Monday, January 25, 2016



I'm in my first serious relationship.  My boyfriend is a musician.  He is talented, plays several instruments, recorded with a band, and has production credits.  He works hard and is always on call.  His income goes from low, so he drives for Uber, to high, and then he invests in a lot of equipment, studio rehearsal time, and other career oriented costs, leaving very little money for dates.

I make $25,000 a year which is tough to be renting my own apartment. 

I reassessed my relationship as you suggest in your blog here.

I realized that in 2015 I shopped, cooked, served, and cleaned up after dinner for two about 25 times.  That was more time consuming than I realized.  I didn't even have the time to give myself facials or do my nails!

He shares a house with room mates.  We mostly hang out at my place.  I feel a burden in having to keep it up to his standards, with everything in its place.  I asked him to help me move furniture and he said he would, but he never got around to it.

In that time he asked me out for coffee or dinner a few times, but it took weeks before we actually went.  One time he told me to pick any restaurant and I did but he kept vetoing my ideas.

When it comes to going places, making plans, it seems to fall to me.

He also let me know in November that he thinks we are not seeing each other enough and would like to come over twice a week.  The idea exhausted me but I do want to keep seeing him.

I realize that dating is a try out for living together or getting married.  My friends say this is how it is when you're with a musician.  I know that I would probably have to do all the shopping, meal preparation, and housework if we were living together or married so I feel kind of guilty that I feel so put upon.  The main thing is that I want to go out on dates, get out of the  house, eat in restaurants instead of cooking so much.

Your opinion?

Molly,  Los Angeles

Hi Molly,

A first serious relationship often becomes important in a woman's life even when it doesn't last because it becomes a reference point, and since you are so involved with this man and thinking of living with him or marrying him, I get it that you don't want to break up with him. It's difficult to change the routine or his expectations though not impossible, but obviously you need a change.

Here's what gets me.  This man is getting the comfort and refuge of hanging out at your place with you and the pleasure of home cooked meals  WITHOUT COURTING YOU. You are not really playing house.  If you were you would have had some agreement on who pays for what... right?  It seems he expects you to cover the expenses as is.

Have you ever heard of the Bowerbird?  The male flies around the countryside with a keen eye for shiny and sparkly things like trinkets and bits and pieces of tinsel or other interesting and unusual little items and he builds a nest with a mud walkway to the entrance.  He puts all these things he found on display on the walk way and asks a female to come see and inspect and approve of the dwelling.  She's looking and her instinct is that any male who can find such things must be very good at being a provider, especially of worms for the hatchlings they will have some day.  She is honored that he did all this to prove to her that he is worth being her partner.  So she goes down the path and into the nest.

The Bowerbird COURTS his lady.

And so it has been for a long long time that a man has to prove he is READY, WILLING, and ABLE to be a woman's partner.  The first way to prove it is to PAY FOR DATES.

Here is the modern woman's situation.  It is still a man's world, even in the West, even in the First World.  Women may have made progress in general and there are a few standouts, but income inequality exists.  Women are also punished in the workplace for time off such as for child bearing and caring for their parents.  Our lower incomes mean less money to use for education, less money to pay into social security, down payments on housing, and retirement savings. Very few women have the traditional life of being retired permanently into marriage and motherhood.  Women are not only mothering but also income earners, single or married.  This means that if you are going to have a man in your life, and he has so many advantages as a man, he should be contributing at least fifty percent of your relationship costs.

Of course your musician's career expenditures make sense and maybe if he was consistently making more money he could take you out on the town more often, but he is not READY, WILLING, and ABLE at this time.

You KNOW you WANT to be COURTED.  You want a man to prove himself to you.  Wouldn't you be horrified if you found out that he is using some of his money to date someone else?

I can think of many examples in which a man who was serious about sharing his life with a partner made choices to do that.

For instance, one friend of mine who went through several long term "serious" relationships into his mid-thirties had been, since the age of 21, slowly paying off a 2 caret diamond ring which he felt would be good enough to give to "the one."  He knew all along that he didn't want to marry until he had that ring, and his business was making steady money.  He married a 19 year old when he was 35!  That ring was just the start of her jewels.

A woman friend of mine, after a secret affair in high school with the football hero, got involved with the poorest kid in her class, at that time the nerd.    He was serious about her and so he went to community college while working as a cashier at a grocer.  He eventually got a college degree in fire science.  He studied for the test and got 100%.  Today he makes over $100,000 a year and that's good because she's now a stay at home mom with several children!  During the entire time they were dating he managed to ask her out, pay for dates, pick her up in his car, and sometimes he even came over on the weekend to personally wash her car.

Another of my friends, a beautiful woman with a wealthy step-father, was often pursued by men who were so intent on marrying (her) money that she was asked rude and personal questions on first dates like, "What's in your stock portfolio?"  In order to let her Bowerbird find her, after many heartbreaks, we conspired to have her stop wearing her good jewelry and designer clothes when she was socializing to stop advertising her wealth, to begin to give answers, with a wink and a joke in her voice like "Tell you what, if you and I ever announce our engagement in the Times, you and daddy will have to sit down and talk."

So, Molly (and all you others out there who are feeling put upon), here are some easy ways to check that generous spirit.

If a man asks you to dinner and you agree, do not invite him anywhere until he follows through and takes you to dinner, even if weeks go by.  You should not have to remind him or coax him.  With this you are finding out if he is GOOD FOR HIS WORD.

Don't make up for not seeing a person in person by having long phone call "visits" or providing informational texts, selfies, or sending interesting links to let them know you're still around and interested.

To get out of the routine of providing home meals when you want to go out, say "I've been so busy that the idea of shopping, cooking, and cleaning the kitchen afterwards tires me out.  Let's go out for coffee.  (Then give yourself that facial and do your nails.!)

Best Wishes, Molly!



No comments: