“My Boyfriend Thinks I Should Be the One To Commute”


Ten months ago I moved across the country for better career opportunities. Nine months ago I started dating my boyfriend. We both highly value education, have multiple advanced degrees, and live in an area where this is exceptionally rare. We live about an hour apart and take turns driving to one another’s towns, etc. We don’t have a lot in common, but we do enjoy one another’s company.

Boyfriend stresses that we be equal in everything. For example, if he pays for a date, then I pay for the next one. I don’t have any issue with this per se, but it does seem as if it always works out that he pays for the $40 dates and I pay for the $120 dates.

Boyfriend has expressed a great deal of interest in moving in together. But, when he talks about moving in together, one of the things he discusses the most is how much money it would save him. Boyfriend currently rents a house; he has rented for a little over a year. He has not experienced a tremendous amount of time living on his own. He was in graduate school for years and lived in a dorm with a roommate. Then he rented out the guest house on his parents’ property.

I just landed my dream job. It is a very-hard-to-get job in a very narrow field. It has great pay, and it is the sort of job people keep until they retire. I’m understandably thrilled. The job is also in my town (how lucky am I?!) and a five minute commute from where I live.

The crux of this situation is that, while Boyfriend wants to live together, he wants to live in his town. He is not open to living in any of the towns between his place and mine. He has a great job in his town and a short commute. I’ve expressed my concerns about a very long commute for me. I would be going in the direction of traffic, and it is a one-hour drive with no traffic. I’ve had very long commutes in the past, and I am not a person equipped to handle them. When I have brought this up, Boyfriend shrugs it off and points at all the people we know who have much longer commutes and are fine.

I also have pointed out that, while he will save a lot of money by living together, I will not save as much because of the cost of gas. His reply to that was that he would be willing to pay a bit more in rent in this case. But, the places he has been looking at are much more expensive that what he currently pays in rent. I honestly don’t think he could afford to off-set my cost of commuting based on the places in which he wants to live.

Finally, his work only requires him to be present two-three days a week, and only for a few hours at a time. My job requires me to be at work every day and there will be long hours. Additionally, he does not know how to cook and claims that the smell of cleaning supplies makes him sick. He currently pays a friend to come and “clean” his place. I write “clean” because his place is still disgusting. He has also never lived with a romantic partner before, and I have. I’m concerned that I will be the one cooking, cleaning, commuting, etc., etc., and that his lifestyle will improve while mine will diminish. I feel that I am making all the compromises here and he is making none.

I’ve brought up the commuting concerns to him, and he is pretty dismissive. I know he feels things deeply, but this doesn’t always translate into his words or actions (so sometimes it has little meaning for me). I haven’t brought up my other concerns yet because I do love him and I’m deeply concerned that such a conversation might truly end things. — All Things Being Equal

Your boyfriend’s a real dickhead. And one has to wonder why you’ve put up with his bullshit this long and are even entertaining the thought of moving in with him, let alone moving to his town and adding such a long commute to your daily life, all while dealing with his domestic disgust, gross. All because he is well-educated? I think it’s time you check your values. Maybe multiple advanced degrees shouldn’t be as important as, say, mutual respect, consideration, generosity, kindness, shared life goals, and common interests.

Do you even like this guy? In over 600 words, you literally say zero about his personality and what you enjoy about him. You talk about his lack of relationship experience compared to yours (“He has also never lived with a romantic partner before, and I have”), but, if you’re so experienced, you should know that moving in with this guy spells disaster. Don’t do it. But beyond that, stop being a snob about formal education. Open your mind a little. Give guys who don’t have multiple advanced degrees or any degrees — even, gasp, a bachelors degree — a chance, particularly if the area you live in doesn’t have a plethora of well-educated men from which to choose. Consider that the right match for you may have qualities that actually enrich your life, and that there are plenty of ways to be educated that don’t result in extra letters after your name. (For example, I’d consider someone who is well-traveled to be more knowledgeable and interesting and sophisticated than someone who’s spent his whole life in the same town, living in his parents’ guest house collecting degrees and creating domestic filth.)

In case I wasn’t clear: MOA. Did I say yet that this guy is a dickhead and you need to aim higher? He is and you do.


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


  1. RedRoverRedRover says:

    His harping on things being “equal” only seems to come up when it benefits him. It’s not just about equal money, but equal free time. In fact, if you make enough money to be comfortably self-sufficient, then time actually becomes much more valuable than money. Yet he wants you to give up 2-3 of time a day? When you’re already the one with a more time-intensive job? And the fact that he doesn’t even have to go in every day just makes it even worse. He’s being incredibly selfish. As Wendy so succinctly put it, he’s a dickhead.

    Oh, and if you’re ever in a situation where you’re afraid that having a conversation about your needs and happiness will end the relationship, that’s a major major red flag. If he cared about your needs and happiness, you’d be able to discuss and compromise. Clearly he just doesn’t care.

    1. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

      Exactly. That is what struck me too- he’s AAAAALL about the equality when it tips in his favor, but not the other way at all.
      This guy sounds like a heinous boyfriend. LW, he is a Professional Gaslighting Mansplainer. Oh, other ppl are find commuting that long? Lovely, then- let him go date on of those ppl. For real- that is the most unfeeling, selfish, narcissistic “arguments” ever. Blah. Please MOA yesterday.
      Degrees and/or intelligence =/= free rein to be an uncompassionate jerkwad.

      1. +1000 for “Professional Gaslighting Mansplainer”.

      2. Ugh. I used to date a guy like this one. Equality and all that good shit when it benefits HIM. You call him out on his crap and YOU are the dramatic one that needs to chill out. Sounds like the guy just wants a sugar mama and will use you however he can….been there too, unfortunately. Let me guess, he probably also gets really butthurt talking about money in regards to salaries, which I’m sure you make more of than he does. Sounds like a total winner. Dump his ass.

      3. Jessibel5 says:

        I love this comment. Love.

    2. SpaceySteph says:

      I agree, time is much more of a commodity than money for me. We make enough to live comfortably but not enough to outsource all our household chores to a maid and a lawn guy and a dog walker and whatever, so then time becomes the thing we run out of.
      My life improved HUGELY when I moved from an awful commute (35 mins in no traffic, could be double that depending on the traffic conditions, which followed no discernable pattern) to a 20 minute commute (which is ALWAYS 20 mins). I spent the first few weeks after that being completely done with everything I had planned to do by like 7:30, because I didn’t know how to properly account for having an extra hour of my life back, plus not having to take the first 20 mins after I got home to decompress from the horrible traffic I just sat in before I could do anything productive.

      Do not sign up for that, not for this guy.

  2. “I haven’t brought up my other concerns yet because I do love him and I’m deeply concerned that such a conversation might truly end things.”

    To me, this is more important than the commuting debate. You can’t have a conversation about sharing the cooking and cleaning, and making compromises in general, without fearing that it will end the relationship? Really?

    How can you possibly believe the relationship would survive the REALLY tough things in life? Money? Jobs? Children? In-law problems? Awful decisions that need to be made when a loved one is ill? Ask any of your married friends, or those in long-term partnerships. There are insanely hard conversations that you must have with your partner. Often. Sometimes with a bunch of crises happening at once. Everything from when to replace the dishwasher, to what to do when the school calls and says your child is showing signs of a learning disability, to how to manage the cost of care for one of your parents when they’re old and can’t live on their own anymore.

    Adult life really sucks sometimes, and if your partner doesn’t have your back, they really don’t belong in your life.

    1. Gwen Soul says:

      Really good point.

    2. Wendy's Sister says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking! This stood out to me more than all the other dickhead stuff in the letter.

  3. My boyfriend is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, yet he barely passed our equivalent to high school. He also compromises a lot and tries really hard to be the best boyfriend he can for me, which I appreciate. Partners have to put each other first and it doesn’t sound like he wants to do that for you.

  4. My boyfriend has no education past high school, and he has worked blue collar jobs his whole life, but he’s super smart, we have a lot of interests in common, and he treats me like gold. We’re so happy and we have a really healthy, generous, wonderful relationship. Just my two cents.

  5. Seriously? Keep your home that is 5 minutes away from your dream job and use the extra time not spent commuting on weekends to find an ADULT man to have a relationship with, someone who actually cares about and values you.

    1. Another Jen says:

      Sounds like you’ve got a great thing going with the short commute and the exciting new job. Not so much with the boyfriend. If I were you, I’d dig in and focus on my career and building a life in the town you’ve chosen…you’ve got a great opportunity to build a life you can really enjoy. A 3+ hour commute (which you admit you’re not equipped to handle) back and forth to a filthy house where you’re paying more than your fair share doesn’t sound like it adds to your quality of life…especially to live with a man you don’t have anything in common with besides a shared regard for advanced degrees. That doesn’t add up to much, especially since his higher education hasn’t taught him to clean up after himself, compromise, and treat his partner with care and respect. MOA-you won’t regret it.

  6. artsygirl says:

    LW your BF sounds lazy and inconsiderate. He has already told you flat out that you are going to have to move to his town despite the fact that it severely inconveniences you while if he moved to your town he would only have to commute part of the week. And since cleaners make him ‘sick’ and he is incapable of cooking meals that means after an hour plus commute home from a full day (while he only worked part time) you will be expected to clean up the house and cook the meals. Unless the sex is spectacular I cannot see where you benefit in anyway with moving in with your BF. Either keep the status quo and see each other casually or dump him.

    1. This would not even be worth spectacular sex to me.

    2. Jessibel5 says:

      The “cleaning products make me sick” part is such bs and such a flimsy excuse. Sure, I know people who are really super sensitive to the chemicals. But uh…they’re fine with the chemicals after the cleaning when the fumes/smells are still there? Then it’s not the chemicals. They’re just allergic to cleaning. I myself am sensitive to smells. So what do I do? I get the stuff with smells I can handle and don’t bother me and make my eyes tear up. Get some organic cleaners and learn to scrub a toilet, dude. Be an adult.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah totally not worth it. I don’t even want sex after I’ve spent all day scrubbing the house, I just want a nap.

      2. You can even use vinegar, baking soda, bleach (watered down obviously- is he also scared of the smell of pools?) if there were an emergency and we only had water and nothing else for cleaning our place would still not be filthy, it’s just slightly more scrubbing . Tons of things can be cleaned with just water, or as said above natural cleaners that even smell quite pleasing – does he hate lavender, orange, lemon grass? I’m a sucker for nice cleaning supplies. He can easily get method stuff on Amazon

      3. artsygirl says:

        I have sensitive skin so have tested tons of products to see what does not cause me to break out in hives and personally love Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. It seems wonderful and does wonders in my kitchen and bath.

  7. As commenters have said, your boyfriend isn’t interested in equality. He’s using that as a smokescreen to get you to do more than your share and sacrifice yourself and your happiness to make his life easier, especially financially. The selfishness and manipulation of this man are breathtaking. He’s using you and gaslighting you.

    I’ve got multiple advanced degrees, too, from an Ivy League school. I’ve lived in places where stimulating conversation can be very hard to find. I understand your concerns and why this man might seem wonderful. I get it. I really do.

    But have some self-respect and DTMFA.

    1. Yup. Exactly.

      Maybe he can call her with his stimulating, intelligent conversation during her 1+ hour commute (to and fro) and her 2+ hours of cooking and cleaning after she finally gets home.

  8. Nice, you have nothing in common, have only been dating 10 months, and are thinking about moving in with him. Sounds smart.

    1. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

      But degrees! That’s the really important thing.

  9. If you’re paying for the $60 dates and he’s paying for the $20 dates, you are not equal. He sounds like a mama’s boy who will always need mommy to cater to his whims. He also sounds rigid and inflexible, not great qualities in a partner. Dump him.

  10. All things are equal, just some are more equal than others. You’re boyfriend is an a-hole who thinks you’ll stay with him just because he’s your “equal”. If you stay with him just because he has a shit-ton of degrees, then you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are. At least you’re discovering this BEFORE giving up your convenient (and clean) home!
    (BTW, I’ve got a doctorate and my husband has an two-year degree.)

  11. I’m coming out of complete and total lurkdom to tell you please, please do not move in with this man. And if he can’t have a conversation with you about your shared life together without dismissing your perspective entirely, don’t let this relationship progress forward until he can. Or MOA. You will forever be the one compromising, sacrificing and suffering if you don’t stand up for yourself.

  12. girltuesday says:

    This is applicable in this situation: “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them.”

    LW, this shit ain’t gonna get better when you move in together. You’ll have a life full of cleaning, cooking, and score-keeping (yes, your boyfriend is a score keeper, and that is the absolute worst. It breeds resentment). But, that’s fine as long as there’s DEGREES, right?

    You deserve better. Aim higher.

  13. I totally agree with all of the comments. MOA. He sounds like my ex, who was a well-educated ne’r do well. He demanded so much of my time and energy and brought me down. My husband is not as well-educated as I am, which I think makes us work well together. I can pursue my dreams and build my business, and he is my biggest cheerleader. This guy will do nothing but hold you back and make your life more difficult, which you will (and I suspect are already) resent him for.

  14. SpaceySteph says:

    Honestly, what is the point of *multiple* advanced degrees? I wouldn’t value that in a partner, because it sounds like a time/money wasting way to avoid the real world. Even a doctor only needs ONE advance degree to make it so.

    If the only reason you want to be with him is that he’s the only person you know from your area with a bunch of degrees, maybe it’s time to come off your high horse and date people for their personality instead of their academic credentials.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      Totally agree with you on the multiple degrees thing. I know several ppl with multiple advanced degrees and the only reason they have more than one advanced degree is because they didn’t have their shit together enough to realize the first one was going to be useless to them. Multiple advanced degrees, in my mind, most often equals an avoidance of the real world while racking up lots of debt. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but this guy doesn’t sound like one of the exceptions.

      1. There are a lot of professional reasons to have multiple advanced degrees. People who acquire them in their 20s are often avoiding the real world (which this guy does seem to be), but don’t generalize that childish avoidance behavior towards everyone who works in a specialized area that requires intense education. MD/PhDs are common. MBA/some other degree is common. I know countless people who went back to school in their 30s, 40s, or later to get another degree to upgrade their professional skills, often being sent by their company.

        The anti-education snark today is beneath everyone.

        Plus, dissing the LW for valuing education isn’t likely to make her feel that anyone understands why she’s so attached to this guy.

      2. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        I don’t think most of us DO understand why the LW is attached to this loser.

        Also: MD/PhDs are COMMON? Really? In what world is something like that common? While I think it’s extraordinarily impressive and shows a level of tenacity and commitment I certainly don’t have, I would not call something like this “common.”

        When someone has an MBA and another degree, the MBA usually is more recent and comes after one realizes the first degree is fairly useless without the MBA, advanced-level or not. This isn’t snark, anon; it’s just the damn truth.

        I value education as much as the next person, but not over qualities like kindness, respect, compassion, generosity, and sharing common interests. And, hell yeah, I’ll diss someone for valuing education over those qualities. It’s shows an incredible amount of snobbiness and a definite lack of foresight. Frankly, it’s just not very bright. Which is ironic.

      3. Wendy, in what way is being snarky helpful? You usually try very hard not to be snarky. Why do you think it’s OK now?

      4. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        ‘Snark’ was your word. In fact, what I said was: “This isn’t snark.”

      5. “This isn’t snark, anon; it’s just the damn truth” is pretty much the definition of snark. (It’s also not remotely truthful.) I was giving you the opportunity to take a step back, look at how you were treating the LW (and me, and others) today, and get control of your behavior.

        It’s bad to behave like that. It’s much, much worse to defend it and be unrepentant. I forgive people who lose their temper for a moment and apologize. I don’t deal with anyone — much less an advice columnist! — who thinks behaving like that is acceptable.


      6. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        YOU were giving ME an opportunity to take a step back and “get control of my behavior.” On my own site? Ew. Goodbye, indeed.

      7. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        Ok, I had to go back and re-read my comments from yesterday to see what could have inspired one of the snottiest and condescending comments I’ve ever gotten (and that’s saying something, believe me). I will grant you, I was out of line saying that MBAs are usually earned after one realizes his or her first degree is useless without it. Perhaps you have an MBA and that particular comment stung? For that, I’m sorry. But who do you think you are granting me an “opportunity” to “step back” and “get control of my behavior” and then not forgiving me for being “unrepentant”?! Listen to yourself. It’s that kind of elitist, holier-than-thou attitude that turns people off to those who hold multiple advanced degrees in such high regard that they would count it among their top criteria for a mate. Without meaning to, your snotty comment validated an argument I was admittedly sloppy in making.

      8. SpaceySteph says:

        Eh, there are *a few* reasons to have multiple degrees. I am in no way anti-education, what I am is anti-wasting money on education you don’t need or won’t use. If you’re one of the few people who uses an MD/PhD, that’s super cool, and good for you. But that’s hardly the reality for many people.
        I’m also anti- the elitist attitude where someone wouldn’t consider dating at a lower education level, given that even if it is necessary for your desired career path, having the ability to spend years in school is a luxury that many people cannot afford. Add to that some predatory student loan practices that puts some people at a lifelong disadvantage and yeah… I’m not a fan.
        Understanding how our privilege influences our choices is a worthwhile endeavor, especially for someone who loves learning so much they have gotten multiple advanced degrees. Want a look at that privilege? Here’s some data on MD-PhD graduates from US schools by ethnicity: https://www.aamc.org/download/450638/data/factstableb13.pdf

      9. Way to make me feel worse for not conforming to Asian stereotypes!

      10. SpaceySteph says:

        Haha, totally, the Asians have that MD-PhD thing on lock!

    2. artsygirl says:

      I read the ‘multiple advanced degrees’ comment as more like a MA, PhD, and professional certification all in the same field such as law, medicine, or engineering. I am considering going back to school next year to get a PhD and would view it as having multiple advanced degrees since I already have an MA in art history.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Idk maybe it’s just the way I read it, but I wouldn’t consider a masters and phD in the same field to be multiple degrees, because they are stepping stones to each other. If you got a PhD in physics along with your MA in art history, then I’d have to side eye you a little bit.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Most people don’t think of it as “multiple advanced degrees” though, because as SpaceySteph says, one is a stepping-stone to the other. Like people with PhD’s often don’t even bother listing their MA on their business card, because yeah, obviously you have one if you got the PhD. You’d only list it if it was in a different field, typically. It would be like having an MA and going around telling people you have an MA *and* a Bachelor’s.

      3. But you just don’t understand! I have a Bachelor’s *and* a High School Diploma!

      4. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Oh yeah? Well *I* graduated middle school AND kindergarten! So.

      5. Oh yeah, I forgot about my kindergarten degree.

      6. (I just have so many degrees, after all. It completely slipped my mind!)

      7. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Tell me about it! I went to nursery school before kindergarten too, so I’ve got a LOT to keep track of. 🙂

  15. Jessibel5 says:

    So, the way I see this going if you continue on with this relationship: Imagine being the only one to “compromise” for the rest of your life. Imagine being married to him and dealing with this lack of compromise on a daily basis. I shudder just thinking about it. As others have said above, he’s not about equality at all. He’s all about ensuring things going HIS way. Anyone who is really willing to compromise would at least discuss living midway between, and earnestly. It would be one thing if you hated your job and weren’t planning on staying with it and were open to looking at new jobs, but you love your job. Stay near your job.

    As someone who has a long commute, not because of location but because the area I live in has the worst traffic in the country as it is consistently ranked as either 1 or 2 worst depending on the year (we switch it up with L.A. sometimes), I am telling you, it is stressful and soul sucking and cramps your style. Sure you can do things to make a commute better, but it absolutely eats away at your personal life. And in the winter where you leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark? Just..all the eww.

    I can just imagine that if you move in with him, soon he’ll be complaining that you’re not home enough and don’t spend enough time with him. Or that he spends all day at home alone and he’s bored. But even though he’s bored he hasn’t cleaned or cooked, so those responsibilities are going to fall on you with what little time you have. And you’ll get frustrated and resentful. I do not want this for you. Don’t move in with him.

  16. judge sheryl says:

    Having a long commute suuucks. I have had a ton of different commutes, and really 50 min is the cutoff to maintain a decent quality of life.

    But, the commute will be the least of your problems based on this letter if you move in with your bf. This guy sounds like a tool. Maybe you need to lay it out for him just how ‘equal’ everything is, and see what his response is. And try to hold him (and yourself) accountable to truly be equal, Then, you will see what your next move is. He might even think that you become too much work and end it himself.

    But, yeah, long commute…. Don’t do it!!

  17. Bittergaymark says:

    Yikes. Why do SO many people LOVE assholes? Honestly, LW. WTF?! The guy is a fucking cunt. MOA.

  18. My earlier comment got sent before I finished.
    The LW didn’t specify that the “multiple advanced degrees” are the exact reason she is dating the guy. I think she mentions it as a way of letting people know what they have in common. Maybe she is not on a high horse like people have said.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      It’s literally the only quality she mentioned of the guy’s while also saying that it’s a rare quality where she lives (implying that, if she doesn’t consider men without this quality, her pool of eligible men is very limited).

      1. But she didn’t say that she only considers this quality on eligible men. I mean, she might be dating the guy because she feels that this is important, but it doesn’t mean that it is the only thing important to her. She might be clinging on this guy because she thinks that she won’t find someone else like him (well educated) but haven’t we all? It doesn’t make her a bad person for valuing education.
        I agree she should move on, I even said so in the forum because this guy is a dick, but I think some comments that imply that she is only dating him for the degrees might not be accurate.

      2. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        No, she didn’t explicitly say that being very well-educated is the only, or even most important, quality she considers in a man, but it is literally the only positive quality she mentions while listing multiple negative qualities and then admitting that she is considering moving in with him. I think the implication of her value system is apparent without being explicitly expressed, which is why I am urging her to reconsider the importance she puts on the multiple degrees.

    2. Valuing education or looking for someone with the same academic background as one has is not being on a high horse. If the guy has multiple degrees and is a dick, yes dump his ass, but that doesn’t mean she should stop looking for what she wants in a man. People have characteristics and traits they want in a partner and that doesn’t make them wrong.

      1. TeacherGirl says:

        Also, depending on the field in which one works, one may encounter people whose educational background mirrors their own in some capacity. A college degree may not be in the same exact field, for example, but if one teaches in higher education (as I do), one will encounter those who also have multiple degrees, which is not indicative of putting anything off, real-world-wise, etc.

      2. I agree, Ale!

        I don’t understand why valuing education is bringing out so much snark, DW community constantly advises LWs about deal breakers and “must haves”. This might be something important to her, and I don’t think people should snark about it just because they don’t agree. For example – I don’t find religion important but I certainly wouldn’t be snarky to a friend that preferred to date someone of the same religion. That would be my friends preference and why do I get to be a snot about it??

        I think the guy is a selfish a-hole and the LW should MOA. But, what she deems important attributes for a significant other really isn’t our place to judge.

      3. Texican Ashley says:

        “People have traits and characteristics they want and that doesn’t make them wrong “- not true. Not true at all. Being rigid and inflexible on what traits you want is a great way to end up alone or with guys like above. Sometimes you have to realize you’ve been looking for all the wrong things, and what made for great hook ups does not translate into good long term partner.

    3. dinoceros says:

      I think it’s important to read between the lines, though. LWs have a limited amount of space to convey their story and question, so what they choose to include can be telling. The fact that she specified that her town didn’t have a lot of educated people and the fact that she specified that he had advanced degrees imply to me that it’s important to her. If it isn’t, why on earth would she have wasted several sentences talking about it?

      Of course valuing education doesn’t put you on a high horse, but I think people are reacting to exactly what you are describing. In her pro and con list of this relationship, the only real pro appears to be that he is educated, and the con list is full of stuff. That’s concerning and implies that maybe her priorities are out of whack.

      1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        And THAT is where the virtual side-eying is coming in. Of course, education is important. I don’t think anyone is denying that. But when education/ advanced degrees is seemingly valued higher than everything else — including common interests, which to me, is one of the main reasons one would place such high value on being well-educated — it doesn’t make sense.

        Sure, people are entitled to having their must-haves and deal breakers, but on a relationship advice site where we see how having certain must-haves and deal-breakers work out and where people are literally asking for insight about their decisions and behavior and choices, it’s not out of line to point out when priorities are, as dinoceros says, out of whack.

      2. I suppose my point is that people, including you, are devaluing “multiple advanced degrees” in general, irrespective of it being a poor choice for being the single positive attribute listed for the LW’s BF. I’m saying.. she dump the loser, and if education is important to her, she find someone else with (multiple) advanced degrees.

      3. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        Yes, you’re right; I am devaluing multiple advanced degrees as they relate to someone’s prospects as a suitable potential mate. I would legitimately, seriously side-eye anyone who placed that criteria in, like, the top 15 qualities they’re looking for in a partner. It’s one thing to say you want someone well-educated, intelligent, ambitious, with whom you can have stimulating conversation and hope to be a “good provider,” but to specifically value “multiple advanced degrees”? That is a priority that is out of whack and I don’t have a problem saying so.

      4. @SLS- I think many people here are challenging the letter writer to consider if she is overvaluing “multiple advanced degrees”. Personally, I’m curious why it is so important to her. She admits her boyfriend and her don’t even have a lot in common, so it isn’t so much about meeting someone who understands her field or loves the same books. Does she believe having multiple degrees provides security? Indicate a certain level of respectability? Of aptitude? Is she worried someone without degrees won’t be able to mentally keep up with her or have anything interesting to say? Is it about having someone who can understand and value how much her degrees and career mean to her?
        I won’t tell this letter writer to date someone she doesn’t feel a connection with, but I’m curious if insecurity and pride play any role in who she is open to connecting with. I’m wondering what she hopes to gain from companionship. Does she want a traditional marriage partner? Or is she comfortable with less than that? A lot of people, including myself, are having a difficult time understanding why the letter writer is so reluctant to let of this boyfriend. It seems to be because she is worried she won’t meet someone else who will measure up. This is leaving me scratching my head, and I wonder what there is to measure up with? Multiple advanced degrees and enjoying someone’s company? Because that doesn’t really sound so impressive by itself. Could it perhaps be over-valued for some reason?

      5. Well maybe “multiple advanced degrees” was her way of (poorly) articulating “well-educated, intelligent, ambitious”. Maybe it was a poor word choice, and we don’t know.

        My entire point is that she should dump the guy because he isn’t exhibiting great qualities. And we should not judge her emphasis on “multiple advanced degrees”. I mean people are known to date/marry for equally as shallow things such as money and being a professional athlete. While I don’t agree with either… that is someone else’s priority and it isn’t mine to judge (outwardly).

      6. To be considered “well-educated, intelligent and ambitious,” does one have to hold multiple degrees?

        We would also tell someone who married a jerk for money to maybe consider dating a fellow that was kinder and willing to compromise.

        SpaceySteph summed it up perfectly downthread:
        “And I think those of us putting down the multiple degrees are simply arguing that the “something” which she should relax her standards on should definitely be “multiple degrees” before it is “guy with basic sense of human decency.”

      7. I agree – she did sum it up greatly below.

        I suppose I am really stuck on it because I just feel like everyone is being really harsh and judgmental on the LW for this one specific attribute. As if she is wrong for wanting that attribute, and while maybe you or someone else things its “wrong or shallow or insert judgement word” to her it might be important. It is her opinion. While I might not agree with it, I am not going to tell her she is wrong for having it.

        I’m not saying that “well-educated, intelligent and ambitious,” does one have to hold multiple degrees. But I am saying that maybe that is how she views education through her own personal success of attaining several degrees. She may associate multiple degrees to being ambitious and well-educated. It is not to say that those that don’t have multiple degrees do not exhibit those traits – they most certainly do! I just think she might find them synonymous based on her own personal successes.

        But I agree with Ale below, it could also be that is just one thing they have in common and what she is holding on to in the relationship.

      8. dangit. there are typos all over the place because my computer kept freezing!

      9. So, one of my closest friends was convinced she could only date people that went to college and at a minimum held bachelors degree and had a high paying job. He also had to be “pretty.” For her entire adult life, she never went on three or four dates with men and the one person she did date, she had to strong arm him into dating her. Her exact words were “I wore him down.”

        Now, after a dating coach and some self reflection, she is in her longest relationship (more than a year) and on the path to marriage with a nurse. I have never see her happier.

        So, I see what others are saying about people harping on the multiple degrees. But this LW is willing to settle for a lifetime of horribleness because the only good trait she says this guy has is that he holds multiple degrees. Oh, and they get along alright.

        I just. I don’t know. I think it’s important for this LW to rethink what she values in a relationship. And there are all kinds of people out there who can give you a fulfilling, loving relationship that might be outside of what one might consider acceptable.

        Then again, if one doesn’t value qualities such empathy, then I guess this entire conversation with this LW is mute.

      10. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        It all goes back to: date against type.

      11. * she never went on more than three or four more dates

      12. RedRoverRedRover says:

        People aren’t being harsh because it’s multiple degrees though, they’re being harsh because of her prioritization of it over much more important things. It would be the same if it was any other accomplishment that people might value, like say if she really wanted to be with someone who owned their own business as an example. There’s nothing wrong with owning your own business, obviously, but if that was her priority over the things that make a relationship work and make her happy and have a good life, then we’d be equally harsh about it.

      13. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

        Exactly. It’s not fair to tell someone that what they’re looking for in a mate is wrong. It *IS* fair to call someone out on having skewed priorities that are hurting them.

      14. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

        While that is true to an extent, if someone came to you and said “I have this wealthy boyfriend (no one else I’ve met in my town is wealthy) and he [insert dickish qualities/actions here]” you would be right to openly question their priorities in choosing a mate seemingly based mostly on wealth.

      15. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        But you do judge someone for marrying for money or being a professional athlete. You call doing so “shallow.” If that isn’t a judgmental term, than I don’t know what. But you’re right! Those are shallow reasons to marry someone, particularly if they’re the main or sole reasons. And pursuing someone solely or even mainly because he has multiple advanced degrees is equally shallow. (And, frankly, dumb).

      16. It might have been a poor word-choice or it might be that the letter writer is assuming someone with multiple degrees comes with the qualities of “well-educated, intelligent, and ambitious” built in. If she insists on using multiple degrees as an algorithm to pre-filter potential candidates, she may end up with far fewer options. If she is perfectly content to live out her life alone then this strategy might work out for her. But given the fact that she is considering completely altering her daily life to accommodate a boyfriend she has painted as an opportunist domestic-do-nothing, I’m guessing love and companionship are deeply important to her. Perhaps she considers “well-educated, intelligent, and ambitious” to be highly compatible traits for herself. If she insists on these qualities presenting in such a specific academic package she is probably going to miss opportunities to find love and companionship with mature, equally-committed partners.

        As far as not judging who people date, if you ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies. If the letter writer wrote the same letter but swapped money or professional athleticism in place of “multiple advanced degrees” I think she would get a similar response and probably as much judgment over her priorities. Maybe it would be a helpful exercise for the letter writer and maybe it wouldn’t. But I hope she does get some use out of it.

      17. This is the third response which has frozen up on me and now I’m getting dinner ready. I’m in and out here. Sorry for using the wrong idiom. Clearly I’m one of the stupid bachelor-only s. Clearly, I care nothing about my rude, course spelling and grammar or the readers it insults and offends. If only I had done a duel-major in English…
        Lets try this again, if you can’t take the heat then stay out of the kitchen. I think that works.

      18. “Is it about having someone who can understand and value how much her degrees and career mean to her” I think this is it. She may be valuing education because she wants someone who understands what she went through. Also, when I read this initially I thought that “multiple advance degrees” is her way of saying that that is the only thing they have in common. And that is why she must be clinging to him so hard, because it must be hard for her to find someone like that, not because she only sees that quality in men. We have all clinged to someone that isn’t that great to us, just because we think we won’t find someone else.

  19. Stillrunning says:

    LW, you haven’t said one thing about him that shows he cares about you.
    Quit giving him better qualities than he possesses. He may feel things deeply, but they’re only what’s best for him.
    This letter is giving me flashbacks. My ex was like that, good at dismissing my needs and making me feel like I should do everything for him. When I finally had the sense to step back and listen to what he was really saying, I realized I didn’t like him at all and I was outta there.

  20. Stillrunning says:

    Quit trying to convince him to do what’s best for you. Not going to happen. Take this great new job and focus on it. You’re life is going to be so much better and you’ll soon wonder just what the hell you saw your immature boyfriend.

  21. TeacherGirl says:

    There ARE fields in which multiple advanced degrees are common – education is one of them. I’ve finished one master’s degree and will be shortly completing another one. (Those who don’t work in fields in which multiple advanced degrees seem just not to realize this.) Depending on the school in which one teaches, regardless of level, one MAY decide to list the most recent/highest degree, but again, that’s not mutually exclusive. Some folks I know have gotten another graduate degree beyond the Ph.D., such as another Master’s degree, or an MBA, a J.D., etc. It’s more common if one works in a field where this happens, but, again, one might not see this as “common” unless you encounter it, professionally-speaking.

    Multiple advanced degrees does NOT necessarily mean avoidance of “real world stuff,” although one can make that argument for many different situations. (For every “they don’t have their stuff together” argument, I’ll counter that with my own examples, so I’m not into that whole judgment thing as far as that goes. One can make the argument that ANY degree one doesn’t completely apply to one’s career is useless, but that’s another form of snobbery, as far as I’m concerned. Let people’s use or non-use of their degrees be their own business.)

    (Also, FWIW, my second Master’s degree is absolutely applicable to my field.)

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      I don’t think anyone would care if this woman thought multiple degrees was important, if the guy was decent to her. If that were her top priority but he was a great partner, then whatever.

      It’s the fact that she seems to hold that up as something so important, that it’s worth compromising on so many basics of a workable relationship. And it’s worth being with this useless idiot. It’s definitely not. She needs to bring “multiple degrees” down in her priority list, and “being a decent human” up.

      1. dinoceros says:

        Yep. The whole conversation seemed to start when people wanted to explain why having multiple degrees doesn’t automatically make you an impressive person and it doesn’t automatically make you smarter or better than anyone. So, the examples given were such as when someone just keeps getting degrees because they don’t want a job or whatever. I don’t think most people would say that it’s ALWAYS the case, so it’s silly to imply that that’s what they are saying.

    2. SpaceySteph says:

      “one might not see this as “common” unless you encounter it, professionally-speaking.”
      Actually, though, that’s kind of the definition of common. Like… just because there are a few fields where having multiple degrees is useful, it is still far from common because the majority of fields don’t require that and the majority of people had that. After all, if having multiple degrees were common, then the LW would presumably not have such a hard time finding a dude who was both that and a total dickwad.

      Regardless of whether this guy’s degrees were all necessary for his career or not, he’s a jerk, and I think everyone agrees with that. If you live in an area where you cannot find someone who is both a nice guy and a guy with multiple degrees, and you are going to be in that job for the rest of your life, then something has to give. And I think those of us putting down the multiple degrees are simply arguing that the “something” which she should relax her standards on should definitely be “multiple degrees” before it is “guy with basic sense of human decency.” Anyone who would argue that ANY trait is more important in a life partner than “not being a douchenozzle” is quite frankly insane and deserves the douchenozzle they get.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        then the LW would presumably not have such a hard time finding a dude who was both that and a NOT total dickwad.

        (obviously finding the both together is easy, since she did)

      2. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:


  22. I mean, I’m not the one with multiple advanced degrees, but how is his proposition equal in any way? It’s vastly disproportionate; he’s getting all the benefit and you’re not. You read the situation right, the only thing you’ve gotten wrong is that this is a fixable issue. You can’t fix someone who is selfish and uncaring at their core.

    I mean you’ve been dating the dude for 9 months. That’s no time at all–I have things in my freezer older than your relationship! Break up with him and find someone who will actually be an equal partner, not someone who, by ‘equality’, means, “I get everything I want and she makes all the compromises and does all the hard work.”

    Maybe gift him a dictionary when you leave.

  23. Wendy: your most perfect response ever. Enough said.

  24. LW, if it was me, and he wanted me to move in, I would say, “your terms don’t work for me.” Don’t debate it. draw a line in the sand. You seem to be working so hard to make this work and he should be working just as hard.

    1. This is exactly correct. LW displays an alarming spinelessness. A lot of LW write how they are staying with what are so obviously awful guys, because they love them soooo much and their love has never been equalled in its intensity. LW doesn’t even offer this justification. She does say that she enjoys his company, which is a definite plus. Perhaps she is just a coolish personality and is uncomfortable talking about love or ‘totally unbelievably hot sex’ or ‘he is the first guy who really just gets me”.

      She sounds like an academic snob or the daughter of academic snobs who measure everyone by degrees earned and distancing from the dirty world of business. Really, some view the purity of the university as a religious value. Letter writer sounds like one such and I suspect she would feel totally soiled and self-destructed if she ever allowed a tradesman’s penis anywhere near her deeply intellectual vagina. She may be willing to ignore a lot of asshattery from her multiply degreed bf to avoid that greater calamity and to appear successful in the mating game in the eyes of her parents and peers. It is a British/American class/caste thing which is every bit as strong in some circles as the Hindu caste system or the pursuit of the whitest skinned mate.

      1. Anonymousse says:

        “Letter writer sounds like one such and I suspect she would feel totally soiled and self-destructed if she ever allowed a tradesman’s penis anywhere near her deeply intellectual vagina.”
        Are you freaking kidding me? From her one sentence speaking about his and her own education?

      2. Based on that being the only positive thing she says about a guy who is really taking advantage of her. That one sentence suggests that because having multiple advanced degrees is very rare in the section of the country where she lives, that she chose this guy and stayed with him because he like her holds multiple advanced degrees.

      3. Anonymousse says:

        The sentence doesn’t suggest anything. It tells you she and this guy both value education, have multiple degrees, and they live in an area where that’s rare.
        Based on that YOU came up with the trades mans penis near her deeply intellectual vagina comment?! Come on, now.
        Ron, I really think you extrapolate and assume much more than you need to from a lot of advice seekers. This path you went down was just strange. Did you read her update in the forums? She’s dated plenty of “tradesmen.”

    2. Yes. LW should just say to the BF that she does not want to move in with him because he is a slob. If he can show the LW that he can maintain a decent house, and can share all work including cooking and cleaning, then only she should even consider moving in.

      LW, forget about what he wants. Think about what you want. If you want a clean house and no commute, that is what you should get. No need for sacrifices to make his life convenient. If he is not happy with your decision, let him walk. Please grow some spine. He is so not a catch.

    1. No, actual it does not take multiple advanced degrees to enjoy education, have an inquisitive mind, and appreciate the value of a college and post-graduate education. Nor is this required to understand why the LW values her education or the effort it took her to achieve her degrees. I suspect she would be unhappy with someone who wasn’t a college grad. That shared experience is part of having things in common. It is strange that this guy and LW both have multiple degrees and yet she sees them as having nothing in common. Clearly, having an advanced degree, let alone more than one, isn’t as important to the LW in the real world as it is to her on her checklist.

      1. Anonymousse says:

        You are really strangely fixated on this. She said she thinks it’s nice to have someone with a similar background….what’s the problem with that?

      2. Perhaps the overly elitist emphasis on MULTIPLE advanced degrees and the tone of derision to 99.9% of the people in the area where she has chosen to live. I think it’s a plus for her that she has earned the degrees she has and that they have allowed here to land her dream job, but her phrasing just reeked of academic snobbery, which perhaps I have experienced too much of first-hand. I also have two advanced degrees, but don’t shake them in peoples faces or view them as anything other than what I needed to gain the job I wanted. I also have known many intelligent, intellectually curious, extremely creative and accomplished people with ‘only’ a H.S. or B.S./B.A. diploma who were utterly engaging people to talk to. I think LW puts down these good people. I guess I also have the studious, lower-middle-class kid’s view of higher education that it is a route to a good-paying job, rather than a ticket to extended adolescence and self-discovery. I earned both of my advanced degrees part-time, while working, and paid by my employer, so perhaps that also makes them seem more like job credentials than a marker of my mental superiority to my neighbors. I’ve also learned that, if one chooses, one can continue learning throughout adulthood, both from books and from discussion with interesting people, most of whom are not going to have advanced degrees.

      3. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        Great comment, Ron, and I feel similarly.

      4. Yeah, I ditto that. My situation is different from yours, in that I did both of my useless degrees before I was ever usefully employed. Incidentally, Wendy, i also didn’t date against type. M also has two degrees, and is very similar to me. I think some things work out and some don’t and type may factor into it, but it may not sometimes. (I also note that i have many cub scout merit badges, which are about as relevant to my current work as my degrees.) I was raised to overvalue that status conferred by “higher” education, and it took me a while to grow out of it. Right now, lots of my friends have MAs, because I met them while i was doing that. But many of my closest friends have no formal education beyond high school. A couple are college dropouts who stopped pursuing things they decided they no longer wanted. Some are artists. And as long as we are throwing around broad generalizations, a lot of the most “highly educated” people i know are also the most insufferable a-holes about it. And a lot of the modestly educated people i know are the best people in the world, based on their hearts and characters. And lots of educated swine like me have a very bittersweet attitude toward their degrees, because they know that shit hasn’t got much to do with who you are and where you get to in life. It’s just a first step, usually done when you are still not a full adult (which i define as supporting yourself and making your own decisions). What you do next and every day after that determines who you are and what you are worth. But yeah, the BF is a dick, MOA.

      5. Anonymousse says:

        I don’t see how any one can read into her putting down the working class in that one sentence. Too much weight is being put on one sentence, that to me, sounds like cursory background information.
        I’m sure a lot of advice seekers don’t analyze every single sentence they write to make sure they aren’t needlessly offending and deriding any group.

  25. I will come out and say that I actually do think it’s really “not smart” to have “advanced degree” as a criteria for a mate, let alone “multiple advanced degrees.”
    I know some of you are like, “but why is that wrong to want someone who’s as educated as me?” That kind of thinking is going to limit you from meeting the person who would be your perfect partner. The same goes for pretty much any criteria that you think you must have in a mate.
    At the end of the day, you need someone you can have fun with, are sexually attracted to, trust, feel safe and comfortable with, and respect. And none of that requires an advanced degree. It doesn’t require that you have similar backgrounds either, before you trot out that argument. If you can’t respect or feel safe with someone who doesn’t have an advanced degree, or three of them, then there is something wrong with you. Seriously.

    1. That may be your criteria. Does not have to be the LW’s. And that does not mean she is not right. Just different from yours.

      1. Those are THE criteria for a healthy relationship. I didn’t make them up. The LW is obviously pretty clueless if she spent 10 minutes considering moving in with that guy.

      2. LadyInPurpleNotRed says:

        That may be true, but going to lectures may be fun for her and she wants someone to go with. How a person has fun is very dependent on that person and for her, it may be easier to find someone who enjoys the same things as her who has a lot of education/higher education/whatever it may be.

      3. Ok, maybe she can only have fun going to lectures, and maybe only someone with multiple advanced degrees can do that with her. If that’s the case…

      4. But then again, maybe the subject her degrees are in is something like science or art or music or literature that a guy with only one degree might enjoy attending a lecture about. I minored in Art History and loved my classes. I only have BA level education in that topic (my masters is something boring), but I’d totally go to a museum or art lecture on a date! In fact, I have.

      5. SpaceySteph says:

        Totally true that getting a degree in something does not = significant interest in that and only that.
        I know other folks at work who love love love space as a hobby as well as a job and talk about it all the time and watch NASA TV on their own time and whatever; I don’t really do any of that. My husband (also an aerospace engineer) always calls me “worst nerd ever” because I don’t like a lot of those science nerd things he does.

      6. LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I’m not saying it is, but it may be something she runs into. I’m just pointing out that “having fun” is all relative and she may be looking for just that. Some are assuming that isn’t part of her criteria, I’m just saying it might and this is how it’s, poorly, manifesting itself in her requirements.

      7. SpaceySteph says:

        That may be true, but I still push back on the idea that she should seek people with academic qualifications because she assumes they would match in that way.
        If it’s “I couldn’t ever see myself long term with someone who didn’t want to go to art museums,” she should seek people who like art museums, regardless of whether they have a PhD in art history. Some people may like art history but are a plumber because either a) they thought it more practical or b) they couldn’t afford to go get an advanced degree in art history or c) because they don’t want to mix business with pleasure.
        Or she might meet a nice PhD art historian who actually prefers to unwind on the weekends and think about not-art-history.
        Either way, she’s unnecessarily cutting out people who may be compatible in terms of likes and values because she’s placing too much emphasis on a piece of paper.

      8. THIS! This is really all that needs to be said.

      9. LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I agree, hence why I said she is doing it poorly, but I can see it as shorthand (BAD shorthand, but nonetheless shorthand) for these are the ways I have fun and I need someone who will do them with me.

      10. Kate —
        I could buy that if she hadn’t said that she and this guy don’t have a lot in common . Rightly or wrongly, to me that meant her interest in his MULTIPLE advanced degrees was the snob value (I capped it because… as a hugely well educated person she should know that ‘advanced degrees’ is plural and therefore the ‘multiple’ just comes across as academic snobbery. I also think part of the divide in thinking about this LW is how the second post is viewed. I viewed it as a phony attempt to sound less a snob than conveyed by her original message. I think this partly because of the response to her initial message was so negative against its tone and part by the oh-so-very-fast transition from the woeful first note to the resolution that they’ve already had a conversation and broken up. Quite the turn on a dime. I think she would have received a very different set of responses if anywhere in her post she suggested that she loved this guy or saw more in him than an ass with multiple degrees. In other words, he seems to have been arm candy for an academic snob, but not worth the maintenance cost.

      11. Buy what? What part of what I said do you not agree with?

      12. That she can only have fun with a guy with advanced degrees? I don’t buy it either.

      13. That she chose this guy and stays with him because she likes going to concerts, lectures, art shows, museums, etc. with him. If that were the case, then I think she wouldn’t be saying that she has little in common with him.

  26. I agree with that. That was LIPNR’s suggestion, not mine. I was actually disagreeing with that suggestion, and countering with the suggestion that if that WERE the case with the LW, then she’s probably wrong in that, because it’s silly to assume that someone with one or two less degrees than you couldn’t share your interests.

  27. wobster109 says:

    LW, you’re never going to be able to relax in this relationship. BF looks out for his own interests, so you always have to be defending yours, or else you’ll get trampled. Your letter sounds tense and tired. Look how much energy goes into keeping track of commutes, chores, and date spending!

    Look for a partner who will have your best interest at heart. I used to date someone who tended to re-interpret agreements the most favorable way to himself. I felt like I was always on guard. Now I’m seeing someone who protests if he pays the cheap dates twice in a row, who spends a lot of thought making sure he’s fair to me. It’s a huge relief. It frees me up to focus on being fair to him too.

  28. Everything about the first paragraph of this letter suggests that this relationship is based on circumstance and convenience rather than love and commitment. It’s like you trolled the area for well educated men and picked the first one you found.

    If the most you can say about him is that you enjoy his company, it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to move in together anyway. Add to that the fact that he refuses to even consider living arrangements that would greatly benefit you and slightly inconvenience him, and it could not be any clearer that this relationship is going nowhere.

    While I understand that education can be important when relating to someone, that’s not always the case. And it’s absolutely not a good enough reason to stay with someone. “No, he doesn’t try to make me happy, but at least he has multiple advanced degrees” is pretty cold comfort. You need to find someone who knows (and acts like) your needs are just as important as his. At least for now, you’re better off alone.

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