My boyfriend of two years wants to go to the Maldives and asked how much I would be able to cover. I told him I’m not paying. He told me how his exes paid half for trips, but I’m like, why chip in if he makes more than double my income? The conversation caught me off guard. Should this be a red flag? —Anonymous
Yes. It is a red flag—for him. I’m unclear why you would expect your boyfriend to pay for your vacation outright. If a guy wants to be generous and treat you to a trip, that’s awesome. But to feel entitled to being paid for by a boyfriend? That’s nuts. He isn’t your husband or your dad. (And they aren’t obligated to pay, either, but the suggestion that they pay isn’t as crazy.)
I’m further unclear exactly why you’ve brought up his salary as a means to justify why you won’t contribute to a trip. It doesn’t seem that you are aware that his money is not your money. Y’all ain’t married. He isn’t obligated to cover your expenses for anything. Again, nice if he does. But to feel entitled to his money being spent on you?
Your boyfriend seems to be aware that the financial scales aren’t balanced. He suggested a trip and asked how much you would be able to contribute. If you wanted to see the Maldives—one of the most beautiful places on earth—your answer should have been, “Let me check my budget.” Or you could have suggested covering the flights. (The real cost of the trip is the luxury accommodations.) Or you could have suggested covering anything, something, one thing, so you didn’t seem so entitled, which is an ugly trait.
He didn’t ask you for half, a request some women would have a real problem with. There’s an idea that “half is for homeboys” and that a man who makes more should cover the lion’s share of the trip with his significant other. I don’t really see a problem with paying half—a lot of married couples split their expenses that way. But if you’re offended by the idea of half, how about you try to be equitable? He pays two-thirds of the trip, which would be double your expenses, just like his income.
All that said, your man isn’t off the hook here. After two years in a relationship, he should know not to compare his current lady with his exes. It seems he did so after you balked at contributing to the trip and he was informing you of how the finances of his couples trips worked in the past.
And yet, he’s still wrong. Every relationship has its own rules. Telling your current what your exes used to do is begging for an argument. It’s not a red flag, but it is distasteful. You should address it by reminding him that he’s in a relationship with you, not his exes. Then you should offer to pay for something, if you’re actually interested in this trip.
If you’re not interested in this destination and that’s why you don’t feel you should pay, then say you’re not interested and suggest somewhere else you’re more into. If you don’t have the money to go on this trip and you’re trying to hide that, stop it and just be honest. If you genuinely think that you, a grown woman with a job, should not be expected to pay anything on a vacation, then you need to go find a boyfriend who shares your outlook.
It’s pretty clear that your boyfriend doesn’t intend to pay your full way on this trip. And it’s clear that the Maldives is a place he wants to see. I should also caution you not to be surprised if he goes without you. And you can’t even be mad about that. Just as he’s not obligated to pay for your vacations, he’s also not obligated to go on vacation only with you. Your sense of entitlement and your refusal to be reasonable are going to have you watching this trip of a lifetime on your man’s Instagram feed.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. She is also a blogger at SeeSomeWorld.com, where she covers pop culture and travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “He Proposed, but Now He Wants to Go to Counseling Before Planning the Wedding”