“My Family’s Richer Than His. Should I MOA?”

I am truly in love with my boyfriend, but we grew up with very different lifestyles (socially, money, viewpoints) and I think that it’s something that could become an issue down the road. I feel like I have to “lower” myself when I am out with his family; I feel bad talking about my experiences/vacations and things of that sort when it comes up. I also feel bad when he comes on vacation or out to nice dinners/events with my family and then goes back and talks about those experiences with his own family.

I’m unsure of how to act in these situations and unsure if this is a relationship that I need to get out of because of these standards. Making the decision worse is that I have been asking him to quit smoking for months now and he never takes me seriously enough to actually quit. Should I try to move on and find someone who I can be more myself around his family, who doesn’t smoke, and who may not make me as happy as my current boyfriend – or stay with the guy I love and am treated well by? — Class Issues

If you truly feel like you have to “lower” yourself around your boyfriend’s family because you’ve been on more extravagant vacations than they have and or you’ve eaten in more expensive restaurants, then I’d definitely recommend moving on. Until you learn that one’s socioeconomic class has no bearing on who he or she is as a person and that the experiences and opportunities mommy and daddy have been able to provide you don’t make you any better than anyone else, you should probably spare people you deem “below” you the presence of your company and the “standards” they apparently can’t afford to live up to.

My BFF has been dating this guy for about six months and they’ve already moved in together, including their kids from prior relationships, and are talking about marriage, etc. Aside from the obvious issues here, what’s killing me is that the guy is a complete jerk and treats me like garbage. (He’s not great to her either, btw, either.) He has no reason to be hateful, and he’s so nasty towards me that my husband has forbidden him from ever setting foot in our house.

My friend knows how I feel, and how bad the situation is, but she says she’s happy and doesn’t want to break up with him. It’s getting to the point that there is serious strain on our friendship and as much as it hurts, I’m about ready to part ways. Is there any hope here, or should I just move on to healthier friendships? — Dumped for a Douche

Uh, why don’t you just hang out with your friend without her boyfriend around? If she already knows you can’t stand him, it shouldn’t be too awkward to request some girl time with her. If she’s unable to ever leave his side, then yeah, you should probably move on to friendships that are a little less restrictive and draining.

I am a college student and unlike a lot of my friends, I am here on lots of scholarships and loans. I don’t have a lot of money to spend, and I have tried to make up for it by suggesting good happy hours, helping with dishes/cleanup at parties when I can’t bring alcohol, and sometimes just having to stay in. One of my friends is studying abroad in the fall, and she wants to have a going away party. She has decided to serve prime rib, and is asking for people to cover their costs for food and alcohol.

I am not at all upset that she is asking us to contribute money toward the cost of the meal; my issue is that I cannot afford to eat prime rib. In fact, she knows about my financial situation and she told me I couldn’t come if I wasn’t able to “pay upfront.” I’ve thought about bringing my own (affordable!) food to cook/eat, but is that tacky? Am I right in thinking that perhaps she doesn’t want me there at all? — Distressed Guest

Your friend is incredibly tacky for even suggesting that guests pay for their expensive meals and alcohol at a party she’s hosting. Since you can’t afford the pricey menu, either skip the party completely or show up after dinner has been served. Bringing your own food would be awkward and draw unnecessary attention to you.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. My boyfriend grew up with considerably less money than I did, and they could not give a %$*@ if I share stories about vacations I took or experiences I had – they are lovely, caring people who gave their children an awesome childhood and had their own great experiences, just on a lower budget (You should hear them talk about their “disaster” vacation to a cabin in the woods – listening to them tell the story together in the rehearsed way that only comes from many retellings is heartwarming and hilarious). So I can guarantee you that your boyfriend’s family doesn’t feel “uncomfortable” because of your financial situation, or theirs – I’m guessing that the only reason you feel this way is because it’s an issue for YOU. And honestly, like Wendy said, if you can’t realize that money has nothing to do with the quality or character in a person or a family, you should MOA – so that your boyfriend can meet someone who doesn’t feel like they have to “lower” themselves just to be around the people he probably cares about most.

  2. LW 1: From what I’m gathering from your letter,your parents paid for your trips and expensive dinners.So really,it’s their hard earned money they’ve been spending on you. Tell me,what have YOU done to deserve your wealthier lifestyle?Why should your boyfriend date YOU?

    Although,I have to admit.Smoking is a dealbreaker for me.

    1. Amen! I used to work with someone who constantly said things about herself and family like “we own property” and “we have whatever”. I thought (1) the people I’ve known who are truly wealthy don’t actually rub anyone’s nose in it and (2) she didn’t own or earn any of what her family allegedly could claim!

      1. I agree. I think if you’re actually wealthy,you don’t need to go around talking about it because people can tell for themselves. I know a family who would be considered middle middle class at most and the husband of the family acts like he’s one of the wealthier ones.They have a brand new BMW,which they can’t afford and they take vacations they can’t afford either.Meanwhile,he brags to people about the money they’ve got.

        But they live in a neighborhood where the houses aren’t really worth all that much and certainly nowhere close to what the average wealthy person may be living in.All I have to do is type in their address into a computer and I can see for myself how much their house is worth.And it’s not anywhere close to what he claims it to be.And I know how much the law firm he works for makes.And it’s not doing so well.And he makes himself look like a moron because we can all see for ourselves what he REALLY can afford…

      2. Britannia says:

        The husband is what we in Tucson call “hood rich”. Personally, I find it repugnant, but everyone is entitled to spend their money however they please so I just try to avoid people like that.

        I think it’s slightly disturbing that you actually looked up his house’s value, and the salaries of his law firm’s employees, though. That’s overkill, let him be a braggart and just don’t bother with him.

  3. BoomChakaLaka says:

    Are there really people like LW#1 in real life? I mean, it is 2011 ya’ll. You truly believe that you can’t get along with him because he is from a different social class than you?Girl, please. Unless he feels uncomfortable and has communicated such to you, DO NOT have pity for him. He didn’t give you that right to feel “lower” than you so don’t.

    I could understand if his approach to finances was different from yours. Yes, that would put a strain on any relationship if you grew up saving to build wealth and he grow up just spending money he didn’t have. But that isn’t even the scenario here. You are outright dismissing any potential relationship because YOU feel uncomfortable with the money he doesn’t have. But that’s not the case here.

    I grew up poor and my parents are West Indian immigrants that came to America working hard for their money. My boyfriend is a fourth generation European immigrant whose parents are more financially well off than mine were, but worked hard to make it here as well. Yes they’ve been on nicer vacations than my parents have, but I wouldn’t trade my experience, (class, social, economic) for anything else. It made me the person I am today and the person that my boyfriend loves.

    Ugh, I could go on all day, but its only 8:43AM on a Friday. Too early for this…

    1. I love how she automatically thinks she is lowering herself to him. Maybe HE is lowering himself around you because of your ignorant & shallow thinking…

      1. Or maybe they’ll be in the same financial situation once her parents stop supporting her.Then they’ll be “equal”.

      2. Britannia says:

        Believe me, she’ll be a lesser person than he is if she ever gets cut off. I’ve been friends with “rich kids” who displayed such poor ethical and behavioral standards that their parents cut them off, and the kids have ALL been utterly pathetic, and completely floundered in the ocean of Life.

        I also know some kids whose parents are rich who DIDN’T raise their kids to be entitled little brats — they did their best to instill a strong work ethic and sense of moral self, making them WORK for what they received. And I’m not just saying that they made their kids do their chores and then gave them a BMW… I’m talking about genuine work, like making them get a job and earn 75% of their vehicle’s price tag, then helping them out with the remaining 25%. They, also unanimously, have turned out to be pretty good people.

    2. SpaceySteph says:

      “Are there really people like LW#1 in real life? I mean, it is 2011 ya’ll.”

      Sadly yes, and I know many of them. Some people believe the brand of your purse or shoes or car is directly representative or your worth as a person.

      1. BoomChakaLaka says:

        That really makes me sad on a Friday. I can’t.

  4. Whoa, I think Wendy was a little harsh on the first writer. My take is that not she thinks she’s better, but that she feels uncomfortable comparing her lifestyle to his because she’s had opportunities and privileges he hasn’t enjoyed. It’s the way you feel when you’re telling a friend about your awesome vacation and she was home alone all week. But the comments are right that if you two are a good match, it doesn’t matter. Your different experiences and cultures should enhance your relationship, and you should be able to appreciate the great things he’s had that you haven’t. Neither of you should feel bad about what you bring to the table. If you do, then you’re not a good match.

    LW #2–I think Wendy overlooked the possibility that this douchebag may be controlling. You didn’t say it out loud, but it doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship. Her boyfriend is trying to push you out of her life. You may have to keep a bit of distance, but please let your friend know that you’re still there for her. Even if you can’t hang out, be reachable and approachable should she need some support. If her relationship implodes or becomes unsafe, she’ll need other good people in her life.

    1. I’d have a lot more sympathy for LW1 if she had written in:

      Dear Wendy,

      I’m dating a man I’m very much in love with, but we come from very different backgrounds. My family is fortunate enough to be financially well off, and I’ve been given amazing opportunities and experiences: tennis camp in X, summers in y, a trip to z. These have all been really major parts of my life, and many of my stories revolve around them. His family doesn’t have a lot of money, though, and I’m not sure how to talk about these things without making money the elephant in the room. Also, my family is very generous and loves including him on these trips and dinners, but I think he is starting to feel uncomfortable about my family’s money paying for things he wouldn’t otherwise financially be able to do. How can I make sure this doesn’t become an issue in our relationship?”

      But, LW didn’t say that. What she said was: . “I feel like I have to “lower” myself when I am out with his family.” And that implication of “lower” is the issue. She also only ever talked about how it made her feel, and not a word about him.

      Look, I have a couple of close friends who “come from money,” and things that seem totally normal to them sometimes just blow my mind. Because it is totally normal to them. But that’s never been a defining part of our friendship, because we also have so many other shared experiences that don’t revolve around “coming from money.” You say that you feel like you can’t be yourself around his family. Is having money really so defining a part of you that you feel like not yourself when you try to downplay the cost of that awesome week in Marbella? Focus on the stories, and not that you flew first class to get there.

      Look, yes, it would probably be easier to date someone who comes from a similar background. But that’s always true: being located near each other is easier than long distance, sharing a cultural heritage can be easier, hell, both being vegetarian or non vegetarian can be easier. But easier can’t be the sole motivating force for the relationship. You’re supposed to love the guy, remember? Like Colleen said, your differences should enhance your relationship. You both have different experiences, but that doesn’t make yours “higher” or “better.”

    2. I agree with you. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, and when the LW in #1 talked about “lowering” herself, I don’t believe she thinks she is better than him. I think she’s trying to be sensitive to the fact that they grew up in different lifestyles and is afraid that her boyfriend and his family will feel uncomfortable. I think it’s a little condescending to assume that they feel bad about their lack of wealth, but I can appreciate that she’s trying to be sensitive. I do think she needs to adjust her attitude a bit. Obviously she shouldn’t brag about lavish vacations she took with her family, but there is nothing wrong with sharing experiences from your childhood with your significant other. If he feels bad about growing up with “less”, that is his insecurity. It sounds like this LW needs to evaluate what th level of compatibility is in the relationship and decide to either get over the “class” difference or MOA.

      As for LW #2, my question is, has your friend actually witnessed her boyfriend treat you this badly? If she has and has not stuck up for you or at least acknowledged the crappy behavior, then it might be time to back off the friendship a bit. I have dated men that did not get along with certain friends, but I never allowed them to be disrespectful towards my friends. I think she has no choice but to back-off the friendship a bit because her friend has made it clear that she’s happy and not getting rid of the boyfriend. PLus, why would you want to hang out with someone who stands by and watches you get treated like crap? Maybe try sitting her down (alone) and calmly explaining to her how you feel and that you want to be there for her, but that you cannot stand by and be treated terribly. But if things don’t change it’s time to MOA.

      LW #3- I was in a very simialr circumstance. The girls I went to school with couldn’t understand why I couldn’t go on spring break and party 5 nights a week like they could. I had to work full-time while going to school full-time. Unfortunately, someone who has never had to struggle has a hard time understanding what it’s like. I would skip the party. Inform the hostess that you simply cannot afford it and that you hope she has a great semester abroad. A true friend would find a way to make sure you were included.

      1. lemongrass says:

        The thing is, she makes no mention that her bf feels bad. She makes no mention of how he feels….at all. Its all about how she feels. Really from the way she writes about him, it sounds like he puts her on a pedestal and she likes it up there. Except for that his addiction to smoking makes him say no to her about quitting and she can’t take it that he would say no to someone so much “higher” than him.

      2. I think she may just be guilty of a poor choice of words. I read it more as her feeling that she has to censor herself around them, which I understand. My dad worked his ass off building his career so that he’d be able to pay for mine and my brother’s university; he came from a family with not a lot of spare cash and had to work himself through law school, and he wanted his kids to not have to do that. So yeah, I’m that girl whose parents are paying her way. It doesn’t make me different, but sometimes it’s uncomfortable to talk about, because when I want to do things like stay in instead of going out drinking, I get looks from people like “what’s the matter with you, you can afford it, you’re not paying tuition!” Meanwhile, I’m just trying to be sensible with what money I’ve made that’s mine. So I just tend to avoid telling people as much as possible.
        Even around my dad’s family, who know exactly how hard he works, we’ve had situations where we’ve talked about maybe saving up a little and going to New Zealand next year for a vacation (somewhere my mom and I have always wanted to see) and we get snarky comments like “what, isn’t plain old Florida good enough for you?” People can get really nasty when it comes to money, and having more of it doesn’t necessarily make someone the ‘bad’ person or the snob. We’ve gotten to a point where we just don’t talk about where we’ve been or where we’re going, or what we want to do to the house, or where we’re going to school, and it can be super uncomfortable. We have to censor what we say, and it does feel like we can’t be ourselves around these people. I’m more comfortable in a way with some of my dad’s acquaintances from work who won’t raise eyebrows about the fact I went on a language exchange to Europe than I am with some of my own aunts and uncles, and that’s sad – those things are part of my life and had a big effect on me. And the LW may not know how her boyfriend and his family really feel, since plenty of people are capable of being totally friendly face to face and then rolling their eyes and saying “who does miss moneybags think she is?” in private.
        I think we need some more details here…update, please!

      3. Yay New Zealand! Hope you have a fun time here!

      4. I was giving her the benefit of the doubt as well. I think it’s the idea she expressed that she “lowers” herself around his family that is setting everyone off. The point is, she said they have differing “lifestyles” and “viewpoints” – and these things can strain a relationship (which is not to say it CAN’T work). It sounds like if her family is including him in stuff, so they obviously don’t have a problem with her dating him… So maybe they’re not all as stuck up as we’re all imagining. People who come from privileged backgrounds can often be sheltered – she sounds young, and this might really be the first time she has been confrtonted with the fact that some of the things she takes for granted are privileges that other people don’t get to experience. It can definitely make someone feel uncomfortable, especially if they don’t want to come across like they’re bragging. But PLEASE don’t pity him. That’s the worst.

    3. Princess Bananahammock says:

      No pity. The problem is that she doesn’t recognize that he has valuable experiences in his own right. Instead of thinking that she is “lowering” herself, she should be interested in learning more about his life and what she can learn from him. She seems to place no value on things that don’t cost money. I didn’t go on extravagant trips as a kid, I went on fishing trips where we stayed in a trailer, chased frogs, climbed trees, etc. That doesn’t make me “lower” than someone who vacationed in the south of France as a kid. I’d love to hear their stories, and if they aren’t an arrogant ass, they’d also find that my experiences have merit.

  5. 1. Are you serious? Dump him and let him find someone who will care enough about him as a person and will not count his or his family’s money. And also, move out of your parents’ house, get a job, and do something that you can actually be proud of. Being born into a ‘socially higher stuck-up family’ is not an achievement.

    2.What Wendy said 🙂

    3. Yes, she does not want you there, and she is not friend.

  6. Distressed: She must really be a true friend if she wants you to “fork over” for the chance to see her before she leaves. Is she making a profit on this party? Here’s what I’d do: skip the party, go to a dollar store and find a 50 cent card to say, Glad you’re going, don’t come back any time soon.

  7. LW#3–WTF kind of college do you go to? I was more likely to have lots of nachos and cheap/easy food even though my school was a pricey school. Then again it was pretty common for people to be on grants and scholarships.

    If your friend knows about your situation, then she’s being pretty tacky (also tacky to host a party, say here’s the menu, and by the way you have to pay to cover what I want you to eat.) I would eat dinner elsewhere and show up later. You may be right in that she might not want you there, but you would know if she’s ‘that type.’ Otherwise, if paying for their own prime rib is not a problem for your other friends, she might just be dense.

  8. LW: Your relationship shouldn’t have any issues about money unless your boyfriend or his family has directly called you a snob (which you kind of seem to be). I could see you having issues if your boyfriend came from a family that had incredible credit card debt and your boyfriend learned these bad money management skills. Dating someone with poor money management skill is a problem, dating someone who hasn’t gone to Disney World yet is not.

    1. I’d say that there is a big chance that she might be the one with poor money management skills. When you don’t work for it, it is usually extremely easy to spend it.

      1. Britannia says:

        So, so true. If you didn’t earn it, it’s hard to really understand its value.

  9. LW#1: Maybe your boyfriend doesn’t take you seriously because you are a vapid, shallow, bitch! PLEASE do him & all the nice single girls a favor & dump him! By all means, go find someone that fits more your “social standards”. You see? It’s women like YOU that give all us women a bad name!
    For the record: My boyfriend & I also grew up in completely diff. styles. His family was unstable & barely had money. My family has always been stable, & now are pretty good financially. While my bf’s parents NEVER help him w/ anything, never been on family vacations, etc & I have, that has never been even close to an issue. In fact, I love him even more because every time he pays for me or buys me a gift I know it’s bc he worked his ass off (he works at a minimal paying job) & it means all the more.
    SO yes yes, break up with him! Set him free & let him find a nice girl that will actually appreciate him for HIM & not what’s in his parents bank account.
    I can’t wait until BGM gets a crack at you…

    LW#3: Is your friend LW#1??? If so, please direct her to my comment above. Skip the party, would be my suggestion. That girl is NOT your friend. It’s so sad, really. In my group of friends, we’re not always paying for each other but if one of us can’t pay for smg at that moment, we usually cover her & then just say “get us next time”. That’s what friends do. I’ve paid for my friend’s concert tickets, movie tickets, etc. when I know she’s been in a serious financial bind (bc of her father) & never expected her to pay me back. Get new friends!

    1. PERFECTION. Thank you for this.

      1. You’re welcome! LW#1 touched a sore spot with me. I cannot stand people like that. I went to elementary/middle school where 99% of my classmates came from extremely wealthy families (vacations in Europe, luxury cars, million $ homes). I was in that school bc my mom was offered a job there when I was kindergarten & she put me there as well (it had a great education, gotta give it that). But I was constantly being reminded of how “poor” I was. In SECOND grade I was being asked where my outfit came from (it was from Sears, but dare I admit that).

      2. LOL!! How DARE you shop at Sears you silly poor girl! And second grade no less??? Geezawiz. I was reading her letter, got more and more enraged with every word and just couldn’t put my anger into words…unitl I read your post. It expressed the perfect amount of outrage, littered with a lesson and finished with a bang! Heehee….I feel so much better now!

      3. second grade girls even understand where outfits come from?? that is sick.

      4. stillalive says:

        My mother works in an extremely wealthy school district as an assistant, and these elementary school girls coordinate which color Northface jacket and Ugg boots they will all wear on the same day. It’s so disturbing.

      5. ape_escape says:

        ditto. I went to a highschool where kids would wreck their (brand new) luxury cars, and have a new (brand new luxury) car by the end of the week.

        I also was beyond surprised when I received a (used toyota) car a few weeks after my 16th birthday. (seriously didn’t think I would get a car – and certainly did not expect one!) My parents surprised me at dance practice after school with the car. A friend overheard another girl on our dance team say, “what’s the big deal? UGH. it’s not even a NICE car.”

        yeah….CRAZY. (#happyigotoutaliveandnormal)

    2. LTC! I love ur comment! Totally agree with u! 🙂

  10. LW2, what worries me about your letter is that it’s classic abusive behavior for a man to separate his girlfriend from her support system. I’m worried that the poor treatment is actually emotional abuse that has the potential to turn physical as well. Frankly, the relationship moving so quickly and heading towards marriage is also a red flag. I’d be worried that as soon as they get married, this guy will have successfully locked your friend into a relationship that she’d have trouble extricating herself from (and with her kids, no less!) while at the same time alienating yourself and any other friends that might encourage her to leave him. If all this is the case, he probably will do his best to keep you from seeing your friend when he’s not around, which would be a sign of how serious things are. I would try, per Wendy’s suggestion, and tread lightly. Wendy’s had some good advise on this site about how to try to help friends in abusive relationships.

    1. I was thinking this very thing. It sounds like he has a pretty good hold on her already. I hope this LW can hang in there with her friend and realize that she will need her support WHEN this relationship implodes.

    2. I noticed it too. LW2, I suggest you form a book club with your friend. First book on the list, Gavin de Becker – The gift of fear. Less than $10 on Amazon, including shipping. The guy doesn’t sound normal. As LeahW said, talk about marriage, and already moved in together at 6 months is a huge red flag. His being a jerk to you is his strategy of alienating her friends. And your husband is playing right into that guy’s plans. We only have one paragraph to go on, but I’m sure you left out a lot of details that freak you out about that guy. If your friend doesn’t want to read the book, please read it for her, and try to help your friend.$10 and a few hours of your time is a small price to pay, compared to the counseling her children will have to get later in life.

      I just finished reading the book, at the recommendation of someone else on this site. I don’t remember who recommended it, but I want to thank them. It opened my eyes on some situations in my past, and now I feel better equipped to deal with them.

  11. While LW1 might as well be shallow, the assertion by Wendy that socioeconomic class has no breaing on a person is categorically false. Where do you even come up with that BS?

    It’s not hardworking middleclass people who are rioting and looting right now in london. It’s a subset of human garbage that the english call “chavs”. They are just white thugs who have babies as teens, and live off the state. They mugged a bleeding malaysian exchange student after 5 men broke his jaw and stole his bike.

    Yea…socioeconomic status means nothing, and does nothing to affect your development as a person…

      1. AWESOME.

      2. Big whoop.
        All you “proved” was that a few rich people thought of rioting as a fun sport.

        I’m from canada. In the vancouver stanley cup riots a few “rich kids” were caught and exposed. Because it sells papers. Society is full of people who are waiting for the rich and successful to slip up / fail. This is why gossip magazines sell, and paris hilton is popular. People love seeing a rich trainwreck.

        Lets ignore the other 99% of the trash low lifes who rioted, torched cars and shops, and killed 3 men.

        I financed my own education through loans and internships, If I didn’t work hard and get myself into this college, I would be effed.

        I just find the assertions…
        1. “Don’t let being poor hold you back, if you work hard you can succeed”
        2. “Being poor does not shape your affect you as a person” …wrong.

      3. people like to ignore the elephant in the room.

      4. and one’s socioeconomic status always affects one’s development.whether positively or negatively,but it does have bearing.

      5. The point was that it has no bearing on how people should *view* you. Not how you actually are. You had to finance your education and you worked hard for it. Does that mean people should think of you as poor and a degenerate, or does that part of your life have no bearing on how people should *view* you? Your financial situation growing up most certainly shapes the life you experience, but it doesn’t do shit to define you as a person. This isn’t the 19th century, people are capable of deciding who they are or how they want to act regardless of how much money they have. Hiding behind your “class” is a pathetic excuse to justify a fuck-off philosophy of life. Grow a god damn backbone and realize you don’t have to conform to societal expectations of how you should act based on what your W-2 says.

      6. “‘Don’t let being poor hold you back, if you work hard you can succeed’…wrong”

        I have to disagree here.You said so yourself,you worked hard to get yourself into college.Wouldn’t you consider that a success?

      7. Being from a lower socioeconomic class does not mean a person is trash. You can be rich and still be trash. You can be poor and be the most respectful person in the world. Yes, being poor does affect how you are as a person. We are at least partially the sum of our experiences, after all. What we disagree with is your assertion that being poor MAKES YOU A BAD PERSON. That’s just not true.

      8. You know what does make someone a bad person?

        Being a self-righteous dick who refers to a group of poor people as a “subset of human garbage”.

      9. I’m from Canada as well, but what does that have to do with anything?

        I grew up without any money (a first -generation immigrant), most of my friends grew up without money, and you know what, 95% of us turned out pretty well. I went to a ‘rich’ private school (it had to have a certain number of ‘poor students’). And quite a few of my ‘rich’ classmates were, and apparently still are a-holes, who still, at 30, think that their status should mean more than their personalities.

        Being poor doesn’t make you a bad person. Would you say that all rich people are nice, caring people? Just look at Donald Trump. There’s a rich a-hole for you, if there ever was one.

      10. parrt, I’m Canadian too. What do you think would happen if just as you were getting out of highschool and getting ready to go to university, the fees tripled? Because that’s what happened in the UK. I financed my own way through school too (just paid off my loans, yay!), and if the prices had suddenly tripled, and the banks had stopped lending, I would have been out of luck. So don’t judge until you’re in that situation.

      11. Hold up. Are you saying that because university got super-expensive, the rioters are justified?

      12. I am from Canada as well. I come from a single parent family who didn’t have alot of money.

        I feel like you are insinuating that us poor people are just trash and once you are poor, you can’t be a success. I have my own successful business and even though I have many student loans I still worked hard to get into university and stay there.

        So… you really should go fuck yourself…

    1. I’m not trying to put words into Wendy’s mouth,but I think she means that his socioeconomic status doesn’t make him a “lower” or “worse” person than the LW.

    2. What exactly does the London riots have to do with LW1’s case? You’re massively stereotyping here, as well as casting ridiculously negative aspersions on all people from a lower socio-economic status.

      I also suggest you read a little deeper into the root causes and analyses of the London riots as well, especially from a newspaper that isn’t rabidly right-wing, before making simplistic statements about the so-called ‘chavs’.They may not be educated and they may also be poor, but they’re not a ‘subset of human garbage’. They’re often a product of their environment. Ever thought about that?

      There are many, many social and economic issues in London (as well as the rest of the UK) which have contributed to the riots and looting, so lay off the tabloid vitriol, okay?

    3. my dad always said, “all the money does is take away the need for money”

      money doesn’t define people- it doesn’t mold personalities, likes and dislikes, ect… there are rich assholes, as well as poor assholes. there are rich charitable people, as well as poor charitable people.

      just as racism is a non-debate as in all black people are like X, you cant say that all rich or poor people are like X.

      there are mean, terrible black people. there are also wonderful, awesome black people.
      there are mean, terrible rich people, and also wonderful awesome rich people.

      it goes on like that…. money, just as race, does not define who people are. it can define lifestyles, but not people at their core. this being said, people of different socio-economic status can get alone (even be in relationships!), because socio-economic factors dont define people at their core.

  12. artsygirl says:

    LW1 – You make me make to take up smoking too.

    LW2 – It sucks that you friend cannot see that this guy is bad news, but she is an adult so there is very little you can do about her life choices.

    LW3- I would maybe talk to the girl and explain that you cannot afford to pay for a prime rib dinner and instead offer to take her to ice cream or coffee before she leaves. Figure maybe the stress of moving out of the country for an extended period of time has shot her empathy and tack and hope that she is willing to meet you halfway.

  13. Skyblossom says:

    LW1 It’s character that matters not vacation experience. Is his family thoughtful, supportive, warm and friendly or backbiting and hateful? Their behavior is what really counts and should be what determines whether you’d want to be around them. Is he kind, thoughtful, responsible, hard working, and there when you need him? Base your decisions on him and what his actions say about his character.

    The smoking would be a deal breaker for me because I don’t like to be around it but the family income is irrelevant as long as you don’t rub his nose in it. Gauge how much to talk about your own experiences by the reactions of those around you. Do you come off as telling a fun story or bragging? Are you giving interesting facts or one upping? When he tells his family about experiences with you is he just sharing or is he mocking?

    If he treats you better than anyone else does why would you give that up?

  14. lemongrass says:

    LW1: I would just like to kindly point out that you are not “lowering yourself” to their standards because there is no way you are financially higher than them. Your parents may be in a higher tax bracket then they are, but you? You do not get an extention of their wealth until they die. You are not wealthy, your parents are. I would just like to repeat this one more time so you get the picture: You don’t have any money. Your parents do! They worked for it, you didn’t. I realize I’m getting ridiculous here but obviously the bitch didn’t pick it up for herself.

    And secondly… You cannot nag a smoker to quit. You can make it a dealbreaker of yours, but I’m sure glad my husband didn’t as I am no longer a smoker. He never nagged me to quit but let me grow as a person until I was ready. Even when we couldn’t afford it and I was smoking he didn’t make me feel guilty.

      1. melikeycheesecake says:


  15. Skyblossom says:

    LW3 Your friend is an incredibly tacky hostess if she throws a party and bills the invited guests for their food. This also indicates that she is either rude or is throwing a party that she herself can’t afford or both. A friend doesn’t behave in such an unfriendly way and so I’d call her an acquaintance rather than a friend. Quality of character counts as much in a friendship as it does in a romantic relationship and she seems to be lacking that quality. I’d wish her well, skip the party and search for true friends.

    1. theattack says:

      Agreed. If she couldn’t afford the food for everyone, then pot-luck style would be the acceptable approach here, where everyone contributes what they can. This is really inappropriate, especially when her friends are poor college students.

  16. LW1: Your upbringing influenced the type of life you have lived up until now. Neither you nor your boyfriend can change that. Dwelling on it is a waste of time. What your upbringing did NOT influence is how you react to the present. Once you realize that you’ll be able to stop seeing your boyfriend as “under” you and start accepting him as a partner; someone *with* you, not compared to you.

    LW2: If you’re ready to part ways, part ways. There is no “hope.” It’s not going to magically appear one day. If you want to stay in the sinking ship, have at it. Otherwise recognize what *you* want and do it.

    LW3: Here’s what you do. Tell your friend you just watched Bambi and got a new outlook on life. You’re now a vegetarian. Tell her to make you a salad and shove the piece of Prime Rib she was saving for you up her ass. Offer to pay for the salad dressing.

  17. David Jay says:

    Just want to say “right on!” to Wendy regarding the woman with the socio-economic issue. That sort of entrenched thinking is a by-product of the class warfare that has been plaguing this country since the 1930’s. Plotting the “poor” against the “rich” is a political ploy used to gain party loyalty, and it has worked divinely (anyone watching London?) But this is America… anyone can become rich… and that doesn’t automatically make you an a**-hole. The a**-holes tend to be the ones, like her, who haven’t had to work for it or get their hands dirty (aka Paris Hilton). It is our obligation as Americans not to mix the two and judge the character of all people (rich or poor) with one broad brush.

  18. LW3: MOA! No one needs a friend that lame and rude!

  19. In defense of LW1, coming from different socioeconomic classes can be difficult. I came from a stereotypically poor family. Trailer, food stamps, unpaid bills, we had it all. I dated someone whose parents bought their $250,000 home outright. It was hard for her to understand the struggles I went through or why, now that I’m working and making good money, I can’t say no to my family when they need help. If people had said no to us we wouldn’t have survived. I found it hard to talk to her about what it was like growing up because her “richer” lifestyle made it difficult for her to sympathize because she never experienced that. I’d like to give her the benefit of a doubt and think that maybe she finds it difficult to understand what it’s like not to go to Europe for a weekend trip and doesn’t want to offend them being sounding like she thinks she’s superior. I always hated it when my richer friend would brag about summer camp and their new laptop because it was something I never got to experience. It might have been childish but it was hard for me not to be jealous because I didn’t get my first computer until my last year of college.
    That being said, she does not have a way with words. She sounds really young and immature so hopefully she’ll read what she wrote and realize how snotty she sounds and realize how lucky she is. Though, she has my full support when it comes to the smoking.

  20. I really hope the first letter is fake or something because WOW i can’t believe anyone would think like that, especially in this day where almost EVERYONE is feeling the economic pinch. Your story makes me think of the recent Kardashian episode where Bruce forced the younger two girls to go to the women’s shelter and help out because they had taken his credit card and went shopping with it. It was an eye opening experience for them, and I suggest maybe some sort of eye opening experience like that for you to do to try to appreciate your boyfriend more.
    I grew up middle class, we went on good vacations, and I had a great childhood but I learned that we have to work for what we want and from the time I was 18, i was paying for my car (payment, insurance, maintenance, etc.) cell phone and any extras we want. My parents paid for our college (Though we worked while we were in college) and I really appreciate what they were able to do for me.
    Just remember, there is always somebody out there richer, and more wealthy. Really, material things should not matter.

  21. My bf’s family is considerably more wealthy than mine. Don’t get me wrong, I came from a very financially comfortable home, but nothing compared to what my bf grew up with. Having said that, I enjoy hearing about the exotic vacations and extravagant birthday gifts etc. etc., but in no way do I feel inferior or that I was jipped out on life. Then again, I was raised to judge people based on their personalities instead of their family’s money (as LW seems to struggle with). On the flip side, when the bf comes home with me and spends time with my family, which normally involves home-cooked meals and more low-key activities, he doesn’t feel bored or awkward. I’ve never felt ashamed of my family, quite the opposite actually.

    1. i think that is the root of the issue for LW1- she is not looking at these people as PEOPLE, as others who actually have things to offer her in her life… i mean what if his grandma or something is a world class quilter and was able to teach her that skill? ot his mom makes the best jam in the world? she only sees it as dollar signs, as in there is nothing more to life. money isn’t everything- and i think she probably has been taught to see it that way.

  22. BeccaAnne says:

    LW1: my family didn’t have much money but my bf’s family does. I admit i get a little twinge of jealousy when I think about all the cool places that he’s been that I want to go to, but I get over it pretty quickly. It’s not that big of a deal, and I don’t feel awkward when we “just” go camping with my family or “just” have a bbq instead of a fancy dinner or something.

    LW3: I’m not going to go ahead and say that asking for contributions for a party is tacky, because it really isn’t for college. But I think the exact amount is tacky. Parties should be a “Hey, I want to have a kind of fancy dinner party, any contributions would be appreciated whether in the form of a bottle of wine or some cash!” and then hey you coud just get away with paying $3 for some dinner rolls. So bail, because she sounds like a brat.

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      I do agree that the rules are a little different in college. Everyone is in this constant state of debt-but-not-abject-poverty, you owe alot for your college education, more than you are currently making, but you are also not living in absolute squalor. And even the rich kids are basically in the same boat.
      So, yes, if I were invited to a party in college I wouldn’t have thought it odd if the host asked everyone to chip in. But specifically choosing a pricey dish and then asking everyone to pay for it in full in advance is tacky no matter what your financial situation, age, or proximity to a course catalog.

    2. Exactly. People would be like “Anyone want to have a cookout? i feel like grilling. Lemme know if you’re willing to chip in 5 bucks” or “I’m having a pre game, I’ll get all the booze but i’d appreciate any help with mixers.” Not “bring this expensive amount ahead of time or you can’t come”

    3. i dont think its necessarily a “college” thing, i think its just having different kinds of parties… me and my friends have potluck dinners all the time, and like 1/2 of us are in college. it just depends on the “theme” of the party, if you will. an example like you said would be perfectly acceptable in any situation really- i mean people are supposed to bring little gifts to all dinner parties they attend right? like bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party, or bringing the dessert or whatever. that is totally normal. if you are throwing a party yourself, you should be able to foot the bill- and anything extra that people bring (wine, dessert, ect) should be just that- extra. this girl obviously cant afford prime rib (who eats prime rib in college?!?!), but she is going to essentially “charge” her friends so she can have it at her party. thats not throwing a party, thats going to a pre-paid restaurant, if you ask me.

  23. LW1.. if money is that important to you vs the people themselves, i hope you wake the f* up soon. honestly at this point, they’re lowering themselves to talk to you. MOA and give this guy a chance to find a true person. as well you need to examine yourself. money will never make you ultimately happy, just hope you find that out sooner rather than later when it’s too late to fix it.

  24. I’m a former smoker. Quitting is one of the hardest things to do EVERRRR and the motivation has to come from within.

  25. LW1. Sometimes I try to see the best in people, and this is one of those times. Clearly you’ve taken a lot of crap from people who see your concerns as crass classism. However easy it is to pile on, I’m going to add that I see underneath here a real question not so simply dismissed by putting you down.

    Should you date outside your socio-economic class? If you do, how do you avoid the obstacles and succeed at it?

    For my part, I wouldn’t advise it. Others have heard me say before on here “Likes like likes.” There are so many ways in which dating outside your people adds friction to a relationship. Constantly having to edit yourself is an extraordinarily tiresome facet of dating someone unlike you. Sure you can do it and sure it can work out, but with all the extra work, why bother?

    As for smoking, it’s part of the same socio-economic question. Face it: poor people smoke more. Dealing with that is just one more material obstacle. It’s not shallow to be unaccepting of smoking in a mate, though being accepting of it may indeed be graceful and loving.

    If you’re going to go ahead and keep dating, I think you have to really “check yourself” at the door. Acknowledge your prejudices and let them go. Realize like many above have eloquently said: you’re not rich yourself and what you have likely came to you as a gift of birth. Don’t confuse that with being a better person. I hate to say it, but so often it’s actually the opposite, IMO. Instead of seeing levels, try to see it merely as “different.” I’d move on to someone more like yourself, but if you want to keep it up, I think you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Try to see it as an opportunity. Good luck.

    1. You sound just as petty and judgmental as the LW.

      1. stop pretending to be some kinda of a saint ya b____.

        jesus christ, who are you trying to impress, online?

        Nick and Temperance said it better than I did but the point is:

        Although jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” .. this is rarely true. Anybody that actually has been poor, and had to work hard and be self sufficient in order to make a better life for themselves, recognizes this simply enough.

  26. to LW3: asking for actual money to cover the food for a party is BEYOND tacky. the only way that you can get away with asking for contributions to an event is to host a potluck. anything outside of that and it is tacky. i wouldn’t go.

    i have to wonder as well how many other people will pay, but will be mad about and talk about this girl behind her back for it. i mean all the people you go to college with cant be totally loaded, right? it must be hard for some of them to pay as well, i would think. i just dont see this ending well for the hostess.

    i mean, my god for my 21st birthday i hosted at a friends house i paid for everything for the party. booze, food, decorations…. i mean i did it cheaply it wasn’t extravagent or anything, but my god if you going to HOST a party, you pay for it. isn’t that what host means? oh this makes me angry…. lol

  27. Temperance says:

    I’m going to address the LW#1 because I see it very differently than everyone else, and I think she’s been somewhat unfairly attacked for her admittedly poor choice of words.

    I grew up poor, wearing hand-me-downs and living in a shitty, dilapidated trailer. It was hard growing up and other kids seeing that you didn’t have nice things or live in a nice place. I still wince whenever I think of this little bitch in 7th grade who decided to ask me in front of everyone which GAP scent I liked best, just because she knew that I wasn’t allowed to go into the GAP (we were too poor, and my parents didn’t want me to want things there. Yes, really).

    I did well in college, and am currently in law school. I often have to watch myself around my family and my SO’s family; I would say that I have to be really careful not to sound condescending because of the vacations he and I take, and because of the way I speak. It’s not intentional, but I”m so accustomed to hanging out with people that are well educated and think like me that I need to be careful that I don’t sound like a snob. So, you could say I do have to “lower” myself beyond how I actually speak and think so that people don’t start calling me snobby. I don’t think that I’m better than my less educated and more poor family at all; I’m trying to show respect by not acting like a huge bitch.

    LW, you have a hard road ahead of you. This is me projecting, but my guess is that his family might dislike you because you have money and distrust you for that reason, and that’s why you have to consciously “lower” yourself around them. I get it! I do! After the remarks from my SO’s family when we planned our PUERTO RICO trip (“well that’s great and all, but you could have taken the whole family to Ocean City for that money, you know …. family SHOULD come first, etc. etc), we hide our trips and purchases from them. They have this weird attitude that family takes care of family to the point of expecting us to kick $500/month up there to help pay their bills when they are just lazy and spending money on crap and X-Box games.

    My family isn’t as assholish about things, thankfully, and they are not quite as poor as they were when I was a kid. My specific advice to you is this: if you feel like you can’t be yourself around these people, he might not be right for you. I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong, but a lot of commenters here seem to think that you are a brat and that the poor family is the wronged party, but I can also see potential for them to treat you badly, along with him as well for dating you. I remember in high school getting reamed out by my family for only dating guys whose families had much more money than ours, and being accused of trying to be something that I’m not because I didn’t date the guys who were blue collar and skipping college. It happens. My mother actually accused me of trying to “put on airs” because I asked her to not wear my dad’s sweatpants and big old holey socks when a new boyfriend came to met them. Poor people can be mean and have stupid prejudices, too.

    1. theattack says:

      Perfect response. I’ve been thinking about this the same way you have. I grew up in a home with much less money than my peers and had similar embarrassing experiences to yours. My parents eventually got into a better financial situation, and whenever we’re around my grandparents or aunts and uncles, we have to be careful. The rest of the family can be resentful, even when my parents still don’t have a lot. When I go home I find myself unconsciously deepening my Southern accent and forgetting my academic nature in order to fit in and avoid conflict.

  28. IdaTarbell says:

    I think people are being a bit harsh on LW1. She’s at least having the decency to understand that talking about money, or things related to money, in mixed company isn’t polite. She’s being a little immature about the whole thing, but this seems to be a genuine problem for her, and a legitimate one at that.

    I dated a man who made quite a bit more money than me. I was starting out in my first proper job, he was working for his father’ own company and starting a hedgefund. I would save a month’s extra cash to buy a new dress, he dropped cash at high end stores whenever he needed a few extra polos. Did his money or my lack-of matter in how I liked him? No. But it still made it uncomfortable when the dinners he paid for, the gifts he gave, the apartment he lived in cost triple what I could afford. When it came to money, we would never be equals. When it came to education, we would never be equals (He-a private high school, posh business school. Me- public school, public university). Had we been a better fit personality-wise, we may have been able to make it work, but in drastically different economic situations, the differences always seem to be there between the haves and have-nots.

  29. None of the wealthier people I know feel they need to lower themselves around me. However my boyfriend’s sister married into a considerable amount of money, so when she makes a complaint about money, my boyfriend wants to be like “your child is worth more money than jshizzle and i combined, with 5 degrees between us. stop complaining!”

  30. Britannia says:

    LW, I have very firm opinions about social/economic class systems and moral standards, but I will not reiterate what other people have already said. I will address your actual question, which seems to be that you don’t know how to hold conversation with your BF’s family when the subject comes to yourself.

    There’s two ways you could go about this. One way is to talk very little about yourself, to avoid discussing yourself as much as possible. This is much easier to do than some people might think… really, when someone asks a question, just answer in a way that doesn’t tell much about yourself and is light-hearted, and then turn the conversation back to them. A good way to study such a tactic is by watching Mad Men; study how Don Draper avoids telling people about himself. Yes it is rather shady, but if you really feel that you cannot talk about yourself without seeming to be a braggart, this may be the tactic to go with. However if you want the family to trust you and like you, I suggest you go with the next option.

    The other option is to learn how to speak about yourself without bragging. An easy way to start becoming less “braggy” is to stop naming names. If someone talks about how much they love going to the beach, you can chime in by saying, “Oh yes, I love the beach too! It’s so relaxing to lay in the sand and listen to the waves!” instead of saying, “Oh yes, the two weeks when my family stays at the Four Seasons in the executive suites on Lanai every year are the most relaxing two weeks of the summer!” Instead of relating your experiences by talking about brand names and pricey locations, talk about the actual experiences with generalized terms. The “humor” that goes over well at the country club is not the same humor that will go over well at the family barbecue, usually. Learn what makes them laugh, and figure out how to be humorous in a way they can relate to.

    Hopefully, you will learn how to relate to his family more if you choose to stay with him. You shouldn’t think of it as “lowering” yourself… these people are not “lower” than you, they are simply different than you.

  31. AndreaMarie says:

    LW1- Ok, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and take “lowering yourself” as just a bad choice of words. I guess I can understand where you are coming from with your concern. Maybe it’s that if you are your BF’s parents’ house and are talking about vacations you took with your family…and they bring up that they drove to DisneyWorld for his high school graduation and meanwhile you flew first class to Paris for a week. Maybe it’s that you feel uncomfortable sharing your experiences, that you feel you might come off as bragging, when really you are just trying to share a real life experience? If that’s the case, then you are probably over thinking it. They know you, and most likely know your upbringing, so it wouldn’t be some kind of shock to them that you’ve experienced nice things.

    LW2- I agree with the other commentors. The quick pace of the relationsip, pushing away the best friend, could be early signs of a controlling abuser. Ask you friend to hang out alone, just the girls. If he gives her trouble about it just be upfront with her. Tell her how you feel and that you don’t want to be around him but that doesn’t mean you won’t be there for her when she needs it. Let’s hope we are all wrong.

    LW3- You have nothing to be ashamed of and the girl sounds like a jerk. Its ridiculous to ask people to pay a fee, upfront, to attend HER going away party. Is this at a resturant where she will be putting up money per plate? Or is this some roast at a frat house? Either way. Decline the party and over to buy her a drink to bit her farewell.

  32. theattack says:

    LW1: I haven’t read any of the comments yet, but I don’t think Wendy’s advice really looked at the situation here. I’ve been in your boyfriend’s situation before, so I feel like I might be able to offer some insight here. It really just depends on how your boyfriend handles it. If he’s comfortable with it, then you should be too. Take your cues from him. You’re already conscious of the fact that you shouldn’t rub your privilege in their faces, but ignoring your experiences isn’t being true to yourself, and there’s no point in being in a relationship where you can’t open up. But I think you’re the one being self-conscious here. If he’s okay with it, you should be too. And if you bring this up it’s only going to make him feel bad. Make sure that you don’t ever say anything to indicate judgment toward his family’s financial situation, and it should be fine. (For example, my ex boyfriend once said to me “You mean your parents are still making payments on their house? My parents paid theirs off years ago, and they haven’t even lived here as long as your parents have.” I almost wanted to punch him for saying that.) As long as you’re not a dick about it, don’t worry.

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