herald

Friday 20 April 2018

Dear Rosanna: Should i dump my cheap boyfriend?

On who should pay, being left to hold the baby, a vbf who tells lies and dating a guy . . . and his best mate

Q I am dating Scrooge. I don't think there is a man on the planet as stingy as my boyfriend. He makes me buy my own cinema ticket, insists I buy every second round, divides taxi fares in half and looks in my wallet to make sure I have enough money before we go out, as he says he is tired of women sponging off him. He broke up with me before my birthday and got back with me afterwards and now I think he did this to save on having to buy me a present. Is there any hope for us as a couple, or should I just dump this cheap man?

A While I believe that equality within a relationship is essential and I can't help but look down on women who rely on a man for their every penny, I really appreciate when my boyfriend treats me. He will always offer to buy me drinks when we're out -- but I always ensure that I buy him a couple, too. If nothing else, it comes down to basic manners.

It saddens me to hear that your boyfriend doesn't ever treat you to a night out or a drink. While I understand his caution, as there are plenty of opportunistic women out there, I believe there needs to be a healthy balance for a relationship to succeed.

My advice is to air your concerns with him. Point out that, while you don't expect him to fork out for everything, it would be lovely if he acted like a gentleman.

Continuing the relationship like this will inevitably lead to its demise and you growing to resent him. If he refuses to spend any money on you, then I would consider taking a break until he realises that his behaviour is causing you unhappiness.

Q Everyone says my sister, who is 21, is managing very well as a single mum. But she relies heavily on me and my mum to mind her little girl when she goes to college and to work in the evenings. It means, at 17, I spend nights babysitting my niece when I could be having fun with friends or my boyfriend. I feel my sister has made a mistake, but I am the one making the sacrifices.

A I can only imagine how hard it must be for your sister to juggle her work, college and life as a single mother and she is extremely lucky to have the support of you and your mum to enable her to do so. I feel sympathy for you, though. You never signed up for such responsibility, yet you feel that you must chip in and help with babysitting.

I can see no other option than to come to a compromise with the other members of your family as soon as possible. Arrange a family meeting and explain to your mum and sister that, while you're happy to help out with the baby, it's taking up too much of your time and it's not fair that you're missing out on spending time with your friends and boyfriend.

You will need to come up with a solution that suits everybody and this may well involve seeking outside help for the baby. There may be another trusted family friend or relative you could ask to help out, or your sister may have to put some money towards childcare. Either way, I feel it's important for you to be completely upfront and honest about the situation

Q My best friend from school told me she needed to help her mum over the weekend and couldn't meet me for coffee. Yet when I was walking through Dundrum Town Centre on Saturday I saw her hanging out with another girl from school. I was too upset to go over and say anything to her.

She often tells me she is not free and later tells me about the fun things she has done. Yet, when I'm not available, she gets really snotty with me. Should I find another best friend?

AThis must have been deeply upsetting for you and it hardly surprises me that you feel betrayed and angry. However, simply replacing your best friend would not deal with the problem and most probably create difficulties for you in future friendships.

I urge you to confront her. She must realise that her behaviour has upset you and, if she values your friendship, she has to show you more respect. Tell her that you feel undervalued and unappreciated as her friend and you know that she lied to you. Try not to be too accusatory and give her a chance to explain herself.

She must also understand that friendships are about compromise and she has no right to get annoyed at you when you're unavailable to spend time with her. I do recommend that you make a proper attempt to work it out between yourselves.

Q I have met a guy who I am really into and we have been on a few dates. The only thing is he always brings his best friend along. He has never asked me to bring a friend along. He acts like we're friends when his best mate is with us in the club and then like we're a couple when we are by ourselves. How can I get him to leave his friend at home?

AThis situation you describe does sound a little bizarre. It's almost as if he's too shy to spend time with you alone and feels that he needs his sidekick for support when you meet up in a club.

Does he give you his full attention when you're together or does he spend a lot of it talking to his mate? If you are interested in this guy, then I think it's time to get firm with him and insist that it's just the two of you the next time you meet up.

Explain clearly that, while you like his friend and are happy to get to know him too, it's important for you to get to know each other properly.

I feel the best approach is to simply be casual and polite, so as not to cause offense to somebody you don't yet know that well, but tell him that you'd really like to get to know him without the constant presence of his friend. If this relationship is worth pursuing, I hope he will respect your very reasonable request.

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