Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Demanding payment after the love is gone

Alisha: Financial stability is hard to accomplish when one is single and it can certainly be hard to juggle when you're dating. One thing is for sure: When you break up with someone, it is not cool to ask the ex for monetary compensation for items you gave from the heart (i.e., a dozen roses and sushi on every birthday or that weekend trip to Charleston for your anniversary).
Deirdre: OMG, how tacky is that? It's like, when the love is over, you want a refund. Do you think most times it's a case of pure bitterness, or do you think the person wants his or her "investment" returned, like you're no longer worth it?
Alisha: D) All of the above, plus a whole host of other issues such as insecurity and just plain egocentrism. The request of "back payments" doesn't just happen with boyfriend and girlfriends, but also with friends, too.
Deirdre: Absolutely. I had a woman pull a version on me once we were no longer friends. She talked about all the money she'd spent on presents for me, as if I should feel guilty because she chose to give me Christmas and birthday gifts. It never occurred to me to demand my gifts back from her, or to ask for compensation. When we give presents, isn't it because we want to show affection and we want the other person to have them?
Alisha: So are folks adding dollar signs now -- right next to the marks on the bed posts? I wish there was a way you could tell in the beginning if someone equates gifts of love with money owed later, because it seems the "you owe me" declaration isn't broached until there's a nasty fight or the relationship is over.
Deirdre: I'd say alarm bells should go off if the other person makes a big deal every time they pay for something, or if they constantly remark on how much stuff costs when you're together. And for heaven's sake, don't go into debt to impress someone; if you can't afford it, pick cheaper alternatives. If the person you're with doesn't understand (or doesn't like) that you're on a budget, maybe you should be with someone else.
Alisha: Yeah, good call. It sucks some allow money to define the parameters of their love and it's misused as a tool to control emotions and commitment.
Deirdre: It also sucks that buying and giving gifts -- one of the most thoughtful and generous things we can do for each other -- could later become something we regret.


Anonymous said...

I just think it's nice when a friend or loved one remembers your birthday. I had one friend who wondered to me why she hadn't heard from me on her birthday. I had sent an e-card, but she didn't get it. Funny thing is, this same friend failed to acknowledge my own birthday over a number of years (literally, never even mentioned that I had a birthday). I never said anything, but it hurts when you are the type to remember these events and the other person forgets.

Sometimes, it's not about the gifts--it's about whether or not the receiver acknowledges the giver's effort, or that you care enough to make a point to remember important events.

Anonymous said...

"When you break up with someone, it is not cool to ask the ex for monetary compensation for items you gave from the heart"

Are you kidding me? It's just pre-divorce training.