Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Price of Butterflies

A few years ago, a friend of the family gave me some advice that didn't sit well with me.

She told me it's better to marry someone you like who has money, rather than someone you love who has none.

Her reasoning went something like this: If you like a man and you end up in a relationship where you're comfortable and have everything you could ever want, the love will come eventually.

If you love a man and you end up in a relationship where you're uncomfortable and always longing, the love will go away eventually.

I hated this idea. I thought, what a shallow and unromantic view of how to find your soul mate!

I especially hated the idea because money never crossed my mind when it came to dating. I mean, sure, I didn't go out with homeless guys. But I also never cared if we went out to Zaffiro's or Sanford.

Fast forward to today.

My friend Michael and his wife are getting a divorce. They seemed to be a perfect match a few years ago. Then they maxed out their credit cards. Michael got a second job to help pay some of the high interest rates. They cut back on everything – a $5 Little Ceasar's pizza was a splurge.

And just when things couldn't get any tighter, they found out they were going to have their second child.

Soon, the stress of the baby, the unpaid bills, and just the inability to do anything fun that cost money got the best of them. They fought incessantly, stopped talking, and now pretty much hate each other.

I hate this idea. But it happened. And, combined with other things I've been seeing, it makes me wonder if I need to reconsider the whole money factor in relationships.

Other things:

--Relationship experts say financial problems are the #1 reason couples break up.

--I know some well-off couples that didn't seem nearly as in love on their wedding days as Michael and his wife. But they're going strong.

-- Money has been a factor in some of my past break-ups. Sometimes I wonder, if there was tons of it around, would the relationships still have crumbled?

Distressed about the whole topic, I took the subject to my friend Bria's new apartment to dissect over wine and pizza.

"I can see some truth in what your family friend was saying, but I just don't think it's that simple," Bria said.

Bria noted that people who marry just out of like and money pay a price – they never get to experience true passion and butterflies for someone.

That's true, I was relieved to agree.

But I also feel like it's probably naïve to not take any of the family friend's wisdom into account.

So, I guess I'd revise the advice to say this:

It's easier to marry someone you love who has money, than it is to marry someone you love who does not.

Because money can put a huge stress on relationships. But in the end, butterflies still can't be bought.


Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

"A few years ago, a friend of the family gave me some advice that didn't sit well with me.
She told me it's better to marry someone you like who has money, rather than someone you love who has none."

I stopped right there. I didn't need to go further. But I went back and read the rest to explain it to you.

Your friends aren't good at managing budgets. That has nothing to do with marrying a low income or high income person. Were they using birth control or obstaining from sex? Did they downsize their home and sell and move to a much smaller home? Did they take on extra jobs?

Relationship experts also would tell you that those financial reasons often come from people who are secretly spending and hiding money among other things, and those things are the results of other issues, such as honesty among others.

It's no easier to love someone with money than without. That's alarmingly under-informed. Loving motivated people who enjoy what they do and strive to improve and achieve is easy, whether they are a school teacher or a Doctor. How do these people handle adversity?

And, you not only want to marry someone you love, you want to marry someone you are in love with as well. As long as that person can function independently, money isn't an issue. It's what kind of person they are, because that's the part that won't change. Money can always change good or bad.

There's nothing wrong with marrying for money. That's a choice, and it's also a much bigger risk in the happiness dept than marrying the average or low income person in which you have a better/stronger relationship.

Money can be a very helpful and useful thing to help better someone's life, but in and of itself, it's nothing. Wealthy people get a lot of stress too.

WisDot said...

Oh, Vikki! This made me laugh. My dad always used to say: It's just as easy to marry for money as it is to marry for love! But, of course, I didn't listen and I married the poor pizza driver. We've been married for 20 years now.

Your friends aren't getting a divorce because of a lack of money. It was because of a lack of common sense. A person could have millions and still blow it all. Don't you hear about bankrupt lottery winners all the time?

My husband and I struggled. We had credit card debt. Things were hard! You know what? Life is hard. But, with true love, hard work and compromise, you can get through anything.

Money can make life easier, but it doesn't necessarily make it any better.

And, all relationships -- friendships and love partnerships -- require work. Real work. You can't buy your way out of that.


Heidi said...

I've seen families get torn apart because of money and people end up with nothing in the end. I've seen kids be the innocent victims of their parents greed.

I would say money can't buy love. I dated a man who could support me financially. Yet anytime something to create controversary between us came up, he tried to solve it with money. I wasn't looking for "stuff" rather emotion, can't give that to me through stuff. He never got that, through many attempts, talks, etc.

Sometimes, it would be nice to have money to help relieve some of the stress of life, but it can't buy your happiness or love.

jac said...

Oh Vikki:

I feel for you.

I've been where you are in the dating scene.

Like you, during the dating scene that always included one woman after the next willing to see me (I was and monogamous.......and I was flattered by the attention), I imagine you're popular with men.

What's not to like: your photo is personable, your personality if charming (I saw your TV gig video on Channel 4 in Milwaukee long ago), you're smart, you're funny, etc. et al.

So my advice: Don't worry about a man's money as much as noting his ability to advance his current passions professionally and creatively.

It's an oversimplication, but the most boring men have lots of money.......and the most interesting men with creativity up the creek, are $$$ poor at your age (32-34, I figure).

Remember, men with $$ are expecting something in the women for whom they fall. The men with money are not stupid. Yet $$-rich men can get deluded by the $$.

I found the best dating policy was to avoid the over-rich $$ ladies and remain interested in the good-hearted, pet-loving, children-loving, funny women who came from a nice family. Having an M.S. or Ph.D. didn't hurt, but I met my wonderful, Better-Half Wife before she was in the working world.

I committed my heart to her with the above qualities (beyond education) as paramount.

John's comment above is wise and important, and I'd add that $$ can always change.

But character and good-heartedness always are a constant.

I'd rather put my money on the latter qualities.

(#@!&: Still wish you'd get rid of the Word Verification task at the end before the "comment" is posted. You don't know how much a pain it is to read them or have them approved on the 12th try.)

Michael said...

Can't buy me love, love
Can't buy me love

I'll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright
I'll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright
'Cause I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

I'll give you all I got to give if you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give but what I got I'll give to you
I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

Can't buy me love, everybody tells me so
Can't buy me love, no no no, no

Say you don't need no diamond ring and I'll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can't buy
I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

ok so..Vikki will you marry me?