DEAR AMY: I have been with my boyfriend for nine months, living together for five. I give him money on a weekly basis to cover my half of the rent and utilities. A few weeks ago, he confessed that he had spent all of our combined money. This almost got us evicted and got our cable and Internet shut off.
While I am very upset with him for spending my money, I understand he has a problem with spending and gambling (a lot of the money was spent on scratch-offs to better our situation).
For the next month or two, he will be using all of his money to pay back rent and will be unable to contribute to things like gas, groceries, etc.
I want to help him financially, but I also want to draw a line where I am not getting myself into debt.
Also, I want to explain to him that I refuse to be on a lease with him after his lease expires in July unless he gets help for his spending and gambling.
How can I bring that up without it sounding like a threat? — Worried
DEAR WORRIED: Scratch-offs will not “better your situation.” Lottery tickets and other games of chance will make your situation much, much worse. You already have evidence of this.
You are sweet to worry about expressing yourself in a threatening manner, but what you actually need to do is make a threat, and then make good on the threat.
In this context, a threat is a promise followed by a consequence. What your guy has done is basically steal your money, and you should expend more energy protecting yourself and less worrying about his feelings. He needs mentoring to handle his personal finances. Debtorsanonymous.org offers information, advice and group meetings.
You should not be financially entangled with this person in any way (that includes paying his living expenses after he messes up). By all means, hang in there to see if he can change his behavior radically, but do not co-sign anything, including a lease, until he has proven over the course of at least a year that he can manage his money responsibly.
DEAR AMY: My wonderful wife became a mother for the first time almost five years ago. We now have two wonderful children, and life is good. My goal has always been to spend Mother’s Day with my wife in whatever way she would like.
My only issue is that this special day usually doesn’t include my mother, who lives nearby.
I don’t blame my wife for not wanting to include my mom, because my mom usually insists on changing the date, time and location to best suit her needs, and then the event becomes all about her.
Was I a bad son for not wanting to include my mom on Mother’s Day, in order to keep my mother from ruining my wife’s special day? What’s your objective perspective? —Bad Son
DEAR SON: Mother’s Day is tough. Sometimes it really is a case of “so many mothers, so little time.” But my perspective is that if your mother can ruin an entire national holiday, you and your wife are giving her way too much power.
You should help your kids focus on your wife on Mother’s Day.
By all means you should also find a way to celebrate your own mom, either with flowers and cards and a visit from your family, or by inviting her for an outing on that day. If your mother routinely tries to torpedo plans, you should tell her, “We’re so sorry you can’t make it, Mom. It would have been great to see you. Let me know if your plans change.”
DEAR AMY: I totally disagree with your answer to “Tug of War,” the couple that wanted to have a tiny (expensive) destination wedding while their family wanted to have a big celebration at a local venue so they could all attend.
The couple should do exactly as they please. If they compromise now, it will never stop. — Disagree
DEAR DISAGREE: I could see this from the family’s point of view, but I agree that the couple must have the last word about their wedding.