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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1835
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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This requires knowledge of psychology . I would like to

Resolved Question:

This requires knowledge of psychology .

I would like to give little background about my fiancee (Mary) before I present my issue.

She's an only child, raised by her mother (Janet) as the father abandoned them when she's 8 years old. Janet had to provide shelter and cover all living expenses as the dad didn't pay child support for so many years, so Janet spent most if not all of her time working and very little time with Mary. Mary focused on her school and started working at a very young age. she would go to work straight from school. so she had a very rough childhood, no sense of sharing or the real meaning of family that consists of both parents and children and roles and responsibilities of each member. When she lived with her mom, she didn't lift a finger, never cleaned and didn't know how to cook.

When she fell in love with me, she decided to change her habits. She cleans the house on a daily basis, and started learning how to cook and now she cooks every day. She takes care of me and makes me feel like a king. Her mom was shocked when she saw that.

We got engaged and she now lives with me, she works 10hr shifts, the minute she comes back to the house she cleans, washes dishes(refuses to use dishwasher), laundry and cooks dinner and prepares my lunch and hers.

My salary is 3 times hers. However, all of my money is spent on bills and old debt, so I have no money to spend on her. I can't take her on vacations or buy her gifts on the basic occasions like birthday/holidays so I kept wondering about how I can solve this issue until one day I watched a video on the internet on a newly wed couple who paid off all their debt in one year and now they're able to enjoy their income and live happily, so I was inspired.

So I approached my fiancee EXACTLY this way:

Me: "I just watched this video and got me thinking about us . as you know, my salary is 3 times yours and you also know that all of it goes to bills/debt, and I feel sad that I can't take you to places or even buy you gifts on the basic occasions... so the video I watched was about a couple who were able to pay off their debt in a year and now they're able to enjoy their life/income and I would like us to be like that, I wanna be able to do things for you .How about we rent a cheaper apartment and find someone to take over my car lease?" 

Mary: "This is the only livable apartment in the whole city, everything else is real shitty and unsafe because no other community is gated like ours. Also if you sell your car, sharing a car is not a good idea since we're both working in two different cities one hour away from each other in addition to the my work hours are constantly changing"

Me: "What do you think we should do?"

Mary: "I don't know"

Me: "How about you help me with the bills so the extra money goes towards my debt and that way I can pay my debt faster? And as u can see, we are living comfortably, so I don't "need" help and I can go like this forever, so you're not obligated to anything"

Mary: "Yes, that's a good idea"

After taxes, her take home is $1500/mo, her bills are $150/mo(car insurance, cellphone), so she has $1350 left, and agreed she'd give me $600/mo. she wants to lease a new car at $200/mo. so I told her then she can give me $400/mo instead.

A few days later, Mary comes back from work very upset and when I ask her what's wrong....

Mary: "It's unfair that you want me to pay for your debt. I work for 10hrs and come back home stand on my feet and do everything around the house which is basically and second job... this is bullshit"

Me: "I didn't ask you to pay for my debt, I asked you to contribute to the house expenses, so I have a chance to do something for you... And about work around the house, you never let me do anything, you always stopped me from doing anything, and if it's an issue, did u even try to discuss it with me? if you asked me to contribute to the house work, I would be happy to, but again you always told me not to do anything whenever I offered... and like I said it was an idea that I brought to the table and not an obligation, you don't have to do it, and I don't need it"

Mary: "Now that you told me about it, I feel like its an obligation and I will give you the money. I just think it's unfair.... How is it for me when you want me to pay for your debt?"

Me: "I lived with debt all my life and I don't have a problem continuing living with it. I really don't need your contribution... so yes, its about you, Can't you see that I can't buy anything for u because I'm in debt? "

Mary: "I don't care anymore, I will pay you"
------------

My questions are:

1- What did I do wrong?
2- No matter how much I explain, she keeps taking it the total opposite way. How can I fix that?
3- How do I stop her from giving me money because I would never accept it knowing she feels that way about it?
4- Ultimately, am I with the wrong person?

Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.

Deardebra :

I am going to look at your question closely and I am going to answer it for you.

Deardebra :

I first would like to break the first paragraph down before we go forward with the rest. Her personality would be a very strong person that is very independent.

Deardebra :

She would be someone that knows how to take care of herself and relays on no one to take care of her.

Deardebra :

Because of a rough childhood she would be very guarded and not so quick to open up to people.

Deardebra :

So you have brought out the best in her when it came to her cooking. She wanted to take care of you and she felt like she was needed and was a part of your life.

Deardebra :

Congratulations on getting engaged and it sounds too me like she is very caring and understanding to what your needs are when it comes to running a household.

Deardebra :

That was very thoughtful to think of her when it came to wanting to provide the best for her by trying to solve the debt problem. You were thinking of her when you watch the video.

Deardebra :

She was open and honest about how she felt about the car and moving. Her answer was her basically saying that she is comfortable where she is living so lets find a better way.

Customer:

Hello

Deardebra :

Her saying that things were unfair was her way of saying that you created the debt and she feels that she should not work to pay your debt off even though the household should be shared expenses.

Deardebra :

I feel that she needs to look at this is in a new way.

Deardebra :

One that you need to explain too her.

Deardebra :

What you want to do is be direct in what she is paying, why don't you ask her to pay for things like the food bill, she cooks, so she could contribute in that way.

Deardebra :

That would help her understand that she is not paying for your debt she is buying her food and yours.

Deardebra :

I think you need to label what she is paying for so she feels better about this decision.

Deardebra :

What she is feeling is she thinks that she does a lot around the house.

Deardebra :

So she feels like her money should eb her money because she works only 10 hour shifts.

Customer:

so you're saying if I give her some bills to take care and make her responsible for them, that will solve her problem?

Deardebra :

Yes, the food bill, maybe cleaning supplies like laundry degerent things like that, this adds up and will help with your debt.

Customer:

But I wanna understand something..... If I clearly explained it, why would she tell me that she understood the opposite? She gave me the impression that she doesn't want to contribute at all... Did u see that in the dialogue at all? .... otherwise she could have simply said "let me take care of some bills" or something other than accusing me of being unfair

Customer:

while she was venting out she said "u made me feel like i dont do anything around the house and u said u better start paying some bills as if im ur roommate"

Deardebra :

Yes, she feels like she should not pay for anything because she does a lot around the house. I think she feels that is her contribution too you.

Deardebra :

She did take this the wrong way.

Deardebra :

She brought in basically your feelings for her which is not the subject that was not what you were trying to say too her.

Deardebra :

You were trying to tell her that we could have a better life if you could help pay some thing in the house. Instead she took this as an insult.

Customer:

exactly

Customer:

and she does NOT wanna be convinced of otherwise

Customer:

how can i solve that?

Deardebra :

Now what you need to do is explain yourself too her so she understands. You want to start by saying this

Deardebra :

Start with the reason why you asked her to marry you.

Deardebra :

Tell her that you could not imagine spending your life without her. Explain that when you met her their was a feeling that your life became whole almost as if something was missing. Tell her when she came into your life you new this was the person you wanted to be with forever.

Deardebra :

I know that a lot of my money goes to bills and debt and I feel like I have not provided you with everything you want in life. I wish I did not have these bills, and I am sorry that things have to start off this way. If I could I would give you the world.

Deardebra :

I feel like if I could just get a little out of debt then I could give you so much more.

Deardebra :

I want to show you my love for you more in other ways. I would love to buy you a nice gift to show you

Deardebra :

how much I care about you, how much my love just fills my heart.

Deardebra :

I can't change the past and the debt I accumulated, but I can begin to take the steps to change it. If we do this together and help each other because I believe know that if we work together we can create a better life.

Customer:

I swear to you, I said all that word for word TWICE, once when I first opened the subject, and again last night..... and her response is "that doesn't make sense, why do I to pay you so you can pay off your debt. at my mom's house I dont have to pay for anything"

Customer:

its like im talking to a wall

Deardebra :

So her mom took care of her and she paid for nothing so she thinks that is how things work. She things that is how life is, so

Deardebra :

she needs to learn that is not how things work.

Customer:

she comes from a mexican family, and their tradition is that the child stays with parents until they're 30!

Deardebra :

She doesn't know any better.

Deardebra :

So you are also dealing with tradition as well, so things changes things a little.

Deardebra :

When you have certain traditions in a family this are extremely important. You need to learn how she has been raised in her traditions.

Deardebra :

In certain traditions a man and a women split the bills when they live together, while

Deardebra :

others might decide that they each pay for their own bills or divide certain bills.

Customer:

correct.... my parents dumped their income in one bowl.... so Mary and I were raised totally the opposite way..... the question now is how to deal with this issue?

Deardebra :

Have you told her how you were raised?

Customer:

of course

Customer:

shes knows everything

Deardebra :

Ok, so she knows you were raised with your parents sharing their money. When it comes to two people living together special engaged each person should have responsibilities when it comes to bills.

Deardebra :

It is like a working unit when you are involved in a relationship.

Customer:

i explained that too

Customer:

but she keeps giving the same response

Customer:

again, as if im talking to a wall

Customer:

heres the thing....

Deardebra :

Who doe the grocery shopping?

Customer:

we do everything together....

Deardebra :

who pays for food?

Customer:

I do

Customer:

I got the idea that u want to label the bills and that's easy.... I can manage that.... but

Customer:

my main goal now is how to divert her thought from bad to good.

Customer:

because at the end, she will give me the money regardless....... i just dont want her to think badly about it

Customer:

i wXXXXX XXXXXe how she feels about it

Deardebra :

What I feel has happened is she was fine with it understood it but then thought it over and decided that it was wrong for her to pay your debt.

Customer:

yes

Customer:

thats exactly what happened

Customer:

she even said it

Deardebra :

Now to change her mind so she can understand that this is a good thing you need to show her that if you both were better off in better living conditions, like you b=debt paid off you could have a life of vacations and gifts. Here is what I want you to do, why not have her put money away for the things she wants like how about having her save for a vacation by putting money away.

Customer:

I thought of that, but after she saves lets 5000 for vacation.... how does that solve my problem which is not being able to get her a birthday gift?

Deardebra :

You have her save for her birthday gift by asking her what she wants. you set up an envelop a jar and at the end of the week or every day put a few dollars in it. Have her put money in to so you can get her something nice.

Customer:

so she's basically paying for her birthday present? lol

Deardebra :

yes

Customer:

remember what i said ..... she will give me the $600 no matter what... I just wXXXXX XXXXXe how she feels about it

Customer:

she feels its an obligation now

Customer:

its like how do u make a kid think that going to school is the path to success and not to torture them?!

Deardebra :

You need to put excitement into the obligation.

Deardebra :

This is why you have to tell her their is rewards

Customer:

how

Deardebra :

If she saves for her birthday present that is exciting because it is reaching a goal and you can see the goal by putting the money away. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Customer:

so basically keep repeating myself? which will make her repeat herself about how it doesnt make sense that its all about my debt..... cuz thats what happened last night

Customer:

i keep talking about the rewards and she reverses it

Deardebra :

I want you to tell her that that the debt is yours and you will be responsible for that, but it would be nice if you could have some help with the other bills.

Customer:

got it .... focus on labeling

Customer:

i'll try that....

Customer:

i donno if it makes a difference, but it might help understand her personality too...... u helped me once before.... shes the one that wants rough sex all the time and i was complaining about it..... ring a bell?

Deardebra :

Yes, I know exactly who you are

Deardebra :

She wants to control things that makes more sense.

Customer:

ok, good... anyway... I'll try ur advice and see if slapping a new label on the subject helps

Customer:

thank you very much for your patience

Customer:

have a nice day

Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1835
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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