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Woman Won’t Return Money Ex Mistakenly Sent That He’d Saved For Girlfriend’s Engagement Ring

men looking at engagement rings
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“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” is a line from Act 1, Scene 3 of Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The character Polonius is giving advice to his son Laertes as he is going off to college.

But stuff happens in life and most people at one time or another require a loan or a line of credit. Which means someone has to be a lender.

The full line is:

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”

Essentially, Polonius is warning his son that lending money to friends or family is full of risks to both finances and relationships. And routinely borrowing money to pay for life’s regular expenses doesn’t build a habit of taking personal responsibility.

In that context, it’s sound advice.

But what about lending money to your ex? Is that ever a good idea?


A woman dealing with the fallout of collecting some of the money her ex-husband owes her thanks to an error on his part turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Rare-temp asked:

“AITA for not returning money my ex-husband sent to me mistakenly?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“A few days ago my ex-husband mistakenly transferred two payments of 8,700 and 9,275 to me. He did this at around 7:40 in the morning and I didn’t notice because I had just worked a double/night shift and was getting ready for bed.”

“So my phone was charging on the nightstand. At the same time, our 4 children were at my parents so I planned to sleep away half the day.”

“I guess he realized his mistake around 8:30 a.m., and by then, I was dead asleep. I woke up at around 4 p.m. to at least a hundred missed calls and maybe 150 texts asking and begging me to send him back the money.”

“My initial thoughts were to send it back, but then I remembered he owed me 12,000 and hasn’t payed me back. The money was loaned to him after our divorce.”

“We’ve been divorced for 7 years and I loaned him the money 4 years ago after he lost his job and fell behind on bills and his rent. This has nothing to do with his child support payments—which he is also behind on.”

“That’s being handled by family court/the child support oversight company.”

“There’s a text of him asking for a loan and it included a repayment plan and timeframe, but he never stuck to it. There are also many more texts discussing repayments and his excuses why he couldn’t yet pay me back.”

“So there’s a legal trail if he ever decided to involve the law, but I seriously doubt he would because it would cost way more to sue me. I think I would win in court since I only deducted his debt to me.”

“Yes, he is the father of our 4 kids. I didn’t deduct the overdue child support payments because that is being handled by the courts and I don’t want to muddy the water and get myself in trouble.”

“The child support company is aware of his arrears, and if I’m not mistaken, he will need to start paying soon, or they’ll start garnering his wages.”

“When I say ‘then I remembered he owed me money’, you have to understand I had just woken up after having worked a double shift—I’m a nurse—and I was still kind of exhausted when I woke up.”

“I could barely remember my own name let alone anything else. So my initial instinct was just to return the money but I quickly came back to my senses!”

“He’s had a million excuses why he can’t pay me back and yet I always see him living it up. His priorities are always himself and whatever new woman he’s with, that is until she’s no longer shiny and new.”

“Yes, I could’ve sued him for the debt, but it would’ve cost me way more to hire a lawyer. Suing someone isn’t cheap. Lawyers cost real money, and a lawsuit takes real time.”

“So I kept the amount he owed me and returned only 5,975 and told him I deducted his 12,000 debt.”

“Since then, I’ve had him call me every name in the book because this was apparently money he was saving to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring, the engagement venue, etc., so according to him, he had to tell her.”

“He could’ve just pushed the engagement off and saved for a little longer. He didn’t have to tell her.”

“He probably did it because he wanted her to go on a social media campaign and badmouth me to anyone who’d hear. I can’t tell you for sure that’s why he told her, but I can say that he likes to rile his girlfriend up by telling her all the ways I’ve done him some perceived injustice.”

“This supposedly led to it ruining the surprise engagement he planned for the next weekend. His girlfriend has been bad-mouthing me, and it has caused a bit of a sh*t storm with me having to shut down my social media.”

“Even his parents—who I had a cordial relationship with—has been impacted by it.”

“I discussed the situation with a friend and colleague. It was overheard by another colleague, and he called what I did a dickhead move.”

“I guess he shared it with a couple of other people, and now I’m not too sure anymore whether I am being an a**hole or not.

“Is this an a**hole move?”

The OP added:

“Absolutely love my children and wouldn’t trade my life with them for anything, but I certainly do regret ever being involved with their father. But you live and you learn.”

“I learned that love is not enough to sustain a relationship or a family. It’s kind of essential that you have the foundation of respect, consideration, reliability, responsibility, loyalty, integrity, honesty, devotion, and the occasional willingness to sacrifice your own comforts to make that love work.”

“And it cannot be one-sided!”

The OP summed up their situation.

“Ex-husband mistakenly sent me money.”

“I deducted his debt to me from it and returned the rest. Now I’m told the money was for an engagement ring and this has ruined the surprise engagement party he planned for his girlfriend.”

“AITA for deducting his debt before returning the money?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Every time someone calls you out for it, just reply, ‘I did return it. I just deducted the 12k that I loaned him, and he’s never paid back.” ~ Shozurei

“NTA. If you think about it, the ex-husband begging her to send it back is essentially him begging her to loan him another $12,000 for his girlfriend’s ring, which is just weird. Who asks their ex-wife to spot them the cash for their re-marriage?” ~ Father-Son-HolyToast

“To be fair, he has owed you 12,000 for four years.”

“His priorities should have been clearing his debt and then saving for an engagement ring, especially when he clearly had the money.”

“Also, surely he can find an engagement ring for 6,000.”

“NTA, you only kept what you were owed.” ~ buongiornoitaly

“NTA. Tell everyone who says that you’re wrong that if he can afford a ‘venue’, he can afford to pay back his debt to the mother of his children.”

“His new fiancée should be pleased to find out his true nature before the wedding. You did her a favour letting her know that he won’t repay his debts unless forced to do so.”

“His bad luck on the mistake, but good for you.” ~ squirrelsareevil2479

“NTA. OP says he is also behind on his CS, but that it is being handled by family court.”

“This dude has no business dropping almost 18 K on his girlfriend when he is not upholding his commitments to his former wife and children.” ~ Some_Range_9037

“Who the hell spends 18,000 on an engagement ring and party when you obviously can’t afford it?”

“NTA. That’s just irresponsible and stupid.” ~ GoNinjaPro

“My whole wedding, including the dress, suit, rings, and flights to Vegas with the full Elvis package and hotel with ‘fun money’ cost less than $3,000.”

“The ex should feel relieved that at least that debt is settled. He’s a fool for throwing away cash on some silly event and a shiny ring when he owes back child support. NTA.” ~ Fromashination

“NTA—he owed you money and finally repaid it.”

“Additionally, he didn’t have to tell his girlfriend anything and just planned for a little bit later, but then he wouldn’t be able to drag you through the dirt.”

“So I guess you have to decide how badly you need your money back. I’m going to guess 12,000 is a lot more valuable than the people who take the side of someone like that.” ~ SunshineShoulders87

“NTA—amusing how he can afford an almost 20,000 engagement but can’t afford to pay you back. Keep the money and let them run their mouths.” ~ Ok_Homework8692

This mother learned not to loan money to her ex, no matter his circumstances.

Her ex probably hasn’t learned anything.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.