The Man Who Said He Couldn’t Afford to Be a Boyfriend

I didn’t understand it at the time.

I was 19 and working at Coldstone Creamery.

As I was behind the counter filled with tubs of ice cream, one of my shift managers, in his mid-20’s, told me that he was on the lookout for a girlfriend, but he didn’t have “any money” for one.


I was baffled.

“I’m sorry, but are you saying you can’t afford a woman?”

He nodded stoically as if he didn’t just say something absolutely outlandish.

“With my salary, there’s no way I’d be able to get a girlfriend.”

I reassured him that he could get a woman without being Bill Gates. “Come on now,” I said. But he vehemently shook his head and said, “No. You don’t understand. I need to be able to treat her in order to keep her.”

“No,” I said. “You need to treat her well – simply be respectful – in order to keep her.” You can have all the money in the world, but try being a massive dick – you won’t keep any woman. You’ll have 2 divorces and 3 marriages in your future (a la Donald Trump).

The thought of dating a shift manager at a Coldstone Creamery didn’t seem like some sort of tragic choice. Not to me, at least. Just as long as he had aspirations for a greater future.

“Ah, whatever,” I said. This would be the last time, I thought, that I’d meet a man with such an odd perception of what a relationship should look like.


Six years later, today, I encountered a man with a similar mentality. And this time, it’s not “whatever.” This is a man I’m actually interested in. And he’s expressed interest in me. But the one thing that’s stopping him?


It’s a sweltering hot day at the park in Queens, New York. I am with a longtime friend who has confessed that he’s always had feelings for me but…


“I can’t afford you,” my love interest told me forlornly. “I am not where I want to be financially at the moment. I still don’t have a car. My salary sucks. I just won’t be able to treat you. I just don’t feel like the ‘man’ I need to be for you.”

Can’t afford me? I really dislike that he puts a price tag on me – on women – as if we’re some sort of inanimate thing that requires costly maintenance fees.

Newsflash: Not all of us are on the hunt for a man with a six-figure salary. But most of us, just like everybody else, are on the look out for ambition, drive and passion. You could have inherited millions, but if you’re a couch potato that sits on your a** and watch Netflix all day, BYE!

Wealthy or not, drive is what’s sexy.

My love interest continued, “It has nothing to do about the woman’s perception of me. Like my girl could be down for me not being where I should be financially, but I still – deep down inside – would feel uncomfortable. Because as a man, I want to be able to provide.”

Now that statement would have made sense in a conversation where a woman is demanding to have a baby and, of course, being that he’s not financially stable, he wants to be able to “provide” before the bundle of joy comes.



But I am a grown ass woman with a job that understands that, in a relationships, each side needs to make some financial sacrifices to make things work. Trust me. Even in a relationship where a woman thinks she’s “good” by dating a billionaire and not having to pay a dime, she, too, will suffer because the person who deals with the finances has ALL the say. And she can’t do a damn thing about it.


You can have your little Birkin bag, but if you don’t contribute to the finances, you’re trading in your luxury lifestyle for your voice and clout.

Hey, maybe that’s how some men want it. They want to make that much money so that they can “purchase” a beautiful mute girlfriend that’s simply happy to have ridiculously expensive shoes.

Maybe, then, I am not the right one for him. It’s clear that if he feels that he cannot “afford” a woman, I am not the right fit for the dynamics he is looking for in a relationship.

But, on other hand, I do understand where he’s coming from. He, perhaps, feels that without having his finances in order, his deflated ego will make it difficult to function healthily in a relationship?

What do you think?






2 thoughts on “The Man Who Said He Couldn’t Afford to Be a Boyfriend

  1. African_pisces says:

    I agree with you a hundred percent. I don’t need a man to be able to finance me because I can finance myself. I need a man to be a man in my life. To prove that not all men conform to this side chick standards. To have my back when I need backing and to let me have his back when he needs me too. I mean if love doesn’t work where two people are completely naked (emotionally) with each other then what’s the point of it really?


  2. ren says:

    I don’t look at it as men think of needing or wanting to “purchase” a woman. I think it’s more so being realistic about 1) the fact that a lot of women won’t date men who don’t have their career and finances together, and 2) many of the ones who say they don’t care will at some point want the man to have it together and, if he doesn’t by whatever point she wishes for that, she will either start pressuring him about it or leave for someone who does have it together. To me, when a woman says she wants “ambition” and the like and says she wants a man to have XYZ in the future, it reaffirms #2 as being a legitimate worry.

    I learned the hard way that just because you have ambition and want things in the future, that doesn’t mean it’ll work out. Will you be understanding if it doesn’t? A lot of women don’t seem to be, despite the fact that more and more people in their 20s and 30s are struggling to get good jobs, to pay off college debt, to make the kind of salary that is comparable to the work they do or their education level, and that sometimes you get laid off or other things happen beyond your control that you struggle to recover from in this economy.

    Also, it’s not always about providing or being able to care for children, because I am a lesbian and have this same issue with other women. I don’t date because I don’t feel I can find a woman who won’t care about what I do for a living and my financial situation, and I feel that way because I see women bring it up all the time in relation to whom they’re seeking and whom they won’t date. The older a woman is, the more it’s a problem with her–so when you were 19, of course you didn’t care what your manager did.

    I also, personally, don’t understand why “ambition, drive and passion” keep coming up from women or why that matters…it’s something I’ll never agree with other women about, which seems to be another obstacle in dating. I want you to be passionate about me, not necessarily a a career.


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