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Dear Sugar
I have been dating someone for three years, and I am very happy in my relationship...he is supportive, smart, and makes a great living, as do I. We have started talking about saving money to buy a house but there is one problem; his father is a gambler and has started, and failed, many businesses leaving him in serious debt.

I know my boyfriend continuously gives handouts to his dad to help him pay off the debts. By doing this, he makes it extremely difficult to save money for our future. I am torn about this situation because it is so difficult to think about the future knowing he will always have to bail out his dad.

Since settling down and saving money is important to me, do you think that I should I break it off with him? It seems ridiculous to think so since I love him, but it's just that I will have to deal with his father's money issues for the rest of my life. He denies this is a problem, but he has done nothing to prove me wrong. In the Red Rita

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear In the Red Rita
I completely understand your concerns here. How long has your boyfriend been doling out money to his father? It sounds as though he has a serious gambling problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Does your boyfriend know that feeding into his habit is only making it worse?

Since saving money and having a secure future is of high priority to you, you are going to have to make a decision. Have you asked him if he is willing to change his behavior for you? I know that you love him, but you need to realize that his failure to deny his father financial backing is a real problem. This could hinder your lifestyle and your security in the future.

I am sure your boyfriend feels some sort of power and self worth from his father since he relies so heavily on him, but he needs to understand that he could potentially lose you as a result. Sit down with him, make sure he understands where you are coming from, and listen to your gut instinct. If you think he can change his behavior, you're in luck, but try not to second-guess your initial concern about your future because your apprehension is extremely valid.

Join The Conversation
rkdub rkdub 10 years
I was actually in this same situation, only it was my boyfriend and his mom. She is a compulsive shopper with an alcoholic husband, and it seems like he was always bailing her out of some credit card bill, car payment, or helping bail her husband out of jail. The first Christmas we spent together, we had been dating about 8-9 months and were getting pretty serious, she called to borrow $500 to buy his sister a Christmas present (although she managed to avoid saying that was what it was for) all this while she didn't get my boyfriend ANYTHING for Christmas. And at that, I lost it! We sat down, had a talk about how unfair that is, and how he never gets any of that money back, and how that is only enabling her to make bad decisions. And here three years later, I think he has maybe given her total of $50.... and she had to babysit my dogs just to get that!!!!! Sometimes people really do just enjoy being helpful, and don't understand that their actions can be worse than doing nothing at all.
katie225 katie225 10 years
the way he gives in to his father will give you a hint as to how he'll give in to his kids some day. you'll be on supernanny in no time with such an indulgent guy. i'd get out, find a guy with a backbone.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Hmm, maybe you could look online for a place in your province/state/country that helps with gambling addictions and give the info to your boyfriend. If I were you I would keep my money seperate from him, you don't want him giving money YOU earned to his dad to use for gambling. Also maybe you could tell your boyfriend you are worried his continuos bailing out of his father is going to put your financial future as a couple in severe danger. A mortgage, school loans, living expenses, children, vacations, etc... are enough to worry about paying for without "dad's gambling depts" added to the list. Maybe your boyfriend fears feeling guilty about stopping supporting his fathers habit, but like hrhdiana said, this problem isn't going to go away if your boyfriend perpetuates the issue by funding the next gambling spree. If he chooses his father over you then you have a hard choice to make, so I wish you the best of luck.
MandiMark1 MandiMark1 10 years
Maybe you could try to talk him into a new way of saving money... open a joint account and put a certain amount in it every week, and agree that it is solely for savings or emergencies, NOTHING else. Your hubby can give his spending money to his father if he wants, and you can spend yours on what you'd like... At least you'll have that joint account money for the future. I don't know if this fits your situation, but you might be able to try it.
hrhdiana hrhdiana 10 years
One way to look at it is that your boyfriend might be helping his father perpetuate his lifestyle by bailing him out. He might be driven by a sense of duty, but are the debts really getting paid down? Will they ever? If he's not willing to adjust his financial behaviors, will you be willing to live with that in your life?
Lila-Fowler Lila-Fowler 10 years
If I had to chose between father or girlfriend, I'd choose father. But if I thought again, then I would soon realize that I would be girlfried-less forever if I kept choosing father. It's an either-or situation. Unless he finds a girl who is dirt-poor off the streets and wouldn't mind having a husband who supports another person's debts. In other words, he has to marry someone below him in background.
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 10 years
Wow, that is a tough one. i don't have any good advice other than to talk to him. TINA!
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