Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what it's like to marry into a rich family — and whew, did they deliver. Here are some of the wild things they witnessed* or realized about rich people after getting to know their in-laws.
*We also thew in some responses from this Reddit thread that were too good not to include!
1. "My wife's family is quite wealthy. ... Every once in a while (even after five years), there are situations where I can clearly see that we have a completely different understanding of money. I remember when I talked about cars with my wife. And she literally said, 'I cannot understand why people buy old or used cars. I would never feel safe. Or why do people even buy those cheap brand cars? Better go for Mercedes Benz or BMW. Everybody knows that these cars are better. So why do people buy other cars?!'"
"I could see in her eyes that she meant it 100% honestly. She was not joking, she was very serious. I just calmly answered, 'Well, maybe because some people just can't afford those expensive cars?' I could see how surprised she was and said, 'Oh yeah, you're right. I didn't think about that.' I swear to god, I could see how surprised she was and how she just never considered the fact that there are people that cannot afford a Mercedes Benz or BMW."
2. "My husband and I do alright, but his family is wealthy. We’re not really in touch with many of them, but oh man, when his family members pass away, there is so much drama about money and trust funds. It seems like when people pass, the family doesn’t bat an eye about the deceased, it’s just an endless drag down rat race for the money that is left."
"It is endless, ongoing drama about who gets what and what amount, and how dare someone get more money than someone else. It’s heartbreaking. My family is poor, so when my family members pass, it’s mostly about paying off debt and sorting out furniture and photos. My mind is blown about anything to do with any actual inheritance. It’s really disgusting to watch; the funeral is solely a gathering to fight about money. It’s really sad."
3. "The casual wastage of food. ... I come from a family of schoolteachers and spent part of my childhood on single income. Rice and lentils for days. My S.O. came from a family of a surgeon and a mid-level businessman's heiress. The kind of meals they would put out for four people still make me squirm. Lobster, three kinds of fish, a big meat dish, plus a few vegetarian sides, three shop-bought desserts. For one meal. For four people."
"Naturally, no one would be able to finish the food, and unless leftovers were specifically requested, it would all be tossed. Because 'leftovers aren't healthy.' Never mind that the household staff would have gladly taken it home. They haven't 'earned the right' to enjoy such lavish meals.
I find it utterly crass. I've had to train my S.O. to live within our means, say please and thank you to service people and mean it, and to donate things instead of letting them rot. Life is so much better now."
4. "My husband's family is pretty well off. I grew up extremely poor with an alcoholic mom who worked two jobs to pay bills. I was left home alone at the age of 4. His parents hate me. I will never be good enough."
"I've never asked them for one cent. My husband's life insurance isn't even left to me. His mom is doing a trust for him. Good for him and my daughter. I want nothing to do with it. But she won't even talk about it around me. I will never be good enough in their eyes. They'd rather me be super pretty, with a family from money. Luckily, his grandmother who was the most well off, but a genuinely beautiful person, loved me. I miss her so much. She accepted me and loved me for me. I'm glad he's more like her. It sucks because I love everyone, but almost all his family hates me, all because I'm not from money. Funny thing is, I make more than him monthly, and I do wonderful things for him and our daughter."
5. "We didn't get married, but I dated a woman from a much wealthier background than myself for about five years — and we very much thought we'd get married. ... Her family disliked me from day one and never gave me a chance. It was a really intense dislike; they consistently made me uncomfortable, purposefully even. They would make fun of what I was used to eating...and they went to the ritziest restaurants in the city consistently — at least once a week. They wouldn't really speak to me at the dinner table, rather they would speak to each other, and if I offered an opinion, they would look at me silently and continue on. It was ironic in my view because I was actually the most well-educated person at the table with two university degrees, and yet, they consistently acted like I could have nothing of value to say."
"They refused to treat my mother like a person, they will help no one, they had this weird thing where they were incredibly wealthy but refused to make enough food for the table, they treated both of their adult children like 12-year-olds, they had poor hygiene, etc.
On my end, my girlfriend didn't visit my family home very much. She didn't like the commute. When she did, she would make a mess in the kitchen and never clean up, etc. I could tell she was judging what we ate. When we invited her parents to come out to our suburb and have some Thai food, they hired a driver because they didn't want to drive to this area themselves (it's not remotely dangerous, it's incredibly vanilla)...and they spent the entire time at dinner mentioning how surprised they were that there was anyone in the restaurant and how surprised they were that the food was good. They also had this habit of treating waitstaff like robots — 'get this, get that,' never looking them in the eyes.
This one time, my ex's parents went to Italy for a month and didn't bother to check if they left enough food for their dog. My ex can't drive, and I wasn't in the state, so my lovely mother drove to the other side of the city, bought the food, drove it to the house, and drove home. It was a 200-dollar bag of food, mind you. Her parents never said thank you and never offered to repay. That's the general vibe.
... Basically, being with me long-term seemed to bring tension into her elitist-as-fuck family, and it made me reluctant to date someone from that background again, which I know is irrational, but God, was her family the worst."
6. "That there was a whole class of people who’ve been looking down on me and my family for not being in the Social Register (something else I didn’t know about). I was at my in-laws and saw 'Blue Books' in bookcase and wanted to see how much I could get for my Toyota. Instead, it was filled with names and private summer/winter addresses for rich people. When my then-husband asked my awful MIL why we aren’t in the Social Register, she replied, 'Because you’re married to a nobody.'"
7. "Not me, my cousin. ... [Her in-laws] hired a chef to cook for them for Thanksgiving, and after he had done his job, he left the leftover turkey in the oven so they could have more if they wanted. So, they hired him again I guess on Christmas or New Years, and he goes into the kitchen, opens the oven, and is greeted with the same turkey. They never used their kitchen. They always bought food or ate out."
"My cousin's husband has never had a real job. She got her degree in art and has worked at several high-end museums in both Los Angeles and Dallas. He volunteered. That was his job. Nothing wrong with that, and it’s honestly admirable for someone of wealth to be spending their time volunteering and helping out. He’s now moved on to acting, though, and has had a couple roles in commercials and stuff.
I think I remember a story of how his family somehow owned some really old Ford designs? The company bought the designs back for several million dollars, and it was just no big deal."
8. "That if something like an oven or chair is only slightly broken, they just get a new one entirely. Also, because they took so many awesome trips to places like Myrtle Beach and Disney World, the kids (including my boyfriend) literally don't care and often skip most of the trips now. The only vacation my family has ever taken is camping, and my parents have had the same appliances for, like, 20 years. It didn't change our relationship, but it did cause me to see how little value their family places in these things."
9. "I went through some hard times with my mom growing up, but by the time I was in high school, we were fine. After college and making some great financial moves, I considered myself to 'have money.' It was around that time that I met my then-fiancé. ... We planned a trip to visit her family. She told me her parents were well off. She also told me that her dad was a watch collector. As I myself am one, I made sure to take my best watches with me. I had a Rolex, a high-end Movado, and a lower-end Cartier. These watches took me about five years to collect, and it wasn’t easy."
"I meet her dad, and he compliments me on my watch. Immediate win for me. The next day, her father, her mother, my fiancé, and I head out for lunch, and as they called it, 'light shopping.' My fiancé and her mom go into a boutique ladies store, and her father asks me to go with him to a jeweler in the mall to window shop the watches.
The owner knew him by name and even asked how my fiancé was doing. Needless to say, they knew each other. The owner gets excited and says that he has a Portugieser in stock. Like a kid in a candy store, my fiancé’s father smiles, asks to see it, and without hesitation, writes a check for the watch. The watch cost just under $20,000. I tried to keep my cool as I watched a man thoughtlessly write a check for a watch that costs more than my whole collection that I spent years collecting. That’s when I really knew they had money. ... It was him spending 20k and walking out as though he bought a pair of shoes that made me realize how I definitely am not a person with 'money.'"
10. "The picky and almost at times resentful generosity, even with family, and how everything has to be warped into some sort of financial lesson. If I had the wealth my partner's family had, I would use it completely differently. In hindsight, any 'generosity' given seems to be held over your head or used against you. Also, the way they think they are 'one of the people,' when really they have no fucking clue, especially how the world is right now and how much everything has gone up in price."
11. "I was shocked by how they had hired help for EVERYTHING you can imagine. A lawn guy, a cleaner, an AC guy, someone to hang up your curtains, someone to build your furniture for you, a seamstress to make curtains for you when you wanted new ones. My mind was boggled because I’ve always done everything myself or YouTube’d it if I couldn’t afford to call a technician."
12. "I grew up in a pretty standard middle to upper-middle-class family. I got a car when I got my license, but it was a 15-year-old Jeep, and my parents made me pay for half. When I shopped, it was at the mall, but we weren't buying designer or anything. That type of thing. I wasn't spoiled, but I was privileged. My S.O.'s family is wild, old school money. The kind where if we're in the city his dad's originally from, his last name holds clout, and people know who he belongs to. A standard gift from his family when you turn 16 is a $50k car, and everyone gets a million at 18 from their trust fund to pay for college, and then, you get your remaining millions when you graduate. He invested his pretty wisely, and now has a good amount of money in the bank along with his own investments and such."
"The weirdest thing is how it's so easy for him to just...do things and write them off as no big deal. Like, once we got engaged and started consolidating our finances, he paid off my student loans and credit cards without thinking about it, and just shrugged it off when I asked him about it (He insisted that I'm stressed enough with the debt from my business, and my own personal credit garbage fire would reflect on him in the long run). Or when our range died in the kitchen, he handed over a card and just told me to buy whatever was the best, because I would know better than him. Money is just something that exists to him, and he's smart with it, but if it's not something he views as big amount or it's a good idea in the long run, he doesn't see the point of worrying about throwing down the cash to pay for it.
Also, wedding planning is wild. His mother is paying for it as a gift, and I was expecting something nice, but as far as she's concerned, money is nothing. You like this venue that's 20k just for the space? Go ahead and book it. You want this fancy rehearsal dinner that's going to cost as much as a lot of people's weddings do? Why not? I'm letting my bridesmaids get whatever dress they want as long as it's floor length and navy even though I found one dress I really loved, and he and his mother don't understand why. The dress was $500, and I can't imagine making someone pay that for something they'll wear once, but for them, it's no big deal, since it's a special day. The unrestrained spending does my head in a lot, as it's just a day or two, but it's what's expected of me in his family, as they have a name to keep up with."
13. "I grew up in a very middle class suburban lifestyle, and my husband grew up in an exorbitantly wealthy British family. Not having to worry about money or even things like our son’s college fund or retirement fund is...different. It takes a lot of getting used to (although I can’t complain). Being able to choose a career based solely on passion and not practicality has been a perk."
"I don’t know about changes in personality, but we do have wildly differing perspectives. My husband kind of assumed our son would have a nanny (and he does), but he asked about not only my nanny (that I didn’t have, because nurse mom and firefighter dad) but my younger brother’s nanny as well. Yep. He and his siblings all had different nannies assigned to them. It is bonkers. I have to remind him all the time: YOUR EXPERIENCES ARE NOT UNIVERSAL. But he’s a good soul."
14. "My partner's family wanted me to sign a prenup because they didn't like the partner of my partner's sibling; they thought he was some sort of gold digger, and basically wanted to use our marriage to set a precedent. No thank you."
15. "THE SECRETS! Everything that isn’t perfect doesn’t exist. My in-laws have had family members institutionalized and will pretend like no one has ever had mental health concerns — even my sister-in-law still doesn’t know. Looking happy will often matter more than being happy, so family members will follow expectations far more than their passions. They will often neglect their mental health and basic needs to make sure people see them in a certain way. I was so surprised that wealth can be so much of a self-imposed prison when it could provide you with complete freedom."
16. "I'm surprised at how easily they could start a family. My brother-in-law and his wife intentionally got pregnant while she was still in school, and neither of them had jobs that offered any benefits or parental leave. ... I want to start a family and I can't — because I can't afford to. I make more money than them, I'm done with school and have been working for a few years. Even still — I can't afford to take time off and just be unpaid for a year. I also wouldn't be able to have a child if my family didn't help us with major purchases (like cribs, strollers, car seats etc.)."
17. "My boyfriend's family tells me every year at the holidays that I need to ask for more things, and more expensive things. I grew up middle class, and consider $50 to be an 'expensive' gift, but saw his brother-in-law asking for (and receiving) a new set of AirPods as a stocking stuffer."
18. "My fiancée has a FU wealthy family that is riddled with drama. We’re talking old, deep, family wealth. Go anywhere in the world and do anything you could imagine kind of money."
My fiancée was the youngest of many and has always been the black sheep. At first, I thought it was in her head, but we have been together a long time, and I have had the privilege of experiencing their treatment of her firsthand. The weird issue is that though she is the youngest, she is also the most successful. Super smart lady! The rest of her siblings need her family's help to deal with life. They just can’t figure out how to do anything on their own. Her family treats her so poorly, and all we can come up with is that since we don’t need their help, they don’t like us.
There has been a massive perspective shift regarding wealth for both of us. We have decided that we never want wealth to be used against us as a measure of love. We just want to be happy and do what we love with who we love.
I think the big change in personality has occurred because she experienced (via my family) that you can be wealthy, but also not be a total D. It has taken a lot of therapy for the two of us to not tolerate her family’s treatment of us, and realize we are ok with or without them in our lives. We’ve both changed for the better as a result of their 'money solves problems and equates to love' attitude."
19. "We aren't married but have been together for six years and lived together for three years. My S.O.'s family is very well off, and I still get surprised randomly about it. I remember one time his dad was complaining about wanting a new car because his Mercedes was old. I kind of laughed and said, 'Isn't it only three years old?' And he replied, totally stunned, and said, 'Oh my goodness, no — it's five!' I couldn't hide the look on my face. ... I drive a 14-year-old Jeep, and my family still has a 20-year-old Durango (great car BTW)."
20. "How little my husband thinks of taking care of his parents. They're well off, so he just does whatever he wants. My parents put every extra dime they had into my education, and so it's expected that I'll help care for them through retirement. Every decision I make, I make as a family because we simply don't have the resources to be so individualistic."
21. "They didn't get sarcasm. I thought snark was a cultural universal, but when they kept questioning about my negative worldview, I told them I wasn't being negative, that my hostility was a feint that the lower classes found comfort and amusement in."
22. "Not that my in-laws are wildly wealthy, but...when I met my (then) boyfriend's family, they were living in a new-build house they had designed. A few months later, my mother-in-law decided she hated it, and at our wedding less than one year later, they had bought a new house five minutes from their old one. The joke at our wedding rehearsal was how many houses they owned that week. They're HUGE Dave Ramsey fans, so I know they've got to be setting money aside, but they're the definition of 'I see it, I like it, I want it, I buy it.'"
23. "My husband’s family is wealthy; mine is at best middle class. I am close with my parents. We text almost every day and call each other at least once a week. We hug and tell each other I love you consistently. I know I can turn to them for advice. This warmth does not exist in my husband’s family. We have been married for 11 years, and I have never hugged my in-laws."
"No one hugs each other. If my husband didn’t call them himself, he would never talk to them. When he calls them, 95% of the time, they do not answer or are 'in the middle of something' and can’t talk long. In general, they seem uninterested or just incapable of being those kinds of parents to their kids. However, if anyone needs help financially, they are always there. They’ve essentially raised my sister-in-law’s kids because she refuses to work and support herself and her family (so much to unpack here). They pay for everything for their grandchildren. This is how they show their love. I love them dearly, but it breaks my heart when I see my husband needing the parental nurturing and guidance and hitting a brick wall every time. Thankfully, my parents help pick up the slack and are close with my husband."
And finally, let's end on some wholesome ones:
24. "The one that was the biggest shock was my first Christmas with his family. We had only been dating for two months. His family flew us out to their condo in a private resort which required us to fly through a private airport as well. Day two, his parents took me out to buy ski supplies as my Christmas present. They spent over $4,000 on my ski suit and accessories. I got down mittens! It took a good 30 minutes of coaxing for them to get me to stop staring at the ridiculous price tags, but even then, I felt uncomfortable. Fast-forward a week to Christmas morning, his mom made sure I had a stocking (which was exciting and homey for me because growing up, we usually only did stockings). But then, I pulled out a box...with a $300 necklace in it."
"A $300 stocking stuffer! I thought it was the wrong stocking. Like, it was supposed to be for her daughter (we had the same name). I had never had a stocking valued over $20, and I had only opened one part. All-in-all, they are the kindest family. Very humble, and always sharing their happiness and wealth when they can!"
25. "I grew up on food stamps, being left alone by age 4 or 5, never dreaming of having even a savings account. It was weird at first. My now-husband didn't even tell me his family was well off until we were driving to their house one day, and we suddenly enter a gated community, and their house was huge!"
"Once we all got to know each other, I honestly forgot about their money. They worked hard and saved so they're very down to earth. They accept all of the wives/husbands and are very generous with their time and money. It is still weird from time to time when my husband and I share childhood stories. I'll bring up a funny story (funny to me) about some just awful white trash thing, and he looks horrified. Meanwhile, his childhood stories are full of traveling, cruises, and family vacations."
26. "I grew up in a big middle class family. Married a guy with equally rich divorced parents and generational money. Luckily, he had a diverse friend group and appreciated his blessings. The biggest lesson I learned is that rich people know how to let their money make money. They worked smarter, not harder. All the tax deductions, all the investing that my parents didn’t know how to do. I give his family credit for looking out for future generations. We have zero money stress but try to stay smart and keep it going for our kids and grandkids. Something that’s really cool is he grew up with no siblings, no nieces/nephews, etc., and loves my whole side of the family. We will eventually get to gift my seven nieces/nephews life-changing amounts of money thanks to his parents/grandparents decisions. We plan to be the definition of spreading the wealth."
27. And finally... "I married into a hugely wealthy family. My father-in-law was president of an international medical staffing firm. He retired three times from the company, and each time, had a bigger retirement package. My wife is cultured beyond belief, fluent in at least four languages, and has seen the world that most of us could only dream of seeing in our lifetimes. My wife is also one of the hardest-working people I have ever met, and even with all the wealth, actually practices charity to the point that I have to stop her. I never realized how influential the name was until visiting New York and staying at the Four Seasons. A manager came over and called my father-in-law by name and pushed us to the front of the line. We were treated like royalty that week."
"Or, for my wedding to his daughter. Not only did he foot the bill for everything (wedding reception consumed 12.5 gallons of Patron), he flew my wife and I [on a] three-week honeymoon anywhere in the world on his dime. He gave us his AMEX Black and said have fun. Six countries well over 100k in a honeymoon — never said a word."
Did you marry into wealth — or have someone marry into your wealthy family? Tell us about your experience (or your partner's) below!
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.