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My girlfriend and I are dating for about 6 months now. We recently started talking about moving together. I really adore my girlfriend, but there are some patterns in her behavior (mostly related to money) that raise some yellow flags in me. I'm not sure if it's a problem more related to me or her.

  • she sometimes makes comments that I should have paid something for her (e.g. for her flight tickets when we went on a vacation)
  • she sometimes makes comments like "(her friend) Alice's boyfriend is really nice. He owns a sports car and two flats in the city centre. He is a great guy."
  • she recently inquired about my salary ("she shares information about salary with her friends, no reason she shouldn't know mine") and after I told her, she followed by "With your education/experience, you should earn more. You should do something about it." (this is possibly true)

Comments like these make me feel like I should spend/earn more to be worthy of her. I'm generally a modest person, especially when single and in everyday life (e.g. rarely eating out, no fancy car, etc. But I don't mind to spend money, say, on travelling). We go out for a dinner / drinks / movies occasionally, and I usually cover the bill. I have no problem with and would like to share all or most our resources (money etc.) with my partner when we get married, have kids, or after we live together for a few years. However, I don't feel comfortable doing it (sharing or covering her regular expenses) after 6 months of relationship, even more so due to her occasional comments.

I earn about 50% more than my gf. But even if this reversed, I don't think I would change my behavior.

How can I communicate to her that I don't feel ready to share everything in this stage of relationship? Telling her something like "I don't want to pay more things for you because I don't think we are far enough in our relationship" feels quite blunt and stupid.

We both work full time. We are in our late 20s, and we live in Central Europe.


Edit

The issue is that my girlfriend seems to have a different view about who should cover some of our expenses (at least in the current stage of our relationship). I would like to deal with this difference in a non destructive manner. I'm not sure if her different view is caused more by the fact that I earn more or by her view on gender roles.

My feelings about her comments are secondary issue. The bad feelings may cease when our difference is dealt with somehow.

  • In response to your specific question in italics: Is the actual issue that you don't want to share everything at this stage? Or is the issue more along the lines of: you feel badly because of the comments she makes (which imply you're not worthy)? – dwizum Jun 19 '18 at 12:29
  • I edited your question to remove the should-I questions (off-topic) that were secondary anyway (no multiple questions in one post). And about your own edit: the comment button now reads "suggest improvements", that is probably why you think you cant comment. But editing the question to add more information is actually preferred ;) – Kaspar Scherrer Jun 19 '18 at 12:59
  • @TheRealLester I don't think she thinks that somebody has to be financially successful to be nice/great. I'm just a bit worried about how often she mentions financial well being when talking about other people (especially men). I don't think I'm poor by any means and I earn more than what the average salary in my country is. I'm just quite ok with my position and don't care much about getting top 1% salary or whatever (I have other priorities in life). – InsertSquirrel Jun 19 '18 at 15:56
  • One angle is ignored here; a couple can decide on a lifestyle where the man provides the money, while the woman's job is to fulfill her wifely duties, look after the kids alone and make sure she and the house are presentable when guests come over. Archaic, but a couple has the right to choose this way. Its pretty clear that you want a more modern style, but your GF might not. Have you guys had a talk about how you imagine your future relationships? – R. Schmitz Aug 13 '18 at 13:48
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It sounds like you may have very different attitudes to money. Without wanting to sound disparaging, everything you have said points to your girlfriend wanting more material possessions than you do - sports cars, properties etc.

People begin to desire material wealth or possessions for a number of reasons. If someone came from money (ie they had rich parents) and enjoyed the benefits of wealth without having to work for it, they can continue to expect that someone else will support them in the same manner throughout their life. But equally, many people who had a very humble upbringing and lacked money go on to dream about having more, which is understandable to a degree - nobody wants to be poor. She may just be looking for some security.

I would say that the defining quality that shows whether someone has a healthy attitude to money or not is whether or not they are prepared to work for it themselves.

You seem to have observed your girlfriend's attitude to money. Ask yourself - what is her attitude to work? Does she like work? If she doesn't particularly like her current job (any many don't) does she at least aspire to go on to do something better? To have a career? Does she equate the value of money with hard work? Or, do you feel that she expects you to provide the money throughout your relationship? If it is the latter and you ignore the warning signs you could find yourself in the situation that many do - married to someone who persistently pressures them to work more and earn more, and miserable because of it.

When you talk to her about this issue, I feel you should communicate two things:

  1. The point of your question, namely that you are not ready to share everything that you have with her at this time, but also...
  2. Without detailing what you earn, use the opportunity to show her your attitude to money, and to your work/life balance.

If she expects you to be something you are not then if you are honest and transparent at this stage you aren't going to end up trapped in the situation I described earlier. To be clear - I don't want to split you guys up! I may have said some negative things here but I am giving her the benefit of the doubt because as I said, there are different reasons why people aspire to have money.

On the matter of paying for herself you could say:

You know, I think it's reasonable for us to pay our own way when we go out. After all, we both work. Plus if I pay for you all the time, then it wouldn't be special when I treat you on special occasions.

On the matter of talking about money/salary etc, you could say:

I don't really like talking about money. I know money is essential, but it isn't the most important thing to me. I don't want to be one of those people who works all the time and has no life. I believe it is better to be careful with the money that you have, not waste it on non-essentials, and that way I can enjoy life the way I want to.

If she persists, just say:

Really, I find it quite crass to talk about how much money we earn. There are so many more interesting things we can talk about.

The aim of this is to show her that you are smart with your money, and therefore could provide her with security, but you are not materialistic and obsessed with acquiring money and possessions.

I think this stance will show any genuine girl that you are wise with your use of money, and really that ought to be a more important quality to her than someone who has a lot of money but squanders it. Just think about how many ridiculously rich people you hear about ending up bankrupt.

If she is asking these questions to see if she will be secure with you, this should satisfy her for now. If on the other hand she really is looking for a rich guy, then this may just bring this important issue to the fore.

  • 4
    Without going into detail about anyone's personal circumstances, are you able to back this up with something from your own experience or from publishes sources, something which makes it not just a 'try this', something that gives the OP as reason to have confidence in your answer? As it is you have given advice on how to respond the question about salary, but seems to miss that the OP already answered his GF on that score. – Spagirl Jun 19 '18 at 14:48
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Its pretty common for people in a relationship to have different views on money especially those that last long term. In a way it is necessary as there tends to be a spender and a saver. The spender is necessary that the couple enjoys themselves, and the saver so they have money for when it is needed. Here in the US, the pension system is not all that great so it is necessary for people who want a comfortable retirement to save money. That saver is necessary for a comfortable retirement.

The bottom line here is that what you are experiencing is not uncommon and will probably be brought up again if you choose to see someone else. It is who you will be naturally attracted to. So the key is to try to learn to work with the natural spender.

However, I feel like this is not a person that you should be in a long term relationship with unless change occurs. The "red flag" that strikes me is her willingness to change your employment choices after such a short time of dating. Perhaps you are making too little, but there is more to employment than money. If you like your job, the commute, and the people you work with well then it might be well worth giving up a bit of salary. You have a right to make that choice.

The other issue I have with this person is her willingness to change the deal after the fact. So presumably you guys had a plan for a vacation and who should pay for what. Once you get back she decided that you should have paid for her airline ticket? I get it if she expressed that prior to going on vacation, but after is troublesome.

That behavior will likely continue in the future. So if you two do move in together you will probably come up with a plan on who pays for what, and how much and when. Will she then want to change the plan three months later? Probably, and that will be troublesome.

I also don't like that she compares you negatively with someone else. Who cares if Mr X has two flats, if she wants that she should date him. You are you and you are worthwhile. You sound like a man that meets his commitments which puts you way ahead of many men and a worthwhile mate. This is especially true of a person your age. Good job and keep up the good work.

Your post paints your girlfriend in a negative light. I would not recommend either moving in or considering this very serious unless significant change occurs.

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    I like your insight, but whether or not OP moves in their question still stands - How can I communicate to her that I don't feel ready to share everything in this stage of relationship? If you could adapt the ending of your answer to address this it would be far more useful for OP's actual question :) – Jesse Jun 20 '18 at 1:05
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Before getting to my answer; your third bullet is not a bad thing or a yellow flag; she's saying you are better than you're being paid. If you're willing to be confident and take a risk, she believes you will earn more. She expressed confidence in you.

To the advice:


First you're going to have to decide what you want, then you're going to have to plant a stake in the ground. If she doesn't like it you'll have to be willing to let the relationship die. It is as simple as that.

It is quite likely that after she moves in, somewhere down the road you will either have a family and she'll stop working, or things will arise and she'll stop working due to some situation. Pressure to keep working comes from needing to pay for things; if you take away that need, she will stop working. That's your decision and can be good or bad based on your perspective, plans, etc; but it will only be your decision if you have a spine and be firm in your stance.

I am willing to cover my expenses and the house in my case because the equity is mine. Her paying my equity would make me feel guilty; and I won't be sharing it until she hits a certain stage in her life. What I don't cover are her clothes, cell phone, car, car issues, insurance, and some purchases she makes as an "Us" kinda thing.

This means she always has pressure to be working if she wants to maintain those aspects of her lifestyle; but she won't go hungry/homeless/etc if she doesn't.

My relationship has been going six years and I had her move in (for odd reasons) at a couple weeks in; so I've been in the situation you're avoiding for the entirety of the relationship and have managed it.

In my opinion (and the reason for doing it above) it's a good way to put a relationship to the test. Were I to guess you're going to find that this one will not work because you each value money differently. I, like yourself, tend to be very frugal and conscious of how I purchase. While I desire a nicer car and some conveniences; they are longer term plans.

Any person who requires you to forfeit your long term finances for the benefit of the short term is not planning on being there in the long term; (either because they cannot see that far ahead or because they don't take it seriously enough.)


Extending my answer to your next problem:

Whatever you do; do not merge your finances until/unless you are absolutely confident that if she managed it 100% that your future would be in good hands. If you go to marry, you do a prenuptial agreement so you can't lose your house or savings. The laws do not favor you, and if you're concerned about your financial disagreements now, wait until you've signed your rights away and you have to give away half of your finances if she decides you're too "cheap" for her.

People who merge their finances are at the mercy of their past selves and better be extremely confident that decisions you made years ago are just as informed as those you'd make as your future self.

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To solve your immediate issue of conveying that you don't want to share your assets at this time would be to halt on moving in together until you reach a consensus about money issues. This isn't destructive, per se, but more of you saying that your relationship needs more work before moving on to the next level.

As Dave Ramsey says, when it comes to money and relationships, you can't think in terms of "mine" and "theirs". It's supposed to be "ours". You're supposed to be on the same team. Any serious relationship up to and including marriage is based on the ability to compromise.

So she wanted to you to pay for a vacation? Instead of shutting it down, find a compromise you can both be happy with. Say you pay for the airfare and hotel accommodations, and she pays for the food and events.

Even in my own experiences of living with an SO, having one person pay for most things can lead to contentious arguments and even resentment from having them cover everything. If I had taken the time to work these issues out before moving in with them, we would have been in a better position to work through our issues. In all future relationships then on, I made it a point that I'm not going to foot the bill for everything or expect them to. My current relationship feels stronger because at the very least, monetary expectations are already clear.

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