Is My Underachieving 52-Year-Old Boyfriend Using Me?

Dear Penny,

My boyfriend is a bit of an underachiever. He’s 52 and makes $15 an hour working about 25 to 30 hours per week. He has his paychecks garnished for back child support. He says he was injured and couldn’t work much when his kids were growing up, so he only nets a couple hundred a week. He lives with his parents and doesn’t pay for food or rent.

Meanwhile, I’m a single mom earning over $100,000 working two jobs. I’m not super rich because I have college-age kids to support and a pretty sizable mortgage. I paid off my boyfriend’s past debts, his cell phone bill, his auto insurance and all our dating expenses, such as entertainment and eating out. It’s getting expensive, and I’m going into debt.

I miss being able to go on a couple of decent vacations each year. (He says he will go with me, but he has zero funds to contribute.) He really is a sweet man who treats me really well, but I’m starting to resent this arrangement. Is he using me?


Dear S.,

Maybe your boyfriend is using you, or maybe he’s just really lazy. You’ll never know with 100% certainty what’s going on in his head. Regardless, though, it sounds like you feel used in this relationship. .

Another glaring red flag you shouldn’t ignore is your boyfriend’s delinquent child support. Do you believe he did the best he could to provide for his kids? If the answer is no, RUN. Someone who shirks their responsibilities as a parent is unlikely to be a good partner.

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