Steph & Dom: Can I get my rich ex-boyfriend to pay my debts?

Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles: Can I get my rich ex-boyfriend to pay my debts?

  • A British woman broke up with her boyfriend of five years, six months ago
  • Anonymously asking for advice, explained he’s refusing to help her clear debt 
  • Steph told the reader her ex-boyfriend isn’t being cruel and it’s time to move on

TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 53 and 56, draw on their 23 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . .  

Q: Six months ago, my boyfriend of five years and I broke up. I had been unhappy for a long time and I met someone else. That didn’t work out, but I don’t regret leaving.

My ex and I are both in our 40s. He has a lot more money than me and I moved into his flat. He paid for the mortgage, food, holidays, basically everything, because he earned about three times more than me.

But I spent all my wages — and more. It cost me every penny to have nice clothes to fit in with his friends, to get my hair done, go to the gym near his home — all things he thought were important for me to do.

An anonymous woman asked for advice on wanting her ex-boyfriend to clear the debt she racked up while they were together (file image)

I built up quite a lot of debt on my credit card. I asked him if he could help me clear it, as it was spent on things I needed when I was with him, but he says it’s my fault for leaving. How can I stop him being so cruel?

STEPH SAYS: Fundamentally, this is about your insecurity — and your obsession with status. It’s clear that you felt you were ‘punching above your weight’ in this relationship, that you had nabbed a catch and had to compete in order to keep him.

We all want to look our best, to be shiny and perfect for a new boyfriend, but you were together for five years! If you were really in love, you would have become comfortable in time. You would also have realised that he had chosen you because of who you are and not how you look.

It seems to me that you lived in fear that his friends might realise you were somehow not socially acceptable. Look, I’m not going to pretend we don’t live in a world still riven with societal divisions and dotted with snobs, but it’s very sad that you bought into it all so much.

It was your choice to rack up these debts with frivolous spending in an effort to keep up. What a shame and what a waste.

I wonder if your insecurity didn’t somehow contribute to your growing apart.

I’m sure that, deep down, you were trying to compensate for feelings of inadequacy, but you may well have come across as vain and more than a little shallow.

Let’s not even go there on leaving him for someone else.

But we need to find a way through this mess. I think you should see this as a release — and a relief. Finally, now, you can be yourself and stop pretending.

Steph told the reader her ex-boyfriend isn’t being cruel and it’s time she moved on. Pictured: Steph and Dom Parker 

It is time to do a deep analysis of your own behaviour and of what’s important to you. It is not your ex’s fault that his friends are wealthy, that their wives look expensive, and that this made you feel insecure.

He is also guilty here. He has controlled you. You are very clear in your letter that this was his lifestyle, his flat and the rest of it; but if you lived there, then it was your home.

The problem is that you saw him as a prize, not a person, so you allowed it to happen. Yes, he was in control, but every single step of this was your choice. You chose to spend the money, you chose to stay — and then, you chose to go.

And I am glad that you did, as you don’t once talk about love. Your concerns are wholly materialistic, and at a time when the entire country is being hit economically and we are all worried about paying the bills.

Take a long hard look in the mirror — and then look at the rest of the world and see if you really think you’re hard done by.

You asked me to help you stop him being so cruel, but I’m afraid I don’t think he is. It’s time to move on.

DOM SAYS: First up, I’m no lawyer, but you say in your longer letter that in a divorce you would have received a financial settlement, and that the lack of marriage is the problem here.

As I understand it, you both work and, as you have openly told us, you personally contributed nothing to the pot during the relationship and have no children, so it would seem fair to me that nothing is due.

Dom (pictured) said he can’t helping feeling that the woman wouldn’t have written to them, if it had worked out with the man she left her ex for

The lack of marriage may well be the root of the problem here — not financially, but in terms of love and commitment. The ring didn’t come and the wedding didn’t happen, and that must have been for a reason.

I do feel sorry for you because you enjoyed the good times and the kindness and generosity afforded to you, and are now missing the lifestyle to which you had become accustomed.

But I’m afraid my sympathy is limited because I can’t help feeling that, had it worked out with the man you left your ex for, you wouldn’t be writing to us.

You don’t tell us much about him, but I’m assuming that, given that financial security is so important to you, you felt your new chap would provide you with the lifestyle you had previously enjoyed.

You jumped out of the frying pan into the fire — and now the frying pan doesn’t want you back. I can’t help but side with your ex. Evidently he is still hurt. Money does not stop people being hurt, you know! He’d looked after you and been kind to you and you left him for someone else.

With regard to your own finances, you lived well outside your means without any thought to the future. I understand that you did this to fit in, and I’m sorry you felt that was what you needed to do. But it was unwise, and was it really necessary? You weren’t paying rent, council tax, gas, electricity and the rest, so you really should have saved money.

Rest assured, however, that you did the right thing by walking away. The relationship wasn’t good for you despite the financial benefits.

So I commend you for your initial plan and I urge you to follow it through and leave this chap well alone. I’m afraid your credit card bill is yours, not his.

As for future relationships, please bear this in mind. I know women who spend thousands on clothes, hair, make-up and the rest and look OK, and I know women who spend next to nothing and look fantastic.

You may dress to make a man feel good, but he won’t have the foggiest if the frock is M&S or Chanel — and will care even less.

If you have a question you’d like Steph and Dom to tackle, write to: [email protected]

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