She’s offering me security. Is that enough?

I am in my late 30s and not doing so well financially (but that’s absolutely about to change having come in contact with your teachings).

I am currently with a lady who is 5 years older than myself and doing pretty well for herself. Should I for financial security settle down with her even though I am not totally confident when I am with her in  public, or leave her and take my chances?

Francis H.

Dear Francis,

While we take great pride in our books, CDs and DVDs and our many other resources and we are elated about the many thousands whom they have benefitted, we’re afraid that we have to question your assumption that they will help you. We are not sure you are ready for them.

We say this because your letter reveals a very unmasculine passivity. One can be in his late 30s and go bald without having done anything to have caused that to happen. You can be in your late 30s and be less agile than you were at 18 even if you eat healthily and exercise. You don’t get close to 40 “not doing so well financially” without having taken some wrong steps in the past and having failed to take some very necessary right ones. Our resources, we feel, are superb but they are not magical elixirs— in order to be effective, and they can be stunningly effective, they need commitment, hard work and willingness to significantly change. Are you ready for that? Think seriously; are you really ready for that?

If you are even thinking of marrying a woman in the hope of her providing you with financial security then we ask you to consider that perhaps there has been a little role reversal going on in this relationship?    We ask you to consider whether, at this point,  you have  the backbone for really hard work. Marriages between younger men and older women are, of course, not automatically doomed, but five years is quite a difference and we detect a desire on your part to be taken care of rather than to be her provider and protector. How can you expect her to respect you when you confess to a lack of confidence when you are with her?  What exactly are you offering her? What do you bring to the table?  That is both a legitimate and an important question.

While it flies in the face of today’s dreadfully defective cultural norms, we would like to remind you that a woman brings herself to a relationship.  And her grateful  man, in turn,  brings his performance, his power, and his productivity.  She gives herself to her man. He gives her the world. Every dating website survey confirms ancient Jewish wisdom that women seek ambitious doers. They are right to do so.  While the whiny boys of our culture decry women as ‘gold-diggers’ and worse, real men recognize that women galvanize their drive.  This is why other than in a few outlying cases, married men vastly outperform their single brethren. 

You ask whether we think you should leave her and take your chances.  Those words you used strongly suggest that you view her as your lifeline to security.  Not good.  We certainly don’t suggest leaving her and “taking your chances.” What we do  suggest is breaking off the relationship and allowing her to find a man with something to offer her.  We suggest that you throw yourself into rebuilding yourself from the ground up physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. The very good news is that you wrote to us, indicating that you are well aware  that something in your life is off.  Reaching out for help is a wonderful first step You know that you are at a turning point and that you really  can have many productive and successful years ahead of you. We  suggest you avoid thinking of involving a woman in your life until you see concrete proof that you are on your way to being a new man. You can do this—go ahead and seize the opportunity.

Give it your all,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

34 thoughts on “She’s offering me security. Is that enough?”

  1. Dear Susan and Rabbi,

    Enjoy all your work. This is one of your best responses to an “Ask the Rabbi” question that I have seen. I especially enjoyed the phrase “unmasculine passivity” and will be using it often in the future.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.


    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Charles–
      We appreciate your kind words, thank you. The only problem is that unfortunately you can’t use the phrase “Unmasculine passivity” since it is a trademarked term.

      P.S. Just joking 🙂

  2. Your answer was spot-on! I’m thinking that if she read his comments/question, she would do the leaving! She deserves better in my opinion.
    I married a man 7 years younger than me, and he has been a blessing of God. As we age, he is my rock and strength, naturally speaking… GOD is my Rock & Strength of my life (and his too). We both bring strong gifts to the table, and together we have stability and contentment.

    1. Sharon, we did find it interesting that he did not mention any gifts of his to the relationship. We do hope that he works on establishing his own sense of self before getting involved with anyone romantically.

  3. As a young widow of 10 years , still unmarried, and doing well financially, I found your answer (“What we do suggest is breaking off the relationship and allowing her to find a man with something to offer her.”) is absolutely perfect. I personally don’t particularly want to be a sugar momma. 🙂

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Mary–
      May you soon meet the man worthy of you! And when that happens, please do write us with an update.

  4. I see that men in America, no matter the race have no problem with women taking care of them. Eventually you will not be respected, if that is the only cause for marriage

    1. Good men do have a problem with that, Hope. And they are still out there though not always easy to find.

  5. Rabbi – thank you for this answer. Although to some it may seem “outdated” and old fashioned, you’ve saved Francis from a lifetime of resentment and bitterness. How do I know? I’ve counseled the other side of the equation too many times to count. Women who are career driven and who have either married or are living with a more passive man. At first, they’re tickled to be the power in the home – they enjoy being in control, and being looked up to as the breadwinner. Then, pregnancy happens – or some other life event that changes the dynamic. They then hate and resent the male who is doing the cooking and cleaning but who isn’t providing enough income to feed a mouse. They want a “real man”. I’ve had to break it to them that those weren’t the “rules of the game” when they hooked up, and to expect a radical change from their mate just because conditions have changed isn’t fair to the male. I can empathize greatly with these women, but they knew what they bought. They just didn’t factor in the actual cost of the product.

    1. Jean, we too have seen this play out more than once. Women who are delighted to find “homebody” men who want to be full-time fathers and the women are ecstatic that their career is going to come first in the marriage. Then, as life plays out they begin to resent being the “alpha” in the relationship and, sadly, often start an affair with a go-getter from the office. They were sold a bill of goods without understanding, as you say, the actual cost of the product.

  6. Dear Rabbi and Susan, Once again some of us missed out on the good role models (Godly fathers and mothers) and do the best we can repenting and re-inventing ourselves with God’s help. I do appreciate your cd’s and books…I need to order more. Sincerely,

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you Ruth–
      There’s not much to add to your almost poetic letter. Like all good poetry you’ve used the absolute minimum number of words to paint a powerful picture of painful challenge met by courageous recovery. We appreciate you making our resources a part of your life.

  7. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

    Thank you Rose,
    But I hope the gentleman who wrote us also feels gratitude and also considers our answer worthy.

  8. Boy, have I learned that God blessed me after reading your post today. I’m thankful I married an “old time” guy with “old time” values. When we began dating in 1981 (he was 20 and I was 17), he always held doors for me, always paid the tab and wouldn’t dream of me paying because of his pride, wanted me to stay home and watch our kids once we had them, and lastly, stood firm in my corner when I began homeschooling. Reading this makes me want to wake him up right now and say, “thank you honey!” Oh yeah, he gets up at 4:30 every morning to be at work at 5:00 A.M. to support our family as the sole breadwinner. He never complains or asks when am I going back to work since I am in the last years of homeschooling. He does joke though and claims he is retiring on his 65th birthday and can’t wait to be a “kept man” at that time by me since I want to re-enter the workforce once the kids finish high school. I’d say he might last about a month; both of us have worked all of our lives and wouldn’t know what to do with “free time”. Kinda reminds me of Violet from Downton Abbey exclaiming, “A weekend??? What is that?

    1. I think many woman would like what you and your husband have, Claire, though if they are influenced by their surroundings they can’t admit it, even to themselves.

    2. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Claire–
      Isn’t gratitude an astounding emotion to cultivate? To a larger extent than most realize, gratitude helps to nurture the kind of life for which most would feel gratitude. Your attitude towards your husband and your life has in itself done much to bring about the marriage and family you celebrate. Well done!

  9. After reading this young man’s letter it quickly became apparent that this fellow has been unnurtured by a father who (if he had one present) should have taught him better about life and marriage. Like many men today, his thinking and understanding have been severely flawed. Rabbi and Mrs. Lapin, I would award you both a gold medal for your wise and introspective advice you offered to this lost soul but, instead, I would like to offer you a great big thank you. Thank you for using your gifts of love, compassion, and wisdom to bring light into this man’s heart and soul. You are doing a great service to humanity. I pray Godspeed to you both.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you for your wonderfully welcome letter, Michael!
      Our most recent Thought Tool emphasizes your point about fathers and reveals the clues in Genesis to the importance and challenge of fatherhood.
      Thank you for your gold medal, your appreciation and your blessing,

      1. Dear Rabbi and Susan,
        Great advice as usual and no massaging with warm butter! This one hits very close to home and I’m tempted to share it with my backboneless husband. I dare not because I’m sure he couldn’t handle it especially if I was the one passing it on. I would like to eventually share some of your wisdom with him to see if he can make a turn around. I’m not sure where to start. I just got your “Library Pack Plus” a few days ago and can’t wait to dive in to some of your material. You two are a real blessing!
        Terry Sterling Terr

        1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

          Dear Terry–
          I created a podcast a few months ago ( ) about great women married to men without ambition; I don’t know if you heard it. When you demur from being the one to try and inspire him to change his life, you exhibit great wisdom since his wife is the second worst person in the world to try and bring about a change in a man. Thanks for investing in our Library Pack Plus. We both appreciate your purchase and enjoy knowing that this material is about to be deployed effectively in someone’s life. Regarding your marital discontents, finding a way to innocuously establish social friendship with a woman whose husband possesses the knowledge, lifestyle, character and grace to inspire your husband and then to socialize as two couples might be worth a try.
          Finally please start immediately on a campaign to follow Susan Lapin’s wise advice here. It will be terribly hard for you to follow, I can assure you. Yet, I an also assure you that it will produce dramatic and unexpected change.
          Let’s all stay on a butter-free diet,

        2. Terry, we hope that learning together can help you and your husband grow together. Placing the “warm butter” in the freezer, may I gently suggest that you will have more influence with your husband if you treat him with respect – something you neglected in your comments. Work on appreciating his good points and remembering why you chose to marry him in the first place. If your husband feels disrespected that is is disincentive to grow. Best wishes.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Nice to hear from you Esther,
      Though let’s remember that God’s protection is never a shield against our own folly! We are almost always responsible for forging our own chains.

  10. I love this advice. I absolutely love every piece of advice I read here. I have already read two of the Rabbi’s books and this reminded me to check out more. Thank you for your honest wisdom.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you Tara–
      And we’re happy to know you’re reading our books, even if you’re checking them out of the library instead of investing in them!! 🙂
      Just joking! Really happy when people learn from ancient Jewish wisdom regardless of how.
      If we’d all live by the advice of ancient Jewish wisdom, most of us would improve our lives.
      Thanks for writing such encouraging words

  11. Hi Rabbi Lapin, I just read your post and Q and A from the young gentleman posing a question about an older woman taking care of him financially, my comment is more of a prayer request, this has been my dilemma my whole life, I recently turned 60, and that has been the story of my life, all the talent and work ethic you could ask for, a hunger and desire to follow God my whole life, yet at the end of the day, I’ve never been able to produce anything and sustain it and allow God to turn my life into much more than a day to day go to work, serve people and barely get by, all I’ve ever truly wanted was to leave some type of a legacy for my kids, my kids kids and make a difference in this world that I had been placed here with a purpose by an almighty, all knowing good God who had a plan for my life and never gave up on me…help

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Thomas–
      Let me first assure you of a shocking but true fact: It’s not too late to change! Sam Walton and Colonel Sanders are just two famous names of people who started surprisingly late in life and succeeded stratospherically. Second, it is quite possible that you have already made a huge difference in the world by bringing into it great kids and raising them into great human beings. Maybe they ARE your legacy and maybe it is an enviable legacy. Finally, back to point one, if you do wish to start focusing on financial advancement, you need advice. I know you say that you have all the talent and work ethic but I also know that you have omitted to do some things that you needed to do and have done certain other things that you oughtn’t to have done. How to proceed? Not from the basis of your own instinct which has been proven to be unreliable, right? So seek through family, friends, church community, and business to find a man very successful in the terms to which you aspire; a man also possessed of wisdom and a giving spirit. Such men exist. Meet with him and ask him what you can do for him in exchange for his advice. Then follow it. But don’t forget, you just might be far more of a success right now than you realize.

  12. Thank goodness you had the honesty to say the truth. This male needs gumption, fortitude, …. something and coaxing him in a new direction would not be the kick in the pants he so obviously needed. Of course,you weren’t as mean as I. But you said what I was thinking before I even switched from the email over to your answer.

    I am going to share this with a few young friends who have fallen into the whiny trap…. but in their mid-20s I can hope they grab hold of some grit and change.

    Bless you

    1. Leslie, as long as you aren’t worried that your young friends will attack the messenger. We like having your around.

    2. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you Leslie,
      And we sincerely hope that Francis H also considers our response to be honest and helpful. I do hope you manage to retain those friends to whom you propose offering unsolicited advice. Remember, Francis H asked us for advice. These young friends of yours probably have not asked you to guide their lives. What is more, your guidance is an implicit indictment of their own lives. Well, do let us know how it goes. One of the hardest things in life, if not the hardest, is to change one’s world view and outlook and act upon the new point of view. Think of changing a political liberal into a political conservative or vice versa. Think of a risk-averse person going through life deeply certain that his entire security is his job and now tell him to become a risk-taking entrepreneur. It’s not impossible but it is surely the most difficult challenge in life. Most of us do not change anything fundamental about ourselves after we hit 20 years of age. Unless God becomes involved.

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