Thursday, September 8, 2011

Should I Lend My Boyfriend Money?

I'd like to make something very clear here:

If you feel so uncomfortable about lending your boyfriend money that you are asking Google, you probably have a good reason for your discomfort.  Chances are you feel uncomfortable about other things as well.  First read this blog (Should I let my boyfriend move in with me?)

Here is how to say "NO":
The next time he asks to borrow money, say any of these things:

  • "It's not the right thing for me."  If he keeps asking, keep saying that as firmly as you can.  You can vary it occasionally with "It just doesn't feel right for me right now."
  • "It would make me happy if your plans included living within your means."
  • "Does your love for me depend on me loaning you money?"  (May as well put your deepest fears on the table. If the answer is "yes," that could be useful information for you.)
  • "I will lend you more money, as soon as you pay back the $1500 you currently owe me."
You don't need to give an excuse.  It's your money, you earned it, and you are saving it for whatever you want to save it for.  It's your money.  You might need it for your education, your future, your children's education, a home, a vacation, food, clothes, a new computer -- it doesn't matter.  

On the other hand, if you feel you have to lend him money for some reason, add this:  "I will lend you money if you agree that first we will look at your total financial situation together and agree to a budget that includes paying me back."

If you'd like to read more on this topic, please visit here.

If you are still wondering, I like what this website has to say on this topic.  

Is that answer helpful to you?  I'd very much like to know because this post seems to receive many more visits than any other question in this blog of questions.   Do you just want permission to say no?  Well you have permission.  Say no, and see what happens.  Venture outside your safety zone.

Note:  I'm not saying nobody should lend their boyfriend money ever.  I'm just saying that if you are asking Google for permission to say no, you have it.

You are not alone.  At least 50 people a week find this blog by asking Google about lending money to boyfriends.  Originally, my answer was pretty light, but when I saw that people were genuinely troubled by pressure to lend money, I thought it might be useful to give a more serious answer.  Here is my original blog:

Women often ask me, "Should I lend my boyfriend money?"  (Men also puzzle about loans to lovers.)

Shakespeare, via Polonius said "no":  "Neither a borrower nor a lender be/For loan oft loses both itself and friend/And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry" (Hamlet, I, iii, 75-77).  Polonius is saying if you lend money you will lose both the money and the friend and if you have to borrow money, you are not being thrifty.

Loni Anderson in WKRP in Cincinnati said "no."  When Dr. Johnny Fever asks her for a loan, she says, "I never lend money to a man.  It makes me lose respect for him."

My girlfriend V.F. said, "yes."  Her friend, a boy named for a blind underground rodent, paid her back.  But he was a "friend" (with occasional benefits) but not a "boyfriend."  I imagine she'd lend money again. 

My mother said, "absolutely not."  She lent money to a male friend for laser eye surgery.   She saw him occasionally for companionship, but he was not a "boyfriend." The surgery was unsuccessful and, when he paid her back, his cheque bounced.  His eye surgery and bounced cheque helped her to see him more clearly.

I tend to agree with Polonius.  When I am capable and motivated to lend money to someone in need, I don't expect it back.  If I needed it back, I probably would not lend it in the first place.  Every relationship is a deal, even our relationship to money.


  1. When you borrow money, there are many ways to reciprocate the favour. Cook a dinner, babysit, (though most people frown upon using babies for seating arrangements), help with errands... it is not about borrowing money, it is about the terms of the loan... beware of SHARKS

  2. I have lent money to my sister ; which I didn't expect back, my friend ; which I kind of did but accepted the debt in some cash some household items and the rest just wait and see , and my boyfriend ; which I always expect back. My partner tries to make it seem like my money is our money, but is very tight with his money. I have said no when I didn't have any spare and awkwardly yes when I did. I'm not sure why I feel so awkward, but am worried it may be making me lose respect for him.