Given older women refuse to talk to me, I decided to have a couple conversations with two lovely, younger women about personal finances one night out of town. Nothing gets a woman going like a man who can talk about derivative investments!
Woman one – let’s call her Amanda – is in her mid 20s and is currently going through a quarter life crisis. She recently broke up with her boyfriend in Los Angeles and moved back to Miami to be closer to family and childhood friends. Amanda is currently unemployed, has less than $2,000 in savings, and has roughly $50,000 in credit card debt thanks to a lavish lifestyle she and her ex led for two years. She has a marketing job offer in Chicago from one of her male suitors, but she’s putting it on hold as she really wants to find something in Miami. Amanda comes from an upper middle class family who own multiple properties around the world. Despite her parent’s ability to financially support her, Amanda says she doesn’t want to rely on her parents for anything except for moral support.
Woman two – let’s call her Victoria – is in her early 30s. She’s a manager at a large consumer products company and pulls in a low six figure salary in San Francisco. Victoria can financially support herself and is currently dating a wealthy boyfriend. She has always been the studious type, graduating in just 3.5 years from a prestigious university. Her parents never spoiled her with much of anything because they come from a lower middle class background. In fact, Victoria regularly sends her parents money to help them instead. Victoria believes she’s found the one, although she’s frustrated her boyfriend has to travel so much for work. Her boyfriend is also relatively good looking with the ability to make anyone feel at ease, so she’s worried she won’t be able to hang on to him.
Amanda and Victoria are as different as can be. Amanda loves to dress in expensive clothes, drink, and party it up until 3am several days a week no problem. Victoria, on the other hand, is Target’s biggest fan and would much rather stay home and watch a good DVD while curled up on the sofa. Where Amanda enjoys being the center of attention where men buy her drinks, Victoria does not. Victoria would rather have a glass of wine and get into deeper conversation at a lounge with her friends. Both have no trouble attracting men thanks to their good looks and vibrant personalities. But both of them deep down would prefer to be done with the game of dating and find their rock.
So it was with great interest to hear how each would respond to the question:
“If you were broke, deep in debt, or unemployed, would you settle for a less than ideal partner you were not physically attracted to if they promised to take care of all your money problems?” I went on to describe, “The partner is a gentleman who you get along with just fine. You won’t have gut busting conversations where you cry for joy, but you’re able to sit in silence for half an hour to enjoy the scenery and also be able to talk to him for an hour non stop about life. ”
THE RESPONSES YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR (PARAPHRASED)
“If he’s willing to be my friend and take care of me, why not? I’m emotionally spent and not tied down to anybody right now. There’s nothing wrong with having a suga lova! There’s no way I can pay off all my credit card bills without some help. I also need to decide on a job quick and stop spending so much money. I don’t know what the future holds, but if a rich guy wants to come in my life and pay all my bills in exchange for some companionship, why not. We’re both adults here. I’ll still date other guys.”
This was the point where Amanda showed me some of the pictures of guys she’s been romantically involved with after her break up. I was surprised because none of them came close to matching her looks. But when I learned about their backgrounds, I understood completely. One guy is a Hollywood TV producer. Another guy is in tech sales and earns a six figure income. One comes from a super wealthy family with a trust fund. And another fella works at a big law firm.
Then there is this one guy I couldn’t quite figure out. He’s an average looking 40+ year old bartender who doesn’t seem to be wealthy, isn’t particularly stable, stalky, not particularly attractive, and constantly meets girls all the time due to the nature of his profession. But for some reason, Amanda is infatuated with him. The bartender is one of several guys she’s dating mind you. But by listening to the way Amanda talks about the bartender, I could tell he was number one. Love works in strange ways and more power to them.
“Are you freaking kidding me? There is no way I’m going to be intimate with some nasty guy just so he can solve all my money problems, which I wouldn’t have in the first place because I wouldn’t be so irresponsible!“
“Oh come on, it can’t be that bad! He might have a super hairy back and permanently sweaty gut folds, but what’s the big deal?” I egged Victoria on.
“BARF! I would rather move back in with my mom and live alone than be with someone less than ideal!” Victoria retorted.
“Really? There’s nothing worse than being alone and miserable during a time when you’re supposed to be full of love. Imagine him asking you to stay in his San Francisco penthouse for free while he hooked you up with a nice job thanks to all his connections?” I responded.
“No. No. NO! I would rather work in a diner for $8 an hour than depend on someone to live. Depending on someone for money is worse than being alone. I believe every woman can make it on her own. No woman should depend on a man for anything. No woman should ever settle! Besides, hello. I’ve got someone already.”
Fair enough. Victoria made her stance crystal clear and any more prodding would result in a slap in the face most likely. I just wonder if Victoria would take a softer stance if she was single.
TURNING THE QUESTION AROUND
It’s only fair that I answer my own question. So I told the ladies,
“If I was broke, in debt, or long-term unemployed, I’d absolutely take up a kind woman’s offer to help me out in exchange for being with her, especially if I’m alone. I fear what will happen if loneliness is combined with financial drudgery. I wouldn’t care how unattractive she was to an extent. My heart would be so grateful that someone was willing to extend a hand during my darkest time. To feel wanted is all of us ever really need. She would be an angel.”
Amanda appreciated my response, largely because she feels the same way. Victoria came around a little bit, but still stood her ground about not settling for another man. Victoria is lucky because she already has someone in her life for so long. Whereas with Amanda, although she has many suitors, none of them can fully fill her heart the same way her ex-boyfriend did for now.
Amanda is sort of stuck in limbo where she doesn’t feel much of anything for anybody, except for her bartender friend. She’s waiting for her heart to heal so someone can sweep her off her feet.
The other derivative question to think about is which woman would you choose to date or be in a long term, committed relationship. This will be a topic of a future post.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CONVERSATION
I know this post might seem a little far-fetched for some, but I think it’s important to talk about relationship issues because we’ll all experience some type of relationship turbulence at some point in our lives. Life is infinitely better when there’s someone to share experiences with. Being adept at relationships also drastically helps you in your career prospects.
Five takeaways from this conversation.
1) It’s hard to put ourselves in a different situation and come up with a rational answer. Victoria receives lots of love from her boyfriend and can’t fathom settling for someone less to help fix her money problems because she’s not single and she’s not broke. Amanda is broke and is happy to have as many suitors woo her as possible while she’s still going through heartbreak. Nobody can deny feeling good when someone wants to take care of you therefore she doesn’t see the problem with being with multiple men at one time. A good exercise is for all of us to reflect on a time when things were less than ideal in order to increase our understanding of the other side. It’s easy to forget our past struggles if we’ve been living a good life for an extended period of time.
2) It’s easier to engage in destructive behavior after a breakup. We hang on to anything and anyone who makes us feel special. 10 men are better than one man to fill Amanda’s void. It’s as if she’s trying to show what her ex is missing to potentially deleterious consequences. It’s probably best to slow down and stop dating altogether until she decide exactly what she wants. But only a professional or herself can make that decision. When we already have someone special, we feel dangerously invincible. We look at other people’s sad relationship situations and think it couldn’t happen to us. Bad things happen all the time and I don’t think we should take our relationships for granted even though it’s easy to do. We must actively work towards keep our relationships as fresh as the first year we met.
3) The lack of money gets in the way of relationships all the time. Amanda’s ex-boyfriend was always working late until the night, leaving little together time. Amanda was always working as well which compounded problems that led to outside relationships with co-workers by both sides. If they had money, neither would have to work so hard, or have to work at all. They wouldn’t have to fight about money, get into credit card debt, or worry about their future as much. Money provides so many more options for those with money and those who are looking to be someone with money. Sure there are plenty of people with money with enormous problems. But the lack of money and choices are not two of them.
4) Money makes dating much easier. If the men in Amanda’s life didn’t have so much money, there’s little chance in hell they’d be able to be with women who look like Amanda. Manhattan has shown me multiple times how having money makes you much more attractive to someone due to access, convenience, and the fact that everything is so expensive in Manhattan. Although the bartender Amanda is dating isn’t rich, he’s got the power to let anybody into his establishment where there are regularly lines around the block. For someone who loves to party, being able to walk right up to the bouncer to get in and drink for free is attractive. I don’t know many women who would say ‘no’ to a fully paid for week in the South of France do you?
5) “Another time, another place.” So much about having a good relationship is timing. The last thing I wanted was to be locked down in my 20s because of my strong desire to reach a certain level in my career. Only after age 30 did I change my mindset to wanting to settle down. Amanda admitted she’s in a weird place right now with lots going on. I could tell, and I’m sure every guy dating her can tell as well. As a result, no guy is going to be fully committed to wooing Amanda to make her their girl until Amanda gets her mind straight. If a guy is just going to be one of many, then he’ll have his fun and keep on looking. If Victoria was single when we had our conversation, she’d be exactly what every man is looking for: stable, independent and beautiful. Let’s hope her boyfriend recognizes how lucky he is before she’s gone.
Relationships are complicated. When money is involved, relationships can become harder to solve than a jumbled 5X5 Rubik’s cube. Despite the complexity, I don’t think we should stop trying to understand.
Readers, what would you do if you were broke, in debt, and unemployed and someone offered to take care of you in exchange for your companionship? How much does age and maturity have to do with the differences in both women’s attitudes? Have you ever come across an Amanda or a Victoria before? If so, how was your experience?