My boyfriend has an AA degree and a minimum wage job. I love him, but it's not the type of life I want for myself & a family. What should I do?

I’ve been dating this guy for almost a year and have been thinking about our relationship in the long term.

I’ve always been supported and encouraged by my parents to work hard, get an education, and achieve my dreams. My parents are part of the true middle class. We’re not wealthy BY FAR, but we’ve always been able to afford nice things and live a stable lifestyle. I would like myself and my future family to grow up in a similar environment. I’m 18 and plan on getting at least a master’s degree. I'm a very goal-oriented and motivated person.

My boyfriend is wonderful, but our future worries me. He’s almost 22 and only has his AA degree. He’s been out of school for the past couple of years and been working a minimum wage job. He had a hard life growing up and has no family members to help him out and his mom always asks him for money for medicine. He isn’t in debt and has all the essentials, but he basically lives paycheck to paycheck. He doesn’t have a car because he wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance. I think he would ideally like to go back to school some time so he can get a higher paying job, but it seems like this goal keeps getting pushed back farther and farther. He also doesn’t have any real goals for the future and is happy with living in the moment.

I love him a lot, but I don’t know what to do. Is this something that I’m supposed to wait out and hope it improves? Or is this even something to end our relationship over? I haven’t had to struggle financially and I don’t want my future family to. I see this going one of two ways: One, we break up eventually because he can’t help provide for the type of life I want us & future family to have. Two, I stay with him out of love though we will live a less privileged life. What would you do?

Updates:
Thank you all so much for your answers! I didn't expect everyone to be this nice and understanding. You've given me a lot to think about.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • You should do what's in your rational self-interest. Considering you've been with him for a year and you say he's "wonderful", I would say the best thing to do would be to try at least for a little while to motivate him. You just have to be open with him. Say that you want to help him to make the best of his life.

    But, make sure you base your advice on reality. One thing's certain: waiting around and hoping for the best would not work. Also, a degree is not what it used to be. I know many people who have degrees but are working shitty jobs. Is he intelligent? What subjects is he interested in? What is he actually good at? Could he get a good grade in a good subject from a good university?

    At the same time, having no debt at age 22? As I've indicated, it could be worse!

    You said he had no family members to help him out, and yet he's giving money to his mother. What's that about? Is she parasiting off him? Or is she a genuinely good mother whom it is in his interest to support? If she's a bad mother, then he should stop supporting her. That would instantly free up some money.

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What Guys Said 4

  • Eh this is a difficult question to answer. One could argue love transcends time and space and should've be influenced by something as petty as money. Another could argue that if you did marry him you would live an unhappy marriage plagued with financial issues that could ruin your love you had for each other. In the end your life is your own and if you don't see a pleasant future with him then move on. Sorry for the vague answer but this question can only be answered by you.

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    • Haha well thank you for your response anyways. It was nice seeing both sides being played out.

  • Start working and have your own stuff as well.

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    • I plan to. That's not really the problem :/

  • sounds tough... guys have it really hard. They are expected to be bread winners even though women have equal opportunity... Not everyone can be successful. There just isn't that many resources for everyone

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    • Hmm, maybe I didn't word it well enough. I don't necessarily intend for him to be the breadwinner of the family, but I would like it to be equal somewhat equal between us. You're right, not everyone can be successful. But there are definitely certain steps that can be taken to ensure a higher rate of success.

      On a side note, women are not given complete equal opportunity and still make 77 cents (I believe) to every man's dollar even now.

    • But at the end of the day, no matter the amount of additional effort given by the whole, the number of people who can be considered successful would remain relatively the same. So there will always be couples that are not equal. Its not like communism where everyone must have the same wage no matter what. A large variety of combinations will be the outcome. Sure.. women make 77 percent what a man makes. But your boyfriend making less than you is part of the reason why women dont make 50 percent less than what a man makes. In all divorces men still pay 97 percent of all alimony. Since most households are not equal, and men usually contribute more financially. Nothing wrong with a female breadwinner every once in a while.

  • Well, I say stay with him if he makes you happy.. Its hard enough finding somebody loyal.

    Motivate him to change, if he doesn't have the family like you do.. Just imagine where you'd be if you didn't have the support of yours.

    if you have a good partner keep them, the money problems will work themselves out, because you need trust and love before money for anything to work out.

    and obviously if your to this point, maybe try sitting down with him and telling him how you feel.. Because he can't unknowingly change if he thinks you're as happy as he is.

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    • Thank you so much for your response. I really like the perspective you put in here. It's not so much the money that's the issue, it's more that I'm very motivated to succeed in the long term and he focuses more on the short term.

    • Np, if he takes you as serious as you take him in sure he might just need the motivation and support from you of all people, if you don't want to flat out tell him what you just told us then definitely start giving him the hints at least.

      Well and for the fact everybody as different levels of what they believe is being successful, that's why you might have to actually talk with him.. It all comes down to being how you were raised and brought up in my opinion. The real question is once he knows the curiousity you have for him, is he willing to at least try

What Girls Said 4

  • So you're only depending on him to give you the type of life you want? Why can't it be YOU who provides the type of life you want? while he straightens out and helps you out? ... If you're not happy, and this is something that really constantly bothers you, then I really doubt that what you feel is love, it's probably just a very strong like, but not love... When you love someone, you try harder... and if you stay with him, it will only get worse, and you're probably better off leaving him, and he will be devastated... I on the contrary would rather be limited to things for some time, but being with the person I love... and I wouldn't care if I was the only one making the money... My father worked hard, and didn't want my mom to work so she stopped working even before they had any of us.. we are a big family and he gave us a VERY good wealthy life, all by himself! We had everything!!! and more... So why can't a girl do that for a family as well? Sure the ideal is for both to work together to bring up a good living, but if the circumstances are that he's seeing a hard time and soooo many countless men do it all by themselves, why can't a woman do it?

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    • No I'm not only depending on him haha. Like you said, I would ideally like for us both to contribute somewhat equally, which is not always possible. It's not the gender roles that concern me, it's just that I would just like for him to be more ambitious and not settle for the type of life he has. Thanks for this perspective you put on this though!

    • Oftentimes men do feel insecure when the woman makes much more money. It's absurd but it's true. Also you talk about your father being the provider whilst your mother took care of you and your siblings. See how this could be a problem when she wants to get kids and misses work for a certain time span?

  • Before u end things, encourage him to make small steps to better himself. Maybe he doesn't think he can do it, so he doesn't try. Maybe your encouragement can be what he needs to aim high.

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  • I honestly think you should talk about your future, meaning the one of you both. What's your vision and what is his. And if you agree on mostly the same lifestyle you should encourage him to go to school. If he doesn't realize he needs to go for a better education the nothing will ever change. You're onky 18 years and have college coming up for you. Things between you might change anyways

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    • Thank you for your response! I just don't want to scare him away by talking about such a long term thing. He would like to live a better lifestyle, but I think that the situation he lives in prevents him from looking too far into the future. Instead, he focuses on what he needs in the shorter term.

    • I get that but I think you should not be too afraid. Especially since his family doesn't seem to support him he should be thankful for someone who wants him to make the best out of his life. Plus either if it's with you or someone else later he should understand how important it is to provide and support your future children. Otherwise his kids will end up the same as him right now. It's a circle and he needs to break out of it. Don't push him to hard but a little guidance won't hurt.

    • What you said about the circle is so true. Thanks so much.

  • Money can't buy love :)

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