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The Long Haul Are you past the flirting and dating stage? Wondering if there's life after 6 months with the same person? If you're in a serious long term relationship, this is your one-stop shop for questions and answers.

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Unread August 8th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #1
steve-d
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Default Should my girlfriend pay rent?

I've lived with my girlfriend for about four years. I have a wellpaid job and she is on a good postgrad student loan (about 12k a year). She doesn't make any contribution to the rent and never has. If we're in the supermarket she will pay for half the shopping but that's it -- she doesn't pay any other domestic bills.

I am not a mean person and don't have a very high mortgage, but I don't like the reaction I get when this subject comes up. She gets very defensive and angry. I have to pay to live here, if I had a lodger they would too, but for some inexplicable reason she doesn't. If she lived here for 5 or 10 more years does she think this would just go on the same way?

Is this fair, yes or no?
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Uh she's a student, and she's your girlfriend. If she had income it would be another story. Man up. If she's as burdensome as your average roommate, kick her out.
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

I own my own house and my boyfriend lives with me. We do have an arrangement for rent and other bills. It is not much (as it is not like he has his own room so it is far lower than a standard rent situation) but it is something. The thing that will be tough is bringing this up now rather than four years ago. I dont think that anyone should think it is ok to live somewhere for free, especially when the person who is paying the bills would like something to offset the expenses. How you are going to bring this up and get things to change escapes me... but to asnwer your question, yes I think rent is a fair thing to ask.
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

To be honest - this is yet another reason why I don't advise people live together prior to a marriage where it's 100% assured that both people are contributing to the household. Additionally, her being a student (even a full-time or part-time grad student) doesn't mean she couldn't get a job. I know plenty of people who have gone to school full-time (2-3 grad courses) while working 40+ hours a week. It's not fun, but it's possible.

There are even fellowships and internships pertaining to the degree which she could get AT the institution she attends, some of which provide tuition coverage in addition to a salary/hourly wage. That's how my husband got through undergrad (he worked 40+ hours a week at the university, they covered 6 credit hours per semester 100%). It took longer, but he supported himself by himself.

I'm a hard person apparently...I'd be telling her to pay rent, water, utilities, etc. If she uses half - she pays for half. Easy as that. You're not her husband, and there's no need for her to depend on you 100%.

Problem: You've let this go on for four years without changing. Now you're getting bitter over it, resentful that you're paying for almost everything and she's contributing little to nothing. It's awfully hard to demand she pay for everything halfsies if you didn't establish that in the beginning.

Unless she's pulling equal weight in other ways (ex. keeping the house clean, cooking, etc.) so that you're able to sort of reap the benefits of her living there in ways (other than sex....you don't have to live together for that), then there is a big problem in responsibility splits going on.

However, since you established early on - for four years - that you were "okay" with the arrangement by continuing to allow her to stay there without contributing monetarily...to demand such now means you're going to most likely damage, if not destroy, the relationship.
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Thanks for that. I agree that the big problem here is that I've allowed this to go on for so long unchallenged.

It's like trying to get people to pay for reading things free online. It's always been free so why change now.

So it's my fault deep down, is what I'm saying here.
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

I don't think it's your fault. I hardly think you cared that much when she moved in, or else I think you would have made an arrangement from the start. I agree with BabyDiva in that she should be pulling her weight in some way. If it's not in money then it should be in taking care of the house in some fashion.

But don't just resign this away as your fault and use that as a justification for taking the seemingly easier path; that is, not talking to her _at all_. If she does live with you another ten years, imagine what kind of resentment you'll have then. Do you want to go through another five years of this unresolved issue?

So what about actually working out a decent solution to how much you think she should pay. What if it's proportional her salary? Perhaps she might consider that fair. And if she's really a postgraduate then surely she'll get a better job in the future and this rough proportionality guide ought to be easy to follow.

Perhaps you should start out by saying something like "I really feel that we should both contribute to our living together. I know we've had problems in the past but we really, really must talk about it because it's something I'd like to sort out.

Since you make less than me, you wouldn't have to contribute as much, but I think it only fair that we both contribute according to our means and resources. What do you think?"

And go from there. Give it a shot.
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 07:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Surely her loan has been given to her to help her meet essential costs like rent? Is she just using this extra money as disposable income? As for bills, if she's using half she should be paying half, simple as. My guy and I contribute to each other's household expenses even if we just stay at each others' places for a couple of nights.

You really need to talk about this as soon as possible. She's freeloading and she knows it - hence her anger when you try and bring the subject up. It's not your responsibility to pay for her keep.
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

When I was on student loans, they took into account the fact I'd be paying rent, etc and gave me money accordingly... AND I went to school full time, and still worked 20 hours a week to make extra money. There is no reason for her NOT to be contributing either from her loans, or from a part-time job. One of my friends (from our post grad program) had TWO part time jobs to pay for school, rent, etc.

That being said, it's gone on SO long without her paying rent that one might be tricky to work out... but she most CERTAINLY should be paying half the utilities - heat, hydro, water, internet, etc... she uses them too.

My boyfriend (before I moved 8 hours away) would stay over 3-5 nights a week, and he would pay for groceries, meals, etc to help contribute since he knew he was staying rent&bill free (he lived at home). I never had to ask or bring it up to him... he'd just offer.

It's odd to me your girlfriend isn't contributing, or offering to - she must realize she's doing it (as someone else mentioned)
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 11:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

If it's rent on an apartment, that's one thing, but for a mortgage, it's kind of different... I mean, you're talking about having her pay part of a loan you made way before you knew her. If you get married, make sure the prenup puts the house in your hands
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Unread August 8th, 2009, 11:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

I definitley think she should do something to help out. I'm a student, and I know all about student loans and how much they suck but I also have a part time job to pay for things of my own even though I live with my mom still.

I know things are tight in many places now but she could atleast look. If she's not able to help with the mortgage she could pay a bill or two or foot the whole grocery bill next time. Anything is better than nothing, and it also shows that she is putting effort into yours and her living arrangement/relationship.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 01:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyDiva View Post
To be honest - this is yet another reason why I don't advise people live together prior to a marriage where it's 100% assured that both people are contributing to the household.
I agree with almost everything you said minus the above quote. Just because you are married doesn't give you 100% assurance that that both people will be contributing equally. The ground rules should have been set from the beginning, before she moved in.

For instance, my wife does not work and pretty much hangs around the house all freaking day. Yea she cleans and makes food every now and then but I don't think thatís contributing to the household equally.

OP I think it's great that you decided to move in pre marriage, it should be a prerequisite. Unfortunately you did not sit down and lay all the ground rules.


Quote:
Originally Posted by automorphism View Post
Since you make less than me, you wouldn't have to contribute as much, but I think it only fair that we both contribute according to our means and resources. What do you think?"
I think what auto said is the best way to go about it. Good luck.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 04:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

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Originally Posted by Kuky View Post
If it's rent on an apartment, that's one thing, but for a mortgage, it's kind of different... I mean, you're talking about having her pay part of a loan you made way before you knew her. If you get married, make sure the prenup puts the house in your hands
There are plenty of ways around that, assuming mortgages work remotely the same where they live as anywhere I've ever lived.

E.g. have her help pay for the interest on the mortgage, which is equivalent to paying rent, but not the part that pays off the mortgage. That would be more than fair in my eyes, since the person paying off the mortgage is constantly lowering the interest for the person paying that part... and in most places you live rent goes up, not down.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 08:24 AM   #13
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

I can understand why she gets upset about it. In the long run, you will benefit and not her. Also, you are changing the original "agreement" as nonverbal as it was. Why are you so interested in her paying now? Do you really need the help or is it more of a power struggle between you two? Does she clean the house, run errands for you, etc. or does she just sit on her butt all day? If she's doing the homemaker gig then it's not fair to ask for rent unless you are willing to split the chores 50/50 also. Maybe you could ask her to pay for her cell phone, car note or insurance, etc. You know, her personal expenses. She may be less abrasive about that idea and it would still mean less money out of your pocket.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Benny - If you and your wife decided she was going to stay at home...then so be it. If you don't think she should have the luxury of staying at home while you work - why don't the two of you talk about her getting a JOB? Is there a reason why she doesn't work? You speak of your wife in a very negative way...which isn't healthy. If she's just "hanging around the house" then you two need to have a conversation.


BTW- Read the quote again. I did not say anywhere in there that there was EQUAL contribution, just that you're assured more of actual contribution. If both parties are drawing a paycheck, then typically it goes into some form of a joint account. Both pay for groceries. Both pay for utilities.

However, NOTHING is ever 50/50. Since we all think we're doing sufficient jobs as a spouse...there will always be the twinge of "I do everything" even when both people ARE contributing.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuky View Post
If it's rent on an apartment, that's one thing, but for a mortgage, it's kind of different... I mean, you're talking about having her pay part of a loan you made way before you knew her. If you get married, make sure the prenup puts the house in your hands
Well, I have a mortgage and my boyfriend contributes because he lives here. I definitely do not ask him to pay half (as I do agree that it is my loan). He does pay half the cable, electricity, etc. But as it goes with any other rent situation... just because it is my mortgage doesn't mean anyone can live here for free. That's silly.


Anyway, he moved in with me the day I closed on my house and we are and have been able to openly discuss our finances and living arrangement. This is why I also disagree with the assumpition that being married ensures that both parties contribute equally. We are open and honest with one another about matters like this and if you dont have that before, how does a ring on a finger change that? C'mon. I don't see implying that if he had been married prior to having this woman move in helps this original poster at all..... especially when the arguments hardly apply to the topic at hand.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

#1 - I don't think anyone said that there's EQUAL contribution in any relationship. As a matter of fact, I just said that both would be contributing.

#2 - When a couple gets married, it is assumed that they WOULD have talked about stuff like jobs and finances openly. I doubt many people would get married without asking about financial status and marriage roles (also why I suggest everyone go through some premarital counseling prior to marriage because it often forces people who otherwise wouldn't have talked about it to at least bring it up). If you don't know someone's willingness to contribute and if it doesn't mesh with yours, you'd pretty much just not want to marry them because it's a huge commitment. On the flip side, many people decide to move in together and many (not saying all...because obviously some do) do no set ground rules because they're just so thrilled about getting to live with the other person. This leads to time passing before someone is disgruntled enough to bring up that things need to change. Bitterness and resentment builds and there's almost no going back after that's built up. (Yes, this can happen in marriage, too; which is why it's important to continue being open and honest in ways which keep lines of communication open.)

I still think it's a bad idea to believe that living together equates what a person is like married. I can't tell you how many friends and acquaintances I have who were so open and honest when cohabitating (supposedly), they got married then one or both changed. Even living together, one can put on an act (and yes, this does happen during marriage as well...nothing is perfect...however, being really clear and giving enough time during dating/engagement usually allows people to settle in to being themselves. Most of the people I know who are divorcing knew there were problems prior to that point, but no one communicated. I only know of one person who was truly blindsided. I know many people who cohabitated and had children with their SO who now must share custody. Had they not lived together, many of them would have broken off the relationship pre-children and not had that level of heartache.). Those are just my observations from the world around me.
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Unread August 9th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Heather -

I do agree with you on some points and as far as the ones that I do not agree with, I do understand your point of view. I am not arguing that living together is the best route to take in a relationship (in fact the thought of some of my friends cohabing makes me cringe knowing that there is no way things will work out), I am merely saying that (as my own observation in this thread) that the original poster knows that mistakes where made in not openly discussing the financial responsibilities prior to moving in. It almost seems to add insult to injury for the replies (and I was not even pointing a finger at you) to almost say "well you should have waited for marriage" or insinuating that there should be a prenup if the relationship moves forward.
I do not not think that either premarital living arrangement is the right way to go. It really depends from couple to couple (and perhaps you are right that MOST people should not live together). I agree with you on your points about how living together has people naturally move into marriage when they really should be moving on without each other. However, imagine if I were to imply that because you didn't agree with/or do things the way I would it meant that you would get divorced. I am sure that you would find that disrespectful and I would be met with "how dare you"s. I feel the same about the life I have built alongside my boyfriend. Had I not been preparing to take my professional board exams and working on recouping the funds I lost when I put 20% down on a home we would be married already. I just do not feel the religious obligation to marry (and I do respect that), but I am judged day to day from people that feel that because I am not married that it is ok for them to pass judgment when it is equally as hurtful if I were married. I simply hear what the poster is saying from the point of view of someone who is living with their significant other. I am not here to convince you that it is right, only that wagging a finger when the poster already knows that mistakes were made is not the most amicable way to help a guy out.
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Unread August 10th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

TootsiePop - Everyone is free to make their own choices. And while that is true, keep in mind that in the cohabitation thread posted ages ago, there are far more studies that show living together as being a major detriment and a huge contributing factor to divorce. It's not a slam against you; it's simply statistics.


I do find it ironic you get slammed so much when it's so incredibly prevalent though. A bit of a double standard... Our world is full of conundrums.


(And I wasn't implying he should have been married before...I was implying that moving in together isn't a wise decision in my worldview based on what I believe is truth. When people move towards committed marriage rather than "trying it out" - which is the most common reason two move in together - they tend to be quite a bit more open since they're thinking life-long instead of loop hole.

Like I said, it's not you...it's simply 1) what I believe...and that affects all things I say, and 2) what the world at large proves at this current moment in history.
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Unread August 10th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Tootsie and Diva, thank you for being so respectful in your discussion of cohabitation. Please, let's leave the discussion of the merits if living together where at stands and not have this turn into an tangential argument.
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Unread August 10th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Should my girlfriend pay rent?

Not going to read this whole thing, but does your gf do most if not all the cleaning, shopping? Does she do your laundry, cook for you, and do a lot of running to get things done for you? Shoot, you are worried about a litle rent. I heard this a while back on the news. Do you know what stay at home wife/mother (if paid of what she does) would make over a hundred thousand dollars a year. If you make damn good money, I wouldn't worry about her paying rent, and say thank you God that you don't have to pay her one hundred thousand dollars a year to be your housekeeper. lol
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