boyfriend demands I pay half of his $600K mortgage and utilities, or go live in van.

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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’
Last Updated: June 5, 2021 at 2:01 p.m. ET
First Published: June 4, 2021 at 2:11 p.m. ET
By Quentin Fottrell

‘He was renting when we met, and had been for 7 years. Six years ago, he
bought a beautiful $600,000 house’

'Living in Tennessee' writes: 'He wants me to pay half the mortgage,
half the utilities, etc., approximately, $2,300 per month. I am refusing
to play more.' MARKETWATCH ILLUSTRATION

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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.


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.

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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:

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You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions
related to coronavirus at qfot...@marketwatch.com, and follow Quentin
Fottrell on Twitter.

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