Do relationships work when one is wealthy and the other is in debt??

Hi Guys

As this is the DFW board, then Im assume the majority on this board are in debt?. I need to ask a serious question about relationships in regard to finances.

Do relationships work when one partner comes into the relationship with nothing (well not nothing - a load of debt) and the other is a home owner, is quite well off and comes from a wealthy family.

Myself and two girlfriends of mine are in or have been in similar suitations. Moving in with someone to their house, where everything in the house belongs to them. From the beginning it puts you on uneven pegging. It also is difficult when the OH enjoys four to five or even six trips abroad a year for holidays, golf etc. And you just cant afford to go, even if the OH offers to pay for flights, accommodation etc. You still need spending money.

I am constantly having to turn things down because i simply can not afford it.

I just want to know has anyone else been in this suitation, can relationships like this really work out? Or should you be responsible and get debt free before you enter into this type of relationship?

Just need advice please
Thread softly becuase you thread on my dreams


  • zgaze
    zgaze Posts: 51 Forumite
    I was in a long term relationship with someone that earned a lot more than me, three or four times as much. He'd take things for granted (expensive holidays, weekends away, food from M&S, nice wine, going out whenever he wanted) and looking back he just didn't bother to take my far inferior financial position into any sort of account....I ended up paying half his mortgage (?? I know, I was young, naive and stupid!!), buying all the food and household stuff....basically making sure I 'paid my way' - and to me that was a matter of (misguided) pride.

    Now I'm out of that relationship (with less than I went into it with) I can see that unless you are with someone who actually has some conception of not being rich, or comfortably off, or even just not scrabbling around for pennies two weeks into the month, it will never work. And I think those people are few and far between. He ended up with all the financial security including the house that I had paid into and worked on doing up, and I just ended up with loads of debt - because I had borrowed to try and 'keep up' with him.

    I know this is just my story but I'm not the only one of my friends who has been through this...
    First baby (a boy) due 03.09.09 - eeeeeeeeekkkkk!
  • Hey Icka, hope you don't mind me posting on here as well.

    I would honestly say (and I think it's the same really as what zgaze is saying) is that it depends on his attitude towards money and your attitude towards money.

    A few examples?:

    My SIL& BIL are getting on fine, he is wealthy, his family are wealthy she came into the relationship with a student loan (which he paid off for her!!) and now just lets her have access to the account, as long as she doesn't spend over a certain amount a month. They have 3 children and a compete disregard for money and how much things cost, but then they are not in debt, so you could say they have a right to.

    My Mum and Stepdad are getting on ok.. she is in debt and he has lots of savings. She insists on paying them off herself, however although he thinks she's proud and wishes she would just let him pay them off, he respects her for doing it, and is a self-confessed 'skinflint/scrooge' himself, he has worked hard for what he has and so respects money and posessions etc.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that if he puts the same value on money as you do, then you can make it work. It maybe that although you are the one in debt, he is actually more of a scrooge? (!) I don't know as you haven't said.

    I would say you need to analyse how you each feel about money, how you treat it, whether he is willing enough to give you money/pay for you without rubbing it in your face, whether you are happy to just accept it because you love him and he loves you, and not feel burdened to him.

    There are so many things to think about and probably lots of other underlying issues as well? I really hope you work it out hon, am sending you (((hugs))) xxxx
    Personal challenge: Do without as much as possible to pay off £12k by 07/2009!!!:T
    Bluejeans Challenge: Spend less - Eat less! Need to lose [STRIKE]4 [/STRIKE] 2.5 stone (:eek:) then maintain until my concert in Dec!!
    Cady's jam jar challenge.. how much will be in the pot?!

    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.
  • (Land_of)_Maz
    (Land_of)_Maz Posts: 11,738 Forumite
    wow what an interesting question....

    my situation was that Big G wasn't wealthy when we set up home together, but it was, and still is, understood that he earns more than me so he can pay for more.....

    we each pay proportion of the bills, me slightly less than him, plus i pay to my own debts.... he's never helped me pay off any debts as such, but he has subsidised me throughout the month when i've overpaid on debts.

    I suppose if one person were from a really monied family then it might be hard for them to understand where the other was coming from in having no money at all for luxuries...

    big g had been in debt with his ex wife, so he knew where i was at financially, altho' he comes from a relatively well off but working class family, his dad owned a business so they had money but worked all hours for it..... He never had any credit cards until about 6 months ago when he got one to try and build a credit rating...

    OP, if you were with a really rich person who wanted to/was able to spoil you - would you be able to let go and have everything bought for you? i'm not sure i could if i'm honest... it would still be important to have my own money.

    I haven't answered any questions here have i? just musings, how interesting though, i'm going to subscribe to this thread and see what others think!
    I'm just a seething mass of contradictions....
    (it's part of my charm!)
  • icka
    icka Posts: 216 Forumite
    barginfinder you are always so supportive and kind you are such a little pet. Thank you as always for your kind words.

    But I think its very similar to zgaze suitation. I was just getting myself into more and more debt by trying to keep up. Although he is very generous and offers to pay my tickets and accommodation to events. Like overseas weddings in Marbella and Italy etc. He cant understand how I had to say no. As with these 6 day trips, away with his posh, well off friends. I know this sounds stupid and vain, but girls need outfits, there are the clothes and the hair and nails and tan that needs to be done and I understand you can do alot yourself. But I just dont have that kind of money.

    With him there is always some event, always some little weekend or three day thing we have to go to. And the fact is luckily for him he has never had to understand the concept of not being able to afford something. Like if I said I couldnt afford to go he say's ill pay for flight accommodation etc so it should be nothing. Anyway Im getting myself al worked up and upset.

    This causes major rows as he has invited me to at least three things this summer I had to decline over money. Because before the summer I would just go and borrow money to pay for it. But had my LBM and realise there is always going to be some event and I just couldnt afford it. And it was ok to actually say sorry I cant afford it. It took alot of courage to say that as I was really embarrassed.

    My point is he has bought the 3 day camping ticket to Glastonbury this year and I couldnt go. I had £28 to my name for the month and I would have had to buy a chair and wellies, rain coat, beer etc etc. He didnt get it and thought I was just being a wet blanket.

    SOrry for the long rant I just needed to get it out I guess
    Thread softly becuase you thread on my dreams
  • my OH earns twice what I do, has a brand new car every year and has just bought his first house. He is crap with money and we argue over it all the time unfortunately. He leaves the TV on standby, he spends money on food and doesnt eat it, he leaves lights on constantly....but I love him! x It does upset when he expects me to go halves on certain things. (I work around 40 hrs a week in my main 9-5 job and this goes on bills and rent, I also work 20 hrs of a weekend and evening to help pay for petrol and food)

    His parents are quite well off too and I think he has just grown accustomed to them paying for him. He has moved into the new house, whilst I am staying in our old rented till I have tried to clear my debts.
  • Shineyhappy
    Shineyhappy Posts: 1,925
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    When I met my OH I was in debt and although I had my own place it has a big mortgage. My OH earns 2.5 times what I earn and has a mortgage thats half of mine, he has a lot in savings and has a lovely company car compared to my lovely battered old banger :eek: .

    We have been together 18 months and yes money has been an issue. He is used to going abroad 3 or 4 times a year for 3 week holidays or city breaks to European cities. Last year I was lucky and won a holiday to Morroco so that did help, he paid for the spending money as I provided the holiday and we spent around 350 pounds in total as it was cheap out there. I think the thing to do is discuss things and come to compromises.

    OH got fed up that I would never agree to go out for meals as I couldn't afford them or that I wouldn't let him buy me new clothes as I couldn't afford to return the favour. I was very stubborn and he got very annoyed. We did reach a compromise and he takes me out now and treats me to things but it isn't as often as he wants to. When he buys me clothes they are usually bargains and in return I have saved him a fortune.

    We go food shopping togather and get great bargains and he pays but he says he would have gotten half as much for what we spend. He loves spotting whoopsies now :D He is a natural saver and so likes having more to stash away. I bought us National Trust yearly passes through Quidco and we go out on lots of lovely days out to some gorgeous places and he will pay 15 pounds for lunch or we take a pic nic and it doesnt feel like a cheap day out.:cool:

    I think you need to talk about things. OH loves to do nice things like going to the National Trust places or going for weekend breaks but I keep my eyes out for offers and then we make the most of those.

    I would agree an amount of rent to pay and I wouldnt go halves on everything. It is his house and he probably would be warry of you contributing too much in case you split and sue him for the appreciation costs arisen whilst you lived there.

    I have learnt that OH likes treating me and whilst I wont take advantage and I won't let him do it as much as he would like it upsets him if I don't let him do anything nice.
    Debt Free - done
    Mortgage Free - done
    Building up the pension pot
  • **MissL2**
    **MissL2** Posts: 183 Forumite
    My OH earns 4 times as much as me and is a really high earner, when I met him he had his own house. I'd only been out of uni 2 years and in loads of debt. I admit I tried to keep up with him at 1st and then realised a) he wasn't thick b) I couldn't afford to keep on and c) if he loved me he would still love me without the £80 worth of food shopping, expensive clothes, meals out etc we were going through a week.

    We moved in together in his house but soon moved to 'our' house. He pays the bills but he's never ever made me feel as though I live in his house it really is our house. I contributed as much as I could whils I was working but when I got pregnant he said to spend the money on things for the baby and save it for once she was born.

    Since been on maternity leave i've become really thrifty- total opposite of how I used to be so I've changed vastly since he 1st met me and..... he LOVES it! He says he can't believe how much money he wasted before.

    I really think it depends on the couples and their relationship. I have felt very inferior at several points of our relationship but then I realise its "only" money that makes me feel that way and I bring so much more to our realationship (well I hope I do anyway). I'm very lucky I know but I am commited to repaying my debts myself without troubling him and he respects that a lot.

    Free of NEXT Hooray!!!
  • Skint_Lynne
    Skint_Lynne Posts: 1,363
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    This is a hard one, and I'm going to get shouted at once I write all of this down.

    Before I start, I have come an awful long way with my DH. We have been together for 12 years, married for 1 of these. I do love him but he can be a complex, miserable and selfish character, (he does have good points as well though).

    For the first 6 years we were together, I had my own flat which I paid for myself. Whilst I scrimped and scraped, he would enjoy the high life, designer clothes, fancy cars and splashing cash on nights out. He worked on the basis that he would pay for holidays and entertainments, I paid for everything else as my name was on the mortgage. His argument also was that as he works away from home, he does not use the facilities there to his full advantage, so why should he pay for them?

    We then moved to another house which was in his name. He paid the mortgage, I paid everything else. He drove me mad, saying this was his house etc and we had big arguments re: this.

    Then we split up, and I re-mortgaged the house so that it was in my name only, then we got back together. Since this time, I have paid the lot and it is a real struggle. I am married, but single in the sense that I pay all the bills. He will do some things, like pay for holidays, he bought me a new car and the occasional meal out, but does not think he should pay any bills because he does not live with me full time. He says that when he does, he will pay half of everything. Meanwhile, I scrape along trying my best.

    I have had big arguments with him about this, but he won't budge. I know it's not right, but what do you do? I have made this situation I guess by letting him away with it. Money is a problem for some and a joy for others I guess.

    SL x
  • Horace
    Horace Posts: 14,426 Forumite
    My OH comes from a wealthy family plus he earns a fair bit as well, whereas I on the other hand earned a mediocre wage and am now unemployed. He did help me out with some rent which I am saving to pay back. Basically, we share although he does like his holidays - at least 4 ski trips a year:eek: Only last week we went camping (we both like it) and he paid for everything including meals out and petrol because he knows that I am skint. He also knows that he can stay at mine for free - he can watch my cable tv and play on my internet and use my hot water.

    At some point, we will fly off to Spain where his family have a place but we will use my Monarch flight voucher that I won off Skoost (remember them? they were only around for a while and all of a sudden stopped sending emails).

    I have my money and he has his - I don't expect him to pay for everything either, although he will give me odd bits of money and will occasionally fill my car with petrol. He knows that when he comes to stay that he will invariably get a hot meal - sometimes a full roast dinner or lamb chops.

    He doesnt have a new car and always wants to know the cost of everything which is irritating especially when I have given him a present - its always how much? Guess that's how his family got money by being tight and miserly. Mine are comfortably off whereas these days I am a tad skint but hey ho that's life.

    I can't say that I have ever felt inferior either.
  • icka
    icka Posts: 216 Forumite
    Oh Lynne I would never ever shout at you in a million years. What a difficult suitation, to be honest I admire your bravery. I can have a firey temper and I dont think we would have lasted as long as you. you are a very patient lady. But you must be in love so at the end of the day as long as it works for you, and you are safe and able to look after yourself that what matters right?

    Horace thank you for sharing your story and every one else. I guess my problem is the family I come from although we are not middle class and wealthy. My parents have a fantastic marraige to this day after almost 40 years and everything is shared. There is no such thing as mine and yours they have all joint accounts and everything is dealth with together.

    But I think life is so much more complicated and more difficult from when they were together. I know you should not feel inferior and he doesnt make me. i think I make me feel inferior. But I think when I clear my debts and get fit maybe Ill be more able to deal with the whole thing.

    He goes to the local garage to buy some bits and pieces and ends up spending £40 on some pizza, milk, cheese, the papers etc. Where I could do a week gorceries in ASDA or Lidl for that. Its just a different world I guess. I need to get my head around.
    Thread softly becuase you thread on my dreams
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 341.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards