I Don’t Make Money and I’m Worried That Men Will Judge Me For It

I Don’t Make Money and I’m Worried That Men Will Judge Me For It
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I have read about many examples on your blog of successful women who have a hard time with relationships. My situation is twice as challenging. I’m not successful financially. In fact, quite the opposite. How do I approach men in regard to this? I’ve found that men expect you to be successful. Does that mean I don’t deserve love if I can’t make money? I usually hide this fact when dating but I’m a genuine person and want to be truthful. What should I do?

-Daria

Great news, Daria!

You don’t actually have a problem.

See, for the most part, men don’t “expect you to be successful.” Men expect you to be nice. To accept them as they are without trying to change them. To laugh at their jokes. To be able to carry on a good conversation. To appreciate their efforts to please you. To take the time to look attractive and sexy. To make them feel attractive and sexy. To be his soft place to land after a hard day.

Smart, strong, successful women have both the drive and income to invest thousands of dollars in coaching.

But whether you went to an Ivy League school, have an MBA, make over $100,000, have endless ambition – that doesn’t affect most successful men’s choices in women – specifically because they already have their own success. He needs you to offer him what his work DOESN’T offer, not more of what it does – the effort, the grind, the challenge. He wants a relationship that’s easy; he doesn’t want a sugar mama.

The reason that you read about smart, strong, successful women who have a hard time with relationships on my blog is because I’m a dating coach who specializes in helping smart, strong, successful women understand men and find love.

And the reason I’m a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women is for two specific reasons, neither of which I control:

  1. Smart, strong, successful men rarely reach out for feedback about how to better understand women. It’s almost like they’re not even INTERESTED in being better partners or clueless that it’s even possible.
  2. Smart, strong, successful women have both the drive and income to invest thousands of dollars in coaching. Women eking by, paycheck to paycheck, don’t.

So please don’t sweat it that you aren’t financially successful. Most men don’t prioritize that. You absolutely deserve love and will get it as long as you give men the kind of love that THEY need (hint: it’s not providing for him financially!)

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Lisa

    I think this letter leaves far too much information out to really assess the situation. Why is she not financially successful? What exactly does she mean by that? If she’s a hard working woman who maybe does not earn a huge salary, but loves her job that’s an entirely different situation, than a woman who is not working at all, or underemployed, or with a poor work ethic. I agree that it’s true that how much a woman earns is not as far at the top of the list as it may be for women with men. That being said I do think most modern men see a relationship as a team effort and feel stressed when it is all on them to support the entire family. I think knowing her specific situation, and why she is there would be very helpful.

    1. 1.1
      Lynn

      I absolutely agree with Lisa that most modern men see a relationship as a “team effort.” My 62 year old amazing, high quality man was NOT interested in taking care of another woman financially. He was married for 32 years to a woman who chose not to work; (no children) she just wanted to be taken care of. He left the woman (appropriate reasons) and now has to pay maintenance, give up 1/2 his pension and social security. I am secure financially and over the nine years I dated it was quite a relief to the high quality men that they did not have to shoulder all of the financial burdens. Perhaps Evan’s comments would be true for younger men, but I did not see that in the over 50 crowd.

      1. 1.1.1
        Lulu

        That’s 32 years of marriage. If he truly hates that part about her as he claimed now then it would only last 2 years, not 32 years.

        What he actually resents is paying for alimony, not her financial ability.

        1. Lynn

          Lulu, I never said anything about “hating” or “resenting,” please do not write things that are untrue. My high quality man is simply not interested in repeating that again. And, he doesn’t have to with me.

      2. 1.1.2
        Roz

        My experience is similar to Lynn’s. I am a 50 and am a successful professional The successful, smart, high-quality men that I have dated DO care about my finances. Here are some examples:

        – My ex-fiancee was a successful businessman who sold his company to a major corporation. His expectation was that I was debt-free (credit card) and that I was planning for my retirement. He didn’t need my money, but he wanted to be sure that I knew how to manage money, and he certainly didn’t want me to be a drag on his situation. My earnings and finances mattered and he was very clear about this.

        – My previous boyfriend owned a successful dot com. He wanted transparency into my finances and had asked me to sign a prenup if we were to get married.

        Of the 30 men I’ve gone out with since I broke of my engagement, roughly 1/3rd of them will reference finances, tell stories about exes with financial problems, or ask questions related to finances within the first two dates. For those I have dated for more than one or two dates, more than half will bring up finances within the first several dates.

        Daria, I do think that finances matter and I do think that some men will screen you out because of your finances. The men I’ve dated seem to expect me to be all the things Evan says PLUS financially responsible / able to support myself / able to contribute / debt-free. I use the slashes there because those were the words that these men have used.

        I tried to do a Google search to see if I could find some numbers to support the money issue either way, but was not successful. This has just been my experience. My two cents, for what it’s worth.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Huge difference between being self sufficient + debt free and caring about what you do/earn. Support yourself as a kindergarten teacher for 40k? Fine. Carrying 40k in debt, never working and want him to save you? Not fine.

  2. 2
    ezamuzed

    I’m nearing 50 and I agree with Evan, I could care less if woman are financially successful or not. As long as there isn’t drama around her finances or career or I’m feeling financially used it doesn’t matter. It is a nice bonus if she is financially stable.

    1. 2.1
      Emily, to

      ezamused,
      “I’m nearing 50 and I agree with Evan, I could care less if woman are financially successful or not.”
      Are you looking to get married? Because we hear on this site that men don’t care about what a woman makes but, at the same time, that men are raked over the coals financially in divorce. Makes no sense.

      1. 2.1.1
        ezamuzed

        @Emily, to:

        Are you suggesting that men wanting to get married should do so with a plan about how he will eventually get divorced? That is pretty sad 🙁

        Woman thinking that most men want a financially successful woman is similar to men thinking that woman want a guy with a super fit body. Sure it is a nice bonus but it is low down on the checklist.

        1. Emily, to

          ezamused,
          “Are you suggesting that men wanting to get married should do so with a plan about how he will eventually get divorced? That is pretty sad ”
          No, but we hear on this site a lot about men getting used for providership and raked over the coals financially in a divorce. I’m just saying that if a man is concerned about this, he should prioritize a woman’s financial stabiliy when he looks for a partner. Everybody all into sharing until divorce is on the table.

        2. Mrs Happy

          There’s nothing at all wrong with a super-fit man body. Nothing at all.

    2. 2.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @ezamuzed

      As a guy who is pushing 60, a woman’s net worth is important to me. I have planned for retirement. There are a lot of women my age who are financial train wrecks. While I could provision one of these women, why would I when it is as easy to love a self-sufficient woman who has planned for her retirement as it is a dependent woman who has not? I have learned through my girlfriend that being strong and successful does not preclude a woman from being everything Evan outlined. Sure, women like my girlfriend are rare, but they do exist. Some successful women have to be shown the way, some do not.

      1. 2.2.1
        Lynn

        Wonderful! I totally agree with you, Yet Another Guy! I’ve met plenty of men and women who are financial train wrecks. In my dating life, I did not continue to see a broke guy once that information was discovered. I retired comfortably at 55 and am enjoying my life. Kuddos to you for finding the unicorn; we do exist!

    3. 2.3
      Seth

      I am 42. Father of 3 and have custody of them. And when meeting women, their ability to provide for themselves does weigh into things. I have no desire to add another dependent to my life. I have worked hard to get where I am at, and continue to do so. I would hope the woman does as well. I mean I am pretty sure women don’t want a guy who has no financial stability in his life…..so somewhat I agree w/ Evan on his response, but I do think if the woman comes to the table….she shouldn’t come to it with financial instability…..
      I encourage and push my daughter all the time to focus on school, get that done and get her career going.

    4. 2.4
      Mr_B

      It’s one thing to not be making more than an average wage. Men don’t care about that as much.

      It’s another thing to make average money and to have $10+ in credit card debt because of terrible financial habits.

      A smart person will avoid a relationship with someone like that.

  3. 3
    Cherlyn

    I love how refreshingly honest you are here, Evan.

    “Smart, strong, successful women have both the drive and income to invest thousands of dollars in coaching. Women eking by, paycheck to paycheck, don’t.”

    How many times can I heart that?

    About the “men don’t care what a woman makes” but “still want a team effort” debate, I really think this isn’t black and white, and I think what Evan is trying to say is that it’s on a scale, and it depends on this woman’s situation.

    Like Lisa has pointed out, if she’s hard-working, and she’s just in a job that doesn’t pay well, or has just fallen on hard times, that makes her a great candidate for a great guy.

    Because with that ethic, it’s not hard to find the drive to make ends meet if she has to, or to be able to have the vulnerability needed to make her relationship/marriage successful. Usually, people like that tend to be more responsible with their finances as well.

    On the other hand, as I’ve noticed in my line of work, women with a poor work ethic and a victim mindset towards finances tend to make poor candidates overall. They do not make great employees and tend to leech, which I’m sure, many men would avoid. They blame and accuse people for making them “feel bad” about their own circumstances.

    So I’m guessing what Evan is also saying that when men want a relationship that’s easy, there’s also needs to be a baseline that makes the relationship easy, like enough financial security in a woman to pay her own bills.

  4. 4
    bvg

    Emily, to said: “Are you looking to get married? Because we hear on this site that men don’t care about what a woman makes but, at the same time, that men are raked over the coals financially in divorce. Makes no sense.”

    Certainly, no one wants to be taken advantage of and a prenuptial agreement is a very good idea. What Evan indicates is absolutely correct, both for me (almost 50) and a number of my friends. Warmth, compassion and agreeableness are the important criteria in a partner not a salary.

    1. 4.1
      Emily, to

      bvg,
      “What Evan indicates is absolutely correct, both for me (almost 50) and a number of my friends. Warmth, compassion and agreeableness are the important criteria in a partner not a salary.”
      But then you can’t complian if a divorce happens and she is awarded a chunk of your income, pension, 401k, etc., however the divorce laws are in your state. That’s what will happen if you make a lot more money than she does. Of course, this isn’t an issue if you are together but don’t marry and, at almost 50, you don’t probably don’t need to marry. You won’t be having kids.

      1. 4.1.1
        bvg

        Neither the OP, Evan nor I have offered any “complaints” about being awarded large “chunks of income” from a divorce. Nonetheless, it seems to be very important. Why?

        by-the-way,

        first – I do recommend a prenuptial agreement and the assumption that property division in a divorce benefits only women is not exactly true. As more women are graduating from college (~60% at public institutions) they have higher salaries than non-college graduates and currently outperform men, in the aggregate, in terms of wealth at death and lifetime earnings.

        second – I did not state a preference either for or against having children.

        third – the decision to marry is not only for having children it is the highest form of social commitment that one person can make to another. For example, the LGBTQ community has and continues to fight vehemently for this privilege.

        In essence, men don’t care much about a woman’s earning power.

        1. Emily, to

          bvg,
          “Neither the OP, Evan nor I have offered any “complaints” about being awarded large “chunks of income” from a divorce. Nonetheless, it seems to be very important. Why?”
          You’ve haven’t been on here long enough. It was brought up many times on other posts.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @bvg

          I am ten years your senior, have my family, and have no desire to remarry at the present time. Marriage is optional for couples who are not planning to have children (a couple that cannot remain together without the paper stands little chance of staying together happily with it). As a legal institution, marriage primarily exists to protect children. Anyone who has been through family court knows that to be an absolute truth (divorces are usually handled in family court in the United States).

        3. bvg

          @ Emily to
          “You’ve haven’t been on here long enough. It was brought up many times on other posts.”

          True I have only recently discovered this blog and don’t understand the rules of the blog. Since neither the OP nor Evan mentioned “complaints” “chunks of income” or “divorce” – I presume then that this comments sections functions as a place to air general angst rather than the original posting?

          @YAG
          “…marriage primarily exists to protect children. Anyone who has been through family court knows that to be an absolute truth.”
          US legal system is based on the English legal system, which in turn follows English common law. Meaning that the legal system is designed to uphold social practices generally agreed upon by the populous. Although children do benefit from marriage, the primary purpose of marriage is still one of social recognition. The LGBTQ couples continue to fight for the legal recognition of their marriage though many, if not most, will not have children. Social change comes first then the legal change.

        4. Emily, to

          bvg,
          ” I presume then that this comments sections functions as a place to air general angst rather than the original posting?”
          You’ll find that each long-term commenter has a few key topics he/she brings up. We all do it.

  5. 5
    Tom10

    “Does that mean I don’t deserve love I can’t make money? I usually hide this fact when dating”

    How does one hide the fact that they don’t earn money when dating? After two dates I would have thought it’d be nigh on impossible.

    I’m going to disagree with Evan a small bit on this one unfortunately; I agree that to a large extent many men don’t seem to care about a woman’s earning potential; however, the issue here is that oft-maligned topic regulars love to debate here: power differential.

    If there is a significant financial disparity, there will then need to be a reciprocal quid pro quo for the relationship to be one of equals. So, OP, what other qualities can be compensated either by you, or those you wish to date, to even out the disparity?

    For e.g. I’m currently in a better place financially than my girlfriend, but I’m aware that she’s smarter and better-educated, so overall the dynamic works.

    The op’s question needs to be parsed against the type of man she’d like to date as well as the type of relationship dynamic she wishes to achieve.

    1. 5.1
      Adrian

      Wow Hi Tom10 Long time no see! And Wow! Emily is back to!!! I’m so happy to see you as well Emily! (^_^).

      Tom10 said, “If there is a significant financial disparity, there will then need to be a reciprocal quid pro quo for the relationship to be one of equals… but I’m aware that she’s smarter and better-educated, so overall the dynamic works.”

      Tom you may not remember but it was actually you who taught me stop saying a woman’s financial level doesn’t matter in a relationship. So how does a woman’s personality or education level make up for her lack of financial contribution to the relationship?… I am not talking about your girlfriend specifically but your statement in general?

      I’ve been out with women who don’t make as much as me and to be honest it is very tiring to always have to pay if I want to do more than hang out at home. These women are not broke and they can easily support themselves but their is a HUGE difference between being able to support yourself financially and being able to travel or go out to new venues every weekend.

      I like traveling, doing fun activities, and trying new foods. I can talk shakespeare and contemplate the true meaning (and relevance) of quantum physics with my male friends.
      Sex? Not to be crass but I’ve never had trouble getting sex if I wanted it and of course I can cook and clean for myself. My family is warm, comforting, kind and giving so I have emotional comfort.

      I am not saying money is everything but I am curious what could a person who you have to always pay for can bring to the table if you want to go out, or invest in a future?

      1. 5.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        Adrian – from where did you swoop in?!
        And TommyBoy and Yaggie are both in love, ahhh, it’s gorgeous.
        You’re next Adrian.

      2. 5.1.2
        Seth

        I have been in a similar position with someone I was in a relationship with.
        She was more financially constrained, so it was always me picking up the check. Which even gets tough for me, cause I do have 3 kids that I support.

    2. 5.2
      jo

      Tom10, I love that you love a ‘smarter and better-educated’ woman and don’t mind that she earns less, but wonder how that links to balancing the power differential you describe. Is it that you value witty and knowledgeable conversation, or ‘bragging rights’ about having a smart and well-educated girlfriend? 🙂

      Usually, being smart and educated translates to higher income, so when it doesn’t, I’m wondering what is special about these traits that men value apart from earning potential.

    3. 5.3
      SparklingEmerald

      TOM 10 said “For e.g. I’m currently in a better place financially than my girlfriend, but I’m aware that she’s smarter and better-educated, so overall the dynamic works.”

      You have a girlfriend now ! Do tell us about it !

      1. 5.3.1
        Emily, to

        Yes, we want all the details! Times, dates, detailed description! Tom10: What changed you from a himbo (male bimbo) to Mr. Committment!? 🙂

        1. jo

          Emily – ‘Himbo.’ 😀 I have to add that word to my vocabulary…

          Mrs Happy, the points you raise about generous vs. less-so men brings to mind this concept called ‘Scarcity Mindset.’ Have you heard about it? Personality of the man (or woman) is one factor, but the circumstances matter too, such as expensive city, salary, etc. The book I read about it said that Scarcity Mindset is a dangerous way to think, even if circumstances make it logical – because it trains people to think in the short term, not the long term. He recommended thinking and acting generously even in a real situation of scarcity.

          I wonder if that applies here.

        2. Mrs Happy

          Jo,
          interesting.
          Common sense would predict that in a real scarcity situation (e.g. not enough water while lost in the desert, or in inner city poverty stricken families, not enough money for groceries this week) it’d be dangerous to your survival to be too generous and give away resources, if that left your life, or your family’s life, in danger. Common sense isn’t always right, but without having read the book, your interpretation alone makes me wonder if the book is really impractical.

          I don’t blame men at all for wanting the woman they are with (who is, after all, presumably able-bodied, healthy, educated or trained for some work, autonomous and capable of functioning as an independent adult) to be financially independent. In fact my main response to this conundrum, is, why the fish shouldn’t she pay for her needs and wants? How entitled is it, to expect someone else, into perpetuity, to do so?

          I’ve never found leeching pathos-ridden incapable forever-leaning-on-others people particularly attractive, or respected people who “followed their dream and didn’t care about money” but whose lives are now ground into suffering and ill health from chronic near-poverty, and whose lives are, ironically, more ruled by money or the lack thereof, than any of their middle-class compatriots who went the more conservative route and actually, you know, got a full time job and a career after qualification.

          I’m with YAG, and Shakaut, and Adrian – why should a man continue to pay for a woman, year after year, or even date after date?

          I look back to my teens and twenties, during which I had men paying for me non-stop, every date/holiday/outing/presents/ etc. The older ones wouldn’t hear of me paying for anything ever, and our incomes were vastly different (mine a fraction of theirs). It is with no small irony that I find myself now thinking such women are a bit leechy. I didn’t realise it at the time but I suppose the exchange was, then, they got a hot young, (much younger) girlfriend, and sex on tap, and that deal was okay with them?

          But I think men get themselves stuck in this dynamic of always or often paying, and that becomes the norm, but then maybe the woman ages, isn’t as hot or young anymore, and the sex stops being so adventurous and so on tap, and that leads to disgruntlement? I don’t know how it pans out long term in those situations for those men, because as I got older and earned more I just started paying for my own life.

          If Adrian wants a woman who can pay for new exciting things every weekend, he needs to place “has money” on his list of 3 essential criteria for a girlfriend. That bumps something else off the list of 3 though. If YAG wants a woman who won’t eat into his personal retirement fund, he has (wisely) found someone who had the forethought to plan for her own retirement. If the 30 year olds Lynx sees don’t want to work full time and can’t make enough to support an unemployed wife and their kids, the guys will have on their criteria, “has to earn decent income to contribute to our household”.

          Most families in my country include a woman who works in paid work; that’s the norm. It often takes 2 incomes to survive comfortably in a city. So I really can’t believe all these men everywhere are completely ignoring the income their future partner will bring. Sure I understand it’s not the #1 criteria on the average man’s list, but surely for all but the immature 20-year olds marrying with stars in their eyes, it’s somewhat of a consideration? Wealth or lack thereof does, after all, change the course of a life so much: why would people ignore it?

        3. jo

          Mrs Happy – well, I would agree that it’s very unwise in this age not to work (if you can), and to assume that your partner will finance you. A few groups of people still do think that way in North America, especially conservative religious groups. It’s sad: the women in these cases become like chattel, and there’s no easy escape for them if they’re caught in intolerable marriages, because they have neither the necessary job skills nor the mindset that they would have to earn money.

          We all should think and live with the assumption that we must earn our own keep. It’s not just good for our partners, it’s good for us too.

          The book Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir isn’t as much about romantic relationships as it is about a mindset that prevents many in positions of scarcity from thinking long-term. It’s sad and hopeful at the same time, because it explains why the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, but offers solutions for how to break away from such thinking.

    4. 5.4
      Tom10

      @ Sparkling Emerald #5.3
      “You have a girlfriend now ! Do tell us about it”

      @ Emily, the original #5.3.1
      “Yes, we want all the details! Times, dates, detailed description!”

      Ha, I left that little nugget in there hoping you guys would reply! So much to tell, where to even start? The bell-toll of change on both my body and social group became too great to ignore so it was time to make some big life changes before the onset of loneliness, isolation, stubbornness and old-age.

      So I’ve spent the last year dating with focus (as opposed to going with the flow); in an effort to really see what qualities really matter. On the way I got badly burned a few times (due some payback in fairness), and unfortunately hurt one or two others, but eventually(!) I found someone with just the right blend of qualities; she’s smart, driven, easy-going etc.; mostly importantly, she makes me want to be a better person, which I think, is the ultimate litmus test.

      I shall divulge all going-forward! Any dating-news to report Emily?

      @ jo
      “but wonder how that links to balancing the power differential you describe. Is it that you value witty and knowledgeable conversation, or ‘bragging rights’ about having a smart and well-educated girlfriend?”

      Ha, I’m (almost) past the “bragging rights” stage in life jo. Em, I guess I was thinking if the overall fundamentals are somewhat equal then the power-differential should even out through the ebbs-and-flows over time. So, though I’m doing ok now, my industry is fickle so my income could drop precipitously at any time; equally, her income might increase exponentially in future.

      Additionally, if children were ever on the cards, we can each bring complementing qualities to the table thus giving the kids the best chance possible.

      @ Adrian #5.1
      Hey, Adrian, thanks! It’s good to be back and to talk again! How have you been? Any dating news?

      “So how does a woman’s personality or education level make up for her lack of financial contribution to the relationship?”

      I think it depends on you, her and the activities you like to do; my girlfriend loves home-cooking and outdoor activities such as running, swimming etc. so money hasn’t been an issue…yet. I suspect it might become an issue in time but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Hopefully we can work out a balance that works for both parties.

      “I can talk shakespeare and contemplate the true meaning (and relevance) of quantum physics with my male friends”.

      Ha – I’ve never discussed Shakespeare or the true meaning of quantum physics with my mates! Other than a few jokes; cue Tim Vine: “I told my friend I was appearing in Hamlet at the Globe Theatre; he said” Are you being facetious?”, I said “No, Polonius” haha

      1. 5.4.1
        Emily, to

        Tom10,
        “The bell-toll of change on both my body and social group became too great to ignore so it was time to make some big life changes before the onset of loneliness, isolation, stubbornness and old-age.”
        What do you mean? That everyone else around you was in an ltr or married and wanted to have … um … dinner parties as opposed to going to the club? 🙂
        “but eventually(!) I found someone with just the right blend of qualities; she’s smart, driven, easy-going etc.; mostly importantly, she makes me want to be a better person, which I think, is the ultimate litmus test.”
        That sounds great. I’m happy for you. Really. But I’m waiting for a description of her physically. This is Tom10 I’m talking to, right? 🙂
        “Any dating-news to report Emily?”
        Let’s see … I had a very short-term hook-up situation a few months ago. And I went to a new meet-up group last weekend and got messaged by 2 men … who were 10 years older than me, if not more.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Emily, to said “That sounds great. I’m happy for you. Really. But I’m waiting for a description of her physically. This is Tom10 I’m talking to, right? ”

          So do tell, where on the 1 -10 scale does she fall. (And yes, I feel sooooo shallow for asking . . . 🙂

        2. Emily, to

          Sparkling,
          “So do tell, where on the 1 -10 scale does she fall. (And yes, I feel sooooo shallow for asking . . . ”
          You are a naive woman. 🙂 It won’t be a solid number. It’ll be a 7.234795 …. with a discussion about how a woman’s number is all relevant to the other women in the room, the city, the state, etc. 🙂

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Eto said “You are a naive woman. It won’t be a solid number. It’ll be a 7.234795 …. with a discussion about how a woman’s number is all relevant to the other women in the room, the city, the state, etc. ”

          Is it adjusted for age ? Is there a separate rating system for the same woman with make up and with out make up, or is it a blend of the 2 ? How does the rating system work when there is a big descrepancy between body and face ? (Does a butter face get to average her smoking hot body with her plain Jane face, or is her ranking the lowest two ? ) For women, that scale is purely her physical looks, right ? Wit, personality don’t factor at all, correct ? In fact, the higher up on the scale, the crazier she gets to be, Amirite ? 🙂

        4. Emily, to

          Sparkling,
          “Is it adjusted for age ? Is there a separate rating system for the same woman with make up and with out make up, or is it a blend of the 2 ? How does the rating system work when there is a big descrepancy between body and face ?”
          Couldn’t tell you, although I’m sure you could get a long, detailed description of the rating system from the other side if you really want it. I certainly don’t need to, though. 🙂
          ” For women, that scale is purely her physical looks, right ? Wit, personality don’t factor at all, correct ? ”
          I don’t know. Depends on the woman. I’ve just never spent that much time thinking about SMV and numbers. I find the guy appealing or I don’t.
          “In fact, the higher up on the scale, the crazier she gets to be, Amirite ?”
          Oh, yeah. We’ve had men post on her before about the “hot but crazy” combination. “30 Rock” did a whole episode on it, the implication being that crazy women are better in bed. By contrast, we’ve learned on here that pretty much every woman is the same in bed. 🙂

        5. Tom10

          @ Emily, to # 5.4.1

          Apologies for my tardy response; I’ve been busy romancing. 😉

          “What do you mean? That everyone else around you was in an ltr or married and wanted to have … um … dinner parties as opposed to going to the club?”

          Haha – I guess, something like that. Dinner parties wouldn’t really be my bag but, I guess, companionship is a quality I never sought before in life (due to my extensive circles of friends, have hunkered down due to their phase in life); but which is something to appreciate now.

          “Let’s see … I had a very short-term hook-up situation a few months ago. And I went to a new meet-up group last weekend and got messaged by 2 men … who were 10 years older than me, if not more.”

          At least you’re back in the game – bravo Emily! You had taken time out the last time we spoke. Make sure to stay in it now. 🙂

          @ Emily, to # 5.4.1
          “I’m waiting for a description of her physically. This is Tom10 I’m talking to, right”

          @ Sparkling Emerald
          “So do tell, where on the 1 -10 scale does she fall.”

          Haha – I was waiting for that question! I can see I’ve taught you guys well; I’ve done some good work in my time here.

          But that was the old Tom – I don’t really see her as a number (blech I know); it’s hard for me to answer that. 🙂

        6. Emily, to

          Tom10,
          “Companionship is a quality I never sought before in life (due to my extensive circles of friends, have hunkered down due to their phase in life); but which is something to appreciate now.”
          I don’t appreciate this phase in life. When people drone on about home mortgages or the dishes they just bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I zone out. Now, you want to talk about the sex you’re having? Or hot rock stars? Or your deepest dreams? I’m your girl. 🙂
          “At least you’re back in the game – bravo Emily! You had taken time out the last time we spoke. Make sure to stay in it now. ”
          I don’t know if getting messages from men I have no romantic interest in means I’m back in the game, though I am trying to get out socially. But one thing I did learn about your side with my hook-up situation … you guys get nervous. 🙂
          “But that was the old Tom – I don’t really see her as a number (blech I know); it’s hard for me to answer that.”
          Maybe you’re grown a human heart. 🙂

      2. 5.4.2
        SparklingEmerald

        A Tom10 imposter said 🙂 ” I don’t really see her as a number (blech I know); it’s hard for me to answer that. ”

        Who are you, and what have you done to Tom10 ? 🙂

        All kidding aside, I’m very happy for you !

    5. 5.5
      Mr_B

      I’ve been on 100+ dates in a big city in the South.

      99.9% of the time the man is paying for the first few dates. 60% of women won’t even offer to split the bill.

      One the internet every women pays her share.

      In reality, 50% of the women don’t even say, “Thank You” when I pay for everything.

      Of the 20% of the women that I’m interested in 4/5 of them don’t respond.

      1. 5.5.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        That sounds pretty accurate. Which is why I encourage men to pay during early-phase dating (because women like it), for women to reach for the check on the first few dates and say thank you to show appreciation (because men like it), and for women insist on picking up a check after 4 dates or so as a common courtesy so he doesn’t feel taken advantage of.

  6. 6
    shaukat

    Hmm, not sure I agree with this post/response fully. It is certainly true that, in general, a woman’s capacity to command a large salary or her career ambition is not what men find attractive. As was stated, so long as she is intelligent, fun, and can hold a conversation, income doesn’t matter much. However, there is a difference between a woman not making a lot and a woman who literally makes nothing and is a financial mess. If the OP falls into this latter category, and if she has no interest in changing her situation, then in the log-term she can only find lasting love with the type of man who believes that a woman’s primary contribution in a relationship is to be a full time nurturer/stay-at-home wife/mom. Otherwise the dynamic won’t work. It should also be noted that in large metropolitan areas, the number of men who fall into that category are likely very small.

    1. 6.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @shaukat

      “It should also be noted that in large metropolitan areas, the number of men who fall into that category are likely very small.”

      That is because it usually takes two incomes to live in a decent school district in a large metropolitan area.

  7. 7
    Malika With an L

    As some others have mentioned, this is really a ‘it depends’ subject matter. I live in a metropolitan area where the income inequality is vast and you can see the disparity quite clearly when you walk through the streets. We all live in the same space, but we use it so differently that we might as well be living in different dimensions. Your income impacts which house you buy, where you spend your time, which hobbies you undertake etc. While I don’t think men consciously think of the finances of the other, when it comes to a relationship they will want a partner who understands and can keep up with their lifestyle choices. I have worked for a high number of top executives and noticed that unless they stayed married to their high school or college sweetheart, they were only interested in women who were in or relatively near their income bracket. These are the women who think nothing of going on luxury holidays several times a year, taking flying lessons on the weekend and having a last minute meal at a top-end restaurant. They feel comfortable in his world and that makes his life also a lot easier because she can relate to his everyday choices and value them. A nurse who lives relatively modestly might find it all intimidating or just plain uninteresting. We feel more at home with people of our own socio-economic bracket and do tend to migrate towards them. It would be an incorrect blanket statement to say it doesn’t matter to all men.

    Having said that, I see plenty of examples around me where there is an income disparity whereby the woman earns far less (my relationship is one of them) and it is not an issue. The man appreciates the many other qualities his partner brings to the table, and is very happy. A friend of mine is a high flying CEO who married a former administrative assistant. She is vivacious, warm, resourceful, and has brought him happiness and a peace of mind he thought would be ever elusive. He does not give a flying fig what her income is, and that their combined income is smaller than that of his first marriage, that was ill-matched in other ways.

    The key takeaway from this discussion should be to find someone who can value what you do bring into the relationship, and not feeling dissatisfied to what you can’t. The swathes of men who want you to earn more are just not interesting to you, the men who notice your positive qualities are. Do not worry about your smaller income, focus on whether they appreciate you and your presence in their lives, whatever his income bracket is.

  8. 8
    SparklingEmerald

    Gen’l Comment

    I can understand men not being concerned if a woman is low income, not particularly career focused, etc. but I would think if a woman has been completely un-employed or seriously un-employed for awhile, that it would raise some red flags. (Not enough info in the OP, to determine exactly what she means by I don’t make much money).

    Even a man who hopes to have a stay at home wife. If a woman doesn’t work AT ALL, and seems to mooch of other people (living with parents, not paying rent or compensating with household upkeep, etc ) can you really trust her to provide adequate compensating domestic duties, child rearing, budgeting, etc. ? I would think there would be a concern that if she lives off of other people while not working or contributing, that she would spend the household budget and not contribute to upkeep through her labor.

    If a woman works full time, lives within her means, and offers to contribute financially (even if it’s just to leave a tip) then I can see a man not being concerned. There are many valuable jobs these days, that unfortunately, just don’t pay very much. Are we talking about a hard working teacher, or a spoiled princess living with her parents rent-free and not participating in the upkeep of the home ? JM2C.

  9. 9
    Mrs Happy

    On this topic there is so much variation in men, from extremely generous men such as Evan who are comfortable with partners who are long-term unemployed and earning nothing, across men who want their wives to contribute something financially so they don’t bear the full brunt and pressure, through to nasty men who berate their lower- or not- earning partner for leeching on them and laud the power differential over the woman. I have seen and known all such types.

    There is no way Evan’s opinion on this matter speaks for all men. Evan may have a point but he is quite biased by his own experiences and openhanded stance. Half of my male friends would be seriously unimpressed if their wives suddenly stopped earning any money and just thought being sweet, supportive and nice was going to be enough of a contribution. But I live in an expensive city which undoubtedly affects this issue.

  10. 10
    Lynx

    There’s a generational divide on this topic, at least in my area. Most of the 30-somethings I work with are more interested in a balanced lifestyle than killing it to make the big bucks. So, the men don’t earn enough to support a woman with no interest in working. And frequently, both genders are still paying off student loan debt. It’s increasingly rare to see single-earner households.

    1. 10.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Lynx

      Millennials do not appear to be anywhere near as driven as their parents, which is crazy considering the amount of debt so many of them carry. My children are early post- Millennials. Luckily, they will emerge from college debt free. I attended college and graduate school on a part-time basis while working full-time; therefore, I paid as I went (I also did not have the college experience, which is why it is important to me for my children to have that experience).

      1. 10.1.1
        Lynx

        Our kids are probably in the same age range and mine will also have zero college debt — I think their generation watched and learned from the Milllennial college debt crazy. One of my kids works at the kind of fast-food restaurant that’s the butt of jokes, but hey, they provide annual tuition assistance equivalent to one term a year.

        Lowering birth rates in the US are also impacting the single-earner couple. As a higher percentage of Millennials opt to defer/decline parenthood, there’s no need for a caregiver to stay at home. Maybe this is true more on the coastal metro areas than in the suburbs / middle of the country, but it’s a noticeable trend.

        1. MountainChick

          Jo: i don’t think this is the right forum to debate university tuition though I definitely have a few things to say about it! Haha.

          To answer your question re property: because it would have been a horrible investment decision. Student loans rates is lower than the rate of growth experienced by property values (where i invested anyway), so my net worth grows faster if i invest in real estate (and the stock market, etc.) vs just dump all my cash into paying off loans. In fact with rates so low, paying off debt is not a priority – the best strategy is to lever up as much as they (the lenders) let you and invest the money into appreciating assets.

          Secondly, people are definitely less driven today. I see it at work even with post-millennials, even more so. In the hey day pre 2009, we heard of stories of people sleeping in their offices in camping sleeping bags. That doesn’t happen anymore. In fact one of the junior associates we hired recently (and that would be a post millennial generation) specifically at his interview stated that he’s not going to work on weekends (kids these days…). Anecdotally we see it all the time. I often catch myself thinking “they don’t pay me enough to do X” for example – and I don’t do it. What’s the point? My total comp has not gone up in 3 years (but rents and insurance costs have). Why should I put even more effort in? Most people my age think along the same lines.

      2. 10.1.2
        MountainChick

        I am a millennial. We are not as driven as the generation before us because the rewards are much less with no promise of this improving. Why busy one’s chops 24/7 when most goals are completely out of reach no matter what you do? And financial “gurus” advice you to skip lattes and avocado (rolls her eyes). So people begin to prioritize lifestyle. This is actually perfectly rational behavior per Econ 101.

        Anyway, back to the subject of dating… one would be crazy to not take into account finances in this day and age for anything that’s more that a one night stand or a short term fling. The number of men who can afford to fully disregard finances is tiny, those are wealthy ones and they travel in their own circle with their own women anyway, a broke gal would only be admitted there if she was a model or something (read: as a disguised escort). The OP needs to get her act together if she wants a partner or her own age for a normal relationship.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          MountainChick “I am a millennial. We are not as driven as the generation before us because the rewards are much less with no promise of this improving. Why busy one’s chops 24/7 when most goals are completely out of reach no matter what you do? And financial “gurus” advice you to skip lattes and avocado (rolls her eyes). ”

          Hi MC – Baby Boomer here, and I hear you loud and clear ! I am rather embarassed that my generation is so quick to call millennials, entitled, lazy, etc. and I can perfectly understand the “OK Boomer” pushback.

          We Boomers lived in a COMPLETELY different economy. I had friends with no college degree marry, buy homes (single family, 3 plus bedroom homes) and have children. The ones who went to college did not have to graduate with a debt the size of 4 mortgage payments.

          I think anyone who works full time, shouldn’t have to angst over weather or not to have a cup of coffee with a friend at Starbucks. If a full time employee, can’t even afford a nice coffee, who exactly is the entitled one ? The employee who would like more than bare bones life, or the employer who thinks they are entitled to 40 hours (or 34.5 if they don’t want to provide benefits) without paying a living wage.

          The gap between the COL and wages is much wider than the world we Boomers grew up in. College tuition is through the roof, college loan terms would make a loan shark blush, many young workers have to work 2 jobs, just to pay rent on a studio apartment. Sometimes I just shake my head at my generation not realizing how much easier of an economy we faced as we entered adulthood.

        2. Mrs Happy

          SparklingEmerald,
          Maybe this Millennial v BabyBoomer life cost difference, perhaps together with womens’ increasing necessity to be financially independent thus earn money, what with divorce becoming more pervasively socially accepted thus more common last century, drives the different attitudes between the generations about splitting paying during dating. I think older men are much more likely than younger men, to think it standard to pay for everything or most things, not only when dating but all the way through a relationship.

          MountainChick,
          I recently read ‘Smashed avocado: how I cracked the property market and you can too’ by Nicole Harrow. That book (or I assume the statistician’s quote that started the furore) may be what you were referring to, but if not, it’s a great read, all about the financial challenges millennials face, and it describes different solutions various young people have taken.

        3. MountainChick

          Mrs Happy:

          I was actually referring to the remarks made by some Aussie millionaire douchebag a few years back that millennials can’t afford homes because they are wasting money on avocado toast. Here’s the blowback: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/business/avocado-toast-millennials.html

          I do ok for myself and own multiple properties and on track to retire at 50 barring a life altering event or falling seriously ill (i mean this is the US, no matter what you do just don’t get sick, right?). But i entered the workforce during the Great Depression and i *know* for a fact that those in my position, at the firms where I have worked, who started even 10 years earlier, were paid quite significantly more in their early years, since they captured those “good years” leading up to the crush – they got the windfall, they compounded, they invested, they have done really well for themselves. Us, my cohort? Not so much. If we were even lucky to get a good job at all in 2009, we were paid a fraction of pre-crisis money, we didn’t have any money to invest, the stock market and the housing market ran away from us as we struggled to pay down student loans while our employers paid us peanuts on the dollar compared to what the older cohort got just a few years prior. If I put the same amount of effort that I have but did it 10 years prior, I’d have a few million dollars in the bank right now. Instead i am still paying off student loans. And so even though I am better off than most of my generation, i am worse off compared to people of the same background and education who are simply older. My generation got skewed and we know it. And the establishment is scratching their head trying to understand why Bernie is so popular with the younger people! What idiots.

        4. jo

          Wow, this thoughtful conversation raises so many questions.

          Why do universities cost so much more today, relative to cost of living? What services do they offer now that they didn’t in the past? Or did tuition go up because demand is higher, because now people need fancy letters after their names to get jobs?

          Is the greater difficulty in getting jobs today because of automation? I don’t think that it’s because of immigrants ‘stealing’ jobs, no matter which country. I fear that the more we automate things (don’t get me wrong, that’s good in many ways), the fewer jobs will exist for young people.

          MountainChick, I agree with you mostly, but wonder two things. First, if you are wealthy enough to own multiple properties, why not sell one and pay off your student debt? It’s much easier to live debt-free unless the debt has low interest. Second, you wrote that your generation is less driven than past ones. I don’t see this as true. If anything, all over the world, things have become MUCH more competitive in your generation, so the level of drive looks to be through the roof. I agree with you: I’m fortunate to be older, but don’t want it to be that hard for young people. Shouldn’t we have made life civil enough that a whole generation doesn’t need to break their backs working so hard?

        5. Buck25

          Jo,

          Those are indeed interesting questions. Let’s take the college tuition issue first. No, by and large, colleges and universities aren’t really providing that many extra services or extra value. It’s supply and demand, and universities, in particular the most prestigious ones, charge whatever tuition the market will bear. I expect they will do that as long as applications for enrollment exceed available openings, so long as students and/or their families are willing to borrow whatever is demanded. To make matters worse, some graduates have $100,000 or more in student loan debt for degrees that are not especially marketable (try getting a great job with a BA in say, Philosophy, or Women’s Studies, or Fine Arts). Not so much bang-for-the-buck, if you ask me. We need to bring tuition costs down to something that resembles reason; the current situation is obscene.

          Over on the blue-collar side of things, automation has replaced a lot of formerly good-paying manufacturing jobs, but by far the greater problem is companies shipping manufacturing jobs out of America to cheaper labor markets. That’s been going on for over thirty years, and established politicians (of BOTH major parties) have been happy to help their corporate donors do just that. Thanks to some new trade policies including the new MCA agreement, we can begin to turn that around, and bring back some good manufacturing jobs About time to make the words “Made in the USA” mean something again. Illegal immigration (and the companies that hire those illegal immigrants at substandard wages) does have an effect, but it’s mostly unskilled or semi-skilled jobs. Unfortunately, this hits hardest at the lowest margins of the working class, especially minority young people, so it DOES matter, but these people aren’t displacing very many skilled American workers. Incidentally, I think I recall some politician (can’t remember which one) saying those industrial workers whose jobs had been automated out of existence or shipped overseas “could learn to code”. Riiiight; the guy who worked on an assembly line for twenty years is going to learn to write computer code, with no problem. In what universe? The economy is improving, the job market has more demand than labor supply (which should drive up wages), We still have a lot to do, of course.

        6. jo

          Thanks for all your feedback. Wow, in the United States, it sounds as if both private and public universities are hiking tuition for different reasons: public because the government provides less support, private because they can get away with it based on the market. Factor in teens wanting to fulfill their dreams (Buck25, I agree completely about the questionable economic worth of certain degrees) and parents not wanting to stop them from that, no matter how expensive or impractical… it’s a mess.

          Outsourcing is actually a pretty rational way for companies to behave (Buck, thanks for pointing it out! I’d forgotten that reason). The flip side is that people suffering from lack of jobs might consider working elsewhere around the world if they can, where the cost of living is lower and sometimes there is universal health care, so they can afford a lower-paying job. We’re not contained within our nations anymore. We’re a global race now, as companies outsourcing jobs figured out.

          Lynx and MountainChick, yes and yes to men no longer having to shoulder the primary burden of dating and relationships, and women not wanting it anyway because of implicit future power differentials. The way our world is changing makes these new mindsets necessary.

        7. Yet Another Guy

          @jo

          One needs to follow the money when it comes to statutory law, especially legislation related to outsourcing and in-sourcing. I can assure you that these laws exist to make the rich richer at the expense of the entire middle class, especially when combined with supply-side taxation, which taxes income earned through long-term (more than a year) investment at a much lower rate than income earned through work (a.k.a. ordinary income). Income earned through long-term investment is also not subject to FICA tax (a.k.a. Social Security tax) because FICA is a payroll tax, not an income tax. Income earned through long-term investment was also not subject to the Medicare tax up until the institution of the ACA (a.k.a. Obamacare), which is why the supply-siders within the GOP are working so hard to eliminate it. The said thing is that supply-side tax policy played a large part in driving production offshore.

  11. 11
    lynx

    Jo: “Why do universities cost so much more today, relative to cost of living?”

    There’s nuance, but the quick answer is governnent funding cuts.*

    But pulling it back to the original issue, it seems like – for the younger generation, anyway – it’s unrealistic to expect most men to assume the 100% provider role.

    And let’s be honest – there’s no free lunch. Women who want a traditional arrangement must realize there will be a power differential. Such a marriage might be a democracy in theory, but his vote will be worth more.

    A theme I’ve often read on the EMK blog is that financially successful women are severely (perhaps fatally limiting their romantic options if they insist their man outearns them.

    We’re living in a time of fascinating social change. Seems beneficial to lean in rather than cling to the past.

    * According to a think tank report titled, “Pulling Up the Higher-Ed Ladder”, 79% of rising costs from 2008 to 2018 were due to cuts in government funding (6% due to construction, 5% on increased admin costs).

    1. 11.1
      MilkyMae

      “A theme I’ve often read on the EMK blog is that financially successful women are severely (perhaps fatally limiting their romantic options if they insist their man outearns them.”
      I agree. I will add that romantic partners don’t come with financial ratings. There’s no store or ratings agency for AAA men. Many successful people avoid status symbols while stuffed suits embrace the successful “image”.

      1. 11.1.1
        Buck25

        “There’s no store or ratings agency for AAA men”

        MilkyMae,

        No, there really isn’t (although I suppose a woman might try Millionaire Match, where I’ve been told there is at least some verification of income). Of course, there’s really no verification as to the individual’s character, so I’m led to wonder just how useful verification of income actually would be.

        “Many successful people avoid status symbols, while stuffed suits embrace the successful “image”

        Quite true; these days, appearances can be deceiving-in both directions. I know a couple of “gentleman farmers” (both with at least an eight figure net worth) who, if you observed them in their usual everyday attire (half worn-out shirt, overalls that have seen better days, a pair of boots that look almost completely worn out, topped off with an equally battered old straw hat), you would assume were poor as the proverbial church mouse. They go into town to run errands in battered old pick-ups that look like they are about to fall apart at any moment. Of course, they have a Mercedes or two in their garage, and nice business suits; those however, are reserved for special occasions. On the other hand, I know some other guys, far less successful, who wear $5000 suits, complete with Rolex on the wrist and a $1200 pair of shoes, drive Porsches or Ferraris, live in million dollar homes, etc. all financed with debt up to their eyeballs. Pretentious, and snobbish to a fault, but whatever they lack in substance, they certainly makeup for with a splashy appearance. You just never now these days, not on this side of the pond anyway.

    2. 11.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @lynx

      ” According to a think tank report titled, “Pulling Up the Higher-Ed Ladder”, 79% of rising costs from 2008 to 2018 were due to cuts in government funding (6% due to construction, 5% on increased admin costs).”

      That is absolutely true for public colleges and universities. The problem with state budgets is that higher education is usually classified as discretionary funding, not mandatory funding, which means that higher education is usually cut first when cuts in spending are needed. A lot of state school attempt to prevent increasing tuition to offset reductions in state funding by increasing fees and/or bringing in more grant-funded research, but no one is getting rich in higher education, especially at public schools.

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