Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Do I Make Enough Money to Date?”

I am neurodiverse and can only hold down temp roles. I’ve recently given up on internet dating (as I’ve been lectured a lot re. my career since I put in the bio that I temp and am an aspiring filmmaker but people see also that I have a masters and they expect me to be earning money).

At the moment I am attending free dating events and am planning to attend one paid dating event per month such as speed dating with an activity. The reason I am not online anymore is partly due to the fact that I feel I have only two options: 1) to be honest about my education and get flack from men and women re. my path in life; or 2) to leave off my education and not be entirely truthful.

I’d really like to find someone and settle down and have a family. I worry that I won’t be accepted by a partner due to my low income. I am trying to set up my own business (due to having problems gaining permanent work despite a good degree and having a masters in sciences). However, I worry about settling down and the business not getting off the ground.

I don’t want to have casual relationships; I want to have something long-term. Do I put dating on hold and only start dating when the business starts? (It’s slightly dodgy as I am 36 and might be too old to start a family by the time I find someone.) Sometimes I feel like it would be unfair to any potential child because only one party would be able to contribute money-wise towards it’s upbringing. Any thoughts? — Neurodiverse and Dating

While I commend your thinking about the future, I think you’re getting way too caught up on details and would be wise to focus more on taking one step at a time in the here and now while keeping a big picture in mind for the next five to ten years. Worrying about how a potential child might fare with only one parent financially contributing to the household when you haven’t even met your potential match yet and don’t know what your own career and financial status will be in the years to come, let alone what your partner’s story might be, is a waste of energy, and I would imagine it is distracting you from your goals.

You don’t need to put any of your goals on hold. You don’t have to stop dating until your business gets off the ground or becomes successful. You don’t have to have a certain income before you seek a match. You are enough just as you are right now. You’re a work in progress, like we all are, and there isn’t a threshold you have to reach before you qualify for love or a relationship. You, exactly how and who you are right this minute — with your level of education, your role as a temp, your dreams for your future, your neurodiversity, all of it — is worthy and deserving of love, and there is absolutely no reason you should not seek the love and relationship you desire right now if you feel ready for it.

But here’s the thing: The search for romantic love and a long-term, satisfying relationship isn’t always smooth. In fact, it usually isn’t. There are hurdles and roadblocks and dead ends for most of us, regardless of income or education or how our brain compares to others. If you want to avoid getting hurt or starting a relationship that will eventually end, then, yeah, you should probably avoid dating completely. But don’t avoid it because you think you’re different or because you can’t offer what you think most people are looking for; avoid it because you aren’t ready for the challenge yet of finding the person or people who are looking for what you have to offer. It’s very important to know and to understand the difference.

If you go into dating thinking that if you can’t be a match for more than like 50% of the people you meet (whether it be online of off), you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. None of us is a match for more than 50% of the people we meet. We’re lucky if we connect with 10% and really match with like 2-3%. It’s all a numbers game, and online dating allows you to cast a slightly wider net and increase the number a little bit. And you don’t have to share your education or your job or your income potential in your bio! Do you lead with that when you meet someone in person? (I would hope not.) Share what some of your hobbies are, how you enjoy spending your time, a favorite place you like to visit or hang out. All a bio should do is provide some sense of a person’s interests and a hint of his or her personality so that, along with a photo, others can decide if they’re curious enough to learn more. If you get end up going on a date, you can share more about your education and what you do for a living and your goals for the future in the context of who you are, the big picture.

For some people, who you are won’t be what they’re looking for and that’s ok. Some people won’t be who you’re looking for either. That doesn’t make any of you less worthy of love or a relationship. You are worthy. Just how you are right now. Age, income, career progress, or any of that fairly superficial stuff will not make you more or less worthy of love, and while these parameters may change who you might match with and attract, what’s most important for connecting to another person will never change, and that’s the core of who you are: your soul, your spirit, that intangible thing that makes you you. So, if you’re ready, go for it! The worst that will happen is you get hurt or feel rejected. But the best that can happen far outweighs that, and it is worth the risk in my opinion.

Related: “Should I Tell My Boyfriend About My Debt?” and “My Boyfriend Doesn’t Make Enough Money”

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

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

41 comments… add one
  • courtney89

    courtney89 September 11, 2018, 10:22 am

    You, exactly how and who you are right this minute — with your level of education, your role as a temp, your dreams for your future, your neurodiversity, all of it — is worthy and deserving of love, and there is absolutely no reason you should not seek the love and relationship you desire right now if you feel ready for it.

    Love this sentiment and should probably remind even myself of it more often.

    WWS.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 11, 2018, 10:58 am

    Eh. No, this LW’s fears are completely well founded. If you are broke and looking to date — unless you are INSANELY hot — forget it. Pretty much nobody will be interested. Post after post here alone reveals our culture to be that shallow, that souless and that empty…

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 11, 2018, 11:17 am

      We’re not the sum of our culture. Sure, plenty of people are shallow or concerned with finding someone who makes money, but you don’t need to be a match with everyone. You just need to be a match with one person if what you’re looking for is a solid, longterm relationship. I know you’re bitter and jaded, but I wish you wouldn’t kick someone who’s down, someone who doesn’t know you have a history of making negative comments, and someone who has said she’s neurodiverse and may not have the same tools others do to basically cut through the bullshit.

      You have a lot going for you, Mark. You are handsome and talented and funny and healthy and tall and live in an adorable home and seem to have some good friends and family. I don’t understand why you’re so bitter, to be honest, but I wish you’d stop shitting on people who are down. It doesn’t help anyone.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 11, 2018, 11:58 am

        I am not shitting on this letter writer. But think her fears are valid.
        .
        Trust me — If anybody has learned that few people want to date somebody with a not so great career — it’s me.
        .
        Hello! This LW writes in about how she has repeatedly had to drop off many dating websites as she was getting unsolicited career lectures from both sexes — how fucked up is that? Very. But it’s the world we live in.

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      • avatar

        Allornone September 11, 2018, 12:01 pm

        Amen, Wendy.

        I’m broke. My boyfriend is even more broke. Together, we are still broke. And happy.

        And LW, while I might not be considered neurodiverse, I do suffer from extreme social anxiety (and awkwardness) and depression. For years, I thought myself unloveable as a result. I’ve been with my bf for four years, and like I said, we are very happy. My advice? Learn to love yourself for who you are (and know you do deserve love, because you do) and you might be surprised to find that the rest just might follow.

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      • Copa

        Copa September 11, 2018, 3:16 pm

        @BGM I think LW’s experience on online dating sites receiving unsolicited lectures is pretty atypical. This, coupled with the belief that men are generally more harshly judged on their ability to provide, makes me wonder how the information is being presented.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 11, 2018, 6:49 pm

        Interesting. As a gay man with the measley net worth of a very few scant pieces of so-so midcentury modern furniture — I gave up dating in LaLa Land LONG ago. Oh, and that was long BEFORE even hitting “the gay death” of desireability that sets in the instant one hits 40.
        .
        Look — If the LW is as burned out as she suggests, she would be wise taking a short year or so break to focus on that new business venture if she really thinks that has legs…

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    • avatar

      Sarah September 11, 2018, 11:40 am

      I agree with BGM for the most part. When you are online dating, going to dating events, or anything set up to put you in a dating cattle call being late 30’s, broke, and expecting to be broke for the forceible future is going to drop you out of the running. With your situation you are going to have to date the “old fashioned” way of getting set up by a friend or meeting someone somewhere you go. Also change your story I don’t mean lie, I mean talk up your new business venture for some people the hope of a future goes a long way. For the sake of your sex life leave out aspiring filmmaker/actor/model/musician at over 21 that screams run from me, I’m going nowhere.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 11, 2018, 12:00 pm

        Exactly.

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    • avatar

      CheeseFace September 12, 2018, 11:47 am

      I get the impression, BGM, that no matte what anyone says, you’ve made up your mind to be bitter, so even if people are broke and ugly (you know, like me) :-), but still manage to get married or otherwise find love, it won’t prove him wrong, because that’s his experience. Unfortunately, people do have their experiences compounded, so if someone isn’t “hot” and “rich,” and is consistently burned, they’ll blame someone else for this. (And maybe it isn’t their fault, but I’d start looking at why I gravitate towards those people. If BGM is this overwhelmingly bitter even in person, it’s not really surprising he continues to have this experience. Or ditto with anyone else who has that experience; we often just look for reinforcement and ignore evidence to the contrary.) But if you manage to find love consistently, then you know that you’re capable of love and being on the receiving end of that, too. So BGM may be right…in some circumstances, thankfully not all, in this case.

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  • avatar

    Kate September 11, 2018, 11:36 am

    If you’re trying to attract straight men, I don’t think they care much what you make, and definitely not about your masters degree. I agree with Wendy about being able to cast a wider net online, and about excluding that info from your profile. Instead, make your profile about who you are and what you’re looking for. (I don’t think that needs to include whatever disorder or mental/behavioral difference you have, either). Your degree isn’t even something that has to come up on a date. Truly, very few people care. Most straight guys just want to think you’re able to support yourself and not looking for free meals. Honestly.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 11, 2018, 11:37 am

      This is based on my experience online dating as a woman with a master’s degree.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 11, 2018, 11:39 am

        And being 36 at the time.

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  • avatar

    csp September 11, 2018, 11:45 am

    LW – I agree that online dating is a shallow place. Being good looking and rich and the right ethnicity all seem to matter more there. If you don’t want to be on there then don’t. It sounds like you need to find your tribe. I know married couples that met in the following places: running club, board game conventions, cross fit, comic con, and in a chat room. Here is the thing. You need to get out there and suffer through the casual dating to find genuine connections. I know so many people in their mid thirties that have dating fatigue. But you need to fight it.

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  • Copa

    Copa September 11, 2018, 12:31 pm

    Who are these people giving you flack for your life choices? The way the letter is written, it sounds like it’s coming from people you’ve been out on dates with. If this is true, these aren’t people you want to be dating in any case.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t put dating on hold while you work on your business goals if you’re truly interested in meeting someone and having a family. Online dating can be shallow, but the right person will not care about these things. Even if you had a great, high-paying job now, it doesn’t mean you’ll have that role (or pay) forever.

    When I was 26, I was a little over a year out from law school and working a low-paying job in a totally unrelated field (my desired field) and still met a (now-ex) boyfriend online. He didn’t bat an eye at these things about me!

    If anything, my experience online dating as a woman with a higher degree is that some men felt intimidated/uncomfortable by my being more educated or successful than they were. But I know there are great men out there who will like that I am smart, educated, and successful, so I don’t pay attention to the ones who seem bothered.

    Lastly, I assume LW is a woman, and will add that I think earning a lower income wold be a bigger hurdle for men since it seems society still unfairly judges men for their ability (or lack thereof) to earn and support a family.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 11, 2018, 12:38 pm

      Agree. When I first started online dating and didn’t know any better, I had an income range selected, and masters degree, and mentioned I owned my own home. I would get nasty ass comments, unsolicited, from pigs. It was my own fault. I took that stuff off my profile and didn’t catch any shit after that.

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      • Copa

        Copa September 11, 2018, 2:09 pm

        I’ve luckily never gotten any nasty comments. I have received a lot of surprised comments/reactions on early dates when it’s come up, which feels weird, and I’ve also had a few guys try extra hard to “stack up” by impressing me with their accomplishments. Aforementioned ex-boyfriend told me after we broke up that he lied to me a lot because he felt inferior, even though he earned over twice as much. Meanwhile, I’ve never really cared who is more educated or the higher earner, and focus on men who feel the same.

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine September 11, 2018, 12:42 pm

    WWS. LW there are tons of people who don’t fit the perfect mold but have found wonderful partners (myself included!). Give yourself the same benefit of the doubt you probably extend to other people. If straight men are your audience you really don’t need to worry. As long as you can support yourself you’re fine. Good luck out there.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros September 11, 2018, 3:05 pm

    Two things I’m wondering about. How long did you online date? How did it go beyond people lecturing you? Most people don’t have good experiences on these sites, even if they fit the idea of what a “catch” is. Online dating doesn’t increase the amount that people want to date you. It allows you to meet more people. Therefore, the likelihood goes up that you’ll meet someone right for you. But you’re also going to meet a lot more people who do not like you. I’m trying to figure out how much of your issue here is you taking the normal downfalls of online dating and using them to “prove” your insecurities.

    Second, it might just be the way you write your profile. If you just say “I am a temp and aspiring filmmaker,” then yeah, that’s not really great. The vast majority of people on online dating sites are not people who have glamorous careers. They typically get people interested in them for other reasons than their job. But if your profile is generally not good, then saying something sort of anti-climactic like that you’re a temp and aspiring whatever (I mean, who isn’t an aspiring artist/writer/etc on dating sites anyway?) is going to not help. I’d suggest before you throw in the towel and decide that this is a judgment on your character, actually pay for someone to help you write your profile and choose photos and stuff.

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  • avatar

    Anon from LA September 11, 2018, 5:44 pm

    When I started dating my husband, I didn’t really have a career to speak of. I was in grad school and working a crappy hourly job that I hated, living paycheck to paycheck. I also had (and still do, of course) a history of minor to moderate depression. My husband has no mental health issues and is not neurodiverse. He’s handsome, funny, smart, and at the time, made twice the amount of money I did.

    Around the time we got married, I decided to get a second masters degree (in the arts, so not a degree that would earn me tons of $$), and he was supportive. He still made WAY more money than me.

    Now several years later, my career has picked up a bit. The gap in our salaries is slowly closing. And while he enjoys the extra money, he doesn’t really care whether I have an impressive career–he just wants me to have a job that will enhance my life, rather than make me spiral into depression.

    All this is anecdotal, but my first point is: there are plenty of great people out there who don’t care about your career or the size of your bank account. They are looking for a partner that is fun and kind and a good person. In fact, for a lot of people, having a partner who isn’t career-driven is actually a benefit. They want somebody who will prioritize having a family or will be a supportive partner while they pursue their own demanding career.

    My second point is: Things can change. You don’t have lots of money or an impressive job title today, and maybe you never will. That’s okay, because having those things doesn’t make you better/smarter/more worthy than anyone else. But there’s a significant chance that your life will look very different a year from now (or five years, or ten years, etc.), especially if you make a plan, stick to it, and engage in lots of self care along the way.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant September 12, 2018, 2:59 pm

    Look, I don’t want to patronize you and say will find someone, that dating is hard for everyone so just hang in there. I mean, dating *is* hard for everyone, but yeah, to be a woman who is now in her late thirties, still figuring out the career thing, neurodiverse, its all the more challenging.

    That’s not to say you aren’t worthy of love, because you absolutely are. You abosultey do have something to give a potential partner, and an inherebnt value.

    But the world is hard, not everyone finds someone, people are judgmental. But, you also don’t have to have a partner to find happiness, to surround yourself with loving people, to be a full person.

    I don’t really have any advice, I guess, but to know that your worth comes from within, and that you can build a full and happy life. If you do that, if you don’t look to someone else to come complete things for you, then, sometimes, just being a full well rounded person is attractive in and of itself. No guarantee, but do what you can to be happy where you’re at, wherever that is.

    Keep dating, if you find it enjoyable, but if it’s soul crushing, focus on you.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy September 14, 2018, 8:26 am

    From the LW:

    Thanks for that. The reply has been useful and feedback interesting.

    I actually have an update I asked someone else for advice and they said go out dating but make it clear that I am not ever going to be a stable 9 to 5 kind of person (with my neurodiversity issues it’s difficult to work with people all the time-I need some alone time in my week so a regular 9-5 isn’t doable, after doing full time temp work and having real problems with anxiety I realise I needed to take into account what kind of work schedule I can cope with).

    I’ve gone back online stated my qualification but also stated my main disability and am screening people out before we meet re whether someone who is going to be working a stable 9-5 is someone they are looking for. I feel I needed to screen people out because in the past I’ve gone on dates and one of the first questions I am asked is about career plans which is annoying considering I pref to talk hobbies especially on a first date!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 14, 2018, 8:37 am

      My opinion is that’s a lot to put in an online dating profile – your diagnosis, your degree, your inability to work a 9-5 job. I get your desire to “weed people out,” but I think you’d better better off weeding people out by what THEY say about themselves vs. their response to your oversharing in your dating profile. Your diagnosis really isn’t anyone’s business, and doesn’t need to be shared upfront. I’d wait until getting to know someone – at least after a date or two – before sharing that. And to lead with, “hey, just so you know, I am never going to work a 9-5 job” feels off-putting. Again, I think there are better ways to gauge whether someone may be a potential match for you than starting off on the defense.

      As for people asking you about your career on the first date, that is sort of typical getting-to-know-you banter and I think you’re reading too much into it because it’s something you feel insecure about. You can say something like, “Well, to financially support myself I do various temp work, which allows me the flexibility I need to pursue my passion of filmmaking.” If you felt inclined, I guess you could also say, “allows me the flexibility I need to pursue my passion of filmmaking and manage my mental health,” which gives a head’s up that you might have some neurodiversity without going into the details until you feel ready.

      People can read a lot in between the lines and you don’t need to spell everything out so loudly and defensively so early to weed out people who may not be a match for you. I get that you don’t want to waste your time and you don’t want to risk getting rejected, but you have to accept that that is going to happen in dating, whether you have mental health issues or not. Going out of your way to avoid those things may make you look like a little more work than you actually are and may be keeping people away from you who could otherwise actually be a good match.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy September 20, 2018, 9:18 am

    From the LW:

    Decided to do just a month of online dating. I can’t afford to look after myself I live with my mum due to my various disabilities I can’t get permanent work (I can’t pass the interview) and I have trouble keeping work due to my anxiety. I am at the moment starting my own business as I really want to earn money. Have gone back online stating that I’d like to be a stay at home mum as I want to find someone who is really not worried about my income. If I’ve not found someone after a month will see it as a lost cause and will meet someone offline.

    I really don’t know what else I can do the last time I online dated I stated that I was temping and doing film making and people still had a go at me. I think the story with the guy who’s second question was what do you do? When the first question he’d asked was nothing to do with work just shows how much animosity that people have towards people who are underemployed. I’d not quizzed him about his employment either before or on the date and I don’t see why he’d want to meet someone who was earning that much when he was obviously interested in someone with a high salary (maybe that’s guardian soulmates for you!).

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    • avatar

      JD September 20, 2018, 9:57 am

      Again too much in a dating profile. To state you want to be a stay at home mom and can’t work a 9-5. I don’t mean to sound cruel but NO one is likely to reply to that. Dating profiles are for talking about your interests, what you do for fun, etc. I think most men would RUN from a profile that flat out says those things. You don’t need to hide your disability and work but that comes up in conversation over time. Everyone has some quirk.

      I really don’t get the salary thing either as I cannot think of a single date in my life when it just came up. I think LW is SO focused on this that she is just advertising it everywhere and that is putting people off.

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    • Copa

      Copa September 20, 2018, 10:17 am

      Asking, “What do you do?” is a basic get-to-know-you questions, not a quiz. I never lead with it, but it’s an easy standby, especially if the conversation starts to falter. When you answer, do you delve into the same kind of TMI responses you’re outlining here? Are you defensive? Do you use it as a segue into your mental health issues?

      I get the feeling that a large part of your battle is that you’re coming across as off-putting with the amount of information you’re sharing upfront. It’s not misleading if you don’t divulge certain things immediately. Like if you were in a lot of debt, you wouldn’t advertise this on the first date. You’d wait until you got to know the person, wait until they care for you.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 20, 2018, 10:58 am

      Ok, this is concerning. If you’re going to use this approach, I would say just deactivate your profile now, because this is a recipe for disaster. It’s not that online dating can’t work for you, but you’re using it wrong. Your profile is for a few good pics of your face and body, and a little about what you like to do and what you want in a relationship. It is NOT the place to state you can’t support yourself, live with your mom, and want to be a SAHM. Do not do this.

      Keep your profile brief, friendly, and focused on your interests. It is not for full disclosure. You need to make a connection with someone before you start revealing all this stuff.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph September 20, 2018, 11:11 am

      Yeah I think you are taking the “what do you do?” question the wrong way. If you have a full time job, you spend a large portion of your waking hours there and so it’s a large part of your identity. Some people really like their jobs and can answer that question with enthusiasm. Some people have boring jobs that pay the bills and that’s ok, they can say “well i work in a call center, but that’s so I can finance my weekend hobby of base jumping” or whatever. Some people are un- or under-employed and yeah that can be problematic, but can be spun still as in “well I’m unemployed at the moment but looking for work in X field” or (for you LW) “I’m working to start my own business in X.”

      Do you really want to be a SAHM? Fine if yes but if you really want to work and are just saying you want to stay home because it explains your current lack of a job then a) it doesn’t, because most people who are SAHM still had some kind of job before they had kids (or were students at least) and b) if someone is really looking for a SAHM and then it turns out you want to work this could cause friction down the line.

      Regardless, though, you really should focus on getting treatment for your anxiety and then getting a job. Therapy or medication might get you to a functional level, and/or a therapist might be able to help you with accommodations you can request in the interview that would help you get the job.

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      • avatar

        Vathena September 21, 2018, 11:34 am

        Also, having untreated anxiety (that is already so bad that you can’t hold a job) would make parenting exceedingly difficult. Seeking help with managing your anxiety will improve your quality of life now, but also down the road if/when you decide to have kids. Postpartum anxiety and depression are so common even in women with no previous mental health history. Being a SAHP is NOT the easy alternative to having a job. It’s the steadiest job that you cannot ever quit doing. You have to show up and do the work all day, every day.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 20, 2018, 10:34 am

    Considering the cold hard fact that a job interview often creates too much anxiety in you to get through — I worry that dating will prove even far worse. Truth be told? The dating world typically makes even people without pre-existing anxiety issues quite anxious.

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    • avatar

      JD September 20, 2018, 10:39 am

      Ya I thought this too. LW seems to not really be able to handle rejection without getting angry, which, is basically most of what dating is, constant rejection until one day it ends.

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  • avatar

    Rachel September 21, 2018, 9:33 am

    I am the person who asked this question believe me I am not me taking it too much to heart, if people asked me just about my job and not interrogated me it would be fine. Might go back online but will definately have a phone conversation beforehand to make sure they are fine with my work situation.

    These are a few exchanges I’ve had and it’s not atypical.

    Guy: so you temp
    Me: yes in the education sector and as a background artist
    Guy: so how many hours do you do in a typical week
    Me: (wondering why he is being specific and also wondering why he has mainly choosen to talk about work when I’ve been mostly been asking about his hobbies). I have different hours it depends how much work people send my way.
    Guy: but on an average week
    Me: (doesn’t the guy have any other conversation, also if he is so worried about the number of hours worked why has he asked out someone who says temp on her profile)
    Then it goes down hill from there.

    Other example:
    I met a guy who’s 1st question was about what I’d done that day. I told him about the talk I went to, I left it brief thinking that if he is interested he’ll ask me to expand on things.
    He then asks me ‘so what do you do for work’ (I had put that I temp and was starting my own business).
    Totally unconnected and asked very aggressively like he is suspicious, if I were there to get free meal I wouldn’t have explicitly emailed him to say just drinks no meal and that I was very uncomfortable about the idea of a dinner date for the 1st date with anyone (which is true, it’s awkward).

    Other people have given me extensive lectures about what I should be doing work wise completely uninvited. When I explain to them that because of my disabilities inspite of getting a good grade in my studies I can’t practically do the work they don’t believe me.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 21, 2018, 11:17 am

      Just don’t say what you do in your profile. Don’t say temp, don’t say starting your own business. If your profile is “off,” which I think it is, you’re going to attract guys who are “off.” Someone who puts “I temp” in her profile – which should just be a brief, breezy thing that presents you as a fun person – is advertising that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, and will attract weird guys who would give her the Spanish Inquisition on a date. Disclaimers are almost never a good idea.

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    • Copa

      Copa September 21, 2018, 12:45 pm

      Yeah, I guess I also don’t know why you have to clarify that you are a temp. My first job out of school was a temp job. I worked 40 hours/week, but the role was only intended to last six months. The fact that I was a temp felt and still feels irrelevant. It was experience and a paycheck. If I’d been online dating at that time I would’ve just said the nature of the work.

      You second example also seems like an example of someone defaulting to the “what do you do?” standby. He asked you about your day. You said, “I went to a talk about X.” You sat back and waited for him to ask a follow-up instead of asking him a question about himself or his day (I’m assuming…?). It sounds like he was just trying to keep the conversation going, so he asked something basic about you. Like I don’t even know how you can ask this “aggressively.”

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      • Copa

        Copa September 21, 2018, 1:01 pm

        Why can’t you just say, “I work in the education sector and as a background artist”? If they ask more about your work, you can say, “I’m a teacher’s assistant!” (or whatever it is you do) “My work entails X, Y, and Z.” The fact that you do that maybe 20 hours one week and 35 the next is really irrelevant. That’s enough for the initial “what do you do” conversation. When the fact that it’s temp work comes up, you can say it gives you the flexibility to work on your business. And then you can talk about what you’re trying to do there.

        I met a guy online when I was out of law school and working a low-paying entry-level job at a publishing house that required only an associate’s degree. I didn’t feel great about my career (at ALL!) at that time. I had moved back home after school ended and after a break-up, and was still at home when I met him, and embarrassed about that. But instead of leading with the negative, I told him what I do, how I’d been hired after full-time after standing out as a temp, what I liked about it, why I changed paths, and what I hoped to do. I think he knew it was an insecurity, but never made me feel like what I hadn’t accomplished professional was what defined me.

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      JD September 21, 2018, 1:29 pm

      Right @Copa. Saying I’m temping while starting my own company is actually impressive. Difficult to start a company and work full time, believe me I’ve done it three times. It’s so hard, I barely slept, never left the office. I’ve also never met a man who cared what i made. Well maybe cared in I wouldn’t end up leaching off them but never really cared one way or the other.

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      • Copa

        Copa September 21, 2018, 3:29 pm

        Yeah. I mean, I will say that if I’d disclosed how much I earned at the time on Match when I met this boyfriend, he may have filtered me out. But I didn’t disclose it, and I doubt it would’ve been an issue once we’d become close. He knew I was ambitious and just getting started. (Things didn’t end well between us but I weirdly think he would be proud of what I’ve accomplished in the handful of years since our break-up.)

        I’ve found some guys get weird when they realize I make good money (I never disclose my income on dating sites, but there have been telling signs — like the ones who are surprised I can afford to live alone in a one-bedroom apartment in my neighborhood, I’ve noted surprise on a couple guys’ faces when mentioning grad school, etc. ). But like I said in earlier comments, I focus on the ones who want a true partner in every sense and not the ones who feel emasculated (or whatever it is) by a successful woman.

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    Sarah September 21, 2018, 11:06 am

    Why do you start with I temp, if you are passionate about starting your company lead with that when you discuss work. Don’t lead with the stuff that doesn’t put you in the best light. The same with your other issues lead with the good stuff and in the beginning (first 3dates) gloss over or be very brief about the things that aren’t idea.

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  • avatar

    JD September 21, 2018, 11:11 am

    When you put your thought process that comes from these totally calm questions it is clear you are very defensive. I don’t think you are in a mental place to be dating as you seem to have a lot of frustration and anger toward men asking you any questions if you feel they touch on an area of your life you are insecure about. What did you do today and getting a feel of how many hours you work is NOT invasive. It’s like asking “oh so you travel a lot” as in, are you ever even available? I think therapy remains the answer.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 21, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Yeah, despite your snide narrative asides, I really don’t think the questions were posed were truly all that outlandish — or even vaguely hostile, truth be told.

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    • CurlyQue

      CurlyQue September 21, 2018, 12:39 pm

      Agreed, i didn’t think their questions were all that bizarre. Your second example especially. He asked what you did that day (normal) you responded about a talk you went to, he then followed up with what you do for work (also normal, especially if this was what he would consider a normal work day. It also might not have even related to his earlier question and he was just following up with a normal date question). The fact that your mind then tail spins re drink dates vs dinner dates is weird.

      I think you’re really sensitive to the fact that you don’t work a normal 8-5 job which you feel is below your skill set, and therefore you look for slights. Therapy would be helpful in overcoming this.

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