Talk It Out: Run and Don’t Look Back

Welcome to Talk It Out. It finally arrived!

One of my readers wrote me a while ago, as soon as I introduced the Talk It Out column. I followed up with her to see if the situation she found herself in remained unchanged. Unfortunately for my reader nothing has changed. Fortunately for me, I can feature her in my first Talk It Out.

She chose to remain anonymous, so I had to change her name. I did put some of my remarks in italics. I just couldn’t help but say something before I even got a chance to discuss it!

Background: Lisa has been living with a guy, I’ll call him Bob, for the last 3 years. He is in his early thirties. She is in her late twenties. Lisa thinks that Bob is “a good man, caring, loving, fun.” But Bob is really bad with money. In spite of this flaw, Lisa was considering to marry him until… well… until this tax season.

How Bob manages money: he doesn’t own a credit card because in the past, according to Bob, he had a really bad experience with a student loan that screwed up his credit score. Bob has no savings and lives paycheck to paycheck but somehow always finds money to buy video games.

He refuses to come up with a budget. He doesn’t allow Lisa to pull his credit report and “barks” at her if she brings it up. He has an outstanding dentist bill that he doesn’t pay because, according to Bob, his dentist screwed it up (Really Bob? Your life seems so “unfair.” It is never your fault, isn‘t it?) Finally, he owes $2,000 in back taxes.

Lisa and Bob keep their money in separate accounts (Thank God! I am a joint account proponent but in this situation who would think differently? Anyone?)

Situation: Lisa has done her taxes and found out that she is getting $2,000 back. Then she proceeded to do Bob’s taxes, and it appeared that Bob owes $500 (ouch). She researched what could have possibly caused it, and found out that Bob never changed his federal and state exemptions from 3 to 0. She asked him to do it last year when he also ended up owing taxes. He never did!

Bob doesn’t have money to pay the taxes he owes.

Lisa got sick and tired (finally!) of Bob’s unwillingness to change his attitude towards finances, and told Bob that if he doesn’t change by the end of this year, she will leave him. Meanwhile she is wondering if she was too tough on him, and if she should pay his outstanding back taxes from her tax refund and savings.

Aloysa’s Talking It Out: Let me make it clear:

– the guy refuses to make a budget,

– he doesn’t let you to pull his credit report,

– he has no savings,

– he doesn’t pay bills because he thinks he doesn’t need to,

AND (as I see it,)

– he refuses to change


you are going to stay with him till the end of the year?

What is wrong with you, Lisa? Love can be blind but to what extend?

Don’t pay his bills, please don’t. His bills are his responsibilities (and he doesn’t like to take upon any of them.) By paying his bills you are not helping him to achieve anything or start from a clean page. You are helping him to pay for more video games!

You have been living together for three years, and he has not change anything for you. What makes you believe that he will change within the next ten months? He is in early thirties (seriously, he is not 12 and clueless) and, let me tell you, people usually know pretty well what they want by this age.

I don’t think Bob loves and respects you, Lisa. I am really sorry to say that but he doesn’t plan your future together. It sounds awful, I know. I believe that when you love your partner, you will sit down and find a comprise that works for both of you.

By the way, if you know his social security number, and you should know it if from doing his taxes, pull his free credit report and, I can bet, you will see there things that you have not imagined.

But enough of my opinions already. AKS readers always have a lot of  insightful opinions, magnificent advice and a lot of support to offer.

Let’s talk it out with my readers!

43 thoughts on “Talk It Out: Run and Don’t Look Back

  1. Moneycone

    We’ve heard one side of the story, but don’t know and probably never know the other side! Some guys are just lazy when it comes to finances and not paying bills could be just that! (Ok, the dentist part is baffling!)

    If that is the case, the first step would be, as you mention, to see how bad his financial past is. Look up his credit report, see what is messed up, what can be corrected. That’ll give a base to start from.

    Next, Bob has to be willing for a change. If he’s not in it, a financial intervention wouldn’t work. If he is, and willing to trust Lisa, Lisa could take over Bob’s finances and help him get back in track.

    If Bob isn’t willing and not going to change his ways, unfortunately for Lisa, she’s going to get hurt in the long run no matter how sweet (I’m assuming!) Bob may be in other ways.

    (I love that image, Aloysa!)

    1. Aloysa Post author

      I do agree that to know the other side would be nice. But I don’t accept laziness as a response to the question “Why didn’t you pay the bill?” How difficult can it be? Set up an automatic payment! I think this couple had quite a bit of financial interventions. I really think it is time to move on for Lisa.

      I am glad you liked the image. I was wondering if it is too cheesy. 🙂

  2. IPA

    Run, don’t walk from this guy. It sounds like Lisa has done all she can without Bob even trying to make a change. Don’t pay his bills those are his responsibility and he needs to learn how life works which includes bills. When I was in my early twenties (now in mid-thirties) I was careless with money but I changed prior to meeting my wife. I believe if I was still careless with money and credit I would not have married my wife.

    1. Aloysa Post author


      We all were careless to some extend with our financials during some period in our lives. But some of us realized it, some – never did.

  3. Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    Aloysa, I am also wondering why she plans to stay with this guy for another 10 months! She needs to leave him and allow him to fix things on his own, and then come back to her to show his progress. She doesn’t need to give herself another 10 months to make excuses for him and to fall even further in love and make it virtually impossible to break up with him!

    Please don’t pay his bills – not even his taxes! If he needs $500, then let him sell his video games!

    1. Aloysa Post author

      Khaleef, I really like your plan. Leave, let him work it out, and let him come back to prove that he has changed. Ten months is a waste of time.

  4. Robert @ The College Investor

    I can’t believe that she stays with this guy! I really think that she needs to have a serious sit-down conversation with him about how they can manage their finances together going forward. She needs to make it clear that this can make/break their relationship, and Bob needs to get it together. If he doesn’t want to do it, or can’t bring himself to for whatever reason, she needs to scram.

    She might also want to realize that he has never had to take this responsibility before in his life (for whatever reason), and he will most likely stumble. But he NEEDS to make an effort and start changing the little things he can control up front. His behavior and spending changes take a little more time.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      Love can make you do a lot of things… such as giving a chance after chance after chance. When we are in love, we hope that the person whom we love will change. When this change doesn’t happen, we still hope and hope until one day we get tired. Sadly, I don’t think Lisa is tired enough.

  5. retirebyforty

    Yeah, pull his credit report and see what else is buried there. Love is blind, but sometime you just have to save yourself from a lot of future griefs. There are plenty of fishes in the sea right? 😉
    What ever you do, don’t pay his bills.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      I am glad you agreed with me that she needs to pull his credit report. 🙂 It might be some sort of revelation!

  6. Denise @ The Single Saver

    I won’t comment on Bob’s situation as we don’t know his side of the story. But, I will say Lisa should not pay his taxes for the mere fact that he has not made a commitment to her (marriage) in three years. Therefore, he is on her own, just as she would be on her own if she encountered a large debt. If she bails him out this time out of kindness, he will come to expect it in the future.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      I know, three years together and no commitment? What is he waiting for? Maybe he is waiting for her to pay his bills…?

  7. Melissa

    The biggest cause of divorce is money. This is not a match that would probably withstand the pressure of marriage.

    My mom was good with money and my dad was horrible. He knew this and handed his paycheck to my mom every week and she paid all the bills. My dad got an allowance. While this is not ideal, he did not resist my mom’s attempts to keep their finances in order, but they still had fights about money, mainly because they did not make enough.

    If Bob is this resistant, I would walk away. Better than investing more time in a relationship that doesn’t seem to be a good fit.

    1. Aloysa Post author


      I think all marriages at some point have disagreements about finances. It is normal. What is not normal is not willing to sit down and discuss these problems.

  8. Little House

    It’s one thing that Bob is irresponsible with his finances. But it’s a whole other thing if he’s not willing to even face them. He seems to be ignoring them hoping they’ll magically disappear. I wonder what other things he would do this with? The fact that he isn’t willing to share his credit report with you is a big red flag.

    My husband was awful with his finances when we met. But he was upfront with me and we worked on correcting both of our problems together. He now lets me handle all of the finances and budgeting and because I’m a bit of a control freak, it works.

    It would be different is Bob was open to accepting your help, but because he’s not, I think I agree with the other comments – run away now!

    1. Aloysa Post author

      Honestly I am not sure that Lisa is ready to leave him yet. She does love him, and when you do love someone it is difficult to make such a drastic desicion.

  9. krantcents

    People do not change! She may love him, but that gets old if you are arguing about money all the time. He is acting immature with money and his financial decisions. I don’t think she would want to be thee only adult in this relationship.

  10. Beating Broke

    Ok. First, we don’t know Bob’s side of this. And we only have what Lisa is telling us. Parts of it are irrefutable, of course. But, if I were Bob, and Lisa was being very angry and confrontational about all of this from the very beginning, I’d be hesitant to discuss it with her. Did that happen? We’ll never know.

    That being said, it’s still a bad situation. If Bob refuses to pay a bill because he thinks somebody messed up the work, he’s just as likely to do the same thing down the road. And if they get married, they get tied to together. What if he decides that they aren’t going to pay the car payment on a car they bought together because it was a lemon? And if it’s a lemon and they can’t drive it, they aren’t paying that pesky insurance bill either… There are plenty of reasons that I could find for not paying a bill.

    It’s probably best for both if they just go their own ways. If Lisa is being accusatory about it all, that’s likely to continue. If Bob is being as bad as Lisa is telling us, that’s likely to continue. I just don’t see a very happy ending in either case…

    1. Aloysa Post author

      You said it all, BB. I think when the situation is that bad (of course, that what Lisa says), it is already the begining of the end. In fact, I think the end is really close now. I also can come up with thousands of reasons to not pay bills. But somehow I always pay them. 🙂

  11. Mark

    That is incredibly immature of him. She has to realize that if they do get married she will be liable for his debts as well. I agree with the run not walk comment.

  12. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    I think if they can’t get on the same page with money, then the relationship has to end. It will never last with this kind of conflict going on constantly. Lisa needs to remember that relationships are about common ground and common goals and if they can’t work together with this, then they won’t be able to work together on other important matters that come their way.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      It seems to be a huge conflict, and on-going for what seems years not just a recent event.

  13. Eric

    I am on the same bandwagon as most people here. Past performance is the best indication of future performance. (I learned that working in the banking industry)

    If he has made it clear that he has no plans to change his money habit, he is not going to change. There is no misconception here. He is happy living paycheck to paycheck and having bad credit. If Lisa is not, they are destined to a doomed relationship.

    70% of relationships report arguments because of money problems. 5% of all divorces are because of money disagreements. Don’t become a statistic. Have a serious discussion with him and, if he refuses to discuss or make a serious effort to change his habits, it is over.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      Great advice! I think Bob is really clear about his intentions. He is living in his comfort zone and is not going to leave. Unless he changes drastically and FAST, I don’t see any future in this relationship.

  14. Mr. Broke Professional

    Any divorce attorney will tell you that finance issues are the number one marriage killer. These things tend to get worse, not better with time. I believe people can change but only if they want to. My wife always wanted me to quit smoking and I wanted to do it for her, but it wasn’t until I really wanted to quit myself that I finally quit over three years ago. It comes down to priorities and it comes down to confidence. If Lisa wants to be married to someone who has his finances in order then she will have to have the confidence to leave, if it is that important to her. Better now then later on, when you would have to get a divorce.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      You nailed it – if you want a change for yourself, you will change. If you are comfortable with the way you are, you will stay the same comfortable yourself, right? 🙂

  15. Eliza from Happy Simple Living

    Money, the bills, the taxes — these are just the physical manifestations of the root problem, which is the inability to communicate and team up together to come up with a mutually agreeable plan. Lisa is exhibiting classic enabler characteristics by thinking she should bail him out of his taxes when he has money for video games, etc.

    Ah, it’s so simple sometimes to see other’s problems clearly, but things can be so murky when you’re in the middle of a difficult relationship. Trust your good financial instincts, and we’re pulling for you, Lisa!

    1. Aloysa Post author

      I agree that it is so much more difficult to handle a situation when you are in the middle of it. That’s why we need to “talk it out” with our friends… or bloggers. 🙂

  16. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    Please let me speak from experience. I have not my high school sweetheart and boyfriend of 15 years because of his irresponsibility with money. I saw this with 100% hindsight. RUN. RUN NOW. DO NOT LOOK BACK. Short-term is hard but in the long term it is best. If he’s not responsible now, he will be worse if you have kids and you will take care of Bob FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Please, I don’t want to see another woman ruined. For the love of God, RUN.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      Bob is a child… definittely not a mature man.

      Sorry, Lisa… I had to say it.

  17. Anonymous

    Holy Cannoli — I know we haven’t seen Bob’s half of the story — but you know what — I have 2 sons. One has a business that pays his bills (having worked extremely hard, and done it) ~ and the other lives at home and can’t make ends meet even tho his income is adequate. It’s a constant source of frustration for us.
    The one at home has just decided living in the present no matter what the consequences is better than planning, budgeting and working towards a realistic goal and he is jealous of his brother, but WILL NOT put in the same time, or effort – and has every excuse in the book. We have “loaned” him money for his emergencies, but honestly he doesn’t even attempt to pay it back. He thinks, wrongly, we owe it to him.

    Bob, dear Lisa – is like my son (based on your info). He doesn’t care, he loses no sleep, he isn’t interested in anything but doing what he wants, when he wants and that lack of responsibility will not make you a happy couple ~~ it’s already a source of issues. Do not pay his taxes – RUN away from this relationship, you really can be happy elsewhere.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      Interesting scenario! I would love you to consider submitting your story to Talk It Out column.

      How old is your son? And why do you let him live at home (with you, right?) If he has a job and a steady income, he needs to be on his own to learn that life is not just about his present moment but also it is about his future.

  18. First Gen American

    Although these two are obviously financially incompatible, the bigger issue I have with this story is that he’s hiding things from her. If after 3 years you’re not willing to pull the skeletons out of the closet and come clean, then I’m afraid this guy will be hiding stuff and lying for the rest of his life. In addition to the money stress the trust issue is also a giant red flag.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      The trust issue is definitely a huge one. No matter how caring or loving or fun a person is, trust is the most important factor in any relationship.

  19. Invest It Wisely

    I would not be so hard on the guy to say that he doesn’t love and respect her, but definitely, definitely, do NOT pay his tax bill! She needs to toughen up on him a bit and bailing him out is definitely the wrong way to go.

    1. Aloysa Post author

      To toughen up on him a bit? No, she needs to run. Toughen up time is over. 🙂

Comments are closed.