Hey, Bonita!

Bait-and-Switch Vacay

Hey Bonita,

I recently went on vacation with my boyfriend’s family. The context of this vacation is: my boyfriend and I have been together for not quite a year (but we’re very serious), and when I was invited, my boyfriend told me not to worry about the expenses because everything was covered. This was already a worry for me, because I’m kind of struggling through the summer and waiting on financial relief at the start of the semester. It was also a pretty spur-of-the-moment invite, so I didn’t plan for a vacation at all. Fast forward to the very first night—we all went to a very nice dinner, and when the check came, his family kind of split things up, so I got left with my own check. My boyfriend jumped right on it and rearranged things to put our checks together for him to pay and told me not to worry. What the vacation turned into was his family picking and choosing all the activities, places to eat, etc. and not covering me at all. Sometimes I scrambled together ways to pay for myself, sometimes my boyfriend picked it up, but he never brought up anything to his family that I’m aware of. I came home even MORE broke and now also super embarrassed. I don’t know what to say or how to approach my boyfriend about what happened, and now I’m also super uncomfortable around his family. I never wanted anyone to think I was using them or expected to be taken care of, but that’s how the whole vacation was framed to me.


Hey Anon,

Your boyfriend obviously did not address this issue with his family beforehand, and I get the feeling that they probably didn’t know he had told you “not to worry about it” when he invited you. Describing this as an “all expenses covered” vacation is definitely inaccurate here, and I think he knew that off the jump. I get a sense of a guy who loves you and wanted you to come on this trip with his family, so he told you whatever you needed to hear so you’d agree to join them. It looks like covering both of your expenses wasn’t super easy for him, and he likely knew that would be the case before you came. He’s just walking into it all heart-first and thinking that love will win the day, but his actions still had you looking like a bum in front of his family, and your feelings about it all are valid. Love is real, but so is money, and you can’t pay for dinner with love, so don’t go to places that cost money and expect love to somehow suffice. I also get the sense that he knew better than to stick your expenses with his family, so he jumped in, but only when he could, and the fact that he didn’t do that every single time is super problematic in terms of the promise he made to get you to come with him—that all expenses were covered. Simply put, he should not have invited you on this family vacation knowing everything he knew—that you couldn’t afford it and that he couldn’t either.

Sorry, but all of this is on your man. This is some “good guy” behavior that is decidedly not good, and you’re the one paying the price (literally). He definitely owes you an apology, but I also don’t think that this is a huge deal. This doesn’t point to any overarching issues besides him possibly being a people-pleaser who will make impossible promises to the people he loves. He had no business telling you not to worry if he wasn’t going to hand you a wad of cash as soon as y’all hopped off the plane—dude, you got your lady embarrassed to be around your family now because of this! Honestly, he owes apologies all around. I’m sure his family was anxious about the possibility of having to pay for an extra person’s good time, and that had to put the chill on things to a degree. In the future, you need to be an active participant in all trip planning, and you should absolutely make sure that you can pay your own way.

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