Dear Matchmaker Rabbi:
I have been dating a woman for a few months now. I’m a substitute teacher seeking a full time job. I also work as a pet sitter and in a retail store part time. I barely make $30,000 a year. She is a pharmaceutical rep for 25 years making at least six figures. She thought she could get past my wages and not having my own place, but it eats her up inside. She is afraid she has fallen for me, and I have fallen for her. Now she is asking to just be friends.
What can I do but tell her I will work as many jobs as I can!? I know she is the ONE, but she can’t let herself close because she thinks I may not have good intentions — in other words, I’m after her money. Secondly, if we get any closer, she is afraid that I could never catch up to her finances and be an equal partner.
My true intentions are to want to be with her, not to need anything from her. I have fallen for her deeply, but she will not let herself do that with me. Since when is money a big issue in life? I guess I’m old fashioned and thought it was the person inside, not the wealth, that mattered. What can I do?
Since when has money been a big issue in life? Since forever. Most marriages for most of human history have been family arrangements negotiated to gain a family’s financial or political standing. We are, thank G-d, moving past these ideas in the United States, but old habits and old ways of thinking die hard.
What you can do is stand tall and be proud of who you are and the good work you do in the world. Putting in an honest day’s work, and doing the best you can at your job, are the criteria by which your beshert (your intended one) should measure you. If this special lady is not able to do that, she is not your beshert.
I hope you never promise to “catch up” to her finances because as a teacher vs. a pharmaceutical rep, you never will. And there shouldn’t be any shame in that, either. Why is your respective worth based on the size of your paycheck, anyway? Change the yard stick and you change the outcome. If the comparison were “Who is making a more positive influence in society,” – I would say you win, in spades.
If your date is really is so concerned that you are just “after her money” – get one of those nifty-difty things called a prenup. Offer to sign one. And be sure you have your own, independent legal counsel looking it over before you do.
— The Matchmaker Rabbi
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