Whenever you’re dating today, the question is, “Do you want a college-educated person with a ton of debt? Or a person with a high school diploma, no debt, and a steady job?”
Is it true that couples with different education levels are doomed to be at odds with each other?
I am single. It used to feel painful, but now I enjoy being single and I’m excited to meet “The One.” The problem is you have to go through the dating process in order to meet “The One,” and it’s an awkward, painful, and zany process.
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Other than finding love and a life partner, marriage is considered to be one of the best ways to grow wealth, connect with like-minded people, and expand your network.
To be honest, I hadn’t been actively thinking about this until a recent incident exposed my latent and unexpected educational classism. It made me think twice about what is important to me as I look for love.
I met a really nice guy online. He had beautiful green eyes, enjoyed snowboarding, was from Colorado, and liked to travel. In fact, he looked so great on paper that he seemed like a dream.
There was just one problem: He only had a high school education.
Who am I to judge? Several people in my family are high school graduates, and they are doing just fine.
In my current circle of friends, however, everyone not only has a bachelor’s degree, but usually a master’s degree, as well. I’m surrounded by educated couples who pooled their individual assets and earning power together. I watched them grow their wealth through continual property purchases, debt elimination, and other wealth growing practices.
I asked him nicely about his favorite books in the past year; he’d read three. He did get points for listening to some awesome nerd-boy podcasts. But honestly, he was perfectly happy doing what he was doing — being himself — and nothing more.
Who was I to want him to change and fit into who my idea of an ideal partner should be?
The facts about college-educated married couples are undeniable. The most recent report from The State of Our Unions report from the National Marriage Project found:
- Unemployment rates are lower in couples where both spouses have a shared education level of a college degree.
- Typically, more assets are brought into the marriage and pooled together, increasing wealth over time.
- These couples tend to have a lower divorce rate.
Even though we had a lot in common on paper, I realized that we weren’t a good fit. It was his overall lack of curiosity that was a problem for me.
What bothered me most was that he didn’t enjoy reading.
I know people who have high school diplomas, but later on in life, they spend time reading, getting certifications, and pushing themselves to learn more.
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Sadly, the guy I had connected with wasn’t doing that. But marriage has always had a social growth dimension. There is nothing wrong with expecting a “minimum” by way of education and the level of achievement by your partner.
There’s also nothing wrong with caring about your partner’s education level.
There are a growing number of websites — like The League — that cater to this demanding set of suitors. A bit elitist, but they (I am not saying if I am on it or not!) are not apologizing for their choices.
At times, it even feels a little cold and calculating, and it is. But at least I’m honest about it. Education levels do matter — at least some of the time.
And, yes, I’m still single.