Your Turn: “He Never Gives Me Any Gifts”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My boyfriend and I and I are both 22 and have been in a long-distance relationship for a little over a year now. He only went to college for his associate’s degree, so he has been working for the past year. And I am taking an extra year of college and graduating next May, so we have another year of distance ahead. Since he has several different career ideas, he doesn’t know where he will end up, and I want to go to law school so I’m basically in the same boat. We said that we would discuss our future plans once I get my acceptance letters.

I love him so much, and I know he loves me, but I often doubt our relationship and its future. I want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if his jobs will provide that. I’m not saying I want a provider, but I want my partner to be a financial equal with me. Right now he is practically broke. As a college student, I don’t have much money either, but I still try to get little gifts here and there to show my love and to spice things up. He never does that for me, and it hurts a lot. For example, on our one-year anniversary all he did was give me a letter which I had to drop hints for for weeks ahead of time. That was the only card I have ever gotten from him. He said he was so sorry that he was broke and he would make it up to me, but I didn’t see any effort or truth to that for the rest of that weekend I was with him.

It’s been three weeks since our anniversary and I’m about to visit him this weekend. I’m hoping he tries to make it up to me like he said he would, but I feel like he won’t. I don’t want to sound materialistic or demanding, but I have always been the one to do the little things for our special occasions (including Valentine’s Day and our 6th month anniversary). So this one-year milestone was important; it was his chance to prove to me that he cares, which is why it hurt even more when he completely dropped the ball.

He says he loves me, but he doesn’t show it. I need actions to back up words. I don’t know if I’m over-analyzing the situation, if it’s just the time in our lives, or if he just isn’t right for me but I need help figuring it all out. All of our problems seem to go back to money and I understand we’re young so that can change, but am I being too hopeful thinking that this is just a phase? My parents and my brother feel he won’t be a provider for me and find him to be selfish (they don’t like that he doesn’t do any small things for me) so they have written him off. And I love him and myself too much to continue a relationship that’s going nowhere. — Actions Speak Louder Than Words


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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. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Oh 6 month anniversaries.

      1. I concur.

        I wanted to write “oh brother . . .” and leave it at that.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I think it’s a year anniversary.

      1. The one she’s talking about is, but she mentioned the 6th month anniversary later in the letter.

    2. Listen, I was really excited when gf and I made it to 6 months. It’s my first relationship! Just because I didn’t get to be a silly middle-schooler in middle school, doesn’t mean I can’t be one now 😛 (mostly kidding!) I proved I could be in a relationship for AT LEAST 6 months. I made us a pie to celebrate. It was a good pie.

      Now it’ll be 18 months in two days (three days? I’m terrible at the exact date) and I only remembered because I thought to look just now.

      IDK, I think it’s cute. Immature (which I can definitely be about relationship milestones) but cute.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I mean I do agree Christy. We do silly little things for “silly” milestones/our own made up holidays. We celebrate the date we first said “I love you” every year (5 years later) and my husband got me flowers for our one week of marriage “anniversary”.

        Just actually pointing it out in a letter cemented the immature undertone I was getting.

      2. Oh, absolutely! And that’s adorable of you two.

      3. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah I think it depends on the seriousness you confront these mini-milestones with. If it’s like “Hey it’s out 2 week anniversary. Cheers!” or “Hey I got you this ring from that quarter machine to celebrate our three month anniversary” then that’s being cute.
        But if its “I got you a present for our 6 month anniversary and you didn’t get me anything that means you don’t love me!” then you’re being immature.

      4. I was in the bunch that wished “happy anniversary” every month for the first 11 months, then the one year, then… nothing. We completely forgot the 18th months, now let’s hope we won’t completely forget the two years, although it’s very probable…

        But yeah, first relationship, every month feels like an achievement.

  2. kerrycontrary says:

    Ok girl, you need a wake up call. First of all, going to law school does not guarantee a nice lifestyle, a high paycheck, or even a full-time job anymore. Read about how many lawyers are unemployed or not employed full time right now. And it’s not just people who slacked off in law school. The market is over-saturated with lawyers and there aren’t enough jobs. So unless being a lawyer is all you’ve ever wanted to do, I would think really hard about law school. So let’s think about how you may be the one that is broke instead of your boyfriend. Second of all, you’re boyfriend really might be broke or he might be totally clueless about what is expected for anniversaries and holidays. You need to tell him that what happened hurt your feelings and exactly what your expectations are for the relationship going forward. Overall though it seems like you two just aren’t a great fit. Maybe you should just find someone to date in law school (although, fair warning, you may BOTH be broke afterwards)

    1. You are right that education doesn’t equal wealth but work ethic is a good indicator. The way she describes him, it sounds like he has dreams but that they change frequently and he isn’t doing much in the meantime.

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        Eh I don’t think it’s that weird for a 22 year old guy to have several different career ideas. I didn’t get the “poor work ethic” vibe from her description. I mean lots of people are “practically broke” at 22. I’m 25 with a good job and I feel practically broke about once a month.

      2. “I’m 25 with a good job and I feel practically broke about once a month.”

        you have no idea how much anxiety i was just able to let go of… haha thank you.

      3. Umm, I’m often in the same boat too. Thank goodness i’m not the only one.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Shit I’m almost 28 and I feel broke like once a month. Even with budgets and saving etc etc.

      5. Avatar photo thewriteway says:

        Me too! I feel like my check goes right out the window as soon as it comes!

      6. Sometimes I think I should just set my direct deposit up to all the companies that I pay bills to every month. Why tease me with my bank account having money in it when it’s gone a few minutes later?!

      7. Yep! I wish I could set up my paychecks so that I don’t have that “LOOK AT ALL THAT MONEY!” moment before I pay my bills/rent/student loans.

        Also, I laugh whenever I get a student loan bill AND an donation requests from my alma mater in the same day.

      8. 32 with a mortgage, and currently broke! (on account of said mortgage)

      9. Ditto!

      10. me too, and my husband IS a lawyer! He can’t make a family supporting and/or student loan paying salary off that though unless he does boring unsatisfying mind numbing and moral boundary crossing works 75 hours+ per week though. I would not go to law school without a very clear career plan and financial plan. We’re lucky he managed to cobble together a career out of labour/NPO law and academia but that’s not easy either really.

      11. I aspire one day to have actual savings in my savings account… and I’m getting closer to 40 than 30 😉

      12. Yes, but she doesn’t see potential in him. So I am guessing that she doesn’t see him being agressive with his future. You are right that there are alot of people who flounder in thier 20s. But there are others that really start making moves at that age. Like he might be working a retail job or might be working to get promoted to assistant manager.

      13. but why is it ok that she sees all the potential in herself but none in him? in my mind they have equal potential, as they both havent actually accomplished anything, they are both figuring stuff out, applying to schools, taking time off, ect

      14. How can you expect her to stay with a guy that she does not see potential in? She can’t see him as a man but only as a guy. We don’t have the details but she does not respect the steps he is taking. Whatever he is “figuring” it isn’t impressive enough and that is the problem.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree. Sounds like she works hard, and he doesn’t. I don’t think she needs a “wake up call” about eventually earning money.

      16. kerrycontrary says:

        The wake up call I’m referring to is that she thinks going to law school will guarantee her a job/high salary. Talk to some lawyers and you will find out that it doesn’t. There are plenty of people who have associates degrees or technical degrees (hello plumbers!) that earn more than lawyers.

      17. lets_be_honest says:

        It likely will result in her having a high salary, eventually.

      18. I know people who are still waiting tables 10 years out from sitting the bar.

      19. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Hah… I know so many broke lawyers… The supply presently so exceeds the demand…

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not denying some people can’t find a job. Not at all. I’m saying eventually a good attorney will likely succeed. Eventually.

      21. Lily in NYC says:

        Maybe 10 years ago, but not now. There are no jobs unless you graduate from a top-10 law school. Attorneys are just not retiring at the rate needed for younger ones to get jobs. I get tons of resumes from recent law grads every time we have an open position (we have nothing to do with law – I’m talking about entry level admin positions).

      22. lets_be_honest says:

        That’s just not true. There may not be many jobs, but there are some. The law office next to mine just hired 3 new associates (none from top 10 schools). We’re hiring now. Many firms in my area are hiring right now.
        And yes, eventually (emphasis on that word), they will find jobs that most likely will pay pretty well. Maybe not in the next few years, but eventually. That temp job you referred to, could easily turn into a career, too.

      23. Not sure where you are… but here in DC experienced attorneys who had recently been successfully employed at big firms can’t even get an interview to be an admin or scheduler… Doc review jobs are gobbled up. It’s crazy and definitely not the golden ticket the LW seems to think it will be.

      24. lets_be_honest says:

        Right, that’s why I said there may not be many, but there are some.

      25. Rangerchic says:

        This is late to the game but my husband is a new construction plumber. He makes good money. We are not rich but we are not struggling and I still have student loan payments and we have a mortgage! I only have to work part time (I was full time but kind of demoted when the company started loosing too much money). Anyway, his job has let me stay with my part time job rather than forcing me to look for a full time job.

    2. Guy Friday says:

      Amen to that. It took me 6 months post-law school to even find the crappy private firm job I had, and I was one of the lucky ones. One of my best friends graduated top 25% of our class, and has gone through 4 contract jobs (read: short term) in 4 years. Another one graduated with roughly the same GPA I did, and hasn’t been able to find a job since law school. These aren’t the slackers in the back of the room here; these are people in a Top 100 law school in a market where there’s literally only two law schools competing for jobs (I suppose 4, if you want to call Minnesota and Robert Morris). So, yeah: wake up a little.

      1. It took one of my good friends from law school 2 years to find full-time employment (that he hates).

      2. It also took a different friend from law school a year to find full-time employment even after getting her LLM in Tax from freakin’ NYU.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I totally agree with your point about the market being over saturated. And it’s just not lawyers, it’s most fields that require a higher degree. A lot of people went to grad school when the economy crashed basically because they had no other options, which has lead to an over saturated market of Masters and PhD holders. My husband is almost done his PhD in history and the job prospects are pretty bleak- only about 10% of every 100 PhD grads in his field get a tenure track job EVER. Not even just out of school, ever. It’s depressing.

      1. Holy shit, I didn’t realize it was that bad.

        The director of education at the MD Zoo has a PhD in history (or some similar field). Definitely wasn’t expecting that when I volunteered there.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, we’re exploring lots of other options that he’s interested in like community organizing or even maybe a private high school. Things seem to be looking up; he has a lot of friends who are finding jobs but they are in places I’m pretty much unwilling to live in like Buffalo, NY or uber rural mountains of NC. So it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 years.

      3. I straight out told my kids that I wouldn’t pay a dime for any worthless college degrees, if they want a degree in psychology or history or sociology or some other Starbucks prep job, they would have to do it on their own dime. The only exception would be if they got into an Ivy League school.

      4. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

        I think that’s pretty short-sighted of you and is only likely to force your kids into majors (possibly careers) where they’re unhappy. And people who are in majors they’re not excited about are more likely not to finish at all, or to take longer to finish. It actually doesn’t matter that much what you major in; what matters is getting the degree and getting some work experience while you do it. And an Ivy League school is no guarantee either way. There are plenty of schools that provide the equal to an Ivy League education, so it’s an arbitrary line to draw; and then there are a lot of Ivy League graduates working in the dead-end jobs you dread.

        In this economy, even people who get degrees in nursing–which is probably the most practical college degree anyone can think of–often struggle to find jobs after college and spend a period of time unemployed.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        She’s not forcing them to do anything. She’s just not paying for it.

      6. kerrycontrary says:

        It’s not forcing, but it is strong coercion for an 18 year old who gets into a college and wants to major in Subject A and their parent goes “oh no I’m not paying for that, you need to major in nursing/engineering/etc…” Not many kids would chose to put themselves into debt in that situation.

      7. To add to that: most colleges take paretal income into account when making financial aid decisions. When parents refuse to pay, the kid takes on WAY more debt than they would if they didn’t have parents or if their parents were poor.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Both good points. But that’s the choice for the 18 year old to make.

      9. I would say if my kid’s not willing to put themselves into debt to do Subject A, then maybe they should pick something else…

        although that being said, I’m not footing the bill for my kid’s education beyond a basic registered education savings plan with tax breaks. I will let them live at home for free while they are in school though.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Touche! Good point.

      11. She = He 🙂

      12. SpaceySteph says:

        “force your kids into majors (possibly careers) where they’re unhappy”

        I think we place too much emphasis on “being happy” in one’s career. I mean, a job is a way to put food on the table and a roof over your head. I don’t know who told people my age that they deserve to be paid to be happy, but they were a liar.

        And I say that as a person with pretty close to my dream job. But you know what? It’s still work. It’s still boring sometimes and stressful sometimes and early mornings and late nights, and crappy bosses… and its not supposed to be fun, its supposed to be work. So you know what, if TheTruth wants to force his kids to choose between a parent approved major and parental funds, or a different major on their own… welcome to the real freaking world, kids. Sometimes you have to do crap you don’t want to do to get paid and sometimes you have to struggle to make ends meet to be happy.

        Furthermore, your first degree, your first job is not the thing you’re stuck with for the rest of your life. Your path is not permanent at 22 or 30… or hell, even 50. The decision you make on your college application at 18 doesn’t have to define your life.

        (By the way, I don’t agree that the majors listed are totally worthless “starbucks prep” jobs, but I do think that if TheTruth does not think them a worthy investment then he doesn’t have to pay for them. Parents paying for college is not actually a right.)

      13. There are two kinds of people : the ones who work because it gives them the money they need in order to afford great free time outside of work, and the ones who work because they enjoy to work.

        One is not better than the other, but yes, some people would continue working at their job even if they had won 50 million at the lottery. Some people work in jobs that will never pay (think poet, or missionary in Africa) because they enjoy it so much. Some people never retire because they cannot imagine spending a single day not doing what they enjoy the most : their job.

        Honestly, if I have a lucid, responsible, visionary 18 y.o kids telling me “I know it will be hard, I know I won’t have any money, I know you don’t understand why I want to do this, but I want to study piano/contemporary dance/drama/theology/ancient language/etc.” I will probably respect that kid more than another random kid that goes into “engineering” because he took the first major he saw, and he has no ambition, no passion, and no actual interest in engineering.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        But you do NEED money to pay the bills, so you have to work. Maybe you can work for cheap because your bills are very, very low, but you still have to pay them (except for that .0001% of people who won the lottery and stay working). Hopefully you truly enjoy working, but the purpose of working is to pay the bills, and maybe love your job too, but it HAS TO pay the bills. No?

      15. Of course, it’s still paid work, because you’re not a full time volunteer or slave, but people can live extremely simply, which most people never consider. I know a couple, he’s still doing a PhD in sociology, and she’s studying in cinema, they are both in their 30’s, they have two kids… and they are able to live out of the scholarship they get ! Because they have the tiniest apartment possible, they don’t have a car, they don’t go out to the restaurant, they get their food from local farmers, they take their clothes from second-hand shop. And they are actually very happy to live like that. Last year, they spent 8 months in Burkina Faso for the man’s field study. They lived their time there like the locals, with a few dollars per day…

        But they are happy ! Because they chose that life.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        Of course you can choose to live simply. But like steph said, you still have bills to pay. If a few bucks a day pays them and you’re doing what you love, more power to you! More power to anyone doing what they want, regardless of what it is.

      17. Eagle Eye says:

        Idk, I’m a grad student in art history, so we can talk for a while about Starbucks prep jobs, and my bf is also a PhD (although in STEM) but currently he only makes a smidge more than me, and we live in a not inexpensive city,

        You figure it out, basically, are we ever going to be rich, no, but we pay the bills and put clothes on our backs, they’re just old clothes and we make sure not to watch what our bills are going to be.

        Most importantly, though, we’re happy, I can’t imagine being happy doing anything else, so, I’m not complaining!

      18. SpaceySteph says:

        “Some people work in jobs that will never pay (think poet, or missionary in Africa) because they enjoy it so much.”

        Ok so if that’s the job you want, start now. Start in college by not having any money and pursuing your dream. See now, while you still have a bit of a safety net, if that’s a life you want to pursue.

        Also I agree with LBH- even these people need to eat and be clothed. Maybe they live cheaply within their means or maybe they have a side job that pays; but having basic needs to meet and those needs requiring money is an inescapable truth.

      19. Hint — it doesn’t require a college degree to be a poet or a writer. It helps to be well read, but you can do that on your own. If you love poetry or novels, you don’t need a professor standing behind you with a whip to make you read them, or to require that you read some literary criticism, or that take a shot at doing a written analysis of what you’ve read, or starting to journal and write creatively. You don’t need a credential to write. Nobody is going to hire you as a poet or novelist. You have to create something good and peddle it.

      20. Your kids could do a lot worse than Starbucks. I worked there most of undergrad, and it is a great company to work for; all employees (at ALL levels) get full benefits so long as they work at least 20 hours/week. Just sayin’.

      21. My niece worked there post college and liked it. Now doing something else. There is another side to parents paying for kids to get humanities degrees in low-paying, or almost nonexistent fields. One of the biggest problems going forward for my generation is that of parents who tapped out their savings to send the kiddies to college and now have totally inadequate retirement savings. You have to love and help your kids, but how much sense does it make to give them a blank check to follow their unrealistic dreams of ‘what I will love to do as work’, when you know the economic truth of their future and you know the harsh reality of your own retirement account?

        Another thing to consider. Most high school and college kids are clueless about work. Studying cello or poetry is a far cry from earning your daily bread doing it. I was in a very practical field, but will readily admit that my thoughts about what working in the field would actually be like were a far cry from reality. It took a junior summer internship to partially set me straight and rearrange the courses I was planning to take from the overly theoretical to ones that actual had relevance for what non-professors actually do in my ake thifield of choice. Actual work was also quite a bit different from summer internship. When you hear “I want to take this program of studies so that I can do work that I will love”, try not to roll your eyes as you realize that your kid knows almost zilch about what that work will actually entail, especially in the early years of the career.

        Professors all expect the graduates in their field of humanities, especially those with advanced degrees, to aim at and become professors. Now there is a totally saturated field. Professors who paint bright pictures of the future for their favorite gender studies, cello, ethnic studies, poetry students probably aren’t lying, they just aren’t up on the job market. Not a lot of tenure-track jobs to be had. Industry is less impressed by the old liberal arts ‘learning how to learn’. Scientists, engineers, accountants, teachers, doctors… a whole range of practical studies also know how to learn and have picked up basic life skills in reading, writing, speaking, computing, logical thinking. The hoary notion that studying the classics is the way to learn critical thinking is passed its prime and a relic of the days when these folks studied to be landed gentry, government paper pushers, and professors. If you want to learn critical, logical thinking, take a subject like mathematics or science. Everybody has to learn to do library and internet research. The humanities degree isn’t a magical key to this kingdom of knowledge.

        Kids are fed a lot of pablum by their teachers. Much of it is self serving from people in dying fields who need the students far more than the students need them.

      22. “how much sense does it make to give them a blank check to follow their unrealistic dreams of ‘what I will love to do as work’, when you know the economic truth of their future and you know the harsh reality of your own retirement account?”

        SLOW CLAP for you Oldie;)

      23. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Awesome. Thanks for saying what my husband has dedicated his life to is worthless. Much appreciated!

      24. Especially when all the people I know that majored in some Liberal-artsy major actually have real jobs (often something unexpected), where I know several “real major” people that are out of work.

      25. History is not worthless at all… I am an avid history buff. A degree is History from a non-ivy league school is on average worthless, well relatively speaking. Yes he could beat the odds and luck out into finding a decent job in his field, but most likely he will end up doing something that is completely un-related to his field or in which he is overqualified for.

      26. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Graduates from Ivy Leagues are ending up at community colleges too. Your comment was condescending and VERY rude. It’s great that you’re a “history buff” but don’t look down your nose on other people’s career choices. Also being a “history buff” in no way compares to the work and dedication it takes to get a PhD.

        (And we are well aware of his “odds” and he is choosing this path because teaching is something he is passionate about, not because of the earning potential.)

      27. kerrycontrary says:

        I don’t think you really know what goes into a History degree. You obtain a lot of skills that are completely unrelated to being a “history buff.” You learn how to write properly, articulate points in an argument, (i.e. you can communicate verbally and in written word which a lot of people can’t), you can connect broad themes in arguements, understand action/reaction. etc….It’s not about names and dates.

      28. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        And the research skills, understanding broad social themes, writing basically a book, public speaking, I mean the list goes on and on and on of how different an education in history is different than an enthusiast who enjoys visiting Civil War battle sites and watching the History Channel. (Or are you a WWI or WWII person? It’s one of the 3, I’m guessing since most “history buffs” only enjoy the wars, not the social movements that lead up to and happened after the wars which shape our country today.)

      29. kerrycontrary says:

        Yeh I actually hate a lot of typical history stuff and I was bitching that my boyfriend took me to a battlefield this weekend (but it was actually a nice walk). My favorite period of time? La Belle Epoque. I think people need to focus on what skills you acquire in a major in college because those will help you in whatever job you end up in.

      30. How about this? There are very few careers that one can get with an undergrad degree in History (or whatever field). LOTS of fields require masters or more. Art History, you need a PhD to be a curator. NEED it. And like, it’s not that those are worthless fields. But if there’s only four years until the student needs to start contributing to household expenses, say, then a history/acting/religion degree isn’t gonna get a job that can help after graduation. It’s much less likely.

      31. Eagle Eye says:

        Yep, welcome to my life! Also, we’re human, thinking and talking about humanity at large is hugely important! We’re not just automatic robots, we have thoughts and feelings and desires and having people who are dedicated to studying that (like at the PhD/ professorial level) is important!

      32. I have plenty of friends with history degrees from a non-Ivy. They are mostly journalists, but also work in the state archives and at museums.

      33. I was an English and history major, and my fiancee was a classics major. Our combined household income is $500K, and our combined age is 62. So all of you condescending know-it-alls who claim that our degrees are worthless can suck it. If you’re smart, ambitious and tenacious, any degree will get you a good, satisfying job.

      34. Yeah, I had a lot of friends whose parents wouldn’t pay for theatre majors without some other more practical major attached to it.

      35. Guy Friday says:

        Hold on. Since when is a degree in psychology or sociology crap? Granted, you often have to go on to a Master’s program, but it’s not like people with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology have no marketplace for their skills. A lot of places — VA groups, for example — are looking to hire BAs in Psych to work as reintegration counselors for soldiers coming back from war because (a) people with Masters or Doctorates want too much money, and (b) the psych background often helps them understand the kind of issues the soldiers are facing.

      36. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

        And if you’ve had lab experience, which is common in experimental psychology fields, that can be a way to get into lab personnel positions or lab management. I know a lot of post-Bachelor’s students who took that route to build up their resumes and figure out whether graduate school would work out for them.

        Plus, as a psychologist, I’m always going to get irritated by implications that what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years is useless.

      37. Also, this comment really rubbed me the wrong way because it not only looks down on certain degrees and passions, but also occupations. You strike me as someone who thinks your barista is lesser than you simply because where he or she works.

      38. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Barista or waitress or retail worker…yeah this comment was beyond rude and entitled, IMO.

      39. Now it is you who are looking down at baristas, waitresses, and retail workers. Nobody is saying history isn’t worthwhile. But a few points are clear. There aren’t a lot of jobs in history. The reading, writing, speaking, research, logic, and critical thinking skills which can be learned through the study of history can also be learned through the study of quite a few other subjects. Do you really believe that doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, architects, teachers, mathematicians, and accountants haven’t learned these skills?

      40. I don’t look down on certain occupations at all. Im as blue collar as it gets. My wife owns a hamburger stand. I work on powerplants.

        Barista’s are very important, but they don’t need degrees in history or sociology.

        I’m just against the whole “do what you love” and “you can be anything you want to be” and “everyone must go to college” load of malarky that is fed to out kids these days.

      41. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t know that I’m against it, but its certainly not always wise. If “doing what you love” doesn’t pay the bills, you probably should have a side job.

      42. FWIW, I agree with you.

        And I have a fairly worthless bachelor’s degree.

      43. I guess in my mind, it’s never the DEGREE that is worthless; it’s that some people don’t know how to get from college to career. The “worthless” degrees often teach softer skills that can lead you in so many different directions that graduates don’t know where to start and/or don’t focus on a specific career path and/or don’t know how to market themselves. Meanwhile, if you go to school and study accountancy, the post-grad path seems obvious: get a job at an accounting firm, become a CPA, etc.

        This is a huge generalization, but I do think a lot of the time, the person holding the degree is a bigger problem than the degree itself. And this is coming from someone who took a really, REALLY roundabout way into a field I’m interested in because I wasted so much time trying to please my parents and become “marketable” (in law school, HAHA) because I was some kind of trifecta of all the above issues I listed.

      44. kerrycontrary says:

        Hey don’t put down the liberal arts! I have a BA in History, a BA in French, and a MLS…Oh and a good job. Never worked at Starbucks but I bet a lot of people who do work there are doing it as PT or a second job. But I also had internships/work experience along the way and worked part-time on and off throughout college. My parents understood that going to college was not only a vehicle to get me a job but also a way for me to get a well-rounded education, which is why I chose the liberal arts for college. And I use my french every day at my job thank you very much.

      45. Yes, but how old are you. What was possible for people of my age (40’s) isn’t as viable for kids today.

      46. kerrycontrary says:

        I’m a “kids today”. I’m 25.

      47. Just a random tidbit that despite all the “MLS is WORTHLESS!” stories I’ve heard, every friend I’ve had to get this degree has eventually found gainful employment doing something they LOVE. None are rich based on numbers alone, but all are getting by just fine and seem so very happy.

      48. kerrycontrary says:

        haha I don’t think my MLS is worthless anymore as I wouldn’t have gotten my job without it. I think people just need to view the MLS as a vehicle to get the job they want. I more dislike my school that fooled me into saying they would have funding for me when they didn’t. But yes, librarianship is one of the very few professions where people say “I love what I do every day.”

      49. I was a history major and turned out alright

      50. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        So worthless degrees are fine if they get into an ivy league school? Fantastic.

      51. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Right? What logic is that? You can only get an education in history/English/art/phycology if you’re in the top 1% of the country! Huh?

      52. It is pretty screwed up. Blame college inflation. I would love for those degrees to be way more viable, unfortunately the cost of a college education has gone up so much that its priced these very valuable degrees out of the range of economic viability (unless you are rich).

      53. Its complete wrong because Ivy League schools are just another mechanism in which rich easterners ensure that their prodigy can guarantee their social status, but it’s true.

      54. Guy Friday says:

        See, your comment is absolutely idiotic and wrong on SO many levels:

        1.) You don’t guarantee your social status by going to Harvard unless you had social status to begin with, which many (most) Harvard college students do not, particularly since many (most?) come from out of the country and thus have NO social status here.

        2.) Harvard has a diverse base of students beyond the Northeast. It’s not like no one outside of Massachusetts and Connecticut knows what Harvard is.

        3.) A “worthless degree” (to use your phrase) is worthless no matter where you go. It’s not like you get further in life with a BA in sociology from Harvard than you do from, say, Boston University or Boston College or Northeastern or many other private Massachusetts universities. And, in fact, it’s likely to be seen as MORE worthless because, hey, you went to Harvard and all you got was THAT?!

      55. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        To your number 3- if people think a bachelor’s degree in say history is worthless from Joe Blow University, imagine one from Havard? Your overqualified for basically everything! At least from Joe Blow University you are approachable and higher-able.

      56. Lily in NYC says:

        What??? People seem to think these schools are full of trust-fund legacy students. Of course they exist; they exist at every university. Ivies have the best financial aid packages out there. For example, at Harvard, parents with an imcome less than 65K are not expected to contribute to college costs. There are no athletic or merit scolarships; they are completely need-based.

      57. applescruffs says:

        Which of my psychology degrees is worthless? Is it the BA, MS, or the doctorate? All three, or just the first one?

      58. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

        The stats for all PhDs (I don’t know which disciplines off the top of my head) landing tenure-track jobs 6 YEARS post-PhD is 28%. I managed to find a tenure-track job at the end of this job season, but I’ve definitely underplaced at a very small college–but it’s the best of all possible worlds for me (no publications factor into tenure, and I’m making my long-distance relationship somewhat less distant). But I’m still feeling a crazy amount of survivor’s guilt. I just managed to win what is basically a lottery at this point.

      59. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

        I unfortunately don’t have a reference to back that stat up, but I’ve heard it repeated often. If someone can clarify, that would be awesome.

  3. LW, I would say MOA and see where the next few years take you. They might take you back together or in different directions. Wendy’s best rule for LDRs is having an end date. You guys have so much possibilities in front of you. I have said it before but my brother and his wife dated in college, broke up, worked a few years, then got back together and married. If it is meant to be, you will circle back to each other.

    I think you need to explore all that is out there.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I agree with you, again. Both of their futures are completely up in the air, with potentially many years ahead of them before they have a clue where they will be. The issue of the gifts seems irrelevant here.

      1. Yes, the focus upon gifts is LW’s personality, not her bfs. Different people view this 180-degrees apart. The presence of gifts does not equate to love, nor do their absence relate to lack of love. As others have previously pointed out, just different expectations and ways of expressing love. The focus on gifts, coupled with the ‘he won”t earn enough’ makes LW seem a tad overly materialistic for my taste. I like my comfort and material goodies, too, but such thoughts didn’t rise to the top of my list in seeking a spouse.

        There seems a big disconnect in the letter. This is a long-distance relationship, as in very little current gratification. If LW doesn’t see a future compatibility with this guy, base upon his earning potential, why waste time tied down in an LDR. MOA and go out and date other people. Maybe you’ll find someone who is a far better match for you. It seems really insane to limit your law school choices and tie yourself down to a guy who inspires as little confidence as your current bf.

  4. Blech. Try to drown out your mother and brother’s voice and anyone who uses the word “provider” past the year 1963, as you deal with your boyfriend. Please. I feel like this is making you blow all of this WAY out of proportion. Many people are not gift-givers, many men have no intention of being the “provider” of a family (thank god), and many men will not end up being the financial equals of their female partners, due to the beauty of increasingly equal distribution of financial success between men and women. But all of these phenomena are *separate* — there are plenty of successful men who are not necessarily gift-givers, too.

    When you think about JUST the gift issue, make sure to count those little things that you may not see as gifts, but that he might — making coffee in the mornings for you, picking up dessert on the way home, giving you backrubs with no expectation of reciprocation, whatever — before you talk to him. If he really doesn’t do those little things then I’d agree you have a major problem (one that isn’t actually about gifts at all but about having a guy who isn’t generous or thoughtful enough to make the effort to be a good boyfriend), but if he does little things that aren’t officially “gifts,” make sure to mention those when you ask him to switch up his giving style. You have a right to ask for what you want (that’s certainly better than not telling him and then complaining), but keep in mind what he’s already doing so that you don’t come off as ungrateful for that.

    Finally, if you’re going to be a corporate lawyer, you’re going to have a very narrow segment of the population from which to pick your financially equal male partner. I’m going to say… about 1%? 🙂

    1. Also, if you love him, I would really really hope you won’t mention this “financial equals” thing you have. You are WAY too young. He is 22 and doesn’t know what his dreams are, so pressuring him to enter a certain income bracket basically means you don’t want him to have the full range of possibilities to explore. At 22, people should be figuring out what they want out of life, and if he doesn’t get the chance to consider all the possibilities, he may end up in the wrong place because you cared more about your relationship than his fulfillment in life. I’m not saying it’s unreasonable to want that eventually, but… he’s 22. 22!!

      1. They are financial equals right now – neither has any money. Normally I would say you don’t judge on potential since it’s the here and now that matters in relationships but both of you are so young and don’t have anything really set yet – so why judge at all? Maybe he will make something of himself – maybe you will too because as of right now – you are both in the same boat. I don’t know why you and your family thinks your boat is so much more seaworthy.
        And I am so with ebstarr – shall we lose the provider title? You want a certain type of life then earn it for yourself. If having a partner with a certain income is of more import to you than having a boyfriend with the personality that your boyfriend does then break up with him. You aren’t talking about a 36 year old that lives in his mother’s basement playing video games. You are talking about someone working, trying to put plans in place for the future. You don’t have to wait forever to see if he follows through….but at least wait until you have something to bring to the table before getting upset that he isn’t bringing anything either.
        As for the gifts – I totally agree ebstarr. My husband is usually pretty good at buying gifts but truly it is the day to day things he does that I truly appreciate – putting air in my tires, taking my mom to the dentist, taking my car through the car wash, walking the puppies in the morning so I can sleep in. So what kind of boyfriend is he? Is he attentive? Does he listen to you? Is he supportive? Funny? It may not be the way you choose to show him that you care (little gifts) but how does he show you that he cares? And can’t that be good enough for now?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Her family is who said provider. She said she wanted an equal. Sounds like she is planning on obtaining an expensive lifestyle, and likely he isn’t, or its just not as important to him (assuming). That’s fine. They want different things for their futures. If she chooses to not wait to see if he changes, that’s fine too. Actually, I’d recommend it.

      3. I just want to be clear, I’m not judging adults who want financial equals from their partners. Nor young people who think ahead and want people with similar financial VALUES (she’s really too young to even judge his potential). Just judging this LW a bit for being so swayed by her mother and brother’s sexist opinions (it seems pretty clear to me that she put that in the letter because she does care about it) … although she too is young, so I guess we should all try not to be too harsh.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree 100%. I feel like there is a lot of judgment on her for saying what she wants. Just because I might be ok with never owning a home, or driving a nice car, or vacationing, doesn’t mean I’m going to judge someone for wanting that. As long as you work for what you want and contribute to your partnership, I’m not going to judge you. Don’t get where all the hate is coming from today.

      5. Changes from what? Being as broke as she is?
        Her family is saying provider but she is echoing it. And finding fault with the boyfriend because of it. It doesn’t say the boyfriend isn’t paying his own bills…just that money is tight for him…as it is for her.
        I had no interest in supporting a husband – I wanted a partner who could bring something comparable to the marriage because I wanted a certain lifestyle for myself. So I made sure I could achieve that lifestyle on my own – first – and then I found a partner I could build a life together with to grow that dream. It is unrealistic to assume someone will have secure finances so young (unless a trust fund baby or a genius developer) particularly when YOU don’t have two cents to rub together either.
        If she had her ducks in a row and was financially independent then my answer might be different. But since she doesn’t have anything except a hope and a prayer for her own financial success then I don’t get where the judging him for not having funds is coming from. Perhaps if he was a slacker, or didn’t work, or was living off of his parents (though plenty do now) maybe I would say your ambitions are different – move on. But she says he does have ambition. She doesn’t have faith in him to achieve them. And maybe that is sufficient reason to walk…

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Changes from (I’m guessing) having less ambition or drive to earn money like she does. Regardless of whether we agree with that or not, its clearly important to her. So if she thinks he will never live up to what she wants, then she should leave him.
        If having a boyfriend who wears a patch is the most important thing to me in a guy, then why would I be with a guy who doesn’t need a patch and won’t wear one? idk, I’m just of the mindset that if you want X, you should go get it.

        I totally agree that she is assuming she will have $$, and assuming he won’t. Maybe he will, and maybe she won’t. But clearly she doesn’t find him to have a chance and because of that also, she should not be with him. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who thought I didn’t have a chance of living up to their needs.

      7. Yeah, I agree, it’s really so early for her to start judging based on this. Although I think if gifts are her language, he should try to show her love in her language rather than his own (and she should try to show love in his, which is apparently not via gifts). But that has nothing to do with his financial future!

      8. This is the kind of guy “Sk8rboi” was written for. She really seems to be judging harshly at this age.

    2. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

      I think it’s premature to tie gift giving early in a relationship, when neither person has an established career, to future earning potential, and gifts say more about how you express your affection for someone. I really like your idea of looking at actual actions, as opposed to items purchased.

      My husband’s ex was sort of like the LW, from what I can gather, only much more extreme; she wanted him to give her gifts weekly. These gifts were meant to demonstrate both his overall commitment to the relationship and his ability to comfortably support her in the future. Her family were millionaires, and she was accustomed to a certain degree of luxury, which he ultimately couldn’t provide her. Their relationship ended, and both parties went on to find people who were more suited to them.

      Honestly, I think it’s good if the LW realizes her boyfriend can’t provide her the lifestyle she wants, because it will leave them both free to pursue relationships that will likely make them happy in the long run. It may also give her time to evaluate what she really wants from a longterm relationship. She may find that her priorities shift as she gets older. She may also find that she dodged a bullet, because their values and love languages are both incompatible.

      1. Wow, your husband’s ex sounds TERRIBLE. Yes, people should want what they want, but sometimes what people want is really stupid, amirite? 🙂

    3. zombeyonce says:

      I agree that she should tune out her mother and brother’s opinions about her boyfriend being a “provider” but I’d take it a step further. LW doesn’t even need to be telling her family members that her boyfriend doesn’t give her gifts. It’s really none of their business and until LW actually flat out TELLS her boyfriend that this is an issue for her and gives him a chance to rectify the situation (without just hoping he will read her mind and know that she expects a gift this weekend), this will just make him look bad to her family.

      If she sees a long term future with him, it’s probably best to not tell family members all the tiny things about him that frustrate her and frankly, not receiving enough or good-enough gifts is a pretty tiny thing. It’s one thing to talk about big things, like lack of ambition (which seems like it may be an issue but it’s not clear if he lacks ambition or is just young and indecisive), but this seems pretty straightforward of a fix: if he doesn’t get you gifts, explain to him how important that is to you even if it’s just something thoughtful like making a special meal. If he then gets you gifts, you’re good. If not, it’s clear that he isn’t willing to make a small effort to do something important to you, and you can MOA.

  5. So he’s “only” going for his associates degree? Do you realize how condescending you sound? You make it sound as if your boyfriend isn’t good enough for you. And if you truly feel that way, you should break up with him.

    But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you didn’t mean to sound so condescending. Maybe the words came out wrong. Your boyfriend has told you he cannot afford gifts right now. Does he show his love for you in other ways? Does he call regularly? Does he make you a priority in his life? When you are together, does he seem interested in spending special time with you, even if it’s something as simple as taking a long walk together?

    You say his love needs to be backed up by action. But love is not always shown through gifts. Love is shown through how he acts when you spend time together. If gifts are really that important to you, you should be with a different guy.

    1. WTS. “actions” do NOT equal gifts.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m just not reading this the way everyone else seems to be. Saying “only” an associates is pretty accurate. It is less than a bachelors. That’s just a fact. I didn’t read any condescension.

      1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Why couldn’t she just say he got his associates degree. The only makes it condescending. There’s no need for it. If he went for a bachelors degree she would have said so. We don’t need the only.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        With that logic though, if I had 4 kids and Wendy only has 1, would it be condescending of me to say she only has 1 kid? No. It’d be a fact. I only had fries for dinner, but you got a burger. Not implying anything other than you having a burger and me only having fries.
        Saying he only got a AA, so he’s already in the work force and I still have more schooling, so I’m not working yet is not condescending. Its just factual.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Now if you WANTED to be insulted, you could say I was trying to point out your a pig for eating a whole burger, when I ONLY had fries. But that’s a choice you are making to find anything to be insulted by, when all I meant was you had this, I had that.

      4. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Well when you highlight the fact that you ONLY had fried (key with it being capitalized), it sure would come off condescending.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        lol, but I didn’t initially when making my point, and she didn’t all caps “only.”

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I know, but I’m just pointing out how your sentence condescension could change, like with how you capitalized it in that one sentence…or talking down about your boyfriend for the rest of the letter, making the only seem condescending.

      7. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Yes, but coupled with everything else she wrote about him, it comes off condescending. She clearly looks down at him for it. Your examples could be extremely condescending depending on your tone/what else you were saying about them.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Just not seeing it. Her plan is to be financially successful. Nothing wrong with that. His plan does not seem to be taking the same path. Nothing wrong with that either. Its ok to point that out when she is reevaluating her relationship like she is doing now.

      9. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        We don’t know that his plan isn’t. It’s too soon to tell. For either of them.

      10. I agree – both have a dream. Which dream turns successful – who can say yet?

      11. combined with the rest of the letter, its pretty obviously condescending, i think

      12. It would be if you said Wendy only has 1 kid, and doesn’t stop complaining about how much time it takes up, while I have 4 and breeze through my day, and while baking for the neighborhood.

      13. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Yeah… Definitely. I got a similar vibe to the “ONLY” in this letter as well.

      14. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        Yeah, my husband has an associates degree. He also has a bachelors and a masters. His full time job (which he uses to contribute pretty much equally to our family)? It’s in the same field as his associates, which is far removed from his bachelors and masters.

      15. 6napkinburger says:

        I read “only” as he only had 2 years of scholing, while she had 5. She was talking about how long they had to be long distance then.

  6. Oh, the gifts thing again. Look, gift giving/receiving is important to some people & not to others. The five love languages, blah blah blah.

    Now to address everything else in your letter. You…seem to be having very strange concerns? Financial compatibility is a big thing in relationships, but you guys aren’t there yet. You’re both only 22 & still in school. “I want my partner to be a financial equal with me.” Okay! That’s reasonable—uh, EXCEPT you don’t even know where ~you’re~ at right now? I like how you say he’s “practically broke” & then you admit right after that you “don’t have much money either.” It’s like you know you’re being unreasonable, but can’t help it?

    You are BOTH BROKE right now. Of course you are. You are college students & everything, in regard to career, is up in the air. So if you’re feeling a little nervous about the future, that’s okay. But don’t worry about his future right now. I mean, you’re both on the same level, so I don’t know why your mental energy is going solely towards HIS future, & how it might be able to provide?

    And—to go back to the gifts thing—it’s your choice to spend money on things like that. Maybe he thinks his money is better spent (or saved?) elsewhere. Others might disagree, but I think that’s fine. Buuut maybe *you* don’t think it’s fine? I can’t tell if you’re absorbing a bit too much of your family’s opinions (that the man in your life should take care of you, money-wise) or if you, deep-down, believe this as well. If you do, maybe it’s better to just MOA.

    1. To add to that, being a financial equal is a strange goal. Having similar ideas about what to do when money is or isn’t around is VERY important, but demanding that salaries be similar is just…off, especially at that age.

  7. So they have been long distance the entire relationship?

  8. “I have always been the one to do the little things for our special occasions”

    whatever effort you put into relationships you cannot expect others to 100% reciprocate. that is life, that is the way it is, with romantic and platonic relationships. if you give gifts because you genuinely like it, if you really, honestly *want* to, keep doing it- but do NOT expect the same thing back. you have to accept what people genuinely bring to the table, so to speak, in relationships. so you always buy little gifts- cool. that might not matter to your boyfriend. have you ever thought of that? he might not even care about the gifts you seem to put so much weight on- so think about that. what does he bring to the table? you can always just be upfront and honest about what you want (“boyfriend, i really want X kind of gift for our anniversary”), but i always think it is better to figure out what other people are genuinely about- what does your boyfriend genuinely bring you? maybe its intangible, maybe its not “gifts” in the traditional sense, and that is completely ok. accept him for who he is, and love the “gifts” he brings.

    the whole “financial security” and “provider” parts of your letter just make me cringe- you are quite obviously in college still, and have no real world experiences. you have literally no idea what your future holds and what earning potential that has- you havent even completed school yet. you havent even been *accepted* into law school, much less gone through it with an *amazing record* and *maybe* landed a job (like kerry said, the market for lawyers is shit right now- seriously look it up). you have absolutely no idea how much money you will make/have the potential to make, and you also have no idea how much your boyfriend will make either! you guys are so young and you have your entire lives ahead of you. i highly, highly suggest that you start putting much more focus (just in general) on how people make you feel, what intangible things they bring to your life, and in regards to a boyfriend, how well you two can run a household together, whether or not your values align, agreements about marriage/kids/where to live/ect. because all that matters a whole hell of a lot more then earning potential, i can promise you that.

    1. oh and also- i love how you are bringing up these concerns while 22, still in college, in a one year old relationship- you are no where NEAR marriage, right? why are you even thinking about this? why is this even a thing?

      i think you should examine deep down how you were brought up with regards to gender roles and how women are treated- you might have either been taught and/or internalized some really messed up ideals that you arent even aware of, but that are now causing you anxiety about things that arent even happening, or potentially happening.

      1. Like x1000

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I don’t know…I didn’t get any weird gender rolls stuff here. She said “I want my partner to be a financial equal with me” that’s pretty much the opposite of having gender issues. And there are people who get married young and succeed so I don’t think it’s fair to write off wanting to make sure her partner could be a good husband someday. I mean I met my husband at 22 and we started exploring all of these conversations (jobs, kids, religion, etc) from the beginning.

      3. its not her age- its the general state of her relationship and her life. nowhere has she mentioned that they have had those discussions, they are long distance, have been for a long time, and are going to be for a while, and also have a very uncertain future ahead of them. i have to assume this is a not-terribly-serious relationship. long term, sure, but not terribly serious.

        and the gender stuff i think its totally sub-conscious, with her own little hints at it, combined with what her family thinks. im sure its there somewhere, hiding under the surface.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Eh, IMO you could be way off the mark. We where long distance for 3 years and still were VERY serious and had an uncertain future ahead. I know theattack’s situation was fairly similar. You can’t judge the seriousness of a relationship on age or geography (unless they have never met) or what job they might have in 5 years.

      5. what? i also didnt say it was about the distance- i said the in general state of her relationship from the facts she has given, which means that i believe the sum of all the factors (of which age and distance are factors, yes) is making me think that she is thinking way more seriously and way more into the future then her relationship is at. jumping the gun, or whatever.

        you LDR people get so defensive about other peoples LDRs… it is such a strange phenomenon.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        “they are long distance, have been for a long time, and are going to be for a while…i have to assume this is a not-terribly-serious relationship”

        And yes, I am defensive about the seriousness of a LDR because the majority of people who have never been in a LDR discredit them at every turn. When in fact, often times LDR require so much more effort than a short distance relationship and are often much more serious than a short distance relationship.

      7. People in LDR might also get defensive easily because people discredited our own relationship in the past because “you guys are long distance, that’s not a real relationship !” I don’t say katie said that, but I have the same reaction than GG. When I hear the words “not serious” and “LDR” in the same sentence, I get defensive, because it reminds me of the people that made the same clueless remarks about my own relationship.

        But it’s ok Katie, I won’t get all defensive today, because we already had that conversations a few days ago I think…

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Is it a strange phenomenon to be defensive about something that matters to you/a part of your life that others are insulting? Really?

      9. how have i insulted anything? wow, ok, im just going to go bake stuff, this is a “everyone has taken crazy pills” kind of day…

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        haha, I agree. I didn’t say you were insulting them. GG thinks people look down on them, so I get why she would be defensive about that. That’s all.

      11. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        No, we haven’t taken crazy pills, see my comment above. You may not have intended to, but the way your comment reads you directly link their long distance status (in addition to age and their uncertain job future) to a lack of seriousness. And people do that often, which is why I get defensive about it.

    2. BOOM! Well said, katie, re: the reciprocation thing. I think these two are speaking different love languages, and I suspect you’re right that the gifts don’t mean as much to the boyfriend as they do to the girlfriend. That may mean they’re not a good match, or it may mean he’s a little tone-deaf as to what matters to her – it might be that, if it was explained to him in a kind and not-condescending way, the light bulb would go off and he could start speaking her language.

      When I read the “Gifts” chapter of the Love Languages book, I was like Wow, this is SO not me. Of course I’ll be delighted if my husband brings me flowers or something, but if he doesn’t, I don’t feel unloved. I start to feel unloved when we don’t make time for each other. I go out of my way to make time for him. I could be taking fitness classes every weekday night and could be moving toward my fitness goals faster if I did so, but I intentionally space them out so I have more time at home with him. And he’s even told me that it wouldn’t matter that much to him if I DID go to more classes, so really, I’m doing it more for my sake than for his. (His love language is Touch.)

      Point is, two people in a relationship don’t have to have the SAME love language, as long as they can be at least somewhat fluent in each other’s languages. But they have to KNOW what those languages are first, otherwise they are not going to understand each other.

      So LW… do you know what makes your partner feel loved? If not, find out.

  9. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    So here is my real advice. Guys aren’t mind readers (nor are girls). If you have certain expectations you have to TELL your partner, otherwise you will be disappointed over and over again. If you want a home made card or a lavish dinner, you have to TELL your partner. Talk people, it is not that hard.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      It sounds like she did that though.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        “all he did was give me a letter which I had to drop hints for weeks ahead of time” I guess that’s what I’m basing my stance on. “hints” are not the same, IMO, as outlining expectations. (Realistic expectations- if he doesn’t have any money well he just doesn’t have any money.)

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, I guess there is a difference between hints and outlining. I just read her hints as not possibly being more obvious. But yea, if you’re broke, you should expect and enjoy little things like cards or handmade gifts.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        The first round of holidays is always the hardest in a relationship because you never know what background either side has with gift/making a big deal out of things. And I also don’t think you have to take the fun out of it when “outlining” expectations. Like you could agree to go out to dinner and exchange small (say $20 gifts?) but the dinner and gift would still be a surprise.

        I just think a lot of people expect way too much of other people (this is a hard lesson I learned through my wedding process) and your generosity isn’t always going to be reciprocated. And you aren’t generous for the reciprocity- you do it because it makes you happy. (All general you of course.)

      4. Yes to everything you said. And definitely “The first round of holidays is always the hardest in a relationship”—I think I’ve told this story before, but the first year we were dating, my boyfriend called me from the mall absolutely bugging out because he did not know what to get me for Christmas, haha. The phone call ended with him in Barnes & Noble like, “I’m just…I’m getting you books. Just, books. I have like 4 or 5 books that I’m buying. I’m sorry.”

      5. SpaceySteph says:

        I agree. I think my advice for people having been through this myself is to just lay it all out. Like actually sit down and have a talk about gifts.
        What are your expectations? Here are mine.
        What can we agree to do based on our mutual expectations, comfort level, and budget. Good let’s do that. Break!

        Some people would probably find this horribly unromatic. But you know what else is not romantic? Thinking your boyfriend doesn’t love you because he did Christmas wrong.

      6. this is such great advice!

    2. Right, you have to let them know what you want, and a guy who loves you and values the relationship will be motivated to give you what you want (within reason). But if you’ve told him and he’s NOT increasing his efforts to make you happy, that’ a learning right there. If you’ve expressed reasonable needs, and there’s no effort being made to meet those needs, and you can’t live with that, well then it’s now time to move on.

      1. And I would add, just because a guy is in a relationship with you, and calls himself your boyfriend, does not necessarily mean he’s motivated to make you happy and meet your needs. So if you’ve told him what you want and you’re not getting it, there’s really no way to force him to give you what you want – he may not love you enough or be motivated enough to make it happen. Guys stay in relationships *all the time* that they’re not terribly invested in.

        This is separate from the whole income / provider / motivation thing, which I think you’ll figure out with time. If you need a provider you’ll find one. Or you’ll realize a guy doesn’t have to have an income level as high as yours to be an equal in a relationship – there are many many other things a good guy can contribute besides money.

    3. This is the best relationship advice I’ve read today. Us guys are completely oblivious to hints, but we do great with instruction.

  10. sophronisba says:

    LW, you have a vision and plans for the future you want and I believe you already know this relationship isn’t going to go the distance. Your love isn’t enough to fill in the gaps of what this man is not bringing to the table, emotionally or gift-givingly or whatever. I’m not saying he’s evil, he just doesn’t appear to have a generous or thoughtful nature or any of the drive that would make him a good partner for the life you’re working on. Best to cut your losses and move on; you’re going to be too busy and too broke to sustain an unsustainable relationship anyway if you’re going to law school… Suggest you read the 5 Love Languages book – sounds like gift giving is your language, but it’s not everyone’s.

  11. I think you’re too young to be worrying about earning potential- Especially in this economy! Lots of highly educated people are not getting jobs. Some are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and can’t find a job on top of that. Set aside the money stuff for the moment, because that’s not the real issue.

    The issue is that you like getting gifts as a token of affection, and your boyfriend isn’t on the same page as you. My husband isn’t either. For my first birthday that we were together he got me a MUG. the 2nd birthday he got me a TSHIRT. I’m a present person, and I’d be lying if I said that my feelings weren’t hurt by those gifts. But the thing is, he loves me. He treats me with kindness and compassion every dingle day. He does stuff other than buying me things to show me that he cares. Yes, I still have to tell him to buy me a card and write something other than his name in it, but you have to learn to let that stuff go. Grown up relationships aren’t perfect, and you don’t always get what you want.
    If this is really a man you want to build a life with, then you need to accept him for who he is- crappy gift giver and all. If that’s not something you can live with, then MOA.

    1. i really hope that my boyfriend would say the same things about me. im a terrible gift giver, lol, and he is like the best on the planet.

      are you a good one too? i imagine its hard for really good gift-ers to be with shitty ones

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I think its only hard for people who expect 100% equal reciprocity.

      2. So, so true. I’m a super good gift giver. I’m not trying to be conceited. It’s just something I’m good at. I’ve had to lower my expectations on reciprocity because otherwise I would be disappointed most of the time.

      3. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        Story of my life.

        I think it’s hard to get me really good gifts, though, because there’s never anything I’m really dying to have. My husband surprises me with things I really like, but the only times I cried over a gift were when he proposed and when he got me a KitchenAid. Best gift EVER.

      4. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        Omg the disapointment. I go all out on Christmas every year, and every year I find myself being upset by the gifts I get, not so much because of the cost but more because of the lack of personality or meaning. I’ve finally decided this year not to do it.

      5. I think I’m a mediocre gift-giver — not great but not terrible — but I think I make up for it being a “I saw this item, thought of you, and wanted to surprise you for no real reason!” kinda gift-giver. At least that’s what I tell myself.

        Recently my boyfriend was like, “I kinda consider your birthday our first holiday together since there won’t be any big holidays before the winter” and blah blah blah. I panicked because if his birthday came first, I could show him that we should set the holiday gift-giving bar at a moderate-to-low level. Haha.

      6. I’m usually a good gift giver, but oddly enough, I’m not so much with him. He has specialized interests that I just couldn’t get him a good gift relating to (surfing/photography- He needs to pick that stuff out himself), and he never really wants anything! So, I try, but a lot of times I fall short 🙁

        I make up for it by making him sandwiches. He freaking loves that.

    2. That’s funny you had to tell him to write something in the card – I JUST had that conversation. For my birthday my husband got a card that had a reference to an inside joke (by chance) so he underlined that part and signed it “love his name” and I was like “Seriously? We write a little something in every card we give and you wrote nothing to me??” And his answer was “but I underlined! Didn’t you see the part I underlined?”

  12. sarolabelle says:

    provider? Seriously only someone who is about 32 thinks about guys the way you do. And also, gifts aren’t everything.

    My advice is to MOA. Life at 22 is better when you are single, I know, I spent part of 22 with a boyfriend and I was happier without him. But I never once thought he could be my “equal partner or provider”….I don’t get that.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I think some people just think about those things younger. I don’t see anything wrong with that. She is planning out here life right now. She knows what she eventually wants in it. That’s great, imo. Never too young to figure out where you want your life to be, especially when you are about to finish up college. Of course, life never turns out the way you plan, but its still great to plan.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I completely agree. I started planning back at 22. We started having those conversations back at 22. I think it’s great to be cognizant of your expectations.

  13. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

    Have you …you know… TOLD him how you feel about gift giving in general? Does he know how important it is to you, or are you just hoping that he’ll figure it out? Maybe he comes from a family that doesn’t gift (or doesn’t gift well. The first family Xmas I attended with my bf, his aunt and uncle got his little sister cake mix as a gift. Just cake mix). Maybe he just doesn’t see the sense in giving gifts- I mean, he did write you a nice letter for your anniversary which means he did put some thought into it, yes?

    I think you also might be making a bigger deal about this because you are long distance. Maybe you are using gift giving as a substitute in lieu of other forms of affection that are harder to express over long distances, like physical affection, time together, etc. Maybe you feel that gift giving is a concrete sign of love since you aren’t privy to the everyday nuances.

    Everything else about the letter- WKS. I think Katie was dead on

      1. WORD!

  14. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    So many things wrong with this letter.

    Like TECH said, you are extremely condescending about his level of education. A lot of the most successful people don’t have a bachelor’s degree so get off your high horse.

    Second, gifts don’t equal love. It is very likely that the two of you have different love languages. My friend introduced me to the concept a few years ago, and I think it is very true in many situations. (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/). Perhaps he shows his love with little gestures or words. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you because he doesn’t give you gifts. It means he shows his love in a different way. However, you may need someone to show their love with gifts. While people can pass their judgements on whether that is shallow or not that might be what you need at the end of the day. You need to communicate with him if it is.

    Third and most damning is your comment about the “lifestyle” you want. All I can picture here is a girl on the first date prying the guy for what his job is and looking at his watch to see if he is rich enough for her. You’re 22, it’s highly unlikely you could know the earning potential of anyone of your own age. If your issue was his lack of determination or his laziness, I could understand. However, that’s not what you said. You said “I want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if his jobs will provide that.” I can’t even describe the number of ways that sentence rubs me the wrong way. It’s 2013 girl, if you want a certain lifestyle then work for it yourself.

    Finally, the last thing I do with every letter about a SO is look for what nice things the LW writes about him/her. Your wrote zero positive qualities about your boyfriend other than that you love him. You didn’t say he funny, loyal, caring, compassionate, attractive, none of that.

    Personally, I think you are already checked out of this relationship because you don’t deem him (and his potential future earnings) worthy of you. I would suggest you break up and work on yourself. Long distance relationships are hard enough when both parties are crazy about each other. This set up seems almost impossible. Maybe you can revisit your relationship when (AND IF…..tangent here but you sound really stuck up counting law school acceptance letters before you have even applied) you go to law school if you are closer to him then.

  15. Clearly this guy isn’t what you are looking for, you said you need financial security, or him to be an equal, which I think is a lot to ask for since you are going to become a lawyer, and the poor guy only went to college for his associates degree, and doesn’t have a job to support you already. It must be tough to love somebody and resent them at the same time because they are poor, and you can’t see potenial in them. You need to move on, because its clear that him not being able to buy things you are going to already be able to buy yourself is going to be enough for you. So just let this guy go, and find somebody in law school you might click with.

  16. lets_be_honest says:

    I don’t get why everyone is flipping out over her saying she wants a certain lifestyle and wants a partner who will equally contribute to that. Do none of you want a certain lifestyle (rich, poor, urban, rural)? Really? None of you ever planned out where you want your life to be headed at 22? None of you ever wanted an equal partner? She said EQUAL. Shit, I want that too! I don’t want to support my partner. I want equal contribution. I want a certain lifestyle, and work for it. I want to have some idea of where my life is headed in the future. Those are all positive things.

    1. “equal” doesnt just mean “paycheck”, though- and if all people really look for is an equal paycheck, they are missing out and/or doing it wrong. equal means so, so, so much more then that.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        To her, equal does mean financially also. Why is that such a bad thing? You guys are acting like she said he needs to step it up so he can support her. She just said she wants a financially equal partner. There is nothing wrong with that.

        Of course, I agree that no one should ONLY look for that.

      2. but that is all she is basing it on- there is nothing else about what redeems him from having not the greatest paycheck to contribute. my boyfriend doesnt have the greatest paycheck to contribute either, but i could list off all the great things about him that more then make up for it. things i wouldnt trade even if a genie could give him that paycheck, you know what i mean? its just about so much more then a paycheck. life in general, relationships, happiness- they are not based on paychecks.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Again, not saying the only thing that matters is money. Not even close. But finances do come into play when you are planning your life. You can’t deny that.

      4. For me it’s that she has NO idea what her finances will be OR his. She’s assuming a hell of a lot based on law school vs associates….

    2. and you say yourself, “i want a certain lifestyle and work for it”- the LW says, “I want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if his jobs will provide that”

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        She hasn’t said she isn’t planning on contributing equally to that lifestyle! She just wants her partner to also. If he doesn’t want that same lifestyle as her, then good they find that out now.

      2. But she is allowing herself time to achieve that lifestyle – she isn’t even accepted to law school yet – but wants him to exhibit that lifestyle now. Unfair.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess she feels like she is “on track” for that lifestyle, and he is not.

    3. Sometimes it’s just too hard to have an equal partner. Would you be upset if you were head over heals in love with Bill Gates, and he dumped you because you don’t earn as much as him? Just because somebody doesn’t make as much money as somebody else does not mean they can’t provide for themselves or others. Heck I have a friend who makes a substantial amount of money, and his wife makes a couple of hundred thousand less then him, but she also makes more than my wife and I combigned. He’s not supporting her she has her own money, even though he could. She isn’t complaining that he won’t make money in the future she is saying, because he is poor now, and because she is going to always make more than him that she doesn’t want that. That’s ok, but don’t act like you love somebody if something like that gets in the way.

      1. This part is about the LW
        “She isn’t complaining that he won’t make money in the future she is saying, because he is poor now, and because she is going to always make more than him that she doesn’t want that. That’s ok, but don’t act like you love somebody if something like that gets in the way.”

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t disagree with that, but I think there can be more (?) to it.

        If your wife quit her job and said she wants to work at X and will only make $X a year, which means you now have to take on the burden of supporting both of you because of her choice and your lifestyle changing drastically because of it, wouldn’t that f you up a little? I’m not saying if she lost her job, or god forbid got sick and couldn’t work.

        You can love someone, but not want your entire life plan to be completely altered in a way you didn’t want it to be because of them.

      3. That is a different scenario though, and if I was a lawyer and made enought to support both of us then yes I would tell her she needs to do what she loves not work a job that makes her bat shit crazy.
        She is making the point that she is going to have a very high paying job, and wants somebody who has the same, and pretty much for the reason that she would like gifts. There is no indication that he wont have a well paying job that can support two people, she just thinks he will never make as much as her.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Ok, so what’s wrong with that? She knows what she wants. Its not him.

        Is she really only supposed to want what “we” tell her is ok to want? Because that’s how all these comments sound.

      5. Nothing wrong with that, if thats what she wants then that’s what she wants, but don’t make him sound like a poor loser, because he doesn’t meet your needs.

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Exactly. She’s being super condescending and there’s no need for it. He’s not a loser. He hasn’t done anything to earn the condescension.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not seeing her say he’s a poor loser.
        I feel like you guys are making the choice to read into it that way, simply because she mentioned facts about them (different degrees, different work ethics). A lot of times a woman mentions money on here, people can judge-y. She stated facts about him. That’s not condescending to me.

      8. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        It’s the way she presents things. It’s condescending.

      9. We all are making choices to add things in. You are adding in that money is only a piece of the pie, but that is all she talked about so you don’t know if that is just a piece of the pie or the whole thing. Also stating that because of his jobs now he won’t beable to provide for the future is not a fact, also because he wrote her a love letter instead of giving her a gift does not show the he does not love her like she is saying it does.
        I mean he said he was broke and couldn’t get her a gift, but that same weekend she expected him to make it up to her with a gift, and now 3 weeks later she is expecting the same thing, and all of this without even mentioning it to him.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Fair enough. I just can’t imagine anyone thinking the only thing that matters in a partner is his earning potential. But you’re right, I am assuming that.

      11. But if she knows that she doesn’t want him, then why write in? I realize that trying to enforce our values on her is pointless, but she asked for our opinions.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I think she knows what she wants in that she wants an equal partner. I think this letter will be the push she needs to realize he isn’t one in her eyes and should therefore moa.

    4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Yeah I kind of agree. I want at a minimum an equal partner. If they can additionally provide enough for me to be a stay at home puppy mom – well that’s okay too. I have no shame.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Its just weird. Since when did wanting an equal become a bad thing???

      2. I think you are taking it all wrong, nobody is saying being an equal is bad, but the LW thinks that it is only financial, and sometimes people can’t be equals financially.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        No, you guys are assuming she thinks the only equal thing that matters to her is finances. Its likely a part of the pie for her. I’m sure if a wealthy man gave her a $1 mil to marry him, and he was an evil, heartless, thoughtless dick head, she would not want him.

      4. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I’m not convinced of that. If he bought her some presents, given what’s in her letter, I would think she would stay with him.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Because it sounds like the only thing he’s lacking in when it comes to her needs, is that. Sure, I’ll give you that. But just because she didn’t list all of his great qualities, before discussing the qualities she wants that he is missing, doesn’t mean she isn’t happy with everything else he brings to the table.

        Its pretty shocking how you guys think she’s a piece of shit for wanting an equal financial contributor.

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        For me that wouldn’t be a problem, but the way it’s presented just rubs me the wrong way. To me, it seems that she is being unnecessarily condescending about him and expecting things without telling him, which sets it up for him to disappoint her. So yeah, I’m judging her.

      7. Just going by what she wrote, and every problem she has is money related.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Because that’s the only thing that her issue with him is. Maybe he’s meeting all her other needs. Maybe he’s equal in every other way.

      9. Right, by our standards he could equal in every other way, but clearly the rest doesn’t add up to that for her. No problem walk away when.

      10. But that does raise the point, if she met someone who was like a brain surgeon and made twice as much as she did as a lawyer, would she dump him because they weren’t “equals”?

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        Ah, love it. Likely not, which is pretty messed up. But whatever, she wants what she wants. If she finds someone to give her that, or she gives herself that, good for her.

      12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I think people are WAY reading into her one comment about being financial equals. Of course she doesn’t outline the 50 other ways you can be an equal because we would have an f-ing novel on our hands. This letter is directly about finances and the gift giving, so that’s all the info provided. It’s not about mutual interests, or emotional support, or understanding, etc etc et…It’s about money so of course she is thinking only about money.

        No where does she act like a gold digging Kardashian who wants to eat bonbon’s all day while her husband works his tail off. She just stated she wants a partner who can make an equal financial contribution. Jeeze!

      13. lets_be_honest says:


      14. She has a partner that makes an equal financial contribution. They are BOTH BROKE. That’s like me saying I plan on being a millionaire so I would like my future partner to be a millionaire too. My current boyfriend only makes thousands of dollars…so should I get rid of him? She is jumping the gun on this problem. It isn’t a problem yet. Right now she has an equal…if she want a guarantee on his future earning potential then she is out of line because she can’t guarantee that for herself either.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        Ok, but couldn’t you say the same for say, someone who very likely will earn a decent living sorta soon and a homeless drug addict? Both are broke now. One will likely do better than the other in the long run.
        Idk. She has a plan in place to earn a good living. She thinks he doesn’t. Of course there are no guarantees, but I’d rather be on her plan of working towards making a good living than be on another plan of not.

      16. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        we don’t know that he isn’t on that path…just going a different route of not going to law school.

    5. I think the problem is that she keeps mentioning this dumb concept of “provider” and also admits that she doesn’t actually have more money than he does right now, so “financially equal” started to sound a lot more like “he has to make at least as much money as I do (but ideally more),” which is her prerogative, but not very appealing to me personally and apparently a lot of other people.

      I also said this above, but I think her worrying about his ability to be a financial equal when he is a 22-year-old who works full-time, doesn’t mooch, and is trying to figure out what he wants to do, is really missing the big picture — the best partner for any 22-year-old is someone who wants them to grow into their own potential and find the most awesome life possible, and if you’re only open to them growing into their own potential if they make a certain amount of money, you should be dating someone who knows what s/he wants to do. However, I would agree that she needs to find a man whose values fit hers (and if a certain notion of what financial state she’s aiming for is one of her main values, then she should find someone who also has that notion).

      1. Yeah, this. It’s all in how she’s phrasing it. And the fact that she’s thinking about it right now, in these terms, when BOTH of them have completely wide-open futures—it indicates some kind of warped thought process, I think, most likely influenced by her family.

  17. The fact of the matter is that someone with a graduate degree has a much higher earning potential than someone with an associates. Forget about the job market being crappy. Forget about the fact that there are too many lawyers out there. Statistics and studies have proven over and over again that the LW stands to earn significantly more than her boyfriend. I don’t blame her for being concerned about it. I know that she’s young, but it’s okay for her to think about the future and what kind of man she wants to marry. So I think people just need to lay off her a little for that.

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be with someone of similar educational background. There’s also nothing wrong with communicating to your boyfriend, or as she says, “dropping hints” about wanting something special on an anniversary. But I stand by my comment that the LW gives the vibe that she feels her boyfriend is not “good enough”. And if that’s the case, she should just end things. There are plenty of guys out there who could give her what she’s looking for.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      Hints and just plainly saying what you want can be two *very* different things.

      1. Well, based on the letter, the boyfriend clearly knew his girlfriend was disappointed. He said he was going to make it up to her. So he obviously knows he hasn’t been able to give her what she wants.

      2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Well she said she was disappointed. After the fact. That doesn’t help him before.

      3. Guy Friday says:

        Also, she said he didn’t make it up for the rest of that weekend. So he says he’s sorry, and she gives him, what? 48 hours before writing it off? Maybe have a little more patience, LW.

      4. YES! That was my thought too. Like, he was thinking, I’ll make it up to her at the next occasion, and she was thinking, he’ll make it up to me tonight.

        Having this all in the context of an LDR must be extra tough, though. Like someone said above, it’s not like they have a whole bunch of other opportunities to show love to each other every day in little ways like making coffee, offering backrubs, etc. It’s not like she can pay for dinner this Friday night, and he’ll pay next Friday when he gets his paycheck. There’s a lot more time and distance between opportunities, which to her, seems to put extra weight and meaning on the few opportunities they DO get. I feel for them.

  18. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    It’s funny to me how many women – do all women do this? – look at men and ask “will they be good providers?” … i’m not saying it’s the ONLY thing this LW and other women think about, but it baffles me! because i’ve just never ever thought that way, ever. i’ve only ever considered if they were good people, responsible, interesting, funny, etc. … i’m not saying women are wrong to do this — hey, that’s probably why i always find myself with dudes who don’t make much money. it’s also funny to me that LW’s family would say the same thing – “he won’t be a good provider” – it’s just weird! i’ve never heard my parents ever even comment about some guy i know’s earning potentional. plus, LW and her BF are so young. sure, he’s not a successful partner of an investment firm right now, for example, but does he work hard? is he responsible? … i dunno, i don’t get it. i certainly couldn’t be with a lazy bum but if he’s working hard and happy and at a job that only pays X, what’s the big deal?

    and some people just aren’t present-giving people. i’m not saying LW shouldn’t be frustrated if she feels he doesn’t show his love, but it’s not like he’s off doing cute things for his friends and family but not LW, right? or is he?

    but can we get back to this “provider” thing? how many of you actually think about that? i know so many women that go from being supported by their parents to being supported by their boyfriends and husbands and … i just don’t understand how they are ok with that – it would make me feel uncomfortable. not that i wouldn’t mind a boyfriend who happened to have a summer home in Lake Geneva or something that I could benefit from too… fuck, maybe i need to be more calculating in finding the right person.

    1. i think that my partner is a good provider…. of love and support and talking-me-down-from-a-cliff talks, and sex, and laughs, and food, and money *management*. actual earning potential/salary numbers has never factored into it for me either.

      1. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

        that was so pretty Katie

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      I was never supported by my parents past young teen years, but I know that I would like to be with someone who comes close to contributing equally. I would not want to be the only one pulling the weight in a relationship.
      Further, if I knew I wanted a certain lifestyle, I would probably think more about wanting an equal contributor. However, I’m also happy knowing I can provide myself, alone, with the lifestyle I want. Basically, I hate moochers so I would want to make sure I avoid them.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        but if you want a certain lifestyle, you can always have it regardless of what the BF earns. sure, you could have an even FANCIER lifestyle if you and your BF each earned $250,000/yr, for example, but if just you did, and your BF was a teacher who made a fraction of that, you could still have the great lifestyle you’d get if you were single earning $250k…. i mean, do you / do others actually think – the guy must earn X dollars or else not gonna cut it? even when he’s responsible and living within his means (but making just $50k or something?) i’m not saying it’s the wrong way to approach things; i should be more pragmatic.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Also, in this LW’s case she doesn’t say why he won’t be a good provider. Her only comment is that he has several career ideas. But he’s 22!? He’s still deciding! I feel like b/c this LW has decided to go to law school she is ASSUMING she’ll be in a great financial position. She says “I want my partner to be a financial equal with me. Right now he is practically broke,” while admitting she is broke too; so clearly she’s assuming she’ll be in a good financial position later… which, I hate to burst your bubble, LW, is not likely. I saw on the Today show or somewhere this week that ALL STATES ARE SATURATED WITH LAWYERS, except Alaska and… maybe Wyoming?

        And I’d like to know if LW’s parents and brother scrutinize the brother’s girlfriends for their earning potential? I’m guessing not.

      3. “And I’d like to know if LW’s parents and brother scrutinize the brother’s girlfriends for their earning potential? I’m guessing not.”

        YES!!! This x 1000:)

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Yes, of course. If I made $3mil a year, I could pay for everything in our super fancy life. But that doesn’t mean I would want to!!

        No, I’m not looking at someone’s net worth prior to dating them. But I would want to be with someone who also works hard and earns a decent living.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        It a part of the pie. You guys are making it seem like it is the ONLY thing that matters. Of course it isn’t, but it absolutely is a part of the pie.

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Right, but the LW seems to be so focused on that…as if it’s the whole pie.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        She’s also focusing on how she thinks he let her down, and doesn’t care as much as she does about the relationship.

        Maybe he is already meeting every other need (love, happiness, sex, etc.), but he’s not meeting this one need. If you have 5 must haves, why accept 4? You don’t have to. She doesn’t have to, and its not on us to judge what her 5 needs are.

      8. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        But has she stated her needs? If not, it’s not fair to be disappointed because he doesn’t know and is basically being set up to be disappointed.

      9. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

        There is a huge difference between not earning a lot and being a moocher.

    3. I’m actually with you on this, AP. Would I like to be a lady who lunches and have a driver? HELL YES! But that is not at all what I’m looking for in a dude. Not in the least. All I want is someone who I get along with, has similar values and enjoys family. And this is why:

      When my Grandpa was still alive, he based success solely on money. One of his sons is an engineer who became CEO/President of his company. He did VERY well for himself. Now there is my dad. Who is a barber. Totally middle class. Totally doesn’t have a lot of extra money. But I had a great childhood and my dad is genuinely happy. One day, my Grandpa and I were sitting outside and talking about my uncle – he gave me my first job out of college – anyway, my Grandpa said he was happy one of his sons was successful, in reference to my uncle. WHAT THE FUCK?

      My dad may not have lots of money. He may not have power. But in my eyes he is successful because he has what he wants out of life. A wife he loves. Three daughters who were raised well and doing ok. Two granddaughters who are ridiculously smart. And you know what, we’re all going camping in a week. We enjoy spending time together. To him, that’s success.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        But just like you deem success to mean X, why does that mean she can’t deem success to be Y?

        Why does her wanting a financially equal partner mean she must not want all the other things that come along in a “well packaged” partner (love, compassion, caring, good sex, wanting kids or not, etc.)?

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        No, LBH is right. The LW has every right to demand X in life – and she wants a partner who is a financial “equal” – I put that in quotes b/c right now they seem to be equal (they’re both broke) but she seems to think her plan to go to law school is going to catapult her ahead. I have to admit (and really we all do) that we are judging her for this choice. So, point – LBH. But I will continue to judge her for this – and her parents and brother. Fucking go provide for yourself! Also go read Lean In.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Sounds like she is providing for herself, and planning well to be able to continue to do that.

        If what she wants is a financially equal partner, I’m not going to judge that at all. I’d judge her if she said she wanted to never contribute equally herself.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Here’s what I think:

        1. That LW and her parents and brother (I keep dragging them into this but they are probably why the LW thinks this way) are sexist because they think it’s the man’s job to provide financially.

        2. That LW and the BF are financial equals now – both broke – so what’s the problem?

        3. That LW is getting pretty full of herself because she thinks going to law school will make her a financial success.

        4. And finally, women that focus on a boyfriend’s money (even when they are responsible and driven and happy and live within their means) are shallow. But yes it’s within every women’s right to want a man to provide for them. So go forth and marry rich.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        How could LW think its the man’s job to provide, when she’s clearly saying she plans to provide an equal amount???

        Its surprising to me that you don’t think she will eventually be somewhat successful financially.

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        LW says: “I want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if his jobs will provide that.” … *She* wants a certain live style and worris *his* jobs won’t provide that. She goes on to say she wants a “financial equal” which contradicts the previous sentence and I’m going on a limb here to call that part about a financial equal bullshit and inserted to make her sound less … well, less like she’s looking for a provider, when that’s precisly what she is looking for.

        And all I’m saying about LW’s future financial success is that it is just as much a crap shoot as his her boyfriend’s with his several career jobs on the table. I know far too many unemployed lawyers with 100k in debt, that’s another reason.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Bagge said it best that we are all reading what we want to read, and adding or assuming what we want on this letter.
        You go out on a limb and assume she said equal to sound good. I’m going on a limb and assuming when she said equal, she meant it. So she wants a certain lifestyle and hopes that her partner wants the same and will contribute equally to that. Go find that partner lw, if you think this isn’t the one.

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Good point. There are so many missing details. We don’t know anything about the boyfriend – maybe he’s lazy and unmotivated and that’s why she and her family worries.

        So I’m calling bullshit on the cursory statement that she wants an equal and instead giving weight to the other statements – about her wanting a certain lifestyle and worrying her boyfriend’s jobs won’t give that to her and what her family said about him not being a provider.

        On the flip side, you’re ignoring those comments. How do you ignore this statement ” want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if his jobs will provide that”? You could call it bullshit but it sounds like an honest thought of hers….

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        If financial security in a partner is important to her, I really see nothing wrong with that. If that’s all she wants in a partner, I feel sorry for her, but I don’t think its all she wants.

        And who knows what her “certain lifestyle” entails. Maybe she just wants to be able to go on vacations and own a nice house, rather than say, rent forever and not care about going on vacations. Some people don’t care about owning a home or vacationing a lot. Some do. I don’t see anything wrong with either.

      10. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I’m not judging her for wanting a certain lifestyle. I’m judging her for wanting HIS jobs to provide that. And I’m wondering how you are reconciling the LW’s statement that she wants a certain lifestyle (again, no judgment about that) but worries how HIS JOBS will provide it, with your belief that she is truly just seeking a partner who is a financial equal? That’s all.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I presume she wants a partner who wants the same lifestyle as her (don’t we all?), so because of that, I presume she wants him to equally contribute to a lifestyle they both want. If he doesn’t want the same life as her, then they should split.

      12. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Nothing wrong with that. But, again, the LW worries that “HIS” jobs won’t provide “HER” lifestyle. … And that comment speaks volumes. I can’t ignore that comment. She wants him to pay for it. And there’s nothing “equal” about it. That’s the attitude I just don’t get. You want a beach out? Go earn it. Don’t expect the guy to give it to you.

      13. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        *beach HOUSE – ffs

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        Sounded to me like she wanted to give 50% and expects him to want the same thing and also give 50%. Nowhere did I read that she expected him to pay for everything she wants, that he doesn’t, and she plans to sit on her ass and take it from him.

      15. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You keep ignoring this statement, the LW says “I want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if HIS jobs will provide that.” I’ve copied it a million times. How do you not walk away from that sentence with the understanding that LW expects her BF’s jobs to provide her with the lifestyle she wants? *That* is the problem I have here.

      16. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It also irks me how readily women are ok with the guy earning more but demand at a minimum 50-50. I think there are some major problems in the way we all think – that it’s normal for the man to be the one to make more money. Now we are ok with 50-50 but when will we consider that it’s ok for the woman to be the one with the greater income earning potential and not make a big deal of it?

      17. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not ignoring it. I’m just also paying attention to the sentence directly after the one you keep pasting…

        “I’m not saying I want a provider, but I want my partner to be a financial equal with me.”

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        At the start of my relationship and for quite a few years into it, I was under the impression that I made quite a bit more than my partner. It didn’t bother me at all. We each contributed 50% of the shared bills. It actually bothered me when I first found out that my partner has and makes a lot more than me. It doesn’t bother me now at all though.
        My philosophy, or whatever you want to call it, is that barring a prior agreement or unusual circumstances beyond the earner’s control, is that my partner contribute to close to 50% of our shared bills. Just seems fair to me, and I like fair. Now, if we both agreed to change that, great. But both should be agreeing to change that.

      19. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You’re totally ignoring it. You’re not “also” paying attention to the next sentence, you’re “only” paying attention to it. Because you think it’s nuts that I could interpret her letter as expecting the man to provide for her lifestyle. (“How could LW think its the man’s job to provide, when she’s clearly saying she plans to provide an equal amount???”)

        I guess it boils down to we have two conflicting statements in this letter. Based on the tone of the whole letter and the sentence I keep copying, I I think the follow-up sentence about financial equality was an after-thought and bullshit. But you are going with that one. That’s the difference, and that’s fine. But you’re wrong! 😉

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        And clearly we disagree. I’m believing the lw when she says she wants to have an equal contributing partner, and you are not believing that. I’m reading her letter as her saying she wants a partner who wants the same lifestyle as her and is able to contribute equally to that. You seem to read her letter as her plan to make him pay for everything that only she wants, even though she says otherwise. I’m not ignoring anything. If anything, you seem to ignore her equal comment, because you are choosing to dismiss it entirely because you think its bs. I don’t think its bs. I guess she could be lying, going to law school for fun, and has no plans to ever work or contribute equally. I mean, she could be lying about everything in the letter too. Maybe she got lots of gifts from him. Basically, I believe her statements, and you think she’s full of it. That’s ok.

      21. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I am ignoring that sentence. I said at the very beginning of this dumb debate (probably the most boring one ever) that I was b/c I was calling it bs. We both are ignoring parts of the letter. And I just wondered how you didn’t give weight to what I think is a pretty damning sentence: “I want to live a certain lifestyle that requires financial security, but I don’t know if his jobs will provide that,” which you have not yet addressed at all – you could just call it bs and we’d be even.

      22. lets_be_honest says:

        I have addressed it. And I agree, this is boring and getting worse by the minute. Reading those two sentences together, I took her to mean that she wants this lifestyle, she wants him to be able to afford his share of it (again, assuming it is a lifestyle they both want), and she will pay her share of it. If he does not have a good paying job, it will fall on her to pay for most of their lifestyle, which I agree with her would not be fair financially. I feel like I’ve said that exact thing, pertaining to those two sentences, a dozen times now, yet you’re choosing to think I’m ignoring it, which I’m not. But you’re acknowledging you are completely ignoring some of her comments, so I’m not really sure this debate will go anywhere when you are saying you plan to ignore half of the two important sentences.

        Addie, its totally cool that you are ok with not having finances come into play in your relationships. I’m not saying or thinking there is anything wrong with that at all. For me, I would not want to foot the bill for someone else all the time, for most of our lives, barring a small set of circumstances. I also don’t judge someone for coming out and saying they want someone to pay all their bills. At least they are honest! I just don’t think that it at all what the LW here is saying. I really don’t. You really do. I’m hoping for an update!

      23. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        LAST WORD. 😉

      24. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        p.s. I want an update too. But I want multiple. I want these updates:

        (1) the immediate one where she gets defensive and gives us a ton more facts;
        (2) the one where they break up in the end;
        (3) the one where she’s one with law school and has no job and a shit ton debt;
        (4) the one where she meets a wonderful guy who also happens to make a lot of money;
        (5) the one where he pays off her student loans;
        (6) the one where he supports her wonderful life style;
        (7) the one where in the end she played her cards right and she wins and i say fuck i did it all wrong.

      25. I agree that her parents & brother are likely why she thinks this way. That’s why the letter sounds a bit confused—the word “provider” is ingrained in her vocabulary, but she still knows enough to purport that she wants “an equal”.

    4. I think about it to a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been supported by a boyfriend don’t feel a NEED to be — my ideal would be a fairly equal partnership in most respects, including finances. But, I guess I think of it more as wanting to be in a relationship where BOTH of us are CAPABLE of providing for the other, not ACTUALLY one person supporting the other — cause what if one day I’m married to someone and one of us loses a job or something? (Obviously, I’ve gotten quite far ahead of my current reality, though. Haha.) I don’t that’s the same as *seeking out* a partner who will support and provide for you, but it is something that crosses my mind.

      Truthfully, I’ve never really wondered about how I’d feel about earning potential or salary because every guy I’ve dated casually or seriously since college has been someone who *would* be able to provide for me. (In college, I never had a terribly serious relationship, but there were a few casual ones, and now that I’m stopping to think about it, every last one of THOSE guys is now a doctor.)

    5. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

      I’m with you AP. I don’t think there are many people who would mind their SO happening to have/make a lot of money, but it is definitely not something I look for. I care far more that he is hard working and likes his job.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Meh, you know what? Everyone else is on to something. Marry rich. The lifestyles of my partners’ wives are to die for.

    6. I’ve thought about this, I think if I had someone showering me with money all the time would make me uncomfortable. Same with over the top affection 24/7, I would someone gazing lovingly while I’m spilling pho soup down my shirt would equally bug me.

      I make good money and if I want something, I can usually pay for it myself. All those other things you come more into focus for me, but then I don’t want a family so maybe that’s part of it?

      For the LW I just think like someone else said, she should examine what she really thinks about traditional gender roles and talk to her fellow about it. If the relationship’s going to go the distance, they need to communicate how they see their lives playing out after school and if it’s compatible. If not, cut the cord.

      1. I dated an engineer briefly, and he always wanted to pay for dinner. At first it bothered me, but then I realized that he was sort of steering our dates toward places that were much more expensive than I’d every choose, and I was like, “Fuck it. If he wants to, let him.” Of course, overall, we didn’t understand each other because his parents were very wealthy and he seemed very out of touch with most people our age and just most people in general.

        So, I agree with you somewhat. I could handle being with someone who made more money than me, but I couldn’t handle “showering” with money. The more important thing to me is that we want a similar lifestyle.

    7. kerrycontrary says:

      AP, it’s more important to me that a man is responsible with the money he does have than the amount of money he makes. I will only date men who are ambitious, are responsible with money (and life), and have plans for their future. This may or may not correlate with a higher earning potential depending on the man’s interests and career.

    8. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I thought about it. When I was younger I always assumed I would marry and stay home, and my husband would work. So when the realization came that GatorGuy was probably never going to have the earning potential for me to stay home, it was definitely something I thought about. It didn’t make me uncomfortable because it was sort of the model I saw. When my mom married my step-father she became a stay at home mom and he worked. She ran the house, he earned the paycheck. Running a household with children is a lot of work.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Also, I should add, I’m happy with where our life is going and that we’re most likely always going to be a two income household. I don’t have an resentment, etc, about not being “provided” for in that way. And my husband is awesome about helping with the household stuff- something my stepfather has never ever done.

    9. I never thought about it.
      I knew I wanted someone who was responsible and stable and could take care of themselves. Other than that, money didn’t matter to me. And I don’t ever remember my parents making mention of finding a man to “provide” for me either.

    10. I guess I use the word provider. I’m 22 and have a good salary, and I live a certain lifestyle (where I live, shop, social events, formal events, etc)… so I would prefer to be with someone who makes around the same or more than me. But that doesn’t mean I’m turning guys away who aren’t analysts or private equity guys or whatever… If I meet someone and we just fit, then we just fit.

      1. I guess I should also say that I would really like to be a SAHM one day, but if it turns out that that’s not realistic… then I’m all for working for my whole life if my husband and I need to be a two-income household. I like working.

    11. See, I feel like the word is motivation. How many guys do you know work just as much they have to then spend thier extra time drinking, smoking weed, and playing video games. If you had a guy with a low level job but was using his free time chasing down a passion, I would be ok with that. But I think there are huge amounts of women who are frustrated with the lack of motivation.

    12. The funny thing is the only person I’ve heard mention men being a good provider is my husband. I am constantly telling him that if he wants to do a different job that makes less money, I’d rather him be happy. But he’s got it set in his mind that he needs to be a “good provider”. The only thing that my mom tried to push on me was to be similar intellectually.

      1. This! I haven’t ever once thought about what kind of lifestyle a guy could afford when deciding whether we were a good fit. But my boyfriend feels pressure internally/from the way he was brought up to make a lot of money in order to have a family, and I think that’s because he was a guy.

        The only time a guy’s income ever frustrated me was when I dated someone who didn’t want to do things that he couldn’t afford AND wouldn’t let me pay, even if I just genuinely wanted to do it and have his company and the money wasn’t an issue for me. That made me sad. But nothing on the order of a dealbreaker.

    13. I did, but only among guys who were a) decent to begin with b) good at the sexing up and c) I genuinely liked. I did this because 1) I knew my work (social work/ community organizing) was not ever going to be more than a Basic Salary. And that’s fine! But that meant I wanted someone at least an equal, especially as I knew it was critical to me to be the primary care provider for any children we might have (I would have been more than willing to entertain a SAHD if he was breastfeeding, or I made substantially more money). Even in this modern world, pregnancy and childbirth and baby/toddler care can physically incapacitate us, so yeah, while we can theoretically kill tigers ourselves, we’d like to know if we’re in the cave nursing and dealing with littles someone ELSE can handle it. And damn sure not someone who is going to just be more effort (as in another mouth to feed/support) rather than a contributor on at least my level. That’s just how my thought process worked, but it was largely subconscious while I was choosing a husband.

  19. landygirl says:

    I’d much rather my husband to something tangible like wash the dishes or change the sheets than receive a gift. Stuff eventually becomes a burden, especially when you move. I don’t recommend long distance relationships they are difficult and hard to maintain for any length of time.

    Here is my advice: if you don’t love your boyfriend as he is now then move on because you will never change someone to suit your needs and frankly, you should never even try.

    1. Oh yes. My husband earns less than I do, but he does the dishes, laundry, dusting, etc. Really, he does most of the house work except cleaning the bathroom, which I do. I love him for that. I’d much rather he did that than earn a bunch more money. Unless of course he could earn enough for a maid. Then I’d be cool with it.

  20. Avatar photo veritek33 says:

    I understand why LW is a bit upset about the gifts, but is he otherwise a good boyfriend? My ex gave me wonderful gifts, but that was his way of buying me off and not dealing with our problems and hiding behind a flashy present. If this man is wonderful in other ways, talk to him and explain what you need.
    However, it sounds like he might not be a good match for you, so I’d say you should evaluate if this is something you can live with or if you need to move on.

  21. I have dated guys that didn’t have much in the way of education or money. And I honestly felt stigmatized by it. Family and friends actually mentioned to me their concerns about it. I struggled for years about the whole “equal partner” thing. A couple people, (mostly my mother) would say, “Oh, TECH is so great, she went to a top tier college and has a good job and owns her own home, and her boyfriend just doesn’t have his shit together.”

    And the meaning behind “he doesn’t have his shit together” was — he didn’t go to college and he doesn’t make a lot of money. It was something that haunted me constantly.

  22. I’m confused. Is this letter about your boyfriend’s lack of gift giving? Or is it about his work ethic and ability to be a provider? Or is it about his education? Here’s the thing – if you’re not happy, you need to change that. Either you can take steps to remedy it or you can move on. I’m put ting this in terms of what you can do because you’re the one I have an audience with, not the boyfriend. I can’t make him do anything.
    Something my husband always tells me is that many men (especially him) do not know how to catch on to subtle hints very well. Hell, they barely know when it’s a not-so-subtle hint. So when I want something, I generally have to tell him in no uncertain terms what I expect. Sometimes he’ll surprise me and think of things on his own, but it’s been 7 years for us so maybe he’s finally learning. So if you want little gifts or whatever it is, you need to be very clear. You say his “actions” don’t show that he loves you. Are you only counting gift giving? Or does he show you he loves you in other ways?
    As far as the financial/college/etc stuff… well, it’s ok to want someone who has similar goals and is on the same playing field as you. But you have to own up to wanting that and not pass it off as just because he doesn’t give you little gifts. If you’re honest with yourself, you’re more likely to find someone compatible.

  23. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

    When I was in my early/mid-20s I was working in a variety of jobs I wasn’t really excited about and quitting them once a year to return to a seasonal job that I loved, then getting a new job in the fall. Probably you would have looked at me and said I wouldn’t be a good provider and didn’t know what I wanted. (On the other hand, I might have looked at you and thought you were unrealistic about going to law school and being a lawyer, as others have said.) Starting in my late twenties I’ve been making a good salary in a good job. Almost everyone I know has a similar story. In fact, your story won’t sound all that different, ten years from now. If you’ve finished law school and gotten a good job as a lawyer, that is, or in some other field.

    Maybe he really is sort of a drifter; we don’t know him and we probably do all know people like that, even if most of us think you come off as condescending to him in your letter. There are people with a lot of different ideas, and then there are people with a lot of different ideas who never do anything about them. Often you can spot the second type, and if that’s your boyfriend, absolutely MOA. But having an associate’s degree already at 22 is not unimpressive. Usually people with an AA or AS have had to be pretty independent to get there, while people who get a BA or BS may have been spoon-fed.

  24. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    You need to tell him what you expect from him before you can get upset that he didn’t do anything. No hints but actually tell him. “Are we exchanging gifts this Christmas? Should we set a budget or do homemade gifts?” For example, most of the adult world does not celebrate 6 month anniversaries. How was he to know that is special to you if you don’t tell him? Speak up! Be assertive in what you expect in a relationship.

    About the money. Don’t look at what your boyfriend is making right now. Look at how he goes about life. Is he ambitious? Is he happy to let someone else (parents?) fund his lifestyle? Does he set goals and meet them? Does he have plans for his future? It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life at 22. It’s another thing altogether to not have any ambitions at all.

  25. Sue Jones says:

    Read the 5 Love Languages. Some people just show love other ways and you need to understand which love style the other one has. I am a Quality Time and Do Things For person. My husband is a Flowery Words person. For me the Flowery Words mean nothing if I am not spending time or if they are not followed up by action, and perhaps you are a Gifts person and if you don’t get little gifts, you feel unloved… But you need to understand that the other person might show love differently. As far as the money stuff, you are both so young and you really do not know what is ahead. He has plenty of time to do more schooling/job training and you may find that your employment prospects are not what you thought. What you should instead be looking at in evaluating him is: strength of character and honesty, a good work ethic, ambition, follow through. Because without those, even with the best degree, the guy is gonna be a loser.

  26. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Funny. No matter how much lip service they pay to feminism. At the end of the day… many, many women (like this LW) still basically just want to be “bought.” “I’m not saying I need a provider… he just needs to make a ton of money (for me)…” Hilarious. “Actions speak louder than words — especially the action of buying me gifts! PS…I so don’t want to sound materialistic. But I am seeing him for the first time in months! I love him so! He better have not dropped the ball and boughten me something…”

    Honestly, no wonder some men just sleep with hookers. Really? What’s the difference? 😉

    PS — Hey, if it’s any consolation… LA gays are just as bad. It’s all money, money, money. Whereas, presently, I am too old to be bought and too broke to make any such purchases… Reason #237 that I have simply given up.

    1. it is really, like super sad and much worse then just blatant sexism too. the undertoned, subconscious, not-said-but-implied kind of sexism (or racism, or whatever) is really the worst kind.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        So, so true, Katie. So, so true.

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      I’m with you. And I’m ready for our talk show.

    3. ““I’m not saying I need a provider… he just needs to make a ton of money (for me)…””

      She didn’t say that at all, she said:

      ” I want my partner to be a financial equal with me. ”

      HUUUUGE difference. She’s willing to pull up her end, and she wants a partner who will do the same. How is this a bad thing exactly?

      1. But being an equal to a lawyer is a lot different from being an equal to a lot of other jobs.

    4. OK, I found this letter really annoying too, but this LW did NOT talk about feminism. At all. So it’s not fair to lump feminists in with her! I’m a feminist (and a pretty broke one too) and I could not care less how much money my SOs make…

      That said, it’s really stupid and unfair that “financial equality” tends to mean “the man makes at least as much and not a penny less than the woman, or else he’s a lazy moocher,” but if the woman makes, say, 25-50% less than the man, most people will refer to her as an equal financial partner.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Do you really think that? (the last paragraph). I don’t. But, if someone is referring to their partner as an equal contributor, that’s very different than an equal financial contributor. Maybe that’s what you meant. Because, obviously, one half of the partnership could be paying all the bills, while the other half is doing all the childcare/house maintaining, etc. and that other half should be considered an equal contributor.

      2. Wait, I think I’m misreading your comment or you’re misreading mine. I’m saying that people judge whether someone is pulling their financial weight in a partnership differently for men than they do for women.

        I, personally, obviously think equality is much more than a financial contribution, nor do I think that type of equality is even important. Like if my husband and I both work 60 hours a week, but I make twice as much as he does, does he then have to do more housework than I do? I certainly don’t believe that.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m confused. You said “financial equality” tends to mean “the man makes at least as much and not a penny less than the woman, or else he’s a lazy moocher,” but if the woman makes, say, 25-50% less than the man, most people will refer to her as an equal financial partn”
        so I was wondering if you really think that’s true generally. Like, do most people really think that way.

      4. I think a lot of people feel that way lbh. Maybe not consciously? But I think in general it’s expected that men earn more than women.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess I don’t get the last part. How could you say a woman who makes 25% less and contributes 25% less is an equal financial contributor? Like, its simple math. One is payin gmore than the other.

      6. Haha, I think you’re being too literal about it. Like, if the expectation is that the woman will stay at home, or be in a low paying job, than a woman who makes even *close* to what her husband does might be considered an equal. Because they’re both working and earning a decent salary. People are still really weird about it if the woman makes more than the guy.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        lol, guess you’re right.

      8. Yeah, that’s what I was trying to say – people interpret “equality” with more looseness on one side than the other for each gender.

      9. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Well, I think there are a lot of women (you included if I understand your comments above) who want to be at least equal (e.g., you said you wouldn’t want to be paying the dude’s way) but are ok if the guy pays more. That part seems unfair to me. And I think it stems from society’s expectation that the man earn more; it makes us (men and women alike) feel weird when the woman is providing financially.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        No, I would actually want it to be equal. I would not be comfortable having someone else pay more than me. I also would not feel weird by providing more financially, I just would want it to be equal.

        I agree, that would be unfair for someone to say they want equal, or have their partner pay more, but not themselves.

    5. Avatar photo landygirl says:

      Historically I’ve always made more money than the men I’ve dated, even my husband.

    6. Sue Jones says:

      As feminist as I am, and I am the main breadwinner in my family and always have been, it all changed when I had my kid and wanted to breastfeed and take care of the tiny baby myself. Then it all hit me in an “oh shit” moment – Oh yeah! THAT’S why women go for men with money so that they can stay home with the baby as long as they want to , or at least have that option. Before that I had no idea, yes I was naive and yes, I pumped and went to work and hired expensive nannies, etc, but it was really difficult and during those early baby years it seemed like my friends who stayed home had it a little easier, but then again, maybe not…

      All things to take into account for sure. I don’t think LW is being a gold digger or anything. Perhaps a bit premature at 22 to be assessing a guy like that, but then again, she knows him and maybe he is unambitious.

  27. Love languages. Read up on that and it will help.

    As for the rest, it’s definitely a sign of the times that we see more and more women writing in about their boyfriends who are less-than-equal in the paycheck or education category. Lots and lots of theories about it too. Take your pick. Maybe we just need to let go of our traditional ideas about gender roles. As long as you are INTELLECTUAL equals, not sure it education and finances truly matter (although those inequalities complicate things, yes).

    1. I think that part is key – intellectual equals…and having shared values and hopes for the future. Really, that is all anyone can ask at 22.

  28. I get that you think he’s being thoughtless, but guys don’t look at gift-giving the same way girls seem to–at least, it’s not engrained in them the way the social role of “giver/nurturer” is engrained in girls. When my SO and I first started dating, we were both in grad school and pretty broke. He never gave me gifts, and at first I was hurt because my family and all of my past boyfriends spoiled me. But when I really looked at our relationship, he was actually very helpful, thoughtful and generous in other ways–he cooked for me, helped me do school work, fixed my car, cleaned our apartment when we moved in together and was just generally a really good partner. As we graduated, started our careers and began making more money, I started a tradition of gift-giving for every holiday and milestone because I like celebrating everything and making everything feel special, and he embraced it–the lack of funds really was the reason why he didn’t buy me gifts before. Now, he’s a great gift giver and gets really excited to give me things he knows I’ll love, and I don’t feel dumb being the only one planning celebrations and agonizing over which tie he’ll like better.

  29. Just a side note, a lot of you are making it seem like being 22 and broke/unsure about life is the norm. As a 22-year-old, I can’t relate to that, neither can my close group of friends (emphasis on close group… so my tight social circle of about 20). I graduated from college nearly two years ago (pointless to have a Master’s in my industry, but I did get into grad school as that was my backup plan in case I wanted to continue my education), and so those of us who only received our Bachelor’s… were graduated by 21 (communications, nursing, teaching, some engineering, human resources, IT, financial analysts) and it was literally degree in hand and then a job. I didn’t (nor did any of my friends, with the exception of one) experience unemployment. I guess we’ve all been really blessed and lucky, but internships and networking has landed us all in our respective career fields. These aren’t just jobs to get us in the door… but what we consider as our careers. Some friends went off and got their Master’s degrees (accounting/sitting for CPA, advanced engineering degrees, architecture) and when selecting their internships… they made sure to choose ones that would offer a job at the end as long as they did well enough. And at 23, my friends getting Master’s wrapped those degrees up this past May and December and have dived headfirst into their jobs.

    I do have one friend… he’s about two years older who had a really tough time finding a job after college, but when he finally utilized our alumni association (he was real headstrong about doing it on his own), he was offered a pretty sweet position by an alum from my university.

    So idk… I’m 22 and I’m happy (it’d be nice to maybeee have a relationship eventually) and know what I want to do with my life. I had (am) going through some anxiety and for a while questioned if I was happy doing what I do… and then after some heart-to-hearts — realized I am in the right position.

    Obviously circumstances can change at any minute, but I feel like weird reading stuff about how “oh you’re only 22… blah blah blah.” Because when I’m 30, I want to be a VP like how my boss did it (unless I wind up a SAHM).

    1. And I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging or anything like that because I know it’s tough out there… but I don’t want to ever be written off just because I’m 22… because I’ve worked really hard to get where I am at this point in my life.

      1. But I think that you recognize you’re exceptional. You, at 22, may be ready to start selecting a life partner. But I think the key is that you shouldn’t date any random 22-year-old and then be like “WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A CAREER YET ZOMG.” Because many 22yos don’t know what they are doing yet and that’s awesome, they should take all the time in the world (as long as, like this guy, they are supporting themselves and not hurting others).

  30. What riles me up about these letters is that the LWs use terms like “financial security” and “financially stable” when they seem to actually mean “wealthy.” I make about a third of what the LW will likely make as a lawyer, and I consider myself financially secure, but I assume she’d think I was dirt-poor. It’s fine to want a lot of money, but at least be upfront about it. Not just for the sake of not being obnoxious, but because if a partner’s salary is such a huge dealbreaker for you, then you need to know what it is you’re looking for.

    The other thing is that I think it’s really hard at 22 to have a real grasp of what constitutes financial stability and to understand what sorts of salaries people actually have. Hearing about someone with a $50,000 salary means something very different to me now than when I was 22. If you grow up in a wealthy family and then go straight into something high-paying, then you may never get a good feel for what exactly a person can live on, but I think that you’ve got to get out of college for a little bit before you can really understand salaries.

    1. What does 50K mean to you now? For me, 50K (where I live & not saying that’s my salary) goes quite a ways since I’m single and have normal expenses/some student loan debt. It wouldn’t work in the long run as far as families go, but as a single person, it works.

      1. There’s a difference between “it wouldn’t work” and “ideally my household income will be more than that if I have a family.” People make it work on all kinds of salaries.

      2. That’s very true. I didn’t word that well at all.

      3. Oh, I’m not saying it’s not enough. I live in NYC and don’t even make $50K, which I think puts me at what “they” consider low-income. I think that my perception is probably the reverse of a lot of people’s, but $50K seemed like a lot LESS to me when I was in college. And now that I’m out and see what it takes for me to get by and save money, and what I can expect to make in the future, it seems like more.

        But my point wasn’t that $50K, or any other number, is objectively low or high. It’s just simply that numbers like that look different when you are actually supporting yourself.

    2. Haha, during my 2nd year of grad school, I calculated what I thought would be like the salary that I would need to be totally comfortable, and not wanting. Well, I make that salary now a year out of grad school, and with taxes, student loans, and the other bajillion bills I pay, I still feel broke a lot of the time. Expectations never fit with reality, in either direction.

    3. When I was 22 I thought 30K was a LOT of money. hahahahaha! If I only knew.

      1. Haha, I remember feeling really proud of myself for landing a job that paid $26K.

      2. My first job out of college paid 28K, and I totally thought I was rich. Those were the days.

    4. 6napkinburger says:

      I think she WAS upfront about it, when she said that she wants a certain lifestyle and is willing to work for it but she’s not so sure that she and her BF are on the same page about that, both in understanding and ability. Everyone keeps saying that it’s ok if thats what she wants, but she needs to “be honest” about it, but she is being honest about it and it does not seem like very many people are ok with that.

      1. I guess my problem is just with what I think are differing opinions of what makes someone financially secure. Combining what she’d make as a lawyer with the salary of a “financial equal,” I think, would put her well beyond being financially secure and into the category of being wealthy. Which is where I do say that it’s fine. It’s fine to want to be wealthy. And maybe in her world, that’s what being financially secure is. It may be that we were just brought up differently or use different terms.

        My other part was that I was unsure what a financial equal is to her. Is it someone who literally makes her same salary, or is it just someone who is capable of contributing significantly to their finances? Like if she’s making over $100,000, is she going to be displeased with someone who makes $85,000?

        Maybe that’s nitpicky, but I feel like she was trying to downplay what she wanted to make it more agreeable to us.

      2. Ugh, I sort of lost my point. But the reason knowing those things matters to me is that I think it does affect the advice you get.

  31. fast eddie says:

    What part of: He’s 22 and broke don’t you get. Your entitled to your wants/needs but if he “can’t” provide that let him go to find someone who appreciates him for who he is and accepts the fact that a money machine he isn’t.

  32. If someone buying you gifts is the only way you know they love you, then you are in serious trouble girl. It’s the little things that count, and how well they treat you- not what they buy for you. Some of the most awesome things I have from my boyfriend were notes and the things he does for me on an everyday basis. You say he doesn’t back up his words with “actions’ yet you define actions as gifts. That is not an action. That is a material object. An action is telling you he loves you, being the first person he goes to when something good or bad happens to him, texting or calling just to say he is thinking about you, worrying about you when you have to drive by yourself in the middle of the night in the rain, listening to you and being a support system for you….I could go on and on. You will find in time that if you equate someones level of love with a gift, then you will only get gifts to placate your neediness by your man so they can avoid any emotional support. It’s time to work on your self instead of expecting another person, with their gifts, to fulfill your sense of worth.

  33. Lily in NYC says:

    Ha, if you go to law school I guarantee that you will end up as financial equals because you will be temping (unless you get accepted by a top 10 school). Attorneys are just not retiring at the rate needed for new grads to be able to get jobs.

  34. I’m not going to attempt to address whether or not you look down on your boyfriend for his career choices or whether it’s good/bad/whatever to want to be with someone financially stable – I came into this way too late to try to jump into that debate.

    LW, I think you are conflating the gift issue with the overall money issue. But both problems require you have a conversation with him about expectations. If you want your boyfriend to give you gifts (um, but you have to realize they won’t be expensive gifts) you have to tell him. Have a conversation with him in which you tell him “Hey, I really feel special and loved when you buy me/make me something you know I will like” Like others have said, he’s not a mind reader.

    In terms of financial future, if you are worried about this, you need to talk to him about it. Not in terms of, I’m afraid you don’t make enough, but in terms of, what kind of lifestyle do you both want, and does that match up. You are both so young, and you have a lot of time to be able to earn more money, but you have to see if that’s what he even wants.

    1. “LW, I think you are conflating the gift issue with the overall money issue.”

      I was just thinking about this. I feel like the gift thing wouldn’t be such a sticking point for her if she weren’t already concerned about his finances. But since she is, things that remind her of him being broke carry more significance to her and jump out more.

      1. Exactly.

  35. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    Just wanted to add that there is so much more to balance in a relationship than finances. One is that not only do you need a job but that the jobs need to be complementary in many ways. Some couples have jobs that have different hours so they never see each other (office vs chef) or where neither job is portable so they end up spending their entire marriage living in separate cities (two tenured faculty members at schools 1200 miles apart) or where one travels extensively and is almost never home (Vice-president of procurement) so makes a huge income but doesn’t help out in anyway with anything day to day in the home. Sometimes the financial security that you’re seeking comes at a cost in time that is detrimental to the relationship.

    I have friends where the wife has a bachelors degree and the husband didn’t go to college. He worked as a landscaper and owned his own business and became skilled in a specialized area that made a good income. He was earning more than her until he had too many back and knee problems and changed jobs. Now he works on the state road crew. He goes to work early and she gets the kids to school. She works later while he goes home and is there for the kids. He is now the one who takes the kids to after school activities like gymnastics and piano lessons and also doctor’s and orthodontists’ appointments. He also does all of the cooking. They have reached a balance that works very well for them because there is more to balance than finances.

    You don’t know what your future needs will be and what you might need from a partner so that your life works for the two of you but I’m sure you will have more things to balance than income.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      One thing that is really great about the husband’s job is that he works 12 hour days in the winter plowing snow so he will have July off and be able to be there for their kids so they won’t have to pay for daycare/babysitter. That is worth a lot of money.

  36. I’ve decided… since most of this ground is really well covered to just point out one potential HUGE flaw in the LW’s thinking: she can’t predict the future and doesn’t seem to have any understanding that as much as you may plan and plan, you don’t always get what you want or need. At the end of the day the human being you choose to spend your life with doesn’t come with guarantees and neither do you. Things don’t necessarily turn out because you went to a school or got a degree… and sometimes it has nothing to do with whether or not the man in your life has ambition and earning potential. Sometimes it has to do with him getting sick, or you getting into a car accident and losing 2 of your limbs, or living someplace where a tornado hits and not being able to live & work there anymore.

    If this LW found the man of her dreams with similar ambitions, they clicked and had amazing chemistry, etc. and planned their future and marriage – what the hell does she plan to do when he gets cancer and can’t work anymore? Or one of their children is born with a birth defect that takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct and she isn’t as “stable” as she planned!?! I’m all for financial stability (though I agree with comments above that it seems to be more a covert way of saying wealthy, and stability itself is such a varied measure depending on how you were raised, what you want from life, career goals and where you live) but I think that people need to understand that in the real world X doesn’t always automatically lead to Y and Z.

    1. Sue Jones says:

      It is true that one cannot predict the future, because after all, one may get hit by a meteor or a tornado tomorrow and die(remember Russia?) it is equally as foolish not to plan for the future. By mapping out a career plan – which may or may not go as planned – at least you are being proactive, and you have a bigger chance of getting where you think you want to go… whereas NOT planning, or thinking things through, you definitely WILL NOT get where you want to go. There are certainly no guarantees of success, but certain things seem to statistically be a guarantee of failure such as lack of education, lack of ambition, laziness, poor communication, etc…

      It is very similar to the whole saving money issue. Spend it now because you might die, right? But then you might not have any for retirement. And if you do happen to live a long life, you want to have socked some away…

  37. The LW in question says:

    I am the LW in question and first off I would like to thank everyone for their responses/comments; good or bad they have all opened my eyes to the way my words are perceived (by others and possibly by my partner) as well as what may really be behind my thinking. I would like to make a few things clear: 1. “Financial equals” & “financial stability” mean exactly what they say. I want a part we who will be able to go 50/50 with me, without having to break their back to do it. I’m not guaranteeing my own success I am just saying that if all goes as planned, which believe me I know more than many people that’s not always the case, I want someone who can put in their part of financial contribution. 2. I do want a certain lifestyle and by that I mean I want to be able to pay my bills without a worry. I will always count pennies to be financially smart but I want that to be my choice, not because I have to do that. I want to be able to love comfortably, but by no means do I have these over the top extravagant demands or dreams. 3. When I say “the little things” I don’t just mean material gifts I mean breakfast in bed or surprising me with a flower from the garden or even (and mainly) a simple note. When I said I’ve hinted I mean I have asked and talked about it over and over again, but see no change. It’s hard because I love him so much. He is so funny, comforting, and gets me like no one else ever has. I can be myself with him; the good, the bad, & the ugly. He always knows when to say the right things and does sweet little things on the daily, like always splitting food with me or a quick impromptu back rub). He has said since the 1st month he wants to marry me and have children with me, often initiating those conversations more than me which is why I take everything so serious because if its not right I don’t want to A. Waste either of our time & B. get to the point where we hate/resent each other. The distance makes things brutal and we have taken breaks (1 one week another for 2 weeks) on his request. When asking for those breaks I was told “you love
    me more than I love you” only for him to take that back the next day, crying about how he didn’t mean it and just needed space. He would blame his financial/work stress for his behavior saying that it put him
    on edge, causing us to have petty disagreements which he said killed the romance. We
    Always make up but I don’t know if I am stupid for thinking he is sorry and can/will change. On one occasion (Valentine’s Day) I had bought lingerie and he was being playful but in a way that made me feel like I was a porn star not his girlfriend. He saw I was uncomfortable and said “you look awkward not sexy” “why would you even put this on?” “You ruined the mood” “you’re suppose to
    get me worked up and standing there awkward isn’t doing it”. That was during the peak our fighting atage when he was streased but to say I was heartbroken is an understatement. I forgave him but I don’t know if these are signs or if I should take it as everyone has their moments. I love him so much and we have such a strong connection that I don’t want to walk away, look back and regret it. I don’t want to realize I let the love of my life go which is why I am so on the fence. I no longer know if my standards are too demanding, if I’m being unreasonable, what I do or don’t deserve, and if I’m crazy to think there is someone who will fulfill all my needs & wants. Lastly, so everyone can understand me, I think of love in these terms: I love selflessly, I do everything & anything to make my
    partner happy because I know and trust they are doing the same for me. I want to motivate, support, and help my partner grow in all the best ways and vice versa. That’s how I think love should be.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Me no like him. That lingerie story makes him sound like a total dick, to be honest. You never once sounded too demanding or unreasonable to me. I think you should walk and find yourself surprised that you meet someone much better for you (and nicer!) in the future. You worry about regretting leaving him…what about regretting staying with him?

    2. Yeah, he def sounds like a dick based on that story. It’s also not good to base your staying in a relationship on the idea that someone will change. A partner will never be perfect, but you shouldn’t be in a situation where in order to be happy, you think you have to give up on having your needs fulfilled. Having needs met is not unreasonable. I also think you’d be better off finding someone who is more what you’re looking for.

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