Family Relations/Financial advice

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Question
Hello Bruce. I'm increasingly getting more and more frustrated with my fiance. Since she is 24 weeks pregnant and a full-time student, I get that she cannot work a job. So, we are pretty dependent upon my income entirely. I have asked her to obtain food assistance from the state (SNAP, or, food stamps). She has told me on several occasions that her mom has her listed under her household. My fiance is unwilling to apply for food assistance because her mom would then receive less assistance from the state despite she IS living with me and not at home.

I am struggling financially to support her. I have been using my credit more and more just to stay afloat. If she would obtain food assistance, this would greatly ease some of the pressure on me and thus make me rely less on my credit cards. How do I solve this argument? She is putting her mom above our new family I feel. Her mom already received state assistance. I just don't know what to do. My only alternative is to pick up another job. Its just been difficult to find another job that's willing to work around my current job.

Thanks for any help.

Answer
Hi, Jared, thanks for your question. You asked, "How do I solve this argument?"

Well, you have stumbled on one of the main difficulties in relationships - that is, you can request anything you want, but the other person can always say 'no' to your request, and you cannot make them comply with it.

Ultimately, if you never find a way to break thru with the other person, then you have been given an ultimatum - take it or leave it, in effect. IOW, if the other person says no and sticks with it, then YOU have a choice - either let it go, or leave the relationship.

With that said, there are often ways to come to some solution. One thing to do is to ask a lot of questions, while keeping an open mind. See if you can see things from the other person's perspective, see if you can understand why they are doing what they are doing (or not doing). It's hard to do, because usually we don't want to hear the truth.

Ask questions about what it might take for the other person to be willing to do what you want. As long as you are negotiating, as long as the two of you are talking about it, there is always a chance to work it out.

Lastly, IMO, there are always things that people can do to either save money or make money. I don't see getting food stamps as the end-all-be-all here. For example, she could bake cookies and sell them to make money, or cook from scratch to save money. You might consider finding out if she is willing to make that same amount, in some way other than food stamps.

lastly-lastly, consider thinking about how much of a partner she is willing to be. Marriage is nice, but it is very much nicer if the other person is willing to pull their weight. I would consider that you might be forming a financial contract with someone who is not willing to do that - not saying she is, cause I don't know her or you, but it is something to think about - how hard is she willing to work and cooperate? It is much more painful and expensive to find out after one is married.  

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.

Expertise

questions framed similarly to 'what are some ways to respond when someone does/says X' are best. Questions posed in the form of 'why does my father do/say Y', or 'how would you diagnose my mother when she does/says Z' are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. I will probably reframe your question to fit the first question (what do I do). Nay question regarding any family member is fair game. Some of the most difficult are in the area of step-parenting and divorcing families.

Experience

I've been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1994. I've evaluated and/or treated thousands of patients.

Organizations
American Psychological Association Florida Psychological association National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology

Publications
www.bruceborkosky.blogger.com

Education/Credentials
Psy.D., Miami Institute of Psychology, 1993 M.CS., U. of Dayton, 1984 B.A., Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978

Awards and Honors
Award for Years of Dedicated Service, Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society, 1999

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