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Parallax - Advice

April 21, 2003

He's damn cheap

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!My boyfriend is so damn cheap. He picks up every penny he sees on the sidewalk and gets all excited about it. It's so embarrassing. I've never seen anything like it. Whenever a payment is needed, he waits for me to pay and I usually pay nicely for both of us. Other than this cheap part, he is a great guy. But I get the feeling that, with such a personality, he will never be capable of sharing. I'm also really irritated that I am the one who always has to pay and he never spends money on me. It's getting very unpleasant. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Big Spender,

Well, Prince Charming, he is not.

Unfortunately, he is also not your run-of-the-mill basic-manners sort of guy. A complete turnaround is required on your part. Stop picking up the check! One day, just stop, and see what he does. Surely he realizes that there is a balance and there is no legitimate reason for you to pay all his entertainment bills.

His reaction will be an interesting clue as to whether or not you should go forward. Should he graciously step in and get your subtle hint, there may be hope for him.

However, if paying becomes a big source of tension and he is not comfortable paying for his part of outings—as well as yours sometimes, just to be chivalrous—then I think you have before you one selfish little prince.

Should this be the case I must urge you to think about a life of constant battles over who pays for what and how much. Cheap is so unattractive.

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His view:

Dear Big Spender,

Wow. I can already see my female counterpart turning an evil hue of indignant red as she reads this.

Let me ask you this: If his cheapness bothers you so much, why do you encourage it? Why do you whip out the MasterCard instead of letting him pony up? This guy may be cheap but he is also smart. Not only does he not have to pay for dates, he has set the bar so low that if he ever picks up anything for you—the smallest thing, a newspaper even—you will probably drop to your knees and thank the Lord. If you already think he's great, what pedestal are you going to put him on when he loosens the purse strings?

OK, fine. He's probably not going to turn around and become Mr. Generous. Cheap he will go to the grave—an unmarked one, probably. And unless you want to end up there with him, you may want to spread those gilt-edged wings pretty soon.

Don't worry about him. He'll find another sucker in no time.

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