Advice

Miss Information

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My boyfriend's a great partner, but I'm worried he doesn't make enough money to support me.

Have a question for Miss Information? Email missinfo@nerve.com.

Dear Miss Information,

I'm a bit old for your advice maybe, but here goes. My man and I are middle-aged. He is of Mediterranean descent, and very hot-blooded. He's slept with hundreds of women. His long-term relationships didn't work. He said he was okay with sleeping with me, providing that I accept he wants multiple sex partners. He loves porn and is addicted to the young beautiful chicks in those movies. I can't blame him for that. We'd all love to look like them.

But recently he's begun really rubbing my nose in the fact that he finds others more attractive, young, and desirable than me. He's nasty and critical at times, despite my acceptance of his lifestyle. I have no other sexual partners, but he has many. He has a string of lovers, and spends nights with all of them. So his needs are met. He also has women from his own country whom he entertains here, while I stay out of the way.

I feel he's taking me for granted, but I'm unable to break it off. I need advice, but I'm ashamed of needing this advice at my age. I feel old, ugly, and used like an old dustbin. I want a relationship, but I want some of the good stuff too, like sex, and I don't want to feel that I am finished just because this relationship has taken all my self-esteem.

— The Other, Other, Other Woman

Dear TOOOW,

If a relationship makes you feel terrible, drop it. This advice is true of everything in life: cities you live in, food you eat, snakes you handle during religious ceremonies. If something makes you miserable, it's wrong for you. Done.

Why does your boyfriend's happiness get priority over yours? Just because he's "hot-blooded" and promiscuous doesn't mean he's worth more than you. It doesn't even mean he's more attractive or charismatic than you. It just means he interacts with the world differently than you do. If you wanted to live a life of casual attachments and strangers' underwear hanging from the lampshade, you undoubtedly could. It's not a priority for you, so it's not a reality. None of this means you're worthless.

You assume your age is an impediment, but I've gotten this letter many times before, from people in their teens, twenties, thirties, and so on. The question of "I want x but he wants y" is by no means age-specific. Hear this and believe it: your age will not impede you from finding someone who respects and values you. Someone great is out there. Drop this relationship and find a better one.

Dear Miss Information,

I've been dating a guy for a little under a year. He's amazing. He dotes on me, and he's emotionally available, witty, and intelligent. My friends and outsiders see us as the ideal couple, and want to achieve what we have, but secretly, I feel so lost. He's been working in a dead-end job for six-plus years. It's not a career, nor will it lead to one. He gets paid enough for a bachelor of his age, but he's seven years older than me, and I feel he should have more ambition about bringing in money for a future wife and kids. I'm starting to think of a family, a house, a suburban life. I worry whether he'll ever be able to support me.

Is this a reason to walk away? I've debated this for a while. He's responsible and doesn't get into debt, but it saddens me that he lets his intelligence and education go to waste.

On the other hand, my father is self-made and provided for our entire family on his own, but he missed most of my childhood, and wasn't a partner to my mom. My boyfriend would be an ideal, hands-on husband and father, but he's lacking in the financial department. This could put a strain on any marriage. What do I do?

Centsless

Dear Centsless,

Play with this idea: is it better to live a life full of love and support, or live a life with money?

Now, granted, it's easy to extol the virtues of huddling around a single candle as the camera pans across everyone's dirty and grateful faces. We might all like to claim that we never once thought about bank accounts, because we were so in love. But it's true: financial troubles do create strain in relationships.

However, having money is no guarantee of stability. While money can provide security and opportunities, it's a much emptier asset than having a partner you love and trust. You know this; you almost answered your own question. It sounds like you weren't happy with how little your dad participated in your life, so it stands to reason that you would seek something different.

Your letter does raise a few questions, though. Do you have a job? Why aren't you factoring yourself into this hypothetical household? And have you discussed any of your long-term plans — and the associated price tags — with your boyfriend?

From my perspective, the issue is less "your boyfriend's lack of earning power," and more "your lack of respect for your boyfriend's career choices." I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong, but there are a million reasons he may be choosing to stay at a job that you think is a waste of his education or intelligence. If he's lazy or held back by inertia, that's one thing; if the job makes him genuinely happy, that's quite another.

Talk it out and see how you can move forward. But question your own priorities. Is material comfort really worth dismissing a good partner?