I’m Feeling Inferior to My Successful Girlfriend and Don’t Know What to Do.

I’ve been seeing this lady for the last 2 months. She’s funny, intelligent, educated and has money. She runs her own coffee place with her brother. Her family has had businesses in the past so I assume she’s relatively wealthy. She’s attractive, not beautiful. I’ve always been drawn to brunettes (she’s blonde) but I find her confidence and drive attractive. And even though I’ve dated more attractive women in the past, my main focus is whether there is: mutual respect and admiration; shared values; common interests; chemistry and passion and the way she makes you feel.

Things are going well. She likes me and I like her. She’s a really great kisser with plenty of sex appeal. We get along well and the conversation flows nicely. We’re both around the same age. I’m 47 and she’s 44. She married at 27 and divorced 3 years later. She has no kids. I have no kids either. She said her ex-husband was very money hungry and a very jealous person.

She likes eating out at nice restaurants, art and interior designing. She has a nice place and drives a nice Mercedes. She offers to pay on most of our dates and has probably paid the majority of them.

As for myself, I have my own place, have a job that pays okay and I’m happy. I’ve never been super ambitious. I like to travel and have fun. I work to live as they say. I come from a working class background and have never been concerned about being rich. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be poor either but I’m not obsessed by money.

My issue is that I feel inferior to her. She makes much more money than I do and her family is from a business background but mine are working class. I often feel she’d be more suited to a businessman.

Am I overthinking this? Does she sound like a good catch to you?

Should I tell her I feel inferior? (I don’t want to).

Because I’m asking you all these questions, does this mean I’m not sure and I should end it?

I want a woman to accept me for who I am. I don’t want anyone to change me. She hasn’t given me any indication that she wants me to change. A few weeks ago, she asked me about my aspirations regarding work and I told her I’m not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder. There was no positive reaction nor a negative one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a long-term relationship so maybe I’m coming up with excuses not to.

Thank you for any words of wisdom you care to share.
Matt

I appreciate your question, Matt, and I’m sure all the women here appreciate it as well.

You actually said so much in your question that there’s not all that much for me to answer.

For our regular readers, I would guess that Matt is a pretty fair approximation of what regular guys feel around successful women. Not overly intimidated. Not impossibly fearful.

What determines our success in life is how we rise to face it [fear].

Matt feels the normal insecurities that come from a society in which men are still expected to be wealthier and more ambitious, despite the fact that women are more educated on the whole.

Your issues, Matt, don’t stem from anything surrounding her.

They’re really all about you.

Essentially, I’m asking you to make a decision: are you happy with who you are?

If so, you’re not inferior to her.

She’s not with you for your money. She’s with you because you’re a good, happy, authentic guy who treats her well despite the fact that he’s not made of money. Period.

The only thing that can drive her away are your own insecurities.

Appreciate her for her intellect, drive and generosity, but don’t dwell on it.

Fear is a very powerful thing. We all have it. What determines our success in life is how we rise to face it. Are we courageous? Or do we let fear win and conquer us?

You have a tremendous opportunity here to be a working-class hero. Make her feel safe, heard and understood. Appreciate her for her intellect, drive and generosity, but don’t dwell on it.

You are a catch. You are good enough.

If you believe it, I can almost guarantee you, so will she.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jeremy

    This is a tough question because we don’t know you or her, and many variables are involved.  Leaving aside the question of what this woman is looking for in a man (which you don’t really know), let’s focus on something that you CAN know.  What does “masculinity” mean to you?  When you think of what traits you want a woman to admire you for, what traits come to your mind?
    For some men, it is income and education.  For other men it is their physical body.  For others it is their creativity and craftsmanship.  For others it is their idealism or their spontaneity.  There are as many answers to this question as there are men, OP, so which is it for you?

     

    I ask because whatever you believe it is about you that makes you “masculine” is generally what you will want a woman to admire and appreciate you for.  And if, in your heart of hearts, you believe it is your income, you won’t ultimately be happy with a woman who makes more than you.  But if, in your heart of hearts it is not your income but rather something else, and particularly something that you believe this particular woman can genuinely admire you for (and not just accept in you), then this relationship has a good chance of working from your perspective.

  2. 2
    Yet Another Guy

    I can draw parallels from my own background.  I am also from a somewhat working class family.  I joined the United States Navy straight out of high school (the enlisted ranks and the officer corps are dominated by people who grew up in the lower middle class).  I was trained in software engineering by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a member of the Central Security Service (Naval Security Group) at a time when very few people had ever seen a computer.   I wound up working in a field that was dominated by college graduates, many of whom attended prestigious engineering universities such as Carnegie-Mellon, Caltech, and MIT.  I spent most of my early career playing catch up with respect to education, and it affected my self-worth.  One day, I woke up and something just clicked.  I realized that there was no shame in starting where I started.  I had beaten the odds.  I had managed earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in a difficult discipline while working full-time, becoming the first man in my family to graduate from college in the process. My children would know privilege that I only dreamed about as a child.

    I guess what I am attempting to say here is that you should never cut yourself short.   My father always used to say, “A man can only advance so far from where he started.”  For most people, that adage is absolutely true because where we born within a social hierarchy plays a huge role in what we are able to achieve as adults.  Privilege does in fact breed privilege because privilege opens doors that are closed to those from non-privileged backgrounds.  Just because you come from a working class background does not mean that you are not worthy of something better.  In my case, I was not willing to have doors shut in my face.  I was smarter than average bear and I absolutely knew it after holding my own in NSA’s R Group (their research and engineering wing).  A few very smart MS and Ph.D. holding senior scientists and engineers at NSA recognized my potential and groomed me (they referred to me as their diamond in the rough).  I had to overcome the fact that I did not have the support that most of my professional peers enjoyed when they were younger.  You have to overcome the fact that your background as a child does not have to dictate your future as an adult.  You need to learn to take what is rightfully yours without question when it is offered.  That is what privilege teaches a man.

    1. 2.1
      Yet Another Guy

      *where we are born

    2. 2.2
      J

      This is a really good reply. I enjoyed reading it. You are quite correct and so is your father with his adage!

  3. 3
    Christine

    This is more about Matt than her.  He said that her ex-husband was “very money hungry”.  From the fact that she divorced him three years later, that shows “money hungry” doesn’t work for her.  If anything, she might like that Matt isn’t “money hungry”–so she can avoid repeating that same mistake she made with her ex.

    The only way I see this as an issue is if she is unhappy and wanted him to change.  However, there is nothing indicating that she’s doing that.

    I know plenty of happily married couples where the lady makes a lot more than the man.  It’s never been a problem because they don’t make it one.  I think Matt should enjoy this relationship for what it is, and stop trying to create a problem that doesn’t exist.

     

  4. 4
    ScottH

    Boy, I was Matt once.  I met her online.  She was beautiful and smart and we got along fabulously.  She made 2 or 3 times what I made and when I commented to her about my little house, she told me that she didn’t want to hear talk like that.  I really liked her.  She made me feel like a $1M when we were together and she told me over and over how much she really liked me.  She even told me how she would tell her family about how much she liked me and how happy I made her.  I did pay a lot more for dates than she did and it started to bother me.  But it came to a sudden end.  I’m not sure because the breakup was very strange but I think one of the reasons she had was that she needed someone who made a significant amount of money.  Her business was a bit rocky and I think she was scared for her financial security, but like I said, it wasn’t clear.  And I was definitely a rebound guy and she had all kinds of other emotional issues.

    Matt- your lady might not have all the baggage that mine had and I would strongly suggest that you stop worrying about how much more she makes.  Just enjoy the ride and get to know her.  I’d be very careful to look for red flags but trust that if she’s with you, it’s because she wants to be.   the fact that she’s paying is a really good sign but I’d be sure to pay your fair share or more.   I was very careful not to be insecure with mine and I trusted that if she was with me, it was because she wanted to be.  That made me good enough for her.  Hell, I really was good enough for her regardless but that is how I felt comfortable around her.  Mine was a lot about money and status and I am not that way, even though I am from a pretty good pedigree, so we did have that disconnect.   See how it goes.  You might just have a real winner on your hands and it would be foolish to through it all away because of your insecurity.  One more thing- when she talks about other people, what does she say?  Does she talk about how much money they make and how big their houses are?  if so, that’s a big red flag to me.  Does she talk about nice things?  Does she say condescending things to you, like about your possessions?  if so, watch out.

    1. 4.1
      ScottH

      throw it all away.  not though.

  5. 5
    Bob

     

    This is a good post not just because it’s relevant now but because it will be increasingly so in years and decades ahead as women continue to outperform men academically, esp in college, and because career market forecasters expect the emerging higher-paying jobs to favor women over men…

    I’ve been seeing this lady for the last 2 months. She’s funny, intelligent, educated and has money. She runs her own coffee place with her brother. Her family has had businesses in the past so I assume she’s relatively wealthy. She’s attractive, not beautiful. I’ve always been drawn to brunettes (she’s blonde) but I find her confidence and drive attractive. And even though I’ve dated more attractive women in the past, my main focus is whether there is: mutual respect and admiration; shared values; common interests; chemistry and passion and the way she makes you feel.

    Sooooo……. do you two have sex?

    I get the impression that you two either aren’t there yet, won’t get there or that you’re too proper to mention it.

    Sex is a BIG part of a relationship because it tells you:

    if she’s attracted to you at all
    HOW attracted to you she is
    if she respects you
    if she trusts you

    Things are going well. She likes me and I like her. She’s a really great kisser with plenty of sex appeal. We get along well and the conversation flows nicely. We’re both around the same age. I’m 47 and she’s 44. She married at 27 and divorced 3 years later. She has no kids. I have no kids either. She said her ex-husband was very money hungry and a very jealous person.

    So kids aren’t a consideration, esp a ticking biological clock, which takes a lot of pressure off.

    If anything, it takes ANY pressure off because she doesn’t need a man in any way, shape or form.

    Thus, any relationship she forms with anyone is purely out of her desire to do so.

    She likes eating out at nice restaurants, art and interior designing. She has a nice place and drives a nice Mercedes. She offers to pay on most of our dates and has probably paid the majority of them.

    The last sentence is HUGE because it shows that she wants to do certain things in certain ways- she wants to eat out, and not at Denny’s, but at Chez Expensive- and of course she’d like for you to pay but if you can’t, then she’ll pay, the alternative being that she doesn’t eat at Chez Expensive with you at all, and she doesn’t want that alternative. She wants to eat at Chez Expensive with you.

    As for myself, I have my own place, have a job that pays okay and I’m happy. I’ve never been super ambitious. I like to travel and have fun. I work to live as they say. I come from a working class background and have never been concerned about being rich. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be poor either but I’m not obsessed by money.

    This means a lot.

    you’re self-supporting so she won’t have to take care of you. Women generally want a man who earns more but if they can’t get that, some women will take a man who, at the very least, she doesn’t have to support as she would a child.
    your lack of ambition- yes, I’m stating that plainly- has its upsides, which might include your agreeableness, your empathy, your humility, all of which a lot of ambitious men do not have, as she has found, because she has dated them, even married one, and didn’t like them

    My issue is that I feel inferior to her. She makes much more money than I do and her family is from a business background but mine are working class. I often feel she’d be more suited to a businessman.

    There’s the problem. YOU need to let HER decide what she’s suited to or not.

    Don’t just make that decision for her.

    Am I overthinking this?

    You’re not overthinking this. Men are still expected to earn more and to generally impress a woman.

    Does she sound like a good catch to you?

    Wrong terminology. She doesn’t have to be a good or a bad catch. Rather, she’s either a good match for you or she’s not.

    Should I tell her I feel inferior? (I don’t want to).

    Not flatly, but you can broach your concerns.

    My thought is to approach it something like this:

    “I enjoy spending time with you and the more I do so, the more I want to. I think that I might develop feelings for you and might want to be more than friends (OK, worded badly). My concern is that, if I develop feelings like that, if  you might as well or if our differences might be problematic. Could you be more than friends with a guy like me? Could you date me? Could you tell your friends and, later, your family that you’re dating me? Would you feel comfortable with that?”

    What you want is  to get this concern out of your head because you don’t seem to know if she shares this concern or is even aware that you might have it. Her mind might not be there at all.

    Thus, you’ll have to get it on her mind so she can decide one of the two things:

    she would be comfortable being known as your girlfriend and, someday, even your fiance and then wife
    she would not be comfortable being known as your girlfriend and, someday, even your fiancee and then wife

    Yep, big, serious, heavy, repulsive ideas.

    I think those are the ideas on your mind, though, whether you know it or not.

    Because I’m asking you all these questions, does this mean I’m not sure and I should end it?

    End what, exactly???? What do you have with her???

    I’m not sure what that is or isn’t.

    I want a woman to accept me for who I am. I don’t want anyone to change me. She hasn’t given me any indication that she wants me to change. A few weeks ago, she asked me about my aspirations regarding work and I told her I’m not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder. There was no positive reaction nor a negative one.

    Interesting and relevant.

    Instead of overthinking this, though, you can probe her on this through conversation on the topic.

    Then you can try to get an idea of why she brought it up.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve had a long-term relationship so maybe I’m coming up with excuses not to.

    Thank you for any words of wisdom you care to share.
     
    Matt

    You’re welcome for my great wisdom, Matt. 😉
     

    1. 5.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Bob

      This is a good post not just because it’s relevant now but because it will be increasingly so in years and decades ahead as women continue to outperform men academically, esp in college, and because career market forecasters expect the emerging higher-paying jobs to favor women over men…

      I am curious as to how Millennial men feel about this subject.  I find the average Millennial man to be significantly more beta than his father.  I am seeing more and more househusbands in the Millennial generation.  This role reversal is going to have a major impact on divorce and family law in the years to come.  It will be interesting to see if the courts start awarding househusbands sole custody and spousal support.  Currently, divorce law is rigged in favor of women due to an outdated view of marriage.

      1. 5.1.1
        Bob

        Yeah, it’ll be interesting to watch this among other cultural changes

        My expectation is that there will simply be less marriage so fewer divorces

        And that more professional women simply won’t have children or they’ll been Choice Mothers

        I think the former may be similar to Kate Bollick- see her article “all the single ladies”- and the latter will decide that no man is worth the bother so she’ll simply go it alone

        As for “beta” millennial men, yes, I agree. They grow up being ruled by women and never really develop into the masculine men who women are not sexually attracted to

        Read Faranoosh Torabi on “when she makes more” which is partly about women who settle for lesser men and are therefore never really maritally satisfied

        1. Emily, the original

          Bob,

          I think the former may be similar to Kate Bollick- see her article “all the single ladies”- and the latter will decide that no man is worth the bother so she’ll simply go it alone

          Umm … She has an active dating life and has had several serious relationships. Nowhere in the article does she say men aren’t worth the bother.

        2. Bob

          Umm … She has an active dating life and has had several serious relationships. Nowhere in the article does she say men aren’t worth the bother.

          Who cares? None of her relationships were serious enough to have produced a marriage or children, so what does it matter how “serious” they were? What was the point of it all?

          She had men at her disposal and disposed of them, whereby she showed they weren’t worth the bother.

        3. Emily, the original

          Bob,

          Who cares? None of her relationships were serious enough to have produced a marriage or children, so what does it matter how “serious” they were? What was the point of it all?

          She had men at her disposal and disposed of them, whereby she showed they weren’t worth the bother.

          There is a huge demographic shift of late. There are more single people than ever before and more women choosing not to have kids. She is detailing how it is to be one of those people in that shift and how to create a fulfilling life if your life isn’t being filled with the more traditional elements of marriage and family? She’s detailing a new way to live. Her relationships weren’t failures because they didn’t lead to marriage. Maybe she’s not the marrying kind.

        4. Bob

          There is a huge demographic shift of late. There are more single people than ever before and more women choosing not to have kids. She is detailing how it is to be one of those people in that shift and how to create a fulfilling life if your life isn’t being filled with the more traditional elements of marriage and family? She’s detailing a new way to live. Her relationships weren’t failures because they didn’t lead to marriage. Maybe she’s not the marrying kind.

          Yeah,I understand all this, I just don’t see why you use such terms as “actively”dating and “serious” relationships….. Are they somehow to be regarded by others as more legitimate or respectable than “inactively” dating or “unserious” relationships?

        5. Emily, the original

          Bob,

          Yeah,I understand all this, I just don’t see why you use such terms as “actively”dating and “serious” relationships….. Are they somehow to be regarded by others as more legitimate or respectable than “inactively” dating or “unserious” relationships?

          No, but your original comment “I think the former may be similar to Kate Bollick- see her article “all the single ladies”- and the latter will decide that no man is worth the bother so she’ll simply go it alone” implied Bollick was done with men. She was questioning her previous relationships and wondering whether or not she could commit, but she was not eschewing dating all together. The article obviously hit a cultural nerve as it was one of the most commented-on Atlantic articles. So other women are obviously also wondering how will they will create their lives if they don’t go the traditional route.

    2. 5.2
      Marika

      Hi Bob,

      That’s thoughtful & comprehensive advice, but I don’t personally think the chat is a good idea. There’s nothing in the letter to suggest there actually is a problem here, other than his own insecurity. So it will seem like it’s coming out of nowhere & maybe even put doubt in her mind that wasn’t actually there. If you’re feeling insecure due to your own ‘stuff’, you need to work on that, not look for reassurance externally. If it were me I’d also be confused about your questions re would you date me..aren’t they dating? You also seem to expect her to know at 2 months if she wants to marry him, which is unrealistic.

      After a confusing chat like that with a man I was enjoying getting to know, I would feel less close to him personally.

    3. 5.3
      Emily, the original

      Bob,

      Sooooo……. do you two have sex?  I get the impression that you two either aren’t there yet, won’t get there or that you’re too proper to mention it.

      I get the feeling they haven’t, either, particularly in the way he describes her as a good kisser.

      Sex is a BIG part of a relationship because it tells you: if she’s attracted to you at all, HOW attracted to you she is, if she respects you, if she trusts you

      To an extent, yes but I think sometimes men assume a lot of things if women have sex with them. As Jeremy put it in another post about men, women aren’t a monolith. Sex means different things to different women.

      They’ve been dating two months and it seems (and we’re guessing here) they probably haven’t had sex. It could be because she enjoys his company but is still on the fence about him romantically. It could be because she thinks of the relationship as casual. It could be because she really likes him and is trying to see if the relationship develops. It could be that she’d be down to do something if the opportunity presented itself. Meaning that she likes him. She thinks it’d be fun, but that would be the extent of it. It’s hard to say.

      1. 5.3.1
        DeeGee

        Emily, the original said:

        “It could be because she enjoys his company”…
        “It could be because she thinks of the relationship as casual.”…
        “It could be because she really likes him”…
        “It could be that she’d be down to do something if”…

        You forgot the most plausible… It could be that she has friendzoned him.
        I tease…  😉

        1. Emily, the original

          DeeGee,

          You forgot the most plausible… It could be that she has friendzoned him.

          Actually that could be it. Two months of dating and no sex? That does seem a bit long to wait,  but we don’t know how many times they’ve dated in those 2 months and how much communication they have between dates.

      2. 5.3.2
        SparklingEmerald

        They’ve been dating two months and it seems (and we’re guessing here) they probably haven’t had sex. It could be because she enjoys his company but is still on the fence about him romantically. It could be because she thinks of the relationship as casual. It could be because she really likes him and is trying to see if the relationship develops. It could be that she’d be down to do something if the opportunity presented itself. Meaning that she likes him. She thinks it’d be fun, but that would be the extent of it. It’s hard to say.

         

        While everyone is focusing on the one comment about his “ambitions” (with no context), very few comments if any seem to focus on how much he emphazed that she’s attractive, but not THAT attractive, and that he has had better.  From his post

         

        “She’s attractive, not beautiful. I’ve always been drawn to brunettes (she’s blonde)  . . . I’ve dated more attractive women in the past . . .”

        Maybe she’s sensing that HJNITH.  Comments on this blog often discuss that if a man isn’t that good looking, if he has money, status, etc.  his wealth can offset his lack of looks.  Donald Trump is a classic example, the guy is as ugly as a mud fence, and yet all of his wives and mistresses, were drop dead gorgeous.  Personally, there isn’t enough money in the world to make me sleep with that ugly SOS, but for some women, money and power is a strong aphrodesiac.

        This could be a complete reversal of that.  This guy doesn’t find this woman particularly attractive, but she pays for most of the dates, and has the most power.  Maybe her money is compensating for her not being quite is “type”.  However, as much as men would like to “high five” each other that they have “flipped the script” and now have a woman playing the male role and “providing” for them, on some level, they feel emasculated.

        And most women, if they sense a man doesn’t find her BEAUTIFUL, the feel unfeminine, even if he finds her “attractive” in the sense of attractive enough but I could do better, and even if her lack of beauty in his eyes is offset by her other positive qualities (character, kindness, etc).  Add to the sense that she MAY feel that he really doesn’t find her beautiful, but if she senses that her OTHER compensating factor for her lack of beauty (in his eyes) is her money and the fact that she apparently the main provider in this relationship.  She might be feeling insecure about her femininity and that could be creating insecurity on her part as well.  (we haven’t heard from  her, so this is all conjecture)

        Dual insecurity on both of their parts, in respect to how masculine or feminine they feel COULD be why they may not have had sex yet.

        Of course, we don’t know if they “consummated” the relationship at the time he wrote the letter, and there is alot we don’t know, so this is all conjecture.

        But I do find it fun to think and analyze this sort of thing.

        JM2C, YMMV

        1. SparklingEmerald

          “but she pays for most of the dates, and has the most power”  s/b “has the most money“.

  6. 6
    John

    Matt

    The only thing that counts is how you feel about yourself. If you feel like you are not OK because you make less money, then that will become your reality. If you can focus on what makes you a man and other areas of your life than finance, you’ll be fine.

    For example, build a strong physical body.  Another way is to be very strong emotionally. Learn not to react to peoples insults or accusations.  Be her emotional rock.

    My last girlfriend made 3x my salary. The way I dealt  with that is I just focused on the qualities I had as a man and every other department  other than money. She was so grateful that I was strong and in every other area but money; She didn’t really care about my salary.

    Do not tell her you feel inferior. That would be a mistake. Keep your insecurities to yourself. She can’t help you with your insecurities, because they are all yours. If you must discuss your insecurities with anyone, let it be a male therapist or male friends that you trust.

     

  7. 7
    Nutbrownhare

    She probably wants someone who isn’t obsessed with business, is fun to be with, isn’t that bothered about money and will be there for her emotionally. Sounds like she’s happy with you just the way you are!

    What’s not to like?

  8. 8
    Chance

    To the LW,

     

    Of course, there’s no reason for you to feel inferior.  If I were  you, I would focus my efforts on determining whether she is the right person for you.  While we don’t have the full context, there was one part of  your letter that was potentially concerning:

     

    “She hasn’t given me any indication that she wants me to change. A few weeks ago, she asked me about my aspirations regarding work and I told her I’m not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder. There was no positive reaction nor a negative one.”

     

    She could be trying to come to terms with the idea of being with someone on a long-term basis who doesn’t make as much as her.  Or not.  What is also interesting is her reaction to your answer.  Only the most brazen of women would openly react negatively to your answer considering that the two of you have only been dating for a couple of months, but the lack of a positive reaction is worth a mental note.  What would your reaction be if she told you that she was completely content with where she was in life?  How would you want the person whom you’re dating to react if you told her that you were completely content with where you are in your life?

     

    Don’t stress over it, but continue to keep your finger on the pulse.

    1. 8.1
      Marika

      I think this is a slight over reach, Chance. “I’m not looking to climb the corporate ladder” doesn’t necessarily mean the exact same thing as “I’m completely content with where I am in life”. I’m not looking to climb the corporate ladder is the kind of statement it’s understandable you’d have a neutral reaction to. Unless it was a problem, of course.

      Is she supposed to get up and dance around the table?

      This lady has been a great date. Funny, generous, nice, a good kisser, reasonable, confident, driven (he didn’t mention warm, but it’s implied 😉 ), and yet you’re saying to ‘keep your finger on the pulse’ because she asked him one question about work?

      This is the key part of Evan’s answer, in my view:

      Your issues, Matt, don’t stem from anything surrounding her.
      They’re really all about you.
      Which is fine, he’s allowed to have doubts, but if we look at the letter objectively & without any projection or paranoia, there’s nothing to ‘keep his finger on the pulse’ of, other than his own sense of self-worth.

  9. 9
    Helene

    Hi Matt

    I am a high-earning professional woman around your age and my husband of 3 years earns much much less. He has worked in agriculture all his life because that is his passion. he has never aspired to “climb the corporate ladder” but di dhave a bit of money put aside when we met which meand he was able to bring something to the relationship in economic terms. He is currently starting his own business so we largely live off my income. I have previously been married to higher earining university types.

    From the woman’s perspective, I have a few points:

    – although he earns less, my husband is very “masculine” (goes shooting, good at fixing things, very strong etc…) so that helps to counterbalance the income issue and gets away from any sense that I have become the “man” in the relationship just because I earn more. For me, that’s important. he has to be manly.

    – my husband has never been the slightest bit phased by my income or job (in contrast to others I had dated who seemed intimidated/put off ) This is important

    – high earning women quickly realise that they WILL likely end up with a man who earns less than they do, otherwise they are reducing their dating pool to almost zero! We have to make peace with it. The question is – can you?

    – You not paying on dates is a very bad move. She may appear happy to pay, but this creates all the wrong sort of dynamic. Courting is all about …well…courting – its nothing to do with who earns more money. Take the lead. Plan the dates. Choose places to take her that you like to go – maybe not as expensive as the places she normally goes but not real cheap places either – places you’d take other dates if you were the one paying and trying to build the relationship.

    – Your lack of money is probably not going to bother her ( or she’d likely have stopped dating you by now) but your lack of passion/ drive/ ambition of any sort might – this comes across in your letter. “I like to travel and have fun” well don’t we all, but its hardly a life’s work – makes you sound a bit teenage.

    – at the end of the day, both of you are going to haver to make adjustments if this is to be a success – she is going to have to accept that she will sometimes be going to the diner and that your friends will be looking for a barbeque and some beers when they come to your house,  not a butler-served banquet – you are going to have to take some interest in art and interior design and demonstrate some sort of purpose in life. It is not about ” her trying to change you” it is about whether you’d be interested in adapting, growing and changing YOURSELF to develop a successful relationship with someone rather different to you.

     

    1. 9.1
      Bob

      Uh…. Why should he court her? What does he have to gain from doing so? Is she going to give him children? Tend his home? In other words, be his wife? What about be his wife through old age, until death so then part.

      Courtship was a traditional practice for traditional times, when a woman had so much to give a man, and this is not a traditional time in history, not are they of the age to start a family, which is the age at which there is so much at stake.

      I vote that he simply stay the present course rather than suddenly start pretending he’s living in a different era.

  10. 10
    Jeremy

    Reading some of the comments on this thread, I think there is some misunderstanding around this issue.  There are 2 factors at play here – whether this woman is ok with a man who earns less, and whether this man is ok being with a woman who earns more.  Society tends to shame both parties – if the woman isn’t ok with it she is shallow, if the man isn’t ok with it he is insecure.  Neither is necessarily true.

     

    I’ve written before that a key component to whether a woman can be physically attracted to a man in the long-term is her ability to respect him.  And more than that, to respect him specifically for traits she most admires in herself, or wishes she had, or considers masculine.  This respect must arise from inside, not be imposed externally.  If a particular woman needs to see that a man has intelligence or income or ambition at least equal to her own in order to respect him, no amount of shaming will get her to respect him internally.  I’ve met many women who needed the education/income/ambition to respect a man, and I’ve met many that didn’t (and instead needed other things to respect).  But often times a particular woman will be unaware of what she needs to respect in a man, or she might be aware of what she needed in the past but be willing to try other things given lack of relationship success – and such women may or may not be successful in being able to respect a man for qualities other than what they have always needed in the past.  The fact that this woman is dating the OP is not necessarily an indication that she is ok with their relative financial status, and if she isn’t ok with it that doesn’t mean she is shallow.

     

    I’ve also written in the past that men, in general, derive emotional happiness from relationships where they feel admired by the woman they are with.  And admired specifically for the qualities they invest their sexuality into.  Those qualities are influenced heavily by each person’s upbringing and it is not at all easy for a man to change the qualities he considers “masculine.”  If this man considers income to be a masculine quality, his needing a woman to admire him for his income (ie. his “masculinity”) is not about insecurity.  Rather, it is about the way that healthy men maintain attraction and self-esteem in the context of a relationship.  Simply telling such a man to not be insecure will not be effective.  If he is to be happy in a relationship with a woman who earns more, he must be able to invest his sexuality into other qualities.  And the kicker is that being forced to do so might actually make him far more insecure.

     

    None of this may apply to the OP.  She might genuinely not care about a man’s income (and invest her respect into other qualities) and he might genuinely not invest his sexuality into his earnings (and invest in some other quality).  But if not, it isn’t necessarily about shallowness and it isn’t about insecurity.

    1. 10.1
      Chance

      “Society tends to shame both parties – if the woman isn’t ok with it she is shallow, if the man isn’t ok with it he is insecure.”

       

      I never saw it as the woman being shallow, but rather hypocritical.  When men take issue with women expecting a man to be the provider, it’s been my experience that it’s rooted in the fact that they perceive these women to be selectively adhering to certain gender roles based on whether or not it suits them.  YMMV.

       

      It’s generally considered chauvinistic to expect a woman to cook, clean, tend to the baby in the middle of the night (even if she isn’t working), etc.  Men these days have been conditioned to understand that these traditionally feminine gender roles should now be shared equally, and even if a man believed that it was a woman’s job to perform these takes, it’s likely that he wouldn’t possess the gall to express this expectation.

      1. 10.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        Yet, women do not consider it chauvinistic to require a man to be the higher earner.  I have lost count of the number of marriages I know that got into trouble when the husband was a victim of a downsizing.  I have never witnessed the same dynamic play out when the wife experiences the same employment challenge.  I have also witnessed marriages that got into trouble when the wife started to out earn her husband and began pressuring him to increase his earnings.  The number one  killer of men is stress, much of which is inflicted upon them by women.   Chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death.  The only equality that many women want in marriage is equality from which they benefit.

        1. MMR

          I know many successful couples where the woman is the higher earner.  I also agree that it is goes against feminism to expect a man to earn more.

          But you can’t place full responsibility for the failure of a marriage on a wife’s shoulders after her husband as loses his job.  This letter shows pretty clearly that a husband could become insecure (and eventually jealous, angry or resentful) after losing his job, regardless of his wife’s response – eventually ruining his marriage. Also, the loss of income alone (regardless of what caused it) could put an insane amount of financial stress on the marriage – the number one cause of divorce.

          You’ll also find plenty of studies that show married men live longer.  So apparently all the stress inflicted by women isn’t so deadly.

        2. Marika

          But the woman in question has shown no signs of being shallow or hypocritical, right? What exactly has she done to arouse suspicion or judgment?

          It’s funny, this woman seems to be the exact opposite of every entitled, whiny, clueless chick who gets complained about on this blog. So if her motives are being questioned and you’re not encouraging Matt to hold onto this lovely lady..why do you think that is..?

        3. Chance

          “But the woman in question has shown no signs of being shallow or hypocritical, right? What exactly has she done to arouse suspicion or judgment?”

           

          It’s not entirely clear.  It is strange that she would ask a 47 y/o man about his career aspirations.  No woman whom I was dating has ever asked me that.  There’s no way to know what her motives were, but there is a distinct possibility that she was assessing his willingness/ability to “step up game” within the context of an LTR or marriage.  Her reaction to his answer is also interesting… she isn’t likely going to openly react in a  negative manner given the short period of time that they’ve been dating, but one would have expected something along the lines of “that’s cool”.  The fact that she didn’t have a positive reaction, even if it was something along the lines of what I referenced above, tells me that she may not have liked his response.

        4. Chance

          @YAG – your experiences are similar to mine.

        5. Emily, the original

          As Helen pointed out in her above post …

          – Your lack of money is probably not going to bother her ( or she’d likely have stopped dating you by now) but your lack of passion/ drive/ ambition of any sort might – this comes across in your letter. “I like to travel and have fun” well don’t we all, but its hardly a life’s work –

          Ok, so he’s not ambitious with his job, but maybe she didn’t say anything after he told her he wasn’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder because she was trying to figure out what he is interested in/passionate about. Since he gave her nothing to work with in terms of his answer, her response was neutral.

        6. Marika

          Correction: the women in your social circle, YAG.

           

        7. Yet Another Guy

          @MMR

          I bet that that data only holds for men who are in good, happy marriages.  The majority of marriages are not good marriages.  They are in marriages in which the husband and wife remain together in order to avoid the pain of divorce.

          I know that my health improved by an order of magnitude after I separated from my ex.  The difference was stark enough that my doctor was amazed.  I was in the fast lane to an early death when I was married.  I was an endocrinological trainwreck.  My cortisol levels were so high that they were causing me to have low testosterone.  Low testosterone has health ramifications far beyond possible sexual dysfunction.  Stress results in elevated cortisol.  Chronic stress results in sustained elevated cortisol levels.  That is bad news for a men and woman.

           

        8. Yet Another Guy

          @Marika

          Correction: the women in your social circle

          My circle is very large.  It spans several generations and a large part of the United States.

          I stand by what I wrote earlier.  The only equality that many women want in marriage is equality from which they benefit.  They want to cherry pick old and new values.  The old values are the ones from which their mothers benefited.  The new values are those that counter the downside of the deal that their mothers made to reap the benefits that they received.

          Let me give you an example.  Most of the women I date these days have wage parity with me.  Yet, they expect me to pay for dates.  ScottH’s comments on the cost of dating got thinking about how raw of a deal this arrangement is for a modern man.  The practice of men paying for dates is a carry over from the days when women did not work.  I reached the point recently where I said, “I am not paying for another date.”  I refuse to pay for dates when the women I date earn six figures.  Why should I absorb the full cost of dating?  I still have minor children for whom I have to write sizable child support check every month.  Most of the women near my age have children that are self-supporting adults.  If a woman is unwilling to split the cost of dating, then she is free to find another man (I wish her good luck with that task given the ratio of men who just want to hookup to those who want to actually date).   My company is worth something as well.  I am not the only man of my generation who is waking up to this reality.   The rules have changed, and we need to do so as well.

        9. ScottH

          Wow YAG- you went from calling me cheap to now being more diligent about paying for dates than I am.  I’ll never forget that experience sitting in that fancy bar with that woman I might never see again stuffing her face on my dime and she was not even willing to pay a token amount for ice cream.  I think about that experience every time I go on a date.

          I take it as a challenge to find interesting dates that are free or low cost, and they do exist.  However, I still find myself buying happy hour dinners and wine and cheese and seeing the impact on the bottom line of my credit card bills.

          I find your statement to be very profound:  “The only equality that many women want in marriage is equality from which they benefit.”  I would delete the word marriage from the quote though and emphasize that it applies to many.  I’m looking for an exception.

        10. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          You say women want equality in a marriage only when it benefits them.  Then as an example of this cite something that happens in the early stages of dating.  How does your example of some women expecting men to pay for initial dates support your statement that women want equality in a marriage only when it benefits them?

  11. 11
    Marika

    Agreed, Emily. Or maybe his answer came off as a bit defensive, or it totally shut the conversation down, so she let it go.

    Gentlemen, with respect, did you read Evan’s answer? The poster’s concerns are more about his issues than hers. If you want women to not care about how much you make, pay their way on dates and not expected to be looked after, then trust them when they do just that.

    1. 11.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      Gentlemen,  If you want women to not care about how much you make, pay their way on dates and not expected to be looked after, then trust them when they do just that.

      Agreed. She’s done everything right in making it clear she’s not after his money and doesn’t expect him to make more than she does (she should be the perfect woman!), and they STILL find reason to distrust her. It reflects trust issues on their part.

       

    2. 11.2
      Luka

      Ewww! I’m so glad I live in a culture where (most) women don’t expect men to pay their way. It’s just so gross. I guess having lived in European countries with high gender equality my entire life I’m just used to more ‘evolved’ attitudes to gender. Don’t you guys just feel like its kinda gross and demeaning to both parties? The guy is essentially purchasing female company. That can’t be a good place to start from.

      1. 11.2.1
        Clare

        Luka,

         

        In this case, the woman is paying for most of the dates. (Did you read the original letter?) How do you feel about that?

  12. 12
    Helene

    I think some folks are confusing two issues here – when I suggested he should plan and pay for dates, (assuming he is interested in pursuing the whole thing) I am not suggesting a return to the middle ages and traditional gender roles – what I am talking about is the mating game. Mating, pair-bonding, whatever you want to call it is not an intellectual thing, it is a primal/genetic/hormonal  thing that does not fundamentally change, even if the outward manifestations vary slightly from culture to culture and at different points in history. Men like to chase and conquer – women like to be chased and conquered. This is step one in the mating process. As endless nature programmes illustrate, the male puts on some sort of courting display to attract the female, showing himself to be more desirable than other males. He does this to impress and puts considerable effort into it. If successful, the female is attracted and the bond is formed. After that, sure, they both take turns fetching twigs and sitting on the nest! For men and women, this is also the case – in some form or another the male has to “chase” the female and put on an impressive display – once bonding has occurred then yes of course the two get on with everyday life in an equitable manner. But that can only happen once the bond is successfully formed – he needs to feel he has been successful and won his prize, she needs to feel she has been pursued and conquered.  As Evan frequently says to the women here- don’t pursue him, do anything, let him reveal himself by his actions. All I am suggesting to Matt is that if he wants this woman he would be well advised to start revealing this by his courtship actions, rather than taking a back seat because she has  money in her handbag, which is irrelevant at this stage.

    1. 12.1
      Bob

      I agree with all the above, in a strictly animalistic context.

      However, mating- really mating, not just becoming an “item”-  means offspring, as in- children. Or… wait… No. No children. Not in this case.

      So… we’re talking about mating in a non reproductive sense.

      So how long will they be non reproductively mated? How long does he have his prize? Does he ever really have it?

      What about when his prize decides to leave him? Then what?

    2. 12.2
      Malika

      I agree with you, Helene. In order to be happy, the man needs to feel that he has to make an effort and that his effort is being very much appreciated. We often equate this with throwing bank notes around, but it can be as simple as calling up the woman he likes and inviting her to the free opera concert in the park two blocks down the road. That she wants to wait a bit until becoming physically intimate and he therefore needs to be reasonably patient, but that she can’t wait for when the time is right. Just two examples of courting behaviour that doesn’t involve him having to have a way higher bank account than her.

       

    3. 12.3
      ScottH

      Helene-  I enjoy your comments.  Thank you.
      I do have issue with one thing you said:  “Mating, pair-bonding, whatever you want to call it is not an intellectual thing, it is a primal/genetic/hormonal  thing that does not fundamentally change…

      I agree that mating is a primal drive but birds don’t have the ability to reason and if we don’t apply our intellect, we very well might end up choosing unsuitable partners.  If we don’t balance the drives from our primitive brain with the reasoning of our modern brains, we end up in trouble, and in more aspects than just mating.

      Regarding Matt and his woman, they just need to figure out a balance that works for them.  I remember Evan talking about a woman he was dating who made a lot more than he did at the time accusing him of looking for a sugar momma because he expected or needed her to pay for something after he’d paid for many previous dates.  It’s a balance of many factors.

      1. 12.3.1
        helene

        Oh, I don’t disagree, we absolutely apply our intellect, but its all about getting things in the right order… We all know the term ” a good on paper ” guy – someone you OUGHT to want to go out with but who just doesn’t attract you when you actually meet.

        The final decision as to whether 2 people ultimately marry/form a LTR involves many factors and a reasoned assessment of everything from desire to have a family or not, where each person wants to live, religious/family considerations etc…etc..  All I’m saying is that if there isn’t a successful initial courtship phase then any potential attraction just fizzles and the whole thing is dead in the water even before you get to the intellectual “are we a good long term match” phase.

        1. Bob

          All I’m saying is that if there isn’t a successful initial courtship phase then any potential attraction just fizzles and the whole thing is dead in the water even before you get to the intellectual “are we a good long term match” phase.

          Interesting

          You present no proof of such but I have no counter proof, so we’re both speculating

          You may well be right, though, and if you are and men don’t court women, there will be fewer satisfied women and fewer relationships, let alone marriages

          I think all of that is reasonable to expect with the third wave feminist-induced androgynization of Western men and the low attractiveness they present we Western women, together with women’s not needing to have children and their option to be Choice Mothers

    4. 12.4
      Selena

      If the woman has paid for most of the dates the last 2 months, I’m guessing she has also been the one doing most of the inviting? Perhaps Matt’s feeling of inferiority isn’t entirely about her money, but also about being too much of a passenger in this dating situation.

      I believe some people are more tuned into the masculine/feminine energy dynamic than others.  Perhaps Matt senses an imbalance in the energy distribution but doesn’t recognize it for what it is.   If he really is interested in her, why not take turns doing the inviting/treating?  He might feel more of an equal in that way rather than always letting her lead.

  13. 13
    jeremy

    Sorry in advance for another long post, but I think it’s important.  It seems to be a common perception that women’s attraction to male ambition is benign, and preferable to attraction to income.  IMHO attraction to ambition is one of the least benign of all possible factors a woman might choose to respect (and be attracted to) in a man, albeit it is also one of the most common.

     

    Most men want to reach a point in their life where they don’t have to work too hard anymore.  Once they’ve achieved what they wanted, obtained what they needed, they don’t want to feel the proverbial crack of the whip anymore, or to feel pressured to achieve more to meet someone else’s goals.  If a man marries a woman who is attracted to intelligence, the man either has that intelligence or he does not.  Same with income.  Same with rugged masculinity.  But ambition….that is something he must always struggle to maintain because by its very nature ambition is a lack of satisfaction with present circumstances – a constant desire for more.  Once a man obtains his goals, can the woman who is attracted to ambition continue to respect him, or must he constantly strive to achieve more (ie. maintain ambition) to maintain her respect and attraction?  And if the woman does not need him to strive for more after he has achieved his goals, was it his ambition she was attracted to, or was it the end-goal of his ambition (ie. money) that she wanted?  And if one argues that it is neither the ambition nor the money that is the attractant but rather the happiness/satisfaction that ensues from achieving one’s goals (and women want happy men), then why would a woman need the ambition in a man who was happy to begin with?

     

    In this case, I agree with Chance.  Asking a 47 year old man about his career ambitions is a sign that this woman views this man’s situation as less than desirable.  At that age he’s doing what he wants to be doing – he isn’t 25, just starting in his career.  So which is it – is she a woman who needs a man who is never satisfied so she can be attracted to his ambition?  Or is she a woman who isn’t satisfied with his income so she needs at least some indication that he hopes for more?

     

    As a final aside, I once had a young female colleague complain to me about her fiancée, who apparently had no ambition.  He worked a mid-level job and made a mid-level income and had no desire for more.  “He has no ambition,” she complained, “he comes home from work at the end of the day and just has dinner and watches tv!  He’s not like you, Jeremy.”  “But that’s what I do when I come home too,” I replied.  “Yes, but you are a (insert my job title),” she said, “your ambition got you where you are.”  “So is it his lack of ambition that bothers you,” I asked, “or is it his job title and income?”  She thought about it for a very long time – and it was interesting to me that she hadn’t thought about it that way before.  The word “ambition” and the commonness of its use had obfuscated the truth for her.

    1. 13.1
      Malika

      Hi Jeremy:

      It kind of depends on what is meant by ‘ambition’, which can mean so many different things to so many people.

      I have been an EA to some of the most succesfull men in their line of business. High flying business owners or directors. While they have a lot of admirable traits, and some of them were really nice guys, i don’t know whether they per se make the greatest of life partners, judging from what i could see of their private lives (And as their EA i saw a sizeable amount of it). They are driven, laser focused and ambitious, but their career demands and eternal dissatisfaction with whatever they had achieved meant that there wasn’t a lot of emotional room for their partners. Also, they do EXACTLY what you talked about in your comment. They are so exhausted by the demands of their job that they often come home, crash on the sofa and can barely muster up the energy to eat a proper dinner, never mind design a more creative way of spending their evening. These are not the guys who accompany you to the PTA meeting or train with you for a triathlon at the weekends. More than one of them was left by their partner , because they were bored with playing second fiddle to his career, and felt like they were married to a spectre who wandered in and out of the house at random hours. Those who stay are extremely patient and accomodating and, very important, those traits are appreciated by their husband.

      I realized quite early on that i could not be the latter partner, so i decided to avoid that type of ambition in my dates. The type of ambition that i do appreciate is what could also be termed as ‘adventurous’ or ‘curious’. He’s willing (and has the time!) to try new things, has a love for literature or whatever else happens to float his boat, is outgoing and has a sense of initiative about his place in the world. That can be found in a far broader percentage of men and i think that it is unmissable in the type of relationship that I want. It’s not rooted in dissatisfaction, in a feeling of missing something, but in a willingness to live life to the full. That is deeply attractive and, i would like to think, fairly benign.

      1. 13.1.1
        Jeremy

        That’s fair, Malika.  But would you agree that what you describe is not ambition but rather adventure?  The two are quite different – and often contradictory.  And a woman who values a sense of adventure would not inquire of a 47 year old man (who has a job) what his future career aspirations were, though she might ask him what his life goals are.

        1. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          And a woman who values a sense of adventure would not inquire of a 47 year old man (who has a job) what his future career aspirations were, though she might ask him what his life goals are.

          Or maybe (and this ties in to a sense of adventure) she wanted to find out if he was the kind of man who’d be happy in the same job doing the same thing for years on end. Does he take risks or is he extremely regimented?

        2. Clare

          Jeremy,

           

          The question about his career aspirations could have been purely conversational or politeness, and hence perfectly benign. They are in the early stages of dating after all.

           

          I myself have asked guys this question on the first couple of dates and found that guys are only too happy to talk about their work. We women can’t win. If we don’t ask you about your jobs, we’re disinterested 😀

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          Jeremy,

          Or the LW’s lady friend asked about his career aspirations because she DOES NOT want a man who is aggressively trying to climb the corporate ladder.  At this point in my life I would prefer a man who doesn’t have to travel extensively or put in a lot of evenings and weekends.  I was also never a big fan of the corporate dinners-out-with-the-boss socializing that a high powered corporate career entails.

      2. 13.1.2
        Jeremy

        And BTW, your comment perfectly describes why ambition can be so toxic to relationships – I agree 100%, whereas attraction to adventure is not toxic (as long as both people share it).

        1. Malika

          I say tomahtoe (being kind of British), you say tomato (as an American, i assume) ; )! Seriously though, ambition is a very broad term. Life goals is a far more specific and preferable term, as asking after those provides you with a far more complete answer. Leading a full life, being fiscally responsible and providing to society with your own unique talents is the ultimate for me. If an attractive man came along with these traits i wouldn’t care a fig what his job would be.

          Career aspirations and life goals can be conjoined, but often they are not. If she is talking specifically about job aspirations as described in the OP, she is talking about career ambitions, and only she can tell what she thought of the answer. The letter writer might feel so unsure about this situation that he took a neutral reaction to be a lightly negative one. Or it really was negative, who knows. I would find it a pity if she thought his aspirations would fall short of her ideal. He would be able to bring other qualities to the table that wives of high level executives could only wish for.

          Ambition can definitely be toxic to relationships, but it doesn’t have to be. There are quite a few women who make it work. They run the house and bring up the children, and the luxurious lifestyle gives them room to pursue their interests without worrying about the electricity bill. Even if the husband is not always there, that does not mean the husband does not love and appreciate them. But you have to be a certain type of person for this setup, and it’s not for a lot of women.

          I felt sorry for a few of the men whose wives left them. I have seen their side of the story, and it could be very saddening to see. These ladies signed up to a marriage with a man whereby it was clear that the demands of his not 9- to not 5 meant that he would not be there in the regular way that a mid level manager would be able to. They were intoxicated by the idea of marrying a succesful man and the attendant lifestyle, but grew disillusioned with the reality. They leave a man behind who feels he held his end up of the deal, so why did they suddenly get estranged from their wife? They feel that the goal posts moved and that they got the short end of the deal. Pile on top of that a job that demands so much that there is not much room for self reflection and it’s a recipe for the mid life crisis that nearly all of them go through sooner or later. From the outside it is easy to be jealous of their life, but it throws up its own not inconsiderate challenges.

  14. 14
    KK

    I’m wondering how an innocent question is receiving so much negative speculation. We don’t even know exactly what she asked. He was very vague:  “A few weeks ago, she asked me about my aspirations regarding work and I told her I’m not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder. There was no positive reaction nor a negative one.”

    Maybe she’s wondering if he plans on retiring in the next 20 years or whether or not he’ll be able to take time off to travel with her. I don’t think it’s odd to ask someone you’re dating about their career. Pretty common and completely innocent, in my opinion.

    1. 14.1
      Chance

      “Maybe she’s wondering if he plans on retiring in the next 20 years or whether or not he’ll be able to take time off to travel with her.”

       

      It would be rather strange to ask someone about their career aspirations if she was curious about when he planned to retire or if he wanted to travel with her.  If this were the case, it’s more likely that she would ask him directly if and when he planned to retire, or if he would be interested in traveling with her.

       

      Also, considering the context in which the LW mentioned her question, it seems to be fairly clear to him that she was asking about his aspirations for advancement within his career.

      1. 14.1.1
        KK

        “It would be rather strange to ask someone about their career aspirations if she was curious about when he planned to retire or if he wanted to travel with her.  If this were the case, it’s more likely that she would ask him directly if and when he planned to retire, or if he would be interested in traveling with her”.

        I disagree. “Career aspirations” is a pretty vague and all encompassing term.

    2. 14.2
      Jeremy

      Hi KK.  It is entirely possible that we men on this site are over-reacting to the question, but it is likely due to our shared experience that jobs/income are a big deal to the women we’ve been with, whether or not they admitted as much to themselves.  I would imagine women would have a similar suspicious reaction to a man who was on a date with a heavy woman, claimed not to care about weight, but then inquired casually about her fitness aspirations.  Might be totally innocent….but most women won’t believe that due to their shared experience.

      1. 14.2.1
        KK

        Hello Jeremy,

        The LW stated, “I want a woman to accept me for who I am. I don’t want anyone to change me. She hasn’t given me any indication that she wants me to change. A few weeks ago, she asked me about my aspirations regarding work and I told her I’m not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder. There was no positive reaction nor a negative one”.

        We don’t know the context of the conversation. He does, however, and if you’ll notice he specifically states:  “She hasn’t given me any indication that she wants me to change”. That is HIS conclusion. I’d rather take his word for it considering he knows the exact conversation and it’s context instead of making assumptions and questioning this woman’s intentions, when I don’t see any reason to do so.

        1. Jeremy

          You may very well be right, and I am all for giving her the benefit of the doubt.  Which is why, in my first comment here, I suggested that the OP focus on his own sense of what he needs to be admired for in a relationship, and whether it can work from his perspective.  If the woman in question was the letter writer looking for advice, I’d tell her the same – introspect about what you need to respect a man for, and determine whether the income disparity is a problem for you.

        2. Chance

          KK, LW asked for help regarding the fact that he feels inferior.  Women’s expectations of provisioning are often the catalyst for these feelings of inferiority so the issue relates to both how the LW views himself and the type of woman who he chooses to date.  I have acknowledged, on multiple occasions, that we don’t have the context of their entire conversation regarding his career aspirations.

           

          However, there was enough in his letter to indicate that she potentially isn’t satisfied with how much money he makes, and it’s possible that he didn’t connect the dots as it relates to her question.  As a result, it is perfectly reasonable to point this out so he can take a mental note of it (if he hasn’t done so already).  It would be negligent to not point this out, but as I’ve noted multiple times, there may be nothing to it.  There really isn’t a reason to be offended by my advice unless one is offended by the idea that many women expect to be financially supplemented by a man within a relationship.

        3. KK

          Chance,

          “There really isn’t a reason to be offended by my advice unless one is offended by the idea that many women expect to be financially supplemented by a man within a relationship”.

          I don’t see any evidence of anyone on here being offended by your advice. Disagreement does not equal offense, but I digress.

          I just find it fascinating that the LW made it very clear that his issue was his own inferiority, Evan gave him good advice, and yet the male commenters are adding something to the story which doesn’t exist. He’s a 47 year old divorcé, Chance. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that his age and experience trumps yours. Therefore, if he wasn’t concerned about that particular conversation and came to the conclusion that she isn’t trying to change him, I’m not sure why you think you have a better understanding of the situation than he does.

           

        4. KK

          Jeremy,

          “Which is why, in my first comment here, I suggested that the OP focus on his own sense of what he needs to be admired for in a relationship, and whether it can work from his perspective”.

          Yes, I’m completely in agreement with your other comments.

    3. 14.3
      Luka

      Try to see it from a man’s point of view though.

      In the same way women have to put up with guys getting overly sexual after a quick Tinder chat, some guys have to put up with being grilled about their ‘ambitions’ (ahem, bank balance) every time they speak to a woman.

      Most guys have no problem with women getting flirtatious and sexually forward very quickly. But we know women don’t like it so we modify our beahviour to make them comfortable and please them. So something ‘completely innocent’ to one sex isn’t so to the other. Of course being asked about your career is totally innocent to you, a woman, because you’ve never had to worry about being objectified in this way.

      But imagine you had. Use the instances where you have been worried about being objectified or exploited to empathise with somebody who has similar feelings, but in a different context.

      1. 14.3.1
        Marika

        That’s understandable, Luka, and if this woman had gone on to break up with him for having no ambition or yelled at him, or whatever, it would understandably cause all sorts of angry male comments.

        What I think we’re finding a bit much is that this woman is in all other respects, completely non-traditional and non princessy in her behaviour and expectations, which is largely being ignored, whereas you’re all honing in on one, potentially innocent or out of context statement.

        Can you see how the bulk of the male comments being so suspicious could be frustrating? Are we supposed to be completely perfect always? Pay our way enough, be easygoing, flexible, sexy, supportive, ask no questions ever that could potentially ever make you feel awkward?

        And where’s his responsibility in this?

        This reminds me of the conversation around intent. If she intended no harm (which her behaviour to date suggests), is any offence he felt her fault? Does she carry the weight of all his bad dating experience? Are y’all okay with women doing that?

        1. Luka

          Hi Marika,

          I don’t know about anybody else but I never expect anybody to be ‘completely perfect always’.

          I always try to imagine the inverse situation and empathise to the best of my abilities, and if it doesn’t fit because of gender differences I will at least rationalise an acceptable social facsimile.

          I’ll go with the same anology. Ok my tolerance for being questioned on my ‘ambition’ is 0%. It’s not even that I’m taking a stand against some perceived slight. My attraction for such a woman drops to 0%. I understand that some women find this a bit harsh, but here’s how I rationalise it: I would never expect a woman to tolerate a guy being overly sexual on a first date/email/call. Now, I want have sex with many women on the first date, but I don’t ask if I sense there’s any chance its not what she wants and would make her uncomfortable. I think I’m good at thinking abstractly from a womans perspective and therefore feel OK about expecting women to do similar for me.

          And you know having said all that perhaps this is all just impotent rage; there are aspects of the opposite sexes mating behaviour we can’t abide. I’m happy though in that I don’t believe we’re chimps and I think our behaviour is mostly socially constructed and therefore suspectiple to quick change.

           

           

           

  15. 15
    Ricky

    This article is bulshit. Everything here is bulshit. Women reject reject reject and reject every man who approaches them. You call them sadder then men? Horseshit. Women live in this fairy tail world that the right men will come to her that prince charming from those fairy tail stories. They want to be sad because they choose too not because they dont have a choice. We men are suffering to at least get in a relationship we are working hard to get in one but 90% of men cant get in one because of rejection. On social events or on a every day women get approached all the time but they reject guys like crazy. See women can choose to get in a relationship when they want AMD whenever they want they can choose to get laid anytime they want whenever they want all they have to do is go out and ask a man. Men we have to work hard to get in a relationship we have to go though all this trouble to at least get some pussy. The reason why we are used to being single is because we are used to being single we have no choice. Women are free. Men we have to break free

    1. 15.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Dear Ricky,

      In no particular order:

      -Get your facts straight. You can’t get in a relationship. 90% of guys can, and, in fact, do.
      -“Getting some pussy” is not your divine right, nor would most women want to be with a man who sees them as “pussy.”
      -Use spellcheck. Your arguments will still be erroneous, but you perhaps you’ll be taken more seriously from the outset.
      -It doesn’t sound like you know any women. Perhaps it would behoove you to befriend one on a platonic basis so as to not see women as a monolithic enemy.

    2. 15.2
      DeeGee

      Gosh, it sounds like Ricky has been bitten by the MGTOW bug…
      Dude, try doing less of the negative thinking, it is a real downer.
      If your only goal is to “get some pussy”, you need to find some good hobbies, I suggest macramé or quilting…

  16. 16
    Marika

    All agendas aside, Chance, is it really good advice to tell anyone, male or female, who’s feeling insecure and a bit paranoid to buy into their fears and be on alert?

    It will become apparent on its own if she cares about money and career aspirations. Him being fearful & monitoring what she says can only hurt a burgeoning relationship.

    1. 16.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      It will become apparent on its own if she cares about money and career aspirations.

      The OP and his girlfriend are past child bearing age and she has her own money, but I don’t understand why it’s so terrible for a woman who wants to start a family to care about a man’s income and career. If he wants a family, he should care about her income and career. Don’t they both need to have an idea if they could financially raise a family together, pay for childcare or make enough to have one of them stay home for a few years when the kids are small (could be the man or the woman), buy a home, put the kids through college? I don’t think it’s gold digging. It’s just being realistic. It’s no different than trying to determine if the other person is emotionally together enough to be a parent. Will he/she help out? Will he/she be supportive and involved?

      1. 16.1.1
        KK

        Hi Emily!

        “The OP and his girlfriend are past child bearing age and she has her own money, but I don’t understand why it’s so terrible for a woman who wants to start a family to care about a man’s income and career”.

        It isn’t terrible. It’s the norm. Since I started reading here, I’ve noticed A LOT of angry commentary (from a handful of unhappy male commenters) stating how unfair their plight is simply because women dare to have standards and expectations. Don’t buy into it. I know I don’t. 😉

        That said, I agree with Marika. “It will become apparent on its own if she cares about money and career aspirations”. At this point, I don’t believe that’s the case. But if it is, these two obviously won’t be a good match.

         

        1. Emily, the original

          KK,

          It isn’t terrible. It’s the norm. Since I started reading here, I’ve noticed A LOT of angry commentary (from a handful of unhappy male commenters) stating how unfair their plight is simply because women dare to have standards and expectations. Don’t buy into it. I know I don’t. 😉

          Years ago I had a friend who was dating a cop. He made about $50k and she was worried that wasn’t enough to have a family. I was in my late 20s and thought she was being absurd, but, looking back, I’m not so sure. Unless she was making a lot of money herself (and she wasn’t), how much they jointly made was a concern for her. The dynamic changes if you want a family. It has to. Of course, it’s an entirely different story if you don’t want kids, as it is with the OP.

        2. Jeremy

          KK and Emily, I agree with you 100%.  The problem is not that people value income – as you say, income is essential especially if a family is desired.  The problem is when people fail to predict how much they will value income in the future and make long-term choices failing to account for this.  I know I probably repeat this ad nauseam, but it’s all about affective forecasting, and the book “stumbling on happiness” really changed my life by helping me to understand this phenomenon.

           

          The basic thesis is this: We humans suck at predicting what we, ourselves, will want in the future – and further, that we don’t understand how much we suck at it and think we are the experts on what we will want.  We think that what we will want in the future is what we want today, or some minor variation thereof, and most of the time we are wrong.
          At the conclusion of the book the author gives advice on how to overcome this problem – find some older people who have lived the life you want and ask them how it turned out for them – what they liked and what they would change.  And doing so won’t always be instructive, but it has a far better predictive value than relying on our own predictions.

           

          This advice is excellent and has so many applications…

           

        3. KK

          Jeremy,

          I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of a major move in a couple of years. I can see how that book would be helpful. I’m going to pick it up this weekend. Thank you for the recommendation.

        4. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          At the conclusion of the book the author gives advice on how to overcome this problem – find some older people who have lived the life you want and ask them how it turned out for them – what they liked and what they would change.

          Good advice.

  17. 17
    Luka

    She likes me and I like her. She’s a really great kisser with plenty of sex appeal.

    She offers to pay on most of our dates and has probably paid the majority of them.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be poor either but I’m not obsessed by money.

    My issue is that I feel inferior to her.

    Because I’m asking you all these questions, does this mean I’m not sure and I should end it?

    **********************************************************************

    I’ve just re-read the OP and I’m having a hard time believing a man would write any of these sentences.

    ‘I feel inferior’ is the sort of thing a lot of the women who think their ‘success’ intimidates men (and causes their singleness) mistakenly believe is the mindset of men. And that ‘does me asking this mean I should just end it’ is just straight out of the letters page from my sisters teenage magazines, come on…

     

    1. 17.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      If you’re suggesting this is a fake, you can feel free to take your conspiracy theories to another site. Honestly.

      1. 17.1.1
        Luka

        Somebody writing something that isn’t true on the internet is hardly a conspiracy.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Impugning my integrity on my site is highly discouraged by the management. Take note.

      2. 17.1.2
        Shaukat

        I see no reason to believe that this particular letter is fake, but the phenomenon Luka is referring to certainly exists. If you read Dan Savage’s columns, he sometimes devotes an entire segment to showcasing all the fake letters he receives. He even stated that occasionally fake letters get through, but if they end up helping others, he doesn’t mind. The internet is full of narcissists who get a thrill from blowing smoke at well intentioned people. It has nothing to do with  your integrity.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I see no reason to believe this particular letter is fake either. Which is why it’s silly and disrespectful to postulate that I knowingly or unknowingly posted something that was fake. I believe Luka didn’t intend to insult me; I also believe that I was insulted regardless of his intent.

      3. 17.1.3
        Luka

        Eh?!

        I thought this was written by a woman pretending to be a man. Not sure what thats got to do with your ‘integrity’?

        If you’re implying that I was implying you wrote it, I wasn’t. Given this weirdly aggressive reponse, I kinda do think that now though…

        Either way it doesn’t matter who wrote it if it allows for an interesting discussion.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          My integrity is impugned when you suggest that I’m posting fake emails from readers for content/discussion/clickbait purposes.

          I get 100+ questions a month. I answer 4 of them and they’re carefully vetted.

          Finally, consider this a second warning against disrespecting me in your comments.

          You sometimes have valuable things to say, but I’m fine losing those comments if it means not putting up with insults from you. The choice is yours.

        2. Luka

          Never implied (or even thought, actually) you were knowingly posting them.

          And believe it or not being scolded by another adult male for ‘insulting’ his integrity isn’t something I’m keen on doing with my free time, Jesus H Christ!

          Enjoyed reading lots of you ladies/guys comments over the last few weeks. Even (especially?) the more ‘combative’ of you are very interesting to me.

          Goodbye!

    2. 17.2
      Marika

      Luka,

      If a man didn’t write this and it doesn’t sound like something a man would be concerned about, why do pretty much all the male commenters (apart from one or two) empathise with him and express that they can relate to his fears & insecurities?

      Clearly we’ve hit a nerve here with you guys. I get it. Some of the posts have hit a nerve with me. It would be good if you could own it, as Chance would say.

      1. 17.2.1
        Luka

        Marika,

        I didn’t say it doesn’t sound like something a man wouldn’t be concerned about (if the *something* is men’s concern about being financially objectified/exploited). That issue definitely hits a nerve, I agree with you. IMO its probably analagous to the fear many women have of being sexually used. I don’t believe that some of the other stuff is sincere, specifically the ‘I feel inferior’ part.

        1. KK

          Luka,

          I don’t know if this will help or not, but this was your first comment:

          “Ewww! I’m so glad I live in a culture where (most) women don’t expect men to pay their way. It’s just so gross.”

          I don’t know any man that would start out a sentence with, “Ewww!”. Not one. Yet here you are. Although odd, I didn’t question your gender over it. Just a thought.

        2. Marika

          I’m going to let this go, because far be it to suggest men may overreact in dating or have any blindspots…I digress…but Luka this is the second time you’ve used this analogy and it’s a terrible analogy. There’s no suggestion she aggressively quizzed him about his job and prospects at all and certainly not on the first date (the analogy you gave above). We also don’t know the full context, and a guy being pushily and overtly sexual has a pretty clear interpretation and meaning, whereas this conversation is open to all sorts of interpretation. After 2 months you certainly would make sexual advances and that would be expected, so perhaps after 2 months’ worth of conversation, your career may come up in conversation. Who knows? I wasn’t there. It’s just interesting how pretty much every man sees this one conversation (where we don’t even know what she said) as some sort of red flag. Ignoring everything great she’s doing.

          Anyway, I came here to learn about men and dating, and I’ve definitely learned a lot from this post and comments, so for that I’m grateful.

    3. 17.3
      Selena

      Luka:“I’ve just re-read the OP and I’m having a hard time believing a man would write any of these sentences.”

      I kinda got that vibe also.

      It seems certainly written by someone who has read many of EMK’s  posts in any case.

       

    4. 17.4
      Matt

      Luka, This letter isn’t fake.  I wrote it.

      Hi Evan,

      Thanks for replying to my letter.

      All the best Matt

  18. 18
    Marika

    Emily, I hear what you’re saying, but it muddies the waters.

    He wants to be with someone who accepts him for who he is and isn’t looking to push him to work harder or earn more.

    That’s entirely fair.

    What isn’t fair is blowing up one comment into a bigger deal than it is, and taking it out of the broader context of her overall behaviour. The letter writer shows some insight that he is probably overreacting, and Evan gives some wise advice in this regard, but then a lot of the comments are actually encouraging him to buy into his insecurity because of how other women have treated them in the past.

    1. 18.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika

      He wants to be with someone who accepts him for who he is and isn’t looking to push him to work harder or earn more. That’s entirely fair.

      Yes, I agree.

      a lot of the comments are actually encouraging him to buy into his insecurity because of how other women have treated them in the past.

      It’s called projection.

  19. 19
    Mrs Happy

    Gosh I miss Stacey 2, whose pithy smashing down comment at this point would invariably make me smile. Can you imagine what she would say about the OP?

    And Luka, I didn’t think the letter sounded like it came from a male either.  Also, the last sentence in the 1st paragraph doesn’t flow naturally and seems contrived.

    But for this or similar situations, of course such a woman was sussing out his ambition, career, and future earning prospects. Has everyone who believes otherwise been living down a well? What successful woman in her 40’s isn’t going to be curious about these issues in a partner?

    1. 19.1
      Chance

      “But for this or similar situations, of course such a woman was sussing out his ambition, career, and future earning prospects. Has everyone who believes otherwise been living down a well? What successful woman in her 40’s isn’t going to be curious about these issues in a partner?”

       

      Agree.  I’ve tried to be diplomatic about this, but honestly, one would have to be as dense as a brick or be willfully sticking his/her head in the sand to not see what was going on.

      1. 19.1.1
        Selena

        The LW did not disclose any information about his work life other than  he has “a job that pays okay” and he’s “not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder”. 

        Asking a 47 yr. old about career aspirations does seem odd, but it may not have been if the man in question indicated his work was of the *for now* type rather than in a field he has worked for years.

        I know a number of people who retired in their 50’s. I also know people who changed jobs and fields in their late 40’s – 50’s.  Perhaps the LW talked about other things he would like to do and the woman was responding to that? Impossible to know without context.

        I don’t know, this letter just reads *off* to me.

    2. 19.2
      KK

      Mrs Happy,

      They’re sussing each other out… As they should! There’s just some disagreement as to the conclusion. That doesn’t mean the other female commenters are dense as a brick or willfully sticking our heads in the sand, as Chance (so diplomatically) stated.

    3. 19.3
      ScottH

      And likewise, he’s sussing her out to see if money, title, and status matter to her before he extends his heart to her only to have her shred it because he’s not good enough.  Sure, she’s paying for some dates (is she paying her share or his too?) and that might make it seem like she doesn’t mind, who knows?  But a little down the road, she might mind.  Maybe she’s seeing what it’s like to “date down.”  Maybe she won’t like it.  These are the questions that might be going through his mind which is why he wrote the letter to Evan.

      There are a ton of women who won’t date down regardless of how much she makes (funny you mention Stacy2) because he’s not a man if he doesn’t out-earn her and then she has to be the “man” in the relationship.  There are plenty of Evan’s blogs on that topic and there are scads of women who look down on men who don’t make a ton.  And I’ve experienced it directly and it infuriates me.  It also sickens me to see women talk about how they wouldn’t date a school teacher, like they are some kind of leper and can’t deliver them a life of luxury.

      Good Day.

  20. 20
    CMV

    She’s attractive, not beautiful. I’ve always been drawn to brunettes (she’s blonde) but I find her confidence and drive attractive. And even though I’ve dated more attractive women in the past,”

    Am I the only person that would be horrified to hear a guy I was dating say this about me?

     

    1. 20.1
      Malika

      In dating, there is a whole host of variables to focus on, but i would let this one go.

      If most men waited for another woman to beat the hottest woman they had ever dated, they would have no sex/love life whatsoever. Think of Brad Pitt as an extreme example. Looks wise, who is going to win over Angelina Jolie? Not even the Insta models of the moment are going to surmount that.

      I don’t how old you are, but i’m in my mid thirties and i’ve dated objectively more beautiful men in my past than i do now, for the most part. In my early twenties i was in a relationship with a runway model who worked for Armani among others. If I waited around for a man who could top him in the looks department, I wouldn’t have gone on one date for the past five years. When I was younger i made the mistake of only dating the good looking dudes. While some of them were lovely for many other reasons than their looks, I can honestly say that focusing on men who are still attractive but aren’t about to be hounded by a booking agency has made me way more happier. It is not an overstatement to say it feels like being freed of a prison sentence. There is far more choice to be had, and it’s still refreshing after all these years to go out with a man who isn’t defined by the genetic accident of looking the way he is. Men are the more visual gender but I should think this also applies in some way for them as well. See the famous ‘hot and crazy diagram’ scene from How I Met Your Mother.

      Men are also known for being obsessed by youth. I had a date earlier this week with an older man who showed me a video of his children playing on the beach. His ex was with them on that day and i had a momentary mortification when i realized she can’t be older than 25. He can obviously bag a woman who is way younger than me but that hasn’t stopped him from going out with me and being very enthusiastic about our upcoming second date. We shall see where this goes, but worrying about being compared to his past is not going to make things any easier.

      1. 20.1.1
        Adrian

        Hi Malika,

        It’s so funny that you said, “If I waited around for a man who could top him in the looks department, I wouldn’t have gone on one date for the past five years.” because a friend of mine at work was just telling me that his current plain looking and ‘overweight’ girlfriend was asking about him who was prettier between her and his very hot ex-yes they are young (22).

        I agree with all the female commentors and Evan on this, the letter writer has the problem the girlfriend seems great!.

        …   …   …

        If you don’t mind me asking, why do you think people care about the appearance of ex’s?

        Whenever someone tells me the story of being insecure because of a hot ex I have a hard time empathizing because like you with your current guys ex, it doesn’t bother me who the person I am with dated. I wouldn’t care if she dated a model, or someone super rich so why do you think it bothers other people so much if the ex was better looking or was more successful?

        The only time I can see it being justified to feel insecure is if the ex was trying to come back into that person’s life and they looked sexier, but someone from the past that your current partner doesn’t even talk to… Why worry? (O_o)

        1. Malika

          There is no right answer to that question, is there? I hope your colleague survived the ordeal!

          I have at times felt intimidated about exes, especially if i perceived them to be more succesfull or prettier than I was. But that was the dark days before introspection and Evan’s blog gave me a healthier view on dating. I think you can be intimidated because they have achieved a higher standard of society’s standards of fitting in or being succesfull, or if you sense that he felt a lot for her and he wished their relationship had succeeded. It’s human to think about the competition, and it’s a reality that people sometimes do go back to their exes.

          But in reality i have never experienced this. Exes are an ex for a reason. As the relationship deepens, you find out why it didn’t work out, and there was always a good reason for that. There are also times when people talk about The One That Got Away. When they put the past on a pedestal, that can certainly be intimidating. But you just have to remind yourself that they are with you now, and if they are happy with that, the one that got away is just a harmless fantasy.

        2. Emily, the original

          Malika,

          Exes are an ex for a reason. As the relationship deepens, you find out why it didn’t work out, and there was always a good reason for that.  

          But doesn’t it depend on who broke up with whom? If he was dumped, he could still be pinning for the ex. It could be a whole different story if the break up was mutual or he was the initiator.

        3. Malika

          Hi Emily:

          Their pining for their ex usually comes out very quickly in the early stages of the dating relationship. My own personal experience is that i bail, as i am not anything special to them, as the ex still holds that place in their heart.

          In all other cases, even if she was the initiator I have found it doesn’t affect the relationship greatly. Even if they pined for them once upon a time, they have moved on and are focused on the new relationship.

      2. 20.1.2
        Christine

        Well, I can’t speak for anyone else but I think it comes down to fear.  Someone may think that if their partner couldn’t even make it with someone “better”–what chance is there of making it work with them?

        At least, this was behind my own momentary mortification about an ex who is more successful than me.  In hindsight, I realize it was irrational.  They weren’t even in contact with each other, and there was zero indication of them ever getting back together.  Yet I was still intimidated by her.  For a split second I thought, after being with someone like her, who could have given him a more lavish lifestyle–could he be happy with me?  Maybe that’s what this current girlfriend thinks too.  Can he be attracted to “plain” me, after being with “hotter” girls?

        I admit that was my own issue, and am glad I worked through it.  Over time, I also heard about how controlling and critical this ex was, so she couldn’t have been THAT great.  Not to mention, he made his choice pretty clear by choosing to marry me.

        In the end, I learned these comparison games are useless.  Don’t let the stale water under the bridge of the past spill over into the present.

         

    2. 20.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Probably not, but you should be. Honesty is a virtue, reality your friend. There is nothing horrible about this whatsoever.

    3. 20.3
      Bob

      Am I the only person that would be horrified to hear a guy I was dating say this about me?

       

      In centuries past, a woman would be horrified by the prospect of being killed, battered, starved, enslaved, etc

      Now…. this

      This is what men have to deal with these days

      Now on the topic of sexual attraction, I don’t think it much matters what this guy’s type is but, instead, how good their sex actually is

      I say this from my experience of having had sex with women who I was REALLY attracted to, but the sex was soso and then I’ve had sex with women who were, objectively speaking, average at best, and the sex was REALLY GOOD. We devoured each other. As it should be.

      That’s why I think these two need have sex so they see how well they click in bed

      1. 20.3.1
        CMV

        I’m not sure what you mean by “this is what men have to deal with these days”

        That women don’t like feeling they  are being harshly judged whilst simultaneously being accused of judging harshly?

      2. 20.3.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        Bob,

        “In centuries past, a woman would be horrified by the prospect of being killed, battered, starved, enslaved, etc

        Now…. this”

        Really?  Women should be so grateful we’re not being “killed, battered, starved, enslaved” that we shouldn’t be concerned whether a man’s attraction level to us is enough to sustain a relationship?

        If you’ve ever encountered someone with a rigid “type” preference on the dating scene and he/she is dating you counter to their preferences, you soon learn that those entanglements fizzle out quickly.  There is no long term potential because the partner with the rigid type is soon missing what they’re not getting.

         

         

        1. ScottH

          GWTF:  “a specialist physician with a B.S., an M.D. and 4 years of formal post-graduate specialty training (residency) who grosses $300-400K a year, and her engineer husband with a B.A. and a salary of $120k/yr…She and her husband both fall into the category “educated professional”    AGREED

          “and they both have similar social capital.”  DISAGREED

          I would think social capital would be proportional to income, no?  Greater income enables so much more potential in society.

        2. Bob

          The idea being that women are horrified, no matter what, whether it’s someone trying to bludgeon their heads in or if a man doesn’t view them as the realization of his fantasies.

          I don’t think any woman has anything to worry about with respect to attractiveness; there will always be men who want to have sex with you and want to marry you. The problem contemporary women run into is that they don’t have mutual feelings about those very men but instead want to marry men who will have sex with them- or probably already have- but won’t marry them.

          That last sentence probably described every woman older than 35.

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          ScottH,

          ““and they both have similar social capital.”  DISAGREED

          I would think social capital would be proportional to income, no?  Greater income enables so much more potential in society.”

          Let’s put it this way, the physician goes to visit mom and dad and says, “I have some news.  I met a great guy!  His name is XXX (indicates same race/cultural background), he is an engineer who works for YYY, and he’s even (same religion)!

          Parents:  “Oh honey that’s wonderful!  Are you talking wedding plans yet?”

          Now change that to physician says to parents:  “I have some news. I met a great guy!  His name is XXX (indicates same race/cultural background), he is a male barista at Starbucks, and he’s even (same religion)!

          Think the parents are going to have a less than enthusiastic reaction in the second scenario?  Chances are better than not that they will.  Because they consider the engineer to be in their daughter’s socio-economic lane, but the the Starbuck’s guy.

          Family, friends, church, work and cultural communities have a big role in ensuring class lines aren’t crossed in the mating game.  This contributes to assortive mating.

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          Bob,

          “That last sentence probably described every woman older than 35.”

          If you look again at what I wrote, I never said women don’t suffer from having rigid criteria for men they will date.

          “I don’t think any woman has anything to worry about with respect to attractiveness; there will always be men who want to have sex with you and want to marry you. The problem contemporary women run into is that they don’t have mutual feelings about those very men but instead want to marry men who will have sex with them- or probably already have- but won’t marry them.”

          And many of the male commenters here have repeatedly shared their HORROR that not all the women they want to have sex and relationships with are return the interest.

    4. 20.4
      Henriette

      I’m not in the least bit horrified by this.   I’m in my mid-40s and I expect most men I go out with have, at some point in their lives, dated a woman who is smarter than I.  As well as a woman (probably a different one) who is sexier than I.  As well as another woman whose waist-to-hip ratio is more ideal than mine.  Etc. Etc.  I don’t need to be the best in any category for the guy I end up with, except the best overall match for him.  Isn’t that what you really care about?   Knowing your guy understands & appreciates that you two can build a better life together, than he could with anyone else?

      1. 20.4.1
        CMV

        “I don’t need to be the best in any category for the guy I end up with, except the best overall match for him. ”

        Yes – this is my belief exactly! 🙂

        I guess I’m just quite bemused by a guy concerned about being judged and then conceivably judging away.

        Maybe I’m in denial but I guess I’d prefer being spoken about in positive terms such as “She’s the best match I’ve had in a long time, I think she’s cute and pretty” instead of “Well I’ve had beautiful women and ehhhh…”

         

        1. Adrian

          Hi CMV,

          You stated “I guess I’m just quite bemused by a guy concerned about being judged and then conceivably judging away.

          I completely agree with this.

          Honestly it made me less empathetic to his plight. This woman sounds great and he says this about her… makes him sound like a jerk to me… even if it was just bravado to sound manly in front of Evan it still came off as rude.

          It reminds me of a story that the commentor KK spoke about in which she heard a guy she was dating call women “B’s” casually and how it made her lose respect and attraction for him. Many of the male commentors could not understand her reaction but I could and still can.

          Someone like the letter writer who insults a person for no reason loses respect from me… but maybe I am blowing this one little thing out of proportion… like how the letter writer blow her one question out of proportion.

        2. Bob

          Men have to sell themselves to women, aka courting, whereas women need only filter those men.

          That’s a double standard that works great for women.

          After a certain age or level of experience, though, a man understands this and develops the attitude that courting requires enough investment that a man should judge a woman ASAP to assess her investment worthiness to avoid poor investment.

          You are indeed in denial. Men generally don’t need for you to have the most beautiful face or body. Those are just the first things they see which are factors in investment worthiness assessment, which are exactly the same which a woman sees when she filters him.

          If you want to sidestep all this, you can grow a spine and take the initiative rather than waiting for fate to make you happy.

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