DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend for two years. He is applying to graduate school, while I am applying to medical school.
He's wonderful and we talk often about marriage and our future. Both of us have student loan debt, which we are aggressively working to pay down, pulling long hours at work.
My problem is, he thinks nothing of planning weeks-long, extravagant vacations for us. I make twice what he does, but I prefer saving for the obvious debt in my future and taking shorter, less-expensive vacations. He relies on his "strategic financial planning" to compensate for his "I want it all, and I want it now" personality.
When I express my hesitancy to go on these long trips based on my personal finances, he offers to pay for everything, which makes me feel like a cheapskate, since I could technically pay for us both easily. Am I unreasonable in saying I'm uncomfortable with either of us spending thousands of dollars that would be better spent setting up our future together? -- VACATION SCROOGE
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DEAR SCROOGE: Oh, how I wish you had revealed more information about your boyfriend's "strategic financial planning" because I'm sure many people would be very interested. However, if he's investing in the stock market, he should know that it's like an elevator -- investments not only can go up, but they also can come down, and there are no guarantees regarding investment results.
Before this relationship goes further, I URGE you and your boyfriend to seek not only couples counseling but also financial counseling. Few things are more destructive to a marriage than money woes, and you both need someone to explain exactly what the philosophy of "I want it all, and I want it now" will mean for your future.
DEAR ABBY: I'm having a problem with my boyfriend's friend "Chuck." Chuck constantly does things like open a door on me (which has left bruises), run into me "by accident" (which caused me to trip) or "accidentally" push me into the water. My boyfriend already knows I have strong reservations about his friend's character, and it upsets him because Chuck is a childhood friend.
I don't like to bring it up as often as these incidents occur, but I'm worried that one day I'll finally lose my temper and be accused of making a big deal out of nothing when it's obviously something. How can I make Chuck stop before something happens? -- UNCOMFORTABLE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Has it occurred to you that Chuck may be jealous of the time you and his friend spend together, and may be punishing you because he feels you have taken his friend away from him? I suggest this because that's the way he has been acting -- literally trying to "push" you out of the picture. I see nothing wrong with telling your boyfriend about EVERYthing Chuck has "accidentally" done to you, and then letting him deal with his friend's insecurities.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.