Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Have Cold Feet Because My Boyfriend Can’t Financially Support Me”

Much money 07

I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half now. I’m 39 and he is 44. His parents got a divorce when he was at the tender age of four (he was and is an only child). His mother was unhappy and not ready to be a mother, so she abandoned him for the next ten years and was not a part of his life. To this day she calls him weekly but he does not have any motherly connection with her, which he often feels guilty about.

My boyfriend lived with his father and is not financially successful or stable. He studied law and has a JD, but he has not been able to pass the bar. Last year he was 36 points away from passing. He does legal translation a few times a week, making an average of 2k a month. He has some consumer debt and student loan debt, but I don’t know the amount of either. I do know that every time Sallie Mae calls him, he hangs up on the lender. He wants to marry me and has given me an engagement ring, but I am having cold feet because of his debt. I don’t feel safe starting a life with him. I am not the type to go in 50/50. I think the man should be the sole provider.

Despite his financial situation, he is a good person which is rare to come by as per my experience. I want to get married before I turn 40 in May (but don’t see that happening). I want marriage (I always have) but don’t want children due to a few health problems. Considering my age and no desire for kids, I know the pool of men is very small. I’m confused as to what the right thing to do is. Help me sort this out. Thoughts? — Cold Feet

My thoughts are: Why on earth is a woman who is months away from turning 40 so concerned about finding a man to financially support her? You’ve been an adult for roughly twenty years. Who’s been supporting you all this time? I assume you’re been supporting yourself at least part of these last two decades, and, if that’s the case, why would you suddenly not be able to or not want to do that once you’re married? It would be one thing if you hope to have children and want to be a stay-at-home mom, though even then I would hope you would want to at least maintain skills and the ability to support yourself if something ever happened to your husband or your marriage. But, you don’t want kids! You just…want to be a housewife and be financially supported 100%?

Ok, fine, so you want to be financially supported 100%. Well, this man isn’t going to do that. At least, not right now. Maybe eventually he will get a well-paying position and be able to support you in the way you want him to. Or, maybe he won’t. Maybe you’ll meet and marry someone else who is already in a well-paying position and will already be able to provide the lifestyle you want. But maybe THAT person loses his job one day and can no longer provide for you. All kinds of things can happen, really, to change a person’s or a couple’s or a family’s financial position. Being cautious about marrying someone who carries a lot of debt is wise, as is knowing how a person manages his money. But to marry someone simply because he can be the “sole provider,” or to not marry someone simply because he isn’t currently in a position to 100% financially support you is… well, it’s incredibly short-sighted, and it says a lot about your values.

I’m also concerned that you have seemingly agreed to marry someone without discussing things like the amount of debt he has and what your financial future together looks like. Does your boyfriend know you want to be financially supported 100%? Have you talked about what you each want your roles to be in the marriage? Does he support your desire to be a housewife? If you haven’t discussed these very pertinent issues, as well as these other topics, he should never have asked you to marry him and you should never have said yes. You don’t know each other well enough. You may love each other and may be good companions and even share some similar values and interests, but you clearly aren’t ready to share your lives together.

I answered a similar question to yours a few years ago, and my advice remains the same:

“If money is important to you — and it’s important to most of us! — then why shouldn’t it be a reason to end a relationship if there isn’t a financial match?? If, on the other hand, you see more value in other things he can provide: companionship, emotional support, etc., then maybe you’ll decide that the money issue isn’t a deal-breaker. But that’s a decision you have to make and you need to be aware going into a potential marriage what your boyfriend will and will not be able to provide you.”

If you’re looking for the situation to change and for your boyfriend to suddenly be the financial provider you desire, that’s probably not going to happen. But what CAN change is your perspective and your communication with him. You have to decide how important the money thing is, and how realistic it is to find someone else who not only can be a sole provider, but wants to be a sole provider for a 40-year-old woman who doesn’t want children (arguably, most men who are able and willing to be sole providers are looking for women who want kids, with the idea that, if they are the sole provider, their wives are the main caregiver to the children).

If you think there’s a better match out there for you, do your boyfriend the favor of letting him know now that you’re out. But if you think your boyfriend is actually a good match and that you can continue supporting yourself as you have been, in addition to enjoying whatever financial contribution he can make to the household after the debt is paid off, consider that a life with him may be a happier one than any other you might have with someone else.

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

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

54 comments… add one
  • avatar

    jlyfsh October 5, 2015, 9:24 am

    Seems sad to just stay with him because the pool is small. And though you think the pool is small due to not wanting kids and your age, I’m guessing that your attitude is going to be the thing that really shrinks that pool. I agree with Wendy that at almost 40 what does you wanting to be provided for mean? You basically want early retirement? And if you have always known you wanted that why date this man to begin with? If you’ve been dating with marriage in mind you should have passed on this man long ago. I also don’t really detect much care/love in your letter beyond you saying he’s a good man.

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  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine October 5, 2015, 9:25 am

    At 39 with no desire for kids the pool of men is pretty large, just saying. I can’t imagine wanting to be 100% supported someone else. You’re an able bodied adult, your financial stability is your own responsibility. I’d be more concerned about him hanging up on creditors than anything else-he clearly doesn’t have his debt under control. Is he struggling with mental health issues? You mention a lot of family stuff from more than 30 years ago. I’d imagine that a child abandoned by his mom could have significant obstacles to establishing a healthy sense of self worth, trust, etc. If your guy is struggling he should seek the help of a therapist.

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  • kmtthat

    kmentothat October 5, 2015, 9:29 am

    “I think the man should be the sole provider.” And, you don’t want kids, you literally want to be a stay at home 40 year old trophy wife.
    .
    I will not now, nor will I ever, respect someone who is this sexist and entitled. LW, I don’t care about you at all. And I can see with attitude why you are 40 and never married. Get a grip, You are owed NOTHING. Find a rich guy to support you if that’s what you want (but really, the chances of that are SO SO slim for you, seriously) or try to find a guy who is your partner.
    .
    It may not be this guy, and I am all for fully disclosing debt, credit scores, criminal histories, etc. before getting engaged let alone married. I would be hesitant to marry someone with a huge amount of debt and no way to really pay it off because it would impede on my other dreams (home ownership, travel, independence, healthy retirement savings). But NOT because I’m like shucks, I can’t sit on my butt all day while he works. It’s ok to break it off…and really, you should.
    .
    TLDR; get a grip and take responsibility for your own life. Because that magical deux ex machina ain’t happening. NOT. AT. ALL.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie October 5, 2015, 9:35 am

    You believe the man should take care of the woman? What year is this 1953? Did you spend a couple years working in the munitions factory helping out the boys overseas and now you’re ready to play happy homemaker?

    If you want a marraige based on mutual respect and affection – marry for love. If you want a marriage that is a business arrangement, marry someone who can provide for you. But make sure that person has insurance out the whazoo because unless he owns the bank and all it’s contents – then no job, no circumstances and no situations are permanent. One medical issue could wreck your finances and you might find yourself not able to sit and eat bon bons all day.

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  • avatar

    eelliinnss October 5, 2015, 9:41 am

    Yikes, LW, I was kinda with you up until… “I am not the type to go in 50/50. I think the man should be the sole provider.”
    .
    Wut? If you want a man to fully support you, you have to find one who is already in the position to do so. Trying to turn your current boyfriend into a sole provider is idiotic and will likely only lead to disappointment. Have you helped him study for the Bar? Have you helped him make connections or pushed him toward a different career path that might better suit him? Probably not since you expect him to do all the work… Get a grip, and a job.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice October 5, 2015, 9:50 am

    I fully agree with everything Wendy has said. How have you supported yourself all these years? Or have you not been, and your family has been until you find someone else who will? Being a house wife is not all it’s cracked up to be. I am a house wife and stay at home mom by choice. And let me tell you, sometimes it would be easier to have a 9 to 5 job. But my husband and I decided this path for numerous reasons, the #1 reason being that child care is too Damon expensive where I live, and my whole paycheck would be going to a child care center. So I would not be able to financially contribute to the household anyway. And we do not want strangers raising our daughter.
    You on the other hand, just want to take an early retirement and stay at home while your boyfriend/ future husband works to provide a comfortable environment for you.
    You need to look at how only having one income will effect your lifestyle as well. It is very hard to get by on one income if our partner does not have a very well paying job.
    Besides everything else I have said (sorry, I completely got off topic again), you should have left this man, or passed him by if all you care about is being supported and taken care of by someone. Let this man find someone who is a better match for him. Because, financially, you are not it. You also do not seem to really care about this man either. You just seem to care about his money. If that is the case, go find someone to be your sugar daddy. Because this man is not it. From what you say about him, he seems like a sweet guy. Let a sweet woman find him, and they make their life together, while you find a sugar daddy to support you and your desires.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo October 5, 2015, 9:50 am

    Oh yeah? Well, I think the woman should be sole provider! My wife is such a slacker! She makes me work all day and I don’t have any time to watch my stories. i literally have no idea what’s been going on on Jerry Springer or Maury! Sheesh! Join the modern world, take care of your end of things and don’t rely on a man or anyone to carry the can for you. Whether you feel confident to marry this guy is not very interesting to me. I’m dumbstruck that anyone still holds your views. I’m telling feminism on you!

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    • avatar

      allegrofox October 5, 2015, 9:56 am

      You are the best. That is all 🙂

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    • othy

      othy October 5, 2015, 10:10 am

      Diablo, you’d be happy to know that I am the sole provider currently. But, I insist my husband go to school rather than stay at home and watch his stories on the telly. And I still expect dinner on the table promptly when I get home at five, the house spotless, and the (non-existent) children to be clean, happy, and smiling. Then, after we eat dinner and pretend to be one happy family, I retreat to my den for a stiff drink and a cigar and don’t acknowledge my husband/kids for the rest of the night. Because that’s totally the world we live in?

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      • Diablo

        Diablo October 5, 2015, 10:31 am

        Over the years, we’ve had situations where one or the other was the sole provider. We have also alternated as to who makes the most. I had a higher salary for about 5 years, but right now M makes half again what i do (though apparently not enough for me to be a kept man). Our rule has always been 100% effort toward the cause by both of us, whether you are unemployed or raking in the shekels. It’s not rocket science – just work hard and do your best. In that sense, i am 100% supported and so is she.

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      • avatar

        Cleopatra Jones October 5, 2015, 10:37 am

        Um, your husband totally needs to bring your slippers and smoking robe to you in the den. How can you enjoy that cigar and two fingers of brandy without the appropriate attire??
        .
        Your hubby is totally lax in his husband-ly duties!

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      • othy

        othy October 5, 2015, 10:50 am

        Maybe it is the whole school thing. I should force him to drop out (two months before graduation) so that way he has time to warm my slippers and clean my robe before bringing it into my den.

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  • avatar

    Ron October 5, 2015, 9:55 am

    The pool is small, because you are of the generation when men stopped wanting to marry financial leeches and marriage ideals turned to a partnership between equals. No, men do not have a duty to 100% support their non-child-caring wives. Unless your goal in life is to be totally subservient to your husband, you may find that you also don’t like your end of the bargain, because a lot of the few-100% supporter men left tend in that direction. This hasn’t become an issue with current guy, precisely because he recognizes that no woman in her right mind could possibly assume that he would 100% financially support her. Look for a guy who supports you 100% emotionally, loves you, can be your best friend, whom you find sexually appealing, and who is willing to pull his share of the load, which doesn’t need to be 50-50, but you need to be prepared to do your part. You are living a myth. The life you seek is the one that thinking women rebelled against as being too boring, too demeaning, and too sacrificial of self. And back in the day, those women had a neighborhood or country club full of similar women to socialize with when their husbands were working. Those days are gone and those women are now either working or wrapped up in childcare. How do you actually visualize yourself spending your days as a 100% supported woman?

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  • othy

    othy October 5, 2015, 10:06 am

    LW, I am totally sympathetic for your for your concerns about your lack of knowledge of the extent of his consumer and student debt (particularly the student debt – if he went to law school it wouldn’t surprise me if it was large). I am also sympathetic to your concerns about him simply hanging up on collection calls. It would also be a red flag to me if he was getting collection calls, since that means he is quite far behind on his payments, which could spell out big financial problems for you if you did marry him.
    .
    However, you entirely lose my sympathy when you say you want to be supported 100% by him. Who does that? What would you do all day? Wouldn’t you be bored out of your mind? Do you honestly think two people could be fully supported on $24,000 a year with loads of debt? Out of curiosity, are you currently working? Are you making more than he is? Why would you want to put yourself in a spot where you were completely reliant on another person? That just sounds like a terrible life, but maybe I’m just too much of a feminist.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo October 5, 2015, 10:38 am

      Too much of a feminist is someone who think men should be kept in pens for reproductive purposes only, who thinks that male bloodlines should be lost and that women should not tell men who their children are, and that men and women should possibly occupy different contintents. (Yes, i once dated this woman. Briefly.) You are just asking why a woman would willingly make herself a dependent victim of fate without a purpose of her own when she doesn’t have to.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover October 5, 2015, 2:23 pm

        That’s no kind of feminist, that’s a misandrist.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo October 5, 2015, 3:38 pm

        That’s NOT what she said…

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover October 5, 2015, 3:45 pm

        Oh I know she didn’t. It’s extremely frustrating when people who have no interest at all in equality try to hijack a movement whose whole purpose is equality.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo October 5, 2015, 5:19 pm

        I know what you are saying but the challenge is that our language/terminology becomes so quickly debased and politicized that even getting people to agree on terms is daunting. I know what you mean when you say the purpose of the movement is equality. But there are large numbers of people who call themselves feminists who do not appear to value equality as highly as you. To the average person, they are feminists because they call themselves that, and feminism as an idea becomes somewhat debased by this in the broad culture. (No pun intended on “broad.”) Same as how Westboro Baptists are considered part of Christianity even though their views are in my view not only unChristian, but whackadoody. Misandry is an even more embattled term, one that I basically never use, because it tends to be consistently misused by disenfranchised AVFMers and other nutjobs with axes to grind.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover October 5, 2015, 5:36 pm

        I agree with you. That’s why I try to call out non-equality as non-feminism whenever possible. Trying to fight the ignorance. 🙂 Not to mention that the only people I’ve ever met who agree with calling that feminism are 1) the people doing it and 2) people trying to discredit feminism. So obviously it’s an uphill battle with those two groups.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo October 5, 2015, 6:10 pm

        Fight the Good Fight, Sister Soldier!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom October 5, 2015, 10:07 am

    I’m not sure the LW intends to quit working. She wants her future husband to pay for all of their expenses. I’m wondering if she wants to keep her money for herself and his money would become their money. I’m not sure there are many men who would go for that these days.
    .
    We have two couple friends where the husbands lost their jobs and ended up retiring sooner than expected because when you are 55 or older if you go back to school and take classes for a couple of years you will have less than ten years to pay off the loans. It isn’t financially worth it and so they retired. There is no guarantee that a man or woman who is making a good income today will still be making a good income in ten years.
    .
    The LW and her fiance definitely need to talk about their individual expectations of marriage and she needs to know how much debt he has. Maybe they will never be able to marry. Maybe, at best, they should live together and keep their money and debt separate. If she wants marriage to a financially secure man she needs to move on.
    .
    If she marries a man with kids he will probably write a will that leaves most or all of his assets to his kids. Even if he supports her through the marriage she could be in serious trouble if he dies first. Another good reason to keep working!

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh October 5, 2015, 10:31 am

      Has that ever been a thing? Where both people work but one pays for everything? I can’t imagine anyone ever being ok with that. And if that is what she’s looking for I’m going to guess she’ll never find anyone.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy October 5, 2015, 10:44 am

        It’s definitely a thing! I remember having an Uber driver recently discuss with me how this was the arrangement in his marriage. Both he and his wife worked, but he said in his culture a man never takes money from a woman, so everything his wife made was hers to keep and he alone was solely responsible for all the family and household expenses. He also told me that in his culture, a man will only marry a virgin and he was asking my advice (I told him I was a relationship advice columnist) for his 40+-year-old buddy who was having trouble finding a virgin to marry. “They’ve all had sex before!” he cried. I told him that since they were modern women, they probably wouldn’t expect or want their prospective husband to pay for everything, and wouldn’t that be a relief?

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 5, 2015, 10:53 am

        Man I did things wrong! 😛 I could be using my money for whatever while someone else pays the bills!!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy October 5, 2015, 10:56 am

        Totally! And your husband wouldn’t resent you at all. And you wouldn’t have any trouble respecting him either.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph October 5, 2015, 11:04 am

        It positively horrifies me that your Uber driver saw fit to discuss the state of the modern hymen with you. I live in a driving city and have had very few Uber experiences (all on vacation) and every single one of them has been creepy… but that takes the cake!

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      • avatar

        artsygirl October 5, 2015, 1:33 pm

        I had an Uber driver tell me that he was impressed that ‘old people’ could use the app – I pointed out that I was 29 years old…

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover October 5, 2015, 2:26 pm

        Yes, I work with a team overseas in China and this is common in their culture as well. The man has the responsibility for the bills. Women work, and get paid well, but don’t have the responsibility so all their money is theirs. It may be changing now that things are getting more expensive there, just as it changed here for us. I know a lot of Chinese people who live here now, and they split bills just like we do, even though they didn’t grow up that way.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice October 5, 2015, 10:16 am

    I do think that you have this idea in your head that all you will be doing all day is watching soap opera’s and drinking wine, eating tea cakes and everything is lah di dah. Well get a reality check woman. It’s cooking and cleaning, scrubbing the floors. Dusting, vacuuming, laundry. Balancing the check book and trying to stay on your monthly budget. Fixing things that break or go wrong because they can’t wait for your husband to come home. And so many many more responsibilities. This is not the life you see on T.V. We do work very hard at maintaining the home front. And yes, money is always a big concern, because you are living on one income. So if the water heater breaks today, you better have money to replace it. Etc.
    Also, I have a career I can go back to if need be. What will you do? Look for your husband’s replacement? Move up to a richer guy who will hire you a maid so you can sit on your butt all day?
    Throughout your whole letter you only seem concerned about money. Well go out there and make some of your own. And again, break up with your boyfriend, you obviously want different things, things you will not get from each other.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy October 5, 2015, 10:49 am

      Yep, I do both: work about 40% of the week and the rest of the time I’m doing the SAHM thing. Granted, I work for myself and the work I do is work I enjoy and don’t find too draining, etc., but still: work vs. doing housework and child care is SO much easier. I am very happy with the set-up and incredibly grateful I get to spend as much time as I do with my kids, but there are days when I watch Drew leave for work and I really wish it were me going away, getting a break from the domestic drink and him staying home doing the cooking and cleaning and child-caring (and he wishes that were the case sometimes, too).

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph October 5, 2015, 10:59 am

      Great point! Staying home, unless you have the kind of money to outsource all domestic duties is still not being “supported 100%.” Because not all support is monetary, some of it is the cooking and cleaning and waiting for the washing machine repair man and you better believe if one spouse works and makes all the $ it’s the other spouse who’s dropping everything to deal with a water leak or an elderly parent who needs a ride to the doctor. You’re just trading one type of work for another.

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      • avatar

        PumpkinSpice October 5, 2015, 12:18 pm

        I wish I had some time to myself sometimes. Right now the Lil one is napping, and I still have a boatload of things to get done. So I have about 30 minutes to throw dinner into the slow cooker, wash the dishes, sterilize the bottles, fold the laundry, sweep the floors, vacuum the living room, and clean the bathroom. I better get started. Ugh….see you guys/girls later. My 5 minute break is over.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 October 5, 2015, 10:28 am

    Hilarious that you started dating him because you thought he was going to be a lawyer soon and you would be living the life, but now that hasn’t happened quick enough you want out. Do him a favor and get out.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice October 5, 2015, 10:32 am

    Skyblossom you are right about the debt. Being in debt stinks. And the collection calls can get very annoying. LW you are right to be concerned here. Money management is a very bid deal whether you are married, single or in a serious relationship. One of the most important things are being on the same page financially. And when you are in a serious relationship, and especially if you are looking to be married, finances should always be discussed. You also need to have a backup plan for things that you hope won’t happen. But you also need to be upfront with your partner about your views on the roles you have in the relationship. If you do want to be 100% supported, then you need to let that be known. If you do not believe in 50/50 partnership, you need to let that be known, or you will end up in a relationship that is not what you want. And using your age as an excuse to stay in a relationship is bull. Find someone better suited to your needs. There are many dating websites out there. So start looking for the partner you want. Because staying in a relationship without love is very heartbreaking for the two people involved.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph October 5, 2015, 10:39 am

    Agree with everyone. You have two problems, one of them is a stupid problem.

    1) Your boyfriend is cagey about his debt/finances. This is a real problem, for two reasons. First, in terms of trust and openness in a relationship he is definitely hiding something from you. And second, because you can be held responsible to his debt (check the laws for your state) which can affect your ability to buy a house, open a credit card, and could be on the hook paying for it if something happened to him. As Wendy says, it’s not shallow or money grubbing to decide you are financially incompatible.

    2) You want to be supported 100% and your boyfriend doesn’t make enough to support you. This is a stupid problem created by your own warped mind. But, if it’s really how you feel, then break up with him. He’s not in a position to support you, so if that’s really what is most important to you, go find someone who can. (Hint: there aren’t many, and most of them probably would run- not walk- away from a golddigger like you)

    Sorry, this is harsh… I just can’t with this 1950s unfeminist bullshit.

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  • CurlyQue

    CurlyQue October 5, 2015, 10:59 am

    I just wanted to mention, because i don’t see that any one has yet, that i think it’s a red flag that your bf is 44 yrs old and lives with his father and is not financially stable. You also mention that he’s not financially successful but i think it’s a bigger deal that he’s not financially stable at his age, and that he lives with his father. Does he help care for his father, and that is why he hasn’t been able to keep steady work, or study harder for the bar exam? If that’s the case than i think that makes sense. But if he’s just living off his father, while being a “man-child” then i’d say that in and of itself is enough to end this relationship. I also agree that you’re acting like a naive child wanting to play “princess” when you say you’re not the type to go in 50/50.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar October 5, 2015, 11:09 am

    You’re targeting the wrong demographic. What you want is called a sugar daddy. You are too old to be sugar baby so you might have to skew older with less money. Think less young lawyer and think more 60+ year old accountant with an ex wife and child support/kids in university. Not sure what he would want in return. Something though. Or one of those quiver full people. They like their wives at home. No kids for you so maybe a widower with 12 kids already? He’ll expect you to mind them though.
    This isn’t a something for nothing kind of world. You have to trade something to be a kept woman and have a man trade his money for you. Sex, youth, prestige, labour… What do you have to trade?

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    • avatar

      Simonthegrey October 8, 2015, 6:54 pm

      Gas, ass, or grass. Nobody rides free.

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      • cricket

        cricket October 12, 2015, 9:57 pm

        hahahaa!!!

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  • avatar

    K October 5, 2015, 11:18 am

    Do you even love this man? Everything else aside, you say he is a “good man” and that’s it. Are you happy in the relationship? There doesn’t seem to be any passion in your letter. If you aren’t happy, get out and find someone else – but don’t expect the next guy to fully support you, either.

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  • avatar

    Gwen Soul October 5, 2015, 11:44 am

    I have no problem with her wanting to be supported as long as she is upfront about that with whoever she is dating. It doesn’t sound like this is the guy for her though and if that is because they aren’t on the same page about work and money that seems perfectly all right to me since so many fights are about those 2 things. It seems like they have lots to discuss and agree on if they want to get married though and it really just seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ October 5, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Wow. A 44-year old law school graduate who cannot pass the bar, lives with his dad and is dodging collection calls isn’t going to be your sugar daddy, LW.
    .
    As for being supported by a man, to each her own, I suppose, and if you can find a man who will do it, then your life, your choices.
    .
    However, if you’re really serious about this, then (a) you need to look at the 55 (probably even 60) and up crowd – basically, men who are looking to trade in their 50 year old wives for a younger model; (b) you need to be in tip top shape – trophy wives have a certain standard to which they must adhere and (c) you need to be prepared to be dumped in about 10 years for the next younger model, so plan accordingly.
    .
    Good luck to you. I doubt that marrying at 40 for money is going to make you happy, but, frankly, marrying this broke dude isn’t going to make you happy, either, so you might as well go after what it is that you think you want.

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  • avatar

    Ele4phant October 5, 2015, 12:33 pm

    I’m trying really hard to respect your desire to be supported and have the “Good for you, not for me” attitude but I am really struggling to. It strikes me as very regressive, and that there are women out there still demanding that from some men is hurtful to all women. I mean, for gods sake no one wants to work, but you know, a two income household is pretty much standard now, and it’s a big burden to put on one person to support their spouse just because they don’t want to work. If the stay at home parent is taking care of children that’s one thing, that’s definitely different – the stay at home parent is adding value and depending on the local childcare costs, sometimes the most economical choice.

    But regardless of my feelings, if you want a husband that can support you (and support you to the level of your comfort) this isn’t your guy. If he hasn’t gotten his shit together at this point in his life, he’s not going to. So you either accept him for who he is and continue to work (and accept that marrying him means you will shoulder all of his debt and bad fiscal habits), or you end the relationship and find someone who can give you what you want.

    Honestly, even if you weren’t looking for someone to be your provider, I would advice you to think real hard about legally hitching yourself to this guy. It sounds like he has really bad money habits with no plan to resolve them. You marry him his money problems become your money problems.

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  • mylaray

    Mylaray October 5, 2015, 12:38 pm

    I think everyone has pretty much covered it, but I think maybe this woman might be from a different culture? Otherwise I really can’t see why she would expect a man to provide for her. My parents had/have a similar arrangement and it made me realize I wanted nothing to do with that and actually wanted to be the breadwinner. Still, I don’t think culture, if that is at play, is really an excuse.

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  • avatar

    MiMi October 5, 2015, 12:59 pm

    LW, predicating your future on what someone else is going to do and provide is a false and unrealistic fantasy. Your partner is who he is and his potential earning potential is a crock. He doesn’t owe you a living and he certainly hasn’t shown any signs that he wants to provide one, so if you’re trying to fix or manage him and the situation, just stop. Look inside for the reasons why you’ve boxed yourself into a very narrow standard of how your future life should look (you even have a “sell-by” date, for crying out loud!). Life is messy and unpredictable and it’s passing before your eyes right now. You need to be open to more than the one path in which you can see yourself happy and thriving in the future, man or no man, kid or no kid, job or no job.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 October 5, 2015, 1:07 pm

    LW, there’s independence and influence that come from making money. If your spouse is the sole provider, he is also the sole decision-maker. He may choose to listen to your feelings, but he could also choose not to, just because there’s nothing you can do about it. There is security in knowing the other person can’t buy a new car without financial contribution from you, and being able to withhold that support.

    That said, don’t marry anyone who deals with his debt by hanging up the phone! You know what debt does when ignored? It GROWS.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl October 5, 2015, 2:02 pm

    LW – I am going to assume that you and your fiance have already discussed the idea that he will financially support you and will therefore not address that in my response.

    My advice is first off to toss out the idea of getting married before you are 40 this spring. That date literally means nothing and just added stress to your situation.

    Second, it sounds like you and your BF need to really sit down and discuss your finances. You need to know how much debt (both credit card and student loan) he is currently carrying and what are his plans for paying it back (payback in 20 years, 30 years, etc). You also need to figure out a backup plan if he is unable to pass the bar. I know in my state it costs well over $500 to take the test so each time he does not pass you are taking a financial hit. If he cannot pass the test, does he plan to get regular work as a mediator, a paralegal, etc or does he want to continue picking up irregular jobs as a contractor. Also, I know you do not plan to work after the wedding, but are your bringing anything to the marriage. Do you own a house, have debt or savings, etc? That all needs to be factored into your future.

    After you figure that out, you need to meet with a financial planner. Your fiance is 44 years old and that means he will likely want to retire in 20 – 25 years. Will you be able to save enough money to accomplish that especially if you are planning on only having a single income?

    I have a lot of other questions including, are you living or planning on moving in with your FIL? If so, what will happen to the house if he needs to move into a care home? Are you working now and if so would it be possible to change to part time or even seasonal so you can maintain some financial independence? If financially you and your fiance are unable to make a single income work, how easy would it be for you to reenter the workforce? I strongly encourage you both to sit down with a professional planner before you make any financial decisions. They can tell you the feasibility of your plan better than I and would hopefully help you get your financial house in order.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark October 5, 2015, 7:04 pm

    So much for women’s lib, eh…

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeysmommy October 6, 2015, 9:28 am

    LW,
    You should stay with your SO. At first, I planned to tell you to lace up those Nikes and starting running like hell, phrases like “44 and lives with his father” tend to invoke that reaction. But then you dropped gems like “I want to be supported 100%” and “I am not the 50/50 type”, and I realized you are indeed meant to be together, because no other self respecting person with a good head on their shoulders or any ambitions would tolerate either of you two leaches. You are almost 40 LW- grow the hell up. You are not some 20 year old sugar baby, no man is just going to scoop you up and take care of you forever. If you wanted kids, you might have a leg to stand on, but stay at home wife with nothing else…??

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  • avatar

    Married by Elvis October 6, 2015, 12:34 pm

    A 44 year old JD who can’t pass the bar is not likely ever to have a high paying as this LW seems to want. Even if he passes the bar, he’s competing with apparently hungrier grads who are 20 years younger. The legal profession is hard to get into these days, even for hard-working, smart grads from good schools who pass the bar the first time.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy October 7, 2015, 5:40 am

    From the LW:

    Thank you for the response, Wendy. It was a much needed rude awakening. Just wanted to clarify a few things I left out…

    My thoughts are: why on earth is a woman who is months away from turning 40 so concerned about finding a man to financially support her?

    THAT IS HOW IT IS IN MY CULTURE AND MAKES A MAN A MAN IN MY EYES. OTHERWISE YOU ARE ROOMMATES. THIS IS NOT TO SAY I WOULDN’T WORK. I HAVE BEEN WORKING SINCE I WAS 16 AND DON’T INTEND ON STOPPING. IDEALLY I WOULD LIKE TO HANDLE MY SELF CARE AND THINGS I BUY FOR MYSELF BUT WOULD LIKE MY FUTURE HUSBAND TO TAKE CARE OF OTHER BILLS SUCH AS UTILITIES, INSURANCE, GROCERIES AND THINGS OF THE LIKE.

    You’ve been an adult for roughly 20 years. Who’s been supporting you all this time? I assume you’re been supporting yourself at least part of these last two decades and if that’s the case, why would you suddenly not be able to or not want to do that once you’re married?

    I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK AND SPEND MONEY ON MYSELF THE WAY I ALWAYS HAVE.

    It would be one thing if you hope to have children and want to be a stay-at-home mom, though even then I would hope you would want to at least maintain skills and the ability to support yourself if something ever happened to your husband or your marriage. I MOST DEFINITELY WILL. But, you don’t want kids! You just… want to be a housewife and be financially supported

    100%? NO, I DON’T WANT TO BE A “HOUSE WIFE”, BUT WOULD LOVE THE LUXURY OF NOT HAVING TO WORK FULL TIME. PART TIME WOULD BE GREAT.

    Ok, fine, so you want to be financially supported 100%. Well, this man isn’t going to do that. At least, not right now. Maybe eventually he will get a well-paying position and be able to support you in the way you want him to. Or, maybe he won’t.

    HOPEFULLY AS THAT IS HIS PLAN. WE ARE OF THE SAME CULTURE.

    Maybe you’ll meet and marry someone else who is already in a well-paying position and will already be able to provide the lifestyle you want. But maybe THAT person loses his job one day and can no longer provide for you. All kinds of things can happen, really, to change a person’s or a couple’s or a family’s financial position.

    ABSOLUTELY.

    Being cautious about marrying someone who carries a lot of debt is wise, as is knowing how a person manages his money. But to marry someone simply because he can be the “sole provider,” or to not marry someone simply because he isn’t currently in a position to 100% financially support you is… well, it’s incredibly short-sighted, and it says a lot about your values.

    I WILL PAY FOR SOMETHINGS.

    I’m also concerned that you have seemingly agreed to marry someone without discussing things like the amount of debt he has and what your financial future together looks like.

    JUST FOUND OUT HE IS 135,000 IN DEBT (100,000 OF WHICH IS STUDENT LOANS; THE REST CONSUMER DEBT).

    Does your boyfriend know you want to be financially supported 100%?

    YES.

    Have you talked about what you each want your roles to be in the marriage?

    WE JUST DID.

    Does he support your desire to be a housewife?

    I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK.

    If you haven’t discussed these very pertinent issues, as well as these other topics, he should never have asked you to marry him and you should never have said yes. You don’t know each other well enough. You may love each other and may be good companions and even share some similar values and interests, but you clearly aren’t ready to share your lives together.
    I answered a similar question to yours a few years ago, and my advice remains the same:
    “If money is important to you — and it’s important to most of us! — then why shouldn’t it be a reason to end a relationship if there isn’t a financial match??

    BECAUSE MOST MEN THAT DON’T WANT CHILDREN, DON’T WANT MARRIAGE. PLUS THEY RATHER MARRY YOUNGER.

    If, on the other hand, you see more value in other things he can provide: companionship, emotional support, etc., then maybe you’ll decide that the money issue isn’t a deal-breaker. YES. But that’s a decision you have to make and you need to be aware going into a potential marriage what your boyfriend will and will not be able to provide you.”

    ABSOLUTELY NOT RUSHING IN TO MARRIAGE UNTIL HE GETS A WELL PAYING JOB. PLUS HE IS GOING TO TAKE THE BAR AGAIN IN FEBRUARY (WHICH HE WILL HOPEFULLY PASS). IF NOT, I HAVE AND ALWAYS ENCOURAGE A PLAN B.

    If you’re looking for the situation to change and for your boyfriend to suddenly be the financial provider you desire, that’s probably not going to happen. But what CAN change is your perspective and your communication with him. You have to decide how important the money thing is, and how realistic it is to find someone else who not only can be a sole provider, but wants to be a sole provider for a 40-year-old woman who doesn’t want children (arguably, most men who able and willing to be sole providers are looking for women who want kids, with the idea that if they are the sole provider, their wives are the main caregiver to the children).

    TRUE.

    If you think there’s a better match out there for you, do your boyfriend the favor of letting him know now that you’re out. But if you think your boyfriend is actually a good match and that you can continue supporting yourself as you have been, in addition to enjoying whatever financial contribution he can make to the household after he debt is paid off, consider that a life with him may be a happier one than any other you might have with someone else.

    INDEED.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom October 7, 2015, 7:22 am

      Don’t get married, or even engaged, until he has drastically paid down his debt. At the moment you get married his debt becomes your debt whether you intend for him to support you or not. Legally it won’t matter whether you both intended for him to financially support you. Legally his debt will be half yours. Especially since you don’t want to have children there is no reason to rush to marriage. It actually sounds like you are settling because you think you can’t do better.

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  • avatar

    usa2elsewhere November 25, 2017, 12:41 am

    The man should NOT be sole provider of a family, especially of a wife able to earn. Wife’s income is usually a little more important than husbands. I’ve figured out why.

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