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He sometimes makes me cringe when he speaks, and he's in debt... This all makes me feel like a snob... Am I making yet another dating mistake?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (31 January 2007) 8 Answers - (Newest, 1 February 2007)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I am a 42 year old woman, divorced for 7 years and have 2 adolescent children. I have a PhD and a professional job. I enjoy the arts and theatre and I like to mix in intelligent company. I look a lot younger than my years partly due to good genes (great skin), partly due to my petite and athletic physique and partly due to my light hearted attitude to life (I sing, dance and act in my spare time).

I have a full life, except that I have been very unlucky and made some very bad choices in my relationships. My last relationship ended in the most horrible way with the man I had been dating for 2 years literally thowing me to the side of the road! I came to the conclusion that the problem stemmed from me dating men who were less educated than me and who were not very attractive. Low self-esteem on my part, obviously! As I look after myself and work very hard to support my children and pay my mortgage etc. I decided that I would only date men who were 1) kind and supportive 2) educated and articulate and 3) financially stable - someone equal to me. I have now been dating a man 13 years younger than myself for the last few months and he fits criterion number one just perfectly. In fact, this man adores me and treats me with the utmost respect and adoration. Nevertheless, although this man is not daft he is not articulate and I often find myself cringing when he talks (and that makes me feel like a snob as I think he would embarrass me with his street cred lingo). Moreover, although he works hard in his job, he is in a lot of debt. I have told him that I am uncertain about whether we should continue to date due to our age gap and his financial problems, but we are still together. He keeps telling me that he loves me and I am starting to feel bad that I cannot offer my feelings to him. He is a lovely man however. Am I making a big mistake again? Any advice will be helpful please. Thank you

View related questions: debt, divorce, petite

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 February 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

To Irish49 (thanks again) and any other readers interested in reading about or offering me advice about my situation:

I am not overly comfortable with announcing my relationship concerns on a public web site and so I must be a little reserved about the information I disclose. Nevertheless, just to say that I did address the financial problems to my boyfriend yesterday evening and he tried to shrug them off. He talks about going bancrupt but it all sounds a bit irresponsible to me. I am not going to find this easy particularly as he has arranged a few events with one of my children and if I were to suddenly break the relationship off now, it would leave my son very disappointed. It is not going to be nice because this man has become very attached to me and in many ways I have allowed him to by not following through with my intention (as I told him) of taking things slow. If anyone else using this website has found himself or herself in a similar situation to me I really will appreciate your comments just as I have valued the opinions I have received so far. Thanks

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 January 2007):

Your very welcome for the advice dear. I just want to add that your posting struck a real chord with me because a few years ago, I got out of a relationship with an emotionally dependent man, who had some money problems. So I really, really related to your words when you said,

"I do not want to have to help a man grow because in all honesty, I have done my fair share of mothering."

Gosh, I liked that comment. :) What a good way to describe what you are looking for in a partner. You do want a equally, solid man who matches your values, your merit, your maturity. You should not have to help a man grow. He should have done that, already when you meet him and you undertake a relationship with him. As older women and having raised families, one gains forethought, knowledge and a ton o'life smarts. Stay just who you are and keep being a smart woman! Take care, dear.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 January 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for your opinions and I will certainly take on board what you have all said

Irish49 - thankyou for supporting me. It is true that I have worked very hard to support my children, bringing them up and giving them a good home. I still do and they do not get any support from their father. So I am becoming a bit tough in my advnacing years but then I have been far too soft and there really is no point in settling down with anyone again now unless we are compatible. I do not want to have to help a man grow because in all honesty, I have done my fair share of mothering. Still he is a lovely man and it does feel good to be treated so well at the moment. it is going to be hard to say goodbye to being treasured for a change. Ah well!

To Eve - Thank you. I cannot answer those questions yet but I will take real care over the next few weeks to make a clear decision for the sake of this lovely man who deserves to be loved. The other complication is that my son has already become very fond of him. Whether I will be making the correct decision or not, I must make a definite one before the end of this month even if I am still uncertain

To Martini - I read your similar situation response - this woman has been with her partner for some time and obviously loves him. As I have only been seeing this man for a few months and as I am uncertain about my feelings then I must be responsible enough to let him go if I cannot make a decision soon. Thanks for your comments too - really helpful

To Anonymous - interesting to get a different viewpoint altogether. Of course, it is only natural that some people will see the situation as a strightforward example of someone thinking too highly of themselves. I can only reiterate that one of my main problems in previous relationships has been precisely due to the fact that I have not thought of myself as precious. I dont want a rich man. I dont want a stunner. I dont want a rocket scientist. However I have learnt from experience that equality and communication are very important qualities in a relationship. This is why I have my doubts. There is nothing wrong with this lovely man but the question is are we compatible enough to survive a long term relationship? That's my worry!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 January 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for your opinions and I will certainly take on board what you have all said

To Eve - Thank you. I cannot answer those questions yet but I will take real care over the next few weeks to make a clear decision for the sake of this lovely man who deserves to be loved. The other complication is that my son has already become very fond of him. Whether I will be making the correct decision or not, I must make a definite one before the end of this month even if I am still uncertain

To Martini - I read your similar situation response - this woman has been with her partner for some time and obviously loves him. As I have only been seeing this man for a few months and as I am uncertain about my feelings then I must be responsible enough to let him go if I cannot make a decision soon. Thanks for your comments too - really helpful

To Anonymous - interesting to get a different viewpoint altogether. Of course, it is only natural that some people will see the situation as a strightforward example of someone thinking too highly of themselves. I can only reiterate that one of my main problems in previous relationships has been precisely due to the fact that I have not thought of myself as precious. I dont want a rich man. I dont want a stunner. I dont want a rocket scientist. However I have learnt from experience that equality and communication are very important qualities in a relationship. This is why I have my doubts. There is nothing wrong with this lovely man but the question is are we compatible enough to survive a long term relationship? That's my worry!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 January 2007):

There is nothing wrong with choosing someone for your future, wisely, hun. I am a strong proponent of dating others, as a selection process to finding the one that is best for you. This process is the time a woman uses wisely in getting to know someone. You are smart to assess and discern and you are using your head. You like the man but he's in a lot of debt. I don't blame you for being cautious. In a way, your fellow has gotten himself in to a needy, precarious situation. Usually, the reason for debt problems are a result of poor choices and poor money management, obviously. You have to realize that if you ever took this relationship to the next step (re: marriage), those debt problems become yours, as well. Hun, you well-educated, you have a nice home..you've worked your buns off having a career and raising a family. Now, after all of this hard work and efforts, you have decided that you want someone to share your life, who fits a criterion. Some people might come on here and say you are too picky. They are not living your life, though, are they? Listen, you have a good plan in place. So I will say to you...you go for it, girl! Part of getting what you want in a love relationship, is comprised of using your head, being rational and reality based.I preach that all the time to people who have dated/married the wrong people and ended up, miserable. So I certainly respect your reluctance to carry on with this relationship. My suggestion: If this man's debt problems or his general outlook and interests are not matching what you want..tell him that. It's better now, than 5 years down the road, after you've married the guy. You state you are feeling bad, that you cannot offer him more of your feelings. It sounds like 'pity' is becoming a large component here in your relationship with him. Never date/become engaged/or marry a man you are uncertain about, have pity for or have any misgivings. It's your life, your future is at stake. And what you said about having an equal, I agree...men and woman should always, always date their equals. It makes more better compatibility and better balance in a relationship.

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A female reader, AskEve United Kingdom +, writes (31 January 2007):

AskEve agony auntI would continue to date this man for the time being. He will learn by your example and in time will hopefully get his debts paid and grow in maturity as time goes on, at least give him that chance. The more he's with you, the more of YOUR good habits he'll pick up, as the old saying goes "you get like those you live with" (although you're not living with him, he IS in your company a lot of the time). You seem pretty well grounded enough not to pick up his bad habits so I don't think there's a problem there. If you enjoy his company then give it a couple of months at least to see if his situation changes any.

That being said... at the end of the day, you have to think of YOUR happiness (and your kids of course) and you have to do what YOU think is right. If you feel there is more that niggles you about him and you find yourself frowning and squirming at his mannerisms or ways he behaves then you won't have respect for him and this will only lead to you resenting him.

Watch him closely over the next couple of weeks and ask yourself these questions.

1. Do I find he's embarrassing me in company or when we're out, more than making me happy?

2. Does his dialect annoy me?

3. Do his mannerisms in general annoy me and make me cringe?

4. Is he doing anything to seriously control his spending?

5. Is he doing anything to "build" for his future together with me?

6. Can he take control of situations and make me feel secure and loved?

7. Do we have a lot in common that is, the same likes and dislikes?

8. Do I find I'm bailing HIM out and helping him financially at times?

If the answer to these questions is YES and the answer to questions 4, 5, 6 and 7 are NO then I would seriously think of calling it a day with him. No matter how much he professes to love you, if you can't show him the same love and respect and adoration back then you'll never be able to treat him as an equal and look up to him. In fact, the resentment will deepen with time and you could grow to inwardly despise him. Harsh words I know, but nevertheless truthful words.

Think about this seriously okay and feel free to email me if you want to talk some more.

Good luck with your decision love.

Eve

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 January 2007):

Here is a similar dilemma that I've answered to awhile back:

http://www.dearcupid.org/question/i-love-my-husband-but-im-embarrassed-by.html

However, to answer your question, despite what other uncles and aunts may tell you, I believe you are definitely making a mistake staying together with this guy. ANYONE can be one of those three things you've mentioned, but if all three are a criteria you desire in their most basic standards aren't met, then quite possibly, you may start to resent yourself as well as keep a distance from yourself and your partner. This is obviously not a good thing.

People may argue that you can't have everything or that no relationship is perfect, but I digress. To me at the least, a perfect relationship incorporate the flaws as much as the things we desire. However, if the things we desire aren't even met in their basic standards, how do we even develop growth in mentality and goals together?

In short, he doesn't have what you want. You may be holding onto #1, his kindness and supportiveness because like you said, you've dated men who have treated you poorly. So this younger guy comes along and offers his love and adoration to you. Something that possibly doesn't happen every day, especially someone who on the surface may seem genuine. Despite your older age, all women (that I've met) would feel less and less stabilized emotionally as the years come and go, and seek out anyone that meet a part of their basic standards, but relationships like those usually end with the woman being the dominating figure which will eventually cause strife in the family for some males, or end up being like the one that I've linked you to above.

What do you think?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 January 2007):

Your problem when it comes to dating isnt that hes not educated enough for you or that hes in debt. the problem is that your a snob and nobody will ever live up to ur expectations

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