Am I Being a Dick?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by puma1552, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. puma1552, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010

    puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    I live in Japan, my long-term girlfriend is Japanese. Been discussing getting married and moving to America next year when my job finishes up. The good thing is, we agree on managing money--separate accounts + one joint account for household expenditures, each contributing an equal percentage of our income to the joint account so it's fair. No issues there.

    Where we are running into problems is with what she will do for a job. I want her to work, and she wants to work. No issues there either. But, she studied English here in Japan, and it goes without saying that translates very poorly into a real job in a native English country; she has zero interest in translation or teaching work, and I don't blame her having done that myself.

    So we started looking at what she could realistically do that she likes, and decided that she would need to go to school and do like a one or two year program somewhere (nursing, paralegal, cosmetology, etc). Sounds good, eh?

    Well, the program she wants to go into is hospitality management. Ignoring the fact this is largely a dead end and very unglamorous field, she isn't aiming to be the hotel general manager, or the event/meeting planner/coordinator, etc. No--she wants to be the front desk clerk. Average salary from everything I've found is a piddly $20,000 a year. Pretty sad. Definitely not worth student loans and a couple years of school.

    So without saying I want her to make $XXk I tried tactfully to steer her towards the event planner as I think she'd like that and be good at it, and she mentioned it once in the past but she doesn't seem too interested (salary is in the $45k range to boot).

    In fact she's now gotten angry at me about this. She thinks I don't care about her happiness (I do, and I guarantee she won't enjoy making $20k sitting at a front desk at a Hampton Inn or some other dry ass hotel), and that I expect her to make $100k a year.

    But that's not it at all. My background is engineering, so yes I can support both of us. Not very well, but we could 'get by' which I'm not overly enthusiastic about doing. I would have absolutely zero problem doing it for a few years while she went to school to learn something, but I don't want to be doing it the rest of my life as it takes her 10+ years to hit the magic $30k benchmark. Call me a dick, but I didn't bust my ass HARD at school just to 'get by'.

    It's just not logical; she should be able to make enough to get by comfortably on her own, and so should I. Two people who can support themselves coming together results in two people who will live comfortably together. One person who is capable and one person who is not coming together is not a good recipe.

    I love her, I do, but the math doesn't compute. It's a complete waste to go to school for a couple years, take student loans, and then make $10 an hour in a dead-end job. I made $12/hr shoveling shitola at the grocery store in high school, and $14/hr doing data entry in college.

    $20,000 a year is damn near the absolute worst you can do full-time.

    But she says to me, that she doesn't think $20k is that bad for a foreigner without experience. Ok, I'll give her that, her coming to America is difficult, where there is a small/non-existent Japanese community, and where nobody--nobody--will speak Japanese. I can come here to Japan and get by with my English if I have to, and I can go down to any neighborhood foreigner bar and make English speaking friends, all here in the same boat doing the same thing. I realize she doesn't have it that well going to America--she's more or less on her own sans myself.

    But there's issues here--$20k in America means about $15k take home. She tells me she doesn't think $20k is bad because that's what she makes now here (women don't make a damn dime in this country) but the thing is, her taxes per month on that salary are less than $50 for the month. I make over twice what she does, and my taxes are less than $90 for the entire month. She also lives at home, so she isn't really that cogent to the true cost of food. She knows bills and stuff, and she has a car payment, but I don't think she understands the full magnitude of the price of food and especially the price of home ownership and all the incidentals/repairs that come up.

    I'll be blunt--I want her to do better than $20k, especially if she's going to choose to spend money on school to learn something. Thing is I don't need her to do that much better, is like $30-$35k asking too much? That's still pretty low. FTR I have not made any mention of a specific dollar figure because that's a bit jackass I know, but I have told her $20k is just too low. I like nice things, I'm pretty materialistic and want to have a high standard of living. I want her to have a higher standard of living too, and that means she can do better. Surely there's something she likes that pays better than 10 bucks an hour.

    Thing is she's looking at this emotionally and not logically. What if I lose my job and the two of us have to live on $20k? Sure if she loses her job I can still support us with an engineering salary in the meantime until she finds another job, but $20k just doesn't cut it, not to mention it's just the epitome of dead end. I tried to explain that it just makes sense for her to at least make enough to support herself in the worst case scenario (I die, etc) and that goes a long way towards avoiding money problems or showing resentment.

    So she's all stressed out; I understand her stresses, she's got a lot on her shoulders to leave Japan and start a new life completely unsure of anything, and I don't think I'm helping per se but it's a discussion that needs to be had because it will affect both of us for life. Like I said I haven't mentioned any dollar figures, just gently pushed her away from something so crappy. The other thing is it stresses me out to think that I'm supposed to shoulder a house, car payments, and supporting two people all the while making the in-laws smile because Japanese parents give a big crap that you have a good job to take care of their daughter.

    Am I a dick or am I spot on?

    EDIT: yes I realize this will probably solicit lots of comments about love and how nothing else should matter, that's all warm and fuzzy but it doesn't help your standard of living, and it's how you end up filing bankruptcy like my sister and her husband. Money is the number one cause of divorce, starting out with none or little and little chance to climb the ladder doesn't help those odds.
  2. MotleyGrrl macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    I lost interest halfway through, but I don't think you're being a HUGE dick, maybe just a small one. The thing that got me is you want her to be an event planner?? Good luck with that one. Those jobs are not easy to come by - take it from someone who works in the entertainment industry and knows a ton of event planners. Nursing might be good - but it has to be something she loves because you will both be just as miserable with her doing something she hates as you would be living off of one income.
    Good luck.

    P.S. where you live is a HUGE factor. Los Angeles - 20K is nothing... a small midwestern town 20K is enough. Where do you plan on living?
  3. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    You're not a dick, but I think you're wrong. Look man, I understand that you want her making more than $20K, but look at it this way - if you're alone and lose your job, what are you going to do? You're even more effed than the situation you propose.

    If you love her, and you genuinely want to spend your life with her - you need to figure out what makes her happy. At the end of the day that's all that's gonna matter. I'm not going to give you some story about how money isn't important, but IMO, here's the bottom line:

    Ample money + the right woman >> All the money in the world + the wrong one.
  4. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    You should read the rest of the post. By event planner I meant a hotel event planner--every hotel has a couple. I don't want her to be an event planner, but she expressed interest in it once and it falls under the same school program and pays a hell of a lot better.

    She hates nursing, I don't blame her.

    Minneapolis, it's no LA but it's also not as cheap a place to live as everyone assumes the midwest always is. There are plenty of $10M+ homes in the area.
  5. coochiekuta macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2010
    here and there
    my wife does work however she took time away from the workplace to have our son. i make enough that she does not have to go back to work, we also keep separate bank accounts. however im never home and i have a young child who looks at his father as if im a stranger.

    i will finish the year and then im done. again, i make good money but i finally see why people say money isnt everything.

    thats easy for me to say tho for i have never had a need for money. i have always had enough and more. with my new job i will be making a percentage of what i make now however a lot less stress. i will get to sleep in my own bed and i can see my son. :D

    every situation is different, everyone is different. i can live with nothing if i can just have my family.

    i dont think i have answered your question nor do i believe i can, however i will offer this. you must compromise. both sides must give something. you cannot get 100% of what you want and she cannot get 100% of what she wants. have you thought of ways to meet her part of the way?
  6. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I think she's being realistic when first coming here honestly. What I think you need to do is give her time to get used to and understand the culture. It's completely different from what she's used to and she may ... mostly likely will change her mind. I'd recommend that she learn English (obviously) and use her bilingual skill to get a much higher paying job. She could even get a job for the court system as a translator (my old neighbor is a Spanish/English translator for the courts in VA).

    Make that any parent of a daughter. The nationality/culture makes no difference.

    On another note, I can tell you from personal experience (I was without a job for 3 months) that having nice things pales in comparison to cherishing and spending time with your family and loved ones. I'm in retail management and my wife is an nurse so, needless to say, together we make close to six figures. We never had to really budget because we always had money to do whatever. I lost my job and that put a lot of stress on our family. We learned to budget much better and found that we could live off of what she makes (this is with a mortgage). So we were pretty much blowing my entire salary on restaurants, buying crap, etc.

    It sucked to be thrown into that situation but I got to spend a lot of time with my 2 year old son. That really cemented the bond we now have and I wouldn't give that up for anything. Now that I'm back working we're much better about how much we spend and on what.

    I guess my whole point is that living comfortably is nice but not necessary. You'll find you're just as happy or even happier if you're challenged and find yourself with time to spend with the ones you love.

    [EDIT]coochiekuta beat me to my point. I totally hear you man!
  7. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    I agree on her being realistic, it will be tough. It will also be tough for me coming into a 10% or whatever unemployment economy with no job lined up. I might be unemployed for a year like some of my engineer friends. Scares the crap out of me.

    Like I said on the translation/language stuff, she has zero interest and I don't blame her; most people in the industry tend to find it absolutely soul-crushing after a couple years, myself included. Been around that block a good bit with a lot of other people, nobody's satisfied in the language industry that I know and everyone has brain rot.

    Good point on her probably changing her mind on hospitality jobs once she gets there; Japan has top notch hospitality, and Japanese people are considered the best kind of hotel guests etc. (not rude, clean and tidy, etc). Once she spends a couple years with us landbarge Americans demanding everything in sight and being picky and rude, I'm sure she will hate it too. And that's the thing--it's really gonna suck if she finds out the truth about what I'm warning her against once we are another 5 years out from now and with student loans to pay off for that job--then we are worse off as time goes on, which is backwards. I want to minimize collateral damage, and minimize the number of mistakes from the get-go. I'm not saying we are going to get everything right the first time, but I do want to make sure we don't sink precious money into something she's going to give up on later. God knows I hate my remaining $18k in student loans as it is, and that's for a field that pays.

    Appreciating the inputs so far, keep them coming.
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I don't think I was clear about the translating jobs most likely due to the example I used. She could probably make more money doing a lot of different types of jobs just because she's able to speak another language. That was my main point.

    Also, I don't know why she should have to go to school to be a front desk clerk. She ought to start in entry level and work her way up. It won't be hard or take her long in that industry, unless she works for a larger hotel.

    I'd say compromising with her on having her wait a bit before she decides to commit on hospitality schooling and you allowing her to do so if she decides that she really does like working in the industry here is a good idea. That gives you both time to figure out what she wants.
  9. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    Thread should of ended here. Awesome insight.
  10. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Again, I understand where you're coming from, and from a logical standpoint you're not wrong. But if she really wants to do this, and I mean this from an emotional standpoint - you've gotta let it happen. She might change her mind about hospitality, and perhaps she probably will. But you have to see her through it, man. That's part of the 50/50 thing you entered into if you're in it for the long haul. You can logic her to the point where she changes her mind, but even if you're right, she's gonna always think about the 'what if'.

    And you don't want that, trust me.
  11. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    That is very well put. You obviously have some insight into how women think. Listen to him!
  12. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    He wants to get married, I think you mean 20/80.
  13. brad.c macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2004
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    Good points made so far.

    I wouldn't call you a dick, just young, and a little bit self-centred. :)

    Another thing to consider is if you (or she) plan to have kids. At some point, you may be in the position where it makes financial sense (or it makes her happy) for her to be a stay-at-home mom. If that does happen, you WILL be busting your ass to get by.
  14. MotleyGrrl macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    The cost of living is 30% lower in MN (St. Paul) than it is in Los Angeles. You guys will be fine. I don't care that there are $10,000,000 houses. Gas, food, everything is cheaper.
    When do you plan to relocate? The economy and the job markets still suck. You could talk her into going to school for whatever and come here and find out she's having just as hard of a time finding a job as you are.
    And back to your original post - isn't 20K better than nothing?
    Just from the few posts I've read, it seems you know it all. I am actually quite surprised she's staying with you. Wouldn't that be a kicker if you guys come over here and she leaves you!? I for one would never be with someone so controlling, uptight and materialistic.
  15. 63dot, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2010

    63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I am trying very hard to read the OPs posts and defend him from people calling him self centered and a "small dick". Those are not nice things to be called, but the OP is, well, appearing to be the very definition of what it is to be self centered and a small dick.

    The bright side is that we on this forum are telling it to him straight and I commend the OP for being honest and pouring his heart out in this thread knowing there will be serious hate thrown his way. That to me is a sign that he has hope as being a good human being or going a long way towards becoming one. A true "money is God" type of person would not even bother to post this issue here.

    Anyway, to the OP, I think you have a conscience but I think you need a lot of work. May I suggest the book, "Seat of the Soul" by Gary Zukav. A man I met with "moral" or "spiritual" issues, or at the very least one who many would consider self-centered and a small dick made a testimony about this book and how it changed his life. He was about looking "good" and "powerful" in the eyes of others and being married to "material things". I won't go out and say you are self centered or a small dick, or spiritually sick, but it sounds to me like you are at a spiritual crossroads right now. I wish you well.

    The OP is obviously not a saint, we all get that, and I too gather he has (from his intent and words in his posts) a relationship a little too close to money, but I think he loves his girlfriend.

    He has hope, that's why he's posting here.

    If I was with somebody that materialistic, I would leave them just based on that. But if you read deeper into his posts, I believe he is seeking advice and it seems he wants to find a compromise. None of us are finished goods and we are all in the making. I don't know him, but I think he's very young and just starting out and he wants the best for his girl and for him, and possibly in that order.

    It appears he wants the best for her, but in a way he's playing dad as well as boyfriend and this never works out in a relationship. He's being self-centered and only mentions her in how it relates to him, and this needs to change. He sees her needs as only relevant if they fit his master plan, and this needs to change. In many ways, he is wrong, but he is not evil.

    There are areas where he needs to change if he wants to have a successful relationship in his life and the men I know who think like he is (right now) always end up divorced and alone, if even they can get a partner in the first place. He's not stupid and I think he knows this and he's not so old he can't change.

    This thread could have been titled, "I have a good girlfriend, but I am materialistic and a control freak and I probably don't deserve her...but I am willing hear everyone's feedback." :)
  16. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    I'm being honest here.

    You sound like a very controlling person, you should let her pick what career she wants to do... she should be able to choose what she does for 8 hours 5 days a week.

    Enjoy Minneapolis. I have lived in Saint Paul my whole life and I love the Twin Cities.
  17. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I agree, the OP sounds like a control freak. If I were her, I'd run away fast.
  18. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    She's moving to a new country where she will have no family. You supporting her desire to be happy is the least you could. You can help her research jobs, cost of living, etc. but it's her choice in the end. If she ends up listening to you and is unhappy in her job, it could turn into resentment and ruin the relationship.
  19. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    I don't have a lot of time for materialistic control freaks so I'll just give big nods to the posts from dmr727 and chrjenkins.
  20. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  21. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

  22. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
  23. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Bullet points next time.

    In short, you want her to have a job that you find adequate for her. That's cute. Yeah, you're being a dick to her.

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