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. 21

    I’ve been dating a man 48 and I’m 45.   I’m a single mom two boys.   This man has been respectful,mindful,kind.   Financially he’s a mess. Past two bankruptcies and many jobs.   He’s taken several loans from me ..he’s paid them back only then to borrow again. I’m at the end of my rope.   He started a job with good earning potential.   Sales all commission.   I’ve been patient and never wanted to end a relationship over a mans bank account.   This article helped me feel better about it.   I have to think about my boys.   This is too exhausting to keep wondering if he’ll ask again and if I’ll get paid back and how long he’ll be at his job.   He’s been staying with me rent free because lost his house. I’ve also seen him lose a car..only to go out and buy a Mercedes at ridiculous interest rate because of bad credit.just writing this is making me realize how ridiculous I am to keep helping.   Like I said he’s helpful kind in every way..but I see a bad financial pattern and no real promise for future.

  2. 22

    I fell very hard for someone before I realized their financial situation and history of financial turmoil. I only asked that they be able to support themselves, as I wasn’t in a position to help with rent or other living expenses, but did pay for all activities and was very generous when they needed help with car repairs, etc. They were uneducated and could only get low paying jobs. I suggested getting training or going to school and using local resources to help with this, but they refused. When they were unable to pay the rent and asked me to help and I refused, they finally got a second job. Some say I was cold hearted and if I truly loved them, I would have helped more, but I needed a partner, emotionally and financially, that I could count on and after a couple of years, I could see this wasn’t likely. I So I pulled away and they found someone else, who they could move in with and share expenses with. I truly loved this person but there were other problems, but it was heartbreaking when it ended. Money can be a difficult part of relationships and I fully understand that you don’t have to be equals and sometimes one is a stay at home parent or even stay at home partner, but I had major health problems and wanted a partner I could count on to hold down the fort if I was ill. It’s worth mentioning that I never was out of work due to my cancers, other than recovery from the surgeries, mostly because I had bills to pay and kids to support. I have a very strong work ethic and sense of responsibility that this person didn’t have, but I loved than more than anyone ever, so the split was difficult.

  3. 23

    Men don’t care about a woman’s finances and the same should go for women. Some woman claim gender roles and that the men should be the bread winners but if you are a working woman and own yoir own company then you are already breaking the gender role code so who cares? What this really says is that you are insecure abot what others will think and say because you happen to make more than he does.

  4. 24

    Basically love doesn’t really exist.
    For men it’s all about sex and for women it’s all about money.
    That has always been true but since the 70s women have been socially allowed to be whatever they wanted while expecting men to still live in a rigid mold, all the while claiming that is somehow equality.

    This blog post just proves that since almost all women that post here say that find it unacceptable if a male isn’t a breadwinner.. even though at the same time they claim they want “equality” but that equality is a one sided lie.
    The female version of equality includes women being able to be stay at home moms OR career girls if and when they feel like it, whereas almost all women find men who do not earn unacceptable period, no matter what kind of man he is otherwise.

  5. 25

    I am the 31 yo man, who is still not financially fit. And guess what, It is killing me. Whichever way you look at me, I look as a loser- at best. Hell, even some of my friends think that. According to the sociaty we live in, I am worhtless.

    What nobody is seeing is that I’m the guy who is killing himself to make a living.

    Funny how I used to date women who didn’t have any money, and I didn’t gave a signle f–k about it.

  6. 26

    I’m tired of losers with 2 nickles between their ass

    This is my heading on POF  My Equal an Emotional & Financially Stable Woman

    If I want to find someone without money I can  hang out  in the soup line at the homeless shelter

    I’m done with bullshitters ~ Using beenverified  too!

    1. 26.1

      Lmao, I heard that!   I’m so using this line.

  7. 27

    Girl please!! Don’t talk to him, don’t waste your time because you’ll end up loosing everything you worked so hard for. You’ll be bailing him out of everything and trust me you’ll be mad as hell. Walk away, get someone is financially stable as you. Yeah he’s nice and all but nice doesn’t pay the bills,   nice won’t give u investments,   nice won’t take you in trips. Again,   walk away!

  8. 28
    Kathleen Baraki

    That was so inspiring and to the point. Thank you Marc!!

  9. 29

    Dating four months.   I make more.   No biggie.   I’m more ambitious and driven.   Again, no biggie.   He has asked to borrow money until payday for the past month.   Now, grant it, he had some major setbacks.   Car accident and son sick.   Budgeting seems to be his issue as I hear him in the drive thru often or he will buy me gifts that he cannot afford.   I know to impress me or make me happy, but I do not like lending money and he has not paid me back any of the money because something else will occur that prevents him from paying me back.   He is one of the most supportive, loyal, loving and kind men I’ve dated, but I have my own debt and bills.   I’ve talked to him about this and told him this was an issue for me.   He says he understands and will be more committed to a budget.   But, I’m thinking it’s four months should I just bail…

    1. 29.1

      Bail now.    He will not improve as long as you are his safety net.

      1. 29.1.1
        Jasmina Loulova

        You are 100% right. This man is using and manipulating

        her by baiting her with gifts he cannot afford.

      2. 29.1.2

        Feeling like you are right on this one Kenley.

  10. 30

    Ok it’s even scarier when you are both in your 50s. We just met. He’s awesome. All the things I would want in a man. Except he suffered a devastating bankruptcy not that long ago. This has severe implications when approaching retirement because, I like travel, I own property, one day I want to retire. Thus is why I’ve worked my ass of my whole career. I had a deadbeat husband. This guy’s not lazy, but is running out of time to build resources to live the retirement Id want together. So now what… I don’t have enough money for us both. if we were 30 I wouldn’t care.

  11. 31
    Michele Davila

    Wow! These comments are very discouraging for relationships in general. I have two degrees, working on my masters, in my career 20+ years, definitely not ugly… I do agree, we should not make ourselves vulnerable to being the “hero” regardless of man or woman. My thoughts are, and must be me only…pray! If you need direction, seek and you will find. However do not discount “fiscal independence” for lack of character male or female. All have value…. Allow me to explain, Rahab was a harlot who begat Boaz…married Ruth… yada yada, read the lineage of Jesus Christ! There is value in all, if you are not feeling things, move along…time is too precious to waste, especially for a time such as this…. regards and blessings…M

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