My parents are immigrants so I was raised very traditional (stay at home mom and dad who worked). We were very much so middle middle class.
I do really well for myself now and have a great career ahead of me. (Yay!)
I am seeing a guy who does make less than me and has no idea what he really wants to do. He comes from old wealth so his parents still pay for stuff. He’s 28 and I’m 26.
I guess I feel a little uncomfortable being a breadwinner and would love any advice! It’s just all new for me!

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I’m not sure what advice to give you other than not to ignore your intuition.

It seems you have a clear understanding of what your values and needs are in a relationship...

Personally I could not be with someone long term, especially considering marriage if they didn’t have career and financial clarity. I am also 34 and might have responded differently when I was your age.

Being on the path I am now, it’s better when two people are aligned on money + lifestyle

likehelpful

It could change, but people have to edgy these changes for themselves...

It’s not wrong at all to want a partner who is just as stable as you are (or more!)

Those are your values and no one should guilt trip you for them.

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On the flip side of it - I make double what my husband makes. He’s incredibly supportive of my career and picks up a lot of the slack at home (does all the cooking, grocery shopping, dog walking, etc.). I truly don’t think we could both work at the pace I am working at and still function. He’s ok taking on other things and I love my job. We’re a team. There are times when I get jealous of his ability to go to the gym and there are times when he’s jealous that I am working a job I love and highly compensated for, but at the end of the day we are both happy overall. We love each other and the joy we have in being together far outweighs a salary difference for us. ☺️ But! It’s very individual and you need to really think on it for yourself and your future.

likeuplifting

I love this for you!! Thanks for sharing.

It’s just something I’ve never experienced or been exposed to (ie, woman making more than the man). Love the team spirit, I think that’s the right way to look at it.

I don’t know if I always want to be the breadwinner. I love what I do but I’d like to eventually scale back so I can work and be involved in the lives of my kids someday. If he never finds his niche then he might never be able to support our team. So much to think about.

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Seeing the additional information and the intention to go long term, I would propose the following questions:
1. Is he actively trying to figure himself out? If so, it’s a good sign since some people do take longer to figure this out and since his family has money, he probably didn’t have financial pressure to do so like the rest of us
2. Do you like this person enough in other aspects (eg personality traits, physical looks, potential to be a good parent if you would like kids) to make up the career shortcoming if he never find a good career?
3. Is he open minded enough to not let his pride get in the way if you are the financial supporter of your relationship? You might become eventually ok with this but if he develops some inferiority complex with a bunch of insecurities, that could be tricky to deal with.
4. if you are very close with your family, would you be ok to not share the financial situation with your family, or defend him if they make negative remarks towards him on this subject? Not saying they would but in case they might not be ok with this

Speaking from personal learnings as I am 27F from middle class immigrant family and was in a relationship with a guy that made less than me. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out for me

likehelpful

I second all of the questions posed above in this reply. I have a similar but different situation to yours. When I met my husband 11 years ago, he was taking an extended break from being an electrician. Even though he’s very smart, he didn’t do well in school and dropped out in his last semester in high school and eventually went back to get his GED. Meanwhile, I have a PhD and post-doctoral experience. Despite our differences, we had a lot of the same values and outlook on life. He has rarely been bothered by our educational and financial differences. I think it helps that we don’t have kids. When we moved in together two years into the relationship, we agreed to keep our finances separate. (Side note: I’m also an immigrant and my mom was firmly in the camp of “the woman should always have her own money in case things go bad”.) We got married 5 years into the relationship and have still mostly kept our finances separate, with each of us paying our share. I think this helps him feel like he’s not taking advantage of me and my substantially higher salary. When it comes to vacations and splurges, I will roll them into Christmas/birthday presents so that he will accept them, but I always ask before I assume anything.
I think the biggest question for you is your guy’s intent and mental/emotional situation. It sounds like he has a lot of baggage that he needs to work through. I wouldn’t give up on him yet, but let him know that you’re waiting to see how he negotiates his current situation. I think there’s a lot you will be able to see with regards to his fortitude, maturity (and ability to grow), self-awareness, and resilience - things that are SO important in a life partner. If he has the resources, he should definitely seek help from a therapist or coach- as others have recommended. Good luck!

likesmart

Honestly, if he loves you and you love him equally, at the end, it shouldn’t matter. You maybe able to guide and help him since you’re ahead of him in this aspect. I’ve seen relationships where the woman « wakens » the man. But at the end, it’s all on you really.

likesmart

If you are planning to marry him ask yourself if you both can live with what you make. If you think that is enough then what ever he does is not an issue. Remember you can't change people.

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I make much more than my husband, and we both are very comfortable with this fact. His lower stress, lower earning job is honestly what facilitates mine. He cooks, he manages the house. When we have children, which we are planning on trying for next year, we intend on him being primary caregiver.

All that said, I would not have been comfortable dating a man who didn’t know what he wanted. My husband is far less ambitious career wise than I am, and that is totally fine with me. He makes six figures as well, and would be completely ok with remaining in his current position until retirement. I want to make partner (I’m a lawyer). My husband’s priorities for his own career are different than mine, and he supports my priorities for mine, and that is what is important to me. But I would not be with a person incapable of, or unwilling to, support themselves. At the very least, if I get hit by a bus I need to know my children are going to be cared for.

likeuplifting

Very gently, you cannot coach someone into being who you want them to be. Do people change? Yes, it happens. But it will either happen or not based on what he wants. Don’t evaluate a partner on what he could be. Evaluate what he is.

If you have ambitions for the C-suite, you won’t have the time or energy to make your man a project. You will need a man who makes helping you his project. Or at the very least can hold his own so you don’t need to devote energy to helping him. I can only work as much as I do without dropping dead because I have someone else managing the minutia of my life. Are there couples where both of them have high powered careers? Yes. But I know zero women with high powered careers who have successfully changed a man with no ambition and no desire to be a caretaker instead. They only ever get dragged down by his weight.

likesmarthelpful

OP, I would consider both aspects separately. On one side, you are independent and self sufficient. Being the breadwinner is not a negative thing - quite the contrary in my opinion. This alone shouldn’t be a reason to call it quits. My partner makes less than 1/3 of what I make - he’s a high school teacher and although he doesn’t want to continue teaching long term, he does want to stay in education and that will never be a decent paying job compared to what I make as a SM in consulting. I am ok with that and he is doing good to the world and our community, which I value a lot. So I would say do not give up if purely for financial reasons.

The second aspect - not knowing what he wants to do - would be the decision factor. You said he’s still using his family money at almost 30, doesn’t have goals or interests. Don’t go all in hoping for him to change. Is he trying to figure out what he wants to do? You mentioned he’s ashamed of it, but what actions is he taking to resolve it?

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I love this for you!! Thank you for sharing ☺️

I don’t foresee him ever working to do something that supports the community unfortunately.
Time to time he tells me he wants what I grew up with - parents who love each deeply, a stay at home mom, close knit family, etc. With his lack of pursuit to find what he loves it’s hard for me to ever imagine quitting my job. It would feel like wasted potential if I didn’t work and do what I do (because I also love it!!!).

Another commenter made a good point that while he isn’t actively pursuing avenues he might just need to be awaken. His family sucks. All money no love and support. They’re critical, they don’t encourage or push anyone, and they never have anything constructive to say.
It’s really sad honestly. His father would be quicker to call him a loser (which he’s done) than he would to have a real career conversation with him.

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Honey he is showing you who he is right now. It will not improve after you marry.

likesmart

Reading your post, what got my attention isn’t the financial disparity, it’s the mindset disparity that could get in the way. Are you a go getter/fighter who has had to carve your own path and figure things out yourself while he’s had a safety net and luxury to take his time? Have you overcome a lot of obstacles that he wouldn’t understand? I have some friends from really wealthy families who are amazing and very kind people but sometimes they make ignorant comments that show they don’t know what it’s like to struggle and start from 0 because you come from humble means. He could be an amazing guy but the mindset disparity could be an obstacle when you try to run a household/family together and you can’t understand each other and how the other person views things based on background. I’m sure it’s not impossible but something to think about.

likehelpful

Regardless of income or title, I’m traditional when it comes to dating and have let the man lead and pay for courtship. If he’s willing and able to do that and provide at a level I’d be comfortable with then ok, but as others mentioned I’d prefer being with someone who has ambition and direction in life

likesmart

He does! He always plans dates and pays. He always buys me a car home (walks me to the car, opens the door, etc.). He is incredibly loving ans I think I’m attracted to the ways in which he loves me.

Agreed that I think I would be more attracted if he was more ambitious. I don’t think he’s ever been pushed to be ambitious or seen it happen so he might not know where to start. He’s so motivated to have his own family and be an amazing dad (mostly because he grew up with a horrendous one). Like he’s more so ambitious when it comes to his personal life.

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Does he take proactive steps to find out what his passions are and what he wants to do?

Does he support you and if you live together, does he pick up the slack around the house? Does he mind doing household stuff traditional set for women?

These things could make a difference. There's no way to know where someone's future career lies tbf.

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He really doesn’t do any of that. He was never really pushed to ever figure things out. His parents would rather criticize him and point out what he isn’t doing right than give him anything constructive.

Like my father mentors me professionally, he connects me with female leaders he works with so I can learn. He consistently pushes me to do more because that’s why they immigrated here, so we could have whatever we wanted and work hard for it. My bf doesn’t have anything like that, no support at all. No encouragement, no real love. It’s really sad honestly.

I think he does find house work to be a woman’s thing which I’m not mad about, I just think it was a product of his environment. He can load a dishwasher and do his own laundry. That’s about it but I could see him expecting me to do if we lived together - I’m not even ready for that.

A little more background - I’ve been seeing him for a few months and he’s basically waiting for me to say I’m ready to date. I am just a slow mover.

We talk about the future all of the time so we do have this idea of being together long term.

I know he kind of feels a bit ashamed of not knowing what he wants to do which makes me feel kind of bad too.

I understand. It’s nice to be held, valued and wanted by someone. It doesn’t happen often but that also means the other person realizes how great you are.

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