Sharing Living Expenses with Girlfriend

I am a 36yr man who works from home. I have just again moved in with my girlfriend who has two kids, both boys ages 5 & 9 from two different fathers. I say moved back in because I had moved out for 2 month this summer when we broke up due to issues unrelated to this post.

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I am trying to get an opinion or feel from others about my situation to see if it is fair and I should not fight it or if it's unfair and I should stand up for myself.

When my gf and I first moved in together I moved into her place and then we moved to California and then back to Virginia and literally right back into the same apartment basically she had rented before which was a two bedroom. At this time she wanted me to pay half the rent which was $2000 a month and I disagreed and said I would pay $800. My reasoning was that is what I would pay on my own and moving in together there should be a benefit not an increase in my expenses. She has two kids thus the need for a second bedroom which I don't use.

My work space was small, but she said at the time, before moving into a new home recently which she bought, that this space 3ftx7ft was all mine and where my stuff was and that she couldn't use it cuz it's all mine and thus I should have paid half. Anyhow we settled on $800 as I refused to pay more as I felt it was unfair.

But when it came to utilities she said I would have to pay all of the utilities even though I don't watch TV and the kids take long baths especially the 9 yr old. Also they have a bunch of electronic equipment which they use electricity for and she said since I work from home during the day that my computer uses electricity which is silly since I power it up at night. Anyhow I decided to just pay half because I didn't want to argue more about it. Regarding food I feel that I am paying a lot since these kids eat like crazy especially the 9yr old. At the time I was paying perhaps $325-400 a month on food and I may not be slim at the moment, but I know I don't eat that much. She argues she does the shopping which is true and she cooks and usually does cleaning every two weeks which I will get to, but she says since I sometimes will eat some of the food like candy or chips for the kids I should pay half of what I eat that's theirs which I said is fine. She also argues that I eat dinners she makes and buys. She buys dinners that are more expensive than I would usually purchase and she makes these meals which I pay half for when I and her 9yr old and she eat. The 5 yr old is picky and eats his own meals.

When we got back together I moved into the apartment and then she bought a house a month later with a mortgage costing $2500 and she wanted me to pay at least $1000 which I said wasn't fair since she will get a deduction in taxes for the mortgage, she will get back a portion of the money I help pay for the mortgage when she sells it and that simply I can't afford paying that much at my current income level. We agreed to $700 and me paying half the utilities. While I was on my own those two months I paid $800 for two rooms in a single family house and only $100 in utilities, but now my portion of utilities is roughly $160 a month. Today I brought up the fact that I don't watch TV and that they always hog the TV and watch kid shows so why am I paying $58 a month for TV and internet? Also I pay half the gas and electricity and water. Is that fair?

Now let me say this in case anyone is wondering if I'm one of those guys who does nothing but eat, work, and sleep. Everyday I wake up at 5:30am with her to see her off to work while I stay home and take care of the kids and feed them until I drive them to school at 7:30am and this is every single weekday. Also let me mention that her 9yr old has severe ADHD and up until recently he was more than you can imagine having to deal with on a daily basis right when you get up for the day. He's been better now as he has been placed on a new medication which trust me he really does need and I used to advocate for kids not to take medication. The 5 yr old is also difficult to deal with and followed after his brother. Things are better, but still can be tough at times.

The 9yr, who's father abandoned him when he was young has dreamed of a father and considers me his dad and does truly love me and I love him and his brother and raise them as my own in every way. I do not pay any expenses for them apart from some toys, lunches, dinners, or movies and things here and there. Because of his ADHD he was kicked out of 3 after school care programs so I offered to care for him since I work from home and I knew she had no other options. So he comes home at 2:50pm now. The hard part is he comes and talks and asks questions and shows me things all the time so my work is distracted, but I deal with it until she gets home at about 5:30. I am a strategic life coach and own my own business. I have been working hard to build my business to where it is, but I have run into some tough times the last 5 years which is when I started my company. I went though a divorce; my ex was a serious alcoholic. I have moved 8 times literally in the last two years and finally I am getting stable. I have no money saved and I'm in a lot of debt and just want to get out of it.

Any how I hope someone reads this and lets me know what they think because I feel a little lost here and confused even though I know as a life coach I should know the answer here, but I seriously don't because my emotions are in this and I love her and want a future meaning marriage, but when I bring that up she says she can see that for us, but doesn't seem enthusiastic. I believe that is my fault because I have hurt her emotionally in the past when I had a hard time committing to our relationship after my divorce. I started seeing her 2 months after it and then moved to California on my own which was my dream and she then moved out there to be with me with the kids. Then we all moved back here because her son wasn't doing well over there. What should I do and should I just suck it up and pay more for rent or stay as it is or should I pay less for utilities or pay the same? I had argued that I pay 1/3 since they are two kids and she is one adult.

Thank you in advance for your opinions and comments!

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December 21, 20170 found this helpful

I do not think you should live together since there is so much disagreement/resentment over finances and childcare. I think even if you allowed yourself to "suck it up" and pay half, you would resent it based on comments you made. I, too, have been with someone and we did not agree on finances and parted ways because that disagreement/hurt feelings/resentment drifted into every aspect of our relationship.

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December 21, 20170 found this helpful

You have a lot of issues to work out before you live together. If you were married or engaged, you would be blending the family unit and splitting everything.

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Her kids would be your kids. If this is not a serious relationship she should pay 60-70% and you would pay for yourself. You need to figure out where this relationship is going.

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December 22, 20170 found this helpful

There are so many difficult issues here!!! I seriously doubt you can work this out alone as it appears you are the only one hurting in this "relationship".

I strongly suggest counseling for you to work out what you want in a relationship and then couple counseling to clarify what she wants and if she is serious about a relationship with you. She is clearly in the driver's seat!!!

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December 22, 20170 found this helpful

Driver's seat for sure :( I feel like you were happy to have moved out to California and now your dream was taken away. Close your eyes and think of YOUR IDEAL situation. What do YOU want?

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If it's to have that California dream-- You know what to do. We aren't here to tell you what to do but if you are on a website listing negatives to a situation, at least you know what you do not want. Make sure you are happy, FIRST.

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December 23, 20170 found this helpful

That's a hard situation as you're just 1 versus 3 (1 parent + 2 kids). I don't think you should be responsible for 1/2 of the rent. You were generous enough to spilt the electric + utilities but as for the TV if you aren't using it, why should you pay. I can see you paying for the Internet since you work from home and that would be more reasonable.

However, basing the background story, since your girlfriend just bought a house - so that means her income or job has to be a steady one to get a mortgage, so technically if you weren't in the picture, she would still be able to manage paying mortgage each month.

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Even though you are paying what you are right now and she wants you to pay more. I think she should factor in that you watch her child for a couple hours per morning and that saves on childcare (as childcare does not come cheap). You manage to balance your work schedule to help out.

And I don't think that's right to factor every little thing like: she is cooking for you and you eat it (so it's a charge) or like she cleans (so there that's money). Everything should be a balance and not just money being labeled for something, if that makes any sense. It should be done out of love.

Not quite sure how she views it on her side. Compromises definitely need to be made.

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December 23, 20170 found this helpful

Costs of sharing accomodations.

Step 1
In my opinion you should be paying right down the middle.

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Step 2
There not your kid's but you say you treat them as your own.

Step 3
Your in a relationship that may end up in marriage you knew she had two children when you met therefore it is a package deal.

Step 4
It's all or none look at it that way and decide if you want to commit or not.

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December 23, 20170 found this helpful

You are in a very difficult spot. You decided to leave her and move to California. You didn't ask her to show up there with the kids. She did this on her own. Now you are right back where you started. Not a good turn of events if you ask me. You could have stayed in California and let her move back there alone with the kids.

You made the decision to move back there with her because of her son and he wasn't doing good in California. You knew your financial situation when you made this decision. You should have told her from the beginning that you can only afford to pay X amount of money each month. You can take it or leave it. I can't pay more right now.

She seems like she is doing well with her job and her income. She bought the house on her own without help from you. She could easily pay for everything, if you walked out tomorrow. Furthermore, you don't sound like you're happy there. You sound miserable and looking for a way out if you ask me.

To me, all these issues seem petty and not what is the true problem at all. You are using all this as an excuse to avoid the real problem at hand. You don't sound happy. You just don't want to admit this to yourself because of your divorce. You are afraid to fail again. I think you need to take a step back and examine your life before you try entering into another relationship that you're aren't happy in.

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December 28, 20170 found this helpful

I have a feeling that if the tables were turned she would NOT be paying half of anything.

Your financial situation should have no bearing on what portion you pay. (If you can't afford a place, don't move there.) The portion you pay should be based upon what portion you use which is roughly 1/3. Even if you were a millionaire, technically 1/3 is all you should be responsible for supplying.

She should be taking care of her children's food, clothing, and shelter. You don't owe her child support.

Fundamentally, the issues you both are having don't make for a living together situation. Because, if you made more money, You would still have the same feelings of unfairness.

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