How Do I Motivate My Boyfriend Who’s Refused to Work for 4 Years?

Dear Penny,

My boyfriend of eight years stopped working four years ago. At the time, he told me it was because he needed to complete a remodel of a house his mother purchased. I believe the agreement was that she would buy the house and he would remodel it and then they would rent it out. He told me he didn’t have time to do the remodel and also have another job.

I reluctantly agreed, despite the fact that he and his son moved in with me only six months prior, and my sole income was from a small business that was only 2 years old. The business is one that he encouraged me to start, and it Has taken over my life completely due to the enormous demand of time and energy required to run it, especially during a pandemic.

For the past four years, I have continued to work 50 to 60 hours per week earning a living and running the business, while he has not even come close to completing the remodel. He never went back to work, and his son is now nearly 13 years old. His son spends about 50% of his time at my partner’s mom’s house, so it’s not like my partner is even a full-time parent. My partner’s mom continues to pay the mortgage on the “rental” every month, and she also puts money into the house here and there, although it has never been rented this entire time.

I pay for the entire cost of our housing because I own the house we live in. I also pay for all utilities, and he pays for groceries. He doesn’t pay rent. For about a year and a half, I paid for 100 % of our cost of living while he was “working on the rental,” but I demanded that he start paying for something after all that time, which is how we settled on just household groceries.

He has a part-time seasonal job on weekends for two months out of the year, and the rest of the time he works on hobbies and spends time hanging out with friends. Whenever I try to ask about “the rental,” he blows up at me and it turns into a huge argument.

I am becoming extremely…

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