Q. My husband and I have been building a house. We signed a contract after returning from our honeymoon.
I make a quarter of what he makes (in the nonprofit sector), and I have lived frugally in hopes of having my own home someday. My husband owns his own home, so he’s bringing the equity from the sale of that home to the purchase of our new house. I have cash assets, and we agreed that I would bring 25 percent of the cost of the new home to the table.
Additionally, he wants me to front his portion of our new house ($130,000) until his house sells, and then he will pay me back. Normally, I would do this without blinking an eye, but my husband revealed something about his character that filled me with distrust.
His father sent us a Christmas check as a gift. According to instructions in the card, each of us was to receive $100. My husband never gave me the portion that was allocated to me. I mustered up the courage to ask him about it, but he brushed it off. This seems like a small thing, but it has bigger implications.
Amy, what happens if I loan him $130,000 and he doesn’t pay me back? This is a large portion of my retirement savings. I feel like a jerk asking him to sign a promissory note, but I feel I can’t front him this money without having him sign one first.
Am I justified in asking him to sign this note? He’s pushing for the loan. A realtor has told us that he should ask for four to five days seller possession after close, so we can stay in his house until ours is ready — and directly bring his cash from the sale to the new house’s closing.
A. Your husband’s choice to withhold that $100 definitely has longer-term consequences. You should pursue getting a legal post-nup agreement, outlining the details of this home deal and clarifying other financial matters.
In my view, you shouldn’t loan him such a large sum, but should take your realtor’s advice to put his money from the sale directly into the new house.
If you end up deciding to front his portion of the new house money as well as contribute yours, you will own the new house until he pays for his portion and can add his name to the deed.
This money represents all of your retirement nest egg; if you are going to plow it all into this house, you should have a solid paper trail.
Also, if you two are having a house built, in addition to the sums you will both contribute, you should consider how to handle the (almost inevitable) cost overruns.
Q. During the pandemic I have been reflecting on my life and have come to realize that I want to get married and have kids. Unfortunately, dating apps are not working out for me. What else can I do?
Also — at the end of the pandemic, would it be OK to look at every passing stranger in hopes of meeting someone I could spend the rest of my life with?
WOULD LOVE SOME LOVE
A. During my almost 20 years of adult singlehood, I often wondered if I would only meet that special someone if I hit him with my car. So yes, I give you permission to glance at every passing stranger (discreetly, please!) in hopes of making a match.
You will learn, however, that wishing will not make it so.
You should shift your focus from “marrying” to “matching.” Consider online matching as a way to get out there and practice. You will no doubt meet others who are also tiptoeing back into the world — rusty, perhaps, but willing.
You could use a dating coach to brush up your matching profile in order to present your very best side and see you through the process.
Q. No, no, no — you were so off base in your response to “Embarrassed Gran,” whose 17-year-old grandson slept with his baby blanket and a stuffed toy while he was visiting.
That is a very weird thing to do and that dude is going to be bullied relentlessly if he ever goes to college.
A. One reader (whose parents worried about her desire to take her “lovey” to college) quoted her own grandmother, who said, “She’s smart enough to hide it and confident enough not to hide it. She’ll figure it out.”
Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.