I'm a 26-year-old lady dating a 31-year-old man. We've been dating for over 4 years now. He has been in and out of jobs, presently he is jobless and broke. He is not good with money either, doesn't know how to save, and is always in debt. I'm becoming worried that I might have been wasting my time with him because only a miracle can make a wedding happen between us within a year, because even if he gets a job, he cannot save enough to get married in a year. Aside from the financial issue, our relationship is okay. I just found out he cheated on me. What do I do in this situation? —Hold On Or Move On?
Way to bury the lede! He cheated on you, but it’s almost, like, an afterthought. Indeed, it seems like it’s far more important for you to have a wedding RIGHT NOW (or “within a year,” as you say, which is still a pretty short time), and that will certainly not happen if one’s partner is jobless and in debt.
And, you know, cheating on you!
Out of the options listed, I’d go with: Move on. You’re still quite young, and you describe your relationship as “okay,” which doesn’t exactly inspire “Til death do us part” fortitude. “Okay” is how one describes things like hummus or high-fiber cereals. Is this what you want to base your marriage on?
If you really want to give him another chance, then it’s time for some serious adulting talks. It’s not at all romantic, but I want you to take a cold, hard look at some Big Life Questions and find out if you and your boyfriend are even compatible.
This can start off as casual. What does a “good life” look like? Are you okay with living in a cheap apartment as long as you can travel? Do you want to eat at nice restaurants or dress lavishly or drive a fancy car, or does that stuff not matter to you? What kind of wedding do you want? What about vacations? A house? Can your parents chip in at all for big-ticket items? What’s expendable and what can you not live without?
Once you’ve done that, pick a goal and work toward it together. How will you do that? Will you use an app like Mint to create a budget to see where your money is even going? Will you give something up if it doesn’t align with your long-term goals? Will you not eat out for a month to reduce your credit card debt? Will you settle for a backyard wedding if you can’t afford a Kardashian-style affair? If you approach money as a team, then it’s less likely the lower earner will feel shamed or attacked, which can shut down conversations before they even begin.
Anna Pulley is a RedEye contributor. Got a question of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or let her send you overly personal emails here.