Money's role in your relationship may be greater than you realize.
"All you need is love." That's what the Beatles said, and it remains a pretty tempting. It doesn't matter how rich your husband is, right? If you love someone it doesn't matter if he's a jobless pauper—you'll make it work, somehow. Well, the Beatles didn't live through the recession of the late aughts—and some of today's women are realizing that their relationships are more dependent on money than they once believed.
Esther Martinez is one of these women. In an essay on The Daily Beast she reveals that ever since her boyfriend lost his job she's frustrated, resentful and wonders if her love is more conditional than she realized. Her boyfriend is a doctor who regularly appeared on TV. When he loses his job he gets reacquainted with his creative side while Esther works two jobs she hates.
This ugliness is not lost on me. I know I should be thankful to even have a job, let alone two, that there are people out there worse off—people with mortgages, kids to feed, and diminishing retirement accounts. For once, I should be glad to not "have" anything. When I vent my frustrations to girlfriends, I feel like I'm betraying the man I love, and myself. After all, this is not the inspirational "despite hard times" talk people want to hear during economic crises.
Comments on these pieces have ranged from supportive ("I thought it was brave to blog this--it's honest.") to all-out nasty ("Why don't you just steal someone's nice, fat wallet and have sex with it, its obvious you neither want nor deserve a man.") Many people wrote to say they were in a similar situation.
One dating blogger presented her theory that seeing marriage as a business relationship and coupling up with someone you don't know very well for purely financial reasons might be a good idea. "Two people sharing one place, sharing the daily cost of living, pooling their money for travel and adventures. You can do a lot more with two people contributing than on your own." Some people liked the idea: "Marriage is nothing more than a contractual agreement, isn’t it? Relationships are more like a business merger than anything—trying to protect what you have and trying to weigh the costs of being single versus being married," while others were committed to the Beatles' vision: "I’ll hold out for that spark and follow it through whatever financial deprivations it leads to."
And then there's the woman who is considering a rich boyfriend "and latching on for dear life." She wrote to Time Out New York's advice columnist asking if she should do it. His answer? Hells no! "To be a serious gold digger you've got to be seriously committed to looking for dollar signs and nothing else… You've already blown it by requiring that the guy of your fiscal dreams have a bunch of the 'fairy-tale' qualities you've always expected your husband would have."
No matter what you think of these women, the fact remains: money and love are tangled together in a web that is sometimes dew-covered-ly obvious, and sometimes hidden in the corner of the least-used room in the mansion.