This is an email I got from a client:
Whenever I meet a woman, eventually her questions end up routing out my living situation. I get unfairly labeled as a mama’s boy or someone who can’t make it in the real world on his own, and then the woman loses interest in me. However, it isn’t true, as I’m working hard to do just that.
Here’s my situation: I’m 40 now, and when I was about 28, I started a landscaping business with my cousin. Long story short, my family didn’t approve, did everything they could to make me regret my decision, and now I have self-esteem issues that I’m working on. Twelve long, hard years later, after learning many lessons, the business is on stable ground, growing and is finally starting to pay some dividends.
During this 12-year period, I’ve had to continue living at home to support the business. Now, it’s 2009, and I have a good part time job at UPS, six years vested, that has great benefits. I just bought a Harley and a nice used vehicle, for gas mileage and ease of maintenance, nothing fancy. I’m hoping to make enough money from the business to move out. Meanwhile, I work from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. for UPS, then spend the rest of the day at the business, and usually get home around 7:00 p.m. — yes, very long days. My parents, within the past couple of years, have both had heart attacks, although nothing requiring around the clock care, and I have been helping to care for them, helping perform the household chores so they could manage easier, and of course I take care of the landscaping and maintenance. I also contribute some money towards household bills.
I really enjoy what I do, and see a good future for myself as long as I hang in there. Things are starting to get better for me now. My question is, how can I frame my situation so I’m not labeled as a mama’s boy or someone who can’t make it in the world on his own?
Here’s my response to him:
Women see you as you see yourself. If living at home is not a problem for you, then it will not be a problem for them. In your mind, you have developed an irrational, limiting belief that your living situation takes away from who you are. You therefore can’t help but react in an inappropriate manner with a woman once the topic comes up. When a woman feels weakness in a man, she backs away, as this makes her feel wishy-washy inside. She feels that there may be a reason not to trust his masculine core. As long as this does not make you come unglued, you pass the test and she comes back. Women want a man that totally accepts her and has totally accepted himself. You must accept that, where you are is simply where you are. It’s okay to be living with your parents. As a matter of fact, you should look at it as a positive and a reflection of how important family is to you. How would I frame it if I were you? Maybe, you are being smart with your money. Maybe you love your parents, and since you work a lot between UPS and building your own company, this enables you to help your parents out and have as much capital available to pump into growing your business. Your goal, I would think, is to leave UPS and have your business support you. It sounds like you are getting closer to that.
When I got out of the real estate and mortgage business to start my life coaching business, I had been making $500k per year. My personal overhead was about $20k – 25k per month. Since I had already built seven multi-million dollar companies with my previous partners, and originally started with nothing more than a dream, I knew my new business in a completely different field would take several years and lots of money to figure out my business model. I sold both of my houses, my jet skis, boat, most of my furniture and personal belongings, my $2.5 million dollar office building, and my other car. Why? My new business was just an idea at that point, and just like a baby needs loving parents to nurture it to adulthood, my business needed my love, attention, and money to get it to the point where it could support me. I went from making $500k per year to $0 per year, and on top of that, my business was only costing me money. We entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic, and I have learned from building many successful companies that, it always takes longer and more money than you think it will to make it a success. I cut my overhead down to $3,000 per month and lived and built my current company with my savings only. That is smart business. I even lived with my father for about 3 months after selling my homes, so I could decide where I wanted to live and figure out my business plan.
My girlfriend did not care, because it never entered into my mind that I was somehow less than I used to be. I don’t ever remember her bringing it up either. Her family was very tight, and she had lived on her own and then moved back in with her parents in between relationships, finishing college, etc. In her mind, it would have been absurd to think any other way. What’s wrong with a family that loves and supports each other? What’s wrong with a family that sacrifices to help each other realize their dreams? Nothing, unless you decide there is something wrong with it. The right way to frame it is to find a positive spin on your situation. If a girl asks, say “Well, when the right girl comes along and captures my heart, then she and I will build something together, but she will have to also believe in family as much as I do. The right girl will understand and want to help me make sure my parents are okay, and that we don’t live too far away, so we can check up on them. That’s what family is for.” Your parents took care of you when you were a baby and now that they are getting to the point where they need to be taken care of, how could you just turn your back on them? In other words, you’re waiting for the right girl, and you are not going to settle for anything less than someone who is as loving and supportive as your family is. That is just your standard. That is a challenge to a woman, and they love a challenge, because she has to make things so good for you that you would want to move in with/marry her.
The purpose of all relationships is to give. Family takes care of each other because that is the loving thing to do. A loving and good woman will have the same outlook and be supportive of you. If not, then she can kiss your ass, because there is another bus every 15 minutes. If a woman does not accept your situation, then she is out. She disqualifies herself. The only woman that would have a problem with that, is a woman that has a dysfunctional family, and you need to steer clear of those. Be okay with ditching a chick that does not understand, so you can meet one who does. Don’t bring your situation up, ever. You need to explain or apologize for nothing. If a woman does bring it up, then tell her your own version of what I stated above. By the way, who cares if you have a Harley or a nice used car? They are just material things outside of yourself, and do not define you. Any chick that is concerned with what you’ve got materially is shallow, and someone you need to steer clear of.
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From my heart to yours,
Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur