The part that Whitney Houston forgot to mention is when a decent looking guy came by on his way to the No. 6 train, treated her nicely and offered her an opportunity to sleep in a real bed and enjoy a happy life with him in the suburbs, poor Wyclef found himself sleeping alone.
I’m only partly joking. The truth of the matter is that money matters more in relationships than people think. Romantics believe that love conquers all, but lack of money will tend to kill that love, and in the scenario I painted above, Whitney wouldn’t be doing a bad thing if she decided to better her life in some way. Money says a lot about people and in a sense pulls the curtain back on a relationship, exposing all of its ugly underbelly.
It wasn’t always that way. Growing up, I could get away with not having money. It’s romantic to sit in each others’ arms and watch movies on the couch together. It’s ok to just hang out in the park. It’s ok to enjoy a McDonald’s burger and share some fries. But then you get older.
At first, you upscale only a little bit. You now have a job, but you have the excuse that you’re paying for college, so while you can’t do major restaurants, you sacrifice Wendy’s for some Chinese food. Instead of movies on the couch, you actually go to the movie theater. Instead of hanging out at the park, you go ice skating together…or something like that. But the more things evolve, the more the dates do, too.
I dated this one girl in college. The first time, we just hung out at the Barnes & Noble, played a quick game of pool and got a small bite to eat. The next time, I took her to the movies and walked her home. It was all good, but she had other plans. For our third date, she literally told me she wanted me to take her to a five-star restaurant. Wendy’s wasn’t five-star? I had to determine if I would buy that video game or go fancy. I bought the video game. I was only 20 and never had to prove myself to earn nookie?
Thankfully, I had a credit card and could take her out to a nice restaurant, which she still criticized as not being starry enough. After a nice meal, she invited me back to her place to…MEET HER PARENTS. Sigh. I did get a kiss. I have never kissed a dead fish before, but I think that was a safe comparison. It was cold and unemotional and I ended up leaving this amazing looking woman with no sense of sexuality behind as I headed back home to the Bronx, a little broker and a little less…ummm…fulfilled than I thought I would be. I realized that I needed to break up with her and I did it the best way I knew how – I told her I was broke…and it worked.
In the past, I have come across women who have approached me, because I assume I looked attractive to them. The subject of money can have differing results. An ex-girlfriend liked my title – Managing Editor – and seemed almost a little too eager to have me pay for everything. Managing editors for a local newspaper do not make money. Still, there is a difference between a guy paying because it’s the right thing to do and a girl making sure the guy will pay without even giving him a chance to step up. Another woman was upset that I was making a journalist’s salary and quickly decided my only other purpose in life was to install her air conditioner. She was hot and she stayed hot, because I had no money and I had no desire to install anything.
I have watched a co-worker drop everything she was doing because she heard a single man at the bar was a doctor. This was sight unseen. He could have been ugly, but money, like beer, makes people a little more attractive. I’ve watched women date the ugliest men who happen to be rich. They will even turn a blind eye if that man cheats on her for fear of giving up their new found wealth. It’s almost disgusting. Money should never be a factor in love…except:
My wife and I talk about our finances regularly. Both of us pull our own weight. We pay for our share of the bills. We pay an equal amount when it comes to rent. She dated me when I was a lowly journalist and continued with me for several years, even during my bout with unemployment. She encourages me when I think about advancing my career and I encourage her with her business.
Do we argue about money? Yes. Is it because we’re looking for a free ride? No. It’s because we want to have a happy future together. We are a team. While she encourages me to take a job that pays more, she puts in a little more effort to make additional money at her own job. We live by example. No one is trying to get over on the other. We are doing our best to make sure a terrible financial situation, like the kind that has been plaguing marriages greatly over the last few years, doesn’t affect us. Money does matter, but it should not be the determining factor. It should be something a couple works at together.
So, why would a couple sleep together in Grand Central station? In a situation involving true love, a man or woman would follow their significant other in the worst of times as long as they both worked hard to try and improve their situation. People who hit hard times, but continue to try hard to support their family are still attractive and worth spending the rest of our lives with. The lazy bum who doesn’t want to find work or does the absolute minimum just to get by is someone who is legitimately unattractive, because that person is not just costing his or her family money, they are hurting the family’s future. That is a relationship not worth pursuing.
It’s not the money that is breaking them up, it’s the money that’s uncovering the problems in the relationship. Who wants to be with someone who shows no drive? Who wants to be with someone that doesn’t care about a couple’s future and just believes things will work out on their own? Who wants to be with someone who acts like the world owes him or her something? That is when money matters. That’s when it is acceptable to break up over money. But to avoid someone because they are blue collar or work more than one job to make ends meet and aren’t a doctor – well the problem isn’t really money is it?
Disclaimer: Based on an astute observation made by one of my readers, I need to point out that my blogs are based on my own experiences. However, men are equally guilty of the behaviors I described above.