He doesn’t like how my family spends money

We chat at 1 p.m.

I have been in a relationship for four years now, and have been living with him for almost a year. It has been going well so far. I absolutely love him. He is smart, ambitious, witty, and funny. He has supported me through my mental illness. We've had our ups and downs (we had to move twice because of apartment issues), but we managed to get through them as a couple.

We have talked about marriage and agree about having kids, as well. I'm currently working full time and getting a master's, and he works full time and will be going back to school for a second degree.

My biggest issue is with money. He and I both make a decent amount of money, but he's a bit cheap with it. When we talk about a potential wedding, he expects my family to pay, even though for me, culturally, his family would pay. I've told him that it would be best if we pay for most of the wedding and see if both of our families can contribute. He then goes on to criticize how my family spends money (they don't make a lot, but if we all go out to dinner or something, they offer to pay the whole bill). This always upsets me, and we get into fights about it. Is there anyway I can make him understand?

– Spending


This is about your boyfriend accepting the things he can't change. Your family members are in charge of their own money; he can't dictate how they spend it. He also can't change their culture and traditions. He might see the wedding as the bride's family's responsibility, but that's not how your family does it. He needs to respect that.

I suggest seeing a financial planner/counselor – because this kind of conflict is a big deal. Paying for a wedding can be a huge stress, even if you agree on all of the terms. Sharing a life with someone who has opposing thoughts on money is even more complicated. What about caring for your families in the years to come? Are there expectations for how the money is spent when both of you are in school? A counselor will help you map out priorities – and compromises – as a team. That person can also give you some perspective about how other couples handle wedding expenses. Context is good.

Go get some help because you need it. Married people will tell you that this money stuff only gets more tense in the future.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you talk about money/family with your partner?