Dear Annie: I love my boyfriend. He's a superb partner. He is, however, the laid-back type or, depending on how you look at it, just plain lazy. Since I am a bit high strung, I appreciate how easygoing he is, but when it comes to our finances, I am bothered by his lack of get-up-and-go.
I always have made the bulk of our income. He thinks that we should share our finances and consult each other before major purchases, but I'm not sure this is fair since the "sharing" is always from my pocket to his. His employers love him, but they've recently cut his hours for economic reasons. Although he says he's looking for additional work, he isn't looking very hard. He no longer makes enough to cover his half of the bills.
I want to stay with him, so my question is more about strategy. Do I just have to accept the situation and share equally? Would it be better to divide our financial responsibilities so he has to face the reality that he doesn't bring in enough? Am I being unreasonable to think he should earn close to what I do?
My father always supported my mother, and though I know those days are over, I object to being the primary breadwinner and want him to do his part. Any suggestions?
- Barb in Boston
Dear Barb: You are being slightly unreasonable if you intend to stay with this man, because he is never going to be the ambitious wage earner you think he should be. When there is a discrepancy in income between partners, it is common to divide expenses accordingly. If he makes 20 percent less than you, it is unfair for him to pay 50 percent of all the bills. Either accept him as he is, knowing that you will forever be the primary breadwinner, or find someone more suited to your sense of equality.