Dear Thelma: He is not rich, I don't know if I love him

Dear Thelma: He is not rich, I don't know if I love him

"Dear Thelma" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Star, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network. 

Dear Thelma,

I have been dating K for some time now. However, I'm not sure if he is the guy I want to be with for the rest of my life. K is laid-back whereas I'm a go-getter. From this relationship, I realise that I prefer a guy who is financially stronger than me.

I'm using a car which my brother lent me. We usually go out in my car, which bothers me somewhat. For me, it's the guy who should be driving his girlfriend around. I feel like I am playing the dominant role, fetching him on every date.

He likes to go out for dinner whereas I prefer a home-cooked meal to save money for the future. He wanted to get a car loan but his family was unable to help out. I realise that if I were to stick with him, I may have to help him financially. He promised to work hard to build up his career and be financially stronger than me.

He is a very nice, caring, responsible and patient guy. Despite his tight budget, he will buy me gifts once in a while. I was attracted to him initially as he is smart and humble.

Now I'm not sure what love is. I am in a dilemma - should I forget about this relationship and move on? I'm not sure how to go about choosing a life partner. How do we evaluate a guy? Many said personality and compatibility are the most important considerations, but what about financial security, especially when the kids come along? I can't help focusing on his financial standing; his personality comes second.

I don't know if I love him. And I don't know if I should stick around and wait for him to build himself up financially. - Dilemma

Dear Dilemma,

The doubts you have are common. It may be a blessing in disguise that you are thinking of these issues now rather than later when there are fewer options to consider.

There are a few things to consider, first would be his personality. You are a go-getter while he is laid-back. The second issue is his financial status, and your realisation that you want a boyfriend who is financially more stable than you. These are valid concerns.

When it comes to personality, it may be that opposites attract. Being a pro-active person, it may be a good thing to have someone who is the opposite to balance things out. It may also be nice to have to shift gears when you are so focused on wanting something bigger and better. He may offer that timely and much-needed reminder to stop and smell the flowers. On the other hand, it may at some point irritate you that you are always the one to initiate things.

The best way to decide where the relationship is headed is to see if you click with each other. It is not just about him being humble and smart, it is whether you are comfortable with him. As you have been told by others, personality and compatibility are important factors in determining if someone is right for you.

Does he respect you as a person and the choices you make in your life? Do the two of you share the same values? Do you want the same things in life? These would be the more important things to look at when considering if someone is suitable as a partner.

You want to save; he seems to have a lax attitude towards money. Did you stop to consider the fact that he would rather go out because he does not want to trouble you to cook? He may think that it is an easier option.

Communication is very important. You have to communicate clearly what you want. He has to consider what you say, and speak his mind. Then the two of you have to work out a compromise. Perhaps you can start by cutting down the number of times you eat out every week. You are not going to completely stop going out. You are just cutting back. This is compromise.

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