LabGirl and I have our first “We Need To” Talk session

February 5, 2009 at 8:47 am (Dating and Girls)

But hey, it didn’t happen until nearly 9 months after we started dating, and it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Apparently she’s got issue with my apparent coming off as a huge cheap-ass all the time.
Basically, the last few years, especially since I no longer make anywhere near the same money I did when I was in the IT industry, I’ve been noticing how expensive a whole lot of stuff seems to be. And apparently commenting on it. A lot. And it includes stuff that she’s either bought or expressed interest in buying.

Now the thing is – I’m not even gonna lie, I think a lot of stuff out there is seriously overpriced, and in many cases costs more than a competitor’s product because it has “more shiny.” Being a guy, I couldn’t give a ratt’s ass about the “Ohh-Ahh factor” in most consumer products – I just want the thing to do what it’s supposed to and I don’t really care how pretty it is or if it has a couple of extra bells or whistles.
Apparently women like shiny, and are more than willing to pay a premium for it.

Anyway, it seems the big issue is that because I keep saying stuff like “Holy crap, $4 for a cup of coffee??” and “$900 for a washer and drier set is supposed to be a good deal?” and “What makes a ‘spicy’ chicken wrap cost $1.00 more than a ‘buffalo’ chicken wrap?”, while she’s perfectly fine not wondering and frankly not caring why some things cost so much, that she had started taking the comments as some sort of personal attack.

I did have to explain to her than money is frequently on my mind, because I don’t have enough of it. There’s a reason I drive a 10 year old car, live in an apartment, and shop at places she doesn’t like to step foot into like WalMart and thrift stores.
And I honestly do wonder what makes a spicy wrap cost more than a buffalo one. And I also explained the reason I commented on the washer-drier ad was because a while back I actually sold appliances at a Best Buy for a time, and am pretty sure I remember the things costing about $2-300 a pop at the time. (And yes, when she mentioned she paid $750 each for hers, I bit my tongue rather than telling her I thought she got robbed).

I also had to explain that the fact that she makes nearly $20,000 a year more than I do is likely another reason for our differences in perception when it comes to spending. She frankly doesn’t have as much reason to worry about it as I do.

The subject of living together came up (it something we both see as likely happening sooner or later and it’s been tossed out there a couple of times… I’m figuring if things are still going well after my next lease extension we could be looking at something like October-ish) and how she was concerned that money was going to be an issue between us. And I had to tell her that I’ll most likely always be thift-minded – I grew up that way (my parents didn’t have a ton of money either) and have been that way myself pretty much out of necessity for quite a while, and I’ll more than likely make suggestions here and there about how we could save some cash. But I’ve never done more than just suggestions – I’m not out there telling her she’d be completely stupid to buy such-and-such, which, she admitted, was how she was taking my comments (*sigh*). And that yes, the fact that she makes so much more than I do may become an issue somewhere down the line (for example, if we decide to do something to fix the house, is it fair to split the expense 50/50 when it would be a much higher percentage of income for me than for her?) but that it would be something we didn’t need to worry about unless the whole shacking-up thing comes closer to actually happening.

I guess I should be happy that after dating this long that this is the only thing she can come up with that she has a problem with, and it’s really not even that big of a deal – mostly just her being defensive about something she has no reason to be defensive about. But I guess I’ll try to cool it with the smart-ass comments about how expensive shit is if it makes her happier.



  1. Joy said,

    The good thing with you and LabGirl is that you two deal with things without waiting for the last straw. “We need to talk” is easier to deal with than “I think I’m done now”. Hurray! That said, I can understand where she’s coming from because we are on the same boat money-wise. I tend to ask about what the SO thinks about the price when I want to hear it, if I don’t that means I don’t care to know whether I’m spending more than I should because chances are I already know. I tend to be the one to tell him about the price, but I do give alternatives such as being able to find it on Amazon for a lot cheaper, for example. I used to tell my ex (one of the reasons he was my ex) that he’s not the one paying, and unless he does, to cut the price comments and reporting to my mother (as if they’re paying for my stuff!).

  2. Graumagus said,

    Dude, be thankful “The Talk” wasn’t the one where she says “Yeah… it really annoys me when you… breathe.. could you stop that already?!?!” discussion you seem to have with all your exes…

    And $750 a pop for a washer and dryer set is money that SHOULD have been rightfully wasted on a 50″ flatscreen and home theater system… 🙂

    Like I can talk, as soon as I get my taxes I’m buying a damn laptop and getting back online even though I could be unemployed any day now…

  3. Imelda said,

    Ah, yeah the money talk. I think one thing to keep in mind is how people spend money is a very personal thing.

    I have a coworker who spends money like crazy. Ok, well a lot more freely than I do. She shops a lot, buys Starbucks a couple times a week, goes out to bars and dinner a lot, etc. Me, I bring my lunch to work and maybe eat out once a week, shop once a month but really only at outlets. It’s not to say I spend money better, it’s just I’d rather spend my money differently. I can’t wrap my head around how much she spends on a weekly basis on stuff, but hey, it’s her choice.

    Unless you’re getting married or have joint expenses, I’d try to keep the comments to a minimum.

    As for the living together, I always though contributing an equal percentage of income was more fair than doing it 50/50 …

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