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Dkw46's picture

I am a divorced mother of 4 children.  Three of my 4 are young adults.  My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years.  We moved in together in the spring.  He has a daughter who recently graduated from college.  

Our biggest challenge is our disagreement with what I term enabling his daughter.  She rents a house from him that he charges about 2/3 of what the home would actually rent for.  And honestly, I think that’s ok.  

My concerns are multi-faceted.  She now has a descent paying job.  But she’s not paying her rent on time.  That’s the only bill she’s been made to pay.  He pays her car insurance (even with the recent reckless driving ticket), cable, electricity, water, even for her grass to be mowed.  

She recently had her 5th car accident.  He told her she would have to pay for it.  Then, he told her she’d only have to pay for the parts.  In the end, she didn’t pay for anything.  She has a spending problem.  Constantly shopping at high end stores.  What I feel is no responsibility or accountability.  

My struggle is the reality that she’s not my child.  So, maybe it’s not my business.  The issue arises because he asks for my help with her.  But since asking, has truly left me out.  He and his daughter make decisions and have private conversations about his assistance with her bills.  He tells me one thing and does another basically behind my back.  

She now wants all of these upgrades to a home she’s “renting” but not actually making the payment for on time.  And he’s writing a list of what she wants done to the house to have it done.  

We discuss marriage but im not sure I can spend a life with this man because of his daughter.  I know how awful that sounds of me.  I’m looking for some insight.  

Should I butt out of his financial support of his daughter?  Is it my business?  


Chmmy's picture

He probably doesnt realize he's enabling her ams not doing her any favors. That sounds like my husband after a 5th accident telling her that she has to pay for it...nooo only parts...aww heck daddeeee will pay for it all

lieutenant_dad's picture

It becomes your problem when he 1) asks your opinion, 2) asks you to help bankroll his decisions or bail him out when he doesn't have money to do for himself, and/or 3) lies to you about what he is doing.

A caveat to #3: I understand some people will lie to avoid a fight, but if you aren't picking fights with him over it and it's just his own guilt or fear of a fight that is causing him to lie, that a very big HIM issue. If you give him grief every time he does something for his daughter, justified or not, and that contributes to him lying, that is an US problem. That doesn't make the lying okay, but it's also not fair to get angry at him every time his checkbook opens, or you think it's going to open. If it is that bad, the solution is to leave, not fight.

It sounds like your BF is just as bad at reckless spending as his daughter, but instead of designer clothes, it's on keeping his princess happy. Your SD doesn't see the value in money because Daddeee always throws it around when there is a problem. Money fixes things, so she uses it to fix a bad day at work, to reward herself for a job well done, etc. And because she has no real budget because Daddeee will bail her out, she's going to put the biggest and shiniest bandaid on that papercut of emotional turmoil.

Even if your BF cuts her off financially, it will also cut him off emotionally from SD. She has equated her father's love to his money, so if one stops then so must the other. And that is driven even further home by the fact that their communications are based on monetary purchases - new car, home upgrades, etc. Take that away, and what real relationship do they have? What does your BF have to offer his daughter? What personality or interests does SD have to offer him as a common ground? Money is their collective hobby.

I wouldn't marry or comingle funds with a man who has set no personal limit on what he pays out. Unless he is a millionaire where tossing a house, new cars, etc at his daughter is totally doable and doesn't impact his quality of life or retirement savings, in which case, I'd tell him to stop talking about the money he spends and just give him a kiss on the cheek when he goes to bail out the train wreck he has created.

If he isn't a millionaire, and I'm assuming he does okay for himself but isn't rolling in dough enough to support 2 households, then you may need to figure out what YOU want from your future. This dynamic between your BF and his DD is unlikely to change because it runs deeper than that. Do you want to get married again? Do you want someone who has similar values to you in regards to money? Do you mind the lies and secret keeping? Can you let it go? Don't think about whether this person can BECOME who you want. Think about whether this person IS who you want. People can grow and change, but if after four years of asking your opinion only leads to him doing what he wants to do anyway, there is your answer about the type of person he is and will be even after the marriage license is signed.

I'm not saying you need to leave him. I'm saying you need to understand the parameters he has set up for his own life, just as he needs to understand yours. You can keep going in this relationship, but having it grow and mature is going to be based on whether you want to deal with this behavior forever.

tog redux's picture

It doesn't sound awful to me that you don't want to watch him enable her.  Yes, you can just let it be and let him deal with her, but if you can't let it go, now's the time to figure that out - before you get married.  And if he plans to spend money on her, for sure have a discussion about his finances and what he plans to contribute to the two of you before you get married.

Curious Georgetta's picture

anyone else when they ask for your opinion or advice is not making any commitment the accept, agree with or follow that advice.

As long as he is not asking you to fund his support of his daughter it really is a situation that your opinion is the only thing that you are bringing to that particular table.

I assume that if this man is solvent enough to own more than 1 property that he knows how to manage money and has made adequate preparations for his retirement.

As an adult and the mother of adult children, I am making the assumption that you too have adequately prepared for your retirement years.

Sometimes, it can be very difficult to accept the fact that others can and do have the right to handle their parenting and finances in a way that is different than we might choose to do. Different does not equal wrong.

However, if you cannot live with or accept the differences, the solution is not to try to fix what is and had been working for your partner, but to decide instead how to navigate or extract yourself from a situation in which you have what for you is a major point of contention.

In essence your  question is what do I do if I disagree with how he manages his own pre marital finances?

If his management of his marital earnings are in question that would be a hunt in which you had a dog. As a girl friend or a wife how he utilizes his premarital assets are not an issue in which you should expect to have a say.




Kes's picture

Does he realise he's enabling her?  I suggest you buy him a book off Amazon called "How to stop enabling your adult children" by Melody Devonish.  Ultimately, unless he plans bankrolling her until he is pushing up daisies, she will never become financially independent while he's doing it.   Discussing one thing with you and then doing another behind your back is lying to you and betraying you.  That would concern me a lot.  

still learning's picture

You're not married yet and there are already issues around money and honesty.  Lack of financial compatibility is one of the leading causes of divorce. Being married multiple times with both of you having children is another risk factor. Right out of the gate you have two strikes against you making your relationship and future marriage shaky. 

I've witness enabling like your bf is doing with his daughter and it never works out well for either of them. She is learning helplessness and he will financially overextend himself. He doesn't want help with her, he's just complaining to you but will do whatever his daughter wants in the end. They are enmeshed, which is common is divorcee's who use a child to fill in for the former spouse. You will never be an equal partner in this relationship because his daughter already has that seat. 

Marriage is a legal arrangement between you, your spouse, and the state you live in.  You can love him and go on as you are without making this legal commitment to him. In the end his finances are his. You're the live in girlfriend and have no say how he spends his money. Even if you do marry it won't change the financial situation or enabling of his daughter.  

CLove's picture

I think that you are being very observant of what you can expect if you continue this relationship with this man. It wont really change or get better (unless you exert a lot of struggle.

You write that he is very generous with you and your son, and I suspect he is also just being himself and being generous to his daughter because, hey thats his kid and he likes being a "provider". If its to the point you wish to stay, you will need to educate him on allowing his child to be his child and you must take your spot as Queen Bee. As far as the finances go, you cant really control that much. DH and I have always had separate finances so that he can do what he wants and I can do what I want. Plus we are buying a home together so we are pretty equal. He has bigger debts than I is the only difference.

Its disturbing that he goes behind your back. Its also disturbing that he is not consulting with you as his partner. That needs to be addressed.

Merry's picture

Whenever my DH starts chasing his adult kids I always ask myself if it affects me. If it doesn't, but the thing still bothers me, I try to figure out why. If it does affect me, I speak up. 
In your case the issue is that you don't feel like his partner. when he and his daughter make plans and reach decisions together. I have experienced that exact thing and it is maddening. 
You might consider approaching him about why you are feeling disconnected from him. And you worry that his "generosity" with his daughter is actually crippling her. 

My SS is 34. We stopped paying his car insurance maybe 6 months ago. Made me crazy supporting a grown man. I don't mind helping our kids when they need it, but keeping them dependent on a parent is selfish and crippling.