Do I have to split living expenses with my high-earning boyfriend?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and are discussing moving in, but first we want to figure out how our finances will work. I make $50,000 a year—about half of what he pulls in. He thinks we should split the bills 50-50, but that seems a bit unfair to me. Am I being cheap and old-fashioned, or is there something to be said about contributing relative to salary? —Splitting Headache, Annex

It all depends on the lifestyle your boyfriend expects the two of you to lead once you’re co-habiting. If your half of the rent, utilities, etc. will fit reasonably within your salary, an even split seems square. But if he has his sights set on a lakefront penthouse and weekly Whole Foods deliveries, he needs to pony up for the extravagance: you shouldn’t have to bust your budget to entertain his high-life fantasies. Before you shack up, make a monthly budget and see how closely your spending expectations align. A proportional split on the frills, if not every expense, might be a good compromise.

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