In early January 2009, I figured it was time for my guy to meet my mom. It had been seven months and she was beginning to think that I had something to hide. (I didn't, but before him, I'd been single for six years. I put this relationship at a speed somewhere between frozen turtle and crawling backwards.) He picked out a nice seafood restaurant and I'm pretty sure (from what I haven't blocked out) that I spent a good deal of the evening wishing for more Tanqueray (as I was cut off... evil people in this world).
Everything was going pretty well until my mother (whom I love—with clenched teeth) brought up a very touchy topic for me. She asked him if his family would think that I'm a gold digger (or GD). She asked him that, upon their first meeting, at dinner, while I was trapped in a booth with an empty tumbler. I don't recall the rest of the evening. I simply remember being embarrassed.
I won't lie, I've thought about it. I've thought about how his daughter would feel about a less-than-wealthy woman (9 years her senior) hanging out with her not-close-to-broke dad. In fact, I thought about it when we first met. I was a service writer at the shop where he brought his company vehicle to be serviced. I bet he probably was aware of my average salary.
When we went out to dinner for the first time, we went to a tapas lounge. I got there before him and outside of work it was obvious that he had a lot going on for him. Since I worked around cars, I could tell by his keychain that he owned multiple nice cars, but I refrained from saying anything (lest I have to mention "The Blackmobile", my '94 Probe). When we went out to our cars (I was rollin' in mom's '07 Maxima) he asked me what I thought of his Windstar. I told him that it looked nicer than my car. That's when he let me in on the "secret" that his own cars were a Yukon and BMW. (I felt really poor when I went home that night.) He used this as a gauge for women and how gold-diggerish they were (I guess I passed). When Money Masks Couples' Real Problems
Soon, he let me in on his salary (about 5x mine), his houses, and other things. This was most likely due to a message I sent him that I thought we were too different and I didn't have a lot to bring to the table. I was glad that he didn't (and doesn't) seem to care, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel inadequate. Once I made it to his house, it didn't get better. He has lots of things that I want. Flat screen HDTVs, jewelry, even shoes that each have their own little special bags. His toilet paper gets beautified and folded by the maids, and his earrings are almost ludicrous.
There was an invite for a cruise, but I didn't go because I couldn't afford to go. He would have paid for my ticket, but I've tried to have a different outlook concerning men and money, and that involves not letting men make major purchases. It's been a mindset years in the making, beginning in my childhood.
When I was a kid, my dad was whatever the opposite of affectionate is. He spent a lot of time being mean, cruel, evil, not nice, and well, you get the picture. The one place where he was not as hateful was the wallet. We went on vacations, and we had things, toys, bikes, books, but when he would get angry, he would take these things away. Eventually, things would return to "normal" and we'd go back to life. I could ask him for a couple dollars for the ice cream truck and get a $20. Even now, as an adult, the only real communication my dad and I have is through sums of money. It's the only way he can show his love, and it's the only way I know to accept it. Which Love Language Do You Speak?
When I began dating, I applied this situation to relationships. I felt like men thought they were so smart with their words, but I wanted things from them because I thought that meant they cared. I wanted trinkets, lunches, dinners and I got them. I began working when I was 14 (before I started dating actually), so it's not like I didn't have my own money, but my money meant stability; their money meant affection. This began to change after I lost my virginity. I found that if I mixed up dating, money and sex I felt awful.
Turns out that I have very little respect for a man who simply throws his money at me. Don't get me wrong, I WANT HIS MONEY! But I want his approval and love more. I know it's not worth how I'll feel about myself doing the things required to get the money the easy way. After substituting sex, because that's what men wanted and what I wanted, I became disenchanted because neither sex nor money equals love. I actually have no idea how to base my relationships on feelings. I want to have a real relationship, but it's difficult getting rid of the notion that I have nothing to offer but sex, and in return for that, he'll probably buy me dinner, things, movies, and trinkets.
Every time my guy does something for me, I feel cheapened. He got me a COACH purse (I don't make enough cash to breath on their storefront) and I felt sick to my stomach. I can't repay him for this, and I didn't want him to hold it over my head that he bought me this nice bag and now I need to do something for him (one of my dad's mindsets, passed on to me and my siblings). He hasn't done anything of the sort, but I'm still uncomfortable with it. Marrying "Up"
I understand the reasons GDs do what they do. It allows you to get what you want, to live at whatever standard you're going for without having to put in all the work. You feel like you can share in the rewards of someone else's life, and they seem to be sharing with you freely. Nothing is free. Some of my friends have been GDs. One would "miscarry" every few months, so her man was all over her with sympathy, buying things to make her "feel better". She messed up by nagging him about marriage. He was willing to give her money, but he would never bring her home to mom. Another one would find good-looking men and bleed them slowly to help pay for the car, tanning expenses, hair and nails, rent, clothes, bar tabs and whatever other bills she acquired. Then, she would move on to the next one. In fact, my own cousin spent much of her teens and twenties being paid for. Even when the cost was black eyes and bruises, she paid to get paid.
At this point, I've developed an aversion to money. I love money and all it stands for. I love (and miss) having cable, king crab legs, nice watches, real jewelry, and so on, but I have GIANT PRIDE SYNDROME (I am NOT a doctor) and I feel like it's ok to have these things if I buy them myself. Where does that leave my guy?
In an odd predicament I suppose. Since I lost my job, I'm reluctant to go out with him (not that he ever made me pay anyway). He puts forth the effort to do so much for me, but ever the GD idea was brought up to him I don't want him to even suspect that I want anything but his time. He mentioned going on a trip to Brazil and apparently was waiting for me to chime in about going. I mentioned that it sounded like he'd have fun and continued to eat my eggs. I can't afford that, and I wouldn't let him pay for me to go so I won't feel like I owe him. I can't enjoy things I haven't earned, and that's pretty bad news for our relationship because a lot of what he does involves money. Tales Of A Reluctant Trophy Wife
He speaks of getting married (but I don't). I have debt I'm paying down that I don't want him to incur. I have a child that requires vast amounts of milk, eggs, and strawberries. I More than that though, I still feel like I have nothing to bring to the table but love, and that doesn't pay the bills. I'm not sure what insanity has kept this man with me for a year, but I'm sure that means he is willing to give me much more than the money in his pocket.
Maybe, somewhere deep inside, other GDs feel this way. It's way easier to get the money than it is to build a serious relationship built on trust and love. It's faster, and you can usually expect everything that happens in the GD/SD (sugar-daddy) relationship. She will feed his ego with attention and sex and he will fill her empty life with nice things that she can't afford herself, eventually she finds a bigger fish or he sets his sights on something fresher and the game begins again with different players on the same field. I retired from this game, but I don't really know any other rules to play by.