Girlfriends brother a thorn in my side
I have posted about this issue before but I wanted to expand on it. Bear with me. I have been dating my gf for 3 years. We are both divorced and she has a 9 y/o kid which I am ok with. I moved in with her last May. Along with her package comes her 21 y/o kid brother so I went from living alone to living with 3 other people. I was a bit concerned about living with her brother because I knew he has some quirks that would take getting used to, mostly being loud and messy.
The living situation has been pretty good up until late last year. Her brother, who does admittedly have some form of emotional issues (I don’t think its depression though) started coming home plastered, missing work and having drunken outbursts in the middle of the night. This led to him losing hours at work then eventually getting laid off in December since his company was illegally paying people under the table.
It has now been almost 4 months and he has made next to no effort to find another job. He was paying only $500 for rent and everything else (my gf and I were paying about $800 each) but now pays nothing. His days consist on sleeping until 4pm then spending evenings playing guitar or video games. He rarely helps around the house so my gf and I have to put in 40-50 hour work weeks then spend downtime cleaning while he sleeps or plays video games.
I love my gf but she is a bit of an enabler. She'll occasionally push him to work and help out more but it has no effect. She lends him cigarettes, gas money and beer money so I don't think she is doing enough to push him in a right direction. Since this has been happening, she has pretty much had to cover his potion of the rent. She hasn’t directly asked me for money but I have been paying the large grocery bills from Costo, picking up extra things at the store and since she is so strapped for cash, when we eat out, it’s always me paying. I want to ease the burden on her but his not working is pulling an extra $300-400 per month more money out of my pocket.
I try to gently bring up this situation and how I am not happy with it but she is very sensitive about it and it ends in an argument. She doesn’t place a big value on money but I do. It isn’t everything to me, but I do think its important I tuck a few bucks away each month as I am almost 40 and wants some cash ready when I retire. During one of our arguments, she more or less revealed that all along she wanted me to chip in with helping pay her brother's way, stating “if you wanted to help me out, you would have so whatever, just keep your money."
Should I be helping her out? Is it really fair to me to pay extra to essentially support a lazy 21 year old who won’t work? Where do I go from here? This is upsetting me and I am thinking of leaving.
This is really tough but you really need to talk to your partner openly about this. I am not sure why she is helping out her brother so much - if the parents aren't around and she feels she has to take on the responsibility but it can't cause a wedge in your relationship.
You really need to have a very open discussion about it. It'll be hard to take the emotion out but you have to. Make a list of your concerns and the support you have provided so far but that it can't go on, not just for the sake of your relationship but also her son.
I hope this helps.
"I try to gently bring up this situation and how I am not happy with it but she is very sensitive about it and it ends in an argument."
How convenient. We could all do that, couldn't we - throw a paddy whenever our over-responsibility in one direction teamed with a serious inadequacy of responsibility-taking in another gets pointed out. But we don't. Because we're supposed to be grown adults that act like it. So - sorry - brother isn't the only less than mature flake around here.
The situation altered drastically, through no fault of yours (that laying with this highly irresponsible-, over-entitled-behaving brother *and* his sister), being one you neither signed up for originally nor, let's be honest, would have (and frankly, who would?). When you moved in, although you had reservations about there effectively being a third adult residing in the house, he at least appeared to be functional in the way of financial contributor. So that was an untrue window, it turns out, which is unfortunate when it was your whole basis for accepting the living arrangement...That or, it being BECAUSE you moved in that 'Little Jimmy' saw it that he now had TWO quasi parents to completely support him, hence felt at liberty to go as far as to whoops!-lose his job?
Never mind 'BIT' of an enabler or not doing 'ENOUGH' to push him, etc.? Those are complete understatements to point of contradiction. Plus, neither does her whole attitude and behaviour constitute 'good parenting', if that's how she sees her role in this.
Regardless, how your girlfriend cannot appreciate how grossly unfair this 'moving of the goalposts' is, I do not know. But she'd obviously prefer it remained as being constantly swept under the rug. Therefore, whenever you try to bring it up, she basically tries to block and gag you by getting all over-emotional as a way of avoiding having to cooperate and do the right thing, yet *doesn't*, note, tend to get all emotional about your having to part-fund this grown man as if he's your own son and a minor at that!
If you ask me, one of your problems is your 'gently' raising the issue. You need to put your foot down all the way and point out that not only is it highly unfair to you, to your relationship (therefore herself) - NOR, when it comes to setting an example, to her brother (how the hell is he ever going to learn?) - but that you were never even asked nicely nor even given a choice, just pressured by the tacit and your aptness to be a bit under-assertive into behaving to suit. (Her telling you contributed because you wanted to. Pff... Who would, when given any free will choice?)
If it costs you an extra E300-400 per month then, if you moved out, *she* would be the one bearing that total amount. (And can we add 'and then some', i.e. does she already, alongside you yourself, contribute to his monthly shortfall from her own earnings or is it just you?) Has that not occurred to her? Or does she feel that you're so desperate never to lose her/this relationship that she can probably continue getting away with it for a lot longer before you finally crack?
I think the answer to that is, YES. So clearly 'cracking' is what she's holding out until - in which case, instead of responding to your love and sincere intentions to make this relationship work by reciprocating, she's taking unfair advantage of it. That is NOT how you convince your partner that their feelings are wholly appreciated and reciprocated...albeit, then we're back full circle to, 'given the free will choice': on a logical practical level, she has one, but on an emotional one, she's a willing slave. To her brother and her childish attitude.
Give her an ultimatum, setting a reasonable deadline by which you want the situation resolved, whether that be her telling him to leave and stand on his own, two feet because his exploitative attitude is ruining her love-life at least or giving him a deadline by which to have found another job and recommence paying his way. If you get no joy from that conversation, either, then, yes, move out and let her living with the reality (on all levels) of you being gone exert its full effects.
You're not Lady Di, he's not Camilla, and your girlfriend certainly isn't Prince Charles.
And can we add 'and then some', i.e. does she already, alongside you yourself, contribute to his monthly shortfall from her own earnings or is it just you?
The original verbal deal before I moved in was that the rent ($1200) was split three ways ($400 each). The brother would pay an additional $100 for everything else (food, electric, cable, internet). My gf and I would split everything else so originally it was costing me $700 for everything which I gave her in one lump payment at the beginning of the month. So the brother was getting a bargain at the onset but I didn't complain because he had a lower paying job, I was still paying a lot less than when I was living alone and I got a spare bedroom to use as an office.
My gf is absorbing most of the financial costs since the brother stopped working. She's paying his share of the rent and gives him cigarettes and money for booze. Where it is costing me more is in food. I have been picking up groceries here and there and paying the big $300-400 trips to Costco. I was originally giving her $150 for food which is what I was paying when on my own but now am easily paying $400-500 for food, in a sense paying the majority of the food bill to feed everyone.
He's not your brother, he's not your son, he's not her son, you two aren't married, he's not a bona fide dependent (e.g. physically disabled), you were not 'desperately seeking Siamese twins'...and one would *expect* to pay less in a cohabitational set-up with a beau than living alone, that's one of its many side-pullers (whether or *not* she personally cares less about that- sorry, SAYS she doesn't). You could probably rent an entire (albeit small) bedsit for a whopping extra E3-400 per month. Or it's a pretty decent annual holiday. But anyway, that's the figure she'd be looking at adding if you weren't around (plus stumping up for her own leisure and eating-out expenses). So no wonder she's not been the one to say, 'hey, this isn't fair on you'. Let's see how 'little' she cares about money once she's paying double the subsidy.
But exact figures aside, the point remains that  it wasn't what was originally 'advertised';  you were never given the courtesy of being sat down and *asked* whether you were able or wanted a change to 'the agreed contract' to you subsidising this brother's living expenses;  now that you've flagged up this drastic change in 'contract' but seen no attempt at redressive action, it's a case of "someone call Advertising Standards!".
But it's that pathetic 'nobody asked you to' attitude I don't like, not least for how it ignores the fact that there are many more ways of asking and expecting than merely the verbal. The fact is, you tried it (out of a willingness to be helpful and because *somebody* had to); didn't like it, especially as it's not the stop-gap situation you presumably took it for, and should be able to withdraw/draw a line under that support without being made to feel bad or in the wrong. So it's no good her getting petulant on you; she's the one at fault (over-entitled, a bit like her brother).
However, if she's actually said 'well, then - don't', I suggest you do as she suggests (and be in a position to be able to *afford* to be winer and diner - when *you* feel like eating out, not just her - as well as have some left over to put into your savings). Otherwise, their unnecessary, avoidable issue becomes your issue and you end up just helping them both *manage* their dysfunction rather than letting it come naturally to a head where it has to be actually dealt with. And with you out of the financial support equation, meaning her paying an extra E400/pcm every single month without fail and brother *still* not getting off his a*se (because where would be the need?) - it inevitably will.
So, in summary, it's not the expectation for you to want to help out that's at fault (although that should surely read 'hope'); that you did was commendable. It's the fact that no-one asked you nicely added to the fact that when you protested because it started to become the norm, were made to feel like the baddie (which is a bloody cheek). What I would have expected is more something along these lines: 'You're right, it's not fair on you and I'm sorry I never gained your agreement or thought to tell you not to go to those lengths once I realised that's what you were doing out of feeling the onus had fallen to you. It does not, it's my problem, it has no place in a typical relationship...so I'll have a talk with brother and tell him he's got X months before he's out on his ear OR that he's got to start regularly doing household jobs and chores so as to make a sizeable cut to our ongoing expenses in other areas'. (Have you thought about suggesting the latter yet?)
BTW, can I just check whether you pay your monthly rent and bills by cheque or any other recordable means, rather than just cash-in-hand, or whether you have a rent book?
Thanks again for the advice SOULMATE.
The lease is in her name as is the electric and cable bills. She was living in this house for several months with her bro and child and then I came into the picture a year ago. Instead of being added to the lease and and bills, I transfer $700 from my account to hers each month. When I was living alone, I was paying about $1050 for everything. The breakdown is below:
So the deal was that rent was split 3 ways ($400 each, obviously the kid doesn't pay) The brother pays an additional $100 let's say for food and my gf and I split the cable and electric bill in half. Kind of unfair as all three of them don't do a great job of turning lights off behind them. The electric bill has increased a bit but she hasn't asked for extra $. The food situation is tricky. In the past, I would give her the $150 for my portion of the food then anytime we would shop for food, she would pay, including the expensive Costco trips. Now I pay for those. In her defense, she doesnt demand it, but I know she doesnt have the $. In addition to other things, the brother eats everything under the sun (somehow he is skinny). So I'll make a trip to the convenience store, pick up something like a pack of cookies (which is my guilty pleasure) and when I go to get one the next night, the package is gone.
I can almost accept that I have to pay a bit more (im in Canada and they are raising taxes on everything) but I just can't accept living with an adult who contributes nothing. If he was at least spending his days, cleaning the house top to bottom, I could accept forking out a few extra bucks. When I get home from the work, the sink is full of dishes and the floor is dirty and its still me running the garbage out to the curb every Wednesday night. Again, I've tried to have a discussion about this in the past but they end with, "hun its just dishes and garbage, there are much more important things to worry about."
Oh, good, you do a bank transfer. However, since your name isn't on the lease (why not?...is that yet another 'bloody liberty'?), do you ensure to tell the customer services operator to add the reference 'Rent to Ms X'? Otherwise, if it came to it, she could claim it were pay-back instalments for a personal cash loan made by her to you.
("$400 each, obviously the kid doesn't pay" - LOL!...although at this point, I wouldn't put it past her!) (Sorry, couldn't resist a bit of comedic sluttery.)
"Kind of unfair as all three of them don't do a great job of turning lights off behind them."
Oh-ho-ho, look - there we go again!
"In the past, I would give her the $150 for my portion of the food then anytime we would shop for food, she would pay, including the expensive Costco trips. Now I pay for those. In her defense, she doesnt demand it, but I know she doesnt have the $."
I would revert to paying the 150 lump monthly sum (via bank transfer as well...just in case). After all, that she can't afford it (because of which, you feel beholden as the only available 'saviour' around) is WHOSE FAULT, NOW? Yup. Nuff said.
Don't get me wrong, it's FINE for you to be the cash-flasher where ongoing wooing is concerned. That's normal, healthy, male behaviour which still has a vitally positive effect, no matter WHAT the woman herself earns. But the rent/bills/food, etc., is BUSINESS so you need to keep those two behaviours entirely separate and distinct, unsexy though it might feel. By the same token, however, after reverting to that 150pcm top-up/bills payment, you need to keep yourself above-board, morals-wise, by insisting ON paying your third of the electric increase (because if you really don't like how house-sharers behave and they won't remedy their behaviour, your right then becomes solely choosing to reject the residency...you don't want to leave yourself open like that, 'just in case').
"So I'll make a trip to the convenience store, pick up something like a pack of cookies (which is my guilty pleasure) and when I go to get one the next night, the package is gone."
(Oooh, you big spending self-spoiler, you! LOL) Listen, I ALREADY want to put those two over my lap so - don't start adding things like that or we'll be here all day.
"I just can't accept living with an adult who contributes nothing. If he was at least spending his days, cleaning the house top to bottom, I could accept forking out a few extra bucks."
" "hun its just dishes and garbage, there are much more important things to worry about.""
(Uh-oh, my spanking hand is twitching again.) Anyway - WHAT more important things? Like the fact her adult brother's acting like a special-needs toddler (:-p)?
Anyway, I've got an answer for that: 'Look after the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves': 'Just' dishes and garbage are pennies. How are her pound doing lately? Not very well, I'd have said, wouldn't you, what with you considering abandoning ship? We rest our case. So either she wants this relationship to continue as cohabitational (or at all, the way she's going) or she doesn't. What's it going to be - her making the effort to be fair and considerate as well as ultimatuming he who needs ultimatuming, or her left completely alone with her son and over-sized son and wondering how to make ends meet 'this' month?
Bet if you put those dirty dishes and garbage in the middle of their beds, it would suddenly become important, eh. Alternatively, you could default on the rent next month...'Oh, but, hun, it's just MONEY, there are much more important things to worry about!'.
In other words, what they want, need and care about goes. What you want, need and care about doesn't.
You're too nice, that's your trouble (albeit I get that you're somewhat out-numbered). Fine if your partner's being as equally nice in same or whatever similar ways (two Giver peas in a pod), off their own bat, but.... MEH!, is seemingly the only answer to that one. However, it *is*, ultimately, equally your fault because [all together now...] People treat you as well or as badly as you LET them.
You've got what I call a putrid pass-the-parcel going on. From him to her, from her to you. Who's next in line? Time to leave the circle, be that psychologically or physically.
It's kick-a*se time!
The reason my name isn't on the lease is because of this situation.... If I leave and I am still on the lease, I think I will be legally responsible to keep paying until the lease is up.
So apparently my gf's other brother (a former drug addict) has a spot at his job for the lazy brother. All he needed to do was wake up by 10am today and meet with the boss and the job was pretty much his. Let's see if he made it there. Sadly, my gut tells me no.....
"If I leave and I am still on the lease, I think I will be legally responsible to keep paying until the lease is up."
Okay (true). As long as you're aware of and willing to accept the potential downside (if it came to splitting up) (sorry, but you did say you were considering bailing).
Sorry, beg pardon, do what, que? HER OTHER BROTHER IS A FORMER DRUG ADDICT? Has this family got issues or has this family got issues? Are they parental? We talking abuse? Is that why this sister feels so responsible and protective over her younger brother and, obviously, the older one too?
Do you LIKE a challenge?
Well, anyway - have you found out yet whether he did or didn't turn up (at all/on-time) and the outcome? (Keeping my fingers crossed for you...because of it being his older brother who at least has managed to hoik himself back up by the bootlaces...role-model and all that...)
Yep, her 35 y/o bro was hooked on pain killers and didn't work for 14 years. In his defense, he did manage to clean himself and now he works a steady manual labor job. My gf's mom is a nice lady, good to me but her decisions in the past clearly have had an effect on others. My gf's brothers both have different fathers who have had very little involvement in their lives. I think if the lazy brother had an involved dad around, he would kick him in the ass and make him go to work.
No news yet about the job, not sure if he showed up to the work site. He's been going back and forth about deciding on going to the military or going to school or moving out west and working on the farm. Being undecided about your future at 21 inst that abnormal but he clearly has to do something in the meantime.
Fourteen whole years?! Ye gods. Well, at least Sleeping Beauty finally woke up and, now, appears to be trying to be a sort of dad figure to his younger stepbro. But is it just me or is this whole latest scenario with younger bro smacking of following in those same footsteps, including the same bog-ridden leg, like he somehow thinks he has to replicate every part of that path to a tee? I mean - liquid or not, drugs is drugs, and not working is not working, right?
Oh, wait a minute - I get it. That was his deliberate choice of 'signalling for help' system. It's his older brother's attention he wants. So of course, older bro, in being made capable of more easily recognising his former self, would be far more likely to step in in order to 'rescue himself' through his younger sibling.
I've got his number now. He's an acter-outer, doesn't know how to use his mouth. And you are supposed to step in to the now-vacant role of older brother. Or be the dad figure for whenever he's at the homestead. Hence, likewise, the provocation in basically burning money. Because what are you? Answer: responsible, hard-working, sensible with money.... etc.
Yep, Little Jimmy is *desperate* for an older male or two to fill the absent-fatherly gap. He must have envisaged you coming forwards at your own initiative.
Tell me, did you two click when you first moved in or prior to it? Or did he seem to study you or follow you around? And are you at all broody or fancy a protoge?
This isn't about his being undecided about his future, is it. It's about being so delayed for his age he, so to speak, can't even tie his own shoelaces (or can, but lacks the self-motivation via a bit of fatherly guidance). Military school would no doubt be the making of him (and is where quite a lot of men with incomplete parenting go). In fact, so would being a farm-hand, depending on the older men involved. But that's then and this is now, the interim. Is there anything you could do in terms of helping him to help himself? Would you want to or is that romantic relationship involvement too far? You MUST be a natural born rescuer, SURELY, to originally have surveyed that live-in kid brother set-up and thought, 'Yup, I'll take it!'?
Excellent practise for when you have your own kid? Up your girlfriend's respect and admiration into the bargain? Enjoy achieving a warm glow?
(Just exploring whether you could turn these lemons into lemonade.)