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My SO (legal life-partnership status1) and I have been together for 6 years and bought a house together 1 year ago. He has a great paying job and earns about 3 times my salary. I have a decent pay.

When we bought the house, we decided to go for a little more expensive house and split the costs according to our salaries. That comes down to about 75% vs 25%. We logged this in our partnership agreement and have the money come from a shared account. Even 25% of those costs is pretty hefty for me, but I would have a few hundred euro left to save up a little bit, buy clothes, do sports etc so I was fine with that.

He keeps disagreeing with how much I pay for things that go beyond mortgage/electricity (like city taxes, a broken appliance etc) however, making me pay more than we agreed upon. This causes financial discomfort for me and I have had to cancel things like sport classes due to this. He is still able to fund his (rather expensive) hobbies however. On the other side, he has decided to pay for things like an expensive garden overhaul out of his own pocket as well.

He gets very defensive when I say I don't think it is fair to ask 50/50 on some things, whenever he sees fit, as our partnership document states 75/25. He will demand money as long as I have it in my account, doesn't matter if that leaves me with € 500 or € 5.

I would like to solve this as I don't think his arguments are fair. I am out of things to say to make him see my side and I would like to have a proper discussion without it escalating into a fight.

What can I say to counter his, in my eyes, unfair arguments without it turning into a fight?

 

__________
1 Geregistreerd Partnerschap ("registered partnership") is a Dutch legal status similar to marriage that makes you financial partners. This means that if one ever stops paying taxes, can't pay a speeding ticket etc., then the other is accountable. I could use his last name if I wanted to. It also means that you get to set up a document with a few decisions about the partnership. In our specific case, we have set the ownership of the house we bought, and 'house costs' that come with that, to 75/25%. this means that if we ever sell the house, he will get 75% of whatever it's worth by then.

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    When he tells you that he wants you to pay more then you originally agreed upon, does he deny the original agreement? Or does he admit that he agreed to certain amounts, but now wants to change it? Where I'm going is wondering if documenting the original agreement in more detail would help or not. – DaveG Jun 18 '18 at 14:09
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    have you heard of financial abuse. womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/… he is making you spend more than you want to with the promise of help, the refusing that help, leaving you short of money and reliant upon him. – WendyG Jun 18 '18 at 16:06
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    Is there a reason that you want to keep your finances separate? It sounds like what hobbies you pursue affects the other anyway, so if you were to treat each other's interests equally, wouldn't that require combining finances? – mbomb007 Jun 18 '18 at 17:02
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    I don't know if you're aware of that site or not (it's not on your network profile), but you might also want to check out Personal Finance & Money which fields not-dissimilar questions every once in a while. You might find something interesting or useful there, too, though obviously the focus of answers there will be different. – a CVn Jun 19 '18 at 10:56
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    I see a difference between paying the house that belongs to you to 25 % (then of course you don't pay more) or paying normal living costs that probably are 50:50. What exactly did you agree on? This is the key to your arguments. – puck Jun 19 '18 at 15:54
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A practical solution

In this situation I would suggest opening a joint account together for joint expenses. This is the way a lot of couples I know do things and it seems to work well for them. They have a joint account which they pay into a set amount each month (Like the 25% for the house) to pay for joint expenses such as bills, mortgages holiday etc. but they also have separate personal accounts in which they can spend the money how they like. This would hopefully leave less room for arguing about the matter as it is just set up and then left.

Personal advice (Opinion Based)

This is the best solution I can think of but your SO might still not be happy with this. It seems your partner doesn't have a very good view on sharing, preferring equality over equity. On top of this he is happy to agree to sharing but when it comes down to actually handing over money he's argumentative. I believe this is a character flaw that is unlikely to be solved without direct confrontation

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    How would a joint account help in this case? It will just lead to arguments about who pays how much into it and what the money is used for. – Michael Jun 19 '18 at 10:31
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    This does not answer OP's question "What can I say to counter his, in my eyes, unfair arguments without it turning into a fight?" – Kaspar Scherrer Jun 19 '18 at 16:01
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    @Michael he originally agreed to an amount and then changed it, if a joint account set up was in place he wouldn't be able to change this split. – Jon.G Jun 19 '18 at 16:08
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    @Cashbee my answer is that I don't believe that can be done without confrontation and instead offered a different solution – Jon.G Jun 19 '18 at 16:09
  • @Jon.G I see what you mean but you don't say it can't be done and why not ;) see this meta about how to write a good frame challenge. – Kaspar Scherrer Jun 20 '18 at 7:01
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Is it possible bring in a third party like a financial or relationship counselor that can help you work through and document the expectations for finances? You could tell your SO that the two of you are clearly unable to resolve this problem on your own, and need a moderator to help out. I've seen good counselors at work who have managed to reconcile two people who had completely different ideas on how to proceed with a problem. The key was getting the two parties to realize that the underlying goal was the same, and then hashing through how to get to the goal.

In your case you both (presumably) want a stable relationship without battling over who owes what as your circumstances change, which they are always going to do. A neutral third party may be able to help the two of you align your goals and come up with a procedure to stay aligned over time.

A third party should also be able to get both of you to think about what is going to happen as the financial situation changes, while in a calm environment. So new income like bonuses or raises, or new expenses like car repairs would have been thought about and worked thru and you would both have a common understanding.

12

have you heard of financial abuse.

Financial abuse is an aspect of ‘coercive control’ – a pattern of controlling, threatening and degrading behaviour that restricts a victims’ freedom.

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/financial-abuse/

"In the past years other house costs such as taxes etc come up and he constantly wants me to pay 50%. I have to remind him every time we agreed on the 25%. He gets annoyed, asks me how much money I have in my account etc and usually wants me to pay 50% anyway."

"My car broke down and we decided on financial lease so I could drive a decent car. He wanted me to drive a very safe car so he offered to double the amount of money I was prepared to spend on the car. Super nice, right? Yes, except I've been driving the car for 6 months and he hasn't paid once."

"Because the 75%/25% rule is in our partnership document, it also means that if we ever sell it, 75% of whatever we sell it for will be his, only 25% will be mine. So he pays more but he will get a lot more as well. It's not like I'm robbing him of that money, that 75% will never be mine."

He is making you spend more than you want to with the promise of help, then refusing that help, leaving you short of money and reliant upon him.

Financial abuse involves a perpetrator using or misusing money which limits and controls their partner’s current and future actions and their freedom of choice. It can include using credit cards without permission, putting contractual obligations in their partner’s name, and gambling with family assets. [1]

[1] Sharp, N (2008) “What’s Yours is Mine”: the different forms of economic abuse and its impact on women and children experiencing domestic violence. London: Refuge

My father did this to my Mother she only just had enough money each week to pay for food and household bills, he left her without a single penny to spend upon herself.
He is doing this to you he is leaving you without enough money for your hobbies.

the 20k on the garden is irrelevant as HE CHOSE to do that, so it isn't your responsibility as I saw somewhere else "not your monkeys not your circus".

Money Advice:

Open up a second bank account set up a transfer for the day after you get paid and move an amount of savings into there. This way you are saving and he can't see it when he discusses how much money you have. Sell the car you can't afford, or return it. and buy a car you can afford.

Interpersonal Advice

There is a saying you can't change anybody else just how you react to them. You have learnt now he is big on promises of help but short on actual help. So every time in the future he tries to extend you with promises of help simply say "no thanks I would rather do this on my own".

I would not open a joint account if this rings any bells, as then he will have access to all your money.

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    Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding something, but here is question. I'm genuinely asking because I don't understand this, not to be difficult. Couldn't you turn this around and say that she is financially abusing him? She is clearly, from OP's own words, making him spend more than he wants. He is already paying for most (~75%). I also don't understand how "he is leaving her short of money". Apparantly, as far as I understand, they don't have shared money. Is she entitled to his money? Just because he has more money than her, that does not mean it's his obligation to give her more? – Eff Jun 19 '18 at 8:48
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    he is getting her to extend herself, getting her to buy stuff she can't afford with promises of help, which then never get given. Leaving her having bought stuff she can't afford. – WendyG Jun 19 '18 at 8:51
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    @Eff He was the one who came up with the 75% pay for 'house expenses' idea though, he wanted to have that documented in our partnership document. He did this so we could together afford a larger house. That was his proposition and he agreed on this. Just as with the car. His offer, his decision. I told him before I was uncomfortable spending 200 euro a month on a car and that I wanted to keep 100 as my limit to leave room for 'spending money' so he offered to to double it so I could drive a car he deemed better/safer. – Summer Jun 19 '18 at 8:59
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    @JaneDoe1337 Ah, that certainly is a tough situation to be in. My sympathies. Clearly, it seems that he has changed his mind, and don't want to pay for you anymore. I really don't know what you should do in such a nasty situation. I guess either you both have to live somewhere where you can afford 50/50, or he has to stick to the original deal. Again, I feel for you. It really doesn't sound like a nice relationship dynamic currently. Hope the best for you. – Eff Jun 19 '18 at 9:06
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    @Eff Because the 75%/25% rule is in our partnership document, it also means that if we ever sell it, 75% of whatever we sell it for will be his, only 25% will be mine. So he pays more but he will get a lot more as well. It's not like I'm robbing him of that money, that 75% will never be mine. – Summer Jun 19 '18 at 9:07
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Without Escalation?

First, it is impossible to guarantee a smooth, amicable process. Escalation is not solely within your control.

Second, escalation may be helpful. Most people become upset when their views are challenged, and it seems like the disconnect is large enough that you, he, or both will need to reconsider fundamental attitudes about fairness and sharing.

An uncomfortable conversation or a bit of turmoil can be a small price to pay for a long-term resolution.

Without Antagonism

You should avoid criticizing his decisions or behaviors if possible. Phrase complaints in terms of how the outcome affects you.

When you tell me I need to put another € 50 toward a monthly car payment, I feel like I can't even afford a gym membership. I'd rather have the gym than a premium car.

Hopefully, he will understand that you feel financial pressures and perhaps a loss of control over your life. Setting boundaries may help regain some sense of control.

E.g.: My partner and I maintain separate accounts for personal expenses and a joint account for joint expenses. I have an automatic deposit set for my share. I assume she does as well, but I'm not sure because I have no access to her personal account. Fully separate accounts will eliminate his ability to see your savings and decide what to do with those funds---his behavior is problematic, as mentioned by others, and may be abusive if taken too far.

For larger one-time purchases, it might help to set a personal budget in advance and then let him do as he pleases with that constraint. Come up with a reasonable set of requirements for the item (size, features, color, etc). Your personal budget should represent a reasonable contribution toward an item which meets your requirements. If he demands a better item, he is free to spend as much as he wants to purchase one.

Why Is He Like This?

You and he have a different experience when it comes to finances. He does not seem to understand or empathize with your financial limitations. You need to discover whether it is knowledge or empathy that is lacking. A lack of understanding can be fixed with better communication; a lack of empathy is considerably more difficult to address.

It is possible that his income has freed him from certain financial pressures for so long that he does not know how it feels to deal with those issues. This is especially likely if he comes from a well-off family.

In this case, I suggest having a strong grasp on your budget and your spending plans. With numbers in mind, you can communicate more clearly what trade-offs are involved with his suggestions. Are you trying to save money for something? How does his suggestion affect your extra/discretionary funds? What must you give up in order to pay for that car or appliance?

If he lacks empathy or concern for your financial well-being, you may face a significant battle in resolving the issue. It may require professional therapy. A deep-seated personality issue isn't something that can be addressed in this format.

Remember that it is fundamentally unfair for him to insist that you pay more for something that only he wants. If this is an established pattern, you will have to challenge it sooner or later. A good person will acknowledge this and accept your financial situation as part of the relationship.

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One thing is not very clear. Does he really realise that you have to cut on things that you like? If not, can you make it clear to him? I believe if two people have a loving relationship, they would normally want the other person to be happy.

What you could also do is write down every single thing you agree upon and every single common thing each of you spends money on (like groceries for both, bills for the house and so on). Yes, it is a lot of work, but it looks like oral communication does not work in this case, so if you have it in writing, it will be more binding. Also, you have mentioned he wanted to fund the garden without waiting for you. Do put that argument down in writing as well.

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Seems like all of the answers are more or less confrontational.... A simple solution would be to spend the money on the things that you already told him that you would spend money on. Don't have enough money in your account to pay for things 100% that you shouldn't pay 100% of.
As an example, do make the payment for your hobbies regardless of how much money you have or whether or not you can make the payments for your car, or especially the house.
He will likely abuse your finances as long as A) he can get away with it and B) it doesn't at all hurt him.
As soon as his credit score takes a hit, he will reconsider and likely show more of his true colors. He will either pay for more things himself or he will start an argument.

The question going in is: Are you prepared to have this argument. Or in other words: if this issue isn't fixed (which it likely won't without an (or in all likelihood multiple) argument, are you comfortable being in this relationship for the foreseeable future ? If so, bring up the issue whenever it arises, but without harsh words or ultimatums. It seems like this has been ongoing for a while, though.

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    -1 for two reasons: shooting yourself in the foot in order to hurt someone else is not the best idea. There's also no such thing as a credit score at the location of the questioner. – DonFusili Jun 19 '18 at 7:52
  • I don't disagree with you. However, consider that the situation is one where you keep giving in. How long do you continue giving in ? The OP is about to be at the point where they have no expendable income at all, because everything is going towards expenses that their partner should be paying. There really are only 2 solutions: 1 is dealing with it, and not have any money ever, 2 is a more aggressive approach. BTW, what country is this wonderland of no credit reports ? – xyious Jun 19 '18 at 15:31
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    @xyious To my knowledge, credit scores/reports only hold huge sway in the US, in most other countries there are registers of people who fail to repay their loans but not some magical score that dictates what you can borrow. – Cronax Jun 19 '18 at 15:36
  • In germany the Shufa (pretty much the only credit reporting agency) has pretty extensive knowledge about people's financial history. Anyone giving you a loan will check it. – xyious Jun 19 '18 at 15:44
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    @xyious I'm not from Germany, I'm Dutch. There is no such thing as credit score here. Wether or not you can get a loan here is based on your income and how many/high loans you already have, not on wat you actually have in your bank account. It's an interesting system indeed, but loans are not as common here as they are in the US. The fact that I have a loan for my car wows most of my friends. – Summer Jun 20 '18 at 8:33
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Figure out what the shared expenses are, at least approximately, and put a budget together. Have a contingency for unexpected expenses (such as the broken appliance) and enough money to cover the non-monthly expenses (possibly taxes). Err on the side of too much money, because it's going to be less painful that way. That establishes the total household costs. Define the contributions 75/25.

Show him the budget. Plan to use a shared account. (You've got one for the mortgage, but you have to make sure that account always has enough for the mortgage payment. Some people take that in stride, and others would likely dip into the mortgage.) Each of you deposits the proper share into the shared account, and everyone pays such expenses only out of that account.

This may provoke a very large argument, but that's probably better than continuing arguments. You've got a choice with either having an argument or living like your partner wants you to. You won't get what you want without one.

If your partner doesn't agree, budget your luxuries first. Pay for what you want and think you should have immediately after payday (or as close as you can manage), so you'll have that five euro in your account when the next appliance breaks, and your sports classes will be paid for.

Consider making a list of household chores, and offering to divide it 50/50. You could keep a log of time spent on chores. Next time you get into a payment argument, demand that he do his share of the chores. He's got more money than you, and you've got more free time than him. Mirror his arguments. You say he appreciates the extra work you do, as long as he doesn't have to fork out money.

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