We broke up awhile ago, but what she said about money stuck with me

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Recon2116 asks:

Backstory: I am a 29-year-old male that got out of a relationship in May 2015. I ended the relationship after months of being asked to get a better job due to my low-income, questioned about my motivation, told where I had lived/ grew up were not up to par, and my issues with sleep/ptsd were not what “she had signed up for”. I make roughly 45k and save most of my money in hopes of purchasing my own building in the near future (always been my dream). At the moment I don’t have much money because I was hospitalized over Thanksgiving due to renal failure and I partnered with my boss on a building (investment). I have a dog I love and enjoy spending as much time with him as possible. In my free time I like to try new restaurants, play sports, go hiking with my dog, cook, watch movies, and occasionally play video games.

My Concern: I have gone on about 5 dates since then and the women I have met make me concerned that I would have difficulty living up to their expectations and they would not be pleased if I cannot “afford to keep up with them”. I am a simple person, have a loving personality, and think I am kind. I cared a lot about my ex and she was my first love, it hurt me a lot when she said those things to me. I’m afraid and sad that I cannot afford to treat the one I love to the life she deserves (wants). I want to go on adventures/ travel/ experience amazing things with a woman but I feel the time it takes for me to save to do these things would drive a good woman away. If anyone could provide any life advice to help me change my perspective it would be very much appreciated, thank you everyone.


Demetrius says:

You know, I find myself in a similar situations when it comes to dating fairly often and it’s not uncommon to hear about similar situations among friends and people having dating problems. It’s so common in fact that I even made a podcast about Money and Dating that you, and pretty much anyone who has ever had concerns about money and dating, should listen to. It’s not uncommon for the person who make less than a six figure salary, who take the lead in dating (i.e. paying for greater than 50% of the couples expenses) to be a bit concerned about the cost of dating, planning for their future, and how that might be a turn off for some people. You’re definitely not alone, and I’ll tell you what I tell them: You can find someone to date and connect with, even if you aren’t making all the money ever, it just takes a bit of searching for the right person.

Consider the fact that one of the most common reasons for divorce is money related and you’ll realize that differing values around money can lead to tension in relationships no matter the stage of the relationship. I want to be clear that “differing values” doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is wrong or bad or that your income level and financial planning will always be a turn off to potential partners, nor do I think that what your ex said about your money is wrong per se, just that you had different values. Here’s a theory: Based on what you said about her, I would guess that she would have had no problem with you saving for the future if you were making $450k. Because financial responsibility and saving tends to cut into your discretionary spending, and at $45k a year that number is smaller than say someone who was making $450k, I’m guessing that she wanted to be a bit more fast and loose with money than you could afford to do. What you’re doing at 29 years old is planning for a future, and I promise you that most women will find that attractive if they are commitment oriented. You just happened to meet and start dating a woman who probably wasn’t interested in financial responsibility. Maybe she’s waiting for some Knight-in-Shining-Murciélago to come into her life and whisk her away, without care for financial planning or property ownership. Or less extreme, she wants someone who can spend money comfortably without having to save for the future. Either way, I don’t think she was what you signed up for either, so trust me on this when I say you dodged a bullet. A very expensive bullet.

I don’t think she’s inherently a bad person, she just wanted a different life than the one you could provide for her. While it sounds like a mercenary’s approach to dating, she’s looking out for her best interests the same way you are, you’re just doing it in a self-sufficient/plan-for-my-future-responsibly sort of way, where as she seems to want to be a bit more taken care of than anything else. Still, I wouldn’t get to hung up on your salary being low or that somehow making only $45k a year will make it impossible to date. Did you know that the median annual income for individuals in the US is $45,016? Did you know that the poverty threshold for a single person with no kids under 65 in 2014 was $12,071? Sure, $45k doesn’t allow for spur-of-the-moment trips to Guam, but it’s not like you’re broke. You didn’t make enough to be with your ex, but that doesn’t mean that you wont meet a woman who sees your income and your fiscal responsibility as a positive. When I first started dating, I was making minimum wage, and somehow I still managed to date. When I actually got good at dating, I was making $13 an hour, bringing in just under $28k. My salary didn’t stop me from going on dates, and yes I’m sure it prevented me from dating some people, it didn’t prevent me from dating at altogether.

I think that you should be aware of how your situation and preferences limit your dating pool, but don’t be hesitant to date. Income, net worth, race, weight, height, religion, language fluency, experience in dating, and countless other factors will play a part into whether or not you’re a good match for someone, but that’s just the way life works. I think that somewhere out there is a person who’d be a good match for you, and you’ll be able to create a life you both want together.

Just because you couldn’t do so with your ex does not mean it’s possible to meet and build a life with someone on a $45k salary.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

4 thoughts on “We broke up awhile ago, but what she said about money stuck with me

  • January 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm
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    A quality woman with whom you’re compatible won’t find your salary a turn-off or judge you. She will not be looking for a man to provide a “lifestyle” she wants, she will be working toward that herself. Valuing a higher income over qualities that matter means she is superficial. So I agree with Demetrius that you dodged a bullet!

    Reply
  • June 1, 2016 at 9:28 am
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    Honestly, I would do best with someone about 10% within my own income either plus or minus. Not that I want someone to provide for me but that we would have the same goals for what type of life we would want to live.

    Reply
    • June 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm
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      Yeah it’s hard to date someone when you’re living drastically different lifestyles. It’s always going to be a source of conflict when it comes down to splitting expense, but also just wanting to do things they can’t afford to do, like vacations and the like.

      Reply

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