It's A Pleasure

Help, My Boyfriend Is Too Rich!

I found out his family has hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s messing with my head.

Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Getty Images

Q: I just started dating this guy and it turns out he’s from a mega-rich family — like, hundreds of millions of dollars rich. It’s freaking me out. I really do like him, but I don’t want to accidentally get swept up in the fun of it all (drinking expensive champagne in his Hollywood Hills infinity pool, a private chef) and let that cloud my judgment. He doesn’t come off as snobby or like he’s purposefully using his money to seduce me, but... it’s hard not to fantasize about how luxurious my life could be with him, and I worry that’s messing with my head.

A: Gather up Jane Austen and J. Lo, it’s time to talk about money’s effects on love!

I’d love to tell you that finances don’t factor into relationships when two people are really “meant to be,” but that would be false. Money plays a major role in our lives virtually constantly, which means it’s not at all unreasonable to think that this guy’s bank account might change how you feel about him.

It’s very easy to mistake thrills for connection. I mean, ask anyone who has competed on the Bachelor franchise. There’s a reason the dates are about helicopters and shopping sprees and not unclogging a shower drain. It’s undeniable that a wealthier life tends to be an easier one, because money can “solve” many problems. So your time with him in his hot tub with a view (which you’ll never have to clean) is almost surely going to seem more exciting than sitting on the couch watching Suits again.

So how can you tell if your connection is as great as it feels?

Firstly, I suggest a frank assessment of how much he tries to fit into your life, versus you simply slotting into his. You should not be another convenience for him — someone who just comes over when he wants based on his travel and work schedule. Even if he sends a car to pick you up! You are not DoorDash! So what if you have a smaller apartment and street parking and roommates? If you love someone, you want to know them, to know their life, to experience it with them — even if it means squeezing into a double bed and having quiet sex because their walls are thin.

Think about how you talk about him to your friends. What’s the first thing you tell them? How well he treats you, how much fun you have together, how great the sex is… or how wild his lifestyle is? In your view, what are his most attractive qualities, and where does wealth fall on that list? When you think about what’s best about him, are you imagining the future ease of your life with a private chef, or is it more like, I loved what we talked about at dinner on Wednesday?

Every couple has to communicate about money. Even silence is a form of communication.

You could also try doing things you would do with a partner in your own tax bracket for a while. I don’t just mean for a day or two; I mean for a good chunk of time. Do you enjoy his company as much? Or is the allure of front row Olivia Rodrigo tickets (understandably) tipping the scales in his favor?

His financial background does make his life very, very different than yours. He can have every single minor inconvenience taken care of for him. He can have a chef and a driver and a personal trainer. Someone no doubt does his taxes and his laundry.

And while that life might sound alluring, I think it often creates a person with very little frustration tolerance. A person unused to friction or nuisance. A person who doesn’t have to problem-solve. A person who thinks, subconsciously, that the world revolves around them a bit. Because it does!

Think about his values around money — how he uses it, plus his beliefs about class and privilege. Do you agree with or admire those things? Be really honest about if your views line up, because that is what is going to matter the most in the end. Does he value the money you earn? Do you see yourself as equally important, regardless of how much you make? Does he believe he should have more say in the relationship if he’s footing the bill?

The other piece of this is that wealthy people tend to hang out with other wealthy people. (Class is a good predictor of relationships and friendships.) Even if he is cool about your background, are his friends and family? Do they say ignorant things? How do he and the people around him treat the people who work for them? Those things will speak to his values and they will matter in the long run, even if they don’t seem to right now.

He is not more important than you are because of his wealth. His time is not more valuable than yours.

This is imperative to discuss. It’s rarely a comfortable subject for anyone, but you have to practice, my friend, and that practice starts now. Every couple has to communicate about money. Even silence is a form of communication. If he can’t talk about his wealth and how it might affect you two, that’s not a good sign. Same with you feeling like you aren’t allowed to mention the imbalance. It’s also not good if he seems like he’s downplaying his situation or if he isn’t honest about how it shapes his life.

He is not more important than you are because of his wealth. His time is not more valuable than yours. Talk about how you can make sure that neither of you is prioritizing him and his life and his desires more simply because of his money.

If, however, you find that this is too much to handle and that you don’t see your values lining up long-term, that’s OK. That doesn’t make you a bad person or a reverse snob. You just know what you’re looking for. If you do end things, maybe unfollow him on social media so you don’t have to see the trips to the Maldives you’re missing out on.

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