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Ask Ellie: New boyfriend’s money worries are a trust issue

Boyfriend wanted a separation of finances
Advice columnist Ellie Tesher.

Dear Ellie: When my cousin, at 26, divorced her same-age husband, she said that he hadn’t grown beyond his high school level of accomplishments in hockey and basketball. When she was asked about the relationship itself, she said, “He was having it with himself, and was convinced that his teenage personality was enough to keep her happy.”

He was wrong. After five years of marriage, her ex hadn’t settled into a decent job, yet passed on some that would’ve greatly helped their needs regarding a decent place to live.

Meanwhile, my cousin had developed confidence in herself and landed a good job. She’s attractive, smart, and popular among her friends. Since becoming single again, several men have asked for a date, but she took her time, finally responding to one.

They seemed like a match made in heaven. He’s been on his own for eight years, though very handsome, well-established, and well-off. My cousin was cautious, but when her boyfriend proposed, she was thrilled.

Then came the pre-nuptial discussion. After weeks of discussion, he walked out in a huff, declaring it was “naïve” of her to think he’d commit to financing everything she desired.

My cousin has paid her own way since her past divorce, because she had to. Now, a wealthy man who claims he loves her, says she should buy her own car (he has two), pay for half of all their travel together, and keep two homes — one fully paid by her, and the other, a grander property he owns but keeps a separate area for her, when they’re there together.

I think my cousin has truly loved this man, until the nit-picking arose about what she calls “sharing instead of caring.”

What do you advise her to do… marry the guy, or run like hell?

Costly Love

Many a relationship falters when sharing finances is examined under the light of day. Sometimes, as in this case, the one who “has it all” worries most about losing it.

It’s a trust issue, which, despite declarations of love, cloud the relationship and realities that can destroy its future.

Your cousin needs a lawyer familiar with marital and divorce matters within her legal jurisdiction. She should also consider how deeply she truly loves this man, since he may never change his controlling attitude to joint finances.

FEEDBACK Regarding the “Boring Husband” (Sept. 13):

Reader – “The wife complains that her husband’s boring and flat. He doesn’t make conversation, just smiles and nods. As a reader, we’re seeing only a peephole of the situation.

“Maybe the man is feeling fearful and intimidated, afraid to say anything. Or maybe she tells him that he’s boring and embarrassing.

“Knowing that he attracts good friends, he apparently isn’t boring to them. They want to get together again.

“I’m glad that marriage counselling was recommended. Perhaps he was more talkative when the couple met. Perhaps he’s very unhappy also.”

Ellie — Many relationships have ups and downs, just as our own personalities waver sometimes. That could be the reason why his wife has one opinion of him, and his friends, another, including him in future get-togethers.

The couple should consider whether her husband is experiencing a bout of depression, or any other health factor.

The wife sees only negativity and defeat. Instead of privately discussing how to improve their relationship, she just criticizes him.

Without mutual discussion and professional therapy, there’s little chance for a respectful, happier marriage.

Dear Ellie: My son’s 47 and getting divorced, again. He’s a good son to me, but when he’s in a relationship, he’s committed to his best buddies more than to a wife.

He’ll drive to the U.S. to see a sports event, but wouldn’t accompany his wife to a business dinner important to her job.

I fear he’ll end up alone, but he won’t discuss this with me.

Worried Mom

There’s little comfort in worrying about an adult son who repeats the behaviour he most prefers. Unless he eventually cares deeply about a partner, he’s unlikely to change.

He’s also not going to be open with you about his lifestyle choices of preferring his buddies’ company or being on his own.

He keeps in contact with you fairly regularly, and informs you of where he’s going and the major decisions he’s making.

That’s the essence of your relationship. It’s best to stay in touch, and wish him well.

Ellie’s tip of the day

A good man may be hard to find. But a great man stands out from the rest.

Send relationship questions to [email protected] or [email protected]