bills each month. Write everything down on a calender so people can see what they are responsible for. OR you can just total it up and divide by how many people will be helping with bills (3 or 2 if you don't count your oldest daughter). There are several ways to work this out, the trick is working it out and being fair about it.
I would never live with a significant other, without having a written, notarized document stating what each person would be responsible for. My feeling is that everything should be split half and half, unless it is something that the individual is going to use by himself/herself. You have to protect yourself, just in case the two of you end up splitting up.
Oh, have I been through the similar situation with supposed 'love'. Well, after 3 years of buying all the groceries, buying all his clothes, paying the water bill and washing, cleaning and cooking, things started to go down so one day I said it was all over. I moved out taking all the furniture and things that I had bought.
He went to our lawyer and through mediation the lawyer said that he was to keep the BMW and truck that I bought him as I didn't pay rent. Oh my goodness, now I'm broke and he still has them.
Good Luck - honey! My old Italian grandma used to say "why buy milk when you can get it for free??" Women sell themselves short when they live with a person with no set rules. I guess that is what that "piece of paper" is for.
I'd have some concerns about the fact that he's not voluntarily doing more. I probably wouldn't ask him to pay a portion of the mortgage, since the house is yours. But I would ask him for an amount equal to a third of all the other expenses, including things like homeowners insurance, property taxes, utilities, land line phone, groceries, etc. I say a third because he's getting a break in terms of the mortgage which should more than make up for the fact that four people are living in your household.
If he complains about a more equitable arrangement, that should be a huge red flag.
I would also check out the laws in your state with regard to co-habitation. Here in Saskatchewan, if a couple lives common law for two years, they are assumed to be married. So, that means that if you lived here, your boyfriend would have some claim on the house that you own!! After two years. You have to discuss something with regard to expenses, and be sure you know what your legal situation is. $400 a month contribution is not nearly his fair share in your household.
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