Dear Barb – Beyond First Blush

Dear Barb:

I recently moved in with my boyfriend, after dating for almost a year. Before we moved in we got along great, rarely argued. Now, though, we argue all the time?mostly about money. Jay has his own house and has been managing his bills on his own. I assumed he would continue to pay for most things after I moved in. However I was willing help with some bills, but Jay thinks I should pay half of the expenses. This is tearing us apart. I can’t afford to pay half the bills since I am only working part time and he is working full time. I don’t know how to settle this, in fact I really feel like moving out. Our arguments get pretty heated and we both say hurtful things. I don’t know how to resolve this, or if it can be resolved. Do you have any suggestions to save this relationship, or should we just end it and move on? Thanks Tracey.

Hi Tracey:

I don’t think you should give up so easily. Relationships require a lot of work and compromise and this is the first of many hurdles you will have to cross in order to build a healthy functioning relationship. Obviously you didn’t discuss the financial aspect of your relationship prior to moving in, which would have made things a lot easier. I believe the rule of thumb is that you should pay the expenses according to your income. For example, if you make half as much money as your boyfriend, then you should pay one quarter of the expenses and he should pay three quarters. However this is something you both have to work out and agree to. There are many agencies that offer debt-counseling services, perhaps you could meet with a counselor to help sort this out. In the meantime, try not to argue about this, as the mean, hurtful things you say to each other cannot be taken back once they are said. Stick with it, you can work this out. Thanks Tracey for your great question.

Dear Barb:

I recently began dating someone and I really like her, she is smart, pretty, and a lot of fun when we are with a group of people. The problem is that when we are alone she talks nonstop and she is so boring that I find myself zoning out. She talks about her girlfriends and what this one said and what that one said. To be honest I am not interested in any of that stuff. I try to act interested, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to do. She is starting to get frustrated with me and accuses me of not listening. And she’s right. How can I get her to stop this gossipy talk without hurting her feelings ? Jesse.

Hey Jesse:

You will have to be specific. For example when she begins gossiping about her friends, tell her you are not interested in hearing about her friends and that you would rather talk about the two of you. This may be a habit with her, so you may have to gently remind her each time she slips back. Direct the conversation away from her friends and on to the two of you and the plans you are making. You mention that you have a lot of fun together, so spend more time on that aspect of your relationship. Thanks for your excellent question!

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.