His Salary Too Small
Q: I have been seeing a girl that I am totally in love with. She has two boys that I also love deeply. I asked her to marry me and she said yes, but the next day she broke it off stating that I don't make enough money to support them. I understand her concern but I have been helping them out for two years now and it seemed that I was making enough money for her then. I'm 37 and I make over $50,000 a year. Should I give up on her? -- Frank
Dr. Susan: One of the things that troubles me about your situation, Frank, is that your girlfriend changed her mind about marrying you overnight. After knowing you for two years and accepting your help with her kids, you'd think she would know her own mind. But apparently she doesn't. It's possible she talked about her plans with a girlfriend who warned her that your salary wasn't "enough." How dreadfully old-fashioned. The reality is that it could be quite enough if the two of you decided to make a life together. Plenty of families get by on much less. Is she expecting you to support her totally, with no contribution from her, even when her sons get older?
While giving up on her is an option, it sounds like you care so much about her and her boys that you ought to try to get to the bottom of her concerns. Does she really think she's going to find a husband who makes more and also loves her as much as you do? Why does that matter so much to her? Is she really ready to let you go forever? Because you shouldn't waste your time hanging around if she doesn't love you enough to downsize her dreams of luxury a bit. Your values and hers just might be too far apart.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.