What to Do When Your Ex Owes 

What to Do When Your Ex Owes 

Dear Dategirl:

Am I allowed to ask my newly ex-girlfriend for the money she owes me, or do I just write it off? She was strapped a few times, and I gave her some cash. Four hundred dollars, to be exact.

She is mostly breaking up with me by attrition, which kind of pisses me off. In fact, it’s pretty lame, and for all I know she is seeing someone else. But one strives to be a mensch, even if at the end of the day I feel like she took advantage of my generous nature. She’s a corporate lawyer, so paying me back shouldn’t be a hardship. I’m a writer and don’t have $400 to burn, but part of me is afraid of coming off like a cheap Jew. So should I bring up the money she owes me, or just be happy I got to fuck a hot shiksa and walk away?

—Parsimonious in Parsippany

Jew, schmew—of course you should ask for your money back! More to the point, that hot shiksa should be embarrassed she hasn’t paid you back already. And, what the hell: a lawyer borrowing money from a writer? Is it opposites day, or is this broad hiding some kind of major coke habit? I was under the impression that lawyers make in an hour what we pen jockeys make in a day (or sometimes a week).

I have an ex known far and wide as Kelvin With the Cat on His Head, due to his flirtation with dirty white-boy dreadlocks. (Lopped off before we hooked up.) Dating KWTCOHH was a ginormous lapse of judgment, so when we broke up and he showed zero inclination toward paying me back the couple hundred bucks he’d “borrowed,” this was not a surprise. I mean, the guy lived in a firetrap basement boarding house with a dozen illegal Polish immigrants, and was incapable of holding any sort of meaningful employment. I looked at the money he absconded with as a sort of stupid tax I paid to the universe. But this chick is a lawyer! It’s not as though she’s doing pro bono work with battered women or blind orphans, either—she works in corporate law. This bitch makes bank.

Look, there are losses in most any breakup. Pride and dignity occasionally fall by the wayside. Depending on how things end, your favorite T-shirt may end its life mopping up cat vomit. But $400? Completely unacceptable. That’s as if she borrowed your car and “forgot” to return it. Or at least your moped.

However, just because she should pay you back doesn’t mean she will. I know if I were blowing off some guy I’d been banging, he would’ve been paid back, like, yesterday, but apparently I’m a better shiksa than she. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she’s forgotten about it, or perhaps she just feels weird getting back in touch since she’s been so shockingly rude. I suggest writing her a nice, nonconfrontational e-mail saying you understand that things don’t always work out and you’re fine with that. However, could she please drop a check in the mail because your motherfucking mortgage/rent ain’t gonna pay itself?

The shitty part is, unless she signed a promissory note, there’s not much else you can do besides ask a couple times. And even then, is it really worth going to small-claims court? Hopefully she’ll do the right thing. Otherwise, I recommend calling on a much more powerful Judy: Judge Judy.


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