The Moneyist: My boyfriend demands I pay half of his $600K mortgage and utilities, or go live in a camper van. He says, ‘You’ll never own this house’


Dear Quentin,

I have been in a relationship with my partner, a man, for about 10 years. We are both in our late 50s, and I’m financially stable.

Before moving in together about four years ago, we signed a legal document — a non-marital cohabitation agreement (NMCA). What’s his is his, and what’s mine is mine. He’s responsible for his kids (early and late 20s, from two ex-wives). 

Before moving in together, I also suggested we move into my 2,000-square-foot house (worth $300,000 and fully paid off). 

He was renting when we met, and had been for seven years. Six years ago, he bought a beautiful $600,000 house (influenced, in part, by his kids). These two homes were within 10 miles of each other (same school district).

He wants me to pay half the mortgage, half the utilities, etc. — approximately $2,300 per month. I am refusing to pay more.

‘About a month ago, half my groceries went to an extra 21 mouths in one month.’

We had previously agreed, in the NMCA, that I’d pay him $1,000 a month, plus half the groceries. The amount is more than what my prior living expenses and bills were. I do more than my share of chores around the place — his place. 

About a month ago, half my groceries went to an extra 21 mouths in one month (his “local” adult college-educated kid who stayed for three nights, as well as their friends, and almost weekly visits from someone on his side). I have no children, and my family is 600 miles away and seldom stays or visits.

Three months ago, he demanded I pay more. I did pay about $250 more per month. Now he’s painting all the inside of the house (3,200 square feet).

Two years ago, he bought his then 18-year-old son a used $45,000 truck, and a horse. He will not tell me how much, but I am guessing $15,000 to $25,000. He’s expecting a grandchild in about six months. That will be more money.

He works out of his house and may retire in a year or two. I used to work out of my house, and retired a year ago.  

‘His kids will get the equity in the house, but it would first have to be sold. His kids cannot afford the place.’

About two years ago he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Today he is doing very well, health-wise. I totally understand that for all of us, there are only two known days, yesterday and today, and we need to embrace the here and now.

I am interested in doing this if I get half the equity in the house. Today, the house is probably worth $800,000. The NMCA states I get nothing. I am OK with this.

I also mentioned to him that I would buy the house. He refused, and has mentioned a couple of times, “You’ll never own this house. My kids will get the house if I die.”

Well, his kids will get the equity in the house, but it would first have to be sold. His kids cannot afford the place.

Should I pay more? Where does this stop? He has indicated to me on a couple of occasions that if I don’t pay more, I should pack my bags and live in a camper that I own. The NMCA states a written 30-day notice is required to move out.

Living in Tennessee

Dear Living,

Is this living? 

Is this a partnership of equals, or an arrangement where you pay rent and help him become a homeowner and pay a chunk of his rent? Who really loses if you move out? And what would happen if you did? You would go back to living in your home, without any of the resentments and temptation to calculate all the money he spends on himself and his family, and he would probably get a tenant in your place.

If he is going to entertain guests on a regular basis, he should pay for those guests. It all adds up, after all. But this letter is so much more about dividing the grocery bill and the gifts he decides to buy his children. You signed an agreement, and whatever he does with his money is his business. The fact that you are obsessing over his other spending suggests to me that you have lost perspective on the bigger picture.

‘You can estimate a price on the horse he purchased, or put a price on your happiness instead.’

This is the only question you need to answer right: Are you happy? Because it doesn’t sound like you are, and he does not sound like a respectful or considerate partner for you, or anyone, based on what you have said. I, however, am concerned with what you want in this life. You can choose to be the person who squabbles over grocery bills and puts up with unkind words, or you can choose to be someone else.

You can be anything you want to be. You can be the person who looks at this relationship from the outside, and witness how it has turned into a business relationship, one where you get to help him pay his mortgage, pay more than your fair share of bills, and end up with what, exactly? A toxic companionship with ultimatums? Don’t put a price on the horse. Put a price on your happiness instead.

You have your own home. If you want another one, buy one yourself. You don’t need his home, and you have enough money to live your life they way you want to live it. Seriously, who does this guy think he is? But, more importantly, who does he think you are? You are not that person. If you were, you would not have written this letter. Think of what a summer — what a life — you can have.

That 30-day period of notice never looked so good.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at [email protected], and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

By emailing your questions, you agree to having them published anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, in all media and platforms, including via third parties.

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook 

group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

: More workers negotiate a return to the office — but working from home is a privilege open to precious few Americans

Previous article

: More workers negotiate a return to the office — but working from home is a privilege open to precious few Americans

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in News