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I'm 24 and Engaged, and No, I'm Not Too Young to Get Married

You Asked: For Love or Money?

Dear Sugar--
I have been dating this guy for about two months. He treats me like a goddess. He is very affectionate, which is something I am not used to, very giving and attentive. But (there is always a catch) he makes a lot less money than I do, does not have a car, which means that I do all the driving on the dates, and he has a seven year old son. I have a bachelor's degree and a post graduate degree, I am not making six figures but I am financially secure. I do not have any children and I have always dated a guy with at least a motor vehicle and I have to admit I DO NOT LIKE this dynamic.

But on the flip side, I feel like I am being stuck-up and judgmental if I dump him. When we go out I don't pay for anything but my worst fear is that it will be two years later and he still won't have a car and will still be making less money than me. As bad as this is to say, I want financial security from my spouse and I just don't know if he can provide that for me. He also told me that I have to accept him for who he is and his situation and I either have to support him or walk away. My mind says walk away but my heart says give him a chance. Please help! -- Flustered Frankie

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Flustered Frankie--

You are being entirely too hard on yourself right now Frankie. The desire for financial security is absolutely valid, and any woman that doesn't come right out and say that it's something they think about is lying. But, with that said, your boyfriend is right, you either need to completely accept him for who he is or let him go and move on.

There is a reason why you fell for this man, despite his financial situation, so what has changed? Have you been talking about your future lately or thinking about taking the next step in your relationship? You're very lucky to have a boyfriend that treats you like a princess, but you need to ask yourself if that is enough for you. Many women dream of having the white picket fence and 2.5 kids, but just know that is more of a fairly tale than a common reality. While it sounds like you are unhappy being the breadwinner in this relationship, something tells me there is more going on here. Are you feeling like there is a power struggle because of your differences in your paychecks and degrees? Do you respect him less because he isn't as successful as you?

You have only been together for two months so be sure you aren't jumping the gun here. Is there a possibility your boyfriend will advance in his career or potentially get another job? Knowing what you want and what will make you happy in the long run does not make you judgmental or stuck-up -- it makes you honest. It sounds like your boyfriend is being affected by your doubts in this relationship so to be fair to him, you're going to have to make a decision that you can live with and that makes you happy. Good luck.

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bookgirl bookgirl 9 years
I guess if I were in your situation the question I would be asking myself would be whether he had the drive and motivation to put himself in a better situation. If he just wants to keep on floating on w/no car, and no money then I would probably dump him. However, if he is working towards a degree or promotion, or looking for a new job then I would give him a chance.
dcmurray1970 dcmurray1970 9 years
think about it this way: if you ever get married, he could be the stay at home dad. if you make enough money to live how you want wouldnt that be a wonderful opportunity for your children to have dad with them everyday? if you dont see yourself comfortable with that; it has only been two months you should be able to dump him and move on rather quickly to someone who meets all of your needs.
dcmurray1970 dcmurray1970 9 years
think about it this way: if you ever get married, he could be the stay at home dad. if you make enough money to live how you want wouldnt that be a wonderful opportunity for your children to have dad with them everyday?if you dont see yourself comfortable with that; it has only been two months you should be able to dump him and move on rather quickly to someone who meets all of your needs.
j2krelle j2krelle 9 years
I think that you should think hard about what kind of a guy he really is. Is he poor because he's trying to make it in a tough industry (artist, writer, etc.), because he's just starting out and has the potential to make more, or because he's just lazy? The lack of a car isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, especially since he seems to make up for it by paying for everything else. I've dated several guys without cars and for the most part I didn't mind. It can become a big problem, though, when you (the car-owner) becomes responsible for not just date-related transportation, but also shuttling the kid around, picking up dry cleaning, etc without compensation. It's easy to become resentful of people who use you because of your car.
dharmalove dharmalove 9 years
I have been with my boyfriend now for four years. I am a school teacher and he works for gap inc. His salary doesnt compare to mine and he now doesnt have a car. Things were slightly different when we got together (like the car) but its pretty much the same. I love him more than anything and have accepted him for what he does. Sure it would be easier to have some middle management guy making double my salary. But his money or status is not why I fell in love with him. His caring, and generous nature is the reason I love him. It takes a certain type of person to accept that and you may not have it in you. (Which is FINE!). But you need to ask yourself that NOW , at two months. I am proof that after 4 years things dont always change. So be willing to accept him or find someone who better suits your personality and outlook.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I just had a similar conversation with my aunt this weekend and how I thought I sounded shallow for wanting to be with someone that at the least makes what I do and she had the best advice. Don't do it! She was married and had 2 children with someone that made a lot less than her and did nothing to improve their situation leaving her to be responsible for almost all the finances. Fortunately, she makes enough money to take care of her children, did I mention he doesn't pay child support. They were happy for a while but his lack of drive and unwillingness to improve their lives and lives of their children finally was too much stress and they divorced.
Deba Deba 9 years
*think*
Deba Deba 9 years
*think*
Deba Deba 9 years
1) I agree to the girl that said that for me having a kid is a deal breaker. Im not ready to be a mom, its going to pass a long time before having kids, and its not in my plans to substitute anyone. 2) I dated a guy that didn't had a job (While I was working and studying at the same time) but I really didn't care about it, 'cause he was such a loving person and treated me like the only girl in the whole planet. That was at the beginning of our relationship, time passed by, and I was the one buying dinner, paying for our trips, paying for everything. And I got tired. 3) After our relationship ended, I decided that I was not going to date ever again a guy that didn't worked and for a future spouse, I would like someone that makes the same amount of money or more. I dont think there is something wrong in how high you set the bar if you thing you are worth it. Right now Im living with my loving boyfriend... and I feel secure, I see a family in our future and Im happy. Dump him!
Deba Deba 9 years
1) I agree to the girl that said that for me having a kid is a deal breaker. Im not ready to be a mom, its going to pass a long time before having kids, and its not in my plans to substitute anyone. 2) I dated a guy that didn't had a job (While I was working and studying at the same time) but I really didn't care about it, 'cause he was such a loving person and treated me like the only girl in the whole planet. That was at the beginning of our relationship, time passed by, and I was the one buying dinner, paying for our trips, paying for everything. And I got tired.3) After our relationship ended, I decided that I was not going to date ever again a guy that didn't worked and for a future spouse, I would like someone that makes the same amount of money or more.I dont think there is something wrong in how high you set the bar if you thing you are worth it. Right now Im living with my loving boyfriend... and I feel secure, I see a family in our future and Im happy. Dump him!
Mary-Mary Mary-Mary 9 years
Oh, don't do it - harsh as it seems, get rid of him. I was married for 15 years to a guy like this. I ended up bailing him out of jail for non payment of child support, he tried to control everything I did and spent my money willingly. He had 22 jobs in 15 years and when I finally threw him out, he stalked me, threatened to kill me and my mother, it was baaaaaad. I am now married to someone 15 years younger than me. We work at the same place and have great benefits. We split everything 60/40 because that's about how much more I make than him. I pay for groceries and I handle the bill payments and it's a fabulous arrangement. If your guy hasn't asked to pay for anything, he won't ever do it, and you'll end up burdened with his child as well - for life.
Mary-Mary Mary-Mary 9 years
Oh, don't do it - harsh as it seems, get rid of him. I was married for 15 years to a guy like this. I ended up bailing him out of jail for non payment of child support, he tried to control everything I did and spent my money willingly. He had 22 jobs in 15 years and when I finally threw him out, he stalked me, threatened to kill me and my mother, it was baaaaaad. I am now married to someone 15 years younger than me. We work at the same place and have great benefits. We split everything 60/40 because that's about how much more I make than him. I pay for groceries and I handle the bill payments and it's a fabulous arrangement. If your guy hasn't asked to pay for anything, he won't ever do it, and you'll end up burdened with his child as well - for life.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
I don't understand how this man has a child, but no car and no money, and considers this a good choice. If he's in NYC that's one thing (and no need to judge someone for not having a car in NYC), but the way he responded to your concerns sounded like he's not willing to contribute to having a financially stable relationship. Obviously this is a big deal for you, so I would stop seeing him if I were you.Financial differences and conflicts are absolutely NOTHING to be sneezed at. I understand that many of you are being judgmental because of the ideal of a love unbound by worldly constraints, or something, but relationships don't happen in a vacuum. It's not unreasonable to want a guy that can at least contribute half, and share in the life that you want to share. I am in a relationship that's struggling because I'm paying rent and groceries most of the time, and he owes me a lot of money, yet he makes $10,000 more than I do. It's attitude not income that matters.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
I don't understand how this man has a child, but no car and no money, and considers this a good choice. If he's in NYC that's one thing (and no need to judge someone for not having a car in NYC), but the way he responded to your concerns sounded like he's not willing to contribute to having a financially stable relationship. Obviously this is a big deal for you, so I would stop seeing him if I were you. Financial differences and conflicts are absolutely NOTHING to be sneezed at. I understand that many of you are being judgmental because of the ideal of a love unbound by worldly constraints, or something, but relationships don't happen in a vacuum. It's not unreasonable to want a guy that can at least contribute half, and share in the life that you want to share. I am in a relationship that's struggling because I'm paying rent and groceries most of the time, and he owes me a lot of money, yet he makes $10,000 more than I do. It's attitude not income that matters.
SexyNeverLeft78 SexyNeverLeft78 9 years
Just walk away girl. If you know you want a financially stable man, preferably without a child, then go find you one an let this poor guy go. 2 months is nothing and his child is not young, so I say dump (nicely) his butt asap.
megagirl megagirl 9 years
candy apple - I can't believe I didn't think of that when I read it! that is totally true - he might have just meant support him in the sense of support who he is, not financially. In that case, disregard all I said about the financial support stuff. But still, I would say break up with him, but less strenuously than I did before.
demeter demeter 9 years
Well I think you are acting a little TOO fast with your relationship. You said you want financial security from your future spouse, yet you've been dating this guy for only 2 months? Surely you don't see yourself getting married to him. And IF you did, your feelings for him would go way past what he makes. Stay with the guy, there's no sense in breaking up.
junebrug junebrug 9 years
I've gone out with guys when neither of us had any money and wound up paying for almost everything (often with parents' card) and it is bad, bad, bad. I lost complete respect for them really fast, and a relationship can survive many things, but not when a woman loses respect for a man and he becomes like a child, another burden she has to take care of. I think you're just being honest and neither decision would be a bad one -- unfortunately we don't have a crystal ball and don't know if he will make more money, or if you dump him, if you'll ever find someone who loves you like that again. This is a really tough decision. Society punishes women for success, it's perfectly fine for a rich man to date a poor woman, but society judges it the other way around. YOu'll have to determine how important all this is to you. Personally the child would be a deal breaker for me long before the money. Are you prepared to be a mother to a 7 year old? I've often thought it was unfair to keep introducing new people into a child's life and then they lose a parent figure -- AGAIN. I wouldn't blame you for either decision but you need to make up your mind quickly for the child's sake. Can you imagine if he came to depend upon you and then you left? If you really don't want to do this, dump him fast. If you really do, it could be great. I'm sorry I have no better advice for you, but examine your own heart.
junebrug junebrug 9 years
I've gone out with guys when neither of us had any money and wound up paying for almost everything (often with parents' card) and it is bad, bad, bad. I lost complete respect for them really fast, and a relationship can survive many things, but not when a woman loses respect for a man and he becomes like a child, another burden she has to take care of. I think you're just being honest and neither decision would be a bad one -- unfortunately we don't have a crystal ball and don't know if he will make more money, or if you dump him, if you'll ever find someone who loves you like that again. This is a really tough decision. Society punishes women for success, it's perfectly fine for a rich man to date a poor woman, but society judges it the other way around. YOu'll have to determine how important all this is to you.Personally the child would be a deal breaker for me long before the money. Are you prepared to be a mother to a 7 year old? I've often thought it was unfair to keep introducing new people into a child's life and then they lose a parent figure -- AGAIN. I wouldn't blame you for either decision but you need to make up your mind quickly for the child's sake. Can you imagine if he came to depend upon you and then you left? If you really don't want to do this, dump him fast. If you really do, it could be great. I'm sorry I have no better advice for you, but examine your own heart.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 9 years
WOW...two months...bitchy...dump him and let him find somebody who likes him for who he is.
candy-apple candy-apple 9 years
umm.. just wanted to say that "support him" kind of has a double meaning for me. obviously others will disagree but i understood it as him asking her to support him emotionally, as in: "accept and support me for the person i am. be supportive..." get my drift? i dont think he was actively asking her to support him in the monetary sense of the word.
candy-apple candy-apple 9 years
umm.. just wanted to say that "support him" kind of has a double meaning for me. obviously others will disagree but i understood it as him asking her to support him emotionally, as in: "accept and support me for the person i am. be supportive..." get my drift?i dont think he was actively asking her to support him in the monetary sense of the word.
megagirl megagirl 9 years
Okay, I say dump him, and here's why. First, I don't think you're being judgmental, etc. to care about the money, especially if you're worried that the situation won't change. Who cares that it's been only two months? I say, good for you for realizing this early in that it is something you have an issue with. As I read your question, my gut feeling was that you should get out of the relationship. But what cemented it for me was that you noted at the end, "He also told me that I have to accept him for who he is and his situation and I either have to support him or walk away." This is HUGE to me. I don't care how much money he makes...I think it is a really, really bad sign, assuming he phrased it that way, that he says you have to support him or get out. At that point, get out, get out, get out!! If the tables were turned, I can't even imagine telling a guy who made more money than me that his choice was support me or break up, maybe because I really value my independence, maybe because I think it's creepy. But it's one thing to have one person make more money, ASSUMING neither person cares. But if you care, or if he cares, it's just not the right fit, because money issues are always going to be around. And if he's saying now that he ultimately expects you to support him, I have a bad feeling that rather than work to earn more, if possible, as you were hoping, he will instead work less and less and rely on your income more and more. This is even more problematic since you say you do not like this dynamic (and, for the record, I wouldn't either), but meanwhile not only does the dynamic not seem to bother him, but instead he seems like he actively wants it to continue, at least from the limited knowledge I have. Sorry to be so long, and obviously do whatever you feel is right about this...but if it was me, I would cut and run. And I mean run, not walk. I know your heart is saying give him a chance...but I think the thing to do is hold out for a guy your mind and heart agree on.
megagirl megagirl 9 years
Okay, I say dump him, and here's why. First, I don't think you're being judgmental, etc. to care about the money, especially if you're worried that the situation won't change. Who cares that it's been only two months? I say, good for you for realizing this early in that it is something you have an issue with. As I read your question, my gut feeling was that you should get out of the relationship. But what cemented it for me was that you noted at the end, "He also told me that I have to accept him for who he is and his situation and I either have to support him or walk away." This is HUGE to me. I don't care how much money he makes...I think it is a really, really bad sign, assuming he phrased it that way, that he says you have to support him or get out. At that point, get out, get out, get out!! If the tables were turned, I can't even imagine telling a guy who made more money than me that his choice was support me or break up, maybe because I really value my independence, maybe because I think it's creepy. But it's one thing to have one person make more money, ASSUMING neither person cares. But if you care, or if he cares, it's just not the right fit, because money issues are always going to be around. And if he's saying now that he ultimately expects you to support him, I have a bad feeling that rather than work to earn more, if possible, as you were hoping, he will instead work less and less and rely on your income more and more. This is even more problematic since you say you do not like this dynamic (and, for the record, I wouldn't either), but meanwhile not only does the dynamic not seem to bother him, but instead he seems like he actively wants it to continue, at least from the limited knowledge I have. Sorry to be so long, and obviously do whatever you feel is right about this...but if it was me, I would cut and run. And I mean run, not walk. I know your heart is saying give him a chance...but I think the thing to do is hold out for a guy your mind and heart agree on.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
he has a kid and no car? thats not really safe ot practical.
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