‘Am I crazy?’ I paid my fiancee’s rent for 9 years and spent $10,000 on improving her house. She is also listed on my health insurance. What should I do?

I have a situation that is causing a lot of problems in my relationship. We’ve been dating for 17 years, lived together for almost 9 years, and have been engaged for 6 years.

When I moved into her house, we agreed that I would pay $600 a month in rent. Over the years, I’ve increased the amount I pay in rent and other expenses, such as $300 cable and internet bills. I also contributed to several home improvements, spending a total of about $10,000.

Also, when we go out to eat, maybe 60% of the time, I usually pay.

I am currently paying $1,100 a month in rent. She is retired and listed as a domestic partner on my health insurance. I’m also paying her $200 in health insurance premiums.

However, her previous employer reimbursed her for the cost of health insurance and she kept the money. She said she “subsidized” my rent nine years ago to help me financially, and this was a “payback” because I was debt-free.

‘Her former employer reimbursed her for the cost of her health insurance and she kept the money.’

Wait, what? I paid her exactly what she asked for back then without question, and there was no discussion of the agreed rent being below market rate or being “subsidized” by her. .

This caused a rift in our relationship, as we view money very differently. I’m pretty generous with it.

The most important thing is that we both have faith, and she refuses to tell me any details about her. If she dies tomorrow, I will be in the dark. She knows all of my specifics, including her inclusion in it.

Am I crazy to feel this way about rent, health insurance, and trusts?

Appreciate your guide

Dear Appreciator,

You are not crazy. You are stuck in a rut.

We could talk all day about who is being unfair to whom. But whether or not either of you believes the original rent is below market value, you both agree. It sounds like you believe it’s a fair price. No blindfolds or lottery tickets involved. You came to an arrangement that worked for both of you at the time, and both of you walked into that arrangement with wide eyes. And over the years, you and your fiancé have benefited from living together: You have a place to live and she has extra income.

I believe the problem is bigger than that $200 health insurance premium. It seems that resentment has built up over time, perhaps because of the money you spent on renovations or health insurance premiums, or perhaps because of an underlying imbalance of financial power. I suspect it’s a bit of both, perhaps with more dissatisfaction due to the following: She’s the landlord, and you’re the de facto tenant.

There are no victims here, only volunteers. You have volunteered to live in her home for the past nine years and pay for improvements up to $10,000. I agree that is a lot of money at first sight. But keep in mind that maintaining a home is expensive — property taxes, mortgage interest, gas and electricity, etc. Plus, that $10,000 equates to about $93 per month over the years you’ve lived there. there. Excitement to wear, goodwill and miscellaneous contributions.

Another inequality concerns your respective beliefs. Your partner is not transparent about the amount in her trust and whether you are a beneficiary or not. Again, this is part of a larger problem: A strange lack of financial confidence. It’s curious that you’ve eliminated your financial responsibilities, but your arrangement has too many deep-seated problems for both of you. This could be one reason your engagement lasts up to six years.

‘If you feel your options are limited, you may be more willing to agree to things that make you unhappy.’

With the important caveat that I’ve only just heard your side of the story, there’s a certain callousness, or at best, insensitivity, to your fiancé’s comment that she supported you. your first year’s rent. While it is your responsibility to be aware of rental market rates, this is another important issue that has not been addressed (until now). Resentment is like dry rot in the structure of a house. They grow deeper over time, weakening the fundamentals of the relationship.

I have a few questions for you: Do you want to stay at her house after you get married? Do you have a house of your own? Do you have enough savings to be able to buy your own home? Assuming that living with your fiancée is a Plan A, what is your Plan B if you break up? Is this a happy relationship? Why I ask: If you feel your options are limited, you may be more willing to agree to things that make you unhappy.

By getting a check at a restaurant, you may feel like you’re restoring some kind of financial justice to the relationship, but that’s only fleeting. You’re the one in charge that night by paying for your fiancé’s meal. But (a) it’s part of a long-term, sexist social contract that’s changing over time, and (b) it doesn’t change the fact that you’re living in your partner’s house — and If the relationship ends, so will your life arrangements.

Finally, it’s important not to keep your $10,000 in renovations or your $200-a-month health insurance payment as leverage in the overall balance of power in the relationship. While those gestures show a lot of goodwill, they also come with a “gift tax.” The more you pay and the longer you live under that roof, the more you feel entitled to live indefinitely in your fiancée’s home. But the harsh truth is that there is only one person’s name on the deed.

And that’s the one who ended up doing the scenes.

Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions regarding the coronavirus at [email protected].

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The Moneyist regrets that he was unable to answer each question.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

‘We could practically finish each other’s sentences’: I’m getting married in 2023. I want to get married first. She wants to consolidate our finances. What is my next step?

‘I want to meet someone rich. Is that too wrong?’ I’m 46 years old, earn $210,000 and own a $700,000 house. I’m tired of dating ‘losers’.

‘I want to grow’: I am 29 years old, work part-time and have left an abusive relationship of 15 years. How do I get my finances back?


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