Paycheck Dichotomy

7 Jul

Letterbalm Two Unequal Stacks of MoneyDear LetterBalm: I’m a 30-year-old woman who’s worked hard on her education and now has a well-paying job as a corporate lawyer. For the past two years, I’ve been in a relationship with a man three years older than I am. We get along wonderfully except for one thing: He’s very insecure because I make a much bigger salary than he does. He has a good job as a construction team supervisor. It pays well, and he’s well-regarded, but he didn’t go to college, so he feels insecure. He’s always telling me I can do better, that he’s not good enough for me or that I’ll leave him for a richer, better educated guy. He has trouble believing that he makes me happier than I’ve ever been. My family and friends like him, too. I’m weary of reassuring him that he’s the best man I’ve ever been with. What can I say to convince him once and for all?

–The Money Doesn’t Matter

Ms. L.B. regrets to tell you that unless your man believes in himself, there’s little likelihood he’ll be comfortable in the relationship. He seems to think that money equals self-worth, and the fact that he makes much less than you is an indictment of him as a man and a human being. This is a tough self-image to change, and you may have to resign yourself to the realization that your relationship doesn’t have much chance for success. Try once more, but be prepared that he won’t believe you:

Mitt, you know football, so consider this a Hail Mary pass. It’s my last-ditch effort to try and convince you that you’re the best man I’ve ever been with. Once and for all, the difference in our incomes makes no difference in the big picture. Quite simply, I want to make a life together with you. I love you for you, and I would hope you love me for me, not for any measure of money, which hurts me and makes me look like I’m a shallow person. Would you consider talking about all this with a counselor who might help you? Because, darling, if we don’t resolve this, I can’t see any way forward, and it would break my heart to lose you.

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