After a year’s dating, my boyfriend moved into my (paid-off) condo. He’s ten years older than me, planning retirement within three years.
He and his ex have one daughter, who’ll finish post-graduate studies in two years. Her parents keep her debt-free.
He pays her rent plus spousal support. Half his pension was paid to his ex during their divorce.
I came from East Asia 16 years ago with only US$3000. I grew up in a very poor countryside and helped my parents, learned to be independent, work hard, and never rely on anyone. I don't spend money on things I don't need.
My sister and I will ultimately have to support our younger brother who has mental health issues.
I have no children and will leave my assets to my brother when I die. I'm not looking for anything from my boyfriend.
I enjoy my current job and can't afford to retire early.
My boyfriend’s family has a history of Alzheimer’s disease. He wants me to retire early and said he’ll make sure I have enough money for it.
So he put me as beneficiary of his insurance in case something happens to him.
That makes me very uncomfortable and sad. Am I not the person who’ll spend the next many years together? So I thanked him and asked him to remove me as beneficiary.
I said that if something happens to him, I’d hand him to his daughter to look after. Just like how he looked after her.
Am I too hard on him? Is there any future in this relationship?
You’re very thoughtful of your boyfriend and his financial obligations.
Make sure you’ve secured your own, by keeping your condo as your asset alone, through a legal co-habitation agreement.
Otherwise, in many jurisdictions, he could claim half-ownership through your common-law relationship.
If you can agree on the financial matters, and also love each other, you have a future. If not, better to recognize that now.
My friend’s parents are conservative, devout Muslims while she’s a liberal Muslim.
She’s close to her younger siblings and frequently takes care of them.
Last year, she was set to go to college (ten minutes from home) and live in a dorm. However, her parents discovered she’d been using swear words and making raunchy jokes on her phone.
They took away her phone, her laptop, and she had to live at home and go to community college. She was banned from communicating with any of her friends.
She could only email me rarely through a school computer. A month ago, she contacted me with her new phone number (her parents bought this so she wouldn't have old contacts).
We were planning to hang out when I got a message that she’s done something her parents didn't approve and had again lost all her freedom. She apologized; there’s been no contact again.
I'm scared for her.
How can I help her?
This is an awkward situation.
Your friend’s living under the strict ways of her parents – as do other young people still at home with families of strong conservative beliefs.
From your account, there’s no evidence that she’s in physical danger.
Try to contact her through the community college, and consider dropping by her family home.
If you then find her in a very difficult situation, with more information than you’ve provided here, talk to a college counsellor or other authorities (the police, if you suspect abuse) about how to proceed.
FEEDBACK Regarding “Sad Grandpa” (July 14):
Reader – “I haven’t seen my daughter and granddaughter, 12, for a year (they live five hours away).
“Recently, I offered to stay at a B&B in her area but she always has excuses.
“I’ve done so much for her, her husband, and my granddaughter, and given financial help when needed.
“In four years I arranged a paid Girl's Weekend at a hotel half-way between us, twice a year.
“When invited to my home, the excuse is my granddaughter doesn't like the long drive.
“My sister confided that my daughter doesn’t like my husband of 22 years whom she’s only seen six times.
“He set up a college/university educational fund for my granddaughter though he met her only once.
“Only when Birthdays/Christmas approaches do I start getting phone calls.
“I think it’s a generational problem.”
Ellie – It’s a relationship problem and can only be resolved by open communication about it.
Tip of the day:
Differences about a couple’s finances in the future need to be resolved in the present.