In this Love Letters segment, we explore the thorny questions of education, income, and romance:
I have spent the last year in the world's longest-distance relationship; the door-to-door trip is over 24 hours. "Rob" and I have known and taken vacations with each another for several years prior to engaging in the LDR. Rob is in his mid-40s, I am in my mid-30s, and we are both divorced with no children.
We are ready to take the relationship to the next level; we plan to move in together in the same city with the intent of marrying if all goes well. We are both fortunate enough to have careers that, with some financial sacrifice, would allow us to work from anywhere. The question is whether we have enough of a foundation to take this next step. He is low-maintenance, kind, affectionate, witty, and intelligent. I can be a prima donna — but I'm also fiercely fun-loving.
I am also more educated than he is. I hold a PhD while he did not finish his undergraduate degree. Although he is not ambitious (I am), he earns a high salary (mine is a bit lower) due to danger pay and has managed to put away a substantial nest egg (I have no assets). Any move would halve his salary.
Is it possible to plan a future with someone whose educational attainment is so far below mine and whose income, after the move, would be as unremarkable as his job? I love this man, but I worry that someone more articulate with a shinier career could pull me away.
-Not in Boston, Europe
Is it more likely that a relationship will succeed if both partners have the same level of education? Is that totally irrelevant?
Traditionally, men made more than women and were more educated than women- with those trends changing, must men and women re-adjust their expectations of the "average marriage?" And what about same-sex relationships? How might this apply?
- Stephanie Coontz, director of Public Education, Council on Contemporary Families; author of "A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s"
- Meredith Goldstein, Love Letters Columnist, Boston Globe
This segment aired on December 16, 2011.