It's no secret that opposites attract. It can be very hot and sexy and steamy to date someone who is totally different than you in thought and background and attitude. Still, there always has to be a base, right? You don't want to date someone whose background is so different or whose values are so opposite that it causes a problem, right?
For one woman who wrote into the Washington Post, dating a blue collar worker who doesn't have a college level education is too much for her mom. Her mother has been downright mean to her daughter and told her that being around them disgusts her. She even made her poor boyfriend cry. In her letter to the Post, the daughter says:
I love Tom and could see us getting engaged in a year or two. However, I’m actually thinking about breaking up with him over this, although I know evil shouldn’t triumph.
She's right. And she's wrong.
There is no doubt that this mom sounds like a nightmare. And personally, if I were the daughter, I would stop speaking to a mom who treated me with such disrespect. However, the mom's actions and cruelty aside, the actual structure of what she is saying isn't without merit.
The fact is, education and career path matter.
Of course there are "blue collar" workers who value education and who just didn't finish college because they really loved what they were doing. Or there are those who value education and who are 24 (like the people in the letter) who plan to go back to school later when they have more money. But even that represents a major difference in values. For many, a 4-year college after high school is simply a given. They don't live in a world where there are other options.
For many, it would have been hard to imagine dating a man without a graduate level education, let alone a Bachelor's. It isn't to say people with more education are "better," but as far as raising children is concerned, for some, education is as important to me as religion is to many. For them, marrying a man who thinks it's OK to not go to school would be akin to being a devout Christian married to an Orthodox Jew. It wouldn't work.
This mother may be going about it all wrong, but she is right about one thing. Marrying someone whose education is lower and whose prospects are limited could be a major mistake. And the fact is, the daughter herself has her mother's values, too. At the end of the letter, she says:
But I feel like he’s on one side, and on the other side is my relationship with my mom AND my parents’ relationship AND the potential to have it all if I meet a college-educated suitor. (I feel like a horrible person saying this.)
Clearly, she will always be wondering if she could have done better. And that is the kiss of death in any relationship.
Do you think people can overcome differences in education?
Image via besighyawn/Flickr