Doubts about Relationship- he's passive about future, finances, etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2012
Doubts about Relationship- he's passive about future, finances, etc.
Sun, 05-06-2012 - 7:34pm

I'm sorry in advance that this is so long.  But here it goes. My boyfriend and I have been together for over three years. We met when he was in his final semester of his graduate program.  When he graduated, he moved back home and  I stayed in our college town for three years, but we stayed together during that time. So the bulk of our relationship has been long distance (but just two hours) while I have been completing school. Last year I graduated from grad school and we moved to my hometown where I had a job offer. We have been living together for about six months up until last week.  As a point of reference, I am 26 and he is 30.  I am his first serious relationship; he is my second.

First off, there are many things I love about him. He is extremely sweet, selfless, always has a friendly demeanor, and not an ounce of temper in him. He is attractive, smart, and we share a goofy sense of humor. My family and friends love him, and that is very important to me. I wouldn't still be with him if I truly did not want to work out our problems. 

Here's the issues: his passiveness with his future and his finances.

For example, it is very hard for him to name any concrete goals for himself. This has been the case since we met. I, on the other hand, am very career driven; know that I want to have a solid career and just not have to worry about money. I don't want to be rich per se ; I just want to manage my money well.

He has a masters degree but fooled around for half a year after he got it, accrued 10k in debt, and then has never managed to get a good job nor pay off that debt. He made a few mistakes when in college and ended up getting a dui and a petty theft charge on his record, so I think that has also effected his ability to get a good job, but a major part of it was that he simply had no drive to make himself marketable. He didn't join any organizations, seek out new skills, network, etc. Instead he just stayed in temp jobs for nearly the whole time when I was in school that had no benefits, did not pay him nearly enough to pay down his credit card, student loans, etc. I am not even quite sure if the jobs he was in recquired a bachelors. At this time, he was also living for free, just paying utilities, at a house that belongs to his family. He is 30, and he's still on his family phone plan.  His parents are definitely enablers which I think has contributed to this , and has made me resent them for this reason. His family is a whole different story-- they have some interestiing problems-- but I think if they were the only issue I could live with it. But its simple things, like not looking into why he was paying a crazy interest rate on his credit card for over a year due to the fact that he max-ed it out (I finally convinced him to transfer a portion of it to a zero-balance card and bargain with his credit card company to bring the rate down a few percentage points). Or, that I had to get mad at him to get health insurance. He is just passive about his money problems and as a result they don't go away. 

This is increasingly on my mind now that I am working and thinking about the lifestyle that I want to have with someone as I grow older and also as I begin to think about marriage and sharing the "pot" with him. Also, we are/were living together and I was fronting the great majority of all costs. Some months he didn't pay me his portion of the rent (which is not even half). This too pisses me off--why do I even have to ask for his rent?? Yet, at the same time, he still was barely paying down his credit cards even though he did a balance transfer and one has been interest-free for a year. He simply hasn't been managing his money at all. He actually has secured a good career-minded job with great benefits, but it is for a non-profit, so the pay is really really low. Maybe he'll make more money with a promotion, but the promotion would probably be a year off at least, and it would still be pretty low. I recently got mad at him because he had no plan as to paying off his debt and didn't seem concerned that he was in no way capable of proposing to me anytime soon or helping me pay for a wedding because his lack of initiative and poor planning.  So he recently got a part time job on the weekends and may even get another one for a few weeknights. I think all of this is a good sign, initiative wise, but I had to prompt him to do it, just as I did with the full-timejob stuff and the credit card issue.

I also told him that I wanted to take a step back and so we can work on our relationship and also so I could see that he is capable of living on his own two feet without my help and without his parents help. I want to know that he is capable of not only sustaining, but thriving, on his own. Because if we were to get married and I were to get sick, lose my job, etc. -- I need to know that he can do it.  I know this is a "Test", and you really should not test the ones you love, but I think it is an important test, that I need to know the results of. So he has, since the first of the month, been living in a rental month-to-month apartment and we set some ground rules that he would not be sleeping over except friday nights just to make sure that we do not go back into our old routine. We also budgeted his credit cards so he is on a plan to pay it off in a year.

Another issue, and I think it feeds from my resentment and frustration from the financial/passivity issue, is that we don't have sex anymore. The first 2 years, the sex was great. But since my last year of graduate school when I started to get really nervous about the money issues, it has gone downhill and has now been pretty much nonexistent. We are talking, maybe 2 times since living together the past 6 months. I recently got off the pill to see if he would effect my drive but so far it still hasn't.

We have a good open line of communication and have talked about all of these issues, incl. the sex, a lot.Particularly recently. I am just thinking about it soooo much and I am really concerned that maybe his issues with being passive and lacking initiative/financial responsibility is here to stay.

So the advice I need from others is :

1. Do you think the arrangement we have worked out where he lives on his own for awhile/for an indefinite period of time will work out/help us/and help him?

2. How do I stop resenting him for the past mistakes he's made? I find myself getting annoyed at the littlest things. And I just don't feel sexual attraction, and I miss that, but at the same time I have a very high-stress job  and am tired a lot of the time, and he isn't exactly initiating it either. But I still miss it and wish it were different. I know its unhealthy.

3.  Should we break up and hope that things will work out and we'll get back together when/if he figures his issues out, or do we stay together and try to work it out as I described above?

I've mentioned marriage a few times. To be clear, we have talked about marriage and that was in part why we were moving in together -- to see what it would be like living together. I am not in a HUGE rush to get married, but I want it to be something that he is planning for or at least thinking about. This, however, is intertwined with the issue above, because obviously we don't want to get engaged with this problem looming.

Thank you for reading and if you have any input for me that would be great. It is hard to explain all of this to friends/family.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Re: Doubts about Relationship- he's passive about future, financ
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 10:31pm
Hello! I can tell you from experience that marrying someone like that has been STRESSFUL for me. In a nutshell, when my husband and I were dating 5 yrs, and living separately, he would work overtime if needed to pay his bills. However, I should have been worried that he never seemed concerned about starting a 401K, and that for years before we met, he'd go to expensive rock concerts, exc, but not really save at ALL. Now, married 5 years, with a worse job market, He sometimes owes me his 1/2 of the car insurance (our 2 cars are on 1 policy) for SIX MONTHS - that's the only bill we have in common, on purpose. There is often stress due to he never built up ANY savings., Stress like - he was out injured from work, and when his pay got delayed 2 weeks, I had to pay all the bills. If I were hurt, I have savings, home equity, 401KI -- i.e. it wouldn'nt affect DH -- please marry someone that believes in BUILDING SAVINGS and planning fore retirement ext
Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
FYI this thread is from May