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'I won a free car. My boyfriend and his family think I'll give it to him for free.' UPDATED

'I won a free car. My boyfriend and his family think I'll give it to him for free.' UPDATED


Communication is everything in a relationship, but that doesn't mean it's always easy.

In a popular post on the Relationships subreddit, a woman asked for advice on how to handle her boyfriend's family's assumptions after she won a new car. She wrote:

"I [23F] won a free car. My boyfriend [25M] and his family seem to think I'll give it to him for free."

So I (23F) won a brand new compact car in a raffle I entered a few weeks ago at a trade show I was at for work. Which is awesome, but I already have an older car that I really like, and I just finished paying it off, so I can finally pay the cheaper liability only insurance. My car still has a lot of life on it, it only has about 100k miles, and if I were to choose a brand new car it would not be the one that I won.

I did some research, and after taxes and shipping I can make about 14-15k from selling the car. That money would be an incredible just start after graduating college, it would more than triple my savings. My boyfriend [25m] of a little over a year has been without a car for a few months.

He's been struggling a bit financially so he hasn't gotten a new one yet, but he can walk to the grocery store, he gets a ride to work, and I drive anywhere else. It's worked out fine and I really don't mind, he helps out with gas and driving. For background, he lives with friends, I live with my dad for free, so I'm able to save up money.

I definitely see a future with him, but we aren't at the point where we've talked about moving in together yet, but we are very serious. I went to a gathering at his parents' house last night, (his whole family has been wonderful and welcoming to me) and everyone congratulated me on winning the car.

But everyone, including my boyfriend, seemed to think the logical and obvious step was to either give it to my boyfriend, or give him my car and keep the new one. I don't plan to do either of these things. It would be different if we were married or living together and our money was mixed together, but it's not, we aren't at that point in the relationship yet.

I don't want to give him what would essentially be $15,000 in cash. It doesn't make any sense. If I'd won the money instead there wouldn't be any talk of just giving it all to him. That car and the resulting money should be mine, it's not my responsibility to provide him with a free car, whether it be my $5000 car that I really like, or this brand new one.

For the dinner at his family's house I just stayed quiet because I was so shocked at their assumption and didn't want to rip it away from him in front of his entire extended family. How do I break this to him and his family that this car and the money from it is not in any way his?

TL;DR I won a car in contest and plan to sell it to boost my savings. My boyfriend of just over a year and his entire extended family seem to assume I would just give him the car because he doesn't have one, which is not happening.

Redditors had a lot to say in response.

Falxen wrote:

"Hey... so I didn't want to make a scene with your family, but just to be clear here, my plan with the car that I won is to sell it for cash and use that to get a good start on life."

"I'm not sure where anyone got the impression that I'd just be handing over the equivalent of $15,000 in cash, but that's not something that's going to be happening and I wanted to make sure that we were on the same page about that."

Hopefully he'll accept that gracefully, it won't be a big deal, and you'll move forward together normally.

If he does kick up a fuss about you giving him a car, you're going to have to make a decision about whether that kind of entitlement is something that you want to be in a relationship with. You're right that if you were married, or even had lived together for several years with joint finances, the situation might have been different... but the two of you don't even live together yet.

Him expecting a multi-thousand dollar gift as his by right of dating you is a bit much. Just stand your ground. If he says something like he'll make payments to you for the car, then advise him that you'll be willing to sell the new car to him for the full value if he will take out a loan so that he's making payments to the bank rather than you.

You don't want to be in the position of having to collect money from him either in or outside of a relationship. Don't sell him your old car as you don't want to keep the new car and it would just be a way of getting less cash to keep something that you don't care for.

Dire87 wrote:

How do you break this to him? Is he ACTUALLY expecting you to give you the car? If he is, he's seriously out of touch of reality here. As you've said, you're not living together, you have no shared accounts, you're in no way obligated to do this, so just tell him that, see how he reacts. If he reacts in a mature way and not butthurt at all, then you might consider staying with him.

If he acts all entitled and aggressive, you might wanna think this relationship over. His whole family seems to be deluded. Not to mention that depending on where you live, even a "present" of that magnitude is applicable for taxes.

And not to mention he has to actually pay for insurance, fees, repairs, etc. and it seems the car is not THAT cheap to maintain, so if he is already struggling financially, what use has he of an expensive car? I own a car in that price range and the overhead is comparatively massive.

What you could offer is to sell the car and give him a loan, but that rarely ever works out well, or you could actually "rent" him the car (usually if you take out insurance on a second car it gets a lot cheaper, even if someone else drives it, it's what I'm doing atm), but you'd definitely need to make a contract and I feel like he's not into that, and neither is his family.

OP responded:

Yeah and that's all such an unnecessary complicated thing to do, when it'd be much more sense for him to get a 3-4k car that he can afford and have cheaper insurance on. And if he was going to spend all that money on a loan for a really nice new car he might as well get to pick it out and get something he likes, not just this one that was dropped in our laps.

morgan423 wrote:

There are times when a human being thinks or assumes something so bizarre that my only thought is, "How did you arrive at this conclusion? Seriously, explain to me what your thought process was." Your boyfriend hit that level here.

OP responded:

Haha that was what was racing through my head for about 4 hours last night while I had to pretend everything was okay.

teenlinethisisnitro wrote:

But if you "gave" him the car, he'd have to pay the taxes and shipping on it out of pocket, which I'm sure is money he doesn't have. Right? So does he propose that you cover those costs as well?

OP responded:

Exactly. There was no mention of who's paying the taxes, which are going to be several thousand dollars, which he could just use to buy a reasonable used car in his price range. Paying the taxes alone would wipe out my current savings, plus I'd need more expensive insurance on the car, which he also couldn't afford. Like I said, their assumptions make absolutely no sense.

Maigraith wrote:

Be careful, you might owe taxes for the car. You'll get a 1099-misc for it. So not only would you be out the money for the car but you could potentially owe quite a bit just for winning it. Tell his family no, you still have to pay for it even though it's "free."

OP responded:

Yeah that was through the math my financial planner brother did, so I trust him on that estimate. The cars msrp is a little over 22k.

A few days later, OP jumped on with an update.

TL;DR: of original: I just found out I won a new car in a raffle I entered at a work function. I plan to sell the car to make about $14,000 but at my boyfriend's family gathering everyone seemed to assume I'd give him the car because he doesn't have one.


So the day after the family gathering where everyone assumed I'd just let my boyfriend use the car for free I had to drive into the city where I won the car to sign a bunch of paperwork and pay some fees.

We both had the day off so I texted my boyfriend and asked if he'd like to come along so we could walk around the city and go out to eat afterwards. He agreed and I picked him up. We hadn't talked about the night before at all.

He asked general questions about what it was I had to do today, and I explained that and then I explained how the taxes on the car were going to be several thousand dollars, but luckily I could cover them with my savings until I got the money for selling the car, and hopefully it would come out to around 14-15k, based on my brother's calculations.

He was quiet for a minute and asked "You don't want to keep it?" and I said no, that I was happy with the older bigger car I currently have, it better suits our needs and I can pay cheaper insurance on it because its paid off. He said that he didn't realize the taxes would be so much. It was awkward in the car for a moment and I finally just asked, "Did your family think I'd give you the car to use?"

He said his mom told everyone right before I got there that "we" (meaning bf and I) won the car and that he'd finally have something to drive. He said that he didn't think I'd do that, but he assumed I'd want to keep the new car simply because it was new, and that maybe I'd let him use my old car if he took over the insurance payments.

But then he very quickly said that he did not realize the taxes would be more than a few hundred dollars. I guess his train of thought makes sense given what he assumed about the cost. He agreed that it made the most sense to sell the new car.

I asked if he was going to explain that to his mother, and he said that he would, and that she views the two of us like a married couple already, because she wants that so badly for him and has been heavily pressuring him to propose to me. That I did not know. Neither of us are at a point where we're even remotely ready for that, we're happy with where we are right now.

He promised he'd talk to his mom and explain everything to his family and that he wouldn't let any of them think less of me (I was worried about that). So he waited patiently while I dealt with the company running the raffle (it ended up taking over three hours) and then we had a nice time strolling around the city and I treated us to a very nice dinner.

TL;DR: Talked to bf the next day, he thought maybe I'd let him use my old car, but it was his mom who told everyone that "we" won the car and that he'd be using it. He agreed the best choice was to sell it and we had a nice time out on the town :)

Redditors had a lot to say in response to the update.

apple_kicks wrote:

if he really needs a car, might be time to work out a plan to save up for one or see how much second hand car would be in the area.

OP responded:

He's been trying to save up for a car in the 3-5k range, he just wants to be able to pay for it in full so he doesn't have to pay for full insurance. He's not in a massive rush to get a car because we've found that it isn't absolutely vital that he has one, it would just be nice if he did.

His work slows way down in the winter so he's been struggling a bit, but he expects to do really well this summer so he hopes to have a nice used car comparable to my own car by the end of the summer.

artfulwench wrote:

So glad to hear this, OP!

I think I've spent too much time on this sub - I was expecting him to have a fit and break up if he didn't get the car.

thaissiaht wrote:

Hooray for effective communication!

chainplatinum wrote:

So what you're tell us is all you had to do was talk to one another and you world didn't combust? I've heard this story before...

OP responded:

Sorry it wasn't crazy dramatic, figured some people would still be interested in an update.

This ended surprisingly wholesome, good on OP and her BF for communicating.

Sources: Reddit
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