I’m In Love With A Starving Artist With Low Libido – What Should I Do?

I’m In Love With A Starving Artist With Low Libido - What Should I Do?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?

Julie

Julie,

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.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Scott

    I agree the OP should not allow her bf to move into her house, because he seems like a poor candidate for additional financial investment.  It is one thing for the woman to earn more than the man.  That is workable.  Running through all your savings, retirement funds, and credit card limits is a horse of a very different color.
    Still, the discussion between Chance, Kiki and Clare shows once again the elephants in the dating discussion.  Men have to “pay” for sex.  Women don’t.  Women display interest in a long term relationship simply by showing up to the first date. Men can’t be trusted to have the right kind of interest just by showing up (they might – gasp – be interested only in sex), so they have to pay as a sign they are sufficiently interested to be worth the woman’s time.  Not saying there isn’t a kernel of truth to these.  Just saying that this is an enormous social construct which prevents true equality for both men and women.

  2. 32
    Cat5

    @ Goldie
    I was pretty close to bankruptcy at one point, and after exploring all manner of options (including moving in with my then boyfriend), I took on some contract work and a roommate, and it got me through that hump which took about a year.   I may have to do so again in the future.
     
    I also noted that she said he seems reluctant to take another job outside of his art career.  I get that.  I was reluctant to take an additional/another job on also.  I cut it pretty close…a lot closer than I like to admit.  But, I sucked it when the going got tough.  So what if he explored the option of moving into her studio apartment?  I explored moving in with my then boyfriend, and getting a roommate.  I had friends offer to let me rent their basement.  I explored all options before making my choice.  — that doesn’t make him a bad person…or bad partner.  In the end, I took on some contract work and a roommate.  What I really wanted to do was to move in with my boyfriend, which would have been easiest…but since we had only been dating 5-6 months, I didn’t think it was the right choice.  If we’d been together for a year or more, I probably would have moved in with him..
     
     
    She doesn’t need to let him move into the studio to support him.  She can be supportive in many other ways.  If she tells him he can’t, how he reponds is what matters.  Does he get mad?  Or do something else like get another job, a roommate, or even file bankruptcy…all perfectly valid options.  There’s nothing wrong with or to be ashamed about by having financial issues while pursing your dream.  It’s what he does when he hits rock bottom that will show his character.  I’ll value good character over a 401(k) or a big bank account any time.  I can always make more money…but good character is very hard to find.

  3. 33
    Karmic Equation

    @Kiki 30
     
    I don’t expect any woman actually in a monogamous relationship to share their men. I don’t condone cheating. In that other thread the OP hadn’t broken up with him in four years, so it has to be assumed she was ok with it.
     
    I broke up with my guy on the *suspicion* he cheated (plus a few other factors). But before we became gf/bf, I knew he was dating other women. I was meeting other men. We became gf/bf at his behest, not mine. So we were having NSA sex up until that point. I only let myself become possessive after that :)
     
    If you’re married, you’re allowed to be possessive!

  4. 34
    Cat5

    @ KARL R.
     
    I’m not ignoring my financial future —  I’m making choices, and trying to do what I love now rather than be laser focused on doing something that may or may not pay more and hating it but i’ll have a pension plane.  When I’m old and alone in the rest home…I don’t want to be regretting not taking the chance to do something I love and believe in because it didn’t offer me or afford me the opportunity at a pension plan.  For the record, there are millions and millions and millions of people with jobs that do not offer 401(k) plans, or pension plans.  Nor do they afford people the ability to invest.  Does that make all of them, including me and the OP’s boyfriend financially irresponsible?  Maybe it makes you lucky that yours does.
     
    You and I will have to disagree – you think he and I are willfully ignoring the financial future.  I think it’s about choices.  I believe you are willfully living in a fantasy world about yours as does most of this country.  Unless you are in the top 1% of wage earners, i.e., rich, or really poor, you are screwed financially and often so is your spouse, if you end up with serious illness.  The middle class and being comfortable in your old age is dead for most people.  Go spend a little time in a Bankruptcy Court, your local Department of Social and Health Services, your local VFW or VA home, local retirement communities/nursing homes or any place older people are, for a little while…and you will see what I mean.  A significant number them believed also and planned also…just like you and your spouse…and as they or their spouse got older and older, sicker and sicker they got poorer and poorer…often losing everything to pay for their care.  And that was before the all the financial debacles we’ve had that destroyed their pension funds and other investments.
     
    It’s nice to think that all of us will be fine financially in our old age, but the truth is that in all likelihood unless something changes significantly, most of us will not.

  5. 35
    Karmic Equation

    Cat5,
     
    Basically what you’re saying is you expect other taxpayers, like me and Karl R and others who try to pay for our own future, to pay for your old age, because you want to live with no regrets now, on your dime, or so you think.
     
    Thanks bunches. It’s folks like you who help continue the debacle that is the welfare system.

  6. 36
    Goldie

    I think we digress. The point is not that OP’s bf has no 401K. To have one or not is a discussion, probably, for another blog. The point is that he had no problem pulling money out of it, even though he knew he would have to pay huge penalties for doing so. This doesn’t strike me as a financially sound decision. Neither does maxing out his credit cards. I have never paid interest on a CC in my life; to be honest the rates just terrify me. 20%? 25%? I’d do everything in my power to avoid handing that kind of my money over to a credit card company. But he’s okay with that.
     
    Cat5, you say you took on some contract work to avoid bankruptcy. This is the one thing this man refuses to do. He’s flat broke and he is still “reluctant to take other jobs” where you were not.
     
    Honestly, I love art as much as the next person, and I am completely okay with the idea of living cheaply off your savings and pursuing an art career. I am cool with the idea of living in a cheap apartment and eating Ramen, as long as your passion pays enough for you to keep up with the payments for that apartment and that Ramen. But when you’re already up to your eyeballs in debt, it’s been seven years, and your work still does not pay off even in the most minimal way, no matter how both you and your gf try… time to get that day job again. Harsh as it sounds, you are probably not Van Gogh, and if your art made that much of a difference to humanity, it would by now  have allowed you to at least put some beans and rice on your table. I know, I feel like a horrible person typing this. But that’s the way things seem to work, whether we like it or not.

  7. 37
    Chance

    Kiki:
    Hmmm.  I think I would need your consent to take on as many mistresses as I would like to agree to that one :)
     
     
    Clare:
    “In an uncertain dating world, where we do not always know what guys are thinking or feeling, his willingness to pay provides solid proof of his efforts and interest.”
     
    1.)  The fact that he’s asking you out on a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th date should serve as solid proof.  Men generally don’t continue to ask out women they aren’t interested in.  2.) When I was on 1st or 2nd dates with women, and I decided that I wasn’t interested, I still paid.  3.)  No one ever truly knows what the other party is thinking during the early stages of dating.  That’s life.  4.)  Your desire for “proof” of that the guy is interested in you should not override what is fair and equitable.
     
     
    “It is also a sign of his manners and chivalry, which I find to be extremely attractive.”
     
    So do you believe in traditional gender roles across-the-board, or only when it works to your benefit?
     
     
    Goldie & Karl R:
    I guess that we’ll just have to agree that we have different takes on what the OP is saying.  It’s likely that you’re right simply based on the fact that most people can’t afford to take care of someone else who doesn’t work.  However, I try to think of what I would do if I were in her shoes.  I mean, if I couldn’t afford it, I wouldn’t ask for advice on what I should do because there really aren’t any options.  He would have to get a job.  If I could afford it, I would ask others for their opinion because I would be wondering if i should be supporting him and wondering if it is right or wrong that I don’t really want to support him.  Full disclosure:  I don’t blame her for being ambivalent (at best) about taking him in.  However, I do believe the dialogue would be quite different in the comments section if the roles were reversed.
     
    If a man supports a woman that doesn’t want to work, well, that’s what a man should do…. and if he doesn’t, then he’s a cheapskate, or not a “real man”.  However, if a woman supports a man who doesn’t work, even if he really is trying to find a job (not the case here obviously), then she’s sacrificing her well-being to support a loser.
     

  8. 38
    Kiki

    @Karl R 29.
    This is the first time I agree with EVERY WORD in your post.
    But here is the place to say, that this blog is extremely informative as to the variety of opinions in life. Before I came here, I somehow assumed that all people want love, a true partner, marriage, kids, financial security, and what I call recreational sex (i.e. sex for sex’s sake :-))… I thought (still think to some extent) that these are “natural” desires, and the that many people who proclaim they do not desire one or more of those, have a bad case of sour grapes.
    Now I see that there are people who do not want kids (Karl R), people who think they are better off single (many posters here), people who would only have sex in a very committed, very solid relationship (Rose and others). And now, I see people who would voluntarily choose to be broke… It gets more and more amazing.
     

  9. 39
    Clare

    Chance 37,
     
    Yes, a guy asking you out is proof of his interest. So is his willingness to pay.  It’s a sign of effort and willingness to be invested, and it gets taken into account along with all the other cues.
     
    Hm, traditional gender roles when they work to my benefit? I don’t think in those terms at all.  There are certain of the traditional gender activities which I find to be quaint and endearing… and pleasurable. Regardless of whose benefit they work towards (all this talk of benefit is reminiscent of the cost/benefit discussion that was had on another thread a few weeks ago which I don’t buy into AT ALL).  But since you mentioned benefit…
     
    Does it work to my benefit when I cook him his favourite meal, even though it’s something I’m not particularly partial to? …

  10. 40
    Goldie

    Chance #37
     
    “However, I try to think of what I would do if I were in her shoes.  I mean, if I couldn’t afford it, I wouldn’t ask for advice on what I should do because there really aren’t any options.”
     
    What I am reading in her letter is that, she is not supporting him yet; but from the way his financial situation unfolds, she has reasons to believe that things are headed that way; that, if she stays with him and lets him move in, then she will soon end up supporting him, which I’m guessing is not something she wants to do.
     
    “If a man supports a woman that doesn’t want to work, well, that’s what a man should do…. and if he doesn’t, then he’s a cheapskate, or not a “real man”.
     
    Wow, really?

  11. 41
    Marie

    I find the debate between Clare and Chance on who is paying for dates really interesting.  This goes along with one of the biggest hurdles in American dating in my opinion which is the tremendous gender confusion.  For some reason, this issue of equality for women seems to be tacked on everywhere to attack or justify what men and women should and should not do in dating.  It really is a pain in the ass.  I didn’t even realize how much it affected things until I started dating (and married) a Frenchman.  The status quo is that he was gallant.  We did not have to sit there awkwardly and worry about who will pick up the check.  He automatically opened doors, pulled out chairs, carried my purse, insisted on giving me his coat, knew how to order the right kind of food and wine, walked on the outside of the street, gave me the best spot to sit, always respected my time, always followed up, was always on time AND he was not a player, this was just born and bred into him through his culture.  Because he acted like a man like it was the most natural thing in the world, I could act like a woman and just concentrate on the relationship itself rather than worry about gender roles and what this or that means.  He never sat there and questioned the role of women in society, equality, yada yada, he just always tried to give me the best and I him.  It was such a freeing dating experience.  Thank god I met him.  (And girls, he has a younger brother).  :-)

  12. 42
    Julia

    @Chance 37
     
    If a man supports a woman that doesn’t want to work, well, that’s what a man should do…. and if he doesn’t, then he’s a cheapskate, or not a “real man”.  However, if a woman supports a man who doesn’t work, even if he really is trying to find a job (not the case here obviously), then she’s sacrificing her well-being to support a loser.
     
    Here’s the thing, in another post not so long ago, a woman was paying 4/5 of everything and men were freaking out that a man shouldn’t have to pay for her children, I actually agree that if she is getting child support from their father he shouldn’t, I wouldn’t scapel the budget like some suggested but I digress. Here is a case where a woman needs to worry about her children FIRST, she shouldn’t forsake their future for the sake of her boyfriend. When you throw children that don’t belong to a partner into an equation things changes rapidly. You are talking about a man taking care of his wife who is in turn taking care of THEIR children. This man is NOT the father of her children, he has no responsibility to raise them. Its a completely different story. If I were the OP I would continue to see him but not let him move in. I would do the same now, as a 32 year old woman without children. I cannot afford to support and able bodied adult male. This has ZERO to do with traditional gender roles and everything to do with economic reality.

  13. 43
    Chance

    Julia, I’ve made it abundantly clear that I was talking about women who aren’t taking care of children.  I don’t know now much more clearly I can make it.

  14. 44
    Goldie

    I never let it show of course, but acts of chivalry do make me suspicious on a certain level. I grew up in a country where all guys, by default, opened doors, pulled out chairs, helped you into your coat etc. Then one day I found myself out of work, and those same guys were telling me things like “oh we have a policy at our company not to hire women”. My husband had to work two fulltime jobs to provide for the family. Luckily, no one had a problem with hiring HIM. Before you ask, I had more experience in the field than he did, was better qualified (I actually helped him with his very first project), my former supervisor wanted me to work with him at his new job, but he was told no. No women allowed. To me, this is in the same category. Pulling out chairs and opening doors implies that I’m not capable of doing these things for myself, and need help with them. From there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to the idea that I am also not capable of doing a job that a man can do just fine.
     
    I know most people don’t give it much thought when they open doors etc, so I don’t give anyone a hard time about it, either.
     
    As far as paying on dates, well, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we don’t pay our way, we’re users. If we do, we’re ballbusting bitches. Am I right? I used to try and have the first dates at the most inexpensive places possible – trendy, fun, but inexpensive. I’d do the reach, the guy would say “I got it”, pay a few bucks for my coffee and whatever, everyone’s happy. Proper decorum has been observed without emptying the guy’s bank account.
     
    @ Julia 42 – Agree 100%!
     
    KE 35
     
    “It’s folks like you who help continue the debacle that is the welfare system.”
     
    Personally I have absolutely nothing against the welfare system. My family was on medicaid and food stamps for a few months, so I am thankful that we had this option of helping us get on our feet. Our income was zero for the first few months, then for the rest of the year it was $20K for a family of four. We weren’t getting the foodstamps then, but were still on medicaid and I am glad that we were. I would’ve certainly not been able to afford a pediatrician for my children otherwise. I have no problem with a country having a social network for its residents’ emergency situations. I would rather see my taxes go towards that than towards some of the other things they’re being spent on.
     
    Now do I support intentionally not having any income and counting on SSI/Medicaid as one’s retirement plan? No. But depending on how long we live, and what happens to our investments, we may all end up there eventually.

  15. 45
    Karmic Equation

    @Goldie

    I think welfare was a great idea to help people in need. However, today, for way too many people it’s their “job”. Need more money? You and I would work harder for a merit increase. To others, “have another kid” is their motto. I know of several people personally who’ve done this. They aren’t my friends and they’re also not good parents either, raising another generation of children who think welfare is a viable occupation.

    With Cat5, the mentality of “I shouldn’t do without what gives me pleasure” is another entitlement complex. Instead of sacrificing and SAVING for that vacation, eat out less, buy less expensive clothes, buy generic brands of whatever, they often need to keep up with the Joneses to be “happy”. Their happiness comes out of MY pocket and I hugely resent that.

    I don’t mind helping people in need, but the reality is that way too many people “in need” are in need due to their own lack of self-discipline.

    I need to stop writing about. The thought just ramps up my blood pressure!

    ———

    As to the whole who pays for dates thing, I just behave as my “authentic” self :) When I go out by myself, I eat expensively: lobster, porterhouse or ribeye steak (not all the time but often enough). When I go on a date, if I feel like lobster, I’ll order it and make sure my date knows I intend to pay for my part of the date. Usually they’re relieved and say thanks. And I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself to make a good impression. I don’t eat like a bird!

    On other dates, where it was just drinks and appetizers, I always reach for my purse and say “Let me help with that” — Ineveitably the man says, “No, thank you. I want to see you again, you pay for the next one, ok?” with a smile and long look in my eyes. That Works for us both :)

  16. 46
    Cat5

    No Karmic Equation that is not what i’m saying and thank you for putting word in my mouth…what I said is we are all screwed unless things change significantly, but many, many people just haven’t realized it yet.  Unless you are in the top 1% wealthwise you are screwed.   And for the record, I pay my taxes so just like you my taxes dollars are going to fund a lot of different things — some I agree with and some I don’t.
     
    No one in this country really owns any property, we are all really just renting it from the government in the form of taxes.  Do you know how many retired people have paid off their mortgages after 30 years only to go under financially because the taxes on their home were more than their original mortgage payment?  All that planning for “financial security” in the form of savings, pension plans, stocks, bonds, other investments, and social security are not enough to cover the taxes on the house they paid for let alone their medical bills, groceries, utilities, clothing, etc.  They still ended up in the same place as those who didn’t or quite often couldn’t because their jobs did not offer pension plans or pay enough to buy a house, raise a family, and survive.

  17. 47
    Clare

    Marie 41
     
    Amen!
     
    South African men are overwhelmingly the same.
     
    I find haggling over who should pick up the check and who is *doing more* – the sort of theme which runs freely through Chance’s posts – to be SUCH a turn-off.
     
    I’ve never been accused of taking advantage by any man because… I never did.  Also, they had manners.  They had the gallantry and breeding to take care of things such as the check, and worrying about whether I was cold, and navigating etc. And allowed me to reciprocate in my own feminine and charming way.  It all flowed and worked and nobody felt put upon.

  18. 48
    Skaramouche

    I tried so hard to stay out of this and just learn by reading the different opinions but I find I can’t!  Karmic, I can’t say how much I agree with you on this point.  Helping people in need is great and everyone should do it.  It’s just that the definition of “in need” has changed so much.  I live in Canada and I am sometimes resentful of the amount we pay in taxes.  I don’t use healthcare (*knocks on wood*) and I hate paying for it.  I’m not resentful because I grudge someone of low income using my tax dollars to keep himself/herself healthy.  If this person is genuinely in need, I’m happy to help.  I’m resentful because we live in a society where pleasure comes first and if it’s at the expense of health or financial well being, so be it…someone else will pick up the tab.
     
    Tying this back to the OP’s man, I wonder how he plans to provide for himself in old age.  Cat5, I’m not arguing the fact that things need to change…there is much that’s unfair.  However, I have to politely disagree with your comment that I’m “screwed” unless I’m in the top 1% of the wealthy. I’m still fairly young at 31, have already begun to think about retirement and will buy a house that I can hope to maintain on my retirement income.  Of course, a 100 things could go wrong between now and the time that I feel able to retire but that’s life.  Are you suggesting that I should just not save and live life to the fullest now because chances are I’m screwed anyway?  If that is not what you are saying then I’m confused.
     
    @Chance
    Please, please, please, please don’t trot out the “men have paid for women for generations” thing.  Yes they did and there were perfectly good reasons for it.  I agree that it’s unfair in today’s society and no one should expect a free ride.  However, if one is lovingly offered, I don’t see how you can you can blame a woman (or man) for accepting it.  Are you saying that there’s a double standard?  That it is more socially acceptable for a woman to be “kept” by a man than for a man to be “kept” by a woman?  I agree with that.  Things are changing but it’s a slow process.  However, only this generation and maybe one before it can be used to support your argument.  You are unfortunately getting the benefit of ire directed at many, not just you but I’m so sick of of hearing “we have supported you without complaint for years and years”. Yes, you have.  And?  We have borne your babies and raised them, sometimes sacrificing our own careers (for those of us who wanted careers).
     
    I admit to having a very strong opinion in this regard.  I do not want to support a man on a full-time basis.  I don’t want a house husband.  On an on-going basis, I would like 50% of the income to be contributed by my husband.  I will gladly support him if he gets ill or is unable to work for another reason.  I will happily support him even if he just wants to take a break for a year or two and relax/pursue interests.  However, I take offense at the suggestion that I am biased or shallow for not wanting to support a man just because men have supported women for “generations”.
     
    The truth is, some men are okay with housewives.  Women, for the most part, are not okay with househusbands.  It sucks for men who want to be house husbands but it’s the way it is.  Until you guys figure out a way to have babies and we figure out a way to rival you in strength and other manly things so that gender roles can truly be reversed if so desired, I guess things won’t change much :D

  19. 49
    Julia

    @Clare and Marie
     
    I’ve dating mostly American men (also a Pakistani and some Bulgarians) and they are all equally as gallant as the men you describe. Some of them just want sex, sure but they are all gentleman. Once I really tuned into the feminine energy it became easier for me to appreciate all the little things men will do to make you happy. There is nothing like the feeling of a man wanting to care for you, protect you, etc. Sometimes I still turn them down on some of their offers because it seems like second nature to care for myself but then I will go back and notice and make sure to say “yes” the next time.

  20. 50
    Karmic Equation

    @Cat5

    Maybe this is news for you…People who can’t afford children don’t. Many of the “haves” have 2 children only because they realize that with the cost of living and future college, that two is all they can afford.

    If a person can’t afford a house, don’t buy one. If a person can’t afford to pay for their own child don’t have one.

    I’m sorry. If someone cannot take care of their own selves they have no business bringing new people into the world that can also not afford.

    Nowadays who are the folks that have more than 2-3 children? Either the very rich or the very poor. The poor rely on welfare and the rich rely on themselves.

    The unfortunate state of healthcare in this country does contribute and yes, if one has a catastrophic illness and chose to roll the dice by not having health insurance, then they contributed to their own descent into poverty.

    I absolutely believe that we’re a product of our choices. If one dies poor but lived a well to do life then they did the live for today and forget about tomorrow thing and they pay the price literally.

    “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”

    Your living for today “in a job you love” without planning for tomorrow means you’re part of tomorrow’s problems. Which makes you MY future problem. I didn’t sign up for that.

    If you try your best to live adequately today and not be a drain on the system now or in your old age … and need help then, I wouldn’t begrudge you. And for those folks who tried to save and ended up in a bad way I don’t have a problem with my taxes helping them.

    But folks like you who WILFULLY won’t help defray future burdens on others are maddening. Every penny you spend today that you could have saved for tomrrow, is a penny you take out of my pocket tomorrow.

    I’m NOT in the top 1% and I don’t “love” my job. But I save, I own my own house, and put the max into my 401k. I may become destitute through sickness someday, but I tried my best not to be a burden on others, so while I may someday also burden the system, I would have defrayed that cost with my own money. Who’s money is going to put you in a nursing home someday if you don’t save now? Your children? Your family? My taxes? Grow up.

  21. 51
    Kiki

    @ Chance
    Are you still in college or something? You think you have the energy to have a high paying job, have sex with the wife at least 3 times per week AND also have several mistresses? Or is your real name Tiger?

  22. 52
    Marie

    @Julia – I agree I’ve never had a problem with men being gallant to me either (regardless of culture).  It’s only when I read this blog with all the angry men saying why do they have to pay that I realized the extent of resentment men seem to have about the so-called double standard.  It makes me wonder, did all those men who offered to treat me, were they all secretly resenting me?  Ugh!  And I went out with them???  Is that what they were thinking but not saying out loud?  Ugh again!
     
    Well I can’t say because the only guy whom I did know his true intentions through and through is my husband.  I’ll tell you though that far into our dating we had a discussion about this because he asked me something along the lines of what do American men do on dates.  Because apparently he did what he thought was just being gentlemanly and the few American women he dated all reacted witih some kind of grateful shock.  He was truly confused.  Maybe we bring out the masculine side of men by our feminity, who knows, but this is a complaint I hear from a lot of women on this blog.  I feel for the men too because what if they do something nice and the women get offended that they are implying the woman can’t do something for herself.  See?  A lot of gender role confusion.  Best to just bypass that and focus on the relationship itself.

  23. 53
    Sparkling Emerald

    Goldie@44  “As far as paying on dates, well, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we don’t pay our way, we’re users. If we do, we’re ballbusting bitches. Am I right?”
     
    Yes, you are RIGHT ! (with some men)  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I tried to bring up the SAME point several months ago, about the whole awkward damned if you do or don’t, and boy did the men (and some of the women) pile on !   Everything from implying that I am a spoiled little princess, to my awkward feeling over the whole thing was a sign of some “wart” that I need to iradicate, and that deep down inside, I like gender “equality” ONLY when it benefits me.
     
    NOTHING I said was listened to.  I suggested cheap or no cost first dates, said I really don’t care if the first date is low or no cost.  That wasn’t a good enough solution for the men looking to belly ache about women being gold diggers.  When I explained that once we know each other better I contribute in my own way, maybe by cooking, or bringing food to a picnic, I was informed that I was inviting unwanted sexual something or other and that it’s not good for a woman to cook early in the relationship.  NOTHING would convince the piler oners that my motives were anything but pure evil.  (OK, I’m being a tad hyperbolic)
    Thanks to the blowback I am not pleased to admit that I did the “fake reach” and it wasn’t very well rec’d. I HATE when I let what some stupid blogger says influence my behavior. 
    Most men WANT to pay for me, and not in a creepy “maybe I’ll at least get a BJ if I buy her drinks and appetizers” kind of way.
     
    My last “almost relationship”, I TRIED to pitch in after several dates and the ONLY way he EVER let me chip in was when I had a Barnes & Nobles gift card in my purse and they let me use it in the book store coffee shop. Another time I offered to eat at my house before catching a movie after work, and before I could ask him what he would like to eat, he said “GREAT, I’ll pick up some sushi rolls and bring them over”.  All I provided was beverage.  I offered him movie passes from work, and he said OK, but the movie we wanted to see was at the dollar theater, so it was silly to use my passes when they could be used for more expensive movies, so he didn’t let me use the passes.  When we were going on an outing closer to his house, I said it was silly for him to drive allllllllllll the way to my house, and then drive me alllllllllll the way home when I could drive right after work and meet him, and he said it wasn’t silly at all, that I was worth it, and he INSISTED on picking me up. I think my total contribution in the relationship was twice I cooked for him, but he provided wine and/or dessert.  And the few bucks for coffee on my gift card after a dinner date that he already paid for.
    Oh, and the opening doors thing ?  If he’d see me reach for the door handle out of habit, he’d say “AH, AH, that’s not how a princess behaves, let ME get that for you !”  I joked to my friends that it was more like physical therapy than chivalry, because both his vehicles were either rather high or rather low and a tad difficult for me to get in and out of.  (He had a truck and a Corvette)  He and I were making our way across the parking lot (or should I say making out as we crossed the parking lot :) )  and when he opened the door to help me get in, a single guy saw that and shouted at us, ” I WANT to be in love like THAT, I want a girl who LETS me open the door for her” and gave my prince a big thumbs up.  (we hadn’t said the “L” word to each other yet, so that was a bit wierd)  but when the other guy said “Where did you find her !?”  my prince just smiled, then the single guy asked ME, “How did he find a girl like you ?” and I told him match.com.  (perhaps they owe me a commission ? :)
    So even though we didn’t work out (he lied about his pot smoking so I would agree to go out with him, and he was pushing me to move on getting a legal separation, etc :(  ) I did LEARN from that “almost a relationship” that there ARE men in the world who will think of me as a princess, and think that is a GOOD thing. There ARE men who want enjoy treating women with chivalry,  And if and when a man who WANTS to treat me like a princess (or a queen) finds me,  I will treat HIM like a PRINCE or a KING !
    The way most of my dating life has gone, men either treat me like a peasant or a princess.  I know which I prefer !
     
    Also Goldie – I am sorry that one of the posters badgered you so badly about a simple post about sharing labor in a relationship.  I hope you will continue to post, I enjoy reading what you have to say :)
     

  24. 54
    Chance

    Goldie #44:

    The vast majority of men are not going to think that you’re a “ballbusting bitch” for paying for a date.  Men will usually insist on paying for a date because they (rightly) believe that if they don’t, they won’t get another date.  When a woman reaches for the check, most men are afraid she doesn’t really mean it, and that she really expects him to pay.  Therefore, that is why they insist on paying.

    Clare #47:

    “I find haggling over who should pick up the check and who is *doing more* – the sort of theme which runs freely through Chance’s posts – to be SUCH a turn-off.”

     
    Clare, I don’t know what the culture of dating is like in South Africa.  We may be talking from two totally different points of view.  Dating in the U.S. may be similar, or it may be like comparing apples to oranges.  In the U.S., women expect to be treated equally, and they do not expect to be constrained by traditional gender roles in any way.  I don’t know one woman who thinks otherwise, and guess what, I agree with them.  They should be able to do whatever they want with their lives.  However, many of them still expect men to adhere to traditional gender roles, which includes paying for everything.  No matter how you slice it, that is patently inequitable.  Perhaps women don’t play both sides of the fence in South Africa, and that’s fair enough.  Many of them do here.

    One final question (and the question only applies if gender relations are, in fact, similar in South Africa):  would you still find haggling over who should pick up the check to be a SUCH a turn-off if you were the one expected to pay for everything?

    Skaramouche #48:

    “However, if one is lovingly offered, I don’t see how you can you can blame a woman (or man) for accepting it. “

    “Are you saying that there’s a double standard?  That it is more socially acceptable for a woman to be “kept” by a man than for a man to be “kept” by a woman?  I agree with that.” 

    With all due respect, these are straw-man arguments because you know the man is expected to always “lovingly offer”, and that very few men have any interest in “keeping” women.  Also, if you expect men to adhere to traditional male gender roles, that is fair as long as you adhere to traditional female gender roles.  I, for one, have not met any woman who’s willing to do that. 

    Marie #52:

    “It’s only when I read this blog with all the angry men saying why do they have to pay that I realized the extent of resentment men seem to have about the so-called double standard.  It makes me wonder, did all those men who offered to treat me, were they all secretly resenting me?  Ugh!  And I went out with them???  Is that what they were thinking but not saying out loud?  Ugh again!”
     

    Yes, that’s what they’re thinking.  I have known a couple of guys who preferred to always pay, and it was because they thought it would make women feel like they owed them sex.  The rest of the men just believe in simple fairness.  Take your pick.

    Look, when men pay for dates at the beginning, it’s not about generosity, it’s not about being a gentleman – they do it because they know if they don’t, they won’t be getting any more dates.  I’ve been with my girlfriend for a few years now, and we used to always split dates.  She’d get one , I’d get the next.  She just did it without me asking.  She is rare.  I decided, on my own volition, after about two years that I wanted to pay for everything whenever we go out, when we go on vacation either in or out of the country, because I wanted her have more money and to be able to pay down her student loans and contribute to her 401k.  I’m already putting in the IRS max, have a good cash stockpile, and I don’t really care about spending my money on her.

    That’s generosity.

  25. 55
    Cat5

    Karmic Equation said:
    “Maybe this is news for you….People who can’t afford children don’t.  Many of the “haves” have only two children… .”
     
    With respect to your first sentence, perhaps you need to research that comment a little…no make that a lot…more before you try and tell me what is and is not news to me.  Your research should include all socioeconomic sectors, not just the one to which you feel you belong.  I think you are in for a big shock as to what the news actually is.
     
    Please explain what you mean when you refer to the “haves” in the second sentence.

  26. 56
    Kiki

    @ Marie 52
    I also learnt through this blog that [some] men absolutely hate the fact that they are the ones paying for dates because it is not clear whether there will be any pay-off to this investment, but that they keep doing it because it is effective, i.e. their success rate will be even worse if they fail to treat the lady.
    I had lunch on two occasions in a cafe near work and bumped into my boss once and on another occasion to the managing partner of the company I work for. On both occasions we sat together and on both, at the end of the lunch the men insisted and paid for my lunch as well (even though we were eating together accidentally and not by invitation), saying that a lady has to be treated like a lady. Mind you, there is zero romantic interest between me and either of them (both are happily married, with numerous kids each).
    So I am thinking, paying for another person’s food is a sign of superiority and is inherited from the times when women simply could not pay because simply they could not work outside the home. I also think that when a man has the means to do it, he does it with the same pleasure men take in showing off their expensive cars or other possessions.
     
     

  27. 57
    Clare

    Marie 52,
     
    That’s why I find it better to focus on generosity of spirit.
     
    I would never, never go out with someone who resented me, resented doing things for me, or kept score.  Because I know that I am a very generous, giving person in a relationship, with my money, my time, my effort and my affection. I would never be able to tolerate for one second someone who was holding back for fear that he’d done or given a little too much, and was tapping his foot waiting for reciprocation. Ugh.
     
    A man who gives out of a masculine desire to protect and care and provide is SUCH a turn on.  It makes me want to give so much in return.

  28. 58
    Marie

    @Chance – thanks for your response.  So if what you say is true for most men, then what do you suggest women practically do on early dates (most everyone I know splits after a month or so)?  I have always tried to offer but it gets turned down.  I’ve literally had a guy wrestle the check away from me saying, my guy friend told me if a girl pays for the date, she doesn’t want to see you again.  I’ve also had guys insist on paying even when it was clear to the both of us that there was no chemistry probably because he was the one who insisted on the date.  You must have done this yourself at some point.
    I guess the biggest problem I have when men bring up this gripe is why they don’t do something about it.  Because the woman’s action is a reaction: the man offers to pay, she reaches for her purse (or does nothing), and he continues to insist on paying.  If one insists on paying then one should not blame the other party for taking up the offer.  It’s like me offering my husband the last bite of chocolate cake thinking he will turn it down but instead he took me at face value and says thank you sweetie and eats it!  Do I get mad at my husband for not offering it back to me?  No, because I’ve got no one to blame except myself (plus he’s pretty cute when he eats cake :-). )
    You say men have to continually offer because they are afraid of not getting second dates.  In that case, they are getting something out of it, as you say, and there are strings attached.  It’s like an initial bid at an auction and the woman is accepting the bid for now until another better bid comes along.  In that case, why get mad at the woman for accepting your bid when you clearly wanted her to owe you?  What I’m trying to say is men utilize the social construct for their own gain just as much as anyone else.  So don’t blame women when it doesn’t go their way.  that’s not fair.  If one truly feels so strongly then one should be the one to stand up and tell the next date, “I liked you but because I feel having the man pay is a representation of gender inequality and is blatantly unfair to men everywhere because we have been paying for your entire gender for generations while you stayed at home not making any money.  I hope you understand and respect my position.”  So be the one to stand up for what you believe in then.  Men are responsible for at least 50% of this problem (if it is a problem); they should not take out their resentment entirely on women but also on others of their own gender and themselves.  It’s a matter of put your money where your mouth is, or as my teacher used to say, put up or shut up!

  29. 59
    Karmic Equation

    Hmmm…I had to think back on my 20 dates since mid-June.

    It is true that if I *insist* on paying, I don’t intend to go on a second date. I feel relieved of that obligation by paying.

    On dates where I wanted to get to a second date, I’ll *genuinely* reach for my purse with every intention of paying and say “let me help with that” and the guy, if HE wants a second date, will say “don’t worry about that.” And I’ll say “Oh, thank you.” As if I never expected that. And it’s authentic because I EXPECT to split check and am genuinely surprised when they don’t want to.

    As well on dates where the men seem too happy (or relieved?) to let me pay my part, I do read something into that, which is that either 1) they’re not interested – this has been true, no asks for 2nd dates when they’re happy/relieved to let me pay — or no asks because I give them warm hugs instead of a warm kiss after, coincidence? :) or 2) money is their god. And I don’t mean this as they’re cheap or ungentlemanly. But rather they value money more than I do, and therefore, we’re not a match. (Lesson learned from my ex-husband). I don’t characterize a man for being gallant or not or gentlemanly or not on the basis of his paying or not. You pay attention to how and what he talks about and how he talks to the waitresses/bartenders to get some of that info. I think those adjectives are just women’s ways of justifying to themselves why she herself might have money as HER god.

    There have been a few times when the convo never came up. Basically if it’s just drinks no eats, I don’t usually offer. Not sure why I think this way. I get 2nd dates.

    In my opinion, even though we women don’t give men enough credit about reading our emotions (they are often bad), men do an excellent job of reading our expectations and authenticity. They usually know when we’re being real and when we’re being fake. Especially men with options, who have a lot of experience dating.

    If you come from a position where you EXPECT men to pay and you date a man who RESENTS women for this expectation, he’ll do it under duress. But if you date a man who is resentful of such expectations but YOU are genuine in your desire to pay, he lightens up. Of course the hotter you are the less resentful he is of paying if you’re a nice person. (I’m thinking of Goldie’s link to that hilarious date).

    If you expect men to pay, date a man who expects to pay, otherwise confusion and resentment are likely to arise. However, if you teach yourself to genuinely expect to pay your share, you get to date BOTH kinds of men. That genuiness will buy you a lot of good will and take down the guard of man who’s resentful and make a good impression on the guy who isn’t resentful.

  30. 60
    Sparkling Emerald

    Chance – “However, many of them still expect men to adhere to traditional gender roles, which includes paying for everything. “
     
    Paying for the first few dates early in the courtship phase is not paying for “everything”.  As a relationship progresses women pay their share.  I have NEVER heard of a woman cooking a meal for her man and then demanding to be re-imbursed for the groceries.  I have NEVER seen a couple that were married or living together who didn’t split the expenses in some way or another.  My first hubby paid for all of our early dates, but once we moved in and got married, controlled ALL of the money, his and mine.  I rarely had a penny to spend and he begrudged me almost every penny.  So yeah, those early dates that he paid for were paid back a thousand fold.  My second hubby was more sharing about money, but he didn’t pay for “everything”. (nor did I expect him to)   He made more than me, but I would say my contribution was nearly equal.  He paid most of the day to day bills, I paid for household repairs, auto insurance, phone, internet,  socked money away in savings, paid for our sons college (with very, very, little financial aid) shopped and paid for the groceries.  When our son was younger I paid all of his school related expenses, took him shopping for clothes, bought his school supplies, paid for field trips, band rental instruments, piano lessons, etc. Even when I was a stay at home mom briefly,  I took in other children and provided day care, for a small amount. Staying home with our son during the tender years was something WE BOTH agreed to.  In fact, prior to our marriage my hubby ASKED me to.  Also, during our marriage, I ALWAYS did more housework, even when I worked full time.  (yes, hubby did repairs and traditional “mans” work, and his own laundry)  but cooking, cleaning, shopping, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping etc. I ended up doing. 
    So yeah, if a guy never gets past 2 or 3 dates, he may end up paying for “everything”, but if he gets into an actual relationship, most women will pay in their own ways.  Of course, there are men, who will have confirmation bias, they will see a stay at home mom, and ONLY notice women when they aren’t working.  They see a bunch of ladies out having tea, and ASSUME they are spoiled women being supported by men.  They really have no idea if they are retired with a pension, work, stay at home, are single etc. 
    All these free loading women you seem to observe who scrap book and take yoga.  Do you really have a magnifying glass into their lives ?  Do they contribute LABOR to their household ?  Do they work part time or full time ? Do they contribute monetarily ?  How do you have such inside info ? 
    Have you NEVER seen a relationship where the woman works, contributes her income to her relationship, cooks, shop, cleans, is the primary care taker for her child ?  Because that’s mostly what I see in COUPLES, both contributing money and labor to the relationship.  I have seen the OCCASIONAL free loader in relationships, and I have seen that in BOTH genders.
    Your constant harping about having to pay for EVERYTHING leads me to believe that you never get past 2 or 3 dates and into a relationship.  If it bothers you so much, take a girl out on a low cost or no cost date.  That’s a good way to screen out the gold diggers, and your attitude might be a little more relaxed and not so paranoid that you are going to be taken advantage of.
    I for one, am MORE comfortable when the early dates are low cost or no cost.  I’m not interested in what’s in his wallet.  (just don’t want someone who is flat broke or homeless)  I am interested in what’s in his heart.  When a man pays for the glass of wine on our first meeting, or buys me a gelato on the free art walk, I’m not jumping up and down thinking “Yippee, I just scored a five dollar treat from this sucker”.  I am thinking “how sweet of him”. 
    You can bitch about these women who are CEO’s apparently, and never contribute a dime to their primary relationship (I have NEVER seen this)  but there are men who will GLADLY accept a woman supporting them, and also doing ALL the cooking, cleaning and shopping, and think that mowing the lawn once a month, and greasing a squeaky door hinge is their fair share to the relationship. 

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