Monday, May 5, 2014

Man Seeks Financial Gain By Living With Girlfriend

Dear Tazi:

I am a divorced Dad with custody of both my children; a boy aged six and a girl aged 8. Because they are different sexes each needs their own bedroom, and so do I, so I have to rent a three-bedroom apartment. The cost of a three-bedroom apartment is a lot more than a one or two bedroom place, and I am struggling to make ends meet and to provide my kids with everything they need and want, so I asked my girlfriend to move in with me. I figure that our relationship is ready for this next step, but she told me no.

When I asked her why she would not move in with me, “Stella” said it was because her half of the cost of a three-bedroom apartment, plus the utility bills for three additional people, would be more than twice what she is currently paying on her one-bedroom apartment. When I suggested that she continue to pay only what she is currently paying and I would pay the balance of our rent and utilities, Stella again turned me down stating that I would be the only one benefiting financially from such an arrangement.

Tazi, I do not believe that financial benefits should be the reason two people move in together. I think if the relationship is going to advance a couple needs to see how they would work as a family, and living together is a large part of that. When I explained this to Stella, she offered to pay $400 a month towards our expenses – exactly half of what she is currently paying for her own apartment and expenses. Tazi, my monthly expenses for me and my two kids tops $3000! Rent alone is $1600, which is why I think Stella should pay what she is currently paying - $800 – and I will handle the balance. I tried to explain this to Stella when she threw my kids’ entertainment practices in my face. Yes, the electric bill is very high because they love to play video games and go on the Internet – a lot – but they are kids; I say let them be kids! Stella also pointed out that my cable bill is more than twice of hers, but that is because I have several premium channels, that she would also be able to watch if she wanted, and a multi-room DVR that she could use, too.

Stella is not budging on this matter, and I am very hurt by it. If she moved in with me it would admittedly be a huge financial burden off of me and I would have her assistance with the kids, too (and with the cooking, cleaning, etc), but that is not why I want her to move in with me. Can you offer me any coaching in how to re-approach Stella – and get her to say yes?


Dear Tony:

I assume that since you have custody of both of your children that you also claim them on your income tax return each year – and receive a sizable tax credit/refund for them. Did you offer to split this credit/refund with Stella? Or would you be keeping it all for yourself, even though Stella would be providing financial support for them by defraying your cost of raising them?

You say that you do not want Stella to move in for the financial benefits to you, but your attitude belies your words. Although you offer to allow Stella to keep her expenses the same, her responsibilities would be increasing (by your own admission) and she would be losing the privacy offered to her by having her own home. I understand that your expenses are much greater than hers, but they are your expenses.

With the exception of rent, the bills you mention could easily be pared down to a more appropriate size. Exactly how much electricity do your children use to entertain themselves? Young children should not be on the Internet unsupervised, and one hour per day of video gaming is sufficient on school nights; television should be watched only when all homework and chores are done. Should you choose to continue to subscribe to “several premium channels and a multi-room DVR” that is your choice – not Stella’s; if she wanted these channels she could easily subscribe.

I cannot coach you on what to say to Stella because I do not know what Stella wants. Maybe she would prefer to keep her own apartment; maybe she was hoping for an engagement ring instead of an offer to cohabitate; or maybe she feels as I do – that you are trying to take advantage for her for your own financial benefit. I suggest you come up with a fairer dynamic, one that does not have her taking on more financial and domestic responsibilities, and try presenting it to her. If this idea does not suit you, you will need to reexamine your intentions towards her – and hire a live-in Nanny/Maid.

Perfunctory Snuggles,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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