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Need Christmas Advice

paul_in_utah's picture

G'day Stalkers, long-time no post.  Looking for some advice.

But FIRST-------

I don't need to hear "Run!" or "Leave her!" or "You deserve better!"  

I know all of that.  I know that I am in a shitty situation, and know I am being treated unfairly.  But that is a post for another day.  I am looking for some steps I can take to build even minimal boundries with my SO.  Here is the cast of characters and basic set-up:

SO = Significant Other, my live-in girlfriend.

SOD = Significant Other Daughter.  Currently preggo by a loser piece of trailer trash (aka the "Trailer Park Prince" or TPP) who is not paying any of the bills.  Doesn't feel comfortable working because of potential COVID exposures while she is pregnant.  Expects SO (and by extension me!) to pay her bils.  She lives with the TPP in their own apartment.

SOS = Significant Other Son.  Still in high school.  Is a pathological liar and has floated "starting a family" with his 16 year-old girlfriend.  He lives with me and SO in my house.

Since she moved in, SO has been establsihing some HARD f...... boundries to manage my behavior.  After having an active sex life for 2 years, she suddenly started rationing sex (one time every 8-10 days).  She blames it on medication she took 4 times 1.5 years ago (which is obviously bullshit).  She is also being very stingy with her time.  I get that to an extent, her pregnant daughter needs a lot of attention, but I am getting very little from her.  The main sticking point is that I am currently on the road for work, and she will not make any effort to come see me, even for a short time, and even with me paying the full cost of the trip (with spending money to boot).

So I have very little leverage.  The only thing that comes to mind is establishing some hard boundries of my own around finances.  I obviously pay all of the bills, since it is my house and I would be paying them anyway.  This frees up a lot of SO's income that had previously been going towards her own bills, but unfortunately she feels she needs to expend 100% of her take-home income on SOD.  She reasons that she has to do this, since SOD doesn't think she can work, and SOD has alienated everyone else in her life who might help her (including her father).

So in order to establish a boundry and send a message, I'm looking to do as little as possible for Christmas.  Not so little that it is an obvious "F... You" to SO, SOD, and SOS, but enough that she sees I'm not a pushover in EVERY way.

I will make about 250K this year, SO makes around 50K.  What is the least I can spend on them without generating accusations of being Scrooge McDuck?

Comments

Stepdrama2020's picture

Its not relevant here how much you make when deciding how much to spend on christmas gifts with ungrateful people.

I would buy them nothing. Your gift is that SD is in the house totaly free. Your gift to SO is that she is still there. Dont know why, but I wont say leave. Maybe I will say adios though LOL , but hey thats me.

You are better than these leaches. You are obviously getting NOTHING out of this relationship so give NOTHING for christmas. 

Blessings and take your house back.

lieutenant_dad's picture

My first question is, are they grateful for anything you buy them? If not, don't buy them anything. Their mom, dad, and their families can cover that.

If you WANT to buy the kids something, then make it something practical. SOD is pregnant, so basic onesies, laundry soap, and extra crib sheets would be good. If SOS drives, a gas or car maintenance gift card, or fast food gift cards, etc. Young adults get practical gifts; if Mom wants to be fancy, she can do so on her own dime.

As for what to get your SO, pay for a trip to come see you. If she won't accept that, then no gift.

Ultimately, though, you need to realize that not buying gifts is only going to make her more abusive toward you. She will 100% see that you're trying to manipulate her like she does you and she'll retaliate.

Because what you're proposing isn't boundaries. What you're proposing is manipulation because she manipulated you. You're not concerned that she's spending your money and going to leave you in the poor house; you want to give her a taste of her own medicine. That's not any better than what she's doing.

If you want to establish financial boundaries, then start making her pay her fair share of household expenses. Buy gifts as you feel comfortable buying gifts. Talk to her about what you two financially will contribute to the relationship. But don't use gifts as a way to show you're not a pushover because that will only escalate this situation because then you make this not about boundaries, but about manipulation.

paul_in_utah's picture

Maybe it is an attempt to mainuplate right back at her.

To clear things up, I don't really spend much money directly on SO/SOD/SOS.  I do sometimes buy meals out for them, but none are on an allowance or anything like that.  They benefit by me putting a roof over their head and by me paying all of the expenses that go along with said roof (electric, water, gas, internet, etc.).  

To answer your question, SO is usually thankful.  SOS says thank-you about 50% of the time.  SOD says thank-you directly to me about 10% of the time, but supposedly tells SO to say thank you on her behalf. 

advice.only2's picture

ETA the more I read of your responses the more telling it's becoming.  Not sure what the whole sex thing had to do with any of this other than it would appear you are using that as a reason to punish her...which is lame, wake up it's 2021, not 1921.

paul_in_utah's picture

The point is that she used to offer sex on a regular basis and gave every impression that she enjoyed it to.  Then overnight, that changed, and she is now rationing sex as a way to keep me from complaining about her shitty treatment of me.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Are you saying you are willing to overlook her shitty treatment of you if she offers sex on a regular basis? Take matters into your own hands or pay for a professional.

paul_in_utah's picture

Funny, that's exactly what she said.  "You need to be a man and take care of that yourself."

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Hey now, I did NOT say "You need to be a man". There is absolutely nothing wrong with self-gratification. I am a woman and have zero qualms about taking matters into my own hands, if needed. Plenty of people do, single and married.

Stepdrama2020's picture

LOL  or pay for a professional. My afternoon coffee almost flew out of my mouth. *ROFL*

CLove's picture

You say "dont tell me to leave and dont tell me I deserve better..." Ok wont say it.

BUT I will say that she must have a Golden Uterus to have given birth to such entitled children, and she must be REALLY great those times every 8-10 days you are together.

Id say give each child $100. Give SO a trip to see you or a nice pair of earrings, something pretty for those Hallmark Christmas moments you hope for but wont get.

If you arent right now, I would start with putting big chunks into a retirement account. Get things straightened out for yourself financially. Because you know its a crappy situation but arent really doing anything to change THAT dynamic. So start using birth control so you dont get hooked that way. And then lay things out financially. Fairs fair, and thats all you want.

So you asked how little you can "get away with" and I agree with the above comment of why are you playing these games? Shes manipulating you and using you, and you want turnaround is fair play. I dont ascribe to that, so I cant really speak to your original question.

paul_in_utah's picture

I'm maxing out my 401K, have over 500K between 401K/IRAs/Bank accounts, and own over $1,000,000.00 in real estate than generates 50K in rent in normal years.  I'm doing fine as far as saving for retirement and building assets.  I guess I need to try and contribute 6K to a Roth, but that's the only obvious move left.

I was thinking $50 for each kid (including the TPP to be nice), but maybe I should do the $100 per person.  I think that amount would be unassailable. 

She's had a histerectomy, so no concerns about getting her pregnant.

CLove's picture

I generally give $100 bills. Its generous enough, but not a show-stopper, and I dont have to run around knowcking myself out to get stuff people dont want. But that was LAST year when they were both being nice to me.

Well, you are doing QUITE well for yourself. I can understand why she feels you can support all of them. Good that you are smart in that way. And no unplanned oopsies. All good.

Well I hope you can find your happiness - life is short.

 

SeeYouNever's picture

You have a dysfunctional relationship for sure, I hope you do find a way out of it. I suggest you make it as uncomfortable as possible for your SO and her hangers on to live with you. This isn't boundaries per se, it's showing her the door.

Do your own thing, don't give her attention (I'm sure she will try to gain if back if you do this). Invite people over that she doesn't like, do noisey or expensive hobbies that you enjoy. Live like you don't have to pay her any mind. This will cause her to either leave or try harder to get you back. I'd say either is a win. 

$50 min will get you off the hook, maybe buy them new coats or sweatshirts or something. 

tog redux's picture

Wow, this sounds miserable. Both of you punishing the other by withholding resources.

Anyway, I don't buy my SS21 anything for Christmas. He doesn't buy me anything, so why should I? If these kids get you something, then get them something small too. She can buy any big gifts for them. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

The main sticking point is that I am currently on the road for work, and she will not make any effort to come see me, even for a short time, and even with me paying the full cost of the trip (with spending money to boot).

Why do you want her to come see you? For sex? If so, it's likely she knows/suspects that, which is why she won't make the trip.

paul_in_utah's picture

Sex would be nice, but that's not why I want her to visit.  I am working by myself and am lonely as fuck.  I have very little interaction with other people and am really lonely.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

It certainly does not sound very appealing to have her visit when your relationship is so rocky. I'd be more tempted to find the nearest pub/bar, take a long time sipping on a couple of drinks, and chat with the bartender about things to do, places to see, and singles activities in the area.

Do you have friends you can call? If you're willing to pay all of the expenses, why not have a friend come visit you? Seems like that would be much more pleasant.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I like this idea. OP, you could also look into hiring a professional cuddler. That's not a joke, either. If your SO doesn't want to spend time with you and you feel lonely, and you're not interested in dumping them, then hire out the services of folks who can provide what you need without compromising the rules of your monogamous relationship.

ESMOD's picture

Past behavior is a good predictor of future performance.  What have you done in the past in the way of gift value?  I imagine that a similar level will be the expectation this year.  If you always gave the kids 500 dollars.. I would expect a 50 dollar bill would be looked at with the side eye.

I know you know that your relationship needs help... and it goes well beyond what is going on with her kids.  They aren't really your issue.. your relationship with HER is.  Now, I don't know if she is maybe going into perimenopause.. etc... she could have a legit issue impacting her desire. up to and including an absent partner (working out of town).. coupled with stressful things going on with her children.  I would say that she should want to look at any underlying medical reasons.. and should be interested in looking to fix this issue.  She should also be open to therapy and you shoudl be to to see what is broken in your own relationship.. excluding any issues related to her kids.. they aren't your problem here really.. they just display symptoms of the central illness in your  marriage. 

Mamabearof3's picture

Start a group text and ask SS SOD the boyfriend and your SO to all bring a gift for a gift exchange game this year with a dollar amount limit. Then you bring one gift as you expect them do do the same and exchange it. Make it a game. We do this Make sure it's a theme. Like household gift anyone can use etc. or a food/ store gift card. We do this and it's fun and affordable. You can even make a Saran wrap ball of extra gifts to look like you really did extra. And that also will be fun. Prioritize family time vs gift giving and act happy and excited about it. Not like you're being stingy. 

paul_in_utah's picture

That would be a great idea for normal people, but I guarantee you the response will be "SOD doesn't work and doesn't have any money.  TPP works but he only spends money on himself and on the weed he smokes with SOD."

Winterglow's picture

I think it would do you the power of good to give yourself a gift for Xmas. Start checking out holiday options in places where they really know how to do Xmas/New Year. Book whatever really appeals to you. Tell your SO that she can come and have fun with you or baby her daughter and her guy. 

Do this for YOU. Extract yourself from this miserable situation and have FUN! 

And no gifts for anyone else. Let the buggers fend for themselves. 

justmakingthebest's picture

First, I believe that there are marriages /relationships where 50/50 for bills isn't possible. However, there is no reason why she isn't paying 25% of everything. Have her start paying 1/4 of the mortgage and then pick a bill for her- Electric for example. That is HER responsibility, period. It needs to be a bigger bill, not the water or something small. She also needs to cover $100/week for groceries for herself and her teen. That's a bargain and a half! 

As for gifts, I believe gifts come from the heart. I think if you get anything for the SD or TP - it should be for the baby and things he/she will need. Diapers, swing, etc. None of the "fun" stuff for the baby, the REAL stuff they will need. 

For the teen- Give him $50 visa gift card and call it a day. 

For your SO- make it a trip so that you BOTH have fun! Make it somewhere you want to go. This can be a good test on her making a choice to be with you.

paul_in_utah's picture

This seems like a reasonable approach.  $50 gift cards all around, and an "IOU" to SO for a trip of her choice.

She does pay for groceries while I am on the road.  Of course she is much more frugal when **she** is buying the groceries v. when I am there, but she still does it on her own.

I am also considering booking a trip for myself and scheduling it during the part of the week she sometimes works her "optional" job.  She uses the "optional" job as a excuse to not visit.  If she doesn't like that I'm taking a trip for myself, I'll just say "Well, I didn't want to take you away from your other job, you've gone on and on about how important it is."

lieutenant_dad's picture

Serious question: could she be cheating on you and that's why she has recently stopped wanting to see you and be intimate?

I mean, all the signs are there. She's too busy to visit, isn't interested in sex with you, does the bare minimum to not get kicked out, has an "optional job" that keeps her away...

If you made a surprise visit home, what do you think would happen? Or if you looked at the numbers texted/called while you were away, do you think you'd find some that aren't known to you that she reaches out to frequently? If you installed Ring cameras at all the doors, would she protest? And if you live in a state where you can record video in public areas of your home, would she freak out?

Perhaps a top-notch security system with cameras inside and out should be the Christmas gift you purchase.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Lt Dad, I was also wondering if she is cheating, but wants to maintain her current and comfy lifestyle.