His Job Doesn't Satisfy His Girlfriend

Q: I'm a landscaper at the local community college. I love my job and would keep this job for the rest of my life if I could. The pay is enough, the benefits are great, and the people are a pleasure to work with. Yet my girlfriend of two years keeps talking to me about "bettering myself." I'm not a doctor or a lawyer and wasn't when she met me. I'll never be rich but it supports me well enough. I love her but this kick she's on makes me feel bad. We have lots of fun and our families get along too. I've told her to please stop, and it's okay for a while, then it starts up again. Her sister is engaged to a dentist and I think this is where it's coming from. — Gregory, 27

Dr. Susan: Sit this young woman down and find out where she's really coming from. It's possible, as you suggest, that her sister's engagement to a dentist is affecting her own desires for a more substantial financial future. One has to be very confident in one's values to withstand family pressure, even a whiff of family pressure. It's also possible that your girlfriend really does highly value making a lot of money and having a lot of things. The way you describe your job, one would hope any girlfriend would be happy for you. Few jobs supply as many needs as yours does.

Then again, are you thinking ahead to when you and she might have children? Would it be premature to work out a rough budget and see if your income would allow her to spend time at home if that's something that's on her mind? I'm not suggesting you leave your great job, but that you find out what's really bothering her and see if there's any other way of getting everyone's needs met. If it's just that your job doesn't have the status she would like, then maybe she isn't the right person for you after all.

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