Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ask Evan: Why can't guys be in relationships until they feel financially secure?

Anonymous asks:

Dear Evan,
Why can't guys be in relationships until they feel financially secure and happy in their careers? Girls can make time for relationships no matter what is going on in our lives, but it seems that guys have to be in a very specific place.

Dear Anonymous,
I have great news. I know a barista, a Best Buy salesman, and a guy who I don't know what the hell he does that would LOVE to settle down with you as long as you don't mind paying most of the rent and for dinners and most everything else. They can move in tonight cuz their moms already boxed up their clothes.

Oh wait, you're looking for someone with a little more drive and direction? The older we get, those two qualities become more attractive to the female sex than abs and biceps. But just like muscles, too much can be a bad thing when it becomes your entire existence. Luckily, I wouldn't know anything about any of those four qualities, but I've seen it be the case.

Roles are less clearly defined today than Mad Men days, but that doesn't mean any man worth anything doesn't want to be able to provide for his (future) family. Sounds like these guys you're asking about are at jobs where it's not just 40 hrs a week and the rest of the time is yours. Some jobs, you have to put your head down for five or ten years before you can feel any security and make any money. Some jobs take it personally when they feel like they're not your first, second and fourth priority. Some jobs don't care if you told your girlfriend you'd go to a wedding on a Friday three months from now. And some jobs don't care if your arm's falling off and you'd like to swing by the emergency room on your lunch break.

"So what do you do?" This is the question men are judged by in our society, and probably throughout history. We love having a good answer to it and cringe when we know it's no good. Especially when it's your girlfriend's girlfriends asking. Especially because we know it was one of the first question's they asked when you told them about us.

Look, we know about your friend who had the most amaaaaazing wedding. We also heard your best frenemy's little comments at your other friend's wedding where they had a buffet and NO CHOCOLATE FONDUE FOUNTAIN. We know women want to have a great wedding, and a great house, and kids who are gonna get whatever they want/need, cuz that's the endgame, right?

When you're broke, it's embarrassing. I cancelled dates due to brokeness or didn't call a girl in the first place, because dinner and drinks was going to be just too much. Most men would love to pick up every check, buy every ticket, whisk you away on a beautiful vacation, and when we can't it hurts our pride, and deep down, we know it affects the way you see us. So sometimes, we run just to save face. All we can hope for is a girl who can look past those things and know we're doing our best.

But what I hear from your two sentence question isn't what to do with a broke dude, but a guy making like 40k, and trying to get to 200k. If he's into you, but legit on his work game, you can either wait these guys out until they "feel financially secure and happy in their careers," be supportive, take that alone time to work on being a better you, etc. Or move on.

Which may be the best move, because he may be blowing you off, anyway. (Almost forgot what site I'm writing for.) The "Things are just so crazy at work right now" excuse is the easiest one to pull off. It doesn't involve judgment, so there can only be so much arguing and hurt feelings. You have no idea what's going on at the office. Maybe it's that account he's been talking about. He DOES seem tired all the time. Well I guess there's no reason to look at anything I contributed to this breakup, jeez, men are just so caught up in their work!

If this is what we're actually talking about, then that's a whole other column. I'll probably say something like this in every column, but if a guy wants to be with you, he'll be with you. He'll call between meetings, swing by after work to have a quick dinner before crashing (not just for sex), and show he cares other ways. If a guy is working that hard, he should be DYING to spend a couple stress free moments with a girl he's crazy about. I hate to quote Sex and the City, but "He's just not that into you" tends to be amazing advice, and you should feel as liberated by it as Miranda did. (Shoot me) A blow off is a blow off, no matter what the reason, and it's better you think about what you did to cause it than waste time wondering why are all men such and such. Or that great wedding, house, and kids is gonna take longer than you thought.

11 comments:

  1. I was with you, Evan, up until that penultimate line. Please Please women: do not "think about what you did to cause it"! Yes, be objective, use the same arsenal of critical factories that you use in evaluating your man's behavior to also weigh your own. But do not default to Your Fault!! I think holding a neutral ground on the "fault" line is the only way to keep sane. We are each little universes unto ourselves, with our own internal evolution and life timing, let's learn from each other, but lose the blame and guilt over losing a relationship. Also! assuming that all women want a big wedding, big house, kids, is directly from the Mad Med ages. Give us credit for being as diverse and flexible in our desires as any person!

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    1. agreed! i think what evan is ultimately saying is there's blame/fault on both sides and that women shouldn't automatically put all the blame on a guy's job situation. i also think the reason guys still think women want big weddings, big houses, etc is cause there are still a lot of women out there who are vocal about making those things a priority. it's all their fault.

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    2. @First Responder- Sometimes When I Read Something, I Like To Go Back And Reread So I Am Sure I Understand What The Text Actually Said And I'm Not Just Inserting My Own Interpretation. (Forgive Inappropriate Caps)

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  2. Most women I know aren't looking for a guy with a lot of money as much as they want someone with ambition and drive or someone that's just passionate about something. Personally, I think it's a turn off when a guy just doesn't know what he wants to do with his life or is constantly changing his career tune or is just plain lazy and is above the age of 30. But what i've picked up on is if a guy's career or any portion of their life is up in the air or unsettled, they can't seem to focus well on their relationship. Women just seem to be more adaptable and better multi-taskers. Don't you think it's less about finances and more about how much a person can handle at one time, in their life?

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  3. Also, have girls gone overboard at all with the He's Just Not That Into You phenomenon? I was having an email exchange with 20LAWannbe about this recently. It seems like every misstep a guy takes we automatically go to the place of "he's just not that into me" where guys (and women) make mistakes in relationships all the time even when they're in love and committed to each other. Have you ever called/texted later than you probably should have with a girl you actually were into? Like the date Miranda goes on where she thinks the guy's not into her, but he just has diarrhea and needs to go home.

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    1. Guys are also sometimes oblivious to things. So if he's still pursuing you and he makes a mistake and doesn't text back right away but when he does makes a plan for an actual date, the fact that he didn't text back as quickly as we "think" he should doesn't mean He's Just Not That Into You. I think we all need to judge based on the majority of the person's actions and not think it's total love or a blowoff based on one thing they did or didn't do.

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    2. good point! i used to always tell my friends three major strikes and they're out-- i wonder now if that's too harsh?

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    3. You're the married one! If they are major, 3 is fine. Maybe like 6-9 minor ones?

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    4. Yeah, always factor in the fact that guys are oblivious, stupid, selfinvolved, and generally on different wavelengths. (Same goes for girls on all accounts, btw) It's your job to figure out the actual signs that he's not that into you. For instance, never calling or trying to see you or breaking up with you. Those would be not worth arguing.

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  4. As a guy who's offered this line of defense more than once in his single life, I'll weigh in. I do think it's a completely legitimate excuse for not getting into a big romantic commitment at the time. Forgive the generalization here (because I know there are plenty of exceptions), but we men define our identities through work more than women. Our careers are a measure of our level of purpose, our commitment to making the most of our potential and our lives. We are what we do, to a large degree. Yes, our friends, our feelings, our relationships, they count too, but if we don't feel like we have our personal thing together, a mission in progress that we can be proud of, it's hard for us to be there for someone else. And--another generalization--but we're expected to be providers more than women. We're expected to be rock solid, someone who can be leaned on, and someone who's going to foot more of the bill. In NYC, for example, if you're going to be dating a lot, that's a lot of dinners out, cabs & drink tabs you'll be expected to pay in the early stages. And a desirable guy usually has a career that's hard to come by. And a career that's hard to come by? (physician/ entrepreneur/ self-sufficient artist/ whatever) That takes a lot of devotion, both mentally and time-wise. So please be understanding of a guy who tells you it's not a good time for him to get involved. It might not be a smokescreen for lack of interest at all. When we don't love our lives, we can't love you. I think it's a matter of "you can't love someone else until you love yourself." Although with men, that can simply translate to their bank account balance. Stress if a very real thing for men. Don't underestimate its effects.

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    1. this is a great comment Mark, thanks for taking the time to write it! I actually can relate to this on some level because my ego is very much tied to my career, but maybe that's cause I'm not a mom yet and once I have kids, that will change. and you are right that it is a legitimate excuse-- but still an excuse right?

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