~Friday, February 01, 2013

For Love or Money

Every year Abraham goes on a ski trip. As soon as he got back from the last one, he informed me that I would be going on the next one.

"The trip this year is going to be in February," Abraham emailed me and attached a long string of planning correspondence.

"Yeah. Sure. No problem."

I didn't really think anything of it other than my fear of powdered snow. I learned to ski in the South, which consisted of my middle school teacher attaching me to skis and then pushing me down a hill covered by a fake grass mat and a garden hose. I've been skiing a few times in North Carolina, but even that was fake snow. I've never been in powdered snow.

When Abraham added me to the planning emails, I started understanding the cost of things: the plane ride, the rental SUVs, the ski chalet. It would cost $800 just to get out there, not including food and rental equipment and lift tickets or any activity we actually want to do in the Rocky mountains. This was a $1,200 vacation, and we weren't even going to Europe.

I looked at my bank balance. I could afford it. I could write a check for it. But then I wouldn't be able to afford the bedroom furniture I had been saving for when Abraham and I move in together. And when I move in with him and his roommate, it's going to be cramped enough as it is without factoring missing furniture where I was planning to store my clothes. It would be another two or three months after I move in before I could order the master dresser.

While Abraham was sitting on the couch and looking at cabin rentals (minimum requirements: 5 bedrooms, ski in/ski out on the mountain, private hot tub), another email arrived:

"Sorry, guys. Looks like flights went up again since we last checked."

I gritted my teeth. This was getting expensive.

"What's wrong?" Abraham asked.

"I don't go on vacations like this. My vacations are weekends away at friends' vacation houses. Or a $250 cruise. I'm not used to spending this much money."

I dropped my head. "This was my furniture money."

Abraham knew how much I wanted the new furniture. It matches my current bedroom suite and is seemingly only available on the Internet because it's a few years old. The only reason I didn't buy it earlier is because it wouldn't fit in my apartment's tiny bedroom.

"I want you to have a good time and not worry about the money," he said. "I don't want you to not participate in things because it's too expensive. I invited you on this trip; I'll pay for lodging and whatever activities you want to do while we're there."

It was a lovely gesture, but I was embarrassed nonetheless. He's paid for hotels when we've gone to his friends' weddings, and he paid for my airfare when we went to meet his family, but this is different. This is a vacation.

I've always supported myself. My parents never paid a single bill of mine. If I couldn't afford something, I wouldn't go. I'd complain to my mom that I was missing out on things with my friends, and years later I found out that my friend's parents still support most of them. They couldn't afford it either, but did it anyway.

I value my independence. I'm proud of my independence. So it makes me uncomfortable to accept Abraham's money. He jokes that it will soon all be mine anyway. Which does raise a valid point: soon there will be no his and mine, but ours.

In the meantime Abraham pays for certain things and won't accept money from me. I'll write him a check and he won't cash it, so I've resorted to dropping the money in his PayPal account without telling him. I don't want him ever to feel like he's carrying me or that I'm a burden.


Lpeg said...

This is a hard one. And honestly, I'm on Abraham's side of it. I've been wanting to go back to Europe since I was last there, and I decided that I was going to go when I turned 30. That's this year, in May. When I brought up this idea last year, I was planning on going alone, when the Boy said "I can't let you go alone AND celebrate your birthday alone!" and so it was decided that he was going to come along.

Now it's looking like he won't have the money, nor will he go into debt to go on this trip with me. I have just busted my ass to pay off almost half of my credit card debt, as well as save enough for my portion, am pretty much there for my funds.

Now, if I had the money laying around for both of us, I would have absolutely NO problem paying for him. None at all - because I would LOVE for him to come with me, and it would be worth it for me.

But whereas I don't have the money, and I would have to go into debt for a trip that he won't go into debt for... then why should I? Yes, it means going alone, and like hell i'm going to wait and see if next year he'll have the money to go (point is - it doesn't seem like he cares that much).

Anyways. While throwing my problem at you :).... my thought is this - yes, I totally know how you feel, I would feel bad if my bf paid for me, too. BUT - on other side of that, I would absolutely have no problem paying for my partner to go with me (if I had the money), because that would mean more to me to spend that time with them than the money would.

Just my two cents. I still don't know what to do about my trip :-/

Bathwater said...

If Abraham can afford it and he wants you to go I say let him pay (I'm the type who would pay for you also).

Remember the furniture will be something he will be enjoying too pretty soon. It all works out. Joining money together will be a big step. It took years before my ex-wife and my money was transparent. Then she divorced me because she didn't want her inheritance becoming joint property. You live...and learn.

Krissie said...

I absolutely say, let him pay! If the tables were turned and you offered cause you were able to help him pay for the trip... would you feel like it was a burden? Of course not! You'd be happy to bless him, and the same is true for him. I promise you, he doesn't not feel burdened. I understand where you are coming from with where you've been, and feeling burdened by people... but you aren't like them, it's not like you are depending on Abraham to bail you out all the time. And he has a great point that it's all going to be shared money at some point anyway.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with the same issue. I don't like guys paying for me only because I feel like it's inadvertently been thrown in my face in the past (sometimes I feel like my current boyfriend does it, too, not realizing. I don't have great advice. Most of me wants to say to take him up on his offer and have a good time, though. Good luck!

Readyandfading said...

Ski trips are SUPER expensive. I used to go for a long weekend every year with some college friends and they were a cool $1,500 at least for 4 days of skiing. Steep as in price, not just the slopes. I think you all are at the point where he can treat you if he wants you to join him. In the beginning I would say no to this, but he will have a better time with you there, so I bet this little gift is absolutely his pleasure. You being there with him is priceless! Also, nights on the slopes in a hot tub when it is cold outside can be VERY romantic. Enjoy!

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I'm miss independent and all that jazz, however, I don't feel the need to hold my own money wise when it comes to dating. Especially if HE invited ME on this vacation.

Besides, dude is a bean counter, he probably has the budget down exact.

I would focus on spending money on the both of you while there. Perhaps a nice restaurant away from the family or something like that?

Englandia... said...

After 4 months of dating my Englishman we decided to go to Calfornia on Vacay. I had planned this trip for a while just hadn't booked and of course, my plan was, like yours, to stay with a friend in san francisco and then get down to LA and stay with a friend there. That's not Englishman's way of travel.

Of course I loved hotels, but 3 months of dating and like you , fiercely independent...so he turned to me and said "I know you are really independent, so how about this: We use my Starwood points for all the hotels and we use my hertz points for the rental car and darling, I simply cannot sit in the back of the plane, so how about I pay the difference so you can sit up front with me."

I could live with that arrangement at the time. I mean, starwood points wasn't really HIS MONEY, at least not in my definition. And he had lots of points and we stayed in amazing hotels. :)

I had ways then and now to show my appreciation, whether I plan ahead of time and take him away for two nights in a lovely hotel in New York or what not. :) It's never easy when two people grow together who have different income levels:)

Anonymous said...

I would certainly pay for Charlie if I had it. I ran the numbers for Paris on a shoe string and to do the trip that I wanted to do it was still almost $6,000 and this wasn't by any means extravagant. This was staying in a cheap hotel, train/plain tickets, museum passes and meals. Still.....I hope someday we can do it! So, if he can afford it GO. You can replace the money but never the memories!

Anonymous said...

I think you should let him pay for it (but I wasn't sure on my thinking) and then I read all the comments, and it seems I'm in the majority. I think its wonderful that you are independent, I also think its wonderful that you weren't complaining to the group, you just mentioned it to Abraham. I also think its wonderful that you are planning ahead for furniture in your future home. This is an experience for the two of you, and you will both be using the furniture, so I say go enjoy the vacation!

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any problem with letting him cover your lodging and activities. Relationships are about compromise in every way. It's important to him that you're there, and he's willing to pay a little more to make it happen. If you EXPECTED him to pay, that would be a different story.

There are going to be plenty of times one of you contributes more in one way or another, whether monetary or not. You aren't giving up independence, you're just learning to share!

Running Around the Kitchen said...

The furniture is going to end up being both of yours anyway, so you can think of him paying for your trip as putting money towards the furniture. He wants to pay because he wants you there! It's not a burden on him. Do some fun things like pack snacks for the flight, get a bottle of his favorite booze, and bring a couple candles and massage oil and give him a relaxing back massage or foot rub during the trip to show your appreciation. Something like that. If you feel really guilty offer to do dish duty for a month.

In the long run the $$ won't matter. The fun you have on the trip will be your only memories :)

Anonymous said...

You could always think of it as a loan. Keep track yourself and slowly repay him over time without him knowing. Buy dinner or spend extra on him for his birthday. Alternatively let him pay and buy the furniture with the excuse that it's for both of you. You are investing in your together future.

The Mad Inscriber said...

I think lolaandsimone has the right of it: you're learning to share now. Independence is necessary for maturity; interdependence is vital for a healthy relationship.

C said...

Let him pay for you. He wants you there and that means more to him than you being independently stubborn. It will make him more happy this way and you too!


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