Views please – Man in late forties financially dependent on parents

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Angel 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #794604 Reply


    Hi everyone, I need some collective wisdom please. I am a 40 yo single mum and been seeing a guy in his late forties for about a year now. About 4 months into dating I discovered that he is financially reliant on his parents. We met online and what his profile said was that he ‘owns a business’ (which led me to believe he is self-employed / self sustained). It turned out though that his business is pretty much non-existent as it had fallen into neglect due to some health issues he had in the past. He is now trying to get a new business venture off the ground which will take time (may even take years before it can sustain him). In the meantime he lives off his parents (his family is upper middle class so he can comfortably continue doing so). I was first shocked to learn this and we had several conversations on the topic and we do not seem to get on the same page on this. He feels there is nothing wrong for his family to ‘float him for a while’ (as he put it). For me, with a job and commitments I already have (mortgage, my son, my mother who I also support financially) I do not see how this can work out long term, in the sense him sharing family care or children responsibilities (he says he wants kids). I feel as though all the practical problems will be for me to sort out while he is ‘trying’ to get the business going. He has no savings of his own, no pension, and has some debt. We get on very well intellectually and he is easy-going, gentle, and accepting which is what I appreciate about him. But I just feel that there must be something fundamentally ‘off’ with his approach to personal responsibility – immaturity of sorts? He is divorced with no kids so not like he has vast commitments towards other people. Am I missing something here? Thanks x

    #794605 Reply


    If you talk about kids, ask him how he plans to support them.

    #794608 Reply


    The term for this situation is “failure to launch.”

    What’s the question? Because your own wisdom is more than adequate here. You’re right, you will wind up carrying the responsibility for the family, in all senses. You and he have very different value systems and again you’re right, this will not work out in the long term going on how you describe yourself and him and the circumstances. I’m guessing you’ve been with him for a year because he’s a decent guy and treats you well, but that’s not going to be enough, particularly at your ages. He won’t change.

    Have you met his family at all? In some cases families are OK with supporting their kids like this. Does he have a trust fund?

    I’d gently end this sooner rather than later so you can move on to someone who is right for you.

    #794610 Reply


    Thank you K and Tallspicy. So question is – is the fact that a man in his late forties is not self sustaining a red flag? I have never dated entrepreneurs in the ‘start up phase’. So in a way I do not want to rule him out seemingly for reasons to do with his finances. But it goes deeper than this. My prior experience has either been professional guys or self employed, in all cases at least self sustaining. I dated guys who earned less than me who would refuse that I pick up the check out of pride – this is a mindset much closer to my values than feeling OK to take from other people just because it’s available. I am not after money per se, it is just a reflection of what standards the person has for themselves. I haven’t met his family in person, although from all the descriptions I understand it is a ‘normal’ kind, and financially comfortable family which, as K says, may be OK supporting their adult son way into his adulthood. I haven’t discussed with him his family’s views on him having kids. Am I right in assuming I should just discount his ‘attempts’ to get the business off the ground – per common wisdom, we should choose based on the current situation and not based on projections and plans. And yes, he is a kind hearted guy and treats me well. He is just not a very practical / pragmatic guy from the looks of it. I just feel I will soon get too much of the dreamer side of his and of having to think about the day to day, financial security etc. So leaning towards ending things here…

    #794611 Reply


    Unless you want to support a 40 year old man who currently lives off of his parents…

    #794614 Reply


    @Angel, it sounds from what you’ve said like he’s just dabbling in being an entrepreneur and the likelihood of this business being profitable isn’t high. Sounds like he lacks direction and at his age that’s a major red flag. He just doesn’t have the drive or the skills or ambition to be able to support himself, much less a wife and a family. God help him if his family cuts him off. You don’t want to be his only source of support. Money isn’t everything and you don’t want to judge a man solely on money. But you are right to be concerned in this case.

    #794773 Reply


    Thank you so much everyone for your support and input. I just wanted to provide an update – we had another talk re kids and how he plans to support them. He said that he ‘is not against kids per se’ and that his mother and sister (who is very successful) would be ‘over the moon’ to have a grandkid / nephew / niece in their life and to provide support for the kid as well, while he is getting the business off the ground which ‘would take a few months’.
    Lots of posters on this forum talk about setting standards and boundaries…I honestly never thought one of the standards I would need would be self-sufficiency. The idea of getting involved in a) monitoring whether the business is getting off the ground or not and b) negotiating with his family through him over what we need and family finances sounds pretty heavy. Thanks to K and some googling I discovered the ‘failure to launch’ concept which is pretty eye opening!! Thank you everyone again x

    #794774 Reply


    So you were the one pushing for kids? I assumed it was him in your first post. I dont understand how you can engage with a man a year long and now suddenly ridicule him like this. He has been like this all along. I understand this is not your man if you feel like it. But if you are the one pushing for kids and suddenly waking up, i think you had big blindfolds on as well here.

    #794775 Reply


    I want kids and stated this quite early on so this has been in the open between us already. I initiated this last talk after discussing on this forum and also with friends who have been suggesting I may be wasting my time and that I need to get clarity on his plans on supporting a family if this is what I want.

    I can agree to the ‘big blindfolds’ point for me though since I have stuck around for a year hoping to see an evolution with the business ventures coming along and him becoming financially independent. Honestly, I am just very confused with his mindset on why it’s ok to talk kids with me while not being self sustaining and referring to family support.

    #794798 Reply


    Besides the mooching he also doesnt sound like a guy who wants kids if he frames it as: im not against it per se. That to me looks like a bigger problem than the mooching.

    #794804 Reply


    I would RUN. I am a very independent woman, like yourself, and could not be with a “dreamer” or someone who, especially at that age, who doesn’t have their financial act together. I understand people suffer occasional hardships due to unexpected circumstances, like health issues, economy going south, etc. but they should, at a minimum, be doing everything in their power to get back on track as quickly as possible, not just flit around hoping some money tree magically falls in their lap.

    I own a business, and it consumes a lot of your time, over 90 hours a week for a good 2 to 3 years, IF you really want to be successful at it. After five years you MAY finally begin to enjoy the fruits of all your labor, IF you are successful enough to hire good employees to help take the load off. If not, then you need to have the passion, and drive, to get it done on your own if you want to make a decent living, and nice profit when you sell it down the road.

    It sounds like he likes the “idea” of being his own boss but doesn’t have the passion, drive or ambition to actually be successful at it since he has a family to lean on ( his back up failure plan). What did he do in his 20’s, 30’s, and early 40’s? How many “ventures” like this has he attempted before? Was he ever highly successful at anything? This is the whole part of digging down, asking these types of questions while your dating in the early phase, to determine if they are a good or bad bet for the long-term.

    #794819 Reply


    Thanks Lane. So he had started as an employee in his 20s and then, not liking a boss/structure and preferring to be his own boss, started his own business in early 30s, when he first got married. According to him, his wife never had to work, and they bought a house, then sold it and bought a bigger one etc. So far so good. Then in early 40s, he had health problems which led to the first business collapsing and his wife left him around the same time. House was sold to fund divorce and also fund an EMBA which was part of his earlier plans – so no property/money left as a result. Then, EMBA done and health issues sorted, rather than working to revive the old business and as you say, do whatever possible to get back on track independently, he chose to follow this ‘new business idea’ and hence allowed himself to be ‘temporarily supported’ by his comfortable family. They also support the ex-wife btw who is still not working (sorry! it sounds really bad…) Although I am not a business owner, I am a professional educated woman and see around me how businesses are run and what it takes. It took me a while to unravel all this, and tbh I had maybe naive hopes to wait for his plans to progress and become more concrete. It’s not that he does nothing…he does ‘something’. It apparently progresses but who knows if and when it will work out. As you say, my gut feel says at least 2 more years IF he works his b*tt off. It’s just getting quite exhausting for me to keep this internal debate on whether I trust his business acumen or not, if it will work out or not etc. I have my sh*t together so why would not he. I also had these rose blinds on thinking that if we get on as people it can go a long way and he can be this nurturing and kind force, supporting me emotionally etc. But I agree with all the posters that while the guy may not be a super alpha male type of career guy and earn less than the woman etc, it turns out that self sufficiency at a basic level must be the minimum. I just feel stupid as seem to have trusted some kind of ‘damage case’ where by mid life there is hardly anything accumulated but more lost or destroyed…. Big sigh.

    #795027 Reply


    I’m sorry it didn’t pan out like you hoped. This is the one area I pay major attention to, whereas if I don’t see an immediate, or any significant progress when these types of events occur, its a major RED FLAG that I’m not will to ignore regardless of *good* or well they treat me.

    We all wear rosy glasses, especially when the heart is involved, as we really do want it to work out the way we envision it. Nothing wrong with a *little* patience (few months) BUT you have to see the picture developing, taking shape, and form (significant progress) to know what type if picture you’re going to actually get. Remember, dreams can be nightmares too, whereas if its looking more like a nightmare, then that’s a good indication of what you’re relationship will look like down the road.

    Listen, you gave him the benefit of the doubt, and he’s clearly shown you he doesn’t have the stamina, drive or urgency to dig himself out of his financial mess at this time in his life. If anything, he’s SHOWN YOU a very *clear picture* of what your future will look like if you stay with him. You now know there’s a VERY HIGH LIKELIHOOD (“risk”) you will end up supporting him the moment the next “crisis” (health, financial, etc.) hits, as he simply doesn’t *see* (envision) the need or urgency to get himself back on track because he has a safety (family or you) propping him up, and will milk it until the teat runs dry. All he’s doing is “pre-spending” his inheritance on not only himself but ex-wife too—chew on that for a bit.

    I would RUN, not walk.

    #795086 Reply


    @Angel… you’re never going to understand him so just let that ship sail. YOu’re trying to overlay your life paradigm onto his, which is entirely different. YOu’re into working and being self-supporting; he’s fine with his family taking care of him. AND they support his ex? And he didn’t have kids with her? YIKES. Why, if they sold the house and all the assets are gone from the marriage?? Who got all that money and where it go?? Or did he spend it?? Big red flags and disconnects in his story all over the place. I”m wondering exactly how successful that first business really was. Men who create one successful business don’t go out and do an EMBA and then roll over and let their family take care of them and let their ex sponge off his family too. It could take years for this new business to succeed, if it ever does. And in the meantime, he’s approaching his 50s fast. And what if he has “health problems” again??

    This sounds like a big mess that doesn’t jibe with your values and lifestyle at all. You definitely do not want kids with him… he doesn’t sound keen and they aren’t toys for his sister and mother to play with. Take off those rose glasses and cut him loose. Plenty of men out there who are self-supporting and would be enthusiastic about having a child with you, not lukewarm “I wouldn’t mind.” This guy is too much of a soft beta male mama’s boy type for you to be happy with him long term.

    #795097 Reply


    I agree, K and Lane. The EMBA school name is a solid one, so I initially was blindsided by this credential. His view is that I should trust his past track record and after one of these difficult discussions on this topic with him he gathered friends’ advice on what’s reasonable to expect from a girlfriend (me) in his case and his friends apparently told him the girlfriend ‘has’ to trust his past track record and the past achievements and the MBA enough to get comfortable, despite his lack of financial self sufficiency as it is only temporary (according to him). I have been ‘eating’ these theories for a while. However, I do agree with you that a serious man would not go about life squandering his time, resources and health like this. At a minimum, after divorce, health problems and MBA I would get back to the old business as this seems to have been his past source of income. Then if he has a brilliant new business idea – mooonlight initially while putting effort into getting financially stable again. The ex wife story is indeed incredible – she seems to get on very well with all of them, facebook friends with family, visiting them etc while continuing to live off them. And him being the beta type softie – which initially for an independent woman like me seemed a good combination (I dated alpha guys too and we all know the shadow sides of those ones..) but here I do agree that there is too much of the softness and lots of red flags. I think I’ll be back at the dating scene soon enough …;).

    #795126 Reply


    Now he has to get a group opinion about his relationship with you, and told you what they said you should do??

    And his family supports his ex-wife so she doesn’t have to work and they’re all best buddies????

    Oh NO. Bye-bye. You can do much better than this.

    #795162 Reply


    Oh, K! That made me chuckle… yes. I think it is a ‘go love yourself better’ type of situation – has been my issue for a bit. I broke up earlier today btw – it feels liberating! Thanks all x

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