Post # 1
I am 35 and having second thoughts about my fiance. I met him on eharmony. He is tall, handsome, emotionally generous, kind, and totally in love with me. I love him for his humor, sweet nature, and beautiful treatment of me and our relationship (as if it were a delicate flower). However, he is not as financially secure (no savings, no home), as smart, or as ambitious as I imagined the man I would marry. I am from a highly educated family and he is not. Some background differences there.
Because of differences in finances, it is up to me to pay for the entire wedding (he has no savings unless he drains his 401 k), and it is up to me to put the entire downpayment on any new home (once again he has no savings). This disappoints me to some degree. I can’t understand what he has done with his money!! I work a highly stressful job (doctor) and I was hoping that with marriage and future motherhood I could take a break and work part-time, but in California that is a hard thing to do/afford. He expresses no interest in moving up in his career. Just happy where he is at.
I find myself occasionally panicking and browsing match.com, wishing some brilliant, financially solvent, and kind man would whisk me away. And that I may fall in love again. But I am nearly 36 and have already a good (enough) though poor man, and I need to start having kids before the ovaries putter out.
If only I were 26 again. Sigh. I’ve dated soooo much in the last 8 years and have gone through a lot of frogs….not sure if it is worth risking going back ino the dating pool for a very unknown future.
Any advice from other professional women my age?
Post # 3
It sounds like you have very valid concerns. I am 32 and met my fiance online (on MySpace so while neither of us were looking for a relationship, per se, we found it anyway!) I understand what you’re saying about wishing you were 26 but for me I wish I were 26 so that I’d have more time with FI, not so that I would have more time to look for someone else. I think the best thing is to trust your gut but it is worth it to talk to FI about your concerns and maybe do some premarital counseling so that you can give yourself a better opportunity to work through your concerns. Does he know how you feel? Does he know that you want to be a mom and work part-time at some point? Maybe he sees you as the more ambitious high earner in the relationship and that’s okay with him but he doesn’t know that it’s not okay with you?
I’ve read that finances are the biggest reason that couples give for splitting so it’s worth putting the effort in on this side of the wedding so that you are better prepared going forward. He sounds like a very good person and a wonderful partner in the way that he treats you so it might be worth working through any concerns you have now so that you are both on the same page.
Post # 4
What a tough spot to find yourself in!
I understand that reasons you stated, being 36, wanting children, etc., but I have to wonder what your reasons for getting married are. Marriage, in my opinion, shouldn’t be about finding someone who’s ‘good enough’ (your parenthetical statement above is what worries me more than anything) so that you can have kids or take a break from your career. Marriage should be about finding someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, to the point where you’re willing to sacrifice to make the compromises necessary in any relationship, for better or worse, richer or poorer, sick or well, until death.
Only you can really know if this man is right for you or not, but I would encourage you to consider very strongly what purpose you see in marriage – and then why you want to consider marrying this man in particular.
Post # 5
If you’re having second thoughts to the point where you are looking for someone else (even if it’s innocent) then it could be an issue. Have you addressed your concern/discussed your long term goals with him as far as family and finances?
At 35, I understand it is more challenging, but you’re not OLD! As others have stated, finances are one of the biggest deal-breakers in marriages/relationships so if you’re having doubts before the serious commitment is made, it might be good to step outside of your situation and look in as a bystander.
Also, it might be best to speak with someone you trust and knows you well/who you KNOW will give you an honest opinion on the matter.
Good luck, and we’re here for you!!
Post # 6
I agree that if you’re having second thoughts it might be deeper than just the money issue. I would suggest that you two go to a counselor (maybe someone who specializes in financial help) to talk things out before you dive into a wedding. A lot of marriages end in divorce because of money and I would hate to see your marriage get started that way.
Good luck with everything, he seems like a great guy but you’ve got to figure out what your priorities are before you jump the broom!
Post # 7
I can’t say I’m in the same boat as you, but I do understand how those problems wear on you. I used to date a guy who was like that–no education, no savings, he had no desire to go to college, etc. He wanted ME to do all the hard work and he just was content to stay where he was. He was NOT ambitious. After awhile I felt like I was dating a loser. That he had “won the jackpot” by dating me and felt he was “moving up” in the world by dating someone as ambitious as me who really wanted to do well in life. Who wanted MORE than the life he could offer himself. Long sotry short, I began to feel sorry for him. I began to hate that I was so much “better” than him. He became dull and uninteresting and the gap in education became too much for me to deal with. He once asked me what naive meant….Regardless that he was a nice, sweet guy and worshiped the ground I walked on, I realized I couldn’t date someone I didn’t respect.
You make it sound like you know you’re settling for him. He’s good (enough). If you want a child, you can have a child. You don’t have to have a child WITH someone, especially someone you aren’t thrilled and elated to be marrying. Don’t just marry him so you can have kids–you’re cheating yourself and at some point down the road, you may become very unhappy. While I can’t tell you what to do, if you are browsing around for other men and/or not feeling 100% confident about marrying this guy, that should send up a big red flag. It’s not just the fact that he’s ‘poor’ but if he’s in his 30’s also, there’s no reason he shouldn’t have some savings or just rely on you, the financially stable/secure one, to be his sugar momma (pay for the entire wedding, the house, etc, while he is just like “shrug, i have nothing”). It’s irresponsible that he’s come this far and has absolutely nothing to show for it, some valid reasons aside. You’ll become resentful and feel like you are being taken advantage of if you don’t feel like he’s contributing in positive ways to the household (besides money).
Just my 2 cents. You have a tough decision, but don’t cheat yourself out of happiness and a good marriage if you’re going into it without confidence.
Post # 8
I agree with the pp. I can relate with you a LITTLE bit because I am much more educated than my FI (I have a BA and JD from a good school, he has a business degree from Devry) and I can’t say that I don’t ever wish that education was more of a priority for him. That being said, he has really worked his butt off with the degree he has and has aggressively persued promotions at his job, even going so far as studying for a really challenging certification test to open up his options.
It sounds to me like the money is not the issue… the issue is that you don’t respect him. You think he’s wasted opportunities and he’ll never be able to “take care” of you. You can’t marry someone you don’t respect, imo.
Post # 9
I agree with the other posters here that you should not go ahead with the wedding having doubts like that. Your doubts mean that something is wrong in the relationship. Have you two talked about this at all and he said that he doesn’t care to work more or does he not know that you want to be an at home mother? Men your age should be saving for things like retirement and a future home. You should find someone that you can’t live without, not someone who is just good enough. You aren’t old and you have time to find someone that you are completely crazy about and doesn’t give you doubts.
Post # 10
I think that you already know the answer if you are posting this question. You can’t marry someone you are unsure about and you are clearly not sure about this guy.
Post # 11
Generally I don’t believe in settling.
I’m a little worried about your priorities and ideas about what marriage is. I think you see marriage as the man taking care of the woman and you see women as entiteled to take time off to raise kids. (Just curious, would he be interested in raising the kids?). That’s not the way I see marriage and not the way I planned my life.
However, you really shouldn’t marry someone you can’t respect and if your respect is tied to ambition and financial security then you shouldn’t marry this guy.
I would take some time to think about what you’re gong to do if you can’t find a guy. What is your plan about children if you can’t find someone you want to marry? Are you going to have a child on your own or always regret not having childen? If you do have a child on your own how are you going to support him/her and stll take care of them?
I don’t say this in a hostile way, I think it can be really useful to go through a “what if” excercise. If you come up with a way you can have a child/whatever else you want and happiness without a man you might see internal anxiety decrease (not saying you shouldn’t want to find a romantic partner or shouldn’t look). I believe in plan Bs. 🙂
Post # 12
If you’re browsing match.com and wishing for another (richer) man to whisk you away, it doesn’t sound like this is the man for you. My husband is not wealthy, and makes a third of my income, and I absolutely adore him and think I got the better end of the deal (he disagrees 🙂 ), because of how much he gives me and brings to my life. I don’t need a man to pay my bills– I need a man to love me, and laugh with me, and be a great dad to our (future) children, and join with me on life’s adventures. I would never give him up, just because he’s not climbing the corporate ladder or always searching for that next promotion.
Have you had a talk about finances with your fiance? It would be rough to marry someone who is really financially irresponsible, but I can’t tell if that is the case here (you didn’t mention any debts, and noted that he has 401k savings). Is it just that he’s been living within his means, without socking anything away other than retirement money?
You say “if only I were 26 again”– but honestly, you didn’t meet this mythical brilliant, rich, and kind man the first time around, so what makes you think you’d meet him the second? Not trying to be snarky/harsh, just saying that you might be chasing something that doesn’t exist. Remember that oftentimes having a really ambitious, career-focused guy comes with a price. I know for me, I’d rather have a guy who is family-focused.
Post # 13
I am 34 and an attorney. Although I was corporate before I went to law school (I travelled extensively and worked 60+ hours a week), I have never worked as hard as I do now (my billing requirement is substantial), nor have I ever been under as much pressure. In fact, I am pretty sure that I was clueless about stress until I was introduced to the *annual billing requirement* that most attorneys work under. I digress . . .
While I agree with the pps that people shouldn’t *settle* in their relationships, it seems like there is a lot of communication that hasn’t occured between you and your FI (or at least if it has occurred, you did not include it in your post). For example, you “can’t understand” where all of his money went – did you ask? Have the two of you had an open conversation about your financial goals, and made a plan to achieve them? Another example would be you were hoping to be able to go part-time and/or stay home and raise a family – is he aware that you want to take a break from your career and stay home with your children? From your original post, it doesn’t sound like you have clearly communicated to him that you want to stay home and raise your family – or that you haven’t clearly communicated how strong your desire to do so really is.
Perhaps what struck me the most is your statement that you dream of finding a brilliant man (hello Prince Charming?) and being whisked away . . . whisked away to where? What is it about your current situation that you want to be rescued from? (This is not a question that I expect an answer to, just one for you to think about!)
I want to re-state that I don’t think anyone should *settle*. However, there is generally a trade-off, or a balance of the equities, if you will, to life. You stated that your FI is emotionally generous, which would be a dream come true to many, many women. Most of the successful, brilliant, ambitious men I have met are not quite in that category, i.e., they did not become successful without intensely focusing on themselves and their careers. Also, I think it speaks volumes for your FI that he is not intimidated by an accomplished professional woman that has more education/income potential that he does . . . some may see gold digger while I tend to see a man secure and confident in himself.
Post # 15
It is pretty clear that you don’t love him. It’s only fair to him for you to cancel the engagement. How would you feel if your roles were reversed, and you discovered that your partner only married you for your ovaries? You’re not treating him with respect.
Post # 16
Everyone has their “deal breakers” and this might be yours. I don’t think you should be concerned with your age or how long you’ve been dating, in regards to this. You say you don’t want to risk the unknown future but wouldn’t you rather be happily single than miserably married? Just because you marry this guy, doesn’t mean he’s going to change to be something he’s not. If this is your deal breaker, I’d say get out now. You’re not happy with the situation now, you won’t be in 5 years.
However, if your SO is committed to change than it might be worth it to stick it out. Have you ever talked to him about your concerns? Has he given you a reason to believe he might be willing to work on this aspect of his life?