I have a love dilemma.
I am 28 years old with a flourishing career and am currently finishing my MBA. I love to volunteer and travel in my spare time. I finally feel, after all these years, that my hard work is paying off because I'm slowly but surely checking off my life goals one at a time.
My dilemma is that I have found myself in a relationship with a man who is completely smitten by me in every way, but we aren't equally yoked and the sex is AWFUL.
Cole dropped out of undergrad and has a blue collar job with the income to match. He is a hard worker and will give me anything I ask of him, but there are areas in which he lacks. On the surface our relationship is great; we laugh, talk, play, and most importantly, we are true friends. The sex however, leaves much to be desired due to his small size.
Recently, Cole has talked about moving in together and now I'm having doubts because this means things are getting serious. I mean, sharing my personal space with a man is a big step for me––not going and coming as I please, dealing with the toilet seat up, etc. Plus, when it comes to conversations regarding business or politics, it feels like I'm speaking a different language. Cole has goals to move up in life but it feels like I'm running laps around him to the point in which he might never catch up.
Recently, I ran into Alex, someone I used to date and have casual sex with. Him and I always have always had a magnetic chemistry, deep conversations, exhaustingly great sex, and we are equally yoked on multiple levels. Alex told me I was the one that got away and as we talked, it became evident that he had been dating women that weren't equally yoked, either. He asked me on a date to which I declined, but the potential of dating someone on my level has stayed on my mind.
I've never been the type to be materialistic and I'm still not, but is it wrong of me to want a relationship in which a man is my financial equal?
I mean, men talk about women having their own all the time and now that I do have my own, I'm in a relationship with a man who's struggling and living check-to-check.
Is it wrong for me to want to attend company cocktail parties with a man on my arm who can command a room and handle himself in business conversations?
Shouldn't there be a healthy competition between you and your partner for achieving accomplishments?
Also, can a relationship without decent sex last?
Should I stay with this man because he loves me and it's emotionally safe or should I take the risk of becoming single again and find my equal on every level?
My first fear in life is to be old and alone, the second is to settle for less than I deserve. Please help!
Dear Successful Romantic,
Firstly, let me preface this response by saying you are not wrong––it is never wrong to follow your heart's desires or the rationale of your mind. It will never be wrong to do what you think is right for you.
Secondly, congratulations on your personal and professional achievements; as I always say, "Do the work. No one can deny the work." With all your dedication, study, and practice, no one can deny what you have done, especially you. You know what you are worth, you know what you deserve, and up until your relationship with Cole, you've gone after just that.
Dimming Your Light:
Now, I wonder, is there a part of you that feels guilty about your accomplishments? Have you felt you have to dumb yourself down because your accomplishments intimidate others around you?
Speaking from experience, when a woman has surpassed many of her friends, family, acquaintances, and lovers, she many times begins to feel a low, dull pang of guilt. Often, she won't notice this pang but it will manifest itself in at least one of her life choices and that choice is usually her selection of a mate.
You have been wanting to prove to yourself and others that you are not better than or too good for anyone, that you can slum it like the rest, date down, and be miserable just like everyone else. What you are trying to do, my love, is assimilate with people who are not your equals.
It is okay be better than. It is okay to be too good. You have earned the right to move up a notch or two or three. You have earned the right to open the doors of better choices in life. You can choose a better place to live, you can eat better quality foods, drive luxury vehicles, take vacations, splurge once in a while, and you can certainly have your pick of the litter when it comes to men. There are levels to life and the sad truth of the matter is that not everyone will unlock every level or even the next level up. Not everyone has this sort of choosing power, but you do! Use it wisely.
The Issue of the Dowry:
Chapter eleven of The Vixen Manual, entitled, 'Dating for Love or Money' gives readers a brief, segmented history of dating and marriage. Within that history, I discuss the concept of dating up and being equally yoked. In it, I write:
Dating or marrying for money is not a new concept. It's been a way of life for the elite and nobility around the world for centuries. Marriages were frequently prearranged, sometimes at birth. Families of so-called good stock and great wealth wanted to assure that their children married into a family of equal or greater stock, thus stabilizing or improving the family's overall social and political stature.
It goes on to read:
Even in those prearranged marriages of old, the bride's family always made sure they had something to offer the groom in exchange for him taking on their daughter. She couldn't just show up. She had to come with something. This is known as a dowry...
What, exactly, is your dowry? What do you have to offer? I'm not just talking about money. I mean, overall.
Though I wrote The Vixen Manual for women, this is unisex advice. From what you have told me, you know what you have to offer and you should; you've worked very hard to be able to offer it! But also, from what you have told me, you already know Cole has little to offer you or your future outside of his genuine and, hopefully, life-long friendship. And that's okay! But, in these modern days and times when women sometimes out-earn their men, taking on the traditionally male, head-of-household roles, the issue of the modern-day dowry is now unisex or even asexual. The man can't just show up!
The Issue of the Tiny Penis:
Girl, I've been there, too. I famously married a man with a very, very, very tiny penis and upon seeing it for the first time on our wedding night, I knew the marriage was over. In fact, he sounds a lot like Cole. Not terribly smart, can't hold a decent conversation about business or politics, a really good friend, but couldn't earn a decent living, therefore, I had to take care of him.
But back to this penis.
Sex is one of the top three things on a deconstructed list of topics couples fight about and, eventually, break up or divorce over. The other two are money and issues with family and/or children. So, your relationship with Cole is two-for-three. If there are financial woes, the relationship suffers. Add sexual woes on top of that and you have a house of cards a sneeze away from collapsing.
It is not unfair or wrong for you to want to be sexually satisfied! You deserve good sex and there is a man out there who will give it to you!
The Issue of Love:
According to Greek Philosophy, there are six different kinds of love. Just because you love someone, doesn't mean that love is romantic, nor does it mean that person is meant to be in your life. This is not to say that Cole should be ousted completely, but it is to say that love is rarely what people make it out to be. What you have here is not a love dilemma––it's a definition of love dilemma. Below is a list and definitions of the six kinds of love. This may be a good barometer to help you decide where Cole fits into your life and your heart.
Here are the six kinds:
- Eros, or sexual passion: The first kind of love was eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire.
- Philia, or deep friendship: The second variety of love was philia or friendship, which the Greeks valued far more than the base sexuality of eros.
- Ludus, or playful love: This was the Greeks' idea of playful love, which referred to the affection between children or young lovers.
- Agape, or love for everyone: The fourth love, and perhaps the most radical, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers.
- Pragma, or longstanding love: Another Greek love was the mature love known as pragma. This was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples. Pragma was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.
- Philautia, or love of the self: The Greek's sixth variety of love was philautia or self-love. And the clever Greeks realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune. A healthier version enhances your wider capacity to love.
The Issue of the Next Man:
It doesn't matter whether it's Alex or the attorney you'll meet in your local Starbucks next Sunday; whoever you end up with has to satisfy you on all levels. He must charge you and invigorate your senses. He has to be able to teach you and show you things you've never seen. The right man for you will encourage you to move even higher in your educational and professional stations and he will need to be able to support you in all ways. You need a man who can take full care of you, though you may never need him to, and he deserves a woman who can do the same. And, to be frank, he has to give you mind-altering orgasms and keep you begging for more. Just because you want to settle down doesn't mean you have to settle.
But You Already Knew This:
The honest truth is, you have already answered your question in asking it. My motto is, if you don't know, the answer is no. If you were certain about Cole and your relationship with him, there would be no questions! The minute you start pondering, that question mark over your head looms and creates a dark shadow over the relationship.
You know what to do but you're just looking for a back-up, a little bit of strength and that push you'll need to let Cole take his rightful place in the friend zone.
You need an equal partner. The bible speaks specifically to partners being equally joked and the man with whom you choose to spend any portion of your life needs to be your equal financially, spiritually, physically, sexually, and so on. Unbalanced scales tip.
Here's Your Homework:
Firstly, I want you to get yourself a copy of The Vixen Manual. It has been dubbed "the second Bible" by my readers and I think you will derive great understanding from it.
Secondly, you need to have a serious talk with Cole about your relationship. Now, I know most recipients of this serious conversation say they would rather have the talk face-to-face, but I am not a fan of this method––not at first.
I recommend you take the time to craft Cole a well-thought-out letter or email. Take your time with it. Make your words concise and make them count. Writing down your thoughts leaves very little room for error and lessens or negates the opportunities you have to say things you do not mean or cannot take back.
At the end of your letter, offer him the chance to meet with you in a public place, the following week, to discuss.
Upon receipt of the note, Cole will have time to think and the privacy he needs to react impulsively. No one wants to bear witness to an emotional blow-up. Scheduling the sit-down a week later will give both of you time to gather your thoughts and dissipate some of the emotional charge.
Naturally, the recipient of the talk would rather meet in private, but I am not a fan of this, either. A low-key public place gives you enough privacy as well as an escape route in case things heat up.
After the talk, give yourselves some space and reconvene later, as friends, if possible.
Lastly, don't rush into a new relationship with anyone, not even Alex. Take some time to think about why you made the decision to be in a relationship with someone who is not equally yoked with you. Examine that low, dull pang of guilt in the pit of your stomach that told you that you needed to settle, in the first place. Be with yourself for a while––not by yourself––with yourself. Give yourself a little extra love. Switch your focus back to you, rest your spirit, and cleanse your soul from this tiny bit of turmoil. Then, when you feel rejuvenated and ready to open yourself up to an equally yoked partner, call him to you!
Here's What Will Happen:
Sometimes, it is the people closest to us who tend to block our blessings. Often, we put people in the wrong positions and they just sit there, blocking what and who is truly meant for us. When you remove Cole from his undeserved boyfriend position and place him where he belongs, in the close friend position, you will create an opening for the person who is right for you.
Now, this doesn't mean the very next person who pops up is the right man for you! Many men will try to squeeze themselves into the boyfriend position but round pegs, square holes, and all that. You may have to boot a few people out of one position and into another before you find your ideal match and that's okay!
It doesn't matter how slowly or how quickly you move forward, as long as you keep moving forward! And, on your forward moving journey, encourage your friend, Cole to move forward, as well. True love, no matter what kind of love, is always kind and always encouraging.
Also, I wouldn't worry about being old or alone; you're far from either. Still, in order to prepare your life for the love you desire and deserve, leave room for it and for him. God will deliver your right man in His appointed time and only in His appointed time.
Have you found yourself settling for less that you deserve, like Successful Romantic? Have you ever been made to feel ashamed, embarrassed, or uncomfortable about your success? Have you ever dumbed yourself down or dated down because of that low, dull pang of guilt? Leave your comments, questions, or experiences in the comment section below!
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.