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Educated woman/uneducated man - can it work?

(124 Posts)
sparklet Sun 18-Jan-09 11:59:19

I'm divorced with a DD of 10 and have been with my current BF for coming up to a year. He treats me really well, is gentle and kind, we share some interests and he's the most wonderful lover I've ever had. We've talked about marriage and he's said he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but I'm in no hurry as I want to get to know him really well first.

There's one issue in particular I want to be comfortable with and please don't think I'm a snob but I can't ignore certain signs. I'm highly educated middle-class, he's skilled working-class (a carpenter) and simply not as knowledgeable/cultured as I am through no fault of his own. We do have lovely talks about quite deep things but I have to be careful not to use long words and can't really share my love of music and literature with him. His manners are a bit suspect sometimes too! He has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and I have to be careful not to come across as too assertive or he gets upset. Also I'm finacially secure and although he's generous to a fault, he's not good with money and has very little to show for many years of hard work and earning decent money. I can't see problems arising as long as we just continue to date but I'm nervous about living together/marriage.

saphron Sun 18-Jan-09 12:03:16

You are a snob

mysterymoniker Sun 18-Jan-09 12:10:04

supposedly relationships are more successful when the parties are from similar backgrounds and share similar values - I don't think you're a snob, are you worried about dumbing yourself down in order to communicate with him?

you just don't sound wildly compatible to me

bubblagirl Sun 18-Jan-09 12:11:13

you love him as he is or not at all and if not in your class then don't be with him he deserves to be loved for who he is not what he has

you have been happy for a yr with him so he offers you something

maybe you need to sit down and find out where this relationship is heading but if i was him i would leave as if he treats you well and he works hard does it really matter who earns more he has potential to make money why dont you see what he wants to do regards to his carpentry which is very good trade he could make his own things to sell and set up his own business etc

but regardless to this you take someone as they are you sound a little bit snobby to be honest if having doubts you shouldn't be with him he deserves to be loved for who he is

and people don't have to have same interests thats what makes people click you can teach people what you like etc also good to have own interests but class should never come into it

bangandthedirtisgone Sun 18-Jan-09 12:11:59

"simply not as knowledgeable/cultured as I am through no fault of his own"

Sorry, but that line makes you sound like you think you're better than him.

Poor chap.

bubblagirl Sun 18-Jan-09 12:12:38

regardless to snobbiness if your having doubts then you shouldn't be with him

aseriouslyblondemoment Sun 18-Jan-09 12:16:35

i think that you know the answer to this one!
it sounds as thou you're not compatible
it would be the best thing to end things and move on
FWIW i dont think that you're a snob
i share the same POV regarding men

LadyLiffey Sun 18-Jan-09 12:19:07

Of course it can!!

Universities are full of people who only got in because their parents moved heaven and other to get their child into university. Extra lessons, motivational holidays for good results etc...

I can't believe how many graduates know nothing about anything other than the subject they studied (and after 20 years, little about that too wink

clam Sun 18-Jan-09 12:19:39

Look, it can be called snobby if you like, but the bottom line is that it's an issue for the OP. She's apologised for it, and has acknowledged all his good points.
However, What's the rush? Just enjoy it for what it is now. You don't have to move in with him or marry him. I think it needs more time to find out if these things are going to create even more of a wedge. My concern would be the chippiness (no pun intended re: the carpentry!). What's chippiness today, could develop into something worse further down the line. Or maybe not. But don't rush anything til you're sure. Which you dont sound as if you are at the moment.

tumtumtetum Sun 18-Jan-09 12:19:53

I think the things you are talking about are superficial - in all of the important things he sounds wonderful. Like bubblagirl says part of the fun is finding out about each other's interests.

However i think this class thing matters to you very much and you seem quite aware/caught up in it. For eg you say that you have a love of music and literature and say that he doesn't share this as he is a different class. But many middle and upper class people have no interest in music (assume you mean classical) or literature, while many "lower" classes do. People are just people and while some people may not have had as many advantages doesn't preclude them from enjoying things associated with other "classes"!!!

From what you say he also is a bit uncomfortable...

So I would say that although it shouldn't matter to either of you, it clearly does matter to both of you which could mean later unless you sort it out.

I think you're mad though he sounds lovely.

LadyLiffey Sun 18-Jan-09 12:21:28

Ps, the problems your relationship faces are greatly oversimplified by saying that you went to university and he did not.

He feels he didn't have the opportunities he would have liked. You feel he doesn't spend his money on the things he should. These issues could be in any relationship

mysterymoniker Sun 18-Jan-09 12:21:57

a chippy chippy, how did I miss that pun!

does he feel hard done by? how does it manifest itself? it's a trait I can't tolerate at all

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Sun 18-Jan-09 12:22:49

Education isn't everything, but if partners find each other's interests stupid or boring then they are not going to be that compatible in the long run.
You don't have to marry him, nor do you have to dump him straight away if you enjoy each other's company. Relationships can just run their course and be over without it being a bad thing.

I think an additional problem you face is that many people find it perfectly acceptable for a man to marry a woman less well educated than he is (women are still seen by a lot of people to exist for men's benefit and a woman doesn;t need an education to service a man domestically and sexually) - but an educated woman dating a less-educated, or younger, or poorer man is still seen as not quite right (the man is supposed to be the superior in relatinships) and you will (and probably already do) get comments about how you could do better - your friends patronize him and his friends think you need putting in your place etc.

ziggyflynne Sun 18-Jan-09 12:24:01

you have every right to doubt, as this relationship will probably go well for a period of time and then it will come to a crunch where you find your self educating him just to have a conversation, i made the same mistake by staying with someone like that for a few years he was sweet, kind and a great lover but things ran dry you could try teaching him and broadening his horizons as i did but i eventually became his back bone and it broke.... be careful

tumtumtetum Sun 18-Jan-09 12:25:03

Reading your Op again Sparklet, I think that the fact you have to pussyfoot around him - being careful not to be too assertive etc means that you are adjusting your personality to keep him happy which will be very difficult to maintain in the long run and could well end up with you resenting him. Or you will revert to your real personality and he will wonder what the hell has happened!

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Sun 18-Jan-09 12:28:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparklet Sun 18-Jan-09 12:29:08

Thanks for some very mixed replies! Glad there are some of you who don't condemn me - as far as I can see, I'm just being a realist. I love the chippy chippy comment though - and that's an issue for me, the fact that he gets quite defensive and bottles things up. And for those of you who think I'm a snob, a true snob wouldn't date someone from a significantly different background in the first place.

edam Sun 18-Jan-09 12:29:39

He sounds lovely from the first paragraph and if I were you, I might be inclined to stifle my doubts about the second.

For you, does level of education and interest in the same music and books trump being gentle, kind and fab in bed? Could you share your interests in music and literature with friends and share your common interests with him?

Chip on his shoulder about you being assertive would worry me, as would not being good with money. Both danger signs for a serious/long term relationship.

bubblagirl Sun 18-Jan-09 12:32:29

im sorry for saying snobby i guess im the old romantic who believes in taking someone for who they are and thats it if doubts are there then you really need to address this a yr is along time so maybe its time for that talk

but regardless to education and interests myself and my dp have absolutely separate interests but this is ok for us we have our own thing to do rather than live in each others pockets gives us some independence

but as for class were the same we live day by day and i now stay at home never had high education as such but have been made to feel worthless before but it wasn't an option for me to go further

maybe your lives started different and your options were different but it doesn't make you bad people but it is a problem if this cannot be got past to be together and make your relationship work

you dont sound like your completely mentally challenged in a way you need to be maybe everything else is great but if your not on the same level on a day to day basis is it really worth continuing or you could both go find someone more compatible to your required needs

aseriouslyblondemoment Sun 18-Jan-09 12:34:37

i also suspect that as you're divorced you are probably not going to settle for a unsatisfactory relationship
i imagine that this is also one of the reasons for your questioning whether things can work out
i think that probably when you were younger
pre marriage and dd
this man would have been ideal for you
now that you've moved on your outlook on life has naturally changed

tumtumtetum Sun 18-Jan-09 12:34:39

I am not sure about society being uncomfortable with relationships with non-traditional dynamics. There is certainly some of that but I think it is getting better. Large age gaps still raise eyebrows whatever way around the sexes are and many women are with men a few years younger than them without anyone thinking anything of it.

Re the education thing, in practice most people seem to end up with people who are similar to themselves - if a person is with someone who is a lot less bright than they are, then there can be problems as the less bright person doesn't "fit in" with the friends of their partner and everything is pretty awful.

When men leave their wives for "younger models" the only people impressed are other mid-life crisis men - everyone else thinks they are sad and stupid, not least because they often damage their relationships with their children, sometimes permanently.

I also think that's it's a red herring to assume that educated people have more to say for themselves/are more interesting than less educated people. Loads of people with poorer educations and very bright, witty and brilliant to be around while many highly educated people are bloody awful bores.

Not quite sure why I've suddenly gone into essay mode -but there you go!!

Gunnerbean Sun 18-Jan-09 12:35:26

I agree, you are a snob.

You have only been with him for almost a year and already some of the things you have noted are settig alarm bells ringing for you.

You have noted that he is not as knowledgeable/cultured as you, that you have to be careful not to use long words when talking to him, his manners are a bit suspect, he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, you have to be careful not to come across as too assertive or he gets upset (could upset turn into angry? hmm) and he's he's not good with money.

If you'd seen this man described in these terms on a dating site would you have been interested? I think not.

Strip away the great sex and the initial honeymoon period which you're going through now and do you really think you have a future with this man? I don't.

I should move on and try to find someone who you feel more compatible with in terms of similar levels of education and interests because this is clearly what you value most in a partner.

lessonlearned Sun 18-Jan-09 12:36:54

Does he complain if you don't know a jigsaw from a mitre?
As for literature - there are many many examples, some positive and some negative.
The key here is that it is bothering you now so how will you feel when you are both old and grey?

My husband and I are from completely different backgrounds, he is from Essex, calls himself working class, left school at 14 to embark yoof of joyriding and minor criminality. He got put in a detention centre for a while.

I was brought up abroad, went to boarding school in Salisbury, then to university and did economics and am doing my 2nd degree now.

Doesn't sound compatibale does it?

People can offer different things and can change.

Last year DH finished a 2 year ND in tree surgery and arboriculture and got a triple distinction, prior to that he ran 3 businesses successfully.

We all have doubts about our relationships, especially at the 1 year stage, there are always going to be things that we think could be different / better.

I'd say go with the flow.

That's not very helpful is it? grin

Gunnerbean Sun 18-Jan-09 12:40:07

Oh and I don't agree that a true snob wouldn't date someone from a significantly different background in the first place.

Human beings are only animals really and if they see someone who they are physically drawn too that will overtake most things initially.

Someone who isn't a snob wouldn't concern themselves with things like a "significantly different background" because they would want to judge everyone on their merits as a person, rather than on what job or academic qualifications they hold and where they've come from.

Ivegotaheadache Sun 18-Jan-09 12:40:13

I was (am) in the same situation as the OP, he was a carpenter when I met him and I was in my last year at university.

I didn't give a second thought whether we were culturally matched, but I was more cultured, travelled and educated than him.

BUT, only because he hadn't had the opportunity to go to university and take a different path in life, his parents didn't push him like mine did (I put myself through uni by the way) and he didn't know what t he wanted from life let alone how to make it happen.

He is very intelligent adn since we have been together he has moved up in his profession and is now a site manager doing a degree course to take him even further.

He says he wants to progress partly because I give him nudges and tell him he can be whatever he wnts to be, but also when the dc's came along it fired his need to provide and earn enough money to buy a house, cars and all the other stuff that come with it.

I am now a SAHM (wasting my hard earned education and culture smile ).

I sometimes use words that he doesn't know but not because I'm more intelligent than he is , but because I'm such a book worm I come across these words. I just tell him what it means!

But I don't know everything because I've been to uni, there are lots and lots of things that I don't know that he will have to explain to me.

I don't think you're a snob and you're right to give these issues some thought, but most of them needn't be a problem unless you make it into a problem.

Forget about his manners, find other people to share your interests.
But I would be a bit cautious if you're not allowed to assert yourself, what makes him upset? Is it because he feels threatened by you?

aseriouslyblondemoment Sun 18-Jan-09 12:45:56

Gunner think that last bit was a tad harsh
but i can see where you're coming from
i dont think that sparklet values those things most
i think that she is merely thinking in terms of the complete package as there is the possibility of moving the relationship onto the next level.
i would also not wish to be with a man who didnt share the same interests as me or challenge me mentally
i would not wish to dumb down
did too much of this with exh!!

cat64 Sun 18-Jan-09 12:46:21

Message withdrawn

ladyjuliafish Sun 18-Jan-09 12:50:25

DH and I are from different backrounds. I'm private school, professional parents, proper subject at uni, have broad general knowledge.

DH parents are immigrants. His dad hasn't had much formal schooling and left home at 12. His mothers education suffered from moving around a lot and going to school in england without speaking english. Non of DHs grandparents can read or write. DH has never read a book (I read all the time). There are no books at all in his parents house. He has little general knowledge, doesn't follow the news, read a paper (except back pages) etc. DH has bad GCSEs and got into uni by doing a foundation course, did made up subject and scraped a degree. He is now self employed "skilled working-class".

We get on like a house on fire. We've been together 12 years and married for 7. I can't explain it. He has his friends to talk about 'transfer windows' etc. I have my friends to talk to and my reading group for literature. He has been to a few plays etc and enjoyed them but we basically have nothing in common.

He doesn't have a chip on his shoulder though and he doesn't mind that my english vocab is much broader than his as he speaks 3 languages fluently and unless you count asking the way to the youth hostel in French, I only speak 1.

treedelivery Sun 18-Jan-09 12:55:58

I'm uni educated [though no paragon of learning or culture I must say] and I always thought I'd 'end up' with someone like me. I think actually most of us do imagine that, so I don't think you are snobby, just really looking at what makes you you, for perhaps the first time. It will be an enriching process for you to see that humans can communicate across these divides, if you marry or don't him, this lesson is a good one.

I am with DH, a man who didn't get the 5 GCSE's. I would never have imagined that. NOT because I'd be like ''Oooo thicko'' but because I would never have imagined having anything in common or actually meeting tbh.

I realise now, that what makes me me is not that I have enough education to enter into a debate with whoever about whatever belief I hold. What makes me me is the actual belief I want to debate in the first place.

DH [mostly] shares my values and I share his. I may be more able to put mine in essay form, but he still has his values. He can express them in a usefull way. He has become more assertive, from listening to me debate. I have become more able to listen and read people from having to see his pov when not expressed the way I'm used to.

I'll admit to sometimes thinking 'I wonder what they think' when my down to earth working class lad is telling daft jokes to a room full of the 'next class up', and so I look and generally they are laughing at his jokes. If they are judging him in a negative way then I would rather not have them as friends tbh. That was in the early days, I haven't felt like that for ages now I think of it.
I am probably much more likely to suffer from his friends thinking 'silly stuck up bugger' when I'm having a rant about the rubbish shops where I live! smile

I would urge caution on one thing - I made the choice to have dc's with this man, to move to a run down 'not my sort of town' town in an isolated location, as his work was there and I felt that as the part time mum to be I should make this sacrifice.
My sacrifice, my earning potential, my choice - but on a really bad day I have to slap the demon that says 'ahhh if you'd married well.....'. I do give him a good slap and a kick [the demon, not dh], but I can see how to resent could eat a marriage up. Dh made many sacrifices to be with me too, and I don't rate mine as greater. We all have our demons and that is mine. I married great.

Be very aware of your demons and really look at who you are before commiting, either to this man or to a judge or to a millionaire. They are the same demons, and all relationships take sacrifice. I think modern ideals of 'the one' make us spend so much time looking at if they are right for us, we forget we might have to be right for them and bend and mould to make the one we love happy.

Phew - can you tell I'm waiting to labour and restless and bored? Sorry for the mega post blush

mumoverseas Sun 18-Jan-09 12:57:04

I was in the same situation as OP around 5/6 years ago, divorced with two children. I believe I am well educated and had an excellent career and through my career moved in very upper middle class circles.
For approximately 2 years I was with someone who was also very well educated and in the same career as me although he was much higher up the ladder than me. He was also well spoken (as I think I was, without meaning to sound a snob)and also moved in the same circles as me. HOWEVER, he was a complete wanker and treated me like shit.
After time on my own, I met a man who had a comletely different background to me. He did not have the benefit of the education I had received and although he had a good job we were worlds apart. In particular, (again without meaning to sound snobbish) his accent bugged me). He was from South London (apples and pears and all that)and I was from the Home Counties and (I think) well spoken. He had some habits that bugged me but I have no doubt that I had some that bugged him.
Anyway, despite the differences between us, I fell madly in love with him, married him 5 months after we first me and we are having our second child in 3 weeks. There has been a bit of adjustment on both sides and like Ivegotaheadache, I chose to give up my career and follow him abroad where he is working and I am a SAHM. I do miss my career/old lifestyle at times however it was worth giving it all up for my soulmate.
If he is the one, he is the one and it shouldn't matter where he went to school or what he does.

Pan Sun 18-Jan-09 12:59:37

I am guessing the answer is 'it can work if you let it', but from the sounds of it you don't really want it to. Are you fearing you will be hankering after a Culture Show man after a while? And we haven't mentioned the "L" word as yet......

Sounds like you are placing socially-determined values above your strength of attachments to him. These sorts of relationships/marriages work every day for other people.

And one year in, what else do you need to know about him before being confident??

what2donow Sun 18-Jan-09 13:00:42

OP, I can understand entirely where you are coming from. My advice - based on experience - is not to ignore these alarm bells which are telling you all is not well.

I am from a very working class background however both my parents were intelligent and intellectual, they just had no formal education. I have never met anyone as well read as my dad, yet he also did a manual job for a living. Thanks to my parents, I went to a top uni, and got a good degree. I now have a very good job and am financially independant.

In terms of men though, I have never felt attracted to what I inwardly think of as 'office monkeys' blush. Based on my dad's example real men to me have to do hands on jobs......however the vast majority of those men are not on my intellectual level, simple fact. That hasn't meant I am not attracted to them, nor vice versa. But, it has been a problem with the ones who have been nasty about my intelligence, or the job I do.

The man you describe could be my Ex (although he does a different skilled manual job). He was still living at home in his mid 30's, with only a couple of £1,000s in the bank despite having worked for over 15 years earning a very good wage (as much as I was at the time, I'd worked for 4 years & had my own house...). Fast forward 7 years, we got to a stage where my eldest DC (who is 11 - previous relationship) and I would have conversations he couldn't follow, where we would argue constantly and every argument would end with him in a rage because he couldn't express himself, and where he wouldn't even accept the sky was blue because he couldn't bear the thought of me knowing more than him.

He is not a nice man, and never was. Your man may never end up like this. But my experience has taught me that whilst someone doesnt have to have exactly the same IQ as me, we have to have similar goals, and interests, and plans.

The man I was/am seeing now rarely reads a book, yet thinks it lovely I have 100s of the things, and asks me about them - & tells me about stuff he likes to read....whereas my ex who hasnt read a book since leaving school thought my books took up too much space and used to regularly ask me to chuck them out.

Gunnerbean Sun 18-Jan-09 13:10:14

I have a friend who at the moment is trawling the dating sites in the hope of finding a new partner followig her divorce.

We were talking the other night about how when you are older, maybe divorced with children like her, the list of boxes you want ticking when looking for a new partner seems to get longer and longer.

People are often looking for the complete perfect package in a man and it's no wonder they are disappointed when they can't find him.

Most people acknowledge that no one is perfect. I think my DH is about 80% perfect, for me, and he has many fantastic qualities that I really value and feel I am lucky to have found him but for example, he doesn't share all my interests, he is sometimes not as communicative as I;d like him to be and he didn't go to uni whereas I did (not that I think that particular point is remotely important). Despite this we still get on well and what I would consider to be a great marriage.

I don't look to my DH to provide me with everything I need in life. Friends and intersts that I pursue independently of my DH fill in the gaps.

You have to strike a balance and I think that anyone who is looking for the holy grail of a man who is perfect in every way and with whom they're 100% compatible is wasting their time because the likelihood is he is just not out there.

i think that the OP's chap sounds great and in her shoes I would prefer to focus on his good points - he treats her really well, is gentle and kind, they share some interests, he's got a good job (and would probably be really handy around the house which is godsend I can tell you!), they have lovely talks, he's generous to a fault and and is a great lover too!

However, from the concerns she has already expressed, the nature of those concerns and they way in which she has expressed them, I think with the OP she will not be compatiable with her now partner long term which I feel is a shame for her.

treedelivery Sun 18-Jan-09 13:14:30

So the lesson for today, I think, is nice people are nice, arseholes are arseholes, traits are traits - and those human traits cross ages, races, creeds and castes.
So something as artificial as education hasn't a real hope of over shadowing a relationship where the joys of showing each other things, of being nutured into growing as a person, exist and develop over 50 years or so.
I do believe though, that to let and trust a person and a relationship do this magic, takes guts, hard work and some fairly crummy times too. I'm 4 years into our relationship and I don't expect to like him for the next 50 without a falter. I sure as hell couldn't expect that from him, I'm an old bag at times.

NewAmazingBeginning Sun 18-Jan-09 13:15:31

I think the fact you have to ask gives you your answer tbh.

roddersb Sun 18-Jan-09 13:17:42

Hi there

I can appreciate what you mean.
My husband and I are from disimilar backgrounds although do share a similar level of inteligence albeit for different reasons. I am quite cultured and have a lot of information held in my head as well as being very interested in current affairs so this helps me when in circles of people who I dont know so well or from different backgrounds and I can pretty much mix with anyone. My husbands knowledge is more limited to certain things and he is also not very confident which has raised some issues when we get invited out.

I love reading really challenging books and need to be able to think about what is written whereas my husband wants the story on a plate. Hence we do not discuss books.

We both love psych films as well as good british crime dramas so we are ok here.

I am into killing it cooking it and eating it and my husband needs to have his looking nothing like what it was in the first place so a problem here but we get round it by me doing all of the cooking.

Ultimately we love each other very much and have been together for 8 years and still passionate about each other despite the names we call each other such as him a heathen and an uncultured neandathal and he calls me a snob and a middleclass moron.

LynetteScavo Sun 18-Jan-09 13:22:15

Do you also avoid using long words with your DD?

My DH has interests that he can never share with me - now matter how hard I try I cannot be reomotely interested in F1 racing- it really doesn't make a difference to our relationship.

daftpunk Sun 18-Jan-09 13:22:36

maybe he's having doubts about you? how do you know he's not thinking..."hang on a minute, maybe i'd be happier with somone on my level"...

treedelivery Sun 18-Jan-09 13:25:25

So true daftpunk. I can see DH backing out of the room when I get some book out he knows I'm going to rant about. Usually a rant against men too. Bless him he must yearn for a less cerebral love mate sometimes.

MrsMattie Sun 18-Jan-09 13:30:36

I don't think you're a snob at all@the OP.

I think your concerns are legitimate.

I have had relationships in the past with men who were far less educated than me and it has caused problems. My mum (Oxbridge educated) and dad (left school at 13, manual labourer) had a disasterous marriage (the root of which was undoubtedly my dad's insecurities about being married to such an incredibly bright, achieveing woman).

However, these examples are only anecdotal. While I sympathise with your concerns, I do think it's s best to take each person you meet as an individual, rather than make generalisations about relationships and class/education /whatever.

If he is kind and lovely and you love each other...well, don't try to fix what ain't broke.

MrsMattie Sun 18-Jan-09 13:31:54

I have made so many typos, I don't come across as very educated, do I? grin

MrsMattie Sun 18-Jan-09 13:31:55

I have made so many typos, I don't come across as very educated, do I? grin

Pan Sun 18-Jan-09 13:36:46

interesting no-one has come on and said "I'm a bit fik, but my dh is a real brain-box..."

clam Sun 18-Jan-09 13:38:49

ivegotaheadache - I don't thnk your situation is the same as the OP's though, as your DP is happy to learn new things (am aware that sounds patronising. Sorry) but hers doesn't appear to. He seems to find it threatening when she uses long words and becomes assertive. That makes a big difference, in my view.

twinsetandpearls Sun 18-Jan-09 13:39:43

My dp has a much lower level of education than me, he left school with hardly any O levels and had to go straight into work and then into the army.

He then left and worked to support himself doing a HND in something I do not understand.

I have a very traditional academic degree from a good university and am quite an arty farty liberal type.

We do both come from very dysfunctional working class or even underclass backgrounds and that binds us, we get each other in a way other people dont. We both have a burning passion to give dd the best start we can as we knoo how our own very difficult bakgrounds have held us back.

Our educational differences but more importantly political differences have caused huge tension though and dp does have a chip on his shoulder about it. We are in counselling at the moment and it is a recurring theme. I am not sure looking back now if I would have allowed myself to fall in love with someone from such a different educational and professional background.

But having said that it is good to have a meat and 2 veg type man bring me to me senses sometimes as I am a quite irritating navel gazing bleeding heart liberal who could whitter on for hours.

MrsMattie Sun 18-Jan-09 13:40:41

lol@twinset! You both sound lovely grin

He sounds like a diamond, tbh, and I think I am more concerned by the fact that you actually think there's an issue here than I am by his chip! I suspect he gets upset because he senses your stifled feelings of inequality. He must know that you are careful not to use long words etc, and I imagine he knows that these things are a problem for you. He may not be educated but I doubt he's stupid.

DP and I are from similar backgrounds in theory, although my parents vigorously encouraged me to fulfil my potential educationally, while for his family the fact that he was very bright didn't have a bearing on things - he took an apprecticeship along with all of his mates. I am educated to degree level and have a professional job, and as such am the main earner. He's done a succession of fabrication/manual jobs since we met. He's now a SAHD for financial reasons. He may not share my interests nor I his but we've found new things that we can do together. The only area of friction is money or our lack of it but that's a problem that applies to any relationship in some respect.

On your criteria I would be kicking him to the kerb. We've been together for over 6 years though, and we're best friends. I can talk to him about anything and everything and he is my greatest advocate and supporter when things are tough.

I think you need to be really honest with yourself about how much of a problem these differences are to you, and even if the truth is distasteful to you, you should base your decisions about where it's going on that. I think committing yourself could be a recipe for trouble because it sounds like deep down there are things about him which don't conform to your ideals about how your partner should be. Or maybe you need to rethink those ideals?

coolbeans Sun 18-Jan-09 13:42:27

I don't think love conquers all in the slightest, and there are plenty of "red flags" you've posted about your relationship that suggest it is worthwhile thinking about the future and next steps.

Of course, some relationships thrive where each partner is from a different background, but if it matters to you that your partner understands and shares your interests, then it matters and it is silly to ignore that.
Nothing to do with snobbery.

And it should make you think long and hard if you he starts getting upset and defensive if you use "long" words. Do you really want to have to police your vocabulary for fear of upsetting your partner?

I once went round a Klee exhibition with an old boyfriend and he keep spouting the old, "a five yr old could have done that" line. It was a deal breaker for me. Just too different.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Sun 18-Jan-09 13:43:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twinsetandpearls Sun 18-Jan-09 13:44:31

I would worry if I felt I had to change myself in anyway in terms of what I said or did.

Sometimes I will whitter away and i will see dp eyes glaze over or he will say you poncey bint what are you blathering on about but I know that he admires me for who I am and I feel the same way about him.

MrsMattie Sun 18-Jan-09 13:47:40

coolbeans - interesting what you say about 'deal breakers'. My DH rarely reads and thinks a lot of what I like to read (I am a total bookworm) is 'a load of shite'. I don't take offence in the slightest grin. However, an ex of mine once asked 'Why do you sit around reading all the time? It's not going to make you any money, and that's the most important thing in life'. I knew it was over at that precise moment. Different planets!

treedelivery Sun 18-Jan-09 13:47:49

Had to ROFL at twinsetandpearls as I so totally relate to your last statement. Good luck with the counselling.

Pan - I had a brief interlude with an army officer who was soooo from a different world to me. We didn't have the 'lurve' thing going on [more the bed thing] but had we had then that would have been one tricky relationship. His very driveway made me want to run away screaming for a cab back to sububia, it was all just so posh. I felt an inch high. Clearly not a healthy relationship for me at that time.
In fact the love thing could never have happened, uber poshness aside his right wing hardcore army landed gentry type life was utterly wrong for me. God could I have managed the lifestyle though! grin

Metatron Sun 18-Jan-09 13:48:46

I don't think it has anything to do with your differences tbh. I think it is because he is a prick about them.

He sounds like he makes you feel at fault for knowing things he doesn't whether that be words, facts, social graces etc. This is not a class issue, it is a personality one.

mygreatauntgriselda Sun 18-Jan-09 13:54:15

Sparklet I think the crux of it is not so much his education, but whether you have enough in common and whether you are both intellectually [sp? LOL] similar and whether youare adaptable.

I guess that you would both need to be adaptable in order to fit in with each others friends and the issue would be whether you could both accept that over a long period of time.

My DH grew up in an apartheid country where he was not allowed to go to Uni etc. I come from a family of working class migrants who "became" middle class through sheer hard work (i.e. my Dad worked night and day to enable us to move to a decent place to live) - we've been married nearly 20 years. Despite our obvious cultural, racial and educational back grounds, we both fit in with each others friends etc and adapt when neccessary and we share the same politics which I think is far more important than whether we share the same taste in music etc. In fact he detests some of my music!

Yur guy sounds lovely BTW

KerryMumbles Sun 18-Jan-09 13:58:48

depends how good the sex is.

treedelivery Sun 18-Jan-09 14:00:00

Adaptability. So important. No one in a long term relationship can stay the same. I believe we sign up for that in a realtionship. Dh may change and develop and may go through stages I love or hate. I hope I can tag along if he wants me too.

Thats why I have such a problem with the idea of 'The One'. The one what? The one good mood I have in a week, where we belly laugh together? I can't be like that all the time for 50 years. Dh is not 'The One' he is a changing growing ebbing and flowing human. I respect that and have to let him do his thing, and he mine.

KerryMumbles Sun 18-Jan-09 14:00:49

ooooh I'd LOVE a carpenter.....

says former upper middle classer who is now just poor as dirt and just as ill-mannered (and oh how liberating it trully is!)

minxofmancunia Sun 18-Jan-09 14:00:49

my best friend is leaving her partner today for this very reason, they are poles apart intellect and values wise. She's bored out of her mind and completely understimulated mentally, she loves him becuaes he's nice and kind but she no longer fancies him. you're not a snob you're realistic, she's been with him 8 years and now she's lost weight and her self-esteem has shot up she's had an epiphany.

I knew this was coming, I've had 2 similar liaisons myself where I've ended up leaving because of these types of differences. It's not snobbery, it's life and I'm afriad eventually you may end up tearing your hair out because you're so far apart. Don't make the mistake she did and have a mortgage cats (although not dcs thankfully) etc. to fight about.

Astarte Sun 18-Jan-09 14:02:10

I don't think his 'class', job or education has anything to do with it. If you're compatible you'll last because there will always be things in common intellectually.

I don't think you are being a snob and I for one would run a mile at an unread man, sexy or not.
My Dh is more well read than me I would say (on balance, he probably has a bit more time hmm) but we each have specialist areas of knowledge which the other admires.

I would go for brains over brawn anyday regardless of eduction etc.

Perhaps he's a bit intimidated by your confidence in your ability to hold your own. If that's the case he's going to feel inferior and it will likely be a problem.
Some things like etiquette can be learned easily, tastes can change as you/he are introduced to new experiences, but if the desire to read, expand intellectual capacity is not there, then there isn't much you can do about that.

KerryMumbles Sun 18-Jan-09 14:06:17

i'm actually the same astarte. People can't believe some of the men I go for but I say, hey I like smart men.

Nonetheless op doesn't really say her bf is an idiot.

Astarte Sun 18-Jan-09 14:06:47

I would also consider the impression that the situation would leave on your Dd were you to start dumbing down to please him.
There are more than enough examples of women in society dumbing down to appease men, live an easy life.
There are few where women stand very proud of who they are, autonomous and unintimidated by either their sexuality intellect or abilities imho.

Astarte Sun 18-Jan-09 14:13:38

No I don't mean to infer he is an idiot, obv I don't know him.

I do have a couple of long-standing friends who have relationships similar to this and it's very saddening.

They were (still are) very smart women but through marrying either for money or social status they have become a little 'simple'.
Those women still have that capacity to debate and discourse but they don't do it, well, not in public.
They keep the peace.

I despair at the message it sends to their Dd's.

bloss Sun 18-Jan-09 14:40:17

Message withdrawn

sparklet Sun 18-Jan-09 15:24:32

Thank you, a lot of food for thought here and especially interested in comments from those in a similar situation. I'm beginning to think the main issue is that he may possibly feel threatened by me and has said on several occasions that he feels he has nothing to offer me. One of his first remarks when we got together was that he couldn't believe that "such a special woman would want to be with me". I was very touched but perhaps it should have made me think.

I'm concerned that I might get into the position of feeling that I have to bolster him and pussyfoot and lose respect because he can't stand up to me. He is totally different to my ex though, who was domineering and arrogant and regarded many others (including myself) as inferior. I do value him very much and I know we make eachother happy so will just see how it goes for now.

treedelivery Sun 18-Jan-09 15:50:38

My dh used to say things like that sparklet. I used to say equally nice things back [because while it is a shamne he feels like that it is essentially well intentioned]. So my dh would hear, 'your balanced and calm, I want to run about and change the world for everyone, you want to stay here and make my world better and that's amazing'

Sounds very squishy but true! As he became more secure in the relationship and aware that I wasn't judging him or looking higher he grew into himself more and became satisfied with his role in our little world. We both see we are different types but not better or worse.

He's been made redundant suddenly with no warning. Thank God we had worked through this naturally previously, or I think the challenge to his masculinity would tear a rent in us if he felt it affected him in my eyes.

Pheebe Sun 18-Jan-09 16:31:58

I haven't read through the whole thread as I'm sure everyones experience is different. Here's mine.

I have a genetics phd in and am a science writer by trade, well read I suppose and am currently doing an OU degree in humanities. DH is mildy dyslexic (never diagnosed) barely scraped through school, almost never reads a book or anything much unless he has too. Wouldn't know 'literature' is it lept up an bit him. He's an electrician and extremely good at his job and understands all that technical stuff no problem. His skills, of which he has many (he is incredible with angles and building work) are very much physical as in worked out in his head and not from a text book. Not sure you could get much further apart from an educational perspective.

I can honestly say it has never ever made one jot of difference to us. We've been together 10 years and have 2 gorgeous DSs. He grounds me in a way no one else could and has knocked the puffed up self importance right out of me. I see the world in a totally different way these days and am a better person for it. What have I done for DH? Well, he can ask me how to spell big words, what certain words mean, we do the paper work together. I have never judged him or ever thought of him as somehow 'inferior' to me, even secretly and I think thats the key. It simpy doesn't matter to me so it doesn't matter to us as a couple.

mamhaf Sun 18-Jan-09 17:19:50

I haven't read all the posts either, but I'm in a similar situation and sometimes it makes a difference, most of the time it doesn't.

I have a degree and a well-paid job. Dh left school at 14 but started his own business. He's now in a management position but earns about half my income.

His parents weren't educationally aspirational, mine were (although mine were working class, they supported me totally in wanting to have a good education and employment).

Since we've been together - 25 years - he's read only a handful of books.

Sometimes it does make a difference - his table manners can annoy me - but he has adjusted a bit - and it's frustrating if I want to watch something cultural on tv but he's not interested (although he does now enjoy classical music).

But there are lots of other shared interests - the things that brought us together.

One thing I do find difficult at the moment through is that I'm the only one who can help the dds to any great extent with their homework, which does put extra pressure on.

So, OP, yes, it can work, but as with any relationship you need to decide if the negatives outweight the positives and if the things which irritate you mildly now will be unliveable-with if you stay together.

tryingherbest Sun 18-Jan-09 18:17:45

Well, looking at the threads and following on from the last post I wonder whether it's do with education or more to do with your personal culture and aspirations. There are those that think you're a snob, think that educationaol differences don't matter and some that think that problems can be overcome.

My story is possibly one you're worried about. My dh was the most wonderful person. I came from a background almost opposite to his - although not particularly rich - we're from all over the world and lots of languages and interest holiday's etc. DH - opposite and no opportunities, no books, no music etc. My view was so what as he's a lovely bloke.

Fast forward 16 years on and one dc and the differences are glaring now - I've pretty much given up on my career - he was never supportive -and I've supported his - our parenting styles are so different - he believes in buying everything ds wants to stop tantrums- I don't beleive in that. Ds takes NO interested in ds education or mine.

I can't talk about my childhood as dh had no tv, no family, no toys. And if I ever mention anything I ever had (and I didn't have THAT much) there's a silence from him. My family have also learnt never to talk about my upbrining.

It offends me that I can't draw from my experiences. I have to instead draw from his which, through no fault of his his own, is very negative. And I have his whole family who have the same view and it causes nothing but trouble.

Perhaps I am a snob - but I never expected exptected my dh to be like me as I respect the person he his - but he clearly doesn't respect the person I am.

You might be a snob - who knows - but not in this context. If you have nothing in common it's best to be respectful to your feelings and his and draw the line there.

sparklet Sun 18-Jan-09 22:04:00

Tryingherbest, your story interests me greatly because we have such similarities. He talks about his childhood/young adulthood endlessly - what he didn't have, how his father bullied him, how crap school was and like you, I feel it's totally inappropriate for me to say how secure I felt as a child and what school did for me etc. He doesn't seem that interested in my past experiences so I never really talk about them and if I did, he wouldn't be able to relate to them anyway. So I'm glad you can see where I'm coming from.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realise what a hold his past has over him, as if he's constantly trying to come to terms with it. And that includes his failed marriage (divorced twelve years ago but still bears his ex a grudge) and the fact that he could have been more successful, like most of his mates. I feel sad for him in a way and just wish he could put it all behind him.

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Sun 18-Jan-09 22:21:45

Sparklet, what you've got to address with this man is whether or not he is prepared to accept that you are a human being, not just a 'woman'. You said he doesn't like you to assert yourself - now that would be a red flat if you were a 16-year-old burger flipper and he was a company director. When one partner in a relationship thinks that he/she is fundamentally 'better' than the other partner, and a much better 'catch' than the other partner should have expected, then the relationship is doomed. And this is not having a pop at you for thinking that you are better educated than your parnter (which may well be a fact). It's about, in general, if you are one of those people who wants a longterm couple relationship, you're only going to have a happy one if you accept that the other person has a right to be him/herself and that's why you love him/her.

smugaboo Mon 19-Jan-09 05:19:24

Gosh Pheebe, you sound quite a bit like me. I am a university lecturer (law) and I am currently doing a Phd. My husband is a gasfitter with O levels. With have 2 DDs.

My Dh is one of the smartest people I know. I know damned well he would out perform me on an IQ test if we ever took one.

But there were never any red flags - but maybe that was because I was in my 20s and no real expectations/criteria of a relationship. 10 years later we are happy and he is truly my best friend.

Follow your gut, I say.

sparklet Mon 19-Jan-09 10:02:13

solidgold, I don't think I'm better than him, he has a lot to offer me but I'd like him to be able to accept me for who I am. And I'd love him to be able to stand up to me a bit more so maybe that's a big part of it too.

Gettingagrip Mon 19-Jan-09 10:20:12

-He talks about his childhood/young adulthood endlessly
- what he didn't have
-how his father bullied him
-how crap school was
-I feel it's totally inappropriate for me to say how secure I felt as a child and what school did for me etc.
-He doesn't seem that interested in my past experiences so I never really talk about them and if I did, he wouldn't be able to relate to them anyway.

-I realise what a hold his past has over him, as if he's constantly trying to come to terms with it.

-And that includes his failed marriage -divorced twelve years ago but still bears his ex a grudge

-the fact that he could have been more successful, like most of his mates.

-I feel sad for him in a way and just wish he could put it all behind him.

With the greatest respect, I don't think this has anything to do with your education, as his 'lack' of education.

Breaking down your last post into bullet points as above....

Bears his ex a grudge years later. Bears his school a grudge, his father, everyone is to blame but him.

Many many people had a poor upbringing, poor schools, and so on. The point about becoming an adult is that you do something about this, not resent others who you perceive to have had 'advantages'.

The pity hook is also a huge red flag.

Sorry if I am miles off the mark.


Gettingagrip Mon 19-Jan-09 10:29:09

sorry should have been 'or' his 'lack' of education.

dodgy keyboard, can't afford a new one, despite my degree and post graduate qualifications and 30 years experience!!!!

Everyone has barriers to success....but we don't use them as a weapon.


cory Mon 19-Jan-09 10:32:57

Agree with Gettingagrip and others who have said the problem is not his lack of education but the chip on his shoulder. Have seen a similar relationship close at hand- though there it was the other way: the woman had the chip and was constantly trying to stop her partner from any interests that made him seem superior, always nagging him, trying to make him embarrassed about his education/middle-class background etc. The relationship muddled on for years and finally came to a very messy halt.

I would have no problem marrying someone who was less educated than me. But I would run many miles rather than marry somebody who felt sorry for themselves.

warthog Mon 19-Jan-09 10:36:31

yup, agree with gettingagrip. i don't think you're a snob, i think you've mis-classified the prob.

he's got a huge chip on his shoulder and he's got to stop playing the victim.

red flag for me is that you change who you are when you're around him. Not Good. you don't see a future with him.

i'd recommend dropping your act. see how you get on then, and if he can't handle it, he can't handle the real you, can he?

Gettingagrip Mon 19-Jan-09 10:48:20

-And I'd love him to be able to stand up to me a bit more so maybe that's a big part of it too.

Again with the greatest respect...he is standing up to you, but not in the way you mean!

He is manipulating you so that you cannot mention this or that. You cannot be you!

He is using his supposed terrible life, where everyone else had more advantages than him etc etc etc as a stick to beat you with.

I think you probably mean that you wish he would be more straightforward and respectful of your upbringing, as this is what makes you who you are of course.

What happens if you use a long word in his presence , out of interest?

Most of my friends never use long words...I use millions of them all the time...not one of them has ever called me on fact they enjoy that part of me...I am different to them, but never superior. They respect me for that, as I respect them for their skills and knowledge.

On the other hand, my ex-H thought that my attempts to educate myself later on life within the marriage were a waste of time and useless. Because it was a threat to his control of me.

He was right....I left.


Mooseheart Mon 19-Jan-09 11:20:54

Dh and I are from similar 'middle class' backgrounds, both uni educated, both from same area of the country, parents who get on etc BUT...

At first it felt like a match made in heaven but now there are glaring differences between us that have only manifested themselves since we had dcs.

The main areas that we don't see eye to eye are:

1. Dh's mother didn't work, had four dcs, was basically a complete slave to them and her dh (my fil). Shy, unassertive person.

2. My mother did work in a professional career, taught us tough love and to be resourceful. Latch key kids basically.

So having been brought up with two very different styles of parenting it is inevitable that our expectations of each other are sometimes poles apart. We have to communicate A LOT to get by.

I am VERY communicative (never shut up actually...) and am very straight down the line with dh. I think he finds my level of assertiveness slightly threatening tbh. Thing is, he won;t take that away from me and he knows it. There are things about him that I'd like to change but I accept that I can't and really shouldn't.

I don;t know how much class has to do with it, but Ithink if you are experiences such differences now, you should be worried about how things will be ten years from now especially if you have children together.

Communication is key, you should talk to him (gently but clearly) about your concerns - it could work, but only if you are both prepared to be upfront about the issues at stake here.

sparklet Mon 19-Jan-09 11:44:19

No, not miles off the mark gettingagrip, more like spot on! Airing this here has made me realise that it's not the background thing really, it's the way he's dealing with his past and not really moving on. And this is despite the fact that he's done loads of personal development stuff ever since his divorce. So he's tried but he's stuck.

And when I show him up in public (eg by suggesting calmly that he might be incorrect about a historical fact or some such thing), he doesn't say anything at the time but bottles it all up until weeks later and then uses it as a reason to say that I'm too assertive. The other day I suggested that me, him and my DD go for a walk before we all went back and I cooked supper. I said "I'm going to make you sing for your supper" in a jokey way and again he didn't say anything but a few days later told me that it had been a problem because it made him feel "cap in hand"!!

And that's how it should be mooseheart, accepting eachother's differences and not letting it get in the way of a greater love.

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Mon 19-Jan-09 13:01:23

SOunds like you'd be better off without him, sparklet. Self-pitying people are awful to live with longterm, because they invariably turn nasty: the only way they can feel better about themselves is to make you feel crap about yourself.
Oh, and 'personal development' may do wonders for some people, but it allows a lot of whiners to remain head-up-own-arse whiners for the rest of their lives.

Gunnerbean Mon 19-Jan-09 15:58:52

Is that a bit passive/aggressive too?

lessonlearned Mon 19-Jan-09 16:30:43

I'm with gunnerbean here. I think it's not so much that his past has a hold over him as how much it's going to have a hold over you.

jalopy Mon 19-Jan-09 17:24:54

Good post, gettingagrip.

veryembarrassedmummy Mon 19-Jan-09 20:36:24

I'd be careful- my DH and I are both educated but at totally different ends of the spectrum- one arts the other sciences.

I was unsure before we married and now I am still unsure- we just can't share my interests or me his.

It may well matter to you- take it seriously, as I am considering my whole future due to feeling "not on the same wavelength".

tryingherbest Mon 19-Jan-09 22:33:45

Sparklet now what you're saying actually resonates with me - NOW. Particularly on his upbringing which was unfortunate but he seems to hide behind it.

I had in some ways an unusual and fun upbrining BUT it was awful too as my parents had a horrible marriage and as an only child. HOWEVER, I decided that I as soon as I was old enough I'd take control over my life as far as I could and I refuse to be a slave to the negative parts of my upbrining (and boy there was some bad shit).

And - just to bring the point home - TONIGHT - I've had a shit day travel problem to and from work and a horrible day with the boss - I get home and he's telling me how shit he thinks graduates are.

Ta - love - my education got us our mortage on our property - however humble our home is.

What the hell can you say to that level of bitterness?

I'm sure there are many relationships that are ok with the differences - even thrive on them - mine doesn't and from what you're saying - yours won't.

tryingherbest Mon 19-Jan-09 22:38:34

Oh got sparklet and I've just had this thing where dh was going off on something in the news - off at a tangent and in my attempts to calm him down just put in a few facts I knew from an industry I used to work in to give another perspective - well he just told me to shut up and that he couldn't have a proper conversation with me and was ranting and raving.

I wasn't trying to lord it over him. Some of the stuff was from an article I'd read in the papers fgs. He can tell me lots about hings I don't know about - I'm pleased to get his factual knowledge or his experiences. But, hey ho, not the other way round mate.

sparklet Tue 20-Jan-09 09:23:02

Tryingherbest, I do hope you get something from your relationship - are you thinking it might not work out? My bf wants us to live together/get married some time in the future but that's the last thing on my mind right now. We had a very long chat on the phone last night (it's an LDR to complicate matters) and the last half hour was taken up with him complaining about how his ex-wife controls him. And that's because he allows her too (the not being able to stand up to anyone thing).

They split up 14 years ago FGS! They're in eachother's lives (too much I think) for their kids but one's at uni and the other's 18 so I think it's quite unhealthy. I'm friendly with my ex for the sake of DD but we rub along fine with no grudges. Taking it one day at a time and not making any plans and thanks to all for helping me think things through.

Miggsie Tue 20-Jan-09 09:43:15

My well educated friend has always picked men who are not as educated, and also she is very driven and attracts men who are not, and sort of want looking after and organising. She has done this 3 times and has 3 divorces to show for it.
she just "outruns" them in the end and they end up resenting her driven, achieving nature and she gets tired of their lack of dynamism and their reliance on her...

I would say the personality type is way more important than the education bit, but some uneducated men really do resent educated women.
Also, can you mix with each other's friends?
That can be a real issue too.

sparklet Tue 20-Jan-09 10:56:29

The friends thing could be a problem actually. The other day I cringed inwardly when he told a really crap joke to my best friend and her husband. Managed to laugh it off but I'm not very good at hiding things!

quinne Wed 21-Jan-09 07:30:25

As an another poster said its not a good idea to have to filter out big words when speaking to your husband because you can't relax when you are constantly having to resort to a mental thesaurus when chatting with him.

The disparity in how you manage money would be an issue for me too. A boyfriend can do what he likes with his own money but I wouldn't want to be financially tied to someone who was so different in this way.

I don't think you are a snob, just someone who wants to know if the differences are going to be significant or not.

It doesn't sound like you're a good match but I don't think it's down to class - it's down to your personalities.

My friend wont consider dating men that aren't well educated business types - she's been single and lonely for years. At least you gave this chap a chance.

sparklet Wed 21-Jan-09 09:29:25

That has to be the best username ever, madmentalbint! Definitely wouldn't marry him
and it would be nice not to have to use my mental thesaurus any more quinne! I think he could be nice as a boyfriend I see regularly but not that frequently (and that's all that's possible right now because he lives 4 hours away) and I'll just see how it goes.

cory Wed 21-Jan-09 10:08:03

Like madmentalbint, it's about personalities. I married a man from a different country, different educational background, different language, different religious views (me Christian, him atheist)- it's worked fine. But that is because we are each relaxed about our differences and have no value system attached to them.

I recognise that his family's way of living (partying, drinking, having fun, socialising) is another way which in its way is equally valid to my family's (putting money and effort into education, living for the arts, pushing yourself for the love of the work). He does not feel threatened by the fact that our family has different priorities.

If you can find a man who accepts your differences- and whose differences you can accept, then fine. If not, carry on looking.

Charita Thu 29-Jan-09 11:04:49

You are not a snob, just an honest person.
If he is not able to handle money and you are financially secure, just end the relationship. You can't change his spending habits and it takes money to survive. Plus, you mentioned that he has a "chip on his shoulder." Believe me, it will become more prominent over time.
If you are questioning your relationship, you are probably looking for a way out. Don't stay for fear of being single. Alone does not = lonely.
I have a similar situation w/my daughter. She is a 18/yr college sophomore at NYU (she graduated hs @ 16), and for a year has been dating a waiter who dropped out of high school 2 yrs. ago. He is a pleasant, hard working guy who handles his finances & is always welcomed him in our home.
I've noticed that he has become increasingly jealous & doesn't want her enjoying a college party, or friends, unless he is with her. He gets irate about her facebook & takes her cell phone!
Yes, he's promised her that he'll take his GED (she bought him the study guides) and enroll in a course or 2. Well, he hasn't done anything in a year. The other night, he was saying that he doesn't like to read books!
My daughter's involved w/community svc volunteer work. Last week, she brought her b/f to feed the homeless. While there, an older woman, who is a regular, asked him what he does 4 a living. She told him to do something more, while he is young, b/c life will go fast & it will be hard. She made him promise her. He thought it was funny!!
I told my daughter that I feel that she has too much on her plate @ this time, & shouldn't try to offer help to someone who doesn't want to change. She is a beautiful girl who has also done some modeling for Speedo, Clinique & VS. I think (& hope) that it is her youth & that she'll feel differently in a year.
Good luck w/your situation. Remember, you can be in a relationship for 50 yrs and be unhappy. Quality does not = quantity.

Portofino Thu 29-Jan-09 11:19:46

The "chip on the shoulder" thing and the fact he tries to dum you down would worry me more than his lesser education.

My Ex-P was a plumber. There was a big gap between his education and mine. That was never an issue. He was proud of me for being "clever". He was really good at his job and loved it. He also had lots of interests and we had many joint friends and got on really well.

Where it all came apart - our differing expectations. I was doing really well at work, and started climbing the ladder a bit. I had do further study and bring work home/work extra hours etc. For someone, who was paid by the hour/job, it was really difficult to understand why I did this without earning extra money.

Little comments were made about how my employers were taking the p**s, how I was "ruining" things by working hard when they were bound to just get rid me as soon as it suited them (?). Then his family started on me. I'd always loved them, but not a family gathering could go by without something rude being said about my job.

It dawned on me that they were all waiting for that point when I was going to pack it all in and just concentrate on having babies. After that, it was pretty much over. I was happy for Ex-P to be himself and never wanted him to change. I loved him for exactly who he was (I still miss him now actually, 10 years on)

But I started to feel that I wasn't going to be allowed to be myself and that if I wanted to work on my career, I wasn't going to get any support at home. And that I couldn't cope with.

fruitbeard Thu 29-Jan-09 12:40:10

Would agree with everyone else who's saying don't ignore your instincts.

My mum is not more intelligent than my dad but better educated, bookish, middle class. Dad left school at 14 (in South Africa) without much more than a basic education, was apprenticed to an electrician and has worked in various manual jobs ever since. He's incredibly clever with his hands and could be very artistic if he didn't think it was all a lot of 'snobby nonsense'. He's very much a working men's club bloke and proud of it - in fact, he's become an inverse snob as the years have gone by.

He is terminally insecure about his lack of knowledge/education, resents my mother reading - during the (frequent) rows they had when we were growing up the thing he constantly flung at her was 'you're only good for books, nothing real' and as we got older and started not wanting to sit down in front of the telly all night it became 'you're just like your mother, only good for books'.

The only reason they're still together is their catholicism and they've had a miserable marriage, constantly sniping at each other, as my mother (to her credit in some respects) refuses to dumb down, which aggravates him horribly. She too gets accused of making him look stupid, when all she's done is be herself.

Listen to your doubts!

Matthew123 Wed 19-Feb-14 22:45:28

That's incorrect. Many people like myself borrowed the money from the Government. University is tuff. You got your major and electives in a variety of other disciplines. I think if you can get a degree, your smart and more marketable in a variety of fields. I saw many students put the books down/ drop out because they couldn't write a simple cohesive paper. Being a male, I think it would be a venture to date an uneducated woman. The sex would still probably be great but then comes the other side of the relationship , communication. How can an educated person spend the rest of his or her life talking to a dumb ass and trying to raise an intelligent chid? Daddy, Mommy said your wrong , she said school isn't important .

I am from an upper middle class family with a university education.

My husband is a lad from a rough council estate with no qualifications and is a long haired biker. My parents worship him (as so do I). He says I am his bit of posh.... I say he is the love of my life!

ADishBestEatenCold Wed 19-Feb-14 23:28:01

"The other day I cringed inwardly when he told a really crap joke to my best friend and her husband."

That says more to me about your insecurities, than it does about his.

singleandfabulous Wed 19-Feb-14 23:40:23

OP, I recently ended a three year relationship with someone like your dp. He was handsome, kind, honest and lovely but the differences just became more and more apparent. He didnt feel 'good enough' to join me at a formal dinner and felt 'uncomfortable' about going to the theatre so didnt. Drinks with my boss were 'excruciating' for him (my words not his). In turn, I felt uncomfortable in his local pub and really out of place with his family. I tried not to judge him when he licked his knife but in the end I became resentful that my life had been reduced to going to the pub on Friday night with his mates and watching 'man' telly on Saturday night.
The problem is that most women still take on the cultural life of the male partner, so you are in effect 'dumbing down' your life to be with him. While the honeymoon period is going strong, you'll push the differences aside but after a few years you will resent having sacrificed so much of yourself for so little in return. Tastes, lifestyles and habits are very important in a long term relationship

anapitt Wed 19-Feb-14 23:55:53

I've always wondered how ancient threads get revived. This one is 5 years old. Don't suppose op is around to tell us the outcome. ?

anapitt Wed 19-Feb-14 23:57:17

Very interesting debate nonetheless

Compatability is about attitude, not interests/education/social skills, etc. in common.

You don't have the correct attitude to make your partnership work.

ADishBestEatenCold Thu 20-Feb-14 00:24:50

Well spotted, anapitt. I hadn't even noticed!

(wonder if she married him? grin)

msdiamant Thu 20-Feb-14 00:30:05

In some ways it can be much more interesting when both partners have different interests, hobbies. He doesn't have much money but he might help you with children, housework, bring you a cup of coffee, cook a meal, clean after himself and be willing to change for better or learn new things. Not every DH can do it. And having a partner who is great in bed is a bonus. What would my DCs do if I shared my DH's interests in watching sport on TV? How many times a week would you need to talk or discuss books with your future DH? I am so glad that F1 is not shown daily but a weekend can be ruined.

msdiamant Thu 20-Feb-14 00:31:35

Damn, I have just wasted time on an old thread.

msdiamant Thu 20-Feb-14 00:32:33

Who dared to bring this thread again!?

VeryStressedMum Thu 20-Feb-14 01:01:27

When I met dh I was more educated than him and more knowledgeable and cultured, he was a carpenter.
We liked, and still do, different music and I love to read he doesn't. I still read and he still doesn't. I've always used long words he says to me what the fuck are you talking about.

I like talking about everything, politics, history current affairs...but you know what just because he had a different upbringing and didn't have the same opportunities as me doesn't mean that he's thick he's very intelligent and can quite easily and happily talk about those things with me and with others.

However, I also talk a lot of crap, watch crap tv, slob about in crap clothes, sometimes I have questionable manners..I'm not special just because I got an education.

Over the years dh studied, pushed himself and worked bloody hard he's now in a very good job. He's now just as, if not more, educated and knowledgeable as me.

VeryStressedMum Thu 20-Feb-14 01:02:21

Omg 2009 who did this??? Who!!??

VeryStressedMum Thu 20-Feb-14 01:03:34

Where's sparklet, I need to know if she stuck with him.

randomfemale Thu 20-Feb-14 01:06:00

#where is the zombie#

<<looks behind sofa>>


kentishgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 12:32:08

OK, I know it's a zombie thread but it's an interesting idea to talk about.

I couldn't be with someone I had to really dumb down to. After my last relationship I couldn't be with someone who didn't talking about the things I like to talk about either, even though he was intelligent.

It's not about class background, or education though, it's intelligence and areas of interest. You get dumb well-educated middle class people, and very intelligent less-educated working class people.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Thu 20-Feb-14 13:18:15

He has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and I have to be careful not to come across as too assertive or he gets upset. Also I'm finacially secure and although he's generous to a fault, he's not good with money and has very little to show for many years of hard work and earning decent money.


DistanceCall Thu 20-Feb-14 13:29:39

The fact that you need to dumb yourself down and avoid using long words or being "too assertive" is worrying, to be honest.

There's nothing wrong with not having had a good education - it wasn't his fault. But if he resents yours and feels threatened by your intelligence - instead of being curious, for example, and interested in learning - then it doesn't sound very good.

DistanceCall Thu 20-Feb-14 13:30:01

Argh! Zombie thread.

FelineLou Thu 20-Feb-14 14:11:06

A dear friend(with degree etc) close enough to talk "relationships" with was married to a working(physical) man.
They had a happy long marriage with all the ups and downs we all experience.
She accepted his taste in entertainment and he moved closer to hers.
They talked to each other.
Over the years they moved closer. Yes it can work but both should be ready to adapt a bit.

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Thu 20-Feb-14 14:13:05

"I have to be careful not to come across as too assertive or he gets upset."

Sorry OP, this would have me running for the hills.

QuietTiger Thu 20-Feb-14 14:38:22

This is not about "class" it is about shared values, tastes and belief systems.

This is not to brag, but to put things in context - I went to a top public school, am from a very upper-middle class wealthy professional family, with the associated trappings, have 3 good degrees, have traveled widely, have hundreds of books which breed, am well read, posh spoken accent, go to the theater, like classical music etc, etc.

My DH left his state school at 16 with no qualifications, is a "manual" worker (farmer), rarely reads (except the Farmers Weekly), has a regional accent, rarely traveled, etc. etc...

You'd claim that we were completely unsuited to each other based on our backgrounds alone.

Yet, I am married to the most amazing man. We are good friends, have shared values, a shared belief system, shared senses of humour, we like each others friends, he is kind, thoughtful and I am thankful every day that he is my DH. Our backgrounds are irrelevant, because we are happy with each other and who we are. Yes, we have our "challenges" but they are through general daily life challenges, rather than anything to do with incompatibility.

Yes, the relationship can work - DH and I are proof of that, BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, I don't notice our differences, I don't temper who I am or what my hobbies are with DH, I certainly don't measure my words so I don't use long ones, and I respect him for who he is utterly and I don't mean in a surrendered wife context, either - I mean in a I don't want to try and change him from who he is context.

WhateverTrevor83 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:06:35

I went to university and am m/class (on paper)... cultured? Erm - I'm a National Theatre season ticket holder... but apart from that I'd rather be in Wetherspoons than at the opera.

But for what it's worth - I love a bit of high-viz! And yes yes yes - absolutely people can be together even if they're from different backgrounds and have different upbringings etc of course.

BUT if he's got 'a chip on his shoulder' and she's worried about it - then no... they shouldn't be together. But because of snobbery/said chip-on-shoulder, nothing to do with 'class'.

Ooh I wonder what happened...

WhateverTrevor83 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:07:58

QuietTiger you're fella sounds great! LOVE a dishy farmer grin

NearTheWindmill Thu 20-Feb-14 16:13:12

It works for my mother. She's had looks and money - he's largely helped her spend it all but I don't think anyone else would have put up with her for 32 years and for that I give him a great deal of credit. He's not my father btw. At the end of the day he's a kind man.

Pippilangstrompe Thu 20-Feb-14 16:44:27

I wonder if she is still with him? It sounds more like incompatibility than anything more.

anapitt Thu 20-Feb-14 19:23:45

yes I'd love to know what happened to the op!

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