There are some people in the world for whom money is no object. But for most people, the idea of being frivolous with cash or being able to afford certain luxuries is hard to comprehend.
And sometimes, people from these two worlds collide. So I rounded up stories from the BuzzFeed Community and r/askreddit of people who had struggled financially but ended up in a relationship with someone super wealthy. Here are some of their experiences and the most eye-opening things they learned.
1. "Keeping up with her was hard. She wanted to go on trips to Europe, expensive vacations, expensive restaurants, etc. She had good money, and I was limited in my funds and had to spread it out. I couldn't just fly to the Caribbean at the drop of a hat. So, in turn, she left me for a guy who could."
2. "My ex was having problems with roommates at university so her parents bought a condo for her to stay at while she finished her degree. They sold it for a profit immediately after. I couldn't even imagine being in this situation. She also assumed her family was lower-middle class because she didn't live in a mansion like many of her friends. She was very humble and was smart with her money, but it was very clear she could just call her parents if something didn't work out."
3. "My partner just expects things to work out because for her they always have. There often is no backup plan. When you’re poor, you’re constantly mapping out minute-to-minute what happens if suddenly X, Y, or Z falls through."
4. "How supportive they are of one another while thinking nothing of it. My husband and I moved into our first home with no appliances, and his parents bought us all brand-new ones. He said a quick thank you, and I was astounded. I kept telling him, 'We need to be more grateful!' But that’s just how they are."
5. "They pay for everything. It's just a given, which is strange from me coming from a family that always takes the time to split the bill. Dinner, hotels, everything. If we're visiting them, it's on them."
6. "I dated a senator's daughter in high school. Everything was about keeping up appearances, and we had to be careful where we went in public. Her parents offered to get me nicer clothes to wear when we went to dinner, but I felt weird about it. That relationship didn't last long."
7. "I married a rich woman. My wife is a gem, but the problem is that my mother-in-law's expectations and image are always the center of just about every single decision."
8. "On a Friday night on a whim, my girlfriend decided she wanted pie. I suggested we go down to the store and buy one, but she rang her favorite restaurant and had the chef bake her favorite pie. It cost $170. A pie. She could afford to do it, but the problem was the complete lack of value. Nothing really mattered to her because she had that kind of money."
9. "I learned that quality really does make a difference in everything from clothing to ingredients."
10. "I learned just how productive you can be when you have money. Something needs to be fixed or replaced? We can afford to do that. Want to do something fun or adventurous? Sure, let's go now. Want to eat healthier? Easy, we can buy all the ingredients. It's amazing what you can do when your life isn't slowed down by a million different things that need to be fixed, upgraded, replaced, or saved up for."
11. "I grew up poor, and my husband grew up very comfortable by comparison. Going out to eat for us was a true luxury. We never ordered a beverage because water was free. My husband doesn't understand that many of these things he takes for granted are privileges. Dining out is a privilege, new school supplies, new clothing, new shoes, new anything for that matter. I worked illegally at 13 so that I could start buying my own supplies. I wouldn't wish my upbringing on anybody, but I do wish that people could see the other side of things."
12. "I was shocked at how often my girlfriends would just book flights and go on vacation. She flew more in a summer than I had my whole life."
13. "People born into money think they know what it’s like to be middle class or poor, but they can't even be close to understanding. I grew up thinking getting a meal at McDonald’s was treating myself. I worked 40 hours a week at a gas station while taking 21 credit hours at a public university. Now I’m a department lead engineer at a pharmaceutical company. When I hear the stories about all my girlfriend's rich classmates in a prestigious MBA program going to Europe to 'study,' it makes me cringe. They get snobby about any job that makes less than six figures and imply that’s low-middle class."
14. "I dated a girl from a wealthy family when I was in college and I was very poor. The most frustrating thing for me was that our definition of 'a crisis' was so different. From month to month, I would literally not know whether I could afford my rent or be able to put gas in my car, and she would be freaking out about some minor social issue or whether a store carried a fashion brand she liked."
15. "How real the whole concept of a 'network' or 'bubble' really is. It's this weird community of people with money (and therefore power) who are willing to make things happen for you as long as you're 'in' the club. I would meet people at a fundraiser or something, and five minutes later, they're happy to make a call that will get me a job at some huge firm. Or my then-boyfriend would suggest we go to a concert. Tickets are $180, but it's OK because a friend's parents have a box, so we'll just join them. Or even one time the dishwasher in our flat broke, but we didn't have to pay a dime for repairs because his friend's parents owned the building, so they fixed it for free as a favor."
16. "I dated a girl for three years who came from old money. She was fine, but her family was so out touch with the real world. They were nice people but incredibly removed from the rest of the world. They'd ask me what it was like going to public school and how my parents immigrated. They were baffled that not everyone had vacation homes or traveled often. But the most interesting thing I learned is that old money is much more powerful than new money. Her family belonged to these 'clubs' that consist of other rich families, and the influence they had was mind-blowing."
17. "My wife's family has no concept of what a workday is. Workday, weekend, it's all the same."
18. "I remember as a kid our appliances would always die. Seeing my mother (with four kids) stress over the dryer breaking again and wondering how she was going to afford the laundromat was something I’ll never forget. I married a guy from a well-off family, and I was blown away when he wanted to replace our dish towels just because they were looking ratty. I was used to using dish towels until they disappeared. Getting new dish towels was a ridiculously frivolous idea to me."
19. "I grew up poor (now middle class), and when I was 18 I dated a super rich guy. The first thing I noticed was the difference in the food we ate. Not just the quantities, but also the ingredients (things like oysters, fresh fish, olives) — things my parents could never buy."
20. "I grew up lower class, and my partner grew up in a comfortable middle-class household. I notice a lot of differences that always surprise me, but one major one is the fact that university was always a lofty dream for me. I figured I would maybe go after starting at community college and transferring, but it was certainly not a given. For my partner, on the other hand, it was always assumed that he could go to any school he got into or wanted to attend."
21. "I grew up lower-middle class, and my parents both grew up poor, so there was a certain mentality that was ingrained in me. My S.O. grew up in a wealthy family and had never had to budget. Money was always just there if needed. Vacations were a rare treat for me but a normal part of life for him, so he was floored by my plans to go backpacking or stay in hostels to save money. I'm teaching him the beauty of frugality and saving money, and he appreciates how well I can keep our fridge full and a household running smoothly on a budget. He respects the fact that I spend money only when it's necessary. I've taught him to be a little more frugal as well."
22. "I struggled with the feeling that I'd always be living on the coattails of her family rather than making my own way in the world."
23. "I married into a rich family, and it is eye opening. I grew up not poor, but FAR from wealthy. We had a baby last year, and my husband's grandma bought a house for us...in cash. I feel uncomfortable when his family gives me gifts because they always cost a ton. For Christmas one year, we got $10K in a card. It’s a different world that I still don’t fit into, and I feel uncomfortable in it."
24. "My boyfriend didn’t have any concept of saving money. It was always just there because his money was always earning money. Having money was an income stream in and of itself. Also he had no concept of how much anything cost. If I was going to get some groceries for dinner, he would give me $300 to pick up some basics."
25. "I realized that higher-end products exists for almost everything, and it's often significantly better. It might sound silly, but a $200 toaster or $150 kettle actually does improve your breakfast. A $700 vacuum cleans in ways you never thought possible. You might not think it will, but it will."
26. "I learned the difference between having money and having wealth. If you grew up poor and worked hard and finally got $10,000 in the bank, that's cool. But it's nothing compared to a 50-acre family farm with a couple houses on it, and several generations of inheritance that will fall into your lap some day. Having wealth means savings, investments, cash hidden in safes, tons of jewelry. If my partner's family suddenly lost their checking and savings accounts, they’d still be worth so much money that they wouldn’t have to worry even for a second where their next meal would come from."
27. "My wife's family comes from money, and I come from a broke family. I feel like they're constantly watching me and saying, 'That's weird — why would you do that?' I notice this, for example, when I've forgotten hamburger buns and give the kids a burger on Wonder bread or when I whip up a batch of spaghetti noodles with chili."
28. "I learned that a lot of ultra-wealthy people lack many basic skills: how to unclog a drain, how to hang a painting, how to change a filter. They'll shell out $100 to get a handyman to spend two hours doing something they could fix themselves in 30 minutes and for $15 at Home Depot."
Have you been in a relationship with someone who comes from a different socioeconomic background or who has a very different attitude toward money than you do? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.