I dumped my cohabiting boyfriend. Do I owe half of the bill?

Dear Petunia,

About 10 months ago, I started dating someone I really like. Entering the third month of our date, he received a great job offer in another state and asked me if I would move with him.

This is a big promise, but I decided to leave my small hometown, so I agreed to move with him. I also have two young children who come from a previous relationship. (Their father was not involved, so it was a simple move.)

He decided to sell his car before we moved, because the payment was crazy, so he was looking for a cheaper car. I paid a deposit for the vehicle of his choice. It is much cheaper than the other car he owns and we have to share it when we move.

It took a lot of effort to find a house, but we finally found a house we liked. The rent where we live is very expensive, so it is very expensive to move in alone. We moved and spent approximately US$9,500, excluding U-Haul, which we had to rent. However, I spent a little more money than him. I saved a lot of money from my previous job and didn’t really think about anything.

He bought a cheap living room soon after we moved in. When I say cheap, I mean cheap. I bought everything else for the house: decorations, carpets, towels, kitchen supplies, silverware, and everything else. Remember, I have two toddlers, but I still paid more for this house and its contents.

After moving, he started to work and I stayed at home with the children. I used the money I saved to buy groceries and other things I needed for the house. He goes to work every day, and I stay at home with the children, clean the house, clean everything, and always prepare dinner for him when he comes home.

I also started trying to find a job, but with two young children, it was very difficult, and the area we moved to did not seem to be a safe nursery. He pays the bills, while I pay for groceries and other things we need. But the money obviously started to dissipate on my side.

After living with him for a few months, I realized that he was not the person I wanted to be with him. I care about him very much, but I can’t stand him anymore. He is in need, he always wants my attention, but I can’t always give it to him, because I also need my children.

He was fired soon after. Then, something bad happened to his family at home. We decided to move home before the lease expires. I was relieved to some extent, I am very happy to go home, I think this is my date with this person. But I am trying to solve the money problem.

Considering the $3,000 down payment I paid on the car and all the money I spent on the house and groceries, do you think I owed him half of the bill for three months there? Or do you think he owes me this car because he is the one who drove it home?


Dear D.,

It is easy to divide things into 50/50 when dating. But when you mix families, it becomes complicated, especially when you consider the support for your children in your past relationships.

I cannot say with certainty who has spent more on this attempt to live together. Presumably, each of you can keep the items purchased for the family. If you paid a $3,000 car down payment, but he paid most of the three months for you and your kids, then it sounds like none of you will mess up the other here.

Besides, if he is unemployed and your savings are declining, then I don’t think fairness is important. Each of you needs to focus on rebuilding independent residences instead of splitting up.

My suggestion is to use it as a learning experience.In the future, if you decide to merge your finances with someone-whether you are moving in together or making a major purchase-you must state in writing who gets what If the relationship ends. One of the great benefits of marriage is that it is a contract. There is a process at the end, namely divorce. But when you’re unmarried, if things don’t work, it’s up to you to set the conditions.

This can be an expensive lesson. Fortunately, you learned that this relationship is not feasible within three months. In terms of the time you spend, I would say that this is a very cheap course.

Robin Hartill is Penny Hoarder’s certified financial planner and senior writer.Send your tough money questions to [email protected] Or chat with her Penny Hoarders Community.

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