My BF spent his mom’s money

That’s a red flag, right?

Absolutely, says our elder. If his behaviour is creeping you out, it’s time to listen to your gut.

Dear EWC

I’m in love with my BF and vice versa for several years. He wants to live with me now. He’s had financial issues in the past but seems to have recovered — or so he says. But we got into a big argument the other night — I thought he had used to pay some bills his tax refund (which by the way is erroneous and is much much more than it should be, so his CPA told him to put the money into savings in case the IRS asks for it back); I’m still not sure if it was the tax refund he used but he exploded and said I wrongly accused him and it actually was money from a security deposit belonging to his mother when she moved from assisted living recently — she’s on Medicaid so I get she can’t ‘own’ it, but why would he just use it as his? I told him even if that’s true he’ll need money for her for extra expenses. First, he said, “It’s mine anyway” (he is the only heir), and then he said he’s replacing it when he gets his paycheck this week. What’s weird is that the bill he paid for himself wasn’t even due yet! He further said I should have apologized for accusing him… give me a break!

Now I’ve learned that despite him paying that bill, he stills owes some money on credit cards. Based on his monthly income he should be able to pay it but who knows? My bottom line is, do I really want to share a household with someone like this or is it not a big deal? He also mentioned to me a few months ago that he was “running short” in terms of his account and when I told him that freaked me out because I didn’t want him living with me if he was going to tell me that, he said he meant that he paid all of his bills and he said it to “make me feel better”… really??? Do I give up after hanging in there with him all these years? We have a great time together but I must admit, sometimes what he does really upsets me and gives me the creeps.

Ms.JuliaJ replies

Thank you for writing to us about your situation. I will do my best to give you a thoughtful answer.
I think you are wise to question what is going on with your boyfriend’s financial status. I’m also glad that you have not moved in with him yet and co-mingled your finances. There are some red flags for sure.

The one that scares me the most is the money he is using from his mother’s account given that she is receiving services from Medicaid. Even if he has Power of Attorney, Medicaid has very strict regulations about how her money can be used and the first one is that the money cannot be given to the family (or friends), whether it is considered to be a loan or a gift. If they find out that your boyfriend used his mother’s money, they will come after him legally to get it back. Furthermore, the fact that he is the only heir makes no difference. If money is owed for Medicare services after she passes, whatever is in her accounts will go to them to pay the debt, including a house or any other property she has if it must be sold in order to pay them. I am not trying to scare you, but what he is doing is very serious and the last thing you want is to also be held liable for his actions. It doesn’t matter if he is ‘borrowing’ the money and then paying it back. Any use of her funds except what is for her direct medical or personal care is illegal. Medicaid has a right to audit all of her bank and financial records and they will do so. So please do not move in with him at this time.

Another red flag involves his consistent dishonesty to you about the management of his own finances. I foresee a future where you pick up the slack and he pressures you to ‘loan’ him money to pay his bills. Would you let a friend do this to you? Why would someone who says he loves you try to manipulate you and guilt you into rescuing him — and then demand apologies for something he did?

A third red flag is your being creeped out by what your boyfriend does. I am a firm believer in ‘gut’ feelings. They are not always accurate but we do pick up on many things that cannot be put directly into words and we observe things that we are not aware we are observing. I would pay attention to the feelings you have.

If you have read any of the research about why couples split and marriages end in divorce, you will see that money issues top the list, even before unfaithfulness. To me, this is a question of trust. If you cannot trust your significant other, to be honest about finances, what else can you not trust him about? And, what kind of debt will he pull you into?

If you do decide to stay with him, I would urge you both to go into couple’s counseling. If he refuses to go, then you may want to reconsider the relationship. I do urge you not to move in with him until these issues are resolved and he shows for a lengthy period of time that his behaviors have changed. I know this is hard to hear and I am truly sorry for that. Please know I will be thinking of you and I hope you will write back if we can help you think some more about this. Take care.

Letter #: 441968
Category: Dating/Relationship

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