Hello Evan! I am an attractive, fit 49 year old mom of three girls (14, 17, 20). I was married for 19 years, now single for 4 years. For the past three years I have been in a long-term committed relationship with a 54 year old man. He is attractive, intelligent (college degree), funny, fit, has never been married, no kids but numerous very long term relationships. He is a sane, patient, caring person who puts a high priority on trust and honesty. He looks out for my well-being, is romantic with e-cards, sweet emails, etc. He is affectionate, well dressed, and generous with gifts to me and kind deeds. He’s also attentive to my kids & their lives, although by my choice, they have very little interaction. We live about 30 miles away from each other and take turns staying at each other’s homes on my kid-free weeks most nights that I am free.
My areas of concern are:
1) His financial situation: I’m a self-sufficient homeowner who doesn’t need financial support. He quit his career in business about 7 years ago to pursue being a full time artist. In that time he has depleted all of his savings, his 401k, and is maxing out his credit cards. He has hinted about needing to move into a studio apartment at my house. He may end up filing for bankruptcy – but views it as “suffering for his art”. He seems reluctant to take other jobs that take away from his art career… but I am worried we are headed for a crisis. I help him out with marketing, PR, etc. for his art but it’s a tough way to make a living! He still tries to split our entertainment/travel expenses 50/50 and has never asked for money.
Some people recognize that sex is the icing on the cake and not the cake itself, and this allows them to have happy relationships with average sex lives (as opposed to the more common awful relationship with great sex).
2) Decline in passion – not surprisingly with his financial issues looming, I’m sure he is stressed and our sex life has over time dwindled to a quickie here and there, mostly to cater to my higher level of “need”… we are compatible and enjoy each other, but my libido far surpasses his…. can I live with this? It may be situational, but he may just have lower libido than mine. He’s not really a passionate kisser – except during sex – and I miss this!
I broke things off about 18 months ago for the reasons of lack of passion, concerns that he would never want to get married, etc. but after dating others for a bit, decided that he was a much better fit and started dating him again. I’m much more settled as a single mom, don’t want to cohabitate/marry while my kids are still at home, and truly love this man. What should I do?
Thank you for being the latest exhibit in Women Who Answer Their Own Questions While Asking Them.
So let’s get this straight:
You have a 14-year-old daughter.
You write, “I don’t want to cohabitate/marry while my kids are still at home.” Sounds to me like you’re not getting married to anyone, much less your starving artist boyfriend. I may or may not agree with your black and white thinking but it’s not my job to tell you that. You don’t want to get married while the kids are at home? Great. Don’t get married.
Thus, your question isn’t really about marriage. It’s about the fact that you’ve been dating the same man for three years and you’re ambivalent about your commitment to him, given his two main flaws.
But, once again, this isn’t a question that anyone else can answer. All I can do is ask you more questions.
Have you ever talked with your boyfriend about his libido? I mean, you’ve been together for 3 years – has this subject ever been breached before? Were you hot and heavy at the beginning and then things cooled off? Does he admit to being a low-libido guy in general or is this circumstantial? Do you find yourself resenting him? Do you have sex at least once every week/weekend you spend with each other? Finally, is this something that you can live with?
Some people recognize that sex is the icing on the cake and not the cake itself, and this allows them to have happy relationships with average sex lives (as opposed to the more common awful relationship with great sex). But if his libido really gets you down, then it’s on you to address this issue together as a team – or get out and start fresh. It won’t be hard to find a guy who wants to have sex more. It may be hard to find a guy who is, in your words, an “attractive, intelligent, funny, fit, sane, patient, caring, affectionate, well dressed, and generous person who puts a high priority on trust and honesty. “
Which brings us to the point about the portrait you’re painting of the artist as a middle-aged man.
I’ve been a starving artist. It was called my 20’s. It was a noble experiment, but I was fundamentally miserable, because any second that I wasn’t writing, I was unhappy. Money was scarce. Freedom was nonexistent. Travel was impossible. My default emotions were fear and failure.
There are many women whose husbands support them, but generally they’re raising kids, which is a colossally more important undertaking than oil painting.
Now if I had a sugar mama like you to support me, would I feel better about not making a living? Maybe a little. But probably not much. At the end of the day, it’s not just the act of creativity that matters but the ability to get others to pay money for your art. Without money, art is just a very time consuming hobby.
You didn’t say what kind of art your boyfriend makes or whether you believe in him. That may or may not matter. Let’s assume that he NEVER makes a dollar at his career. Are you okay supporting a fourth child when the nest is finally empty? Because that’s what it’s gonna look like when all is said and done.
Maybe I shouldn’t be that harsh. There are many women whose husbands support them, but generally they’re raising kids, which is a colossally more important undertaking than oil painting. As far as the men who support wives who make art, or do charity, or shop, or workout obsessively, I’m guessing that they’re valuing these qualities “attractive, intelligent, funny, fit, sane, patient, caring, affectionate, well dressed, and generous.” over their wives’ ability to make a buck.
You can do the same, Julie. Just don’t expect him to change.