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Ask Dr. Sherry: Can I Have a Future With a Man Who Isn't On My Level?

This reader's boyfriend is still chasing pipe dreams while she's making things happen. Should she move on? Find out what Dr. Sherry has to say.

You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…

Q: Hello. I’m 22 years old and currently dating someone who is five years older than me. We have been dating for about a year and a half now and we love and care deeply for each other. My concern, however, is about our future together. He still lives at home with his mother, has no job and has changed his college major at least four times. He’s not very independent. His biggest dream is to run track and field.

Chasing after dreams is cool but I really don’t see that happening for him like he does because he’s been chasing this dream for a while now. I know I don’t have myself totally together and I find that all right for now. I’m 22 years old, and I’m not wasting time to get on my feet. I recently joined the military, and I’m sticking to the major I started off with. I fear that I will get ahead of him and I will pass him by. My mother stresses so much about getting with a guy who is more on my level, but he’s so sweet and caring. He has loved me like no other guy has loved me before; he has a big heart, he’s sensitive and a God-fearing guy.

He may not be able to take care of me financially, but when I’m feeling down, he’s there for me completely. I see myself benefiting from him through other ways. I know he’ll make a great husband, father and partner. I’m doing what I have to do for myself, so I don’t need to rely on a man. My question is: Does it matter most what someone’s current status is in life is, or ultimately, who they really are?

You seem like a very focused and ambitious young lady. You also seem to be quite smart, so when I hear you say, “I fear I will get ahead of him or I will pass him by,” there is no question that you already know the answer to your question.  You passed him a long time ago! Although I am not sure you were ever in the same race. This does not mean that he is not a nice guy, and he may make someone a great husband one day when he grows up. But the reality is, he has not grown up and there seems to be no indication that he will anytime soon.

He is living at home with his mother, he does not have a job, has changed his college major at least four times and continues to chase what you feel is a pipe dream. It definitely does not sound like he is going to graduate from college anytime soon. It’s time for you to put on your running shoes and run as fast as you can from him. You have clear realistic goals for yourself. They are definitely achievable and you deserve the best. You are right when you say, “I don’t need to rely on a man.” You see, it’s not an issue of “needing” a man, but rather it is more about whether or not you’re taking care of a man.

Do you really want to take care of a man just for the sake of saying you have one? Think about it: If he had a job or was clearly completing college, and his situation was temporary, he may be worth the wait. But you are positioning yourself to become his mother, not his wife, and that will get old quickly. Unfortunately, there is no shortage out there of men that will be more than happy to please you both emotionally and physically but are unable to contribute to the relationship on any other level. There is an old saying, “Romance without finance ain’t got no chance!”  Sorry to tell you, but it’s true!  — Dr. Sherry

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