I love my boyfriend dearly but his problem is relating to money. My boyfriend has savings and his own home. I have nothing. But he makes a big issue that I have nothing. He doesn’t like spending. I have to mostly buy food and drinks when we go out. I do not mind, but if he does buy me something he takes it back if he is annoyed. If he does buy a gift he expects me to give him one in return. I do not enjoy going shopping with him as it always ends up with us arguing. He then points out I don’t buy him anything. He does not live with me, but stays every night with me. I have a family to take care of and he does not hardly contribute. But now when he does decide to contribute, he eventually takes it back, even if it is just bread. Sometimes when he buys me a drink he will take it back half way down, or remind me later that he bought me a drink.
The other problem is he says very nasty things which results in me being nasty back to him, which I don’t like. I am generally a nice person but I am starting to feel I am the problem. He never believes in me and pulls me down constantly. I am writing a book and it is being published, and he does not show any interest.
I feel that I have to keep spending my money to keep him happy. I always thought a gift is bought and presented as a gift, and that you shouldn’t ever expect one back instantly. Nor should you take a gift back. He wanted to take me on holiday and I would not go, since I know what he is like. He tried to convince me, and when I finally agreed, he decided then that he doesn’t want to go. I love him but this problem is tearing us apart. There is more to my problem but I can’t discuss it on here. I don’t know what to do. Can you give some advice?
This man must be drop-dead gorgeous or extremely charming. Otherwise, I don’t understand for a minute why you would fall for him. He is so concerned about being in control and keeping everything even that he has entirely lost sight of what relationships are about – kindness, caring, generosity, being each other’s greatest fan, and trust. You’re right: Gifts are just that – gifts. What we get back from giving is the joy and appreciation of the receiver, not an immediate monetary return.
My kindest interpretation of his behavior is that he was taken advantage of so badly at some time in his life that he vowed it would never happen again. And, if that’s the case, he’s letting whoever did it to him have control over his relationship now. You certainly shouldn’t be treated like this. You have done nothing to deserve it.
Since you do think you love him, it’s time to have a serious talk with him about just why he is so worried that you will take advantage of him or hurt him. If he can’t tolerate the difference in your financial status, then you have a painful decision to make. Unless he can make a shift in his attitude and behavior, things aren’t going to change. I know. It’s hard to let go of love, especially in mid-life. Only you can decide if the stress and being pulled down so much is worth it.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on October 28, 2010.
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Stingy boyfriend. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/10/28/stingy-boyfriend/
Last updated: 2 Jun 2019 (Originally: 28 Oct 2018) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 2 Jun 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.