“Something broke inside of him”: My boyfriend dumped me two years ago. He said I was using it to fix my house.

By Quentin Futrell

Last weekend, he hung some curtains for my daughter. Then I asked him to take a look at my pool, where it was leaking’

Dear Quentin,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for over two years and he recently dumped me, which surprised me, blinded me and left me confused. We spent every weekend together; He would call me at 8:30 PM every night and I would always wake up with a good morning message.

When I met him, I was in the middle of an extensive home renovation. He is a contractor. Weekends consisted of doing projects around my house together. Felt like Chip and Joanna Gaines, exercising, enjoying home cooked meals and watching Netflix (NFLX).

Last weekend, he hung some curtains for my daughter. Then I asked him to look at my pond, as it was leaking. We worked in the pool for a few hours, and when we finished, he was grumpy and tired of doing things around my house. He said it’s not his home, even though he stays there 12 to 15 times a month.

He takes me out to dinner on rare occasions, but I prefer cooking and it doesn’t contribute to my grocery bill, which is fine. Something inside of him broke. He told me he loved me, but he said it didn’t work for him. He’s tired of driving after 45 minutes of work on Fridays to see me.

I told him that once he closed his condo, I was going to drive to see him. He lives with his daughter and she was not very friendly with me. He replied that he did not want to take me away from my paradise. I told him I would never ask him to do anything else around my house, to leave his tools at home.

Although it was an amicable breakup, I was still in shock. I didn’t contact him because he told me I had to let him go. Any idea from your side will be much appreciated.

The former hesitant

Dear hesitant,

Nobody wants to feel obligated to take their work home, especially at a time when work-life balance has become an important goal.

I recently met a friend of a friend who has great teeth. Indeed, perfect teeth – a glamorous Hollywood smile. I said, “You got there two floors up for Bobby Dazzlers.” He replied, “The ex-divorce was a dentist.” Two things about this statement struck me: he likely received a large amount of veneers worth tens of thousands of dollars for almost nothing, and the person who installed it is now his ex-wife.

It must be tough being a dentist, heart surgeon, or contractor at a dinner party. Sooner or later, someone will say, “I have a problem. What do you think I should do to solve it?” Then they open their mouth wide to the dentist, reveal a lot of information about their medical history to the doctor, or draw an outline of their home on a contractor’s tissue.

It’s good to be the one who solves the puzzle and sees the results. That’s why Wordle is so popular. But there is a line – not necessarily visible to the naked eye – where service becomes expectation, then duty, and finally resentment. It has come to represent all the individual jobs you need to do. He is a contractor after all. But the relationship became transactional, at least for him.

There was an economic imbalance in your relationship. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it doesn’t seem to be something you’ve approached in an open-ended way. He traveled 45 minutes to spend time in your house because his residence was not suitable or welcoming due to his daughter’s cold attitude towards you. He was wrong, too: he seldom treats you to dinner out, and you pay for groceries.

A transactional relationship and economic imbalance can lead to the equivalent of dry rot in your organizations. If problems are not dealt with head-on, they only get worse over time and make your life together less secure, until all of a sudden it all falls apart. Two years is a long time to receive such a surprise then, but people get divorce papers after 20 years for similar reasons.

This study by researchers at the University of Denver found that 54% of couples cited financial reasons as the reason for separation, the fifth most common reason after lack of commitment, infidelity, lots of disagreements and controversy, and getting married at a very young age. What studies often leave behind are couples who never argue, but never solve their problems. It’s just deadly.

So what now? Keep your chores separate from the relationship until or unless you two move in together. Chip and Joanna Gaines are equal partners, after all. These renovations only really benefit you. Watch out for future inequalities related to time and money, whether driving long distances or who buys what. And if your next friend is a dentist, don’t tell him you’ve always wanted veneers.

Check out Moneyist’s private Facebook group, where we search for answers to life’s most complex financial problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or put your trust in Moneyist’s latest column.

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Read also:

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Find out how to change your financial routine at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on September 21-22 in New York. Join Carrie Schwab, President of the Charles Schwab Foundation.

– Quentin Futrell

 

(end) Dow Jones Newswires

08-04-22 1450ET

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