I was trying to dig through your archive but I didn’t find anything on dating with a class disparity. A bit of context, up until the last few months I had all but resigned myself to the gauntlet of dating apps and coffee dates that go next to no where. Nevertheless being the filial son I kept assenting to arranged meetings that my mother insists upon. It’s a modified version of what used to go on in my East Asian culture but generally it’s to allow the parents to gauge the potential of the match and take measure of the other family. For the most part things on this front went no where, but it did placate my mother who has increased the number of inquiries due to the fact that I am 31 and seemingly can’t catch on with anyone. Still life is funny in that I did meet someone who actually reciprocates (let’s call her Sheryl). Unfortunately it seems that our meeting was never intended because the intended person decided at the last minute to decline. The matchmaker, not wanting to waste a dinner reservation, called up Sheryl. The unintended part isn’t the problem but my mother being far thinking nosy person that she is has started warning me that there is a class difference and has not so subtly intimated that this other match (let’s call her Mirage) who I have yet to meet would work out better because Mirage will soon graduate from fancy Ivy League University.
I don’t mean to make my mother out to be some odious Tiger Mom because I do respect her greatly as she was the mastermind and driving force that lead our extended family into the middle class after the leaving rural China in aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. As a 12 year military veteran I recognize that my mom is dangerously savvy because not every immigrant goes from English challenged food server with only a high school diploma to senior water plant engineer and landlord. Still I know she’s not the Oracle of Delphi, but I am certain that class differences will be an issue eventually.
So what should I do to manage this difference in class? Due to a misplaced debit card on a Sunday and playing phone tag and site navigation with her bank I did learn that Sheryl doesn’t have enormous credit card debt and that she has some small savings. I should be happy for Sheryl that she has money of her own, but now I feel very guilty when she pays for an occasional meal. Are we supposed to have a frank conversation about money? Am I fool for being very taken with her two months in (we tend to spend both Saturday and Sunday of every week together in some fashion)? One of the silver linings about being in a dating stalemate meant that I was able to amass a dating fund surplus so how far should I insist on paying for things when I am willing and more than able?
I don’t often meet women who are willing to suffer baseball, help me explain things to my grandfather, and not get critical about my basement of unorganized nerd stuff. Rarer still to meet a woman who makes a habit of getting up close in my personal space, which I find incredibly, perhaps stupidly, hot. Granted there is a communications bump as her fluency in spoken English isn’t yet able to properly espouse the merits of Rin and Sesshoumaru and my fluency in spoken Chinese isn’t able to recite the Analects, but she makes going to Target fun. I’d never thought I would feel this intensely for someone ever again, but it’s happening.
I know there is also a honeymoon phase in play, but all the same, one month in and every first date with other women felt like a job interview for a position I no longer wanted. As for the speed of events, I guess being culturally compliant meant that there never was an awkward trust building phase as our parents already met and were character witnesses. So any ideas on how to talk about money and when it’s appropriate to do financial disclosures?
– Troubled Zentran
I’m not gonna lie to you, TZ: money tends to be the biggest source of relationship strife, right next to sexual compatibility. This strife can manifest in any number of ways, from stress over paying the bills, disproportionate contributions to the household budget, one person’s bad credit dragging them both down to spending habits to… well, you get the picture. In fact, for many men, making less than their spouses can actually cause other issues, such as erectile dysfunction.
But class differences can go beyond issues about money – in fact, class or status and money often don’t line up at all. Class differences can be more profound than even differences in race or culture, and even harder to penetrate at times. There can be differences in values, differences in what’s considered acceptable or expected behavior, familial rituals. Those clashes can cause friction, especially when one partner feels (or is made to feel) unwelcome because he or she is “not our kind, dear”.
Now somebody call Sir Mix-A-Lott because there’s a big ol’ But coming.
Mirage’s class doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be happier with her or more successful. While graduating from an Ivy League university implies future success, it doesn’t guarantee it, nor does it ensure financial stability. At the very least, she may very well be coming out of school loaded down with mountains of loan debt… and end up incurring even more if she is going to get a post-graduate degree. Meanwhile, someone with a blue-collar background and technical education may well be making five to six figures in an unglamorous-but-financially-secure job like, say, plumbing or electrical work.
All of this, however, is pretty far down the line. The time when you should be having an involved conversation about finances is when the two of your finances are going to play a bigger role in your lives together; i.e. when you’re living together. You two have been dating for two months. You are decidedly not at a point where you should be having long and involved conversations about your finances or your financial future. You’re still feeling one another out… this is not the time when the two of you should be thinking of plans any further past the next couple of weekends. Shacking up, getting married or otherwise entwining your bank accounts and credit ratings not only shouldn’t be on the table, they shouldn’t be in the same building as the table in the first place.
For right now, don’t stress about the future. Try to keep who contributes to the dates as balanced as you can. If you’re worried about her ability to pay, then plan cheaper dates. Just remember that a lot of people like to feel as though they can contribute or treat someone, even if they can’t necessarily do so to the same level.
Take your time with this relationship. Enjoy it for what it is now instead of letting the future steal the joy in exchange for what may happen down the road. You may well break up over things completely unrelated to money or economic class before it ever becomes an issue. Save the detailed financial talk until the two of you are going to actually live together.
Hey Doctor NerdLove,
My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year, and we’re both in our mid 20’s. We’re going to move in together in a month, and we’re both excited about it. He is a very kind, very respectful person: we haven’t had insertion-type sex yet because I was shy about it for a long time, but we’ve both gotten comfortable with each other, and have over the course of our relationship found our own ways to be intimate with each other (mutual masturbation, etc).
He has said that he is ready to have sex with me as long as I’m comfortable and ready, and mentally, I’m really turned on by the idea of having sex with him. I have started taking the pill and we have gone over our histories and feelings with each other. The issue I’m having is probably a combination of physical and mental.
See, I have trouble… opening up… down there. The only sex toy I can use is about the width of a thumb, and my boyfriend is much larger than that. I don’t get much pleasure from internal stimulation with it, either. At the moment, I still live with my mother (another reason I’m excited about moving in with my boyfriend), and when I’m with him or masturbating, I clench up when I hear any kind of sound that could be another person in the house– even when I’m fully aware that I’m the only one home.
I know it’s a muscle and can open up from foreplay, etc. but I can’t seem to get past a thumb width at the best of times. I’m almost a technical virgin in the vaginal sense, but have had enough experience to know that I like the sensations that accompany sexual activity. I’m just not sure if it’s a muscular thing and I just need to try and use the vibrator more often and do Kegels or something, or if it’s tied more to my nerves, or if I should talk to my gynecologist about it.
My boyfriend and I have agreed that we’re not going to have that kind of sex until we live together, mostly because of our current living situations, but I want when we try it to go well. What steps should I take to make it easier to relax and, frankly, fit my boyfriend inside me? Is it because I’m worried so much about it that I can’t go any further?
Thanks for reading,
Ready to Bloom
So this is the part where I remind everyone that Dr. NerdLove is not a real doctor and that medical questions should be directed towards an actual doctor. Which is very much what you should be doing here, RTB. This could be any number of issues from vaginismus to “just have a tiny vaginal opening”, and there are equally as many potential treatments. Those treatments may well range from “lock the door, smoke some weed and let your boyfriend go down on you until he grows gills” to needing a series of dilators (i.e. medical grade dildos) to help promote your muscles to expand and increase elasticity.
So start with your gynecologist, RtB… but be ready to advocate for yourself. A depressing number of doctors – including OBGYNs – will brush off issues surrounding pain or sexual dissatisfaction as being unimportant or in your head. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to insist on a second opinion.. and possibly finding a doctor via the American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists’ referral page.
The other thing I would suggest is not getting too hung up on penetration as being the only form of sex that counts. Oral sex is still sex. Mutual masturbation is still sex. Anal sex is still sex. Phone sex, frottage… all that’s still sex and still valid, even if you’re not able to get his penis all the way into you. And believe me: training him to go down on you exactly how you like it or the best way to use a vibrator on you will be all kinds of fun for the both of you.
So there’s this boy who I recently started talking to but he has a girlfriend.
For the first month he told me he’s loved me and that if him and his girlfriend ever broke up that we’d be together. I didn’t think much of it because it, obviously, isn’t true because he has a girlfriend. Anyway he kept flirting with me and before I knew it, I was falling for him. I decided I wasn’t going to talk to him anymore because if I was his girlfriend. How would I feel if he was flirting with somebody else? Then he refused and kept flirting with me, insisting that we still talked, we’ll eventually he realised what he was doing is wrong and decided to stop talking to me.
But now, I want to talk to him again. We went from talking every night about us being in a relationship to us not talking at all. And only then did I realise , I’m in love with him! But he has a girlfriend! What do I do?
Not The Side Piece
You kick his ass to the curb and move on, NTSP. A little flirting without intent can be fun, but leading someone on with bullshit promises, love-bombing her and ignoring her attempts to put some distance between them? That’s shitty behavior at best and a pretty significant series of red flags at the worst. It’s not fair to his girlfriend and it sure as shit isn’t fair to you.
Wipe his texts, delete his emails, block his number, his Facebook, his Twitter, his Snapchat and everything else you ever used to flirt with him and forget he exists. Your crush on him – and it’s just a crush – will fade in time and you can find someone who isn’t an asshole.
My husband, age 63, says he’s just not into sex anymore. He says maybe early in the morning but I’m too sleepy… Which is generally true… But also he knows that he can just get up out of bed when I’m asleep and just say oh well sorry. But he really isn’t seeking any intimacy at all. I’ve told him it’s really important to me and he says he sorry. I’m taking good care of myself, I’m not overweight or horribly ugly or anything. I’m not sure how to handle this we have a good life except for this …. And I have a powerful sex drive at age 58. His testosterone levels are good he works hard physically and he loves it. Any ideas?
Sexless in Seattle
There are two possibilities here. The first is that he’s not interested in sex.
The second is that he’s not interested in sex with you. And if he’s pulling back from all forms of intimacy… well, that would be where I’d start to hedge my bets towards the latter.
Either way, this is going to be an ongoing issue, especially if he’s not feeling motivated to try to rekindle the spark in your relationship. While a satisfying sex life is important to a relationship, if you can be satisfied with a relationship that’s about other things than sex – your emotional connection, children you have together, etc. – then you could transition to a more companionate marriage. It could well be worth having a conversation with him about letting you get your needs met elsewhere – whether you have a semi-regular, NSA hook-up with someone likeminded or a boyfriend on the side – while the two of you stay married.
That’s if you want to stay married to him. After all, not feeling desired by your partner or being denied physical intimacy by him can be pretty damn gutting, emotionally. You may well decide that you’d rather find someone who wants to be with you – physically as well as emotionally.
So I’d suggest having a long, serious chat with your husband about what’s going on. Be willing and ready to hear some things that may hurt… but also consider how you want to proceed from there. And if you do decide to open things up, I’d recommend you check out More Than Two by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert and Opening Up by Tristain Taormino.