Am I Being Too Materialistic By Giving Up on a Financially Unstable Man?

Am I Being Too Materialistic By Giving Up on a Financially Unstable Man

I decided to get back into the dating world and I met this guy online — four weeks ago. So it’s all still very early and very new. But a big worry for me is that is has absolutely no stability or consistency in his life. I am a 30-year old entrepreneur with my own online fashion store…soon to open my first physical boutique. I work hard but believe in balance so I love to get out and enjoy spending my hard earned dollar. But in the same breath I believe in financial stability — I own property, invest, have a savings and no debt.

This guy I have met is really a wonderful guy. I paid attention to your blog about not looking for someone who is a clone of me but rather who compliments me. He is thoughtful, attentive, supportive…at least what I’ve seen after 4 dates. Now here’s the problem — he’s 31 and has not finished his degree (I have two post graduate degrees), has not kept a stable job for more than 12 consecutive months (in fact he quit his job last week just because he didn’t like his boss anymore), has no assets, no savings, no investment and still needs to pay off his student loan.

I am totally freaking out — as I said he is a nice guy, so am I walking away from a good thing just because I find the stability (financial being one of many) and consistency (he seems unable to commit, complete or stick to anything) missing in his character?

I did discuss my concern with him — saying that we could still see each other and get to know one another on a friendship level (nothing physical has happened on our 4 dates) and once he has found his stability in his work/career we can go from there. He totally freaked out on me and was very passive aggressive – which opened up a whole other can of worms. But my question remains — am I being ridiculous in expecting a partner who is at least on the SAME financial and career playing field as me?


I’ve answered a version of this question before and told a favorite anecdote of mine here.

But I wanted to take this because it’s a juicy topic for conversation.

In short, no, you’re not being too materialistic if you pass up on THIS man.

You may be a little short-sighted if you assume that your partner has to be at least on the “same financial playing field” as you.

Hope you are soon raking in high-six-figures for what you’ve accomplished. Because that means that you can marry a man for one reason and one reason alone: love.

This is a VERY important distinction that it seems that many women have difficulty making.

There is a huge difference between an aimless slacker who doesn’t have drive, ambition, and follow through, and a man who chooses a career with a lower financial upside.

Your guy is in the former category. He didn’t finish college. He can’t hold down a job. He doesn’t seem to have a long-term plan, much less a short-term plan.

This man is a bad investment for your future, and you are being very smart by moving on from him. You’re not bad. You’re not shallow. You’re practical.

But you revealed your blind spot when you stick with the illusion that a man must make as much or more money than you do.

Men and women are equal. (The oft-debated pay gap doesn’t take away from that fact)

And if we are equal, then we should date equally, no?

So if I’m a man making $300,000, do I need to find a woman who makes $200,000, also?

I would think that you wouldn’t agree with that. Nor do most men. Men choose women based on how those women make them feel. Funny. Sexy. Trusted. Smart. Noble. Connected. Important. Appreciated. Admired. Accepted.

Whether she makes $50,000 or $350,000 is largely irrelevant. Why?

Because he HAS money and he doesn’t expect her to support him.

Is there any reason, Michelle, that you can’t date the same exact way? You have money. You don’t need a man to support you. Right?

I think it’s wonderful that you are driven, ambitious, and self-sufficient. I hope you are soon raking in high-six-figures for what you’ve accomplished. Because that means that you can marry a man for one reason and one reason alone: love.

Two examples of great men who make less than their wives:

A high-school history teacher and soccer coach who has a Masters degree. He has his summers off, a pension, and is home before 5pm every day. He is fit, world-travelled, and fascinating.

The majority of men aren’t slackers and aren’t millionaires. They’re normal, stable, hard-working men with real middle-class to upper-middle class jobs. Choose one of them.

A user-interface designer for a biotech company. He’s handy. He’s sensitive. He’s well-read. He makes six figures. He’s a great dad and excellent in the kitchen.

The teacher is the man who married my Georgetown law educated cousin.
The user-interface guy is the man who married my Duke educated sister.

You don’t need a man who makes as much as you.

You need a man who makes you feel safe, heard, and understood.

The majority of men aren’t slackers and aren’t millionaires. They’re normal, stable, hard-working men with real middle-class to upper-middle class jobs.

Choose one of them.

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  1. 1

    I’m in almost the exact situation.   I’m 31, dating a 26 year old guy.   He’s incredibly sweet and generous  to me and almost too into me (we have known each other for a while as friends and he’s recently been pushing for a sexual/exclusive  relationship), hard working at his very low paying job that makes him happy, but only really has ambitions to make maybe 30K a year or lower and he’d be content with that.   Plus he has student loan  debt that he’s not trying to pay off urgently, and his longest job has been only about 6 months so far.   I really like him as a person, but at my age, I almost feel the practical thing to do would be to cut him loose so he can mature up a bit and have a better idea of direction of his life.   Great post EMK.

    1. 1.1

      A five year age gap where you’re older than the man is a bit much. Even when a guy is a couple of years younger than the woman problems can occur.

      The reason why is, whether we like it or not, the man is seen as the default breadwinner and needs to push himself as such and women are simply more mature, especially emotionally, than a man. Women have a several year headstart on men in that regard.

      1. 1.1.1

        I am in my mid-20s, but I don’t find that to be true. The only maturity difference I see between genders is in high-school.

        I’ve worked in enough all-male and all-female environments to know that immaturity can plague both genders. Just in different ways. Immature young women tend to be princesses/divas, and immature young men tend to be obnoxious know-it-alls. Neither are exactly the sharing or thoughtful type.

        I was once responsible for leading an all-male team and the ones who gave everyone the biggest grief were the oldest of the group. The youngest were the kindest and the most responsible.

        Luckygal has a different lifestyle ideal compared to her boyfriend. Some people are very satisfied with a bare-bones, modest lifestyle. Some will change, some will not. As he is young, he may develop better approaches to paying off debt and job consistency, but there is no guarantee his ambition will extend beyond a simple life.

        1. DV

          Hmmmm, I’m sure we all have little anecdotes and personal experiences, but as Evan has said before, we’re not interested in peoples’ personal experiences or the exceptions to the rule that people say they experience. We’re interested in what works across the board and not in nebulous terms like ‘lifestyle ideal’. Doesn’t mean anything.

          A guy in his mid-twenties just isn’t where a woman is at the same age and certainly not at 31, which is why women complain about commitment issues to Evan. Age gaps where the woman is older just simply don’t have a tendency to work.

        2. Gem

          I understand what you mean, DV. Sorry about the lack of clarity.

          Allow me to rephrase: I just think we give women (as a group) too much credit for being emotionally mature beyond their years, because society perceives them as biologically ready to breed once they hit 18. I’m not knocking down my own peers, but as someone who lived through 18-25, I know many of my female peers and I needed time to develop too. We shouldn’t feel embarrassed about being in our mid-twenties when we’re actually IN our mid-twenties. Furthermore, there’s a reason why most PUA horror stories involve young women, and not seasoned women. Guilty as charged.

          Women are conditioned to be more “socially presentable”, which means at first impression, they seem very well-mannered and considerate compared to men. We aren’t allowed to be as rude, impulsive, or otherwise, socially awkward. Yes, we’re the more cautious gender, but that is not to be mistaken as maturity by itself.

          However, upon an intimate relationship, it is an entirely different story. We can be immature at handling personal arguments, over-sensitive to harmless comments, lack self-awareness, avoidant, impatient and may overall not know how to handle relationship difficulties as fluidly as older women. It’s just the same as our male peers. We’re both learning though. It’s a work in progress. Nothing to be shy about. There are many stories here, where clearly, the woman needed to grow up, in order for the couple to succeed.

          Overall, I just found that core relationship skills don’t differ dramatically between genders. There are enough people on both ends of the spectrum. Some are mature, some are not. Women might be 2-3 years ahead in emotional development due to socialization and peer-pressure, but I definitely don’t believe in the “several years head-start” view.

          EMK actually agrees with this to an extent. He broke up with a 25-year-old to marry a seasoned 39-year-old for these reasons. He mentions many times that he believes as a general rule, age is not “just a number”, and that applies to women too.

          In the end, are there INDIVIDUAL young women who are high and above in terms of relationship readiness? ABSOLUTELY! It’s the same with the young men who work very hard to brush up their relationship skills. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

          I feel like not holding young men to a higher standard of accountability due to the “boys will be boys” policy stunts their personal development and growth. It’s so sad to watch, which is why I always encourage male youths (15-19) to get out there, and strive to be a better man. They have so much potential, but they can’t do it when they’re stuck being Peter Pan, and everyone’s giving them a thumbs up for it. Since 18, I’ve always collaborated with “can-do” same-age men, so they can definitely push themselves to be more if they put their mind to it.

          **Back to your post:

          I also very much agree with you that age-gaps where the woman is older should be proceeded with caution. Additionally, I believe the reverse is true as well, especially if the woman is under 30 and the man is much older. If we are talking about GENERAL trends, age-gap relationships aren’t for everyone. There’s a reason why most young people tend to get married to other people within 2-3 years of their age.

          As you get older, 5 years isn’t a lot. Just under 30, it is a big deal. No matter what gender. As you say, the exceptions don’t disprove the rule, or statistics. EMK mentions most people don’t fully develop until they’re 30:



      2. 1.1.2

        Sounds like misogynist bullshit …DV many men are successful early on, & age has little to do with it — especially a few years. Women have much higher life expectancies than men, & using age as an excuse is a mans way of shifting blame instead of mobilizing his efforts for a women he adores. Older women can motivate men to achieve their goals faster, especially if they are stable & successful.   Women dont like to date age-ist guys who look to date exclusively you ger than them– as those types of guys tend to be controlling & insecure.



        1. Galilee

          ‘Women don’t like to date age-ist guys who look to date exclusively you ger than them- as those type of guys tend to be controlling & insecure.’

          All men want to date younger women, if you don’t like it tough luck.
          All women want to date wealthier high status men. If I don’t like it, tough luck.

          No need to be insulting just because you don’t like realty.

  2. 2

    As always Evan is brilliant. I totally agree. This man has no ambition, no character, no
    purpose in life. He would be a bad deal for any woman, successful or not.
    Please do not waste your time with a worthless man, no matter how handsome, sweet
    or agreable he is. Attraction is blinding you, this man can only drag you in a black pit.  

    1. 2.1

      Must one have ambition to have character?

      1. 2.1.1

        Maybe another way to look at it is…Must one have passion to have character.

        1. Jasmina

          Definitely! Having passion and being consistent

          means character.

    2. 2.2

      Wow, “worthless.” How do you really feel?

      1. 2.2.1

        I feel great. Besides being good looking/I still do fashion

        modeling at the age of 63/, I am consistent, reliable and

        financially stable. I saw the big life picture when I was in

        my early 20ies and always saved my money. Besides death

        and taxes, there is another guarantee in life – life will always

        throw you setbacks and curveballs and you have to be prepared for the worst at any time. You have to be self re-

        liant. Nobody is going to save you when things go downhill.

    3. 2.3

      Wow, I had no idea that having no ambition means you are worthless, have no character, and have no purpose in life. Classic misinterpretation of Evan’s perspective.

      1. 2.3.1

        Character has nothing to do with money, job or ambition. What these women lack is wisdom. The problem is money doesn’t make you happy. I read a forum post long time ago where a woman was complaining she couldn’t understand some her male friends. A few of them quit their professional jobs, lawyers and doctors btw. In the end these men decided to quit their job and work in a different profession. Not because they were lazy but money isn’t making them happy. She couldn’t understand.

        I also remember a lawyer with a forum post. He made a lot of money. He worked so much just to have the latest new things and still have money to invest. He came to realize he was unhappy and decided to cut his hours. He decided to work to live not to slave to money.

        If money is your end goal for happiness you will very disappointed. Of course one needs money to live but beyond a certain level doesn’t increase happiness. Students loans are hard to pay unless you’re saving a lot of money, you have to go the extreme otherwise you spend a long time paying it off.

        1. Lola Love

          100% agree with you MikeTO

          As long as the guy is financially able to support himself and isn’t depending on you to support him, why do you care? I see a young man that is getting a degree and gaining experience in the workforce. Why fault someone for leaving a job due to conflict with the boss? As long as he’s able to pay his bills until he gets another I don’t see any issue. If you don’t want the guy I’ll take him. He seems great and is doing what normal people in their 20’s with no children do, experience life. You sound stuck up and obsessed with money rather than stability and a genuine partner to grow with. There’s a lot of people out there who enjoy the simple life rather than having the biggest paycheck. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Ask all the miserable famous people, doctors, lawyers, & politicians. Most of them are on antidepressants because their slaves to the money.

  3. 3

    This is the kind of advice I wish more men would take, actually.   It is so difficult to find women who are fiscally responsible and have goals that lead to any kind of income stability or wealth accumulation.   When I was dating, one had to sift through a lot of women to find one who didn’t blow all of her money on luxury apartments, excessive amounts of clothing/shoes/accessories, and frequent exotic vacations (if she could afford it).   In addition, many women are saddled with substantial student loan debt, and in some cases, substantial credit card debt.   So many men would be happy to settle down with these types of women, and I can think of more than a few instances where the man actually paid off her debts.    
    The only time where I can understand why a man would pay off a woman’s debt is if 1.) it was accumulated under some very unique circumstances that don’t point to character issues on the part of the woman (very rare), and 2.) he is getting to the age where he would like to have children very soon, and the woman is otherwise a good partner and would make a great mother.   Both of these conditions would have to be present.  

    1. 3.1

      Wow Chance, you sure know how to generalise about women.

      1. 3.1.1

        He’s right, though. It is much MUCH harder to find a fiscally responsible woman than it is to find a fiscally responsible man.

        1. Sunflower

          That is so sexiest! Men are better at handling money than women. Why is that? Please explain McLovin. Men spend their money on what matters to them, like cars, sports, entertainment, recreational, etc.just like women spend on what matters to them. But since men have traditionally been the bread winners, and women home makers, they just naturally have more insight on what it takes to be fiscally responsible?

        2. Noemi

          Many men I know have spent thousands of dollars on fender guitars, motorcycles, nice cars, and trips with their buddies. Oh, and beer.

          My spa facials and massages are cheaper, and so is my wine. 😎

        3. pat

          Riiiiight. That’s why in most households across America, women are the ones balancing the checkbooks, because MEN are more fiscally responsible…. -_-

        4. MikeTO

          That’s true because women the main consumers, women spend more than men there’s no doubt about it. Who usually pay for dates? Who pays for marriages?

          A motorcycle is cheaper than a car and better on gas. A guitar can make money if you play at a club. Women have nice cars too so what. Still women spend more and don’t know how to save. Many of these women make more than me but I’m the one who has money saved. I’m not living pay cheque to pay cheque.

        5. Karmic Equation

          Certain personality traits go along with fiscal responsibility — or lack thereof.

          People who don’t understand the concept of “deferred gratification” — that you might have to suffer a little now to get a bigger payoff later — those people are usually very irresponsible with money. I have two exes and a girlfriend who are like this.

          If you measure your friends, family, and significant others against this “deferred gratification” trait, I’ll bet you’ll find the correlating fiscal responsibility/irresponsibility trait.

      2. 3.1.2

        Clare, with respect, please read carefully. No generalization is being made. In contrast, I’m simply communicating my observations from my experiences.

      3. 3.1.3

        I’m sorry, was there a point here. I was too busy color-coding all my shoes and handbags.

        1. Clare


          I was going to come up with a pithy comeback to Chance’s comment, and then pay some bills… but I was distracted by the sign in the window saying 50% off on Minolo Blahniks.

        2. Amanda

          I would’ve posted a response to his comment earlier too but I was exploring the Peruvian rainforests and lost phone service

    2. 3.2

      Um… it’s not that most women are that way, it’s that those are the women you chose to go on dates with….

      It’s also hard to find men these days who aren’t over grown, socially inept children, living in their mom’s basements, squandering their time with excessive video games and online porn…. See? Anyone can make gross and insulting generalizations.

    3. 3.3

      Hold the phone. Where are all these men who are looking for responsible women and settling for spendy bimbos instead? In my dismal corner of the dating universe, men are turned on by flaky chicks who need to be rescued. I mean, they’ll practically run you over trying to get past the educated, self-sufficient, responsible women who could be true partners for the woman who is up to her eyeballs in debt and has no way out.
      I have been self-sufficient since I was 18, have 2 graduate degrees, have no debt of any kind, save 1/3 of what I make, and have never been–and will never be–without a job. I just lost out on a man I was madly in love with to a woman who has a HS education, has 50K in credit card debt (for clothes/shoes/alcohol), has never worked a day in her life, and considers it a woman’s right to be provided for by a man. I’m starting to think that you guys want to be the hero more than you want a partner. Most of my female friends take the same approach to life that I do, and like me, they have no trouble getting dates. But when these men find out that we are gainfully employed and are looking for a partner and not a sugar daddy, they disappear.

      1. 3.3.1

        I’ve honestly begun to think that some men like women they can control, and in being the provider, they can control you if you are economically disabled, or you are indebted and forever grateful if they bail you out. They can’t verbalize this, or admit it. I’ve seen what you are describing enough to believe it has merit…I’ve also seen men divorce this type of woman and then complain bitterly and I think…you married her, and I bet she was that way before you put a ring on it.

        If you are independent and can leave at any time, they are held to a higher standard – that of partner. Many of them can’t be an equal partner. They have to dominate.

        One dating coach I heard even admitted that some men are threatened by it, and that it allows a woman to “rattle the cage”. I can say my fiscal responsibility enabled me to rattle the cage in my abusive marriage, and unlock the cage and leave.

        I won’t broad brush all men this way. But I’ve seen enough to believe this is a scenario that plays out.

      2. 3.3.2

        I think this is just your experience. I work with several women who support or are at least the bigger bread winners in their homes. Their husbands, who have always made less are generally happy based on what I see.

        Stereotypes usually have merit or truth, but when you auto-cast everyone into it , you primarily harm yourself…

    4. 3.4

      ” It is so difficult to find women who are fiscally responsible and have goals that lead to any kind of income stability or wealth accumulation. ”

      LOL. Are you serious right now?

      All the working women I know work in part because they want to do something they’re good at; in part because they certainly can’t depend on some man to pay their bills; in part because they’re sick of the term “golddigger” being thrown at them by dudes like you, as that’s usually the back side to the set of insults you’ve laid down so far.

      (We won’t talk too much about the dudes who yowl “I can’t wait to get that Wall Street job so I can nail all the babes!”, tout their earning power as their sole attractive trait as a partner, don’t do anything else about the more odious parts of their personalities, and then are astounded by the “golddiggers” by whom they’re surrounded. What they thought was going to happen instead, I have no idea.)

      Most of the women I know who are frustrated because they are underearning are so because they’re not getting paid the same amount as the men with whom they work for doing the same jobs (that same old 78 cents to the dollar here in the States) … not because they don’t understand compound interest or have yet to open an IRA.

      The Equal Pay Act still hasn’t been passed, you know. If you have a beef, perhaps it’s with the Congressmen & Senators who keep filibustering it into the ground.

      In addition to which, if you “can’t find” a woman with real money, you might want to take a look at the women you’re choosing.

      I’d take some bets on the odds of that happening.

      1. 3.4.1

        Great to see you, m.

        I feel like if I can inspire you to post, then I’ve done my job:)

        I have great news for you: when you adjust for work type and work amount, the gender pay gap essentially vanishes.

      2. 3.4.2

        As a professional woman myself, I am self supporting and independent.I hardly think it’s unreasonable to expect grown men to be capable of supporting themselves. I don’t look for wealth, but I certainly do pay attention to whether or not they can manage to hold onto a job, spend beyond their means or expect to leach off someone else. In the last year I’ve met a 50 year old musician with Peter pan syndrome who still lived with his (entirely healthy) parents, a seemingly lovely man who kept getting fired from his positions because he was totally intractable and always butted heads with management, and one who seemed quite content to barely scrape by who had a little too much interest in the equity in my home. Grow up boys. Women are getting degrees at higher rates than men now. We are coming out of the shadows and expect you to stand on equal ground. Not higher. Not lower, just equal.

        On the flip side of this, I also met a man who posted nothing but his very high salary on his profile. No likes, hobbies, politics, picture, no description of any kind. He was the right age and was local (which is rare for me to find) so I took a chance and replied to his “Wink,” but indicated that I’d need to know something more about him before I’d meet up in person. He got very belligerent and insisted that he didn’t need to provide any information, that plenty of women would be more than happy to meet him without it. I said “Good luck with all those Gold-diggers then, cause that’s all you’ll get with your profile as it is. If you want someone with substance, who actually likes YOU, you’ll need to show them something more than dollar signs.” Clearly, he thought that his salary gave him a free pass on being interesting or courteous. I find it amusing that men still expect money to open doors for them, but then resent the women they attract with it.

        1. Thor

          LOL.. the only reason you “winked” the unacceptable guy was because he is rich, hence making you just as much a gold digger as the others that do meet up with him.

          You claim you want equality but true equality means men have a right to be what they want to be (including a lack of financial bread-earning) not what you have decided they must be to please you.

          In truth you just want to be whatever you want in the moment while also having a rich prince charming that can carry you if/when you want to be carried.


    5. 3.5

      Lol Chance, u made the mistake of making a more general negative comment about women, on a blog mainly for women. :p

      Personally in my own experience, I do find that men are less extravagant in their spending in relation to their income, so I have some agreement with u there. But then again I’m young and my peers are not yet so concerned about saving for the future. I do know quite a few women who seem v concerned with keeping up with their other gfs’ materialistic habits, it’s like an arms race or smthg…

      I agree it might be wise for men to pay more attention to the financial aspect of females they date, but that would mean they’d have to place less weight on her looks and the more superficial part of her personality, if u get what I’m referring to, like her charm and feminine demeanor. I’ve noticed a lot of pple, including men, can be attracted to someone’s personality at the expense of overlooking deeper character traits.

      As a woman who doesn’t make a lot (although I live within my means, because I don’t enjoy shopping, lol), frankly I count my lucky stars I’m a woman and not a man…because men are a lot more open-minded in this aspect IMO.

      1. 3.5.1

        Hi twinkle, I agree with you on all points.

    6. 3.6

      Chance, after reading several of your posts, I’ve come to the conclusion that you really need to start dating different women because you complain about the same type of woman over and over again. As there are plenty of other women who are nothing like the women you describe, I conclude that you keep picking the women with the same flaws. Either decide that’s a reasonable trade-off for what you are attracted to or make the effort to go date different types of people. You are the common denominator here. You said when you were dating as in the past tense so maybe you have found a long term partner who is different.

      1. 3.6.1

        I haven’t had issues with the women I’ve actually dated, so no common denominator issues here lol. I guess I was pretty good at screening the bad ones out. But man, looking around at the other couples I know, those ladies can really blow through some money. I think twinkle is right in that a lot of men will put up with these types of women if they look good enough, so these guys are definitely contributing to the problem. When I take a lunch break during the work week, there would likely be a lot less women in the cafe sipping their two-hour lattes between tennis and yoga if their husbands actually held them accountable.

        1. Henriette

          @Chance: Also, don’t you think on some level it’s an ego-boost/ status symbol for a man to have a wife who spends a lot of his money? It makes him feel like a great provider and he can complain (boast) to his friends about how much of his money she spends, which is a way of telling his friends that he can afford it.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Wow, another sale on broad brushes at the stereotype store.

          Anyway, I wish I could take a two hour lunch during the work week, I only get an hour. Perhaps there would be fewer men spying on women for two hours at the cafe, and making assumptions if bosses would hold more men accountable.

          In my time in the work force, I have observed many men coming in chronically late, chronically leaving early, chronically taking long lunch “hours.” Now I know why, they were busy eavesdropping on ladies conversations at the cafe and counting their shoes. I guess since their husbands don’t keep these women on a tight leash, it’s up to the working men of America to take a two hour lunch break and spy on and report these latte-sipping yogis.

          Seriously Chance, when a female poster on here mentioned domestic violence, you said you were “dying to know” more about it, and asked her to post a link.

          Aren’t you at all curious if your biased observations about women being careless with money have any basis in FACTS ? Or are FACT only good when they support YOUR biases, and they can be damned when they don’t ?

          Perhaps you run in circles with men who wanted “traditional” wives, hence wives who stay at home. Perhaps these men who wanted “traditional” wives would also like them to stay in shape, hence the yoga and tennis lessons.

          I must live in a completely different Universe than you, because in my world, most PEOPLE exercise financial responsibility, but I have seen a handful of people, both men and women make some poor financial decisions. I’ve have also seen people, both men and women, lead responsible hard working lives, only to suffer a set back due to job loss, serious illness of a family member or something else that is not a reflection on their character. Something you said is extremely rare for women.

          Do some research Chance, I have not seen any studies that show that there are extreme difference when it comes to men and women and money management.

          Of course, I doubt that you are interested in FACTS, when it is so much more fun to take a cursory glance at a STRANGER and make up stories in your head about them.

        3. Karmic Equation

          I get what you’re saying, Henriette. And it could be interpreted that way.

          But I think when a guy says, “my wife’s spending all my money” in a happy way, he’s not bragging. It’s his way of telling others that he indulges her, that he loves her.

          And of course, if he says it in a complaining way, that marriage is in trouble.

          I don’t think there’s any in between. Either he’s happy with his wife or he’s not.

        4. Chance

          @Henriette: I can see what you’re talking about being true with older generations such as our grandparents’ generation. However, I can’t really see it with my generation. I think there are two main reasons younger men still allow this type of thing. First, I think societal conditioning has a lot to do with it because they may feel they are doing something wrong if they don’t let their wives/girlfriends spend their money, and all of her girlfriends might shame him big-time. The second reason is, of course, sex. The second reason is all on men as they are most definitely contributing to the problem in this regard.

          @SE: I don’t know, they’re there when I come in, and they’re there when I leave. Perhaps they’re not there for a whole two hours, and perhaps they’re there for three. Who knows? I’ll concede that I was being closed-minded that I automatically assumed that they would be attending yoga class afterwards. There are certainly other possibilities: they could go home first to berate the nanny, or they could go to the doggie bakery. Also, debutante season is upon us, so they could be going to pick out dresses for their daughters.

          I can tell that you read my posts closely, and it appears that you’ve put in a considerable amount of time and effort into trying to find where I may have contradicted myself on this site (and, for that, I am sincerely flattered). However, surely you can come up with something better than comparing my posts on this subject to another poster (on another subject) who directly presented something as fact when, apparently, she had no evidence to support it. With my comments here, it’s abundantly clear that I’m just sharing my observations and making speculations based on those observations. Once again, I never said “all women were like this” or “men are better than women at that”.

          At any rate, if making generalizations bothers you so much (even though – for the last time – I have done no such thing), then I suggest you go to EMK’s latest blog entry to view Simone’s comments for a perfect example of someone who is truly making generalizations. Will you sling comments in her direction that are as equally critical as the ones you threw in mine?

    7. 3.7

      “Still women spend more and don’t know how to save.”

      Sorry, MikeTo, but you are making blatantly false generalizations. Both men and women overspend. It boils down to the individual’s perceptions about money and how it should be spent, not on either gender.

      “A motorcycle is cheaper than a car and better on gas. A guitar can make money if you play at a club.” Some men have motorcycles and cars. My boyfriend had three motorcycles at one point. And a brand new BMW. And, not every guy who has a guitar plays at clubs. My boyfriend has 2 fender guitars (expensive). He doesn’t play for an audience (except for me). The ONLY reason he has more money saved is because his parents paid for his undergraduate degree, and he has been working. I am going for a PhD, an no, my parents haven’t contributed a penny to that.

      You’re better off recognizing that money is not a gender characterization. An individual’s ability and willingness to save has nothing to do whether he/she is a male or female.

    8. 3.8

      Well, if a man decides to prioritize “Hotness” over all else in a woman, he is maybe going to see some of these attributes more often than if he sees women as fellow human beings with individual personalities. The fact that Chance is already painting all women with his narrowly perceived brush is pretty revealing about what kind of woman he’s going after. There are plenty of intelligent, professional, stable women out there, but we’ve found that many men are intimidated by our independence. If you date a woman who is not dependent on you she will expect you to up your game, have something worthwhile to say, be equally supportive. A lot of men can’t handle that. I just love it when men limit their choices to the pampered, primped and perfect princesses out of their own insecurity and then complain that all women are princesses.

      1. 3.8.1

        Hi Al, if you read my comments, you’ll realize that I’m one of the biggest proponents of choosing women based on characteristics outside of looks. It’s interesting that women here keep trying to say that the reason I’m running into the types of women I describe is because I’m only going after those types of women. I suppose it’s just a way for them to dismiss one’s experience by saying that it must be the fault of men. My observations are based on the women I’ve known, but not the women I go after. I go after the women who don’t have those traits.

        I’m sorry, but there are not very many financially responsible women out there (or men, for that matter). I think one source of confusion is that a lot of women seem to think that if they pay their bills on time and maintain a high credit score, it means that they are financially responsible. Unfortunately, it doesn’t…. there has to be wealth accumulation. If one isn’t putting in at least $20,000/year into his/her retirement, then he/she isn’t likely going to be able to retire on his/her own terms. The later you are in life whilst dating, the more you should consider this in choosing your partner, in my opinion.

        Finally, men are not intimidated by women’s independence or financial success (as you claim). I think women like to tell each other this because it makes them feel better when a man is not interested in them. Most men love it when a woman brings something to the table.

    9. 3.9

      Chance may be generalizing / stereotyping, but he has very valid points.    let’s assume we’re talking about college graduates only, it has been my experience that attractive females in the South, Midwest, Southwest, and West coast   place a significant amount of attention to marriage vs. Establishing any career.   I emphasize “attractive”!

      There is a lot of nonsense in this string that ignores the basic fact that most “attractive” women want to be taken care of, and not bus their ass working constantly.   If you disagree with this concept then you probably reside within the vicinity of a very liberal college.

  4. 4

    I actually agree with Chance on this issue. If men adhered to the same standards as the two female posters above then virtually no one would get together or make it to the phase of long-term dating. IMO, character is something seperate from one’s level of income, financial stability, and their general level of satisfaction with their job. If he’s educated, can carry an intelligent conversation, is kind, supportive, then whether he has assets, savings, or smart investments is irrelevant.
    Frankly, the women who pass up decent guys who don’t make six figures are probably the same women who back on this blog in their fifties wondering why they don’t command the same attention from men in online dating.

    1. 4.1

      Shaukat, do we agree?   lol.
      I may have not made my point very clearly.   What I was trying to say is that men should follow the same advice that EMK is giving this woman, which is to avoid dating people who are financially irresponsible and have no drive or direction.   So many men are willing to date women despite the fact that they are financially irresponsible, and it’s crazy that they are often willing to pay off the debts of these women.
      I agree with you that character is separate from someone’s income or satisfaction on the job.   However, I think fiscal irresponsibility (which is the primary cause of financial instability in many cases) is very much the result of a flaw in one’s character.   There are exceptions, of course, such as a failed business venture or a loss of job that results in financial instability where responsible saving habits cannot even fully mitigate potential negative outcomes.  

      1. 4.1.1

        @Chance:   LOL.   Well, you know that I agree with you.  
        Evan tells women to look for husbands of fine character and for men to look for wives who make them feel good.   I know that women of poor character (and that includes being irresponsible with money) can make a guy feel great.   I try to get my head around this… I’m not sure I understand.

        1. Chance

          Hi Henriette, does Evan actually tell men to look for wives who make them feel good?   I know that he points out to women that men usually go for women who make them feel good, and that women should make men feel appreciated, etc. in order to maximize their success with men.   I can’t speak for Evan, but I have a hard time thinking he would recommend that guys choose women who make them feel food without considering anything else, such as character.

      2. 4.1.2

        Ha, Chance, maybe we don’t agree as much as I thought! I assumed you might have been talking tongue in cheek.

        Look, I agree that financial irresponsibility is a problem when it leads someone to burden another for an extended period of time, and when financial support leads to a mentality of entitlement on the part of the individual receiving the support. However, in the OP’s letter she doesn’t indicate that this guy is dependent on her for support. In my view, passion (for something) is far more important than financial success, and the two are not synonymous with one another. Your passion may lead you to riches, or it may not.  

        I actually don’t believe that fiscal mismanagement is a sign of a character flaw,  even if it is a sign of poor budgeting/management skills. I think Evan’s own romantic history illustrates this point. If he had written off his wife’s high credit card debt as a sign of a character flaw, then he would likely have missed out on her many  wonderful character traits.         

        1. Chance

          Fair enough.   I did say that it may be understandable to pay off a partner’s debt in a situation where a couple of conditions are present.   I don’t know EMK’s romantic history, but perhaps his situation fits that.

      3. 4.1.3

        Chance, with respect, if some man wants to pay off the debts of a woman if it will help her to become his wife and that is what he wants, who are you to have a say in the matter?

        I know people who are bad with money who are otherwise extremely kind, wonderful people – in fact they often got themselves into a bit of debt from being too generous.

        1. Chance

          Did I say I wanted a say in the matter? I think societal conditioning has a bit to do with why men pay off women’s debts, and hardly any woman, from my experience, would extend the same courtesy. Not blaming the these women for not wanting to pick up someone else’s financial slack in the way that men often do, of course. Why are you so offended by observations?

        2. Clare

          Perhaps because of your “observation” that most women got that way because of their love affair with shoes and fancy holidays?

      4. 4.1.4

        I am no “gold digger” by any means. But I would be lying if I did not admit that I would love a man’s assistance these days, both emotionally as well as financially. Yes, I agree that some men just want a hot “trophy” piece on their arms (as the entertainment/sports industry no doubt reveals) and women that choose to play this game accept that they give up a degree of control in order to be taken care of. But hey, kudos to them. For the rest of us, life can be complicated, challenging & hard at times and having someone in your corner to help relieve some of those stresses is a MAJOR blessing. Both for men & women. I have always paid for my own nails, hair, apartments, clothes, shoes, bags etc. even when I had a BF. I could never depend on a man to do much of anything for me. Add to that growing up without a dad. I am not a woman that got doted on or taken to nice places by men. And while I know that my life and its challenges are ultimately MY responsibilty,someone that loves me should want to assist in any way that they can. Both myself and a friend of mine dated guys while we were both pretty much homeless-she was living in a work studio & sleeping on the floor and I live in a office space on an air mattress. I have no degree yet (im in school now), school loan debt, bad credit, tax issues, no bank account and no savings. On paper, I look like I’m not worth anyone’s time. But none of these things talk about what kind of person I am which is why we hook up with each other in the first place-for true love & acceptance coupled with different types of support that can accomodate life’s challenges. Now, I also have not ever dated a guy that made more money than me, even though I now only make 30k and plan to make waaaay more. The guys that I dated were pretty much poor or broke:/ that fact alone didn’t affect my love for them but rather their subsequent attitudes towards me were the root issue. You can’t be broke and emotionally unavailable or a jerk!! LOL but that was indeed the case. I am also finding that men are more attached to their careers than women. I mean this to say that men are more defined by their ability to make a living and “provide”, this premise follows the culture tradition of a man caring for his wife & kids. Why do you think dates are still a social norm? So while women can and do make their own money, in case of emergencies, child care, life expenses etc, women like to insure stability and security in relationships through properly maintaining and accruing finances. I once had to have surgery, partially caused by my BF, and he couldn’t even afford to give me his half of the expenses. Or when my car broke down and neither of us could afford to get it fixed. These things would put a stressful strain on any couple. In essence, I think that it boils down to resources and how you choose to share those resources with the ones that you love. Love is priceless. But it unfortunately does not pay any bill.

        1. Karmic Equation

          Rents and the cost of living in urban areas are crazy. Roommates are essential not an option, particularly for those who barely scrape by on their wages.

          That said, I think too many people in their 20s live beyond their means. And once they’re in debt, they can’t get out of it. Eating Ramen noodles and NOT going clubbing are seen as tortures they avoid.

          When I was struggling, I ate Ramen noodles night after night. Lived in the cheapest apt I could find that was close to work. I didn’t go clubbing. Bills got paid before I did, meaning no luxuries unless I had extra money. I had a meager savings for “rainy” day. Not more than a couple hundred bucks, but I had one. I only used my credit card when there was no other choice, like for unexpected car repairs, and I paid off the credit cards as fast as I could.

          The things I listed above, most kids in their 20’s don’t do. That’s why they’re in debt. “Deferred gratification” is definitely a foreign concept to them.

    2. 4.2

      You’re assuming that men and women look for the same things in the opposite sex. They don’t. Most men are happy dating a hot waitress with a high school education. Most women need a man with financial stability to provide and protect the family.

      1. 4.2.1

        Maybe a “hot waitress with a high school education” in her 20s…but her 30s, 40s, and so on? She wont forever be that “hot”, and even if she takes care of herself and looks great at 40+…a forever waitress (or waiter, if it were a man -same situation either way works) with no desire to pursue higher education and/or a better job – yeah, no thanks.

        1. Tilly

          Thanks Brit. Works the same for both sexes. A successful man will bang the hot waitress but won’t marry her if he can find/get a professional woman who is also feminine. Both sexes look for the best they can get in the opposite sex. The only difference is, men needing sex more than women on the average will quickly settle. A wOman with a good job and close friends has no need to settle especially if God bless her she already has a kid or two. I’m not a man but at some point fucking hookers and strippers can get tiring especially as one gets older. Successful women hold all the cards of they can learn to be humble, respectful and more feminine. But alas that’s impossible on so many levels. It takes a certain kind of personality to go that far professionally as a woman and some of not most feminine gets lost in the midst of all that education . yeah it goes both ways like you said .

        2. MikeTO

          What do you have to offer to a successful man? No sane man will date a woman who is only into money. Why would a guy need to date when he can get woman easily. A financially
          responsible man wouldn’t court women. He would expect women to pay their own way (dutch). In end when dating women will usually expect men to pay that’s why it’s important for men to have money.

        3. Buck25


          All I have to say on that, is that I’ll take the waitress, (hot, or even just above average), over any professional woman with multiple degrees, a high six figure income, an overblown opinion of herself, a giant sense of entitlement,   ( I can think of a couple of those, among the resident faithful here, all topped off with an attitude that views mating and dating as an struggle for dominance over who can be more alpha than the other. If I wanted a perpetual pecker-measuring contest, I can get that any day from my male friends; it’s the last thing I want in a woman. Intellects a mile wide and an inch deep are pretty common among the “professional woman” type, and given the circles in which I moved have for years, I’ve met an awful lot of them. As for the “uneducated” waitress or hair stylist, quite a few of them have more common sense in their little finger, than   than some “Ms. Phd.” types have in their entire being. So since I happen to be the one with the big income and net worth, and therefore will never need a woman’s financial support (or even contribution) I’ll take the waitress; “uneducated” or not, if she’s sweet and charming, and lets a man be a man, I find her far more desirable than an overeducated, unappreciative harridan!

    3. 4.3

      @Shaukat: my two long-term relationships were with lovely guys who are educated, can carry on intelligent conversation are kind and supportive.   Neither has assets, savings or smart investments.   Alas, this turned out to be highly relevant.    
      I never had took issue with paying more ~ much more ~ than they did for the life we shared; in both instances, I was wealthier so was content to shoulder the greater financial burden.   But, both of them were dreamers and at some point being with someone who has no idea about money or what it actually costs to maintain a middle class lifestyle makes one feel as though one is with a clueless child rather than with a responsible man.

  5. 5

    I agree with Evan that women who make enough to afford a family comfortably should date in the same way men date now, looking for love and not worrying so much about partners’ finances. But what does that mean as far as the pursuing? Does that make it okay for her to pursue, since she is financially stable and probably making more than most guys?

  6. 6

    what a wonderful advice. I only wish I had it 16 years ago when I was dating. Evan, you should be getting some kind of rewards for doing what I consider a public service. There is soooo much bad dating advise out there. I’ve been preaching your teachings to 2 of my friends. One is now happily married ( a medical doctor who chose a wonderful, kind-hearted but less educated man) and another one is in a relationship (an accountant dating an adoring and caring car mechanic ). They’ve ‘compromised ‘ on money but won big time on the character qualities  

  7. 7

    To throw another aspect into the debate. You have 2nd time arounders like myself. I am a widower who my husband thankfully left me and my children finiancially stable when he died in my early 30’s. I obviously still love my husband and will always hold him in my heart. But most men in my age bracket have had prior marriages. I have yet to come across a fellow widower so mostly divorced.

    One guy I was dating was heavy in debt from a bad property decision in his marriage and still paying it off. He also likes to buy a coffee everyday regardless of his circumstances. Extermely hard working. Great qualities. I am very frugal and wouldnt be getting coffees myself but understand that’s his only special treat. It will be years before he’s financially stable and I can’t help him as I am in a good place but use all money for kids.

    The next guy lost his house in divorce is renting and paying child support. Both can contribute minimally financially if we moved in or married so I have to decide whether to overlook them because they may never be financially stable.

    1. 7.1

      I am in a similar situation… I am 46, divorced, no kids. The man I have been with for nearly a year is 50 with 3 kids. He has a foreclosure against his credit and horrible financial habits. I have a credit score over 800 and significant investments, so hearing about how he handles his finances and bills literally gives me a stomach ache. He has nothing saved for retirement and doesn’t seem to have a plan. I envision a future where I am retired at 60 and can travel – and all of my planning and savings and 401k contributions since I was in my twenties will get me to that goal. I don’t see myself getting re-married (to anyone, not just him – don’t see the point at this age), so I’m asking myself if I should hang in there or not. We have a great time together, he treats me like gold and says he would do anything for me. I know I can’t expect everyone to be as regimented as I am, but feel there is definitely room for improvement on his part!

      1. 7.1.1

        RUNNNNNN let tell you why??? if something happens to him, you will be bearing the financial burden, this man is not your husband..god forbids any of this, I am, but feel there is definitely room for improvement on his part! this what you said” women need to understand not only are you trying to build a life but you want a partner yes!! and economic future with someone as well. sounds crazy but it’s real.. A MAN THAT DON’T WORK, DON’T EAT!!

  8. 8

    Chance @ 3 – I googled men,   women and credit, and every study I found online showed negligible differences between the genders when it comes to financial responsibility.

    Women’s credit scores overall were slightly higher, several studies showed that men did slightly better than women in some respects and women did slightly better than men in some respects.   The take away from my cursory online research was that there is no clear superior gender in regards to managing finances.

    I did not find ONE article that said that majority of women were extremely financially irresponsible and that the majority of men were extremely financially irresponsible. I did not find ONE article that put either gender in the superior camp financially.

    I think the stereotype of all females as careless shop-aholics, racking up debt and then looking for a sugar daddy to bail them out is just that, a well worn out stereotype with no basis in truth. Fodder for men on mysogynist websites.

    And as far as I am concerned, student debt is not a character problem, but a far reaching problem with our current economy.   The cost of higher education has disproportionately skyrocketed, and has outstripped it’s value.   The problem of staggering student debt affects males and females, and I don’t think it is any indication of a lack of character.

    Also, my observations are pretty much inline with what I found online.   I have seen men and women of all income levels who seemed to demonstrate average to excellent financial management, and I have seen people of both genders and varying incomes who were very careless with their money.     I’ve also seen people who behaved very responsibly in regards to money management, and were knocked down by circumstances beyond their control.

    If as you claim, you’ve only encountered financially irresponsible women, perhaps you should examine the reasons for this.   Financially responsible, financially stable women are not as rare a you portray them to be.   Do you typically go for “high maintainence” types ?

    Overall, I think someone’s who is struggling with a stressful state of financial affairs, could be due to SEVERAL factors, one such factor being a poor character trait (such as the need for instant gratification), but there are several things that could contribute to someone’s financial downfall.       Living in an economically depressed area, a major illness (even with GOOD insurance, co-pays, deductibles, missed worked can take it’s toll), certain jobs that at one time paid well, get outsourced en-masse, leaving someone with a set of skills that won’t earn them squat, perhaps left over debt from the schooling and having to start over again.   Sometimes people go through a period of financial irresponsibilty in their youth, learn their lesson, but it takes a while to get out from under, etc.   I don’t think as you do, that a financially stressful situation is   RARELY due to circumstances that are not indicative of a serious character flaw.

    Also, I think managing finances WELL, is sometimes a skill more than an indicator of a superior character.   There are some people who just don’t know how to comparison shop, don’t really understand what percentage of income should be set aside for emergencies, aren’t organized enough to shop sensibly and plan economic meals etc.   Also, someone lacking other skills would end up paying more for someone else to do it.   I wouldn’t call someone who doesn’t know how to repair a leaky faucet character flawed, but they are going to shell out more money for household repairs, and if they are mid to low income, once the house starts falling apart, it’s going to have a negative impact.

    For the record, I have a low-middle class income, but I am financially stable. I left home right after high school and was completely self supporting when single, and contributed financially to both marriages. I have a good credit rating, own a nice home, own my car free and clear, and have a modest but adequate 401K.   I attribute my financial stability to a combination of luck, skill and a strong work ethic/sense of responsibility on my part.   I also realize that one big major disaster could take it all away, so when I count my lucky stars, my financial stability is among them.


    1. 8.1

      SE, I never stated anything about the money management skills of men, or if they were better/worse. I explained my experiences/observations of potential dates when I was socializing as a single person. To you and Pat, I’ve never really dated any of these types of women because I like to think that I’m pretty good at screening them out, but I’ve known them. My partner is not “high maintenance” and is very responsible with money.

      1. 8.1.1

        Chance – Your “observations” of women are typically always that women are “deeply flawed” somehow.   A woman commenter told of her experience with men being to clingy and you “observed” that women who men “get clingy” with are “deeply flawed”.   (The women are flawed, not the clingy men)
        I am glad you found a partner with whom you have compatible views of money management.
        However, I highly doubt that you could make an accurate assessment or observation of a “potential” date.   Do you run credit checks on them, ask them their income, check their closets for excessive shoes and clothes and look at their receipts prior to dating them ?
        My observation is that men who accuse women whom they hardly know of being irresponsible spenders are just men who are extremely cheap.   Rather than just copping to the fact that they are stingy penny pinching tightwads, they make the woman out to be some careless spender if she so much as treats herself to a manicure.
        I once dated a man who was extremely cheap.   I know it sounds strange, but I really liked him, found him very attractive, and we really did have a lot of fun together.   He was definitely dating for a wife and mother, and respected my sexual boundaries (with a frown, he wanted an intimate relationship with me)   We dated for 3 months and never went past kissing and it was NOT because I was unattracted, but because I just couldn’t get past his ATTITUDE about money.   I saw that as something that could be a real relationship problem.  
        It didn’t bother me that our dates were taking hikes and packing a lunch, or staying in and playing card games with friends.   What bothered me was his CRITICISM of MY very reasonable spending habits.
          I was living in a studio apartment, driving a Nissan Sentra, and living well within my means, but he made SNIDE remarks about every little luxury I had. My only debt was car payment.   I had ample savings.   Never a day late on the rent or utils.
        It’s fine with me if he wanted to buy his underwear at garage sales, but I sure didn’t want to get flak for a $30 hair treatment or buying some nail polish because they aren’t necessities.   He even made a snide comment about the expensive camera I bought YEARS before we met, with my high school graduation money.   In his mind, ANY non-necessity purchase is careless spending.
        In my mind, once my bills are paid, money is set aside for emergencies, into the retirement fund, etc. what’s left over is discretionary cash.   And if I want to buy “excessive shoes” or take a fancy vacation that’s MY business.   I earn the money, I get to decide how to spend it, after meeting my obligations.
        The final straw was when I was very sick.   He was very sweet and brought me chicken soup, over the counter meds, etc.   It was actually very endearing that he came over and took care of me.   But this supposed cold/sore throat was going on too long for my comfort, so one night when he brought me over dinner and throat lozenges I told him, that I was finally going to go the doctor.   He told me not to waste my money and to just let whatever this was to run it’s course.   I just told him I was going to the doctor and that I wasn’t going to argue about it. The strep culture came back negative (thankfully) but at least I could get some powerful prescription drugs that eased the symptoms much better than Sucrets and Chicken soup.  
        After that, I just kind of did the slow fade (cowardly I know, I was younger than)
        When we were together, one of my girl friends could see that I really liked him, except for this ONE thing, and kept saying I should TALK to him about his money-control issues, and in hindsight, I wish I did. (talk to him)   I doubt he would have changed, but then I could have left with a clear conscious, as I would have told him what behavior I found troubling (his trying to dictate my spending habits, and painting me as financially irresponsible).  
        Somewhere on another blog, there’s probably some really cute guy, with the most beautiful blue eyes and boyish smile, telling the tale of his ex frigid girl friend, who was really cute & fun, but she wildly spent all her money on expensive cameras, the hair salon, on drugs. . .

        1. Chance


          I believe I remember the comment you’re referring to, but I think it’s pretty much understood that clingy people are flawed. I’ve posted that clingy men have issues on here before. Also, I’m pretty sure I know enough about the women who I am basing my conclusions on to determine that they aren’t fiscally responsible.

          There are few things in the world more ridiculous than arguing with other people for sharing their experiences, so I won’t argue with you for sharing your experience that men who hold women to the same financial standards that women hold men to are cheap (I believe you put it as personally “criticizing women they hardly know”, but that wouldn’t be the situation in my case). I respect it.

        2. Sparkling Emerald

          Chance. I have NEVER met a woman who’s expected a man to forgo med care to save a buck. I am not condoning differing standards for men than women as you are implying. I only expect a REASONABLE amount of financial responsibility from a man,and I have observed men who demand that women live the austere lifestyle of a monk. I NEVER advocated a double standard of financial responsibility.

        3. belle

          I once went on about 7 dates with a man that was executive level. He used the ‘Oh, I’m so giving and women take advantage’ script with me early on. It was a red flag, as with the dates, they were coffee, smoothies, one Mexican restaurant, types of places where the bill was no more than $20 each. I offered to pay for a taco dinner on the 2nd visit to that same restaurant. He was telling me how he used to take ex girlfriends on shopping trips to high end stores, etc. Something didn’t add up. After so many dates and conversation, obviously, I was a regular woman that earns my own money and not materialistic yet felt that his coffee/smoothie dates were a signal that he was damaged goods, cheap or balancing so many women that I was clearly not the one of many to take to even a Chili’s on a Friday night. So, he was either a broke high earner, telling sob stories to for whatever reason or testing me. Whatever the reason, it was annoying and I lost interest with a lack of effort. I later found out that a friend of mine had connected with him also on Match. He gave her the same sob story. She only met him for coffee the one time (this was before I met him) and never contacted him back, as she had the same impression.

          I love treating my boyfriend on occasion. He is not a high earner. However, he’s creative, thoughtful and gets excited about making plans on occasion to do some pretty nice things. It means something to him to provide for me, plan something nice and he knows it’s not expected all of the time. We also cook together or will contribute.   I’ll cook a special dinner, he’ll pick up dessert from our favorite bakery. He’ll steam lobsters, I’ll bring the wine. We’ve each found free tickets for some fun events through colleagues or friends. Comedy Clubs, Football Games.. free parking pass and tickets to a Holiday event and two concerts, so we were able to enjoy a modest dinner out before hand. It’s a pleasure to surprise him and say I’m taking you to dinner tonight. So, with the man I shared about above, it’s not a matter of being a greedy woman. However, clearly, that man had some issues or the sob story led women to cheap dates and the bedroom, in their effort to ‘prove’ they aren’t like the ‘manipulative other women that took all of his money’ Though my radar was up, I initially did fall for it (didn’t sleep with him, though!). It was interesting hearing from another woman that also had that same gut feeling.

  9. 9

    “So if I’m a man making $300,000, do I need to find a woman who makes $200,000, also?”

    To feed your ego, maybe.

    (Not you personally, but please hear me out on this one.)

    I’m going to challenge the “I would think that you wouldn’t agree with that. Nor do most men” set of statements on the grounds that even though I’m sure you know a whole lot of dudes, EMK, you don’t know them all, nor do you know the majority … and the only reason I’d focus on that is that in saying something like that you’re blowing right past a phenomenon which I & several of my professional lady friends are quite familiar and any number of other women in the cosmopolitan cities you freqeuent could also tell you volumes about, I’m sure.

    I’d be most interested in tracking that teacher-attorney marriage over time (if she’s practicing; you mention that she’s G-town law educated, but you don’t say whether she’s an actual lawyer, which is something else, really, given the profession’s demands).

    I’d like to know if it ever “gets under his skin” if she ends up out-earning him and grumbles & procrastinates all through tax time if they have to file jointly.

    I’d be interested if you know any plumber-journalist combinations where the lady journalist gets invited to the White House dinner and the dude either refuses to go *or* goes and does the conversational equivalent of sneezing in the soup and coughing in the fish mousse … after he decides which one would embarrass her most because he feels she’s “throwing her success in his face”.

    In the event that you think I’m recounting minimal incidents, or overreacting, I have to tell you I take it most seriously because I’ve both seen too close to up close and heard far, far too many stories — clinically documented and otherwise — about men who flat-out abuse their wives because their egos can’t take that they’re being out-earned … even though it doesn’t matter to the wives in the least other than they’re just trying to contribute more to the mortgage & household expenses & get paid fairly for their work.

    One of my own classmates was killed — yes, killed — by her husband because she was promoted faster than he was. (We can’t prove it, but it is documented that she disappeared, and he left the country.)

    So women take a look at *those* kind of situations and decide it’s just flat-out safer to find a man who earns more than she does than to risk physical hurt because his ego’s been hurt.

    That’s just common sense.

    It’s a serious issue, and it’s dismissed and minimized because there are too many folks running around saying “Well, *I* don’t see it, so it must not happen!”

    And honestly? In a country where two incomes are near-required to raise a family and in an environment whose mission is to encourage good relationships?

    Thatz Not Okay.

  10. 10

    I agree 100% with Evan’s advice. I think you’d feel taken advantage of and used if you end up with a slacker because you’d be frustrated by his failure to contribute financially. You’d end up supporting him.

    As a higher earner, I don’t care whether a man makes more than me or less. In fact, I rarely meet men that I am interested in (and vice versa) who make more than me. Rather, I focus on whether that person strives to be successful in his career. In other words, no slackers. He must have a career that he cares about and is committed to, not for money reasons, but because he has drive. I date men who are older and I would be turned off by a 40 year old man who doesn’t have that drive.

    The guy you are talking about is 31. At 31, you should have your act together. A man who can’t hold a job at 31, who hasn’t finished college, and who quit his job for a stupid reason, with no back up plan is not a catch. He is a loser and you’ll end up supporting him. I can see it being a red flag but not a deal breaker if he’s 22, but by 31, you’re an official grown up who isn’t going to change. Date the guy he is, not the potential.

    As for wanting a guy who makes more than you, I don’t really think that matters… I got slammed in the manosphere thread on this issue, but I prefer men who make at least $100K (which is less than 1/2 of what I earn). It’s not because I’m selfish or greedy, but it’s because I tend to date men with kids and I don’t want to date someone who is totally financially strapped or, if things work out, end up shouldering an additional financial burden beyond what I already shoulder. In any event, where I live $100K is a very normal salary so it’s pretty rare for me to meet men my age or older with college degrees who don’t hit that mark so it is a reasonable threshold.

    1. 10.1

      @ Lauren,

      You have a very narrow view of what constitutes success, and it’s amazing that you openly state that you only date men who make at least 100k without realizing how that makes you sound.

      1. 10.1.1

        @shaukat, clearly you haven’t been married before. Money is basically the number one reason married couples fight. It is very important to be wih someone who views money the same way you do. Financial stability IS important. And yes, as a woman dating divorced guys, income is a proxy for financial stability. Less than that, I wonder how he makes ends meet. Where I live 100k is a very normal salary for men in their 30s and 40s, below average actually. Maybe it is a high salary in a place like Cincinnati but in a major metropolitan area, 100k is an ok salary, not amazing.

  11. 11
    Mrs Happy

    It sounds like the OP and her boyfriend aren’t similar enough in drive and work ethic, and money management, to make a long term relationship go smoothly.
    One of my experiences with a money/relationship situation:
    I broke up with a boyfriend/near fiance in part because of his attitude to money. (Also in part because I realised I didn’t love him, and I had reached the stage that I wanted to marry and settle down with someone.)
    He spent, spent, spent. He was in enormous personal debt, just because of spending on stuff. Such as personally tailored clothes, very expensive meals out every single night, luxuries like chauffeured cars instead of taxis, and he couldn’t walk past a shop without entering and buying a few things. He had so much stuff at his house, towering stacks of CDs, etc. He earned about 130% of the median wage for my city.
    Lots of people in my city are in debt because of the very high costs of buying property, and that sort of debt I understand. But he had no assets, just stuff. He didn’t own a house or a car or shares or much in retirement savings or anything. He hadn’t lost a business or a job or paid big medical or other bills. He hadn’t loaned anyone money. There was no other reason for the debt. And he could not stop spending.  
    I had saved (a lot of money, a huge house deposit) over 10 years of working more than full time hours, and was at the stage (was in my early 30’s) that I wanted to buy a home; I’d been renting for a long time. I’m not particularly good at saving, but in my field incomes are very high, and time off work to spend very low, so it was easy to accumulate savings without specifically trying. If he and I married, it made sense to me (financially) that the money I’d saved should be directed at paying off his numerous massive credit card debts, simply because the interest rates on those are so high (near 20%), and then the personal loans, etc. I would thus lose my house deposit.
    I had to seriously think about whether to do it. A big house deposit I could accumulate again over a few years (my wage tends to rise with time/seniority). But to me it seemed that the pattern of me earning a lot, and pouring money into his luxurious lifestyle preferences, some of which I found perplexing (I mean, buy a car and stop paying for other people to drive you around!) was going to continue indefinitely. He worked full time and earned okay, but spent much more than he earned, and had done so for about 15 years since graduating from college.
    I’m a woman. Men might be happier to do this – financially support a wife’s excessive spending habits. I mean, that’s the cliche isn’t it, a husband trying to reign in spending. I didn’t want to buy into this sort of future. I suspect in part it’s biology and social conditioning.
    My now husband (a different man) and I have similar attitudes to money. We are neither really frugal or lavish; we probably spend a lot more on having a comfortable life week-to-week than average, e.g. we hire a lot of help to increase our free time together as a family (there seems so little of it with young children).   For me, the amount we each earn (I earn more, though he earns multiples of the median income) isn’t as important as the fact that we have a similar attitude with respect to the proportions to save/invest/spend. And we are also both happy to “throw money at the problems” when this makes for an easier life. We rarely fight about money, which I think is unusual in a marriage.
    It’s good to be similar in the big ticket stuff (values, money, work ethic, aims, religion, kids, education, social life) in a marriage. Minimises the stress.

    1. 11.1

      Wow, you definitely dodged a bullet.
      That guy sounded like a huge narcissist and unlikely to change.

      All the things you wrote about being in agreement on money are so true. My ex made a great salary and had no debt, but he could barely save, because he spent all his excess on travel, expensive car and truck payments, a motorcycle, and a series of expensive hobbies that he would rapidly lose interest in. I had school debt and had made the mistake of buying a home at the wrong time (right before the housing bust), so I had learned about frugality the hard way, and gradually became more careful with money.

      Over the waning last couple of years of our relationship, he grew more and more critical of how “cheap” he thought I was, although my spending was fairly normal and reasonable, especially since we lived in a high cost of living area. He gradually realized he had a bad shopping habit – I now realize he was compulsive with his spending. His mother had apparently been as well – it can really be a learned behavior. Money issues are at the forefront when I look at someone’s long term potential.

  12. 12

    My ex-girlfriend and I met as undergraduates at Stanford. She went on to Harvard medical school. I worked in management consulting, but I stumbled across my love for teaching and became a music teacher – as my primary source of work.

    I have always been a workaholic. Through my teaching job and real estate investment income, I am able to make close to 200k per year. I still remember the day my ex-girlfriend told me that she could not marry a music teacher. She asked me if I would always be a music teacher, and I told her that I loved my job. She got the message. I was going to be stubborn about teaching.

    When I realized she was going to leave me, I tried to emphasize that I had other sources or work and income. It didn’t work. She promptly left me for a Harvard MBA that she met online and quickly married him. She insisted that that her decision was not influenced by materialism or social status.

    Call me naive, but I still can’t believe that there are people out there who feel love after seeing a certain brand of diploma or wealth. I thought that a man’s work ethic, character and perhaps intelligence are what really matters, but I guess status and money are more important to some women.

    1. 12.1
      Sparkling Emerald

      You dodged a bullet there, with that girl. Sounds likes she cares more about status and superficialities, than what is important in a relationship.

    2. 12.2

      She may insist that she married the Harvard MBA for other reasons, but from what you have written, it’s likely for social status. I wouldn’t call it love.

      That’s too bad on her part, IMO. She missed out on a man of character who’s also hard-working, devoted, intelligent AND adores her. ~200k plus her income would have been sufficient to raise a stable family of 4-5 in the most expensive cities with high taxes & living costs. (I’m a Bay Area native! Love the educational and career opportunities, but HATE the cost of living.)

      The Harvard MBA guy may have the degree, though I wonder… does he cherish her? Degrees don’t automatically translate into qualifying as a good partner. In a marriage, love matters! Being with someone who often thinks of you is a HUGE benefit. It makes the challenges of a relationship more endurable, because you know they ultimately have your back, despite any heated disagreement.

      I also wonder… are you a millennial? If so, you’ll have an easier time finding a more modern woman than the older generations. Many millennial women are starting to reject the notion that men have to be the main financial providers by default, and are looking into other qualities such as emotional intelligence. We’re shifting over to more egalitarian partnerships.

      FYI: Emotional unavailable men or women don’t make good partners. If they want to marry such a person, it’s on them. 😛 They’ll find out how tough life becomes when their partner is more interested in making unilateral decisions, rather than negotiate and compromise. I’m not saying the Harvard MBA guy is a conceited dude — it just sounds like she stopped her assessment at his resume, and rushed to marry him without looking into his character qualities.

      That said, I’m currently dating a guy who doesn’t have the fancy status, or the high-earning wage, but is hard-working, intelligent, honest and patient. More importantly, he loves/respects me and cares for my well-being. He’s not the best communicator, but he’s a man who can handle relationship conflicts. He doesn’t let his ego get in the way of learning and moving forward. That’s a keeper. And I couldn’t be happier! 🙂 I highly value what he has to offer as a partner.

      SE’s right, Justin. You dodge a bullet there. You deserve a life partner who won’t overlook your best qualities simply because you don’t have a fancy degree. While being rejected by someone you love hurts a lot, I hope this doesn’t completely sour your outlook. If what you say is true, I’m sure you’ll make a good candidate for many lovely ladies. Women like us are out there searching for men like you. EMK has a sister & cousin who followed the same path. They chose a quality partner over status. Don’t loose hope! Stay positive. 🙂

    3. 12.3

      I’m so sorry that this happened to you, @Justin12. I can only imagine how hurtful it must have been.

      That said, your ex clearly had values and goals that were not in line with yours. I don’t want to speak ill of her bc everyone has priorities and she simply acted on hers. It’s better that you found out about your differences sooner than marrying and learning through a decade of marital misery! Please don’t assume that all women value the same things that she does; I have no doubt that you will meet many who are impressed by your character and life choices.

    4. 12.4

      I too, would have chose the Harvard MBA. If I like nice things and want a good life, the Harvard MBA would be able to afford it. at the same time, I would be able to make money and save more if the man makes more. On the contrary, if I want nice things and if a man can’t afford it, then he can’t make me happy and I might emasculate him.

      1. 12.4.1

        That is fine, so long as you are honest from the start about needing material goods to feel happy.

        Many men want to be liked for other reasons besides wealth and status, so it’s best to mention upfront that those things do matter to you. He may choose to accept that, or he may not. At least it will give the guys who want something more intangible in life a chance to move on, and find someone who best suits him. I’ve seen women who are unwilling to admit this, only to feel disappointed when he decides later that charity matters more than making money for oneself.

        Dating based on the ability to provide a lavish lifestyle requires a different mindset though. It’s possible to “date smart” based on this need, but it also opens a whole can of worms.

        Be prepared to be judged heavily for looks though. Most guys who accept this are unforgiving on ladies who fall outside the mainstream view of beauty, youth and femininity. He can demand that she be Kate Upton, but possess the smarts of a lawyer (a la George Clooney’s wife.) If he’s physically attractive and tall to boot, he can get her. God forbid she ages and LOOKS past 40, gain weight, or doesn’t get back to her pre-pregnancy shape. I know such men because they are my relatives.

        These guys are very conventional. They’re often inflexible. They demand very feminine women. They’re usually the ones most complained about in this blog. If some women can handle it, more power to them. Everything has a cost, but some aren’t willing to trade for it. That’s why EMK’s business is still going strong.

        In the end, it’s all about being able to handle the type of men we wish to date — accepting their pros with their cons.

      2. 12.4.2

        Thanks for your honesty! It confirms my decision to avoid so-called committed relationships with (most) women.

  13. 13

    So how do we dump a person like the Original posters boyfriend without coming off as superficial?

    I’ve met both ends of the spectrum. On the one end are the women who are financially successful but don’t know how to be soft and feminine (not a doormat but romantic and caring), I don’t want to be treated like one of her male co-workers, I want her to be soft and fun, not always on guard or trying to subtly qualify me. When I break up with this type of woman, they always assume it’s because I’m intimidated by a women who makes good money or because I want to be needed by a women financially, when in truth it’s just her hard walls that get tiring.

    On the other end is the women who isn’t good with money, doesn’t have any real goals or plans for her future, she just wants to have fun. As a guy, it is true, I don’t care if she is a “struggling waitress”, but only on the condition that she is only working as a waitress until she can better herself, maybe life dealt her a bad hand, but she is still trying. It’s not about the money, it’s about her ambition, how will she want to better our relationship, if she doesn’t even want to better her own life. That why Evan tells women to “fake” reach for the check. It’s not about the money, it’s about the intentions behind the gesture.

    Breaking up with either one of these financial types of woman makes me feel guilty, because they aren’t bad people, but neither sees their flaw, and a lot of times, they treat me like gold. So Evan how would you or one of the commenters advice those of us (men and women) in the Original posters shoes to break up with this person? I’m sure there has to be some kind of way to tell them the truth without sounding like a person who only cares about money.

    1. 13.1

      I think the OP can be honest in breaking up with the guy, without it being all about money. She can refer to their different priorities in life and his lack of drive – for her, and most women, having career direction and ambition is a priority. For a few people, living life on their own terms is fine. I dated a nice man who was essentially the hippie type and was comfortable with a mediocre salary that afforded the money for beer, weed and offered ample time off for music festivals. He would be a catch for a woman who shared that mentality 🙂

  14. 14

    There is a vast world of difference between wanting a reasonable desire for a man who is “financially stable” and an unreasonable, materialistic desire for a wealthy man.

    Evan makes this apt point, as do many of the comments.

    I have two graduate degrees and a good salary. I would happily date a man who makes less money than me. I would not turn away a man who has not completed college, though he would have to be intellectually curious and driven in other ways. I would be fine dating a man who makes less money, but ANY man needs to be careful and responsible with financial resources. I would prefer a frugal, planner-type teacher who makes mid five figures over my six-figure ex, who was thoughtless and impulsive with spending “because he could” (of course, his financial situation could have declined at any minute, if he lost his medical clearance to do his high salary job).

    If a guy (or a woman, for the men reading this) demonstrates a lack of ability to set financial goals and plan realistically for the future, that person is a bad relationship investment.

    Financial issues are the number 1 cause of divorce today.

    1. 14.1

      Great post. 🙂

      Also, good financial management is necessary for those who intend to have families. The ability to make decisions based on what’s ultimately important proves how someone can prioritize. Adding children into the mix will definitely challenge the concept of needs vs. wants.

      If I were a man, I wouldn’t want to bet on a woman who lived beyond her means either. Of course, the reverse is often undesirable to many women looking for serious partners.

    2. 14.2

      See I honestly think sexual incompatibility type issues are probably bigger or at least right there. Some may not admit to it, but this is a huge issue in marriages.

  15. 15

    “Oh, I’m so confused, he’s not working, no education so to speak of, I love him dearly, such a nice guy, loves me, so he says often. I feel guilty not respecting him”

    “Oh, she was a blond, I like brunettes, so it had to end, was fun while it lasted.”

  16. 16

    In the end it’s the biggest emotion that will win.
    Doubt is death so make a choice.
    If one can scream “I love him” louder than “I don’t respect him”
    Then love wins.
    We all desire, need and want different things.
    That’s ok, just listen to the higher (louder) voice and accept that.
    There will be challenges either way.

    Humans have a very clear understanding of reciprocity.
    Fair is fair.
    If there’s one very special lesson men can teach, it’s how to walk away.
    Their decisions can be made in milliseconds and with clarity.
    As my son often says “Meh”

  17. 17

    Anyone who receives Evan’s news letters knows that some times he gives us examples from his personal life. I really love these because they always remind me of the David and Goliath type story. Evan is failing in both his financial and dating life, but he doesn’t give up and now he is helping others, he was David, and being single was his Goliath.

    My favorite stories are the one with his wife, because as a man it always shows me the qualities I should look for in a woman besides a nice body and pretty face. But there is one other story that I really like that doesn’t involve his wife, though I will admit, I feel a little indecorous for loving the outcome of this story.

    This is the summarized version. Basically, Evan tells of a women who he really liked but it was at the time in his adult life when he was not successful. This women was very successful and after a few dates decided that she didn’t want to date a guy who wasn’t on her level financially even though they always had a good time together. He tried to convince her that one day he would make it as a writer, but she just saw the broke dreamer; she dumped him, he was heartbroken… Fast Forward a few years later and one day at a party with his wife, he sees the woman, he is now not only madly in love and happily married to a great woman, and financially wealthy, but also after appearing on many television shows and running a successful blog that has millions of men and women seeking his advice, he is now famous!!! While she is still single…

    I always wanted to know what she thought and felt, when she saw what he became, did she regret letting him go. I think he said they had a friendly conversation and ended up Facebook friends, which shows Evan is better than me, and most people, he could have easily through it in her face that she missed out on a great guy.

    He tells another story similar to that, but this one was a little more in sync with the letter. Anyway, Michelle, only you truly know if your boyfriend is a hardworking dreamer like Evan was or a financial dead end, living only for the moment, not planning for the future. It sounds like you really like him or at least you don’t want to come off as being superficial, the fact that you are even asking shows a lot about your character… in a positive way.

    1. 17.1

      With all due respect, we need to marry the guy in front of us, and accept him as is, today. We don’t bet on potential.

      That woman was making a decision based on what she saw then. Had Evan married her, she may have emasculated him, and he wouldn’t be who he is today. His lovely wife is part of his journey.

      1. 17.1.1

        That’s the thing.

        Most guys who are “successful”, intelligent, attractive AND emotionally available are usually…. taken. Why? Their partners started dating them while they were still working towards larger goals. Instead of judgment, their women gave support and encouragement.

        IMO, don’t compromise on shitty personalities & poor financial management, since I do believe “what you see is what you get” in that regard. However, if a guy has proven that he has functional habits, a good head on his shoulders, then judging him because he’s not at his maximum potential seems silly. Some women don’t want to date this way, and it is absolutely their option.

        However…. they are missing out on A LOT of quality men. Dating a hard-working, intelligent guy in the middle of transition isn’t the same thing as dating an aimless deadbeat or a dreamer who’s all talk, no action.

        EMK’s future wife believed in his potential, despite the fact that at 35, Evan did not have a relationship which lasted longer than 8 months. And amongst other things, I am sure.

  18. 18

    I crack up about the whole money debate. A girl who doesn’t make a lot of money is exploring her options/expressing herself. If a guy has a low paying job he’s immature, a loser, good for nothing jerk.
    I’ve worked a job that doesn’t pay what I’d like; but I’m moving up from 35k to 60k and in 3-4 years will be up to 85-90k. I was dating a girl who dumped me because she made more than me. Now we’re equal up and I’d be far more than her by 2018. Girls don’t like boys, girls like cars and money.

    1. 18.1

      Very true. It takes a real woman to see a man for more than just dollar signs.

    2. 18.2
      Katiany Jorge

      Yes we do.
      This why you should date a gay guy. They’re the ones that likes man.
      Wants to offend all the woman, be ready for a response.

  19. 19

    Opposite(ish) issue for me in that I am newly dating a man who makes more, owns property, and has a much nicer, more comfortable life than I do. I’m afraid that when he sees my life more closely (second hand things, etc), he won’t be as interested!

  20. 20

    That sounds like an overgrown boy, in fact it reminds me of my ex-husband who was more than happy to be unemployed and play computer games for 11 months while I supported us. And no he thought I was still responsible for cooking, cleaning, and giving him blow jobs like his favorite porn stars. I remember our marital counselor saying he was developmentally a boy and not a man.

    I believe we awesome women have to lower the bar a little bit to find anyone, but that doesn’t mean we accept someone that failed to develop into a responsible human adult simply because they have male anatomy. Unfortunately this is an ever-growing percentage of the male population. Otherwise they would and could marry a young thin blonde, of which I am not.

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