'My partner makes more than me – but refuses to pay more of our bills'

Em Clarkson is here to solve all your problems.

Well, sort of.

As Metro’s agony aunt the influencer, author and content creator (busy much?) is primed and ready to be a sympathetic ear, an oracle of wisdom or, quite simply, a stand-in for that girl in the nightclub bathroom you share your thoughts and dreams with while waiting in line.

While she stresses she’s no alternative for therapy, Em is keen to talk through any quandary.

This week, she’s helping Metro readers navigate splitting finances, safe sex, and re-framing thoughts on dating.

Read on to find out what Em has to say…

Am I the arsehole that my partner’s income is three times mine, but he refuses to split the household bills anything other than 50/50?

You are not the arsehole, IMO. If you were living alone, you’d live within the means available to you and as such would probably end up living with others in a similar position. As would your partner. Which means if the two of you are going to live together: one of you is going to have to compromise.

Realistically though, only one of you is in a position to, and that’s him.

He can live below his means, but you can’t really live above yours. Which means if he wants you living as he does, he’s going to need to subsidise it.

Fair doesn’t always look like 50/50, particularly in relationships and with the cost-of-living crisis being what it is, I’d argue a fairer way of living would be that you’d pay proportionately in accordance with your differing salaries. At the very least, because your partner should really be there to make your life better, not harder. (And before anyone accuses me of being a bad feminist, I’d contend this is applicable in most loving relationships between people of any gender).

What do I do about guys refusing to wear condoms the first time you sleep with them…

This is one of the fundamentals of consent and refusing to wear a condom after you’ve asked him to, is recognised colloquially as ‘stealthing’.

This is where a man either removes a condom without his partner knowing or lies about having put one on, and it constitutes rape. With that in mind I’m leaving the number for Rape Crisis UK below and sending you lots of love and strength.

You know this already but the risks that come from unprotected sex are high and you deserve better than any man who would prioritise a few moments of increased pleasure on his part, over your safety and critically, your consent.

Ask Em Clarkson: Your questions answered

I’m 17, he’s 31… Am I too young to tell him I have feelings for him?

‘I look in the mirror and see my mother – I can’t stand it’

‘My boyfriend subscribed to Only Fans – how can I move past it?’

‘I’m 34 and I’ve lost all interest in sex…’

‘I’m scared my thinning boyfriend will give me the ick if he goes bald…’

‘Do I tell my new partner I’m a 30-year-old virgin?’

‘My fiancé is not attracted to me – how do I get past this?’

‘Do we settle down or go travelling?’

How to reframe dating thoughts to ‘what do I want?’ and not ‘will they like me?’

Ultimately, I think you need to look forward to your life in a year’s time, picture you’re coming from work to the home that you share with this person: are you happy that they are there? Have they respected your time and space? Cooked or done the laundry? How do you feel arriving back to them? Like you can be honest about the crappy day that you’ve had? Or do you feel like you need to put your own needs second in order to keep them happy? Do you feel comfortable in your skin? Do they make you feel beautiful? Even though you’ve been on a sweaty underground for an hour and have makeup down your face and ever so slightly smell? Do you feel that they love you for you? Or do you think that they like the parts of you you’ve shown to them?

Visualise the life that YOU want for yourself and see if you can see this person in it. Because if you can’t, or you can, but only if you’d compromise any of the stipulations that make your life one that you enjoy, then this is not the person you want to be wasting any time on.

We have been conditioned to prioritise likability at the expense of pretty much all else, but you don’t need to be liked. You need to be loved and respected and mostly you need to be happy.

So, the reframe starts with a simple switch from ‘will they like me’ to the question I wish we asked ourselves so much more: ‘do I even like them?’

Want to ask Em Clarkson a question?

With nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram and a reputation as one of the more honest influencers out there, Em is often asked for advice in her DMs. Now, she wants to do the same in Metro, as our newest columnist.

No topic is off limits. So if you’ve a question for her agony aunt series, email [email protected].

Have you been affected by this storyline? Rape Crisis can help…

You can find information, support and advice by visiting Rape Crisis. 0808 802 999 is the confidential helpline number.

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