#RelationshipGoals: You Should Never Give A Man Money?
I am fully aware that after you read this, you’re all going to call me 50 shades of stupid. And that’s OK. That’s what this column is for–learning lessons. So flex your trigger fingers, because this one is going to get under your skin.
You should never give a man money. I’m not sure if my mom taught me that, or I just heard it in a movie once and it stuck. But there are a lot of hangups around money in relationships. Borrowing money is a strange concept early on in the relationship. You’re building trust and security in your partner’s ability to depend on you. So if they ask and you have it, in a archetypal world, you’d give it. But it’s complicated and circumstantial. And what about the gender roles of it all? Most of us are fine when a man is giving a woman money (if she asks), but vice versa? Well, that’s just against the rules!
Do you or don’t you? Your relationship depends on your choice.
I knew my silence was killing him and I finally broke it, “I’ll call you back later.”
I froze. The funny thing was, I was so sure what to do in that moment, but I was against doing it. I knew immediately that I shouldn’t give Eric the money…and here comes the “but.” But, I knew that we were reigniting something we once had and rebuilding everything, especially trust.
I battled back and forth in my head. I wanted to be someone Eric could count on, but I also didn’t want to have loaning him money hanging over my head in case he didn’t pay me back. Or possibly feel some type of way as I watch him spend the money he owes me. But then again, I am building trust with this man, why wouldn’t he pay me back when he said he would? Why would he sabotage us being back together again, which is something he wanted more than me.
I called in reinforcements–my girls. I felt foolish because I decided to wait a few months in before I told them about me getting back together with my first love from my freshman year of college. I wanted to make sure we weren’t just casually walking down memory lane, but instead on a mission, or quest, for our love. Ha! I’m rolling my own eyes at myself for that one.
I was back home for the holidays (with a broken foot) and decided to meet a few of my girls (from high school and college) for brunch. I needed to talk this through, even though I knew what I should have been doing.
“So let me get this straight,” my friend Veronica said, cutting to the chase when we were only one mimosa in. “You just reconnected with ol’ boy and already he’s comfortable enough to ask you for money?”
I took a sip, “I mean, that does sound like the facts. But it’s more than that. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance that he was robbed.” I was defending Eric’s “honor.”
“Yeah, how convenient is that robbery though? They didn’t steal his TV, computer or any of his shoes or whatever. They specifically stole his 11-year-old daughter’s Christmas gifts?” My friend Delilah spoke up. She typically plays devil’s advocate, but she wasn’t having it this time.
“He said most of what was stolen was hers,” I took another sip and looked around for the waiter to top me off. “It was all neatly packed and piled into a corner because he’d just gone shopping. So maybe it was easier to rob what was already bagged up?” Here I was taking on Delilah’s typical role because I didn’t want this situation to end up being what I felt way in the back of my gut: Eric was playing me.
I still hadn’t given Eric an answer about letting him borrow the money. It was inching closer to Christmas and now I would be home longer than expected and would actually get to see him.
A couple days later, I called Eric. “Hey stranger,” he said.
“Hey Eric,” I took a breath.
“Where you been Dee?”
“Thinking, breaking my foot, hobbling to doctor’s appointments and on planes,” I laughed.
“Do you know how I felt? Like a clown. Low.” Eric sighed.
“I know. I was thinking all of that over and I didn’t want to talk to you until I had an answer.”
“You could have just told me that,” Eric said.
I could have. Instead I told him, “I know it took a lot for you to even ask me for the money. I don’t have money to be handing out all crazy, so I will need it back. But since I cancelled my rental car, I’ll give you what I was going to spend on that. I hope it helps. And I’m glad I can help.” I was still uneasy with my choice. I could hear Veronica and Delilah now, “Girl, you did what? You should have given that to your mom as a Christmas gift, especially because you’re laid up in her house with a broken foot!”
“Thank you baby. This really does mean a lot to me,” Eric sounded genuinely grateful.
“You’re welcome,” I swallowed hard. “This really makes me uncomfortable, so I don’t want any issues with getting it back. And I need it back by January.”
“I got you,” Eric said.
I hung up with nothing but questions circling around in my head: Why was there no one else to borrow the money from? Why doesn’t he have any emergency funds? Credit cards? Did I just throw the biggest monkey wrench ever into our relationship? Is this going to break us up? What if he doesn’t pay me back?
Find out what happens next in next week’s column.