Donkeys Aren't Thoroughbreds

Deborah is a new mom who is considering bankruptcy. She has $20,000 in debt and has been dependent on her boyfriend the last several months. She's ready to take over and take care of herself and her child.

QUESTION: Deborah in Nebraska is a new mom who is considering bankruptcy. She has $20,000 in debt and has been dependent on her boyfriend the last several months. He isn’t good with money, and she’s ready to take over and take care of herself and her child. Dave suggests moving back in with her parents to get back on her feet.

ANSWER: Here’s the problem: It changes the scenario if you guys are going to be together and he’s going to be responsible.

I’m going to be your big brother for a minute. Don’t live with a guy—have babies with a guy—who won’t take care of you and marry you.

I don’t know exactly how to advise you. I don’t think you’re bankrupt, but I don’t hear your plan yet. What is your plan for your life? Are you and this guy going to get married and ride off into the sunset together and you’re going to work really hard together to raise this kid and clean up your debts and you have a career and he has a career, and why couldn’t we do that? Is that an okay plan?

Let’s not file bankruptcy today. If you have to quit paying your credit cards and everything else, just quit paying them. They’re not going to do anything for a while. It’s going to destroy your credit, but so does bankruptcy if you have to do that.

I think you need to live with your parents for a little while to get back on your feet. I think you need to do that because I think you need to map out a better plan for your future instead of us trying to make this donkey you call a boyfriend into a thoroughbred. I’m not sure this guy—no matter how many times you comb him—is going to have straight hair here. I just don’t think it’s going to work out.

I do not want to be mean to you. You’re hurting and you’re scared, but I’m trying to be fatherly or brotherly to you, and I’m hearing that you’re 0-2 on picking men. And I’m scared for you in that regard. I don’t want you to try to make this guy who’s 35 years old and he still hasn’t grown up be the father to this kid. I’d rather you guys at least put some space between you, and let’s see if he grows up. Then you start putting your own financial house in order under your parents’ roof to get back moving again a little bit—not as a permanent thing but for six months or so. Let’s see how that goes.