The travails of the independent woman

Dear Counsellor,

I live with my boyfriend and he insists that we do everything 50-50. But while I'm an independent woman, I earn 1/3 of what my partner makes, and I don't think this request is fair. Right now I cover half the rent and the electric bill, while he does his half, and water and half groceries. He doesn't contribute in any way to my personal care, yet always wants me to look good. He also doesn't really take me out, and when we do go out for dinner or anything like that, even if it's my birthday or anniversary, he still wants me to pay half. Otherwise he's a loving partner and a catch, and I do want him as my husband. But how do I make him get rid of his miserly ways?

It seems you may be a bit confused about what you want for yourself. You've said that he's, "a loving partner and a great catch", then you say he's a miser. A loving partner who's a great catch isn't usually "miserly", especially to the one they love. And you can't "make him" get rid of anything — you're on shaky ground with that. I remind you to be purposeful about the type of person you want as a lifelong partner. Work toward finding that kind of person. Don't find someone and then try to make them what you want.

Be clear about what kind of person qualifies to be your spouse. Yes, the pool for the "perfect partner" is non-existent, but the pool for decent guys is sufficient. I do advise being open to foreigners — it's smart to be open to dating someone from another country. If you're bent on marrying a Jamaican, because you're a Jamaican, then your pool to choose from is very limited. However, make a list, and wait for what you want. Here's an instruction from the Bible — "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4.

My advice:

Re-evaluate the situation: Is he for you? Bear in mind, you cannot change him, and you shouldn't need to. He may want to remain this way for the rest of his life, and that's his prerogative. I'm not sure how you determined that he's "loving" if you think he isn't willing to celebrate you, etc?! Splitting the bills isn't the issue to me, it's his splitting the costs on your birthday, and not taking you out that's concerning.

Talk with him: Let him know how you are feeling and what about his behaviour you are concerned with. It could be that you've promoted yourself to him as an "independent woman", so the 50-50 cost splitting, etc, is what he thinks you want. Tell him why you want to be with him, but where you're finding it a challenge. You may even want to throw in an ultimatum — you might say, "I need to feel you love me. I will make a decision about us by the end of this year. I just want to feel like I matter to you". If he is confused about what you're saying, and really wants to work on things, you can contact me at We can work toward finding synergy with your expectations.

Be prepared: "NO" must ALWAYS be an available option. If you do not see the sufficient expressions of tangible care you want, then be prepared to let the relationship go. The fact that you're not married makes that very much easier. But he must be given due opportunity to know how you feel and then express his position.

Yes, a merger of lives does take work, and getting help can be very important. I pray both of you have happiness and experience a wonderful future, whether together or apart.

Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to

Christopher Brodber

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