Or option C), LW makes rules that are too convoluted to follow, but gets mad when the unfollowable rules are not followed, so LW's BF finds it more palatable to just not not tell LW about things that will invariably get him in trouble because he just can't win, because he still thinks it's better than leaving his unemployed girlfriend with health issues who has no other options to fend for herself just because she wants what she wants but has demands for what her BF does. (Notice that all the rules were limiting to the BF and the LW gets to do everything she originally wanted?)

LW should stop snooping and make an active effort to not pay any attention to whatever her boyfriend doesn't rub in her face.


GTFO, Boyfriend. This is a sinking ship.


Did I miss where he answered the question?


If the boyfriend is as confused about the rules as I am then it's no wonder they were violated.

"anything online is okay"
::does something online::
"no! Only the things I do online are okay because I'll never meet them!"

Cause, you know, online relationships have never turned into IRL relationships.

Frankly, I hope LW does break up with her boyfriend. It'll save the poor guy a world of drama, confusion, and money.


LW's BF needs to break up with her. She's awful.


Perhaps a flow chart would help?


@1 disagree i followed those seemingly complex rules. fair rules are (can be) complicated to iron out much less in open relationships


file and fight for disability and DTMFA


Agree with 8. He's not even trying, he's just lying.

Sounds like there may not be much left to the relationship but inertia on his part and financial dependence on hers. Hope the venting helped her feel clearer and that she starts planning for the long term without this guy if she can.


The rules aren't actually that difficult. It's that the LW is not good at writing them out. It's pretty simple: you can do whatever you want with people online, but you must clear with me before you do anything with people in real life. That is not complicated. So if you are sexting with someone you know in real life, that is a violation as he did not clear it with the girlfriend. Obviously you can't fuck someone in real life without clearing it first. That's all.

I don't undrestand why Dan wrote paragraphs without answering and then gave a flippant sentence of advice at the end. The LW might have her own issues- including health or work or difficulty expressing herself or whatever. This doesn't change the fact that the LW's boyfriend is a lying cheating piece of shit who has broken their rules. And you all acting like it's complicated - uh no- he simply can't fuck people without clearing it with her first. That's not complicated. He's a piece of shit for cheating.


@8: Who says he's ethically non-monogamous?

Maybe he's just living with a person who does whatever she wants while putting rules on what he does and he's trying to chart the best course possible short of throwing her out.

Not once in the letter is there any indication that any of these rules were requested by him, or that he exercises any of these rules when it's her behavior. What it sounds like is LW determined what she wanted to do, made that OK, and anything she didn't want to do was not OK.

Now, yes, the 'ethical' thing for this guy to do would be to say that he doesn't agree to these rules, and unless the rules accommodate what he wants too, she has to be monogamous or he's leaving her.

But is that really the BEST? Especially for LW? If she won't let her BF have actual non-monogamy (as opposed to theoretical but practically impossible without violating some rule non-monogamy), while she's having all the non-monogamy she wants, and she can't survive without his support, maybe "She has completely unworkable rules but I don't want to throw her out on the street so I'm just going to discretely do my own thing" is the least bad option.

But hey, if LW disagrees, she can always revert back to a monogamous relationship, or figure out how to live on her own.

It's pretty telling that LW didn't even mention the possibility of an actual monogamous relationship where she doesn't sext her furry friends. Why should any rules limit her, right?


Aside from “I want to know if I can salvage any part of what I thought was a good relationship,” there’s no sign that this is a good relationship. LW doesn’t note anything she likes about her boyfriend, and she apparently can’t think of a single reason to stay with him besides financial dependence. I wonder if the boyfriend’s transgressions obliterated LW’s love for him, or if it was gone already? She mentions anger and betrayal over what he’s done, she doesn’t describe sadness or heartbreak.

For his part, the boyfriend is rule-breaking, lying, and (most likely) cheating, which are not healthy, relationship-sustaining habits. As well, he’s probably aware that betraying LW’s trust, above all else, hurts her deeply, but it doesn’t sound like he’s offered up a mea culpa.

Perhaps the relationship has run its course and neither party quite knows how to address that?

I would advise LW to consider what she will do if this relationship comes to an end, not only because she doesn’t deserve to stay with someone she doesn’t want to be with just because she can’t afford to leave, but also because she’s not the only one who can press the self-destruct button on this relationship and it seems like the boyfriend is dancing around that button already.


Another thing LW didn't mention is, how often after meeting one of her BF's potentials does she decide that person isn't OK for her BF to be involved with? My guess is often.


@8 & 9
Having been in an open relationship where rules and expectations have all manner of unspoken qualifications and caveats that are only given after they are unknowingly violated, or a lack of flex / wiggle room on the slightest aspect of the rules is treated as tantamount to a monogamous partner cheating, this looks awfully familiar.
Admittedly this is giving the guy the benefit of the doubt if not making excuses for him, but if the "anything goes online" later qualified with "but it can't be anyone you know" has been par for the course we may be missing a lot of the story.
For example, what has the process been like when (or if) he tried to get approval to fuck another woman? From my own experience, I've been given permission to have sex with another woman, only to discover I violated the unspoken rules of "you did it so soon after I gave you permission" or after asking if it would be possible, then saying "here's who I want to have sex with" only to have her upset because she didn't expect me to already have someone in mind.
That doesn't excuse the BF if he has been the relationship as cart blanche to fuck other women, or if he is making no effort to avoid repeat disagreements, but given the first example getting upset over unstated rules being violated, it's entirely possible that permission has been given in general only to be retroactively withdrawn after it is used is a regular occurrence
(e.g. BF: Is it alright if I have sex with this woman?
FUR: Is she clean?
BF: Yes FUR: Alright
... Later ...
FUR: Wait, you didn't tell me this was a former co-worker. That's a violation)


@3 Dadddy asked "If he's paying all the bills, what exactly do you do all day, besides snooping and making up rules?"

stated in letter: cybersexing other furries.

But only if they would never, ever meet up IRL (unless, of course, they were on the approved list). Because, you know, monagmish rules made 10 years are rules that you keep to without further discussion till you die.


I understand why LW wants to save this relationship. Someone she's not even married to pays her bills, while she doesn't work, even though he gets nothing but grief from her. The only real mystery is why he stays with her.


If you can't survive without this relationship, you'd better start thinking how you might survive without this relationship. Because it takes two to tango and I think this tango's got an expiration date.


And I'm single why?


: Covenant marriage yesterday!


@18 I have the same thought whenever I see dudes on death row getting married.


@19: that was supposed to channel Mr. Ven.
The webmaster has made it illegal to use the greater than and less than symbols.
You know: lest we mistake them for html commands and try to italicize something.


@20: you made me spit my martini on my computer screen and I'm not forgiving you.


Just a reminder folks, we only have one side of this story. I'd love to hear the boyfriend's side. Back to the fact that she has "health issues" and can't work. Can't, or won't? After all, there are many jobs you can do from home now (I had a friend that was taking orders for a major restaurant chain and the order would print out at the proper location. Quite a few service types of jobs that don't require specialized education/knowledge). This would be a way for her to begin getting ready for what I suspect is the inevitable breakup. While girlfriend is having online furry sex, boyfriend is actually out there meeting live people and having live sex. I would wonder if he's getting much out of this relationship other than being her meal ticket.


"One of our specific rules was that anything that happens only online is cool. No discussion or disclosure required . . . What I meant, but didn't specify when we were negotiating our rules, was online-only play was cool with people we'd never met in real life and never would."

So there are broad easy to follow rules, but with secret caveats, that appear to foreclose the possibility of extra-relationship sex for LW's boyfriend. Broadly speaking there are two ways of meeting new sex partners, in real life or online. Based on the secret caveat, if you meet someone online, then you are foreclosed to meeting them in real life. That might work for LW a sickly furry who may not be getting out of the house to meet other furries, but that requires LW's boyfriend to meet his potential partners from the pool of people he knows in real life. And how does one convert friends or acquaintances to sex partners when interacting in real life? One meets up with them and entices them into having sex, by which point you are already nearing or exceeding a violation of LW's rules. I would also point out that it would be very hard today to have all of this interaction occur in real life, as everyone uses text messages to interact with potential sex partners as part of the courtship process, which would violate LW's rules. In brief, LW has constructed a set of rules that work very well for her limited sexual interests, but make it difficult and arguably impossible for her boyfriend to have sexual experiences with other women.

It's hard to know what LW offers her boyfriend. She has an illness which makes it impossible for her to work and takes sex off the table for weeks at a time. To LW's boyfriend, this romantic-sexual relationship may have transitioned into caregiver-patient relationship for the duration of LW's illness, and he may care about her enough to not end the relationship and leave her without resources, while getting his sexual needs met elsewhere.

My advise to LW is to either forge a DADT arrangement, or find a way to support yourself or another friend or family member who would be willing to support you.


On the one hand, the rules don't sound so complicated. It's okay if it's just some text online with a person you'll never really meet, ask if there's a chance that you'll actually be physically in the same room together.

On the other, I could very easily see the boyfriend as someone who has already had all the magic drain out of the relationship, and who now only stays around because he'd feel like a massive douchebag kicking FUR out on the street. So instead we see the normal behaviors of someone sticking around in a relationship well past its expiration date.

FUR should look into alternatives for both income and housing. (Although this absolutely should not involve finding a new boyfriend online and kicking the can down the road there.) It doesn't look like things are at a crisis point, so she can take some time to better situate herself, but you really don't want to only start looking when things do hit a crisis point.


He probably knowingly broke the rules. But you are certainly nearly impossible to deal with. So... I recommend you two, um... whatever.


One thing that confuses me (aside from the Fizzbin rules, of course), is this "get my needs for emotional support and affection met elsewhere? ".

Nowhere else in the letter does she mention emotions or affection. It sounds as if they're room-mates who fuck, honestly.


One thing that confuses me (aside from the fizzbin rules), is this: "get my needs for emotional support and affection met elsewhere?' Nowhere else does she mention emotions or affection.

It's all about the rules. Is he meant to show her how much he cares by how many of her rules he follows (even as they change under him)?

Strange setup.


Wow. Not even allowed to go for a coffee unless you've met the partner!? That's highly controlling. FUR, would you need to meet a male colleague before "allowing" your boyfriend to go for a beer with him? Sorry but this demand is not a reasonable one. Telling you about a coffee date before the fact, sure; telling you about a chance encounter immediately afterwards, sure. But having to turn down a work colleague's invitation for an after-work drink because they hadn't met your partner? Unworkable and unreasonable. Time for better rules. Oh, and Mr FUR is well within his rights to dump you for snooping, just saying.

Now, I'm not as sure as Dan that Mr FUR was indeed cheating. FUR, he says he wasn't cheating. If you don't believe him, you need to end this relationship. If he's lying now, he's going to continue to lie no matter how reasonable the rules you set are, so FUR needs to get financially independent and leave this relationship. Both of them have "RUN" above their heads in glaring neon, if you ask me.


I'm with Biggie and Sublime. Nocute @21: ROFL! Bring back italics, indeed!


@10. EmmaLiz. I agree with you that the rules are readily comprehensible in spirit.

LW, what do you want? Do you care for your partner? Do you want to be where you were, more or less, before he had off-limits sex (apparently) with these two women?

If you had no health concerns, and weren't financially dependent on him (if so, in fact), would you still want to be in the relationship? I think the answer to this should determine what you do.


Dan has a LOT of patience.


@11. biggie. I think she does a lot of things right, to begin with. There's no appearance to me that the rules are non-consensually negotiated. But if the letter starts off well, it gets worse.... The LW would seem to be little aware of the difference between the veniality of not being explicit about the rule for having to talk about online contact with IRL friends and the gravity of snooping (either twice or three times). (Or she's trting to sweeten the pill of her acting wrongly...). By the end she is not with a high-school sweetheart but with a man she's tempted to dump if she could.

The elephant in the rule is how big a part of her sex life is sexting furries--an activity that would seem to exclude the bf. If she can have non-digital, in-person sex with him once a month, e.g., but sexts three times a week, the rules as she's described them might be unfair. He might not have a comparably gratifying outlet for extramural sex. (Still, she did suggest that fucking approved partners was permissible--was not cheating). If there is this mismatch, though, equity would suggest that it should be clear that one sexty chat for her loosely corresponds with one sufficiently autonomous fuck for him.


@12. 46294. All good points and well said.


@29. Bi. 'Meeting the other person before anything happens': 'anything' here means sex. It sounds as if they're part of a community of open-mindedly nonmonogamous folks. The difference in treating sexting and fucking is comprehensible given STI risks.

Possibly it is the case that the LW should 'own' her disability and understand her sexts as sex on the same footing as her partner's offline activities. I think Sublime might be right in suggesting that FUR should consider whether she could move to a dadt set-up.


@10 maybe not hard to understand but hard to follow to the letter unless you can predict the future. Or maybe I don't understand after all.

Can I text with this lady? Literally it becomes disallowed if at a future time I meet her. I hope in practice it's "yes if I'm not currently intending to meet her in the flesh." But sooo much gray area around semi-currently semi-intending, it seems a quagmire.


Harriet @33: "The elephant in the rule" is an excellent typo. I may re-use!

Harriet @35: "'Meeting the other person before anything happens': 'anything' here means sex." OK, fair -- it's obvious how confusing these rules can be! So meeting before "anything happens," and discussion and prior agreement before coffee. Seems reasonable enough to text one's partner and say "I'm going for coffee with Joan" if Joan invites you to coffee on the spur of the moment. The rules still seem crafted to allow for no limits to FUR's preferred outside dalliances, but plenty of pitfalls for Mr FUR's. Who's either lying about the sex or he isn't, but she believes he is, so she needs to proceed with an understanding that her boyfriend doesn't follow her rules so what should she do about that. Change to a DADT or break up? Is his preference for less than full honesty worth the rent he's paying on her behalf, seems to be the ultimate question.


Ms Cute - Well played. I know I wouldn't want either half of this couple dating a friend; CMY is definitely on the table.


Am I the only one that's curious what her "serious health issues" are, and why they preclude her from having sex for weeks at a time? She already poured out all her relationship baggage and we don't know her name, so why not include it?


"I'm stuck due to serious health issues that prevent me from working and I don't have options."

You do have the option to leave, FUR, just none you're willing to accept. Even if you have no friends or family, (even in the USA) a poor person medically unable to work qualifies for social security and other assistance. You're welcome to choose to stay with the liar if you prefer doing so to being poor, but that is your choice of options. Personally I'd rather be poor than in a dysfunctional relationship.


Go ahead, LW - break up with him. I double-dog-dare ya.


@36 mtn Beaver

Yes I'm certainly not defending her convoluted way of expressing herself, and if their in-person conversation is similar, it's possible that the BF was confused. But the continued with-holding of info after attempts to resolve the situation make it sound much more like he's just a liar. As I said, I'm sure she has all sorts of other problems, but that doesn't mean the bf isn't a CPOS.

As for the needing permission before you meet with someone you are sexting with, yes absolutely. I don't think that's a weird rule in an open relationship. As for the "not met in real life and never will"- again it sounds like trying to stretch it to some open possibility when in reality it's pretty normal for people with open relationships to have rules like "not in our neighborhood", "not at work", "not with our kids' parents", etc. Things get messy otherwise, so I'd assume you'd know better not to sext with someone who works with you. It's really not that strange of a rule. If you accidentally met someone in real life who you knew online (how would that happen?) then obviously you aren't psychic- you didn't break the rule in the past. But if you sext with someone who you work with then you are already in violation, and if you then go out with them for coffee, that's obviously breaking the rule, even before she clarified.

@BDF & Harriet, re: the coffee.

I might have misunderstood- the LW is hard to follow. If BF is not allowed to even go have a drink or a coffee with other women he meets in real life, then that's crazy. But I thought the point here was that he was sexting with this woman which is a violation of their rule not to sext with people they know in real life. If it was a different woman who he was not sexting with, then yes there is a tricky area in which they have to decide when in the process between meeting other potential partners and before sleeping with them, he is supposed to seek his GF's approval.


Also, we all know people who will nit pick general rules to evade responsibility- children are masters at this but partners do it as well. This is part of the reason people start to get complicated detailed rules- because the other person will not follow the spirit but is constantly looking for loopholes. The conversation to me sounded more like this:

LW: You can only sext with people you don't know in real life. And before you sleep with someone new, I get to approve of them. However, you can do whatever you want with this list of pre-approved people whenever you want.

BF: Great. I'm sexting with a woman I used to work with.

LW: But I only gave you permission to sext with people you don't know in real life!

BF: I don't know her in real life anymore. She doesn't work with me anymore.

LW: OK I should have clarified. You can only sext with people you'll never know in real life.

BF: OK I'm having coffee with this woman now.

LW: But you can't meet up with people you are sexting with.

BF: Well it happened accidentally because I went to the place where she worked. That was before you clarified the texting rule.

LW: OK that seems minor. I should have been more specific.

BF: Now I'm going out with this woman to other places.

LW: Wait- our rule is that I'm supposed to approve of new people before you fuck them.

BF: I'm only having coffee. Nothing has happened.

LW: If you are cheating on me, tell me!

BF: I'm not cheating. But I lied earlier. I didn't meet her where she works. I met her at her house. Oh and there's another woman also that I'm meeting that you don't know about.



The meeting of emotional needs in a relationship is a two-way street. You are hurt and betrayed by your boyfriend because you defined his behavior as hurtful and a betrayal. A task as simple as bringing a coworker coffee becomes a melodramatic backstabbing worthy of a renaissance painting, all justified by a hypothetical--but I suspect just hypothetical--willingness on your part to grant him permission to so much as breathe in the general directions if the women he likes. You claim that it's all on the table so long as he checks it out with you, but then that check turns out to be a catch-all excuse to play the role of inquisitor of his life. He's told to have at it and then punished when he responds naturally as if you meant what you said. That is not negotiating in good faith.

Yes, your boyfriend went behind your back, but when you seen to be racing to turn your back on whichever direction he happens to be, everything becomes betrayal. You need to make rules that are REALISTIC AND CLEAR, not rules that only exist to sound nice and to hand you an automatic GGG label. What's better than a relationship where everything is theoretically possible? A relationship where something is really happening.


He's probably just too timid to confront her about what's not working for him in this arrangement so he tried to keep it on the dl instead. Her freakouts could be so grand he's actively avoiding them even in the form of an honest discussion. He should grow a backbone and she should cool her tits, but my bet is neither of them will change themselves and stick to blaming each other until the breakup is so full of animosity that they can stay on their high horses and fall into similar traps later.


Who could possibly keep track of these rules? It's completely insane.

No wonder he doesn't want to be honest with her. If your boyfriend can't go have coffee or talk to another woman without you freaking out then you have serious control issues and need therapy. I dated a control freak for 6 years. It massively fucked me up and took a lot of therapy to fix.


Thank you Dan for not questioning or shaming this woman because she can't work. There is still plenty wrong with this situation, but the idea that people with disabilities are lazy users is just ignorance and discrimination.


One other note, we don't know who is on the approved list.

If, as I suspect, the approved list is limited to people who are not interested in the BF, or the BF is not interested in, then there is no approved list.


One of my favourite paramours in my youth, when he and his gf broke up for a week, her only instructions were he not to have sex with this other woman and me. This was before he and I had had sex, though there had been some flirting.
That night with him was the most romantic night of my life. There’s something about the forbidden.


She stopped it of course at the end of the week, I though was smitten. He and I got together again, after they broke up.


also writing seeking approval to break the rules herself


My advice is to avoid becoming financially dependant on non-spouses. He knows she is unable to provide for herself, so what does he care that he is not following her rules. Advice: Don't worry about who he's sleeping with. Wear condoms, get your health in order, get out.


The rules like something from a health plan, and we all know how easy it is to comply with health plan rules. You can see a doctor from the approved list any time you want. If you electronically communicate with a doctor you can never meet that doctor in real life. If you find a doctor who is not on the list but you would like to see that doctor you need to go through the approval process for this doctor so that the doctor is added to the list. However if you have electronically communicated with this doctor or met them in real life not matter how inconsequential then they will not be added to the list. The list of doctors does not change because the plan does not have the ability to go out and meet new doctors and screen them for viability. Therefore the same 5 doctors on the list is all you need.
Oh, any violations of these rules will cause your premium to be raised.


wait - so if he wants to have a cup of coffee with someone he used to work with he has to clear that first? Or only if he thinks some day he might have sex with her?

LW seems to be making it up as she/he goes along....maybe being home all the time due to sickness and having to depend on someone else financially is affecting their mood?


honeybunny @46 "He should grow a backbone and she should cool her tits, but my bet is neither of them will change themselves" -- Yes, this.

in-frequent @52 "also writing seeking approval to break the rules herself" -- Yes, this too.

"My friend helped chill me out, but automatically assumed he'd cheated on me" -- I suspect your friend may have inside information about how your bf operates.

"Things like meeting the other person before anything happens" -- In my experience, that kind of rule is unworkable. Think about what insecurities and fears are behind that rule, and address those head-on. Though, as honeybunny says, you probably won't because that's hard.


She sounds crazy, but he sounds a little gas-lighty - is it his "What, me? But I'm just trying to follow your rules?" bullshit that made her crazy? Possibly, or possibly she started out fairly irrational, and part of him playing stupid games is his way of living with the irrationality.

If it's possible for the two of them to sit down and, in good faith, affection, and honesty, start from the beginning and hammer out a set of rules that work for both of them, then that's what they should do.

I doubt if it's possible - seems to me the ground is poisoned by now.


People design their own prisons.


The ill-conceived rules certainly did not allow each of them to do pretty much whatever they wanted. The fact that the LW describes them as such seems to indicate a serious lack of understanding of the utter impracticality of the rules and how bureaucratic and controlling they are as written and as she seems to have applied them in her head. It’s a jumbled morass of minutiae and caveats and unspoken clarifications that could trap the best-intentioned of partners. She says his first violation irked her but she let it go. Sorry, but she’s the opposite of Elsa. She hasn’t let go of anything and still clutches these grudges to her closely and her belief that she has let it go shows a lack of self-awareness. And again, her response to his minor and frankly reasonable infractions led to a melodramatic sense of utter betrayal followed by “how can I stay with him/how can I leave him” handwringing.

The rules need revising and simplifying, and maybe they should try a DADT arrangement for awhile. But I don’t think LW will go for that. She needs some serious self-examination about why these rules were so important to her; and why she feels the need for such structure and control. Maybe a counselor could help her get to the bottom of this. There are some real fears at play under there but they are not constructive fears. Maybe she’s now trying to exert this control do tightly over on part of her life because her illness is robbing her of autonomy in other aspects. But her behavior seems more likely to speed the end of this relationship even as she considers staying because she feels she has no where else to go.

Honestly, my initial thought was that this was a case of DTMFA except that the LW is the MF to be precipitously dumped. But I do think this ten year relationship may be worth saving if this couple can sit down to an honest and objective conversation about what is wrong with this Gordian knot of rules and think about how to fix them. Hint: such a conversation does not start with her blaming him or making melodramatic statements about the unbearable scope of his betrayal.


Zev423 @53: So what is so magical about spouses that makes it OK to be financially dependent on them? I'm curious. Is it because you could divorce them and get support?

EricaP @56: Oh, I don't know -- BFFs in my experience are generally quick to assume the worst about some guy you're dating, perhaps whom she never liked much in the first place. She may have inside information; she may have been cheated on herself; she may distrust men generally; she may distrust him, with or without reason. I don't think the BFF's opinion supports a conclusion that the boyfriend is cheating. (I think his lying is far more suspicious.)


@60 Could maybe be that spouses generally mix their finances and it is rare for both spouses to be total economic equals. In this case it is totally lopsided, which happens, but also in this case, there's some karma in that her dependency upon him has led to her being "trapped" in this relationship she now dislikes.

Others have pointed out that she doesn't have to be this way. As a furry with nothing but time on her hands, she has even less of an excuse. You have just no idea how much a YCH slot can go for. Some artists charge AND RECEIVE $700+ per slot. Sometimes over a thousand. If she invested in a decent tablet setup and Was willing to spend some of her endless free time drawing furry porn (a thing furries love to do more than anything else on earth besides one another) she would be making money, I guarantee it.


@37. Bi. Yes, that was a typo. And yes, your estimate of the situation seems fair. Hard but fair. I agree with you that the rules would seem crafted to allow for her preferred form of dalliances (which are kinky and online, with a very low likelihood of her physically meeting her chat-partners) and not for his. She does not see this at the moment, though. She's too confused and hurt at his rule-breaking to be able, right now, to step back and see it.

To me, her critics have been too harsh in tone on her. I can't help thinking her bf has (I'd guess) been passively-obstructive with regard to their set-up--that at no point has he come out and said, 'the rules are slanted in your favor', e.g. 'I want to be able to have sex with someone I've told you about, whom I'm sure about in terms of e.g. sexual health, their not being imbalanced or destructive, but whom you haven't met'.


@59. Alan. "Maybe she’s now trying to exert this control so tightly over on part of her life because her illness is robbing her of autonomy in other aspects."

This is very plausible.


@60, spouses generally have some degree of joint finances. For any number of reasons, one spouse may pay a higher percentage of the joint costs, while neither spouse would be as well of trying to be completely financially independent. Other factors affect things too, like if one spouse works while the other takes care of the children because childcare costs would eat up any earnings the stay-at-home spouse makes, or they start as equals but one falls ill, etc. Particularly in the second scenario, one person may be financially dependent but their equality in the relationship comes from the amount of work they contribute to keeping things running. Life and household administration can be stressful and time-consuming. I suppose spouses could demand payment for the work they do in the relationship, then split the bills down the middle, but it is much simpler to just have an understanding that the spouse getting paid provides for the one doing the unpaid work. (Disclaimer: I am using spouse because that was the term previously used, but these conditions may also apply in other partnerships.)


As Tachy said, these conditions could apply to all partnerships. I'd chime in that maybe the advice isn't "don't get financial dependent on someone you aren't married to" but rather "don't intertwine your finances with someone unless it is a committed long term relationship" as I think this applies to all aspects of individual finance- not just situations in which one person is dependent on another.

If you build a life with another person, there are going to be all sorts of compromises and decisions involved that you wouldn't have made as an individual, and some of these have long term effects that change your financial state for decades. Having children is the most obvious, but so is what sort of job to take, where to live, what home to buy, what medical insurance to use, how to arrange your investments, where you move for a job or what promotion/positions you take since you need a mutually beneficial work schedule, etc. It's literally building a life with another person, and you can't really step back from it later and get on the same path you were on before hand as you are in a different place than you would've been.

So for those reasons, there is nothing magical about marriage, but absolutely it should be driven into every young person's head that you don't lightly get into a situation in which you are making life decisions (financial or otherwise) with another person until you have both decided to be in a long term committed relationship.

Which clearly these two people have not done since they've been together since they were teenagers and don't seem to have grown up much past that. To me, it sounds like they've ended up together by default, and both seem in a sort of stagnant immaturity. Would be good for them to get out on their own- and the LW's health troubles might prevent her from doing that entirely independently, but that doesn't mean her boyfriend from high school is the one who should have to deal with that responsibility for the rest of his life. They have no children, there is no reason for them to stay together. She will have to find alternative ways to support herself- I recommend she talk to a caseworker if she doesn't already have one about what social services she can qualify for or what work options she actually does have (if any) or how she can leave off disability if supporting herself is impossible which it legitimately is for some people. In any case, staying with a CPOS high school sweetheart is not a solution, and her medical problems are not his problem.

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