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The Inconvenient True Confessions of a Broke Man

Of all the ways my ex displayed her anger towards me after we broke up, there was one move she made that was so low, even she had to apologize for it.

I wasn’t aware of what she was saying about me to her friends once we broke up, nor did I care to ask, but in one of our post-conversation breakups, my ex revealed to me she told her friends how much (or, rather, little) I made at my job.

“Well, that’s low,” I said.

“I know,” she said. “And I’m sorry, but I was just so angry with you and that’s all I had. I knew it would hurt you.”

Even though at the time she told me about this, I was in a much better financial state, her intent was successful. It did hurt me, but not because I was embarrassed by my old salary. The real reason it stung is because when my ex and I were together, she knew how uncomfortable I was with sharing my finances. It wasn’t until she saw an eviction letter on my door when we were living together that I told her the whole truth, and even then, I had to be coerced.

This post isn’t about the noble acts of a broke man, or to tear down men with money. A good man is a good man no matter how much he makes.

What this post is about is the difficulty of being honest when we are broke with women who may or may not care in the first place.

Ladies, sometimes, when a man’s phone is ringing off the hook and he’s not picking up, it’s because bill collectors are calling him. Sometimes, a man would love to take a woman out to a fine restaurant, because he likes fine restaurants too, but he can’t afford it. Sometimes, he would love to take a woman on a trip to some island, but he can’t afford two round-trip tickets.

Sometimes, ladies, your man is broke, struggling just to make his own ends meet, and while he won’t admit to it, I will be more than happy to on his behalf.

If I can choose what if anything people can gain from the story I just shared about my ex, it would be to pay attention to how close the relationship is between a man’s pride and his wallet.

I know this post is about one man, but I’m sure plenty of men can relate to having financial woes and the effect it has on their dating lives. They won’t share it with me, and ladies, they damn sure won’t share it with you, but trust me, out there, there are more broke men than rich men who have more time to spare than change.

Say what you want about Kanye, when the man said, “Having money’s not everything, not having it is,” he was definitely onto something. I can go out with a little money in my pocket and show a woman the time of her life, but when I’m truly broke — when my bank account looks like the last four digits of my social security number with a decimal point in the middle — you can forget about me doing anything.

I have seen women go out with absolutely no money in their pocket, and party like rock stars, but most men I know would never do the same. Whenever I don’t have the funds, I simply call it a night, unless one of my boy’s practically begs me to roll with him and insists on buying the drinks, and even then it’s still a challenge. My issue isn’t with my boy covering for me, because I know if the tables were turned, I would do the same. My issue is with the paralyzing effect having no money has on me.

When I have no money, I don’t even want to approach a woman out of fear that I will have to find a way to magically make a conversation turn into a drink. Even if the drinks don’t cost me anything and I can put it on my friend’s tab without her knowing, what if we get a bite to eat after the party? What if she wants to go home with me and sleep with me? Kind of difficult when I don’t even have the money to purchase some condoms.

If all of this sounds extreme, well trust me, it has been, at some point in my life, an extreme reality I have to deal with, and yet, because it’s something I am easily embarrassed by, I keep it to myself. What happens as a result is women I date think there’s something else going on with me.

She thinks I’m inviting her over to dinner because I want to get her in my house. She thinks I would rather take the subway because I’m cheap. She thinks I let her pay half the bill because I’m one of those guys who believes in some new kind of chivalry.

She is often more wrong than right.

Sometimes, the inconvenient truth is, whenever I offer up an activity that seemingly looks cheap on the outside, it’s probably because I have no money on the inside. All I really have to spend on her is my time, and if that’s not enough to cover both of us, the time we spend will have to wait. That is the truth she can’t know right now.

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  • Trenee

    So genuine and honest I almost cried. As a southern woman, one thing my mama taught was to preserve a man’s dignity with regard to finances. My ex was a horrible man to me but no matter how bad he was to me, I could never bring myself to criticize his financial shortcomings because it would shatter the foundation of his ego- like kicking someone when theyre down. I think many women discount the fact that men’s egos are very fragile when it comes to upward mobility and they don’t understand the damage they do when speaking negatively about their man’s lack financial power.

  • vk

    same situation, financial-wise: it’s not only for guys, but i can see why you would think it’s a bigger deal.

  • Ondrea

    This is a great post! I met a guy not long ago and we were in the getting to know each other phase. I expressed to him how important it was to just be real with each other. Well, he was having serious financial problems but didn’t want me to know so I did exactly what you said “What happens as a result is women I date think there’s something else going on with me.” After about a month he wasn’t coming around much, when we were together he wouldn’t answer his phone in my presence, we didn’t go anywhere. So, of course I figured maybe he met someone else (after all we weren’t exacty a couple yet). I started losing interest in him and eventually told him that it was a wrap. I later found out about the financial problems and was a little bothered that he felt like he had to have big pockets to keep my interest. It took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t so much how I would feel about him as much as it was about how he felt about himself.

  • Mekius

    Well spoken sir. I dont think a lot of women realize how hard it really is to be a man. Its hard to try to date someone you genuinely have feelings for when you broke, especially when its always some other guy tryna get in her ear who may have a pocket full of money lol. Fact is I’ve been drawn into the “over-extending” myself for the sake of a woman more times than I’d like to admit but I had to learn that in order to be in my life she’s gonna have to accept me being broke at times. Its not something I wish for or am content with but hey sh*t happens. Needless to say this weeded out a lot of females in my life & one in particular chose to stick by my side & accept me for who I am. While I still have my discomfort moments cuz of financial woes I know she’s here for the good & the not so good. A toast to “Hip Hop”….

  • Samaix

    Oh man, i guess i never realized how big of a deal this was. My past boyfriends and I have had pretty much anything we could have asked for provided for us so money was never really a big issue. More recently I started dating this one guy and I never wanted to ask for anything or have him pay because I knew that his money situation wasn’t quite what I was used to. He really tried because he knew the lifestyle I was accustomed to. He would plan to take me out on nice dinners and a date at least once a week. But I was used to going out whenever I’m bored and just going off to do whatever. Thinking about that now, everything costs money to do really. I tried to pay and plan around things so that he didn’t have to pay. But he knew what I was doing and i’m pretty sure i told people that he wasn’t as well off so this bothered him more. Idk thing is, what is a girl suppose to do if we like a guy but also used to living our lives in a certain way, but guys don’t want girls paying all the time… how is suppose to work then?

  • Elley

    Very insightful post! Thanks for the enlightenment.

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  • soulsupreme

    This is the realist sh*t I never wrote. Some women just don’t understand how ingrained being the “provider” or “breadwinner” is for us men. I don’t think any man wants to justify his finances especially when they’re not all there and even moreso when in a relationship. We’ve got too much pride. Some females aren’t emphatic to that reality.

    Being broke isn’t always about maturity level/independence sometimes its circumstantial. That’s hard sh*t to explain to a woman who expects a man to have it all together.

    Great post.

  • K.R

    wow. this is so real. I’m right there with you man, felt the exact same things

  • HipHopObama

    Good shit. This is my 1st time commenting. All I can say is…”chuuch”. Carry on.

  • TwoCents

    Men…you need to trust us a little more, we are not all monsters. And if you believe what you write and read, then it is true that you are probably dating one of the many “good women” out here. That being the case, we good women aren’t going to kick you when you’re down. Not telling us that you are tentatively ballin-on-a-budget adds more layers to the relationship than necessary. We will understand your financial situation and won’t even pressure you for details. Ultimately more transparency from you makes us want to be more flexible and offer more leeway…or at least the good women do.

  • Darryl Frierson

    Definitely feeling this post! Mad pressure on a dude indirectly and directly in society to have money. Just going to chill with a chick out may cost you 40 bucks for a few drinks

  • DJ CEO

    Great post. Brother I can relate 100% I’ve been there far too often. And most men are afraid to realize that a good woman will understand if we are honest and up front to begin with. Men and women have 2 different responsibillities socially. Men take women out on dates which means 9 times out of 10 we pick up the bill. When women go out men offer to buy them drinks & they didn’t pay to get in the club. Of course this is all in general. There are also plenty of situations in which the woman takes care of herself or both. And as long as a man has a plan of action to releive himslef from financial dispair then he’s good. Because there is no romance without finance. Great post

  • Melissa

    some type of job is way better than no job… i am a firm believer in ” a man who does not work does not eat” but at least you had/have a job. women need to realize the potential behind a man, not whats up front…

  • ChiCity

    Great Post!

    A good woman isn’t really intersted in what’s in your pockets. Her concern should be your character as a man and your heart and true intentions. Because when you don’t have the $$$ that means you have to think outside of the box. I’m one of the few women out here where the little things count. You impress me more with a homecooked meal and a movie at your house than how much you spend on me taking me on a date. (My heart is tied to a mans wallet)

    If you’re money is funny at the time we meet, so what; mine is too. But guess what that’s not my concern. You learn a mans true heart and character when he’s working with a little bit of money. You have to put in effort not a price tag when you’re broke ;-).

    SN: Your ex was straight up FOUL for what she did…

  • ChiCity


    (My heart ISN’T tied to a mans wallet)

  • GirlyGirl

    Currently met a man in a position where he had lost his job and struggling to make some cash. I have suggested cheap/free dates (and have paid for myself on most occassions) and have been very supportive in his search to find something (and not by making suggestions, but rather supporting him by telling him how smart & skilled he is)

    I really like this man (for who he is, not his wallet) and although I want to see him more frequently, it does seem like he is pulling back slightly and I have to wonder if the money thing is the issue (or at least a huge part…because otherwise, we get along famously!).

    Thanks for really hitting home how important the job situation is for a man…I just wish I knew what to do with a man who claims he really likes me, but is worried about his financial situation.

  • Daniel E. Rodgers

    It’s sad to see some of the comments on here about the women that met guys down on their financial luck but never stuck around. On the flip side there are so many guys that meet broke women and end up marrying them…. go figure!


    I realize that during the 60′ & 70’s civil and equality rights ruled the day. But the thing is…a mans place/role has not changed, but due to much societal pressure over time the woman’s place has changed. And we raise our daughters differently in the end than we do our boys. For instance, when our girls get preggo let’s say 2nd or 3rd year of college, we as parents support them and say “we’ll take care of the kid, you finish school”. Now on the flipside, were it to be a boy, we expect as well as he expects to get a job support his growing family, stay with the girl and college plans get set aside for more pressing issues like food , shelter and medical care. Progress 10 years, and that girl has finished her college work and gone on to a fine career of her choice, found a good husband that is at her level or above and that son is still struggling or may not have had the opportunity to return to school in suit, neither did did his wife, gf or babymomma thereby creating an impass of sorts.We will not be happy in the current roles or families because some of the stuff we are doing was not what designed us for. Fathers/men have a durable frame, sesinged for hunting and gathering, sometimes for longer periods of time if that is what it takes to bring it home (outside the home). Mothers/ women were designed to be nurtures of our families, gr8 wives and homemakers… the glue that holds it all together. men need to learn of and participate in that which men were originally designed for. and women need learn of and participate in that which they were originally designed. as long as WE ARE OUT OF PLACE THERE WILL BE NO PEACE. PDOGG

  • peink

    I’ve been the girl that helps carry her man. I will help but only if the man is CONTINUALLY trying to help himself.

  • lila

    You sound like a kind honest person but just to let you know its very hard to meet brother like you, I dated a broke man for two years footing every bill until he found work. I loved him so much and had so much faith in him that when he got on his feet he would reciprocate, at least the monies that he borrowed and promised to faithfully pay back. The other expense I did it because I loved him but I told him I needed his help as soon as he found a job because it was my school loans we were spending. If I was working and making money maybe It wouldn’t have mattered. but you know the very week he found work he went to hang out with the friends and family who were not there for him, even talked about him. He knew I love lobster but we couldn’t afford it, and always promised to take me to a restaurant which sells lobster the first pay check he gets. Well It has been 1 yr and half since we have broken up and I have not received a cent from him. not even a thank you for being there, he is married now to a rich girl and driving nice cars and living the high life, totally forgetting about me. But just to recap, this is the reason why many women become mean and selfish. Im not saying i will eb that way, but its pretty tempting.
    ( tears)

  • HateBrokeDudes

    The less a guy spends on a girl, the less he is turned on by her. I broke guy I was with (same age) never even bought me a cup of tea but he took a girl 20 years younger to Megu restaurant and bought her nice things.

  • Miru

    At least you feel a sense of duty in providing for a woman. Too many men out there are much too comfortable letting a woman bring home the bacon. My last few boyfriends didn’t seem to care that the financial burden was on y shoulders, sacrificing my own personal needs for that of our relationship. How’s a woman supposed to feel confident in her man if he can’t provide? If you can’t take care of a woman, you shouldn’t date. Simple.

  • Jay



    Get a freaking JOB and stop mooching off people or playing the victim role. Even Homeless people put an effort to make money, whats your excuse?

  • Sinead Precious

    If your broke you should not date. Women have exceptions of how they want to be treated and taken cared of.. Get you life together before you want to add someone else into this situation

  • Sinead Precious

    This is soo dumb. if your going to be in a adult relationship with a man and you plan to move forward in the relationship how is he going to pay for bills, how is he going to pay for the children you will have.. A person who is over 30 and is broke says a lot about their character.