I’m Not Like My Boyfriend: I Have Poor Parents and No Education

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my late 20s. I have been dating my boyfriend for a year.

He was the student council president at a local elite high school. After graduating, he entered a famous national university and served as the head of a university club. Now, he works for a major company.

I withdrew myself from society for a while. I obtained a high school diploma while working part-time. Now, I work for a smaller company.

His parents’ house is in one of Tokyo’s prime locations while my parents’ house is in a less populous region far from Tokyo. My parents are so poor that they were once receiving public financial support. Now they are divorced.

My boyfriend is always cheerful and positive and has many friends. I am very shy around strangers and have no friends. I used to play video games at home all day on my days off.

I have no education. My parents are not rich. There is nothing loveable about me. I cannot help but think that I am not good enough for him. I want to tell him about my feelings but I can’t because I don’t want him to hate me or think I am too dependent.

— N, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. N:

As a specialist in family sociology, I have seen many marital or romantic relationships and found that there are many, many different reasons as to why people become attracted to each other and start dating.

Some people choose who to date based on “specifications” such as education and income although he or she is not their type. But the fact is that the people who date “high-quality” partners do not always look very happy.

I do not know how you two started dating. I think you are together because you like each other. Are you happy or excited while on a date? If so, you should try not to think that you are not good enough for him.

If you still feel uncomfortable, you can tell him how you feel.

If he stops liking you after he knows your background, you can break up with him yourself.

I think your boyfriend is attracted to you because you are positive and hardworking after having gone through various experiences. He might be tired of women who are attracted to him because he is “high quality.” You should be more confident in yourself and continue to date him.

— Masahiro Yamada, university professor