Dear Dr. Romance:
I am fortysomething female and have never been married. I make an excellent salary. I have never been able to find a man who will stick with me; they either use me or can't deal with my strength. My current boyfriend of over a year and a half is a few years older and was married for one year in his twenties and never married since. He is very confident, adventurous and never wanted a committed relationship. His friends were surprised when he moved in with me almost a year ago. We get along well although we are both a bit opinionated and both like to have control, but that isn't the issue, I digress. He left home at 18 and has been independent since. He's very attractive and had a lot of girl friends, but never stayed with any. I make a lot more than he makes. He has told me numerous times that he does not let others take care of him and he carries his own weight. When he moved in to my condo, I asked him to cover about a fourth of the mortgage and utilities. He was good for the first few months, until he got laid off. Now basically he isn't paying for his monthly existence. we've decided to sell my condo and buy a house but we cannot afford a house on what equity I have in my condo alone. He has no savings. I set up a separate savings account for the down payment. He gives me some money each month for the savings, but none for the expenses.
I do love him and I know he loves me. He takes care of me when I'm sick. My family and friends see how he loves me too. I don't think that he purposely is lacking on the money issue. He told me that he will marry me some day but I have no idea when that some day will be. He talks like everything is both of ours, yet I don't feel he is contributing what he should be. I don't even know for sure how much he has in savings. I don't think he is trying to use me but I have been used in the past and I won't go for it again.
He also has done nothing about retirement. He says that he plans to work until he dies. I have told him that he needs to put some money away because Social Security won't cover the type of house payment we will be looking at but he just doesn't seem to get it. I stand up for myself at work, but I have not been able to do that in most of the relationships that I have had with males that I care for. Please help me define some guidelines for talking with him about these issues and getting satisfactory results. I want this relationship to last.
Congratulations on your career success. I doubt that your trouble with men can be blamed on your financial status, I think it's a problem with the men you were choosing. For example, staying with men who are emotionally unavailable. Discover more about choices in "You Be the Judge"
The man you have now seems at least partly reliable, and it sounds as if he cares, but he doesn't sound very motivated to be in a committed relationship, and for a relationship to work, both parties must be committed. You have done a lot on your own, and you deserve credit for that, but that won't work in relationship. You must have a partner who doesn't need to be persuaded and coaxed into marriage. If you want to limp along in this situation, that's your choice. I recommend that you get therapy to build your self-esteem. I have a suspicion that you don't believe you're worthy of a man who can love you wholeheartedly. Please be very cautious about getting any more financially entangled with this man you are now living with. A "very attractive man" who plays around is not avoiding relationships because the women have money -- he just doesn't want to be accountable.
He's not walking his talk when it comes to letting you pay for things. The more you let him use you, the more he probably will. You can choose to stay in the situation you are now in, but I'd advise against buying a house with this man. You sound too smart and capable to be stuck with a semi-loser. How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free will help you understand what an equal relationship is, and how to achieve it, with this man or someone else.