Of all the personal essays I've written, "Why Marrying For Money Isn't A Totally Bad Idea" has provoked the biggest response. It has actually run twice on the Frisky site: once about a year ago and again in June. Due to all that exposure, it has racked up comments numbering in the hundreds and been written about (90 percent negatively) on dozens of blogs. Someone even sent me an email calling me a "yeast infection"!
Some of the things written about the post, and about me, are so untrue that I'm not sure the author actually read the essay all the way through. But it's clear to me—both from the tone of the comments and from seeing the piece run with "fresh eyes" for a second time—that I did not explain myself and my beliefs very well. I think that instead of being speculative, I should have gotten more personal.
So. Here we go, again...
I believe in planning parenthood. Anything a person can do to plan the most important of all life's processes, I support. A close family member has had two abortions because this person was not ready to be a parent. I also know at least my eldest sister and I were unplanned for our parents. Of course, I love the family I have, but I can see both sides of how having—or not having—a child or children impacts two people's lives forever. Forever.
I also believe in financially planning to be a parent. Can I do it? How much will it cost? I suspect I feel this way because A) I work in journalism, one of the least lucrative professions, and B) I've spent the better part of the last nine years living in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world. I accept the fact that I can't shop or vacation or eat out very much and I've learned tips and tricks on how to be thrifty. Still, I worry about money—what if I get sick? what if I'm not putting enough in my 401k?—all the time. All. The. Time.
I think worried about these topics a lot more in the past year because I'm in a committed relationship and we both feel each other is "the one." Most of the commenters on "Why Marrying For Money Isn't A Totally Bad Idea" seemed to think I was advocating going out and finding rich men and that I, personally, am on a gold-digging adventure. The truth is, I'm not digging. I actually moved in with my boyfriend almost a year ago and the entire time we have been dating, I've earned more money than him.
When I met my boyfriend, he was actually unemployed. Well, technically, he wasn't "unemployed," but he was earning no income whatsoever. Yup, you read that right: zero income. He had left a well-paying job as a computer programmer several months earlier and was living off savings, and then a loan from his parents, while he started to launch a technology start-up.