Earning Power

21 Nov

Letterbalm Woman with BriefcaseDear LetterBalm: I have significantly more education and a job that pays much more than my boyfriend’s does. My man and I have been together for three years, and I’ve never been happier. He’s kind, honest and intelligent, and he works hard as a specialized master welder. He’s well-read and funny, and he treats me wonderfully. My family is crazy about him. But when we get together with some of my friends, they are judgmental. They’re barely civil to him. We’re about to buy a condo together, and they say he’s using me and that we shouldn’t get married because he only wants my money. How can I make them see what I see?

–Professional Lady

Before we start, Ms. L.B. would like to interject a note about welding. In general, the job is being replaced by automation. But specialized welders who keep up with changing technologies are quite sought after. So, your guy is on the cutting edge of his profession, so to speak. Now, about your relationship. There are many happy couplings today between those unequal in salary and education levels. Your snobbish friends need a dose of humanity and graciousness. You certainly don’t want to bring an evening to a screeching halt every time one of them acts like an ass; for one thing, it would be embarrassing to your boyfriend. But you do need to shut down their ill-mannered behavior. Have a brief one-on-one conversation with the ringleaders. Take each one out for coffee (knowing that they’ll talk about the meetings with one another) and read the riot act:

Listen, my friend, it hasn’t escaped me that you think Ron and I are ill-matched. You’ve been quite liberal with your opinion. You think he’s some kind of gold digger who will rob me and leave me. Please stop the insults immediately because they’re cruel and hurtful. They make me think you don’t have confidence in my ability to run my life. Ron is the best thing ever to happen to me. We’ve been together for three years, plenty of time for him to show his true colors. My family adores him. If the only reason you don’t like Ron is because you think he’s low-class, then you can’t be my friend, even after all we’ve been to each other. I don’t want to know someone who judges people so superficially – especially a person I love. Can we move beyond this? Can I count on your maturity and genuine goodwill here?

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