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Pillage Talk

Recently, my cash has been mysteriously disappearing -- first, from my pants pocket after my girlfriend did laundry. When I asked, she said she’d found a few bucks in the washer, but I realized most of it was still missing. Okay, maybe that time the underpants gnomes took it. Another time, some cash from my wallet was gone. She denied knowing anything. Then, my change jar got mostly emptied. She finally admitted she cashed it in for stuff she needed. Then there are all those times I’ve had to pay her portion of the bills. I’m a college student, and she earns more than I do, even though she goes for low-wage jobs then gets fired. I’ve been waiting and hoping she’d start managing her money better, or look for a better job. Do you think it would help if we didn’t live together? I’m thinking that way she’d learn to save some of her OWN money.

--Dollar Bill

So…if a guy at a concert picks your pocket, do you chase him and try to tackle him, or sit down and ponder whether he just needs an apartment of his own?

It’s bad enough that you have to worry about strangers in Romania phishing your bank account over the Internet. Now you also have to worry that your own girlfriend is phishing your dresser? Of course, you should probably consider yourself lucky if all her larceny is the petty kind. While women typically wait until they marry to take a man’s name, your name may already be appearing on credit cards you’ll only find out about when the repo man is driving away in your car.

You could be checking your credit report for fraud right now -- if only you weren’t so busy making excuses for your girlfriend: She has a bad job! She doesn’t make enough money! There may be demons in the washing machine! Right. There’s a reason it’s the fruit of your labor disappearing, not your Fruit of the Looms. (Ever try to buy earrings with a fistful of tighty-whities?) Cough it up already: Your girlfriend is a thief. She isn’t “finding” money, she isn’t borrowing money, she’s stealing it, plain and simple. On the bright side, she isn’t endangering your life by holding you up at gunpoint, since your gullibility is the only weapon she needs.

Sometimes reality bites, and when it does, the answer isn’t reaching down to pet it and give it a biscuit. Sure, you really, really want to believe there’s a loving relationship in there somewhere -- perhaps because you’ve already put so much time into believing that. Or, perhaps you think admitting your girlfriend doesn’t love you means admitting you’re unlovable or undeserving of love. The truth is, you might be quite lovable, but you’ll never find out as long you’re with a woman whose idea of a 50/50 relationship involves lifting $50 from your wallet, then cashing in another $50 from your change jar.

Getting your girlfriend to move out will change one thing -- her address. While management companies do give away a lot of amenities to lure new renters, ethics and ambition aren’t among them. You can have a woman who shares your values, provided that you keep looking until you actually find one. If it makes you feel better, consider the money this woman filched a course fee of sorts: a lesson to avoid ignoring the disconnect between what you have and what you really want -- which, presumably, isn’t a girlfriend who can’t keep her hands off your hard…earned cash.

Posted by aalkon at March 14, 2007 10:46 AM


Yet another dude payin for kitty when you can go to the shelter and get it at a discount.

Posted by: PurplePen at March 14, 2007 11:14 AM

Excellent advice. Let's all remember that criminals keep on doing crimes because they think they can get away with it. This girlfriend should had received the boot a while ago.

Posted by: Toubrouk at March 14, 2007 1:01 PM

Saw this one in the paper - loved the response.
How could anyone consider staying with someone so dishonest. If she's pettily stealing the author's cash (and lying about it to boot) What else is she manipulating out of him?
Ditch the bitch.

Posted by: Jaime at March 14, 2007 7:43 PM

Thanks, Jaime. It's amazing when people throw good money and time after bad -- but it's a pretty common human psychological error. Click the link I put in my answer above -- it leads to a Wikipedia entry about what's called "The Concorde Effect" or "Concorde Fallacy," or "sunk cost fallacy," where people have a propensity to base their action on what they've already invested rather than whether a situation will actually pay off. The reference to the Concorde relates to the fact that the investors realized while the Concorde was being built, that it would never earn a profit, but kept going nevertheless because they were so far in already. People hate to admit they've wasted their time or behaved foolishly.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 14, 2007 7:50 PM

Sheesh. I think I'd make sure everything was secure before I asked her to leave. Then I'd change the locks and all my passwords.

Posted by: Norman at March 15, 2007 4:40 AM

Your "reaching down to pet it comment", was priceless! Great advice. This guy should consider himself lucky that learned his lesson so inexpensively, imagine if he permitted the relationship to progress only to be greeted at the door by his wife one day to find the credit cards maxed out, house mortgaged and his PC at the hock shop!

Posted by: Ger at March 15, 2007 7:53 AM

Ah, sunk costs. Ignore 'em, people, ignore 'em. Also known as "throwing good money after bad."

As for the column...geez, I feel guilty when a guy keeps buying me dinner without letting me chip in. Not sure how someone gets to "stealing my boyfriend's money outright is A-okay!"

Posted by: marion at March 15, 2007 8:19 AM

SHE has petty jobs that she gets fired from, yet makes more $$$ than he does, and he still ends up paying her share of the bills... and he has to ASK if he should ditch her as a roommate?? Would he tolerate this from any roommate he wasn't nailing?

Posted by: Morbideus at March 15, 2007 9:33 AM

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