Do I Need to Be Financially Stable to Have Something to Offer a Woman?

I lost my fiancee to cancer in 2016. I gave up all my savings and my income, and went into debt assisting with her bills and well-being until she passed. I moved in with my parents, and in the last twenty months, I’ve worked my debt down to a manageable number that allows me to live a little while still being frugal. I make five figures, so it’s been a challenge. After taking the time to heal and grow, I’ve started to date again. My goal is the privilege of marriage and starting a family. The caveat is that I’m almost thirty-nine and will live with my parents another year to clear my debt in full. I’ve met some great women, but despite my great personal and relationship qualities, they don’t have the patience to wait for me when there are other men available who can offer them more right now.

If I wait until I build enough disposable income to support a relationship without a need to be frugal, that puts marriage and a family potentially in my mid or even late forties, if you factor in the time it could take to meet a compatible woman and quality time as a couple before marriage. I’m not sure I would still want to start a family at that age, so I would be a liability to a woman that wants kids.

But if I date now to establish a relationship with an eye on marriage, and a family in my early forties, I anticipate a lack of opportunity and quality options because my partner would need to be patient and willing to contribute to many of our dating costs, or content with a limited lifestyle for a while. My experiences have taught me to value and prefer quality and simplicity over luxury and pageantry, and I’m excellent at showcasing my qualities, but other men have so much more to offer in terms of the stability and entertainment factor to woo women, which is evident when women leave me for them, despite my positive relationship qualities.

Am I doomed to dating purgatory?

Jack

Dear Jack,

I’m sorry for your loss and for the circumstances in which you find yourself. I also want to acknowledge the harsh truth of your analysis. You’re not wrong that many women will see your debt, your living arrangement and your age as three strikes against you. In a world where most prospects will give you only one strike, that could be crippling.

But instead of looking at this as if you’re doomed, I want to try to reframe this as a positive.

I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, exactly, but I, too, was dismissed by someone I really liked when I was answering phones at JDate in my early 30’s. She was ready for marriage and kids and I was a few years away from being fiscally ready to settle down.

I didn’t blame her for her feelings. I did know, however, that my situation was temporary.

I may have been making $30K/year, was applying to grad school, and living with a roommate, but I was also hardworking, responsible, ambitious and not content with my lot in life. That sounds a lot like your situation.

And while you can understand why women would pass you up given the “entertainment factor,” that does not necessarily reflect the feelings of all women.

Should you happen to meet a client of mine – a woman who has financial security but has never been treated well by a good man – you may indeed discover that she values your consistency, your kindness, and your character while you see yourself to the other side of this trying time.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy (to turn things around). I’m not saying the volume will be plentiful (money and stability does matter).

I am saying that if you acquit yourself with women the way you did in your email to me, I think you may be surprised and delighted with the woman you get.

I am saying that if you acquit yourself with women the way you did in your email to me, I think you may be surprised and delighted with the woman you get.

She’s the woman who loves you for who you are rather than what you possess, and I predict you will both be handsomely rewarded for your patience.

Good luck.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Christine

    Jack, there are women out there who will love a man for his qualities despite his financial situation. I know as I am one of those women. A few years ago I met a man who had less than nothing (he was in debt, due to a costly divorce and custody battle, had lost his home and was then made redundant). None of these things were his fault and I could see what a decent, caring and proud man he was. Fast forward a few years and we are now happily married and living in a lovely home. We both have small pensions and live a modest, perfectly contented life. He treats me like a queen and I am so glad I gave him a chance.

  2. 2
    Donna

    To Jack: Sounds to me that any woman would be lucky to have you. Please don’t sell yourself short. Any man you did what you did has a true heart of gold. I wish the very best for you!

  3. 3
    Bev Charles

    Good luck Jack! Sounds like you have gone through a heart wrenching experience. I think there are women out there that will date you, despite your financial circumstances as long as you demonstrate how you are working to get back to financial stability. I would question why you had to go into such debt — where was the health insurance? Not having health insurance, especially since it is now required in the US, is a big risk to have taken. I would be more concerned about that decision as it put you in your current the financial situation.

    1. 3.1
      SparklingEmerald

      Since they weren’t married, the insurance issue was hers, not his.  And you are kidding yourself if you think insurance covers it all.  High calendar year deductibles, co pays, and various other stuff that insurance won’t cover on top of the high premiums can put anyone in the poor house.  Plus, an employer only has to hold your job for 3 months if you are ill.  If unable to work due to a major medical crisis and you lose your job, yo can go on COBRA for 18 months for considerably more premium. I know people who had insurance and still went broke due to a medical crisis.         James, I’m sorry you had to read that.  There was nothing in that letter to indicate that your predicament was caused by poor decisions on your part.

      1. 3.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        Oops, that should read “JACK, I’m sorry you had to read that . . .”, not James.  Sorry ’bout that. 

      2. 3.1.2
        Bev

        I am well aware of the costs involved with a serious illness and that insurance does not cover all for everyone. I was trying to offer a practical perspective on his financial situation. Explaining how and why he got into this predicament would matter to  me, as I would want to know if he made poor decisions. If he made poorly researched decisions, then that would not bode well for his future with me. However, if his situation was the result of poor circumstances, then my reaction would be totally different. All this would need to be discussed with a potential mate.

        Many commenters seem to think that considering the practical side of life is bad or that the woman is a gold digger for wanting a financially stable man. There’s a middle ground here! I have never been married and have taken care of all my finances. I don’t need a man to entertain me or to provide for me. I am not interested in taking on someone else’s debt, especially if that debt was the result of poor decisions.

        (I think a common theme of EMK’s is for women to accept the reality of men. We all need to get our heads out of the clouds and accept the reality of the human condition — yes, men, that means that you have to accept that some women won’t consider you the romanticized gem you think you are!)

         

        1. Clare

          Bev,

          “We all need to get our heads out of the clouds and accept the reality of the human condition — yes, men, that means that you have to accept that some women won’t consider you the romanticized gem you think you are!”

          Are you suggesting that some of us don’t live in the real world and are unaware of what the “reality of the human condition” is?

          And who exactly are you referring to when you talk about men who think of themselves as “romanticized gems”?

          Your posts seem unnecessarily harsh and venomous for this particular letter.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Clare

          Bev appears to be in denial that she too could find herself in a similar situation.  I was that naive at one point in my career.  The dot-com/telecom implosions taught me that no one who works for a living is untouchable.

        3. Clare

          YAG,

          Yeah, I think if you have lived a certain amount of adult life having to support yourself and make it through your own efforts (ie. not having a wealthy family to bail you out), then most of us have learned that one’s circumstances can change pretty quickly.

          I was fairly young when I got retrenched from a cushy job that I had. The hospital I was working for lost half its funding. A few years later, it happened again when I was working for a small company. But I’ve always landed on my feet because of the type of person I am, and as a result, I’ve learned to value a person’s personal qualities and values a lot more than the money they may have today. Anyone can take a knock – but it takes a special person to pick themselves up again and not let that keep them down, as cliche as that sounds.

        4. S

          Yag, to me her comment seems she absolutely gets losing it all.  But, she’s wondering why he lost everything when he wasn’t married.  He hasn’t been dating a year, and is already writing in to a mostly female based advice giver.  It seems like he’s looking for people to tell him how amazing he is.  You don’t know that he’d be there for the next womanthe same as he was for this one. Something doesn’t make sense.

        5. Yet Another Guy

          @S

          He hasn’t been dating a year, and is already writing in to a mostly female based advice giver. 

          It makes perfect sense to me that he would write Evan.  However, then again, I am a guy.  Evan is able to give him a man’s view of the situation, one who coaches women on a daily a basis.  That means Evan knows better than other men what to expect.  Men who have been on this planet for a more than a couple of decades learn to never ask a woman for her opinion on all things romance.

        6. S

           

           

          YAG, I meant that in context with the next sentence.  Emk is good w advice.

  4. 4
    SparklingEmerald

    Jack – I would consider your circumstances to be an plus. You demonstrated much love, caring, and sacrifice by sticking by your fiance’s side during her difficult final journey. As far as I am concerned, you are “tried and true” in the relationship department. Any woman who would hold your current financial circumstances against you, you are better off without. Perhaps you could join a support group for widows, relatives of cancer survivors, etc. You might just meet a woman who would truly understand your circumstance. With many women having successful careers, I hope you find a woman who has a big enough heart, to overlook your very temporary situation, and can love and accept you for the kindhearted, loyal husband and father you will someday be. Good luck to you, and I am very sorry for your loss.

  5. 5
    Gala

    Jack says: “My goal is the privilege of marriage and starting a family. ” and that’s great. But how is he realistically going to accomplish that? Suppose he met a woman who would love him for him but, just like him, would be broke and living with her parents, and also wanting to start a family. Okey. Getting married and getting pregnant literally next to nothing, but then what? Public housing? Food stamps and medicaid for the kid? Millions of families do actually live like that, so why not. The issue for Jack is not that he can’t start a family, it is that he can’t start a middle-class family, and women’s entertainment preferences are not the culprit, his situation is. Jack is still thinking of himself as a middle class person, it is time he lets go of that illusion and more properly sees himself as poor, and starts acting like it (and that may include walking out on his remaining debt via a bankruptcy and saving his hard earned $$). He can then seek a partner at his own level, and there will be plenty. He can also look for a woman who may be willing to bankroll him into the desired lifestyle, but being that he is not young and hot (that we know of) that seems like a long shot.

    1. 5.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Gala

      There was no need to post such a shallow, condescending comment.  This man sacrificed it all for the woman that he loved.  You will never know that kind of love because this post demonstrates that you are ugly to the core.

      1. 5.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        YAG – I disagree with much of what you say, but this is spot on.  GALA – Why the need to come up with a worst case scenario, and the fact that he is living with his parents and working off his debt INSTEAD of declaring bankruptcy just points to his integrity and character.  Jack’s situation is TEMPORARY, and his current life circumstances are a testament to his loyal to a partner, and his ability to pick himself up after being knocked down.   A financial set back can happen to ANYONE at ANYTIME.  If you marry someone who has never experienced that, you really don’t know how they would handle that.  Jack is “tried and true” in many regards.  I am happy to see that most of the comments are supportive and encouraging, and the few people who want to say this is somehow his fault for not having insurance (they weren’t married so that would be his late fiance’s issue, and she very well could have lost her insurance or still racked up HUGE bills in deductibles, co-pays and other out of pocket costs) or that he’s no catch due to his age, percieved “hotness” and finances, provide Jack with an EXCELLENT example of the type of women to avoid.

        1. Clare

          YAG & Sparkling Emerald,

          I agree completely, and am ashamed at some of the comments from the women here. I completely agree that Jack is best served staying well clear of them.

          Jack’s willingness to sacrifice everything he had to support the woman he loved speaks extremely well of him. And if he finds himself not in the best financial situation now that she has passed, who could blame him? Isn’t that understandable, when he has probably spent a good portion of his days by her bedside comforting her?

          The fact that he is taking responsibility and working down his debt to manageable levels also speaks extremely well of his character. Far too many people play the victim and expect other people to bail him out. Jack is not doing that. He is only asking what his chances are of finding someone to love him through this time, and I think they are good. The woman in question does not have to get involved in his debt – she simply needs to be supportive while he sorts it out. There are plenty of women who will see and appreciate his good qualities. Gala and Bev are just not among them.

        2. Gala

          How am I wrong? I am pointing out the fact that the actual getting married and getting a woman pregnant COSTS NOTHING. You don’t need money, you don’t need to be out of debt to do that. Too often we conflate relationship goals with lifestyle goals. Wanting a family is one thing, wanting a certain lifestyle is another. The OP has to untangle these two in his head.

        3. Jeremy

          Gala, I’m not going to argue against your point above – I really think that’s a matter of personal taste/viewpoint.  But you wrote something interesting – “Too often we conflate relationship goals with lifestyle goals.

           

          Hmmm, interesting.  As you know, I’ve often written using similar language that too often we conflate sexual goals with relationship goals – that we enter into relationships thinking that because our relationship goals have been satisfied, so will our sexual goals be, or vice-versa.  The woman who always dated hot bad-boys suddenly marrying the accountant because he’s a stable provider, thinking she’s matured, and then losing interest in sex after the first pregnancy.  Or the woman who marries the hot bad-boy because he’s so sexy, only to realize he makes a terrible husband/father.  The sexual goals are distinct from the relationship goals, and BOTH must be met in order for a marriage to flourish.

           

          But that’s not what you wrote here.  You wrote about the difference between relationship goals and lifestyle goals.  And I have some trouble parsing the difference there.  Because aren’t lifestyle goals a huge part of relationship goals, especially if marriage and children are desired?  I’ve never met a woman whose relationship goals were not largely driven by her lifestyle goals.  Which is, after all, the basis for the OP’s very valid question and the first answer that you gave.  Many women the OP’s age would indeed reject him because they’re at the edge of their biological clock and he’s not in a position to meet their relationship goals (AKA lifestyle goals).  Yes, he could impregnate a woman physically, but what woman just wants that?

           

          So I’m not sure what you’re trying to parse out with the difference between relationship goals and lifestyle goals?

        4. Nissa

          As a woman who wants a man to pay for all of our dates, I still would have no problem dating a man like Jack. As others have pointed out, he is simply in a temporary situation, where he is being practical and responsible. If this man wanted to date he, he would do perfectly well by planning free dates where we were able to spend quality time together.I think Jack has just met some dating duds. A year is not long to wait at all, especially for a woman who wants to start a family & who will prioritize a man who wants that as well.

        5. Gala

          what you’re trying to parse out with the difference between relationship goals and lifestyle goals?

          Jeremy: I live in a large and expensive city, i am in the top 5% of earners in the U.S., and I am currently contemplating having a child. So, I have been wondering a lot how I would be able to afford it, and how it would affect my lifestyle. Sometimes it seems that i can’t afford having a baby. Childcare is expensive. Housing is off the chart expensive. Tuition.. forget it, etc. But then of course i realize that this is absurd. I pass women who make 1/10 of what I make every day on the street, and they have babies. It’s not that I can’t afford a baby, it’s that I can’t both afford a baby and my current lifestyle. So i have to chose what’s more important to me? Are you catching my drift here? The OP is facing the exact same dilemma with lower starting conditions. He HIMSELF has imposed certain expectations of what starting a family would require – I don’t know exactly what they are since he hasn’t elaborated – but let’s say he wants to have 3br house in the suburbs, a car and $10K in savings – reasonable expectation for a middle class man. But, certainly, NOT a requirement to start a family. People start families with NOTHING if they are willing to accept low quality of life, for a period of life or for a long time.. I mean isn’t this obvious? Isn’t it obvious that the fertility rates are higher among the poor? So my point, Jeremy, is this: if that’s the family the OP is after, he should let go of his pre-conceived expectations of how much $$$ he needs to have to start a family. That number is zero. If, however, he only wants a family IF he can also afford certain lifestyle of his choice, than that’s a different story altogether. That would make him just as shallow as the women who don’t want to date him for failing to provide such lifestyle..

          And, of course, if he wants to start a family now given his situation, once he lets go of his lifestyle expectations, he needs to look for a woman who similarly has no such expectations. He is more likely to find such women among the poor (which i use not as a derogatory term but to indicate whoever is below the middle class – what are we calling this strata now?). Anyway… hope this clarifies.

        6. jeremy

          Gala, I understand your point.  But nowhere in your comment here did you address relationships.  Yes, if you as a woman want to have a child on your own and you can only do so by sacrificing elements of your lifestyle, you can choose between keeping the lifestyle and not having the child, or making sacrifices and having the child.  But the OP is talking about relationships – and that did not factor into your comment.

           

          I’ll ask you this – if you were considering getting married – not having an uncommitted co-parenting situation with a boyfriend, but MARRIAGE with the future father of your children – would not the decision of his ability to contribute to your lifestyle (and the children’s) factor into your choice in men?  This man is seeking a wife, a mother to his children, and the problem is that the women he has found so far seem to feel that he does not meet their relationship goals – AKA, their lifestyle goals.  Because while they could theoretically use his sperm to become pregnant, they don’t want his as the dad unless he fulfills their lifestyle goals.  To me, therein lies the difference.

           

          You seem to be saying that he could find a working class girl (whose relationship/lifestyle goals are fairly modest) and start his family as long as he rids himself of his middle class aspirations.  But in 5 years when he is once again middle class (hopefully), how happy will he be with his choice?

        7. Gala

          @Jeremy:

          “You seem to be saying that he could find a working class girl (whose relationship/lifestyle goals are fairly modest) and start his family as long as he rids himself of his middle class aspirations.  But in 5 years when he is once again middle class (hopefully), how happy will he be with his choice?”

          that is exactly what i am saying. Why wouldn’t he be happy in 5 years? Presumably he would have achieved his goal of having a wife and kids, and if he managed to pull himself back into the middle class, his working class wife would be in awe and forever grateful. He would have exceeded her lifestyle expectations.

        8. Jeremy

          @Gala, “why wouldn’t he be happy in 5 years?”  For the reason Shaukat alluded to in his comment below. For all that I take issue with the way some people describe “assortive mating”, assortive mating by class tends to be the norm.  Men tend to look for women who have similar upbringing and values as they were raised with, while women tend to look for men who have the values they want their future children to be raised with.  It’s certainly not impossible to marry someone from a different socioeconomic background and be happy….but that’s not what most people look for.  When choosing a spouse, we’ve got to look beyond just the goal of having kids – we have to look at the sort of partner we want.  This is exactly the problem with the lane-changing woman who marries in order to have kids and a partner to help raise them: If your only relationship goal is to have kids, what happens to your relationship once the kids are grown?

           

          With this in mind, my advice to the OP would be to look for the woman he wants to be the future mother of his children and life partner to him.  The woman whose values and behavior he finds attractive in this regard.  And to be the sort of man that such a woman would find attractive.

        9. Yet Another Guy

          @Gala

          that is exactly what i am saying. Why wouldn’t he be happy in 5 years? Presumably he would have achieved his goal of having a wife and kids, and if he managed to pull himself back into the middle class, his working class wife would be in awe and forever grateful. He would have exceeded her lifestyle expectations.

          In effect, you are saying that this man has to marry down in order to obtain what should be a lifetime commitment due to a temporary situation.  That is crazy. I seriously doubt that you would recommend the same thing if the genders were reversed, making your comment about as sexist as they come.

          How can women expect equality when they do not treat men as equals? A marriage is a team effort.  A man is not your provisioning slave.  If a woman wants to look at things from a man’s ability to provision, then she better get used to the role of being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen because she cannot have it both ways.  If she attempts to have it both ways, then she should not be surprised when she gets traded for a younger model.  All women age, and money is very attractive to younger women.

        10. Gala

          YAG:

          “In effect, you are saying that this man has to marry down in order to obtain what should be a lifetime commitment due to a temporary situation. That is crazy. I seriously doubt that you would recommend the same thing if the genders were reversed, making your comment about as sexist as they come.”

          Really? Time and again we as women have been told on this blog and elsewhere, that (1) men don’t care about how much money you make, only about how beautiful and “cool” you are and that (2) we as women should be the same way and date “down” economically.

          Now you are saying this is crazy? Who’s the crazy one then?

          I find it fascinating that any woman, in any circumstance, who dares to say that she wants a partner who can provide or support certain lifestyle is labeled “shallow” or a “gold digger” and is advised to look for other, purportedly real substance qualities and values in a mate, irrespective of how much he makes. But when a guy (the OP here) has THE SAME EXACT mindset, he’s a hero and deserves a pat on the shoulder. He is being told that he will find a woman who will “love him for him”. Okey. Does it has to be a middle class woman? Can he find a nice, cute, family oriented nail technician who will “love him for him”, or would a nail technician not be good enough in his situation, and he needs to have an accountant for a wife? The double standard of this all is truly amazing.

          Jeremy:
          “It’s certainly not impossible to marry someone from a different socioeconomic background and be happy….but that’s not what most people look for. ”
          Well, most people are not living with their parents at 39. He is not most people, and he needs to think outside the box here if he wants to achieve his goals.

          I imagine, if the OP was a 39 yo woman, broke and living with her parents, and seeking advice on how to land a middle class guy to start a family with ASAP, she would be crucified. But yet Jack is getting an attaboy for essentially the same thing? This makes no sense and only prolongs his disconnect from the reality of his situation.

        11. SparklingEmerald

          Gala said “I imagine, if the OP was a 39 yo woman, broke and living with her parents, and seeking advice on how to land a middle class guy to start a family with ASAP, she would be crucified. But yet Jack is getting an attaboy for essentially the same thing? This makes no sense and only prolongs his disconnect from the reality of his situation.”Nowhere in the OP’s letter did he state his preferred socio-economic class.  There is alot of speculation and assumptions being made about Jack here, but if you re-read his letter, he said nothing about income level or socio-economic level of women he was seeking.

        12. Clare

          Gala,

          “Time and again we as women have been told on this blog and elsewhere, that (1) men don’t care about how much money you make, only about how beautiful and “cool” you are and that (2) we as women should be the same way and date “down” economically.”

          Funny. I read the exact same blog as you and don’t get that message at all. I reckon it is your jaded perception that is at fault here.

        13. SparklingEmerald

          Clare said “I agree completely, and am ashamed at some of the comments from the women here. I completely agree that Jack is best served staying well clear of them.”**************************************         I left home at the age of 18, and in my adult life I had cycles of success and down cycles, due to layoffs, divorce, etc., so I can discern the difference between someone who is in a bad financial situation due to be a plain old slacker, and someone who is in a down cycle due to unfortunate circumstances.  I wouldn’t date the former, but I would absolutely date that latter, because I understand the situation, because I have been there, several times.        I remember wondering if I was undateable after my 2nd divorce, due to having to take in a roommate (with a dog) and work a second job to keep my head above water financially.  Turns out not so much. My financial situation wasn’t that off putting to most men, that I know of.   Eventually I applied for and got a promotion at work with a hefty pay increase so I was able to leave my part time second job, but I kept my roommate, even though I probably could have paid my mortgage on my own.  (We became great friends, and she was in a down cycle herself, going back to school, but she never failed to pay the rent)  So I understand people who find themselves in difficult situations, and I admire people who do whatever it takes to lift themselves back up.  In this ever changing economy, and with the general unpredictability of life in general, almost everyone will have to pick them selves up after a down cycle eventually, sometimes several times.I think some of the women here who are judging Jack so harshly have never faced such adversity, and cast a jaundiced eye on any one in an economic down cycle.  Hence the suspicious questioning and trying to make their situation “their fault” A good woman won’t demand to be “entertained” lavishly.  There are plenty of fun no cost and low cost ways to “entertain” a date, and a good woman will love the man, not his wallet.    

  6. 6
    Kat

    Agreed; there are women out there who will accept your situation. You are obviously not a slacker or fiscally irresponsible. It will be a challenge to find her, but she is out there. For the right man who becomes my life partner and best friend, I would gladly share what I have and build our future together. All the best to you, and so sorry for your loss.

  7. 7
    sylvana

    Wow! A true supporter! What a lovely, fresh breath of air 🙂 No matter his current financial situation, I hope he finds a wonderful woman who will truly appreciate all his great qualities.

  8. 8
    John

    Hi Jack

    You did the right thing by taking care of your woman.

    I would suggest to you to not compare yourself to men who have things you do not have. That is a great way to feel ungrateful for what you do have.

    If you don’t have a problem moving back home and getting on your feet and you totally accept your scenario, than so will the RIGHT women.

    You already have good character and genuinely care about others. In those departments, you can’t be beat.

    A guy who is 5’1” is a better jockey than a line backer. What I mean to say is amp up your good traits instead of trying to be a line backer in a jockey’s body.

    I wish you the best of luck Jack.

  9. 9
    Yet Another Guy

    Jack, no matter how much you have, you may find yourself with a woman who is better off.  If you love her and she loves you, that is all that matters. You will find a way to make it work.  While lack of money makes things a struggle, money never made a couple truly happy. My ex and I were happier when our girls were babies and we were clipping coupons than after we achieved 1% status.

  10. 10
    Best Date

    Well Jack, the harsh truth is that most women wants a guy who can afford their financial needs (A working class guy free from debt), but yet again, their are still some women out there that will love you for who you are and stand by you, and what they need in return is your love,care and attention, treating them right as a woman. If you know you have this qualities, then get up and end your self pity party, go out there and find her.

  11. 11
    Mrs Happy

    I think Gala @#5 makes good points.  Jack has obviously tried dating women of the class, education level, overall package attractiveness, he is used to, and it’s not working because he can’t function as middle class.  But I disagree with Gala in her suggestion he should drop to a personal working class mindset and partner hunt there, simply because he won’t be able to do this – he can’t suddenly become attracted to a whole lifestyle and group of women he has not been around during his upbringing, or imagined himself with.  And long term he would resent such a relationship choice.

    Yes he is a generous guy and yes long term he is probably a catch, but in the reality of the dating world, what “might be” – “I might be slim and pretty, just give me years to lose all the weight, exercise, and groom better and have some plastic surgery”, or “I have no money now, but I might have enough to support a family in half a decade” does not wash.  Unfortunately for Jack.

    If he can clear his debt completely within a year then move out of his parents home, I actually think he is better off waiting to do that, before seriously looking for a wife.  His letter states a “quality” woman is his aim, and he will have far greater chance of landing a “higher quality” woman when he is living independently and is debt free.  In fact then his only negative will be a lack of savings, and he can save in the 2 years it takes to find and court a wife.

    1. 11.1
      SparklingEmerald

      Mrs Happy – He said and I quote “The caveat is that I’m almost thirty-nine and will live with my parents another year to clear my debt in full.”  ***************************It won’t take half a decade to clear his debt.  And if he clears his debt within a year, with the right women who is willing to PARTNER with him to raise a family, it will not take 5 years to have the means to raise a family (even thought he seems to think so).*********************General Commentary on the subject at hand ****************** When I married the father of my child, we were broke, working temp jobs/stop gap jobs while he went to school.  After he proposed he said “You will probably have to support me while I go to school to further my career and I feel like that’s a “shitty” thing to ask you.” and then suggested that we get married when he finished his schooling.  (Wow, a proposal with the word “shitty” in it, how could a girl say no to that ! 😉  ***********************    Actually, it made more financial sense to get married while he went to school, because he went on the GI bill, and got an extra allowance for being married) so we married, and he ended up getting a really great, steady job that suited his skills and personality, so he withdrew from college.************************    We struggled financially the first 5 years after our dear son was born, but eventually TOGETHER we built a very nice comfortable, middle class lifestyle.  We bought a lovely home together, put our son through college, and our dear son is now a college graduate, living on his own.  And HAPPY and well adjusted.  In fact, he loves to hear stories about how broke we were when he was too young to remember.  How we only had one car, so I took him to pre-school on my bike while he rode in the baby carrier on the back.  How when our hot water heater blew one coil and we only had enough hot water for his baths, WE took cold showers.  He loves to hear how BROKE we were, but so in love with our precious baby, that we didn’t care. **********************          Our son doesn’t remember wearing thrift store clothes, or care that most of his childhood activities were whatever was offered free or very low cost by our local library or recreation department. All he remembers is how beloved he was.  He even thanked us for giving him such a wonderful childhood, and realizes how special it was, due to him know several kids who grew up in very challenging, difficult situations. *********************     Sadly, our marriage ended after 23 years , but it had NOTHING to do with money. **********************      The RIGHT woman will PARTNER with James to build a life with him and any child or children they should have.  Going through struggles together helps to bind a couple together, if they have the right attitude. ***********************       OK, lecture over.  Good Luck Jack, you deserve every happiness life has to offer. *******************PS   I can’t seem to get space between paragraphs so I trying to separate them with astericks.  Sorry if this one, run on, unreadable post.     

      1. 11.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        Ooops, once again I typed “James” when I meant “Jack”.  Don’t know why I keep doing that.  Sorry.

  12. 12
    Theodora

    LOL

    Dear Jack,

    the only “quality women” you will miss are materialistic, jaded, cynical, desperate women in their mid-late 30s in search of their beta bucks to save them from their bad decisions in life and to rescue their dying biological clock which already shows 11.55 p.m. For them, you are just a means to an end, never the end itself.

    So, nothing to miss here. You should feel blessed, you dodged some lethal bullets. Enjoy life as it is and the women will follow.

  13. 13
    Olongapo

    Brother James, you did the right thing and now you’re paying for it.  Happens all the time.  Your GF’s dying and death sucked all your resources and zeroed you out.  Your utility as a potential provider for a post-wall woman looking to family up, is at an all-time low…….right now.  Like Gala said, you may be fishing in the wrong hole.  Here’s a thought:  Make your own self-improvement your mission, not getting a woman. Lift, manage your debt load, go out solo or with your buds, and perhaps, tap into a younger demographic of potential dates who perhaps haven’t developed those habits and expectations of middle class, provider utility.  This too, shall pass with discipline and commitment.  I’ve known middle-aged guys who have lost everything in divorce and have had to move back in with their folks.

    Understand that you’ve lost utility but it’s recoverable and rather than spending all that energy and cash looking for that special snowflake who will love you for you, use it on self-improvement.  Once you can make that switch in your head, the rest falls into place and keep your yap shut around women about your trials and grief.  Adopt an attitude of irrational confidence.

    There’s a lot of truth in the following.  The third corollary applies here.  Think about it. You’ll be fine.

    Briffault’s law maintains that “the female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”

    Even though a woman has accrued past benefits from her relationship with a man, this is no guarantee of her continuing the relationship with him.  (Translation:  What have you done for me lately?)
    If a woman promises a man to continue her relationship with him in the future in exchange for a benefit received from him today, her promise becomes null and void as soon as the benefit is rendered.  (“I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.“)
    A man’s promise of a future benefit has limited ability to secure a continuing relationship with a woman, and his promise carries weight with her only to the extent that the woman’s wait for the benefit is short and to the extent that she trusts him to keep his promise.

  14. 14
    SparklingEmerald

    Bev. Quick question.  Since they weren’t married, why would you even question HIS insurance. ..????   Do you think men should buy the insurance for their girlfriends or fiances, or should women take responsibility for their own insurance ?  Your speculation that he made a poor decision regarding insurance makes no logical sense, as HIS insurance wouldn’t cover HER medical care, so the insurance decision was hers.  And HER insurance, like MOST insurance only makes a small dent in coverage for cancer treatment.  You state that you are aware of this fact, but your questions and comments about decision making belie that.

    1. 14.1
      Gala

      SE:

      I have a close friend who is a rare cancer survivor. They caught it late too and she was in the hospital for a year and in-and-out for another. She did have to spend down her savings, declare bankruptcy and go on social security and medicaid, which covered all of her treatments. She is still on disability and SS/medicaid. Her family and friends supported her through the ordeal with some cash infusions for lifestyle expenses, offerings of housing in between hospital stays, gifts, etc… none went bankrupt as a result. I just don’t know how one gets into a financial trouble when a person they are not legally tied to (e.g. creditors can’t reach) incurs high medical costs… So I would for sure also have such questions, if  guy i am dating presented me with a story like that. I think it is unusual, it is not obvious how this would happen, and it is a valid question to ask (not on this blog as the OP doesn’t owe us an explanation, but for someone you date).

      1. 14.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        “it is a valid question to ask”The question was “Why didn’t he have insurance”.  The question is not valid, it is absurd, as HIS insurance would not cover a fiance.

      2. 14.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        Gala Said ” just don’t know how one gets into a financial trouble when a person they are not legally tied to (e.g. creditors can’t reach) incurs high medical costs…”Insurance doesn’t cover anything, not even medicare or medicaid, and most Dr’s want to be paid upfront for costs not covered by insurance, such as co-pays, “facility fees”, procedures that aren’t on the “approved” list, etc.  So even thought he wasn’t LEGALLY obligated to pay for ANY of her out of medical costs, not doing so could have meant for her, not getting care that would either increase or chances of survival, prolong her survival or ease her pain and discomfort.  Maybe he LOVED her, and was willing to pay, rather that have her do without ?  And you think that’s a BAD thing ?The fact that he didn’t declare bankruptcy as has been suggested, or refuse to help her out of a dire situation because he wasn’t “legally” tied to her, speaks volumes about his character.  And to whoever said medicare/medicaid covers everything, I call BS !  My husband is on medicare.  After over 45 years of paying into the system, he still had to buy medicare supplemental when he retired.  And some of RX’s cost over $200.  And when he needed treatment for pinched spinal nerves, medicare “covered” the treatments, but not the “facility fees” or the sedation.  That would have put these treatments (of which he need 3) a little over $300 a pop.  So we had to drive an HOUR out of town 3 times to avoid the “facility fee” and he had to have these fairly painful procedures done with no sedation.  Our insurance situation is a costly mess.  It allows you die and suffer a little more slowly, while insurance companies hem and haw about weather or not medical treatment is necessary or approved, or if the RX is on their “formulary” or if the doctors, laboratories, etc or in their “preferred network”And trying to decipher the gobble-de-gook policies is impossible.  Even the people in the medical and insurance industries haven’t figured it out.  We (collectively)spend much time waiting to hear back from doctors to see if the procedure, labs, sedation, facilities, RX’s are approved.  One really doesn’t know the cost of a procedure until all is said and done, and you’ve paid the upfront down payment, and gotten the final bill. 

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Ooops “insurance doesn’t cover ‘anything’, should read insurance doesn’t cover EVERYTHING.

        2. shaukat

          Hearing stories like these always make me appreciative of single-payer healthcare.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Shaukat – Are you fortunate enough to live in a country with socialized medicine ?

        4. shaukat

          Hi Sparkling,Yup! Just north of y’all.

        5. GoWiththeFlow

          Shaukat,

          As both a healthcare provider and a patient, I envy you!

  15. 15
    Shaukat

    Class isn’t just about material resources, it’s also about cultural mores, practices, lifestyle habits, artistic tastes, intellectual pursuits, etc. To suggest that someone going through temporary financial straits should drop a level in socio-eonomic class to date is ludicrous. My guess is that Gala took this position because she knows she would never date a man in such a situation (she asked to see her boyfriend’s credit statements for God’s sake), and rather than confront the ethical implications this holds for her character, she’d rather twist this to somehow place blame on the op.

  16. 16
    Angel

    Jack! Your candid, honorable, and humble sharing brought me hope that guys like you still exist. You are destined to meet to the right woman because your character outshines “entertainment” value any day. I wish you well. 

  17. 17
    BellamyTree

    Jack – simply this. Your willingness to live with parents and clear your remaining debts within the year would, in itself, seem like a desirable quality to many women. The alternative, of getting deeper into credit card debt by paying for expensive dates ,would be unattractive to the kind of woman who shares your values and would avoid debt herself.

    And it’s not so different from many divorcees, of both sexes, who find it takes some years after divorce to get back on their feet financially and domestically, as well as emotionally.

    I’m horrified at the critical tone and (wilful?) inaccuracy of some of the comments on here (e.g. your insurance couldn’t have covered your fiancee’s costs) but blog threads are ever thus.

    Please know that there are many women (some of them divorcees who were used to a more lavish lifestyle when married) who would love you for who you are and what you did for your fiancee, who hate and avoid debt themselves, and who will prize your values. And they are out there, doing voluntary work, enjoying the natural world, finding joy wherever it’s found, and valuing the simpler (and less expensive) pleasures in life.

    I wish you all the very best.

  18. 18
    JB

    We have no idea what Jack looks like, how tall he is, or what his job title is that earns him “five figures” which let’s just say for the sake of this argument is somewhere between 30K and 90K. Not to mention what part of the country he lives in. All of this matters to not only his but every man of every ages personal lives and options. I couldn’t even add an opinion unless I have that info.

  19. 19
    wilderness_anni

    My two cents as a 62 year old widow who has been mostly alone for 13 plus years. I dated and almost married a man who had nothing. A $500 car at best and a part time job at age 59. I fell for him. I gave him every benefit of doubt because I loved who I thought I saw. In the end, he wasn’t who I thought he was. I was willing to put up with a lot including lack of funds because I would be able to carry that weight, but what I finally realized in the end was that he didn’t have the ambition to pull his life together or to keep me in it. I paid for everything and did all the giving up to be together. That ended and I learned a great deal. I am now with a man who has a plan, goals, ambition and is a man. My point? It’s not just the money or where you live….it’s who you are. I can assure you that there is someone out there looking for who you are, not where you are, and if you have the ambition to pull yourself up and move forward and have plans and goals, keep at it sir. It says a lot that you stayed by the side of your fiance. Don’t give up. I didn’t and I’m about to have the time of my life!

    1. 20.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Scott

      We all know that there is a double standard when it comes to finances.  It is a “I want to be liberated and kept at the same time” world for many women.  If women want to know why a lot of guys are getting what they can without committing, here is their answer.  A situation where her money is her money and his money is her money is not attractive to many men.  Even a bad marriage requires teamwork.

      1. 20.1.1
        ScottH

        I think you put it perfectly before.   Most women want the best of chivalry and equality.

        I hate to be harsh but with the catalog mentality of online dating, a 40-something man living with his parents is about as attractive as a leper with HIV, regardless of the reasons. Someone in that situation would fare better meeting a person IRL.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          What I have recently taken notice of on online dating sites is preferred age ranges.  As much as women over age 40 complain about men with options having age ranges that skew more years younger than older, the same can be said about women with options.  I am talking about any woman with an SMV above 5.  Only women with sub-5 SMVs skew more years older than younger. Those with an SMV of 5 split the difference with a close to equal number of years above and below their claimed age. The skew younger increases with respect to SMV from that point forward.  A woman with an SMV of 7 is more likely to have an upper age bound is that is a couple of years younger than a couple of years older, and that is based on whatever age she is claiming on her profile, which is often several years younger than her actual chronological age.  I do not want to hear women complain about men being ageist and focused on looks on online dating sites because research has demonstrated that women are worse than men when it comes to shallowness.  Add in the catalog of other requirements, and there is little wonder as to why most women are frustrated on dating sites.

           

        2. JB

          Yep, I had a childhood friend I grew up with in my neighborhood that I hadn’t seen in 35 years. I emailed her on Match and told her I’m not going to date you but I’d help you on here with anything. We met for a drink, I helped her get rid of a catfish the next week. She never asked for any more help and took her profile down after 3 weeks and I’m pretty sure meeting nobody. Delusional expectations of a 53 yr. old women who I’m sure had at least 50 responses or more.

    2. 20.2
      lynx

      Thanks for posting the link. Skimming through the comments, one stood out as making a lot of sense and it was yours: 

      “I’ve grown leery of dating people who are in a major transitional phase of their life.  They tend to be focused on the new place, new job, new whatever and don’t have the ability to give the relationship the focus it needs and then when they get situated, they become different people and tend to move on.” 

      Completely agree. In this case, the red flag isn’t so much living with parents. He’s just gone through one of the most devastating life experiences one can go through. Understandably, he needs time to process and heal. Anyone he dates will need to proceed with great empathy and caution.

      1. 20.2.1
        S

        Anyone he dates will need to proceed with great empathy and caution.

        No, that’s on him to approach a relationship when he’s really ready for one.

        1. lynx

          My rationale for suggesting the woman ought to be careful is that he may think he’s really ready, but may or may not actually be. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for him to go through such an event. Everyone grieves differently–it took me a year to adjust to the “new normal” after each of my parents died, and that was an event that happened in the expected order of things. But, maybe I’m overly sensitive. 

        2. ScottH

          “No, that’s on him to approach a relationship when he’s really ready for one.”

          Ummm, no.  It’s on everyone to look out for their own best interests and be wary of everyone they meet in the mid-life dating pool.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @ScottH

          Ummm, no.  It’s on everyone to look out for their own best interests and be wary of everyone they meet in the mid-life dating pool.

          The strangest thing around which I have had to wrap my head since re-entering the dating pool is meeting women whose ex-husbands switched teams.  It appears to be quite common these days because I have met quite a few women whose husbands left them for a man.  How in the world does a man reconcile switching teams after being a husband and a father for two decades?  There had to be signs along the way.  How does a woman reconcile losing her husband to a man?

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          I have known two women whose husbands left them for men.  The thing is, they weren’t “team switchers.”  They are gay and spent considerable energy since they were teens trying to suppress it.  That’s what living in a homophobic society does to people.

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