More Than Money
Issue #5

Money and Couples

Table of Contents

“Kiss and Tell - ...Do You Love Me for Who I Am?”

You are rich and single and searching for a mate. You tend to be quiet about your wealth. After a few dates with a certain person, you realize you're very attracted to him or her--a lot! Maybe there's even a future for the two of you together. Does s/he suspect you have this much money? Probably not, though there has been a clue here and there.

Should you wait to tell until you are securely in love with each other, to assure yourself that you are not being loved or rejected for your money? Or will that start the relationship on an ugly foundation of dishonesty?

If you prefer to open the subject early in the relationship, here are a few options:

You could choose to disclose something general in the first few dates, (for example, "I can write part-time because l have some money through my family;" or "I sold a business last year, so I have financial slack.")--and see what happens. Does your date avoid the issue, or ask you more about it? If it opens a conversation about money, how well do you both deal with the feelings involved? This reveal-a-little strategy protects you from undue exposure if the relationship peters out, and from the shame of a too-long-kept secret if your romance blossoms. Then, as trust develops and the relationship becomes serious, you can become explicit about your situation.

You could also open the subject more vulnerably. "Julie, I've been having a great time with you. Because we're talking about our lives and getting to know each other, I want you to know something I don't often tell people. I have inherited a great deal of money from my family. Sometimes financial differences have been painful in my relationships and friendships, and hard to discuss openly. That's why I bring it up now. Could we talk about it?" To get more comfortable, you might practice this with a friend before trying it for real.

Revealing your wealth can be frightening because many people have strong feelings and judgments, both positive and negative, about their own and other people's money. Not only might your beloved-to-be have assumptions about what it means to be rich, but if you break up, he or she may not keep your financial life secret. Whether you are "coming out" to a date or to the world:

  • How satisfied are you with how you earn, spend, give and invest your money?
  • How comfortable are you talking about money?
  • Have you thought out clear norms or policies about making gifts and loans?
  • Can you hear other people's reactions to your wealth without taking their feelings personally?
  • If you judge your wealth as part of an unfair system, are you doing something to help change it?

The more relaxed and confident you are about your own choices, the less you have to fear from others' reactions. If you are in turmoil or denial about your wealth, then resolving that tension is paramount. Once you deal with that, whatever method you choose to "come out" will be just fine. .

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