Ask a Guy: Dating a Guy with Financial Problems post image

Ask a Guy: Dating a Guy with Financial Problems


I’ve been dating someone for a couple months now and, like a lot of people, he is experiencing financial difficulties.  He just recently began sharing these financial problems with me and I know it’s the reason why he’s been asking me out less than when we first started dating.

I’m not a very experienced dater so I’m unsure as to how to deal with this situation.  I like this man very much, I enjoy his company and he is incredibly kind.  I am fine having dates that are economical and have let him know this. However, I believe him to have a strong ‘male gene’ when it comes to who the provider should be.

How do I deal with this without making him feel as though I think less of him?

Well let’s think this through.

He’s been going on less dates with you and he’s been sharing his financial difficulties with you. I’m going to make the assumption that this isn’t a ploy on his part to go on “cheap dates”.  :)

There are tons of guys out there who have complexes about their jobs and the amount of money they make and what it “means” about them. Not everyone is present enough to see through it all, but the whole job/money and ego/identity crisis is a big illusion that men suffer from.

I’m not saying that guys should be cheap, but you and I both know that the amount of money a guy spends on a date isn’t going to change how you feel about him in your heart.  I’m not saying that you wouldn’t like him spending money on you, but it has nothing to do with love or that butterflies-in-your-stomach type feeling.

But a lot of guys don’t know that.

A lot of guys fall into the trap of measuring their self-worth based upon how much money they make, what kind of job they have and their overall financial situation. It’s an easy trap to fall into, considering that everything in our society and media encourages this type of thinking. The point I’m making here is that this is his complex, not yours.  You don’t own it.  Don’t make his problem into your problem – he needs to figure it out.

On a personal note, I’ve fallen into this type of thinking before.  There have been times that I had been so dissatisfied with my work situation that just thinking about my work made me feel sick to my stomach. It didn’t matter whether or not a girlfriend or anyone else thought I was great, I simply didn’t feel like I was measuring up to my own standards.

I’m a perfectionist, so the feeling of not measuring up to my own standards is unbearable to me.  It consumes my entire consciousness to the point where the world is gray and everything is meaningless, like I’m suffocating and trying to get a breath of inner peace.

When I feel so overwhelmed and suffocated by my own problems I go completely cold.  Friends and girlfriends can’t reach me.  All I want is to get out of the life situation that I feel is so unbearable, in this case it happened to be my job/financial situation.

But again, this was MY problem.  Nobody else’s.  And nobody else could fix it. It was up to me to take the actions necessary to bring consciousness to my own situation and resolve the fundamental problem.

When you love someone, you want to help them.  You want to seem to be free from any pain and suffering.  So I know that when I’ve been overwhelmed or stressed by these types of situations it has been tough on the people who love me and want me to be in a good place. The hardest thing in the world can be to accept that ultimately they need to solve it for themselves.

The best way you can help is to just be present with them and not need them to be any different.  When a guy feels like this, he feels like a huge loser in life.

Let me make a distinction of what I am NOT saying here:  I am not saying to reassure him.  I am not saying to comfort him.  I am not saying to feel sorry for him or to pity him.  I am not saying to try and solve his problem.

I’m saying just be willing to be there with him and give him the space to just be.  He’ll ultimately need to work this out himself anyway, so anything you do that supports that is helpful and anything you do that interferes with that is unhelpful.

If you handle him like he has a problem that needs to be solved, he’ll feel like it really is a problem and he’ll feel even worse.  On the other hand, if you accept him, he’ll probably see things for the illusion that they really are.  He’ll (eventually) see that it doesn’t really matter and he’s making an emotional issue out of nothing.

The bottom line is that if you realize that everything is fine and there is no “problem” here, it will be a helpful energy for him to be around.  You don’t need to talk about it, you don’t need to help with it, you don’t need to reassure him… you don’t need to do anything.

Let it be.

Hope it helps,

eric charles

{ 21 comments… add one }

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summer

hi charles! after reading your response i felt relieved..i am in the same situation right now..my pulled away because he has too much goin on right now, especially financially, i am paid higher than him..i spend a lot in our dates..until one day he realized that he is being unfair to me, but i told him that its okay that im fine with it..my bf felt worthless and unsuccessful..he told me that he will turn 30 next yr and until now he has a crappy life, no savings, no house of his own and even his goal to have a car before he turns 30 is still blurry..he said that one of his goals is to havr his own family before he turns 30..he said that he felt lost..i think he made thia realization last august because most of our friends got engaged and he felt pressure..he wants to solve all of his problema and crisis alone..

Reply October 29, 2014, 2:47 am

Janice

After reading your response above regarding men in a financial crisis. I am in a very similar situation. I have been dating this guy for 2 years. Things were going pretty good up until a few weeks ago when he suggested that we be friends. I told him I didn’t want to be friends but to still be in a relationship. I asked him are you saying this because you’ve found someone else or already seeing someone else and he said no, I don’t have time to even think about a relationship right now. We are older (59 and 61 yrs old) and he contracts himself out with his trucking business (semi). Well he has changed jobs twice trying to get more loads for on the road but the jobs aren’t coming in fast enough for him. Now he is behind in all of his bills including rent. He’s an ex-Marine and has the mentality of a Marine and has said that he was taught to stand on his own two feet. I’ve helped him out here and there even when he says he doesn’t want my help but I do it anyway. It’s not much but something to buy groceries with etc. Also a few weeks ago he called and had me listen to Chaka Kahn’s ‘Sweet Thing’ which I thought was really sweet so it’s almost like getting mix signals from him. I am currently missing him so much and don’t know what to think so I have decided not to call or text and wait to see if he will be calling. Just trying to give him his space and keeping myself busy.

Reply September 27, 2013, 2:18 pm

D Garcia

For the last 2 1/2 years this economy has caused tremendous stress on my man, he has his own business. He has still to recover. He has lost many clients and income. He may still lose his home which has been in the balance for 2 years. He has borrowed to pay bills. I met him before these tragedies and we were so close to a loving committed relationship and life was great. Then the “economy” happened and his clients could not afford his services. He drifts in and out of my life since. I have such strong feelings it is hard to move “forward” and away from him. I am angry at this “Obama economy” that hit my guy so that he distances from me because of his pride as a provider. So I give him his space and an awesome compatible relationship bites the dust with distance between us because the economy has eaten away at his pride and ability to pay his bills and consider any sort of a commitment with me, and we have such feelings about each other, but won’t happen till he feels like he can “provide”…

Reply February 24, 2013, 1:06 am

D Garcia

What I didn’t say is that I absolutely stand by this man. And I tell him I will. But it is so hard to watch him struggle and not know what to do to support him. And what to do when he distances himself like he has just recently. What do I do that is loving and supportive then??? How do I help???

Reply February 24, 2013, 1:16 am

Jen Smith

I’m amazed at how the economic downturn has affected everyday relationships. I have fallen for a fantastic guy who is in a financial “perfect storm”: lost job paying $400K at age 47, trouble finding a new job for a year, finds new job paying $100K (which he hates) and now must rent his million dollar home, sell his boat, try to find a new, smaller apartment, get rid of many of his things, and is looking for a new job. We had the best time until one day he accused me (semi-jokingly) of having his balls in my handbag after he made me breakfast one morning. He said he felt emasculated by making me pancakes! The very next day I saw him, and he was a completely different person. All the fun and smiles were gone, and things have not been the same since (6 weeks now). He invited me to his boat 2 weeks ago and spent the whole time discussing the new unsavory job and the job search with little emotion. I so wish there was something I could do to help — he is so fantastic. After reading this post, I think I now realize what’s going on, and that it wasn’t me. I am moving on, but do continue to hope that things improve and that he might come back to me one day.

Reply July 10, 2011, 6:36 pm

D Garcia

A whole lifetime has probably passed since your posting, but I feel the same. My guy was making over 200,000 when I met him in 2009 in his own business. By 2010 his business took a sudden turn and he lost clients. Obama economy hit him and his clients. He was able to hang on for a while but the last 2 years he could not. We were developing a wonderful relationship and then then economy tanked. But I can relate to your post. The smiles are gone, the frequent phone calls are gone. So how do we help and support these men? We gals really need to know, this is not a unique situation. How do women support their men in times of work/economic stress???

Reply February 24, 2013, 1:28 am

Laurin

Please write the column on relationship limbo. Is it the same for guys or usually just a girl problem?

Reply March 18, 2011, 7:43 pm

Aj

Not until he gets on his feet. On his own. Leave the door open and move on.

Reply October 26, 2010, 11:51 am

diane32

Hi Jasmin,

I can very well relate to you…the job hunting, and all sorts of financial assistance just to help him get through those difficult times.
He has unstable work, and last month, just before losing his job, he broke up with me.
I told him ill be giving him space, since that is what he wanted in the first place.
We had limited contact ever since, and when we talk, he updates me about his job hunting ventures. I can see his restlessness to make himself better, but his coldness and uncaring ways pushes me away from him all the more.

For Eric,

Just last week, he expressed his intention to start a small business with me–with me funding it. He on the other hand will manage the business. But with the current state of mind, i am not sure if this will work.
if i say yes, i would be wishing the partnership would rekindle the relationship. but what if its only friendship that my ex wants? I was full of bitterness when he offered this and told him that i could easily get another partner for the business venture without enduring the emotional pain i could experience when he goes to depression again. as of this time, we are civil with each other. but we grow farther emotionally as day passes.

is there a way to salvage this relationship? im still hopeful but unsure.

advise please??

Reply October 26, 2010, 11:09 am

AJ

At this time in his life what matters to him his self worth/job /financiaL situation. The # 1 fear that most men have is failure/ performance /life related. For women it is lost of love/relationships. The feelings you have about this relationship ending are identical to how he feels about his job/financial situation. I know you want to help, but men prefer to solve things on their own. Many of them shut down during the process. His actions are not so much a reflection of how he feels about you but more about how he feels about his situation. Don’t take it personal but realize that this may not be a good time to enter into a realtionship. Give him space and don’t wait around. I t may hurt but who knows what the future holds.

Reply October 13, 2010, 1:07 am

JJJ

Jasmine, as Eric and Paul McCartney have said, LET IT BE. Love yourself, don’t take the easy road, YOU are worth the effort. Your love will be returned when the right person reflects your light. What do you need, what do you want? As women, we have the capacity to be smart, articulate, thoughtful, loving, giving, and DEMANDING. Do what’s is uncomfortable for you: Tell him what you require from a man then, GO YOUR OWN WAY GIRL! xo

Reply October 13, 2010, 12:40 am

Jasmine

Thank you ladies! JJJ, you are very right, it is easy to give and give and put the other person first. I guess you could say I’ve been in denial. I think that the more I help him, the more attention he’ll give me. But like AJ said, I help emasculates him. I know he can feel that I care for him. I’m starting to take a step back. I haven’t heard from him in a week. I am sooooo tempted to contact him, but I guess I should wait for him to contact me… Right?

Reply October 12, 2010, 11:57 pm

JJJ

Jasmine, obviously you are a very sweet and caring person but, this is EXACTLY the type of situation I’m trying to avoid! It’s so easy to give and give and put the other person first but, you are worth being first in your own life. Take care of YOU!

Reply October 12, 2010, 1:23 pm

Aj

Jasmine,
You need to leave him alone, give him space and let him solve his problem on his own. Your offers are emasculating him.

Reply October 12, 2010, 1:13 pm

Jasmine

Hi Eric

I’m in a somewhat similar situation. I’ve been seeing/dating this guy for the pass 7 months. Things were great in the beginning, we would always go out on dates, talk on the phone. In the 2nd or 3rd month of seeing him, he lost his job. He was really upset about this because he has never not had a job before. He’s been having problems finding a new job, and he did not get unemployment because he applied too late. So right now he has zero income.
Even after losing his job we were still good. It wasn’t until August when we had a talk about “us” that things starting dying down. He told me that he cannot make me his official gf because of the situation he’s currently in. He doesn’t have money, doesn’t have a job, and has so many bills to pay for. He doesn’t want to make a promise to me that he cannot keep. Right now his top priority is finding a job and not a relationship. I told him I completely understand, and that I’m here for him if he needs my help. I told him I want to continue seeing him because I like him a lot. We are not exclusive, so if I want I could see other people. I am a pretty loyal person, so right now I don’t think I could see other people.
We don’t talk or text as much as we used to. When we hang out, it’s mostly at my apartment; we’d watch TV or a movie etc… We rarely go out and this sort of bothers me. I get a lot of coupons and gift certificates at work, for restaurants and movies (which is good because it saves money). Sometimes I’ll ask if he could go out with me and we’ll use the certificates. And most of the time he says maybe… then he says he can’t.
I try my best to help him with job hunting as best as I could. His computer is currently down, so he can’t go online. I’ll go online when I have time and try to find something good, if I see something, then I’ll text it to him. If he’s interested I’ll apply for him.
Just last week, I found a job that was good pay, and I thought he would be interested in, so I text it to him. He never responded. I waited a few hours and then text him and asked if he was interested. He said he wasn’t crazy about it. So I said “ok.” I asked him to dinner, and said that we’ll use my gift certificate… he said “maybe.” Then the night before dinner, I still didn’t get a yes or no response from him, so I called him, no answer, text him, no response until a few hrs later saying he couldn’t make it to dinner. I was a bit frustrated because I feel rejected… so I just replied “ok” and haven’t heard from him since… it’s been about 6 days…
Do you have any advice as to what is wrong? Am I helping him too much?

Reply October 12, 2010, 12:11 pm

Aj

I agree that it is probably best not to remain in limbo, but it would depend on the situation. If a person treated you badly or couldn’t commit, that’s one thing. But if you fell in love with someone and then a situation occurs outside of their control and up to that pount things were great and you have to split. Having feelings remain is not such a bad thing. I may be a bit older then most, but I have seen many happy marriages of people who split and then got back together months later. The circumstances of the split was not necessary a bad situation. It could have been relocation or job related. The time apart made them realize that they were better together. I think it is important for that clean split, no hard feelings, or fights.

Reply October 11, 2010, 4:55 pm

Aj

I agree that it is probably best not to remain in limbo, but it would depend on the situation. If a person treated you badly or couldn’t commit, that’s one thing. But if you fell in love with someone an then a situation occurs outside of their control and up to that pount things were great and you have to split. Having feelings remain in not such a bad thing. I may be a bit older then most, but I have seen many happy marriages of people who split and then got back together months later. The circumstances of the split was not necessary a bad situation. It could have been relocation or job related. The time apart made them realize that they where better together. I think it is important for that clean split, no hard feelings, or fights.

Reply October 11, 2010, 4:54 pm

Eric Charles

Hey aj,
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There’s a very specific reason I said, “Don’t look back…” Maybe I should write an article on it. :)
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There’s something I like to call “relationship limbo”, where a girl will break up with a guy but not really break up with him in her heart.
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She may not see him or talk to him, but she still stalks his Facebook. She still wonders about him. Hell, she may even start seeing other people.
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But secretly, deep down, she is just hoping and praying that he’ll come back a changed man. She hopes that one day after he’s solved his problems, he’ll ride up on a giant steed, lift her on and that they’ll ride off together into the sunset.
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As a result, she never really lets go of the relationship even after the breakup. There’s still a part of her holding on – and so the door is never really open for something new.
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The now-ex-boyfriend can feel it. She knows it in her heart too. But nobody wants to admit it and everyone remains in “relationship limbo” where there’s no relationship but no possibility of moving on either.
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That’s why I phrased it how I did. It’s possible something could happen in the future, but I can guarantee it won’t be a good reunion unless there’s a complete, 100% split first.

Reply October 10, 2010, 1:31 pm

aj

Eric,
You are so on point. I had a similar situation but after 4 months he suggested we part . At first I wanted to wait it out but later I realized that waiting was not a good idea . He was a great guy before his financial problems. One thing I would disagree with is the don’t look back comment. I left the door open for my ex. Although I am going on and dating others, at some point in the future if and when he resolves his situation, if he contacted me and wanted to date and I was single, I would definitely go for it!!

Reply October 9, 2010, 7:55 pm

Eric Charles

It sounds like the guy has problems that are so massive and overbearing in his mind that the relationship is unlikely to become a priority.
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Tough position because if you stay and tolerate it, then that sets the standard of what you find acceptable and people tend to put in as little effort as they feel they can get away with in relationships.
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At the same time, he probably is ashamed of his life situation and does not intentionally want to take you for granted. It would be useful to realize that he doesn’t mean to be like this toward you. In fact, he probably doesn’t even feel he can have a good relationship in his current state.
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If you wait for things to improve, you might be waiting a long, long time. In fact, I have had situations in my life where I was caught up in my own crap and the relationship I was in just made it tougher to handle my issue – instead of having space to figure it out I felt like I had an additional pressure on me.
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In my column, I typically refrain from giving “dump him” or “keep him” suggestions. I have several reasons for it, but the biggest one is that women typically know in their heart what they really want to do, but they have mixed emotions on top of what they know to be right in the moment for them.
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If your heart is saying to stay, then stay and stay fully. Occupy yourself so if he blows you off you can easily do something else without being disappointed. Give him space to figure out his stuff and commit 100% to being OK with your decision to stay.
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If your heart is saying to go, then go and don’t look back. Say you wish him the best, you think he’s a good guy but the timing is bad and you know he needs space so he can feel good and stable again.
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Either way, have a bottom line for yourself of what you need to stay and whether or not he meets it NOW. People get caught up in the “what could be” side of things. If there’s no sign of things improving quickly and completely, then you have to ask yourself if things as they are now are worth staying for…
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Good luck.

Reply October 9, 2010, 2:08 pm

JJJ

I have to add to my original question. Tonight was the second time (in the past two weeks) that this man has cancelled our plans (made in advance) at the last minute. Tonight, his excuse was that he was too stressed about his financial issues and he asked if we could go out tomorrow. I want to give the guy a break, I know his problems are far more pressing than dinner w/ me but, being cancelled on at the last minute is a hot button w/ me to say the least.

I want to look at the bottom line of this issue now because we are only ‘dating’ at this point. I’m interested in developing a serious relationship (with the right person) and I want to avoid falling into the trap of being taken for granted by someone who isn’t willing to, or incapable of, putting in a sincere effort.

What’s your take Eric? I’ve dated guys w/ money and w/out but, my intent now is to break bad relationship habits and not let myself be treated poorly regardless of the excuse.

Reply October 9, 2010, 1:05 am

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