Disproportionate age/education/earning potential = disaster?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 23, 2011 1:19 AM GMT
    I could actually use some detached, real-world advice (e.g. not from my inner circle) and I suppose I need to admit to a few things I wanted to keep off of the boards. This is really not bragging regardless of what you think.

    I am 25 years old, very Ivory Tower intellectual (earned a doctoral degree at 24 if it matters) and have a presumably (hopefully?) high earning potential over the course of my lifetime.

    He is 19, not presently in college, has no assets, has been cut off from uneducated/homophobic/drug addict parents, is couch surfing from friend to friend (he is much more social than I am,) and is working menial jobs to save up money. But he is super attractive, super nice, and I have known him long enough to know he is optimistic and trying to make things happen for himself.

    I really like his realworldness to balance out my very sheltered/very academic background. I have never worked a menial job before. I am very sheltered, private-schooled, and spoiled. So I really worry about his background and growing up with the sort of family he did - especially when he meets my family.

    I think of myself as a "good influence" like I can help him get where he is going in life. But does this spell disaster in monogamous LTR land?

    My best friend thinks he just wants a sugar daddy and is trying to gold dig me. My secretary thinks of it as a fixer-up project where I can help him make a profound change in his life for the better and even if we don't end up married, I can still feel like I did something useful with my 20s like build his self-esteem.

    Any thoughts are appreciated ...

    After writing the post I am pretty sure I know what I am going to do - but I would still like my [questionable] decision making process ratified haha
  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Apr 23, 2011 4:52 AM GMT
    Anything is within the realm of possibility, but it doesn't sound hopeful, particularly with his family background. I know two people who came from difficult family situations (both from single moms who used drugs and had revolving door relationships) and both are responsible, educated, successful people... but it's still rare given those circumstances. Don't fall into the trap of dealing with your own sense of inadequacy by trying to save someone else.
  • chgobuzz1

    Posts: 155

    Apr 23, 2011 4:59 AM GMT
    Each of us has our own life path to follow and goals to attain, things to learn. I went through a period like you when I was younger and thought I needed to help less fortunate guys who were nice to me. Thought I had an obligation to play that role since I was more privledged etc. But really what happened is they wandered off and had to make their mistakes, or rather make their decisions and absorb the results. In the end I learned I could not manage everyone's life or help everyone achieve some higher result. My own brother has never listened to me and has had an unhappy life. He still wont listen to my advice. The reason why is that peple have to fulfill what it is they are here to learn. You cant wave a magic wand over this guy and make his life what you would like it to be. He has to have the chance to make it what he can and learn from the process of doing it. Even if he ends up alone and with no job. You can only make gentle suggestions. If he is meant to grow and achieve more, he will do so whether you are there or not.

    Now if you are both in love with each other make sure you can forever accept him as he is and he can accept you as you are. He may not be able to be what you want him to become any more than you can be something different he may want. LIke Sir Christopher Isherwood and his much younger mate, Ted, the photographer. Some 25 years apart I believe. Isherwood is long gone and Ted is very old now. But what a life they had. Ted blossomed and grew but at his own pace and the context of a loving relationship. Isherwood never forced him to be a clone of himself. Ted eventually discovered he liked photography and made it his lifes work. Some they had a great life together.
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    Apr 23, 2011 5:21 AM GMT
    Based in what you have written. I smell codependent tendencies in your post. And if you do have codependent tendencies you need to have that fixed or you might never have a long, healthy relationship. Ever.
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    Apr 23, 2011 5:33 AM GMT
    spaghettimonster said

    I think of myself as a "good influence" like I can help him get where he is going in life. But does this spell disaster in monogamous LTR land?


    In your description it almost sounds like you're adopting a puppy because you feel bad that it was beaten previously. That's the part that doesn't bode well for LTR. Dating someone because you think they need you never really ends well. You can be someone's friend and try to be a good influence. Going beyond that and trying to mold someone into what you want to date just sounds like disaster waiting to happen. Chances are you're going to be perpetually disappointed.

    You also said you had your mind made up already and it definitely reads through in this post since you only mentioned the negative comments from your friends. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • laguna07

    Posts: 124

    Apr 23, 2011 5:33 AM GMT
    There is an old saying, "opposites attract"! I don't go along with some of the well-meaning souls here. You need to follow your heart first, not your brain...but that doesn't mean you disengage it. Obviously you understand his dysfunctional past and struggles, but it sound like he is trying to make the best of things and that is what counts. And maybe you are someone who gets satisfaction helping someone in need. I'm sure he brings things to the table. I would imagine that if you got a Phd at 24 you are quite intelligent, but maybe you are boring, nerdy, and don't know how to be the life of the party...maybe he has a sanguine personality which makes life easier and more fun for you...whatever it is if it works for you then go for it. Best of luck!
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    Apr 23, 2011 5:37 AM GMT
    If you don't see him as an equal human being, which I'm assuming you don't based on what you wrote, it will never work out.

    Regardless of background you are both equally human, equally people. If you treat him like he's not, that you are somehow 'better' than him, it won't work. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but trying to 'improve' his life is laying your standards on him.
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    Apr 23, 2011 5:53 AM GMT
    "If you don't see him as an equal human being, which I'm assuming you don't based on what you wrote, it will never work out.

    Regardless of background you are both equally human, equally people. If you treat him like he's not, that you are somehow 'better' than him, it won't work. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but trying to 'improve' his life is laying your standards on him."

    -Simply_Drew

    My thoughts exactly. I was really rather disgusted with this post and with many peoples' advice. Just who in the hell died and made all of you God? So high up on your pedestals that the lowly mortals below couldn't possibly hope to attain your doctoral degrees and earning potential?

    I find it interesting that in such lofty company, sheer IGNORANCE abounds.

    People are people regardless of background or income or education or anything else. This isn't the Middle Ages...

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    Apr 23, 2011 6:21 AM GMT
    1. Isherwood's companion was Don, not Ted. Don is still alive and painitng.

    2. Gold diggers aren't known for practicing deferred gratification, so your future earning power doesn't seem to be such a large issue unless your family money is so obvious that even a dolt could see the golden spoon.

    3. Improving someone is not a good basis for love. The implicit condescension is a dick softener and a barrier to genuine interaction.

    4. And why, really, wouldn't he be just as worried about your family background? Wealthy and brainy people are famously well adjusted, no? . . uh, no . . . Does the name Von Bulow ring a bell? Kaczynski?
  • wunderguy55

    Posts: 46

    Apr 23, 2011 6:31 AM GMT
    Amen to both these quotes.

    Unless I'm misinterpreting due to the text format, your tone is already very condescending towards him. That can never be good for any two people to be together in the long term.

    But maybe you really like this guy, you've been told by family/friends/society that he isn't LTR material and all that is just rationalizing for reasons why it could still work.

    Either way, some of the most undateable people I've met are affluent professionals with PhDs/MDs/JDs/Lots of blue blood in their veins. It's really not the same thing.

    HeartoftheWest said"If you don't see him as an equal human being, which I'm assuming you don't based on what you wrote, it will never work out.

    Regardless of background you are both equally human, equally people. If you treat him like he's not, that you are somehow 'better' than him, it won't work. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but trying to 'improve' his life is laying your standards on him."

    -Simply_Drew

    My thoughts exactly. I was really rather disgusted with this post and with many peoples' advice. Just who in the hell died and made all of you God? So high up on your pedestals that the lowly mortals below couldn't possibly hope to attain your doctoral degrees and earning potential?

    I find it interesting that in such lofty company, sheer IGNORANCE abounds.

    People are people regardless of background or income or education or anything else. This isn't the Middle Ages...

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    Apr 23, 2011 6:56 AM GMT
    laguna07 saidThere is an old saying, "opposites attract"! I don't go along with some of the well-meaning souls here. You need to follow your heart first, not your brain...but that doesn't mean you disengage it. Obviously you understand his dysfunctional past and struggles, but it sound like he is trying to make the best of things and that is what counts. And maybe you are someone who gets satisfaction helping someone in need. I'm sure he brings things to the table. I would imagine that if you got a Phd at 24 you are quite intelligent, but maybe you are boring, nerdy, and don't know how to be the life of the party...maybe he has a sanguine personality which makes life easier and more fun for you...whatever it is if it works for you then go for it. Best of luck!
    Bingo.

    So far, I am only 19, and the one friend that has been there for me and hasn't driven me up the wall out of insanity is pretty much my opposite. I'm the brainy dude who's socially awkward, and he's the slacker with real world skills. I would say to give it a shot. Good luck.
  • jasen202

    Posts: 42

    Apr 23, 2011 12:32 PM GMT
    Dear Spagettimons:

    Congrats on the Phd on such a young age. I would be please to hear how you accomplish it.

    Anyways, you got a lot of varied responses to your situation. It comes with the territory; you take both the good and the bad aspect of any focus. What I think you are lacking (due to your age) is experience; that is something your processing capabilities can't compensate you for. Give the guy a chance. Think about the psycological benefits he provides you such as happiness, hope, relief, ; not material things.

    I rather be honest and take from the experience what was done right and wrong than to regret from not having done it. You should not interfere and infer too much, let the guy find his own way. From the way I see it -thanks for being honest about your Relationship perspective but your boyfriend problaly see it that way too.
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    Apr 23, 2011 1:02 PM GMT
    spaghettimonster said He is 19, not presently in college, has no assets, has been cut off from uneducated/homophobic/drug addict parents, is couch surfing from friend to friend (he is much more social than I am,) and is working menial jobs to save up money.

    Here is the answer in a nutshell.
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    Apr 23, 2011 1:41 PM GMT
    Wow, this sounds familiar...the fun, the "I'm learning about myself, I can accept people for WHO they are and they don't have to be like me..." works...for about a year.

    Then when you want to go to an exhibit, discuss a book and they don't have any knowledge, a discussion with your friends, family visits...the differences start to reveal themselves. You...will get bored of spending time with him, if you continue to hold your own interests. You might even find yourself being embarrassed, it is reality.

    If he has NONE, no interests that you can share, you will get bored quicker. I've tried this route...you think you are becoming more self actualized...you can do that with a guy you have things in common with and don't feel slightly "dug" by...

    Who is doing all the sacrificing of self here? It should be equal, all he is doing is gaining...you are going to go without characteristics and values that you already hold dear..even if you are spoiled icon_smile.gif



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 23, 2011 1:55 PM GMT
    Rather than piecemeal quoting:

    I think he is a good balance to me, he has the real-world kind of social interaction that is largely elusive to me. He is very social and comfortable in any environment, meanwhile I will only message people on Grindr if they have an interesting quote on their profile that I recognize. Rather than dealing with my own sense of inadequacy I can just have him around.

    In reference to garycally, the big (potential) worry is that he does embarrass me either at a family dinner or at a cocktail party that is tangentially work/networking related. I am never the hit of the party - and I am comfortable that way - but I do know that nobody else has brought a 19 year old and/or a partner that did not have a degree at a minimum. He is not dumb though. But the age difference seems ripe for insta-judgment.

    I don't think of people as equals and my relationships largely reflect that I see the world as a jigsaw puzzle. I get along better with my secretary, think Carla from the TV show Scrubs, rather than my peers. I prefer interacting with people that are not identical to me in every way so I can learn about them and their background. Hence, why my post is about [potentially] incompatible family backgrounds rather than a sex issue.

    I am codependent and have a big messiah complex. I rescued a dog from a kill-shelter who came from a very abusive background, and it turned out pretty well for both of us, so that only fueled the messiah complex. He knows what he is getting into and we have already had that conversation.

    And for the guys that took some offense at my post I said initially I was not bragging, just painting the picture so I could get some detached advice based on gut reactions rather than knowing 'me' and advising 'me.' I am really not that much in love with myself, already at 25 I can look back and wish I had made some very different decisions like not barreling straight through school, dating more, and having more normal experiences like working menial jobs in secondary school.

    With all that being said I still think it's a good idea - and that worries me, since last year I was dating an 18 year old freshman (unaffiliated with my university so no ethical issue) and that seemed to be a good idea at the time. This seems to be the same thing, but with a slightly different flavor.
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    Apr 23, 2011 2:02 PM GMT
    Sounds like you can learn something from each other.

    You can help him with some advice on how to handle the higher echelons of society.

    He can help you float back to earth and help you manage the real world.

    Never underestimate the potential of people who succeed against the odds and beat the statistics.
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    Apr 23, 2011 2:14 PM GMT
    Someone here quoted a saying "Opposites Attract"....well there's another one that goes "Birds of a feather...flock together"....I don't believe in opposites attract at all. I've come across and dated several such guys who came from strange backgrounds, dysfunctional families and lack of proper goals or a vision of the future. They tend to be usually "freeloaders" unless some take it in their stride to excel and get over their past. I would date someone poor but who is serious about his future and working hard, studying, doing whatever it takes to get ahead in life - but would never again make the mistake of dating a freeloader who does silly jobs and has nothing better to do than socialize and make friends he can use to just get by. Just the way he is couchsurfing as you say - he is also going to be Boyfriend surfing...moving from one guy to the other all his life...and if he comes from a drug family background, chances are he grew up seeing all that so will take to it himself at some point.

    It's very important to have similarities when dating a person - why else would dating websites try to match people on so many points...if opposites were to truly attract then a tall handsome guy should fall in love with a short ugly one...no???

    DUMP him...find someone your own level or you will regret it.

    Bonne chance.
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    Apr 23, 2011 2:34 PM GMT
    You seem to be smart, trust your instincts. Disparties in wealth, intellect, social status, career, etc., shouldn't really matter if you respect and value each other. So long as no one is intentionally and systematically taking advantage of the other, and both parties are aware of what they're getting into, any perceived disproportionality is just water under the bridge. Moreover, at this point, there are simply no guarantees that you will earn more money or that you will be more successful than him. He's still young and has tremendous opportunities--you even said that he's trying to make things happen. Who knows, he could strike gold (perhaps not literally) in the future. If he got lucky at some point, the roles could be reversed. I have a very dear client (now CEO and president of several of his companies) who didn't get a GED until later in life, got fired from his jobs several times when he was younger, but later found his own niche and became a very successful business tycoon. Now he doesn't even flinch when we charge him $700-$1,000/hour for lawyers at my Firm. You simply cannot predict what the future holds.
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    Apr 23, 2011 3:21 PM GMT
    There's an extremely high probability that he will eventually grow bored with your refined and studious approach to life, and will feel vastly inferior to your ability to succeed in the job market.

    I know this probability is real because I was the same way before switching from blue collar "menial jobs" to a white collar career in my late 20's to early 30's. It was decision I had to make for myself. If someone had attempted to "help me out" (aka: push it on me), the result may have been quite different.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19136

    Apr 23, 2011 3:30 PM GMT
    spaghettimonster said
    I am 25 years old, very Ivory Tower intellectual (earned a doctoral degree at 24 if it matters) and have a presumably (hopefully?) high earning potential over the course of my lifetime.



    I read all I really needed to know at "Very Ivory Tower intellectual". Maybe it's just me, but I'd take the couch surfing 19 year old who probably just hasn't found his lane in life just yet -- but is probably WAY more fun -- than a condescending judgmental pseudo-intellectual who clearly has tendencies that scream CO-DEPENDENT!!!! icon_eek.gif
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    Apr 23, 2011 5:13 PM GMT
    As others have said, you seem to think of him as your inferior. That's not good for either of you. You may want to get your feet back on the ground and get some real world experience before trying to find a serious relationship.
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    Apr 23, 2011 5:19 PM GMT
    For me personally, the personalities have to mesh. I would have no problem dating a waiter...if he dropped out of high school I would probably push him to finish up, that's just such a stupid thing to do. If he was dumb, our personalities wouldn't mesh.

    My last ex of 2 1/2 years was a card dealer at an Indian Casino... the only thing that I didn't like was his shift.
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    Apr 23, 2011 6:13 PM GMT
    Just remember: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Likewise, you can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.
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    Apr 27, 2011 4:15 PM GMT
    It did not work out - in case anyone was curious about the update.

    Fiddlesticks.
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    Apr 27, 2011 4:28 PM GMT
    Sorry. But that's the best part of youth - you get to try things, to see what works and what doesn't.