Appreciating *Who* He Is Over *What* He Is

A man may enter your life who does not hold the work title or financial status you are seeking. But he’s a good man. He is honest, has integrity, treats you respectfully, listens to you, and is accommodating to your desires.

The “what” is his profession. The “who” is his character, values and behavior.

This is difficult for many of us in midlife. We have a standard of living that may not be matched by a good man’s economic level. We may want to go abroad for vacations, take cruises, and/or frequent nice restaurants. While we don’t mind treating sometimes, we don’t want to foot the bill all the time. You can split the bill, of course, but what if he can’t even afford that? You can opt to go with friends who will pay their own way, but you’d rather be with a romantic partner who can pull his own weight.

Do you not date him because he can’t afford to be in your world? Some women would say yes. Others would say, “A good man is worth making some compromises for. I’ll cook at home for him, cut coupons for dinners out, and take turns treating.” Some men will appreciate your sensitivity to his financial situation. Others will feel emasculated that they can’t provide for you.

Can you accommodate this long-term? Are you hoping he’ll get a better job or his business gets more successful? Does he know he’s not economically viable to you? ? If you can’t see yourself involved in someone of a different economic situation, why get involved in the first place?

These are tough questions. The “who” is not likely to change much. A good man in midlife is likely to stay a good man. The “what” may change — for any of us. We can all have an economic set back. Some experienced that during and after a divorce, or the Great Recession, or a layoff and are still struggling to recover from financial losses. Shall we hold that against them?

Or maybe we’ve experienced economic losses and can’t buey someone else in difficulty.

I’ve faced these questions myself after dating a good man for over a year who was struggling financially. I never allowed myself to become as connected as I might have been if he were in a different situation. We drifted apart.

How have you dealt with a situation like this?

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