Imagine being 31 and single, not by choice, but by circumstance. You've gone through several bad relationships and looked back asking yourself what were you thinking.
There was this one guy you dated who was secretly married – no wonder why you could never go over. Then there was this other person who after two years still wouldn't commit.
You were sick of waiting around, so you left him, your job, and the city where you both resided to live closer to your parents.
With pressure from your parents and a desire to start a family, you try the internet to find a match. After going on several unsuccessful dates, you finally find this guy with a wonderful resume – a law degree, a $250,000 a year job, a close family, and a good group of friends.
At 37, he wants to start a family too. There's only one problem. You're not physically attracted to him. Instead, he feels more like a brother than a lover.
After a year of dating, he finally asks you to marry him. What do you do? You value quality of life and emotional security the most. Sexual chemistry has only failed in the past.
Such is the situation of a FS reader named Mary Jane. She has until the summer when she officially becomes Mrs. MJ.
MARRY THE RESUME OR THE SOUL MATE?
MJ has never met a guy as stable as him. He also has the perfect resume. Every other guy MJ has dated was less accomplished with a lower level of education and financial wealth. After all, less than 5% of households make over $200,000 a year and less than 10% of Americans have a Master's degree.
If MJ marries him, she'll live a comfortable life, especially when she adds her $120,000 income to his salary. Some might think what's wrong with living a fabulous single life with her income until the perfect guy comes along. Sadly, when one bedroom condos rent for $3,000+ and the median single family home in the Bay Area is 10X higher than her income, life is OK, but not fabulous.
MJ is a realist. She realizes most marriages don't maintain their physical intimacy level over time, so what's the big deal if she isn't physically attracted to him to start? There's only upside! She cherishes friendship and companionship more than anything else.
At the age of 31, MJ also worries her pool of suitors is shrinking because she only wants to date older guys who are more accomplished. As we've learned in the Golden Cross Of Love, she is exactly right.
Some believe life is too short to marry someone with no chemistry. Why not just be friends? 31 isn't that old by any means, especially from the perspective of us older folks.
But what if he's as good as it gets? What if a guy of this quality never asks her to marry him again? She's already gone through multiple horrible relationships. She doesn't want to be alone and she loves attention.
Being with a financially stable person who treats you well isn't the end of the world, even if everything he does agitates you. There are many cultures where arranged marriages are the norm. “You may not at first love your arrangement, but you'll grow to love him or her over time,” one of my Indian friends said.
Should MJ marry the resume and live a financially secure life with a lack of chemistry? Or, should MJ continue to wait things out until she finds the perfect man who turns her on and has the financial requirements she expects? $200,000 a year or greater income, the ability to buy a $1.5M or greater home in the San Francisco Bay Area, a good family background, a professional degree, physically fit, 5′ 10″ or taller, and can always give her the love and attention she needs?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below and take the poll.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
I'm guessing most of you will be romantic idealists and choose to stay single rather than marry someone with a great resume, but with no chemistry. Being practical is so boring. Why not just go for “the one” or nothing, right? Fair enough.
But guess who are the dreamers? Young people who've never been scarred! They enter the work force all bright-eyed and think they want to work forever. Then, one day a colleague stabs them in the back or they get hoodwinked by their boss.
If they haven't been diligently saving since day one, they might wake up like most people and have this “OH SHIT” moment where they've got no other option but to work at the job they hate because they don't have enough money saved.
The same goes with dating. We grow up watching love stories that always have happy endings. But after dating one too many scumbags or disloyal women, we start thinking whether we'll ever find someone worthy of being our life partners. We become jaded. We question whether someone else's affection for us is genuine, or a ploy to just toy.
It's really too bad we can't know then what we know now. Marrying is like investing your entire portfolio in one stock.
If the marriage doesn't work out, there's always divorce. According to Brette Sember, family attorney and author of two books on divorce, “You can plan on mediation costing somewhere between a few thousand and $7,000, whereas if you litigate, you could spend $15,000 – $50,000.” Then there's the wealth destruction of divorce itself.
For those of you who have that ideal someone please give him or her a hug. Go into detail about what you appreciate about them. Thank them for putting up with your idiosyncrasies that might drive a lesser person crazy. Let's never take our partners for granted!
The Pros Of Marrying A Resume
- More financial security
- Potentially less arguments since money is a top reason why couples fight
- More respect for a partner due to their professional achievements
- Parents might be more proud of you and your spouse
- More chances to network with other people who can provide more opportunity
- More financial security for your parents
- A greater ability to do what you want because your spouse makes enough money for both
- More money to help other people in need
- More happiness due to more financial freedom
- Won't be alone
- Nothing wrong with marrying a friend
- If you divorce you get half
The Cons Of Marrying A Resume
- Lack of passion or no passion
- Physical and emotional intimacy becomes a chore
- Higher chance of infidelity
- You might always wonder whether there's a soul mate out there waiting for you
- Less happiness because you've chosen to settle
- Potential shame or disappointment due to a divorce
The New Rule For Engagement Ring Buying
Marrying Your Equal Is Better than Marrying Rich
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90 thoughts on “When Do You Give Up And Marry A Resume Instead Of A Soul Mate”
Your spouse can change on a dime but you dont know when. Love or un-love is one of the key motive in crime.
I meet all of those requirements, however I am 30.
I wouldn’t marry a resume: I am the resume someone might want to marry ;)
Resumes are a disqualifier rather than a qualifier. You can’t marry just a resume, you also need to share some commonalities like faith and goals, but marrying someone without the right financial profile is a recipe for disaster.
I’m not romantic in a conventional way, so I don’t think love is important in a marriage, but feelings are.
To borrow from Marie Kondo:
Does being in the presence of the other person spark joy? Do you have positive experiences associated with meeting the guy/girl or just neutral/negatives. Does he/she make you laugh? Do you see yourself living for 50 years without laughs?
“Physical and emotional intimacy becomes a chore”, this is by far the worst thing that could happen in my opinion. As humans, our minds are heavily influenced by our bodies. Sex creates good vibes, it promotes physical and and mental health. Even the most cerebral persons out there would still appreciate good sex, our bodies won’t allow us not to.
So, you don’t have to be in love with somebody, but he/she should at least be a “buddy” that you can hang out with, have fun with and have sex with. As long as you can associate them with positives in your life, you are good. Because what he/she brings to the table is valuable. If they don’t spark joy in you even at this point, what will happen 20 years from now when you have to deal with multiple problems like taking care of aging parents or finding the money to help your kids graduate?
At first it is all depends on the women’s income
1). women who makes less money tend to marry very early and just stay at home with kids
2).women who make over 100K+ a year will enjoy her single life first then worry if she will be too late to have kids then just want to settle down
3). women who make over 100K+ a year but did not care if she is going to have kids or not… then can just continue enjoy her single life (but keep dating for fun..)
Life is about choices…you cannot have everything in your partner, (looks, make good income, is your soul mate, etc etc) have to be willing to give up something in order to get what you really want.
Soul mate? Really?
The most over-used, over-hyped, ridiculous concept.
Between Hollywood and Cosmo, American women have been indoctrinated that there is some perfect creature, aka “the one”, who will sweep them off their feet, satisfy their every need, as they ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
Love is hard.
Relationships are hard.
Get over yourself, and figure out what you need, and what you’re willing to do to get it.
Now suck it up, and go do it.
Well said. The concept of a “soul mate” makes my skin crawl. Life is give and take, joy and suffering. Love is really mostly about choice, the “honeymoon period” does not last, hedonic adaption will play its course.
I think it all depends on what stage of life you are in. If you are in the young and wild stage which is about partying and crazy sex then that is one thing. If you are in the next stage which is stability, growth, and kids, then that is another thing. If you are in the next phase about maintenance and raising a family then that is another. If you are in the empty nesting phase and in the next phase adventure and retirement phase that is completely different as well.
I am young (41), and still in my prime, but my kids are in college. I am almost in the empty nest/retirement phase. Try finding a woman who is 41, and is also in the same phase as me? My point is that I have done all those phases, and am ready for someone who is willing to have fireworks but realize I am not looking to spend the next XX years raising kids, I am ready to move on.
I can see the appeal of both but I am looking for solid friendship and the rest will follow.
The best marriage advice I’ve ever heard is: Marry your best friend.
Like blackjack, its depends on both the dealer and players hand. You have to be realistic about yourself on a 1-10 scale. It’s about what you want out of a relationship, everyone is different but sexual chemistry is very important if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be so much infidelity. Happiness is the goal, maybe it’s money, maybe it’s comfort and safety, maybe it’s super hot sex every night. Prioritize your goal and make your own life, and remember you can’t change someone else although you can modify behaviour.
You give up a lot when you just marry for a resume, the concern here being that giving into this may turn out to be a long insidious road to complacency and can come back to destroy everything down the line. In life two of the biggest decisions a person makes is what they decide to spend their time doing and who they decide to spend that time with, thus should not be taken too lightly.
However, our world has plenty of marriages where love grows with time as evidenced by the multitude of arranged or planned marriages that end up being very successful with little upfront time in terms of courtship investment.
This is definitely a case where you should go with your heart. If she strongly feels that she should go with resume and thinks that everything will work out in the end, go for that. If she thinks otherwise, go with soul mate option. Unfortunately with time ticking away that adds unneeded pressure.
Re: physical attraction… if she’s on hormonal birth control pills, she should see if she’s physically attracted to him when off them, since they can change who seems sexually attractive.
Other than that, only MJ can make this decision and what I would want is irrelevant to what she wants.
She should marry the guy and see if they can make it work. They could just get a divorce if it doesn’t work out. I don’t think the chance of divorce would be any difference from marrying a soul mate. Nobody is perfect. You just have to work with what you have. Physical attraction will fade.
One of my friend is 42 and she couldn’t find the perfect guy. She kept dating and now it’s even harder to find that soul mate. At this point, she wants to be a mom and she’ll probably have to go the donor route…
How does she know that she won’t fall in love with someone who doesn’t meet her requirements NOW, but will so later on?
I didn’t really have any requirements when I met my husband 15 years ago, but I’ll tell you this, his “resume” was terrible – separated with two young kids, living at home with his parents, and unemployed. I could tell he was a good man, though, plus we were attracted to one another and had similar life philosophies. Needless to say, we quickly fell in love.
Now we own a home, and he makes really good money which we are socking away for retirement. Life is good. Maybe I just got lucky, but had I looked at his situation and thought “loser” and moved on, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. Food for thought.
Nicole, but weren’t you in the exact OPPOSITE situation MJ is now? You want for the soul mate/passion route. She’s focusing on the resume route b/c she doesn’t want to risk leading a life she does not want to lead, even though there might potential.
I do agree that she could grow to love him more or find that physical spark if the mental connection grows.
I saw it mentioned a few times earlier, but I want to emphasize the man’s feelings in this case. It’s not fair to him if someone is only marrying him for his resume. Does the lawyer know what he’s getting into? Does he realize that she’s not physically attracted to him? I guess if he knows what he’s getting into, and they both agree on it, then it’s a different story.
I’ve definitely thought about this. But honestly, I think my earning potential is great enough and growing to the point that the resume of my SO doesn’t matter. That said, I really struggle to connect with people who aren’t highly ambitious and intelligent. Doesn’t necessarily have to translate into high earnings for me though.
It’s good to believe in oneself. As a NYC resident who may want to buy in NYC however, having a good resume partner is very helpful. In big cities, no longer are you competing with just an individual, but you’re competing against a couple and foreign buyers and their parents money as well. This is the biggest frustration I’ve seen single people have who live in expensive cities.
I tried this. I dated a kind, wealthy guy for 2 years. I was 28 and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t want to marry him; it didn’t make sense. So when he proposed, I suggested we go to Vegas and get it over with. The next day, I woke up crying.
Why? Because you can’t force love. We got our marriage annulled three weeks later. It’s now been over a year, and I haven’t regretted the breakup once.
MJ, don’t do it. Hold out for someone who makes your heart sing. If it were right, you wouldn’t be writing in to a blog for advice.
Hi Susan, pretty classic to go to Las Vegas for a wedding! Perhaps if the engagement. It was longer and it was a more traditional wedding, you would’ve had more time to think about it and break it off for the actual wedding?
Is the X has been with someone else? How about you? Have you been able to find someone that makes your heart sing?
Yes, it was definitely an experience! I don’t regret doing it either; I learned valuable lessons, and am hoping MJ can also learn from my mistake.
I do think I would’ve broken off the engagement had it been longer than six hours — but it might’ve just prolonged the pain and confusion for both of us. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to marry such a great guy; I figured there was one way to end my indecisiveness once and for all, and I was right.
I know my ex has been dating, though I’m not sure about his current status. I wish him nothing but the best — he deserves it. I did find someone else who made my heart sing; being with him made me remember what true, passionate love should feel like. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out , but I am optimistic about the future.
It’s out there, MJ. And it’s worth waiting for!
Very provocative post! It’s a bit of a twist on the ‘money or your life’ dilemma. When we’re at the store and can’t decide on something, my wife and I will often say “If you don’t know, don’t buy.” It breaks the uncertainty and has undoubtedly saved us thousands of dollars over the years. I think the same applies here – if you don’t know, don’t marry.
I like that rule! Thanks for sharing.
Never, ever, ever settle…as a man with his act realtively together I find the opposite problem. Physical attraction and chemistry no problem, but if these women were judged by the same metrics men are judged by they would for the most part be labeled as underachievers hoping to latch on to someone who has made the sacrifices they were not willing to make. The one if it’s meant to be is out there, it would be like a prison if you settled only to have the one come along…happens all the time, at least according to cable television.
This is a tough one. I don’t think attraction is black and white. There are a few stages between being really attracted to someone and repulsion. Please don’t marry someone that repulses you. Now, say you just didn’t have the absolute hots for him but you are okay with the idea of this person sharing your towel, sharing your bed and their morning breath (like 50% attraction), then you may proceed. As time goes on and you start to reap the benefits of his awesome resume, i’m sure the attraction will grow. No one is just miserable with a 1.5 million house and a fairly nice husband that’s just a little too hairy. That’s very manageable.
I was always very skeptical of people who said that you just ‘knew’ when you found the right person; it seemed like people were just using the benefit of hindsight to describe how their relationship formed. But with my current partner, something just clicked when we first met, and we’ve kept our relationship strong for almost two years. While some things fade, that conviction of knowing that you’re with the right person has to be the bedrock upon which the rest of your relationship is founded, or else you’re setting yourself up for failure (or unhappiness, or listlessness).
I think that if the woman in this scenario feels so strongly in her core that this isn’t the perfect match, that she should move on with her life. Could she make it work? Possibly, but consider the damage that could be done to both of them if that is revealed or one ends up being unfaithful. I understand the social pressures of being in a relationship or starting a family are huge (particularly for women), and it can be more difficult to be single once your friends are all paired off or have children. But it’s a rich world out there, and there’s a lot you can do on your own to find your own happiness.
Mary Jane’s fiance is in all likelihood settling with this girl and probably has doubts about her too. He’s probably just more realistic about romance, like many men. No two people truly know each other that well after only a year of dating in their 30s. She maybe dating her resume guy in her mind, but if she truly has that much to offer, she wouldn’t have to consider settling with him.
MJ is still young, many successful people are just starting to think about marriage at this time. Second, she should immediately break up with this guy and let him find someone who will appreciate him more than she. Shes also about to hit the first wave of young divorcees so theres always that.
Clearly, she is the problem, and underlying constant in her relationships, provably time to be super honest with herself and do a little growing up. Attraction level nor sex frequency needf change after marriage, thats a cop out.Until she comes to grips with her responsibility in all this, the cycle will repeat. If she just marries one day she will regret, resent, and the marriage is doomed anyway. Issues dont seem to “get better” after marriage, set up for disaster.
Lastly theres no such thing as a soulmate, theres probably loads of people youre compatible with, in the end you choose and accept the whole person, and youre ecstatic about it!
MJ seems very immature (and at 31 is somewhat acceptable but time is running out for that), and likely the source of most of her problems finding the “right” guy. Usually these types love the “bad” guys, and the rare few that fit their bill, arent dumb enough to stick around someone who is almost certainly overly dramatic and ultimately a drain on any reasonable person who matches her pedigree/stats.
Anyone with that pedigree either is with the one they want to be with, can relatively simply, or is enjoying playing the field. It is rare that guys of this caliber (though my best friend is in a similar pickle, been engaged for years, lol, just waiting for his girl to set a date (they have geography issues of where to settle and shes a texan so…)).
I hope MJ is smoking hot and very interesting, because she will have a difficult time if not, most (at her criteria) will not put up with it because they have a gazillion other choices, and resume while important, is not a deal breaker for men. I have stopped dating women before when they were overly vapid and talkative, and I wasnt even successful yet, but I guess the foresight was there for them (was a resident).
idk about me though, I’ve always been a super introvert / loner and romantically hopeless, so the whole soulmate thing hasn’t worked out for me either! I would just definitely watch out for gold diggers though, marrying someone because they have money of their own and don’t care about your money (even though you may not 100% be “soulmates”), or marrying a woman you are both head over heals in love with eachother for who genuinely you are (aka “soulmates”), are both whole different scenarios from marrying a gold digger. F**k gold diggers.
This is a great topic for thought and learning, whether you’re a female or male.
My (male) 2 cents:
I married early, at age 23. While common in my parents’/grandparents’ generation, this is uncommon for us Millenials, especially those with college educations. Average age at marriage today for a male is 29, and significantly older for those like me with college degrees.
I am married to my college sweetheart. When we got engaged at age 22, I had relatively low savings and an (good) entry-level job. Essentially, my wife “invested” in me. I believe she truly loves me for who I am but clearly she and her family also needed to believe I had good potential on the earnings/provider front. So far, she’s correct: about 4 years later, our net worth is now ~$4m.
Another element of the equation is kids. My wife and I both want 3-5 kids, and we knew that for best results – low probability of birth defects + ability to parent energetically and have a long life as empty nesters – we needed to get started early. Thus, early marriage allowed us to spend several years together as a happily married couple, buy a house, do some self-development and relationship building before have our first kid. We did not feel super-pressured by time to have our first one, and looking back I feel this helped our relationship for the better.
In college and even before that, I had never been very popular with the ladies. I was obsessed with developing my career (through reading and internships), developing my personal skills (foreign languages, foreign cultural knowledge, field-specific knowledge), and getting high grades. Despite this, I did not go to an Ivy-caliber undergrad school due to my parents’ desire to avoid the high price tag.
Thus, I ended up feeling somewhat out of place at my average public high school and public university. I felt I did not have the time or energy to devote to “socializing” due to strict discipline of allocating time toward internships, school study, practicing my skills/languages, and maintaining personal fitness.
Anyway, I was obsessed with BUILDING the ultimate resume at the time where most girls were more interested in going on fun dates, group dates, parties, club activities, etc. I – selfishly but probably correctly – preferred study-buddy, workout partner, or language partner. Otherwise, not a good use of my time/energy and detractive to my ultimate goals. However, there was not a high demand among attractive girls to be “Rio_2016’s study-buddy.”
Finally I met my now-wife in my junior year of college. She was willing and even happy to sit with me for hours while I studied/read/practiced languages and would go to the gym with me as well. In hindsight, I now understand that while she doesn’t MIND any of these pursuits, she is not really as passionate about these activities as I am. She saw something within me – probably a combination of good potential mate, a nice person, a good potential resume – and decided to take a chance.
Anyway my point is that, for young people thinking about how to approach their future romantic life, there are nuances between “resume OR soul mate” and some gray areas as well. Was I a great resume when my wife decided to spend a lot of time bonding with me? No, not at all. I didn’t have a full-time job and was a college student at a relatively vanilla university! That said, those close to me at the time knew I had great potential. For women or men willing to look beneath the surface and, if they like what they see, take a chance on a partner while relatively young, the “investment appreciation” potential can be significant if you invest correctly.
And maybe the most important thing – I will be that much more faithful and loving toward my wife during the coming decades, knowing that she took a chance on me when my future earnings and resume were well under 100%-certain. Hell, I can remember countless times when I earned a precious block of free time but had trouble or could not even find a date for the coming Saturday!
Thus I KNOW for a fact that, even if some % of my attraction to my wife was “future resume potential,” she had to spend a lot of time/energy just to discover that, and furthermore take a gamble on the uncertainty – failure, sickness are always possible – and finally actively HELP my resume to come true. This is why I did not even consider for a second asking my wife to sign a prenup, nor do I pressure her too hard to work outside the home (she is a housewife despite having an advanced degree).
Now that my “resume” is starting to come true, it is a little hard for me to feel too sorry for the MJs of the world, to be honest. There are many MJs I would have been happy, or more than happy, to date when I was 20. Obviously I am a bit of an edge case but I feel this is somewhat true with a few of my successful peers as well. But I felt that the MJs of the world were not too interested in me at the time. We are too intense, not socially cool enough or in the right clubs/groups, not good at living in the moment, etc.
In college, my 2 most (ultimately) successful friends in the same field also had trouble finding solid girls to date, as well as enough time/energy to “chase” women. Yet those characteristics – working so hard at improving their personal abilities that they did not have time to wine+dine girls or go to many parties/dinners – also ended up allowing them to earn more money 5-10 years down the road. (As well as cultivate a good lifelong work ethic.) Somehow, few to no girls really tried to bond closely with them, even though they have ended up building ridiculously good resumes. I guess at the time, the girls lacked foresight + wanted to enjoy college/early+mid 20s (rather than encouraging their guy to read another chapter of a book) + admittedly the guys did not have time/energy to put themselves out there very much.
I also know centimillionaires with very similar issues. Surprisingly, at the time they were quite young and PRE-success (working hard into the night to build the foundation), few to no women had the foresight or IMAGINATION to see into the future, to $100s of millions of dollars of wealth and the potential to build a life with a guy like that from GROUND ZERO.
I do know one couple kinda like “us” – decimillionaire guy whose wife saw his great potential at a quite young age – and they are quite happy, without a lot of the trust, closeness, or maybe even fidelity issues I sense in pure “resume” marriages.
(BTW, I don’t like high marginal tax rates due to a similar issue – I know how much many, though admittedly not all, high earners had to work/sacrifice from a very young age – in my case, sacrificed a lot of potentially fun times from age 13 to now in the name of building my personal skills and creating future wealth – and think it’s a little unfair that later in life, the reward would be reduced by significantly higher tax rates than most others pay.)
If I had met my wife in my late 30s, or even in my late 20s, I’m not sure how I would feel. I would have already earned significant money, already built the resume. I would probably be a little worried in the back of my mind: she’s marrying me for the resume, she likes me for the money/status, etc. I feel much more satisfied today, knowing that not only did my wife love me when I was just a nerdy, introverted college guy, she also gave me support in various ways to actually go out and build the “resume.”
To use a VC metaphor: my wife was NOT doing a late-round pre-IPO “momentum” Series F. She was not trying to cash in on a clearly already-successful situation, expecting a near-immediate IPO (financial windfall). No, she was an ANGEL investor, funding me without expectation of liquidity for several years, and with no thought of ever trying to challenge the CEO, obtain liquidation preference, or ask for various pre-IPO financial manipulations. Yes, we get along very well and truly love each other. But it’s not like we were soul mates from Day 1.
Like Kameron implies above, sustainable good chemistry can take time, work, and patience – in our case, years – to develop. I also think the perfect resume does not necessarily make the perfect partner, and like bearkat says above his character needs to be closely judged before making a decision. MJ may have already gauged his character, as she has accepted his engagement, but I would advise her to try to make sure if possible (and I disagree w/Matt – having a JD and a high-paying job is NOT a great proxy for character. Probably there is a correlation factor above zero, but it’s far less than 1.0.)
PS, I would recommend the below book for both men and women:
Angel investor! I like it! And given most Angel investments end up being worth 0, she hit the jackpot!
I would say Angel investing in college is no big deal b/c nobody is rich in college, and nobody has done anything with their lives yet. College is much more focused on the “soul mate” end of the spectrum, full of passion, and intimacy.
If people can grow into their potential, then that is great. Look for people with potential. It’s hard for you to see the other side of the story b/c you found someone. Imagine being 10 years out of college and not finding anybody still. That is when you can really understand MJ’s dilemma imo.
MJ should marry this guy. That feels strange for me to say because I believe in true love, attraction, and that excited feeling of seeing your significant other. That doesn’t seem to be the feeling MJ gets with this guy.
I would tell most people never to marry unless they feel that way.
But MJ should because her non-romantic requirements seem to be too rigid to find the man that she’d actually have an emotional, romantic attraction to.
I’m doing my best to set aside my judgement. MJ is perhaps a realist. The man of her dreams may exist, but probably doesn’t. Someone who has it all is a rare individual. So you have to be willing to bend somewhere.
My wife was much like MJ… same salary, bad relationships, and wanted a family (soonish). But she was 27 when we met. I’m sure she would have loved it if I was making $200k+/year and just killing it.
But I was starting my own business and making about $1,500 per month (no typo there) and somehow making ends meet in San Francisco.
Fast forward to today, 5 years later we’re married and have a kid on the way. I’m making $90k/year and about to bump my salary to $150k. Ironically we’ve been able to leverage all of this so that she could leave the high-paying job she hated and become a blogger/Etsy shop owner. We love our lives.
My point here is MJ should have been looking for a man that was driven and wanted more in life. Not the guy that was making $200k+ already and had things figured out. She wasted time and now she believes she’s in a pickle (although I’d agree that 31 is still young enough to find the love of your live and start a family).
She’s not willing to compromise for true love, that’s clear. But my money is on an imminent mid-life crisis and divorce.
“My point here is MJ should have been looking for a man that was driven and wanted more in life. Not the guy that was making $200k+ already and had things figured out. She wasted time and now she believes she’s in a pickle (although I’d agree that 31 is still young enough to find the love of your live and start a family).”
Exactly! Great point Travis. I also totally agree that MJ’s “criteria” are way, way too rigid and strict. I know other women with very rigid criteria and they also have huge trouble finding mates – and when they do have boyfriends, often the boyfriends end up as disasters. Or, they find the rare rare unicorn who meets the criteria…then realize years later he lacks character/integrity!
I would highly recommend the book “Marry Him;” the title is a little lame/incorrect but the message is “please, please have VERY FEW TO NO set criteria before considering a guy or going on a date with him.”
Is is great to meet a love when both don’t have money and then work together to build their wealth. I think this is perhaps the best way to grow.
Let me add my 2c.
I had sworn off marriage by the time I was 5. (I looked at my parent’s marriage and said to myself: if this is marriage, I want no part of it.)
Various relationships, but stayed single. Whenever I met someone, I told them that I was not getting married. Some stayed others didnt.
When I was 48, I met someone my age also who had never married. We fell in love. We married when we both were 50. Been together 17 years (so far).
When I Iook back on why I felt I could marry at 50 but not before… it was the woman and how I felt being with her. Maybe I was mature enough by then but also I felt safe, that whatever would happen I could survive being married to her. I had never felt that before.
Which means to me that love is great and necessary, but not enough. Love also blinds us to many things, and we need love plus other aspects of life.
There is hope in the world…
Marry him. Here’s why:
– If he really is more like a brother than a lover, that’s actually a solid indicator that there’s a real connection. The romance and sparks can actually grow out of a real connection like that and you know that you’re making a decision based on a foundation of trust and respect rather than the feelings of euphoria you get from being in love.
– Any relationship is going to take work, and no matter who you marry, fighting to keep the spark alive will be a challenge. That’s a universal trait. I don’t see the lack of physical attraction as much of a factor.
– He’s got everything you would need in a solid companion except physical attraction, which can grow over time.
I say go for it.
I dated someone I wasnt attracted to physically. Great pedigree- Ivy league, Top 5 law school, law review, 500k salary for life — always would work. Thin. She had Awesome personality, kind, generous, reliable person. We never fought. But I couldnt get past the non-physical attractiveness. Now, Im married to a top dental surgeon with even better pedigree, $1.2 mill a year, and HOT. But we fight every day. So who knows- maybe there was something to peace and quiet!!
I believe soul mates are “made” not “met”. Only when 2 people have gone through thick and thin for decades that they can declare themselves as soul mates.
I totally agree with Wisernow.
Being a parent is the most fulfilling and rewarding role that I hope everybody will have a chance to experience. That is the only love that will last forever.
Men or women should not wait too long and miss the chance of meeting the true love of your life: your children.
Thanks for the comment. As a young guy in my first decade of marriage still, it really helps me get perspective on what will (knock on wood) be a marathon.
That said, MJ may be better off marrying a different guy; with the slight info from the post, I can’t personally advise her one way or the other. Probably if she respects and likes this guy “like a brother,” though, he is a decent person…that said if SHE is not prepared to devote her total mind and time/energy to the marriage, I think it’s likely fissures will start to open after several years. The question, to me, is: Can MJ convince HERSELF that HappyBeingMe’s advice is correct? If MJ can, then she can devote her total mind and time/energy, and likely everything will play out happily.
LOVE your perspective and wholeheartedly agree. Married very young, 20+ years ago. We have beautiful kids. They are the love of both of our lives. Marriage is hard, long-term marriage is even harder, but the mutual love of your children is a force no man can put asunder. The children feel it too. Personally I feel marriage without children is pointless. Why get married? It’s an institution primarily designed for procreation, secondarily designed for financial partnership. I love my husband, he loves me. But the amount of #$%@ that goes down over the course of decades is not minor!
We both joke that even if we got divorced, we would NEVER marry again. We do have a beautiful house and some savings. I also hate the idea of sharing my kids with stepparents. Ugh! That was how I was raised and the revolving door of stepparents and romantic interests in my parents’ lives was awful. Parents also don’t realize that kids don’t care if you aren’t happy together (assuming it’s not violent or emotionally toxic). Kids want stability.
A friend with kids just remarried, to a financial loser for companionship even though finances were what drove her to divorce the first guy. I feel like it was a huge mistake (hope it won’t turn out that way — by the way I run in very poor circles, avg income $50k in the Bay Area unlike most FS readers). I feel really bad for her kids too, having to adjust to this new guy who may not even last.
I agree with the “soul mates are made” comment. But we did start with love and attraction — he was the somewhat bad-boy type I thought I could reform, HA!!! but I’m no saint either — and both of us had NOTHING financially but a mutual ability to work hard. This thread is reminding me to appreciate him more!
I feel bad for the guy. Everything on his resume suggests he is a good and hardworking man.
And now after 20+ years of effort he will now be marrying a woman who does not feel physically attracted to him at all. Like you said there is more to marriage than that, but come on, this feels very wrong to me. Should you as her consultant not suggest that she works harder to achieve a higher income by herself? Also pretty sure using the arranged marriages from India as an example is a good way to go. Do you realize that half of those occur with the female (better yet, child) being under 18? [statistics of:United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women.
No, I did not realize that. I do have a lot of 2nd generation Indian friends whose parents have aggressively tried to arrange their marriages.
The flip side is, perhaps the guy realizes shis as good as he can get too. So in that sense, it could be a win win scenario.
Here is my $0.02. A true realistic woman may find the guy with the stellar resume MORE attractive physically and mentally after knowing his background — his resume adds to his charm to a realist eye. If still NOTHING after the resume comes in, it might be a hard life ahead. I cannot imagine having kids with someone I am not attracted to at all, it is against my biological instinct. Ultimately, if she think she is able to live and potentially have kids with a roommate/teammate, then she might be OK. On another hand, I feel kind of sorry for that guy, I hope he knows how she feels about him.
That’s probably right for a lot of women out there.
I do kinda feel bad for the guy as well. If we all could be so lucky as to find someone who equally loves us as much as we love them.
I’m MJ’s perfect resume. Well, except I’m married. I read MJ’s requirements ro my wife, then i asked her – she makes 1/3 of my salary – if she married me for my resume. Without turning away from the crepes she was making for us on the stove, she laughed and said, “What? No! You were poor as shit when I married you.”
“We’ll ya,” I said, “but you knew I’d been a millionaire before and had the ability to get back there, so maybe you married me for my earning ability!”
She turned away from the stove and waved her spatula at me while she said, “No way! You’re a hard-headed asshole who does whatever he wants. There were never any guarantee you’d make much money!”
“That’s true,” I said, and we both laughed.
Statistically, we’re lucky. We started with soul love and the money came later without killing the love. But we’re not just lucky. Love is hard work and we pay our dues. We’ve put in some marriage counseling and had days we couldn’t stand each other. Like most other good things in life, a good relationship doesn’t come easy and can’t be ignored once you have it… I’m looking forward to my currently 40-something wife waving a spatula at me until one of us goes deep six. Oh, and for the record, she’s more hard headed than I am.
So, no offense to MJ because I get how she feels and I wish her all the best in life and love, but I wouldn’t be interested in her. I want a woman with the courage and confidence to choose me for love and joy first, and my resume second.
Giving up! This means more than giving up your single status. It means relinquishing your independence, compromise, and adapting. All for just a second monthly paycheck? What if something happens and that second paycheck suddenly disappears? You are stuck supporting you and your spouse that you do not love. If you live in the Bay area, reality will certainly smack you fast and furious. My answer is get yourself together financially. Do not fall under the pressure others put on you. This is your life, live it the way you want and if you happen to get married, trust your instincts and do it for the right reasons and only for your true happiness. Never treat marriage like a bank account.
Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!
This makes me think of the series “Friends” when Monica is dating billionaire Pete. Pete has all the things that Monica wants: stability, success, and the desire to have kids, yet she cannot bring herself to be attracted to him. Pete knows this and is fine with it because he is attracted to her “enough for both of them.” Ultimately though, she cuts the relationship off.
I voted other. I would say only marry him if his character and who he is as a person is someone she can respect regardless of his prestigious job title or income. Success can come and go, but character is harder to change. I think physical attraction is over-rated, but she should be attracted to the way he conducts himself and treats other people… Otherwise she’s in for a rough time of things.
Lastly I think she shouldn’t feel bad if she wants to extend the engagement to give herself more time to figure this stuff out. But this is also coming from a guy who didn’t marry his wife until after four years of dating.
Great advice on character! Success can definitely be fleeting. Looks, most definitely.
My parents had a bad marriage from the start. It took them close to twenty years to finally face the truth and thankfully they divorced. Having lived through that – it got really, really bad – I don’t think I would ever settle. It’s absolutely horrible for kids to have to live through something like that. Any kind of tension or fighting among parents is sensed by children living under the same roof and it’s not a good environment to grow up in.
And since most married couples have kids – whether planned or unplanned – I would never risk getting married and risk putting a child through an unhappy marriage. Plus, I definitely can’t imagine getting intimate with my “brother” – gross!
I also agree with @Yetisaurus that it’s super unfair to the man’s feelings. I consider myself to be genuine and kind, so I couldn’t imagine misleading someone that I was in love with him just because it was in my advantage financially and to avoid being alone. That’s incredibly selfish. While breaking things off would hurt him at any stage, it’s best to have as much honesty in any relationship from the beginning.
I knew a couple where the woman lied about her age for like 5 years until the guy actually looked at her drivers license one day by accident. Can you imagine? He immediately broke up with her. Maybe he should have tried talking things out with her first, but I can totally understand why he flipped out. Lying or faking feelings is a major recipe for disaster.
The thing that you are assuming is that the gal has not told the guy her feelings and that she is lying to him. If this is as business transaction-ish as it sounds, she probably has told him her feelings.
My soul mate died young after we had seven passionate, but turbulent, years together. It’s been fifteen years yet there are still moments where I miss him. A few years later I met and married a wonderful man with a great resume. We’ve been married close to ten years now. Your lists of pros and cons are both true.
The first couple of years of my resume marriage were difficult for me (and him) because I was used to the fireworks (good and bad) of my soul mate. I thought I wouldn’t ever be “in love” with my new husband. I felt like a fraud even buying a Valentine’s Day card.
However, over time, I’ve really grown to appreciate the peace and quiet happiness of having such a good-hearted, capable, and compatible person in my life. I love him more and more each day. It amazes me how patient he was to wait for me to return his love in full. I am such a lucky woman.
Since your friend MJ wants to start a family, I would vote to marry the wonderful man who asked her to marry. If she didn’t want to have children, I’d vote to wait a little longer for the soul mate.
I was only able to appreciate my great new man after experiencing my soul mate. Even though my soul mate was the love of my life, it wouldn’t have been enough to make a great marriage. If I’m honest, I realize now that if he hadn’t have passed away, we would have ended up divorced. We weren’t truly compatible, but had amazing chemistry and history.
Sorry to hear about your soul mate. That must be incredible to be able to love your husband more and more each day! Thanks for sharing your perspectives.
Boy have I changed, lol. Growing up, I always thought that arranged marriages were the pits and I didn’t see one for myself. I’m Indian btw so I saw a lot of arranged marriages go bad but back then, women didn’t have much say in the matter. My parents had one, technically my dad came over and met my mom and fell head over heels. And my mom liked my dad and presto, they got hitched. Most arranged marriages over here these days start off like that, a pure introduction, an exchange of contact details and they can take it forward if they want.
But I’ve seen just as many love marriages in recent years flake really, really badly and really, really quickly, like 3 months after the big EXPENSIVE (enough for a great down payment on a house) wedding. There are a lot of late twenty year old and thirty year old divorcees out there.
I believe that complementary people should get married. My opinion on this particular marriage is that she should not marry him because he has money. She should make her own. She should look for companionship and an equal partner. She should marry him if they are compatible in terms of financial mindsets, general interests (like building a better life for themselves) and share some basic opinions on worldly matters. She should find comfort in his friendship. Then she’s got a hope of the marriage succeeding. Love can and often does come later. So what if it’s not a passionate ride but just knowing someone has your back?
BTW since he’s a lawyer, he’s bound to have an anti-nuptial contract. I barely know anything except that if I ever get married I want an anti-nuptial contract WITHOUT accrual :) Surely he’s thinking along the same lines.
Hmm well since they both have an income level over $110k, as you have pointed out before, marriage isn’t the best option. After all, if he is trustworthy he will still support her anyhow.
(and those taxes saved will more than pay for the ring, ceremony, honeymoon, etc )
But yes, it depends on her emotionally. If she knows she will be unhappy then its very likely several years down the road it’s just time wasted on both parties.
The resume is a reflection of character. A JD and high paying job means he is stable, responsible, hard working, and committed to long term goals. These are great attributes.
She may have more chemistry with some free spirited guy she met at the bar, but at 31 she should ask herself what kind of life she wants. Your lifetime partner should fit in the life you want for yourself. Passion is fleeting. It can go, but it can also be developed, especially if you are happy with your life.
Probably the most rational, level-headed comment so far!
I think the person who has the biggest delemma is the person with the money. How can he or she ever know if their spouse is truly there for the love?
The local newspaper posted a story yesterday about a rich 45 year old man who’s 29 year old ex fiancé stole $2 million in gold & diamonds out of his house after her dumped her. https://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/palm-harbor-man-reports-losing-21-million-in-jewelry-after-jilting-fiancee/2265299
And interesting question is the opposite of the one above:
What if you were the wealthy one and were marrying to get a young, hot single (think trophy wife)?
Would you marry her/him if you knew they were only marrying you for your money/resume and had no attraction to you?
My answer would be no. I’d happily date though!
Hmm…Maybe with a pre-nup.
In fact I would never marry anyone again without a pre-nup.
What happened that made you only want to marry with a prenup?
Wow, this is so sad. I’m far from an idealist, so I think even the use of the word “soul mate” is a bit much, but I can’t imagine ever marrying someone just for their resume. If you really feel like you need the money, get out there and earn it for yourself. If you really feel like you need a husband that badly, then smack yourself. Go out and find someone you’re at least a little attracted to.
I don’t think it’s possible to be married to someone, or even in a long-term relationship with them, without them driving you genuinely crazy at times. The less chemistry, attraction, love, and respect you have for the other person, the harder it’s going to be to stop little annoyances from turning into full-blown contempt.
I feel really bad for the guy in this scenario. He probably has genuine feelings for her, and is going to be so heartbroken in ten years when they have a family and she ends up falling in love with the tennis coach or some other cliché.
I could never do what she’s doing, and it’s not because I’m an idealist. I don’t even believe in soul mates. But there is so much dishonesty in her path, and I couldn’t do that and live with myself.
Thanks for highlighting the GUY’s point of view! That is very thoughtful, and also something I was not thinking about as much when writing this post.
Ever watch OITNB, and Mr. Healy, the guard with the Russian wife who hates hime, but whom he adores and tries to make her love him? That is so sad!
Don’t you think that MANY women or men settle for partners that don’t check all the boxes? I think it happens all the time.
Is falling in love with the “tennis coach” a common cliche? If so, I might have to rev up my tennis teaching side-hustling ads!
Agreed on the Mr. Healy scenario. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. So heartbreaking, and Healy is only a halfway sympathetic character! I think nearly all men and women settle for partners who don’t check all the boxes, because nobody is perfect, so no mate can be 100% perfect. But it’s one thing to decide you love someone even though they keep leaving their damn socks on the floor, versus deciding you’ll marry someone even though you have nothing more than friendly feelings for them.
LOL about the tennis coach bit. Don’t you have a long-term girlfriend/quasi-wife? Or are you just hoping some generous housewives will start leaving you good tips?
I’m always about preparation.
If I can be a very fit, tan, good looking tennis coach at a luxury resort I think I’ll be OK, if I get booted to the curb and lose all my money. What wealthy woman wouldn’t consider scooping me up if I’m giving her good ball hitting lessons and can talk to her about that intricate relationships on Orange Is The New Black, while also talking about Mary Jane’s dilemma of marrying a resume or waiting for her soulmate? I hear being shape, having ambition, amazing dental hygene and providing interesting conversation is all a woman really wants out of a man.
It’s all about contingency planning!
Well, I unfortunately AM MJ. I have been engaged for 7 years and it’s really me who’s reticent to move forward precisely because the physical intimacy piece is gone – or went MIA looong ago for various, complicated reasons. It does not matter why; it’s the what now question that plagues me daily. We go to couples therapy and for $400 per session, I must say we do understand each other, ourselves and relationship dynamics more than ever before. Unfortunately, it is not translating physically – into attraction and the obvious result in the boudoir. So, I am constantly having an internal debate about whether to break-up or move forward. It’s a little complicated in that I have been a stepparent to a child who is now 17 but we are very close and I am fiercely loyal to them both. Sucks to be MJ. :(
Easy Solution: Someone has to teach the man how to be a better seducer.. Then she will have everything she wants.
Or, should MJ continue to wait things out until she finds the perfect man who turns her on and has the financial requirements she expects: $200,000 a year or greater income, the ability to buy a $1.5M or greater home in the San Francisco Bay Area, a good family background, a professional degree, physically fit, 5′ 10″ or taller, and can always give her the love and attention she needs?
Good gravy, how many people got this description? 28? Out of 3.5 billion? So if a guy meets all of the above but makes 150k he’s eliminated!? That is insanely ridiculous.
That’s what I was kinda thinking as I heard the requirements. But, there is more of a concentration of such guys in bigger cities like SF, LA, NYC.
My Indian doctor friend’s requirement is even more stringent. She has to be a doctor as well and hail from the Punjab region! But, he found her and they got married recently :)
The reasonableness of her requirements really depend on how hot she is and is she fit for life. If hot, I think her requirements are low. I know real estate agents w/o college degrees that make a quarter mill. But if she’s either unattractive or fat, then she should count her blessings to be with a man of this quality.
I thought the same thing. If that’s what MJ has been holding out for, she should just marry this “friend”. If she wants a “soul mate”, and doesn’t care about all the other material things, she should cancel the engagement.
It seems, though, that the best marriages involve people that have the same ideals and want the same things in life. The physical connection is just a bonus. I think this is why most people break up with their high school flings (based on physical) and why arranged marriages work just as well as marriages by choice (because the two share common backgrounds and outlooks on life.)
Really, though, MJ should marry this guy. She’s been with him for a year and has accepted his engagement. That’s either because she truly does love him or she is kind of heartless to be stringing him along for his money and status. Either way, why should she stop now?
What would you rate the chances are for divorce within 5 years?
Even if the odds of divorce are high, divorce will treat her favorably. She is both the woman in the relationship as well as the one with lower financial means.
Divorced at 36, in a sound financial position, and looking for love again, isn’t the worst situation for someone to be in if looking at it from a “resume” perspective.
Many women, due to TV, magazines, movies, etc, have very unrealistic expectations. Think about how many super hot, tall, insanely smart, and hard working people you knew at your High School – maybe 1 or 2 at the most? My sister in law is this way. Terrible guy after terrible guy after terrible guy. She’s had one good boyfriend in 10 years and he unfortunately had settling down issues. She continues to try to date guys she finds at 8.5-10s and wonders why they only last a couple dates (and she loves spending money). She refuses to date 5-7s that make very good money. She just turned 29 and I’m hoping she wakes up before her looks fade.
My thought is if you find the person repulsive, it wouldn’t work but if you find the person mildly attractive (but not hot), but everything else is very good…odds of success are probably 10x higher than marrying someone you are with mostly because you are attracted to.
There is also a third (much more attainable) alternative: hold out for a soul mate who most likely will NOT meet her financial and educational requirements. The real decision isn’t to hope for the prince with all the credentials PLUS the chemistry; the decision is between the resume and the hunk who turns you on who inevitably LACKS the resume. In short, do you care about a “soul mate” aka chemistry (which usually comes with relationship volatility) MORE THAN the money/stability/companionship guy?
Very well said! And money isn’t everything. It really can’t buy you happiness if you feel unfilled in a relationship, and I tend to think she will at some point if she feels she settled.
I meet nearly all of those requirements (only make $150k) but then again, so does my wife. You can have your cake and eat it too, though I cringe at the thought of actually quantifying these things during dating.
If I met a woman that had a list like this, I’d 1. Laugh. 2. Delete her number.
truth is i basically married this guy — 6″, ivy league grad degree, works out a few times a week, makes 300k n treats me really well — all under 30.
I know i sound like im bragging but just hear me out — i dated him when he was still in school with nothing, i had no idea how he would turn out, successful or not, but went with him because i respected him, his work ethic and his kindness. all these others things while nice is still an accessory. if he were to lose his job, i would still love him because i know what a good person he is and how hard he works for himself and the family
I believe it is possible to have success in a relationship n have all those things but i think they tend to happen when u dont put them as the ONLY things or the priorities. when u focus on the good in people n life, good things WILL happen to you
just wanted to offer an alternative to the marry resume but not attracted/marry chemistry but no ambition/u can only marry successful people if you are hot. i think more people need to know that that are alternatives to those trade-offs
(P.s i was from the same school he did his grad degree, was the youngest VP ever in my company n ran an office in HK while doing LDR w/ him n go to gym weekly , so at the same time i do believe i work hard to be a worthy match to him as well, though i dont make half as much as him.)
so i guess my point is – just try to be the best person you can be and find someone you truly respect, admire n feel happy being tgthr with / looks or money are secondary to such things
I know divorced single mom who met and married a doctor. She married for love the first time around and ended up supporting the entire family with her job in pharmacy sales. Her husband apparently didn’t like to work. The word at the gym (she was a gym buddy) was that she was marrying the doctor for money and that he was ugly. This woman went on to have two more children and is now a stay-at-home mom and seems really happy to me.
We need more data. How hot is this woman? Is she fit for life? And is she going to be a stay at home once she has a child?
Good questions. However does her attraction level really count? She may be very attractive, but if she’s already decided to marry the resume, a part of her feels she can do not much better after 30. That he is as good as it’s likely going to get.
Finding a life partner is a gamble. It’s good to feel wanted and be the best her partner is going to get don’t you think?
If’s she hot, fit for life and doesn’t plan on condemning the man she marries to a life of poverty by becoming a stay at home, she should hold out for better. She’s got 10 more years to have a kid. Guys will start to free up again once they r done with first marriages.
It sounds like this MJ lady is settling and has a negative way of thinking (no wonder she’s had bad experiences). Unless she changes her thinking, it will not matter if she marries the resume or someone with chemistry. The answer will be the same = failure.
Interesting article. For most of our history, women have looked for a man with a good “resume” and men have looked for a woman with beauty and features that promise offspring (wide hips is one example) to pass on their genes. This still holds true for most of humanity, but has obviously been changing in industrialzed nations for the last 40 years or so. What is particularly new is men marrying for resume. I know the concept of a sugar mama has been there, but more men want to know what the woman there marrying can do for them financially. Marriage is becoming a corporate business contract and I believe you’re absolutely right about intimacy becoming a chore if the nature of marriage is such. I know of people who ask their date to bring in their credit score, how romantic.
good remark. The fertility and gene matching involves some chemical attraction. The modern infertility could be a consequences of mariages without any attraction?
The concept of men hunting for sugar mamas is definitely becoming more prevalent. Last weekend I was driving for Lyft, and I picked up a drunk couple in their mid-40s. Per usual, I offered the one who didn’t call the ride my passenger referral code. In this case, the woman hailed me, so I offered it to her boyfriend.
When I made the gesture, she scoffed and said “Don’t bother. He makes me pay for everything.” I started chuckling and then he tapped me on the shoulder for a high-five (he was in the backseat; she was in the front).
After a bit more chit-chat, I leaned that the woman was a top dog at a major pharma company. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was happily unemployed.
Rich wife happy life :)