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,