ASK REAL GUYS
The Freeloading Boyfriend
Dear ASK REAL GUYS: I have been dating my boyfriend for two years, and he finally just got a job two weeks ago. Did I forget to mention I’m a single mother of FOUR?! I know the answer is to leave him, and I know I’m with the wrong person and that I need to move on, however I’m having a problem with it. About six weeks ago I kicked him out, but then got suckered into allowing him to come back. Now I feel like I’m waiting for him to majorly screw up before I get upset enough to tell him he needs to go for good.
I feel guilty because he doesn’t have a car, his family lives three hours away, and he has no way of taking his belongings with him. I feel like I used to be such an assertive person, but I was married for eight years and I sort of lost the will to fight.
Whenever our conversations turn ugly he simply sits on the couch ignoring me, so I know that me telling him he needs to move on would be met with silence, and a “I don’t have to do anything” attitude. I don’t want to take the “get out or I’m calling the cops” route, but I don’t know what to do.
I’ve thought about packing up his stuff, locking the door, and leaving his things outside while I take my kids to meet my ex-husband. I would also then leave him a note, explaining why I need to break up with him, but that all just sounds cowardly to me. There was recently a problem with him not picking up after our dog, which was his idea in the first place, and about the dog not being on my lease. My apartment complex manager fabricated a letter for me, saying it would cost $500 to add him to the lease, so my boyfriend decided we should get rid of the dog so he doesn’t have to pay. (If that doesn’t work out, he said he “guesses” he will pay the money).
We have plenty of bills to take care of, and he hasn’t contributed a cent. And now that he’s getting a paycheck – for the first time – he wants to do things like buy clothing and a computer. I’m just lost, I wanted to be happy with him, and for a long time I was, then I realized how badly I’m being used. What’s the best way to approach this situation?
Matt Landsberg: You have to determine the core of this … is it about the money (and resentment you hold because he’s not pulling his weight) or is it that you just aren’t into him anymore? If you’re not into him (regardless of the fact that he’s freeloading) then just end the relationship. If it’s about him not contributing, then that can be fixed. Your boyfriend should realize that he has no leverage – so he better listen to you. It sounds as though you are completely supporting him and have been doing so for a couple of years.
I would start by telling him that it’s time to discuss the living arrangements and now that he has a job, he needs to get his financial priorities together – including contributing to the rent and other shared expenses. He’s an adult, and the free lunch is over. If that’s met with resistance, then tell him you’ve got no choice but to move on.