Student Loans Versus Love
Dear Margo: I’m a female in my late 20s living in a big city. My boyfriend is in his mid-30s. We have a wonderful relationship with good sex and great communication. We’re planning to move in together and want to eventually start a family and all that jazz. The problem is he’s broke — like 150 grand in debt broke.
Almost $100,000 of that is student loans. He has a master’s degree, but doesn’t make enough money to even begin his payments. He’s told me all this before, but I guess I didn’t realize how real it was until last night. He was explaining his financial stress, and I saw the future I want falling away. If I stay with him, I’m afraid I’ll be choosing a life of ongoing economic problems. I went to a very expensive college, but I’ve worked hard to make my payments on time every month since graduation and have been slowly chipping away at my debt. I have no credit card debt and an almost perfect credit score. I have a good job, but not enough income to support a family by myself or to help offset my partner’s debt.
I’m embarrassed to feel this way, but I’ve worked hard to be financially responsible, and now it feels like it will all go to hell if I start building a life with this man. I want us to be together, but I also want financial security, a kid, a house and a picket fence. OK, maybe not the picket fence. — Am I Being Awful?
Dear Am: The relationship sounds nearly ideal, so maybe there are things to be done that will allow you to continue without feeling financially threatened. Why don’t you take charge of the family finances since you seem more competent in that department? It is entirely possible that, in time, he will better his position, just as you likely could wind up in a higher paying job. Then, too, there is much talk of the government doing something about these crippling student loans.
While I understand your wish for financial security, I know of too many romances where the couple started out very modestly and then fortune smiled upon them. Yours needs to be a decision of the heart, and if the concern about money outweighs that, then there is your answer. — Margo, thoughtfully
When Things Just Don’t Make Sense
Dear Margo: I have a friend (honest, it’s not me) who had a years-long affair with a married man. My friend had been divorced for a long time. These people lived in the same apartment building!
Well, here’s what happened — which neither my friend nor I understand. The man’s wife became ill, and after a year and a half, she died. You’d think that they could have become a couple openly, but that did not happen. He basically dumped her. After a few months, a woman moved in with him. It really makes no sense. My friend wound up in psychotherapy, and who could blame her? What is the dynamic here? Her shrink isn’t having much luck helping her put this behind her. — Helpless Friend
Dear Help: I have known of instances where this has happened, and everyone is always surprised. I can give you no answer to a certainty, but I can offer a few hypotheses. The man’s guilt may be putting the dead hand, forgive the infelicitous cliche, on conducting this particular romance in the open. The wife he was cheating on is now gone, ergo the girlfriend needs to be, too. Maybe this man needs the illicit aspect to have an affair work. (He would not be alone.) Maybe, in the course of things, he tired of her. Or maybe the guy was just a jerk. — Margo, conjecturally
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
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