Good Provider = Good Husband?

I’ve blogged previously about the dangers of the “upgrade,” cautioning women against taking on men as if they are rehabilitation projects.

But what about the converse? Is a man who makes a lot of money automatically a better choice?

I’m not talking about men who are willing to pay for arm candy. That quid pro quo seems to work out just fine for both parties.

The Hollywood-style fantasy is a man who buys you expensive gifts, treats you to the best restaurants and all expense-paid vacations on a whim – heck, who pays your rent and cooks your dinner too, soon as he gets home from work. That’s the kind of man every woman wants, right?


I once knew a man who, by this measure, was a good, even great, husband. His  salary ensured that his wife didn’t have to work. They had a gorgeous home in an upscale suburb.  He worked late and traveled often, but he was faithful to his wife, brought the money home, and bought her anything she wanted.

And yet, his wife was miserable.

He wasn’t cheap, and he wasn’t a cheat. But he wasn’t emotionally available. And that was the sum of their problems.

This man had been taught that being a good husband meant providing – financially – for his wife and family. He did that, in spades. What more did she want?

Apparently, she wanted a partner, not a blank check. They separated, but instead of being bitter, he learned how to be more emotionally expressive and available. They are both happily remarried, to other people.

I dated someone who took me to four-star restaurants and bought me expensive gifts. Having been raised to take care of myself, this made me uncomfortable. I may have gotten used to it eventually, but there were a few problems with the relationship. 

He, too, was the “emotionally unavailable” type. Spending money was his way of showing appreciation. But he couldn’t open up. He was generous with his cash, but remained inscrutable. Being with him was fun, but it didn’t last.

I’m not saying, of course, that every man with money uses it as a substitute for emotional availability. I’ve dated the rich guy and the poor guy. Neither one was the right guy. What made them not “right” for me, might have made them perfect for someone else.

Give yourself the freedom to know what “right” means for you – not what you should want, but what you actually want and need. And trust that “right for you” is out there. You don’t need to settle for “wrong for you” just because you don’t want to be alone.

After my divorce, my mom asked me if I’d looked up a long-ago boyfriend, the guy she thought was “the one” for me. I knew better, and wasn’t hearing it.

“Maybe he’s still available. If you like him so much, you call him.”

Nice guys come in all shapes, sizes, colors and tax brackets. Don’t get caught up in what you’re supposed to like. Focus on the substance and leave the superficial to the Basketball Wives.


4 Responses to “Good Provider = Good Husband?”

  1. AndreaM Says:

    Great advice! As a newly divorced 40 something I can use your words of wisdom 🙂

  2. marriedmysugardaddy Says:

    Am NODDING my head throughout….and Best ending ever…”leave the superficial to the Basketball Wives”

  3. iamforchange Says:

    Thanks for posting this very real and very helpful post… I am or was the same as the gentleman you write of ignorant to what being a good husband is. I like the gentleman you wrote about was a great provider of material objects to show my affection yet until I lost all I had that mattered to me I lived by the ways of old. Since then I have learned and grown, I hope many men read your post because being a good provider is not what it takes to be a good husband or a good father…. Love and affection are worth far more than gold… Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  4. Justice Jonesie Says:

    Totally agree! A man with money is not the answer to love and happiness. Need more than that. Men w/o money have their issues too. 🙂

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