“You’re more valuable than a wife”

After several months of daily conversations and a few in-person dates, this out-of-state suitor shared his sentiment. I felt complimented, but at the same time quizzical.

I appreciated that he frequently sought and took my business counsel. But it made me think that he didn’t value a wife very highly. It stalled my desire to take our relationship to the next level. If it weren’t for my business acumen, would he respect me? Would he only engage my opinion if it were business related, and not about other aspects of our relationship?

So what would happen in the future when he retires and no longer needs a live-in savvy business advisor? What role would he relegate to his wife (possibly me)? Would she (I?) be consigned traditional roles of cooking, cleaning, household aesthetics and matrimonial duties? Would she/I be required to look good, keep up the house, but say nothing of consequence?

He said he is cautious about making more romantic advances as he’s afraid he’d lose me as his treasured advisor. Which is actually fine with me as I want a man who is looking for a full-fledged partner, not a mentor with benefits.

When my ex and I met, we were in the same profession but my career was much more established than his, despite him being 14 years older. He’d switched careers shortly before we met. Throughout our 20-year marriage, he’d ask my advice and rarely took it. I’d see him struggle with tasks that I could show him how to accomplish easily. But I learned to keep my mouth shut. In the end, he said that my competency in so many areas made him feel emasculated, even though he said I never rubbed it in his face.

So I am loathe to take on a romantic relationship again with someone who needs my business savvy. It could work to be in business together or help each other, but only if we were at the same level and we were adding our perspective and expertise to the other.

Have you felt that someone you were dating valued you more as an advisor and wanted romance? What did you find were the pros/cons?


To better understand what you want, get your copy of In Search of King Charming: Who Do I Want to Share My Throne?


4 responses to ““You’re more valuable than a wife””

  1. SB Avatar

    Yeah, I don’t date anyone in my field. My competitive urges would get the best of me if I were dating a guy who was more accomplished, better-known, farther up the totem pole, etc. etc. If I was dating someone who was less accomplished, less competent, I would have a hard time suppressing the idea that “oh gee, I don’t know why he can’t or doesn’t have these abilities, qualities, career-goals, etc….”

    “More valuable than a wife”? I’m really not quite sure what that’s supposed to mean, but I can’t imagine it means anything that would make me want to marry the guy! It seems to indicate some kind of compartmentalization between wife and [non-wife position X]. Marrying someone only to “lose” value? Hmm…

    I mean, to be honest, the only thing it says to me is “I want to let you know that I’m not prepared to marry you, but I place some sort of value on our relationship.”

    I’m not sure I really like how this guy views marriage.

  2. Cathy J Avatar

    Interesting one isn’t it? I have always wanted to be by my man’s side – especially in business – moving forward together for a common goal.

    However my most recent experience was so full of learnings – lol!

    What I thought were complimentary skills actually for a while was leading us into two opposing directions for the business.

    My current advice would be ideally to have a partner who is an equal, or more successful in some areas. Someone who is teachable and not rebellious, so when they ask for advice (yes, us not giving unsolicited advice), that they may even take it on board.

    I haven’t given up – just am more appreciative of other couples whose businesses are successful – usually they are in charge of a certain aspect eg accommodation with a restaurant – one looks after the accommodation while the other is in charge of the restaurant.

    Re someone admiring your business acumen – I have usually had that also and found it to be a double-edged sword also – however I also choose to acknowledge the Proverbs 31 women “She sees that her trading is profitable” and in this way she blesses herself and her husband!

  3. karen Avatar

    Oh yeah, DG, you were so right to dump this guy! His comment shows blatant mysogeny and reflexive disrepect for a romantic partner–bad news.

    Personally, I’ve married 2 men, and dated many men who are academics (as I am). All of them, without exception, and despite their original claims to the contrary, were eventually freaked out by my own career success and ultimately pissed off by the fact that I didn’t drop my own career to further help theirs. Of course we sometimes did work together and we always gave each other advice, but they all ended up being resentful that I didn’t specifically focus on their careers instead of my own. Yes, 100%!

    I’m dating a guy now who is wonderful except (like all the other men I’ve dated) I outrank him on the academic track. *sigh* I expect eventually it won’t work out. That ol’ male ego always rears it’s ugly head.

    I think that men are so invested with their egos in their careers that they can’t help it. So it dating and romance automatically sucks if you are an accomplished and smart woman.

  4. RJC Avatar

    Oh yes it’s very familiar. I was in a relationship with a younger man for some years, and often felt like I was some sort of guidance counsellor for his directionless career. At the time I wasn’t fussed as I was in it for the fun of being with a younger vibrant and to be totally honest GORGEOUS man who was smart, just not very worldly or experienced. Over time our feelings intensified – well I thought OUR feelings did, I know mine did and I feel deeply in love with him and wanted to make a future with him, although he was still busy working out his own present let alone opening up to planning a future. Then one day the light went on when during argument he said “I respect and admire you so much” – I was his mentor, his guide, his compass – not his love and his heart.
    That was it. It was over.