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Educated woman/uneducated man - can it work?

(150 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

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?

OsmosisBanana Sun 18-Jan-09 12:38:01

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.

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