Can I date while broke and living at home?

Happy October. We'll start the week with a self-esteem letter.

Hi Meredith,

I am a longtime reader of your column and have spent time analyzing my own issues through the lens of the other readers whom you advise.

My question has less to do with having a relationship than it does with not having one. Having lived abroad for the better part of two years earning my master's degree, I find myself back in the Boston area trying to start my adult life over again after having been gainfully employed in here in the city for several years prior to leaving. As you can imagine, studying and traveling overseas for two years costs quite a bit, and I have returned home (degree in hand) as the source of my funds has now been thoroughly exhausted. I find myself engaged in a full time job search, which can be frustrating in this market, living at home with parents etc..., very low on disposable income, no car, and otherwise pretty limited.

I know much of this is temporary, as I have faith that my education will land me an excellent position, which will no doubt remedy the other deficiencies in my life, but my real question to you is: Am I datable? Am I relationship material? I had a couple of relationships during my time abroad that were both wonderful and challenging, mostly because I knew that it wasn't permanent, but now that I find myself with geographic stability, I feel like I would like to meet someone special. The problem is this nagging self-doubt given my current station in life. I am a handsome guy, athletic, intelligent; not always great at meeting women because I get a little nervous and perhaps somewhat fearful of rejection. That aside, I feel like if I asked a girl out to dinner or something, talking about myself would be really painful having to disclose the various aspects of my situation. As a result, I have totally dismissed any prospect of meeting someone until my life is in a more presentable state of affairs, which stinks because I would really like to be enjoying someone else's company.

I am young, but not that young (30), and I just don't want my dating life to pass me by. Is this reasonable? I need your sage wisdom here Meredith.

– Long Time First Time, Boston


You're datable, LTFT. You're not for everyone, but who is?

There are certainly people out there who'll want nothing to do with a broke person who lives at home, but there are also folks who'll adore you because you're intelligent and engaging. And some people will share your problem. Boston is full of grad students who have just exhausted their funds. It's a common situation.

My guess is that most potential partners won't care where you live and what kind of dinner you can afford right now as long as you have a plan for the future. They'll want to know that you're positive about life and excited about what comes next. That's the most important thing -- that you know this is temporary.

You can ask people out. You can tell friends that you're looking to date. Not everyone will say yes, but again, that's the way it is for everyone. Some people worry about dating with kids. Some people ask me whether they can date if they've put on a few pounds. Everyone is in transition in some way. You'll never be a finished product, so you might as well live now.

Readers? If he's not very confident right now, should he wait to date? Would you date a 30-year-old who lives at home? How should he explain his situation? Help.

– Meredith