Should rich people only love rich people?

If you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, you know that the star-crossed lovers missed their calling to be together because the girl was on the wrong side of the tracks, one of the couple was rich and one was poor, and they didn’t realize their love went way beyond their socioeconomic levels of prosperity until it was too late. Aren’t we all brought up to believe that we should find someone to love in our own socioeconomic class?

When I was a family law paralegal, it always blew me away when someone presented to us for a divorce after some 30 or 40 years of marriage. What changed in the last year or so that made someone decide it was too late to fix it? It is fear and longing for something better, something different, escape from the doldrums that marriage will bring sometimes, and the belief that the grass is greener on the other side. Here’s a news flash: The grass is not greener on the other side because it’s better grass – it just gets watered and fertilized more often. And rich people will stay together far longer than poor people will. They can afford the upkeep to keep the grass watered and fertilized and trimmed to perfection.

Men are fearful of getting into a relationship with a woman who is only after their money, only after their goods, only after what he can provide for her as they reach social security age. And I have heard plenty of women state that they won’t date a guy who doesn’t have a steady income, a great retirement, a luxurious home and all the accoutrements that go with that. That is, to me, the epitome of missing the point. Love should not be based upon a socioeconomic class of rich or poor.

I wish people would get it. You can increase your income with little to no effort if you have the will, the brains and the education to do it. But your heart picks whom you should love, and the rung of your socioeconomic ladder should not decide where you end up. What happens over time, however, is that people forget why they married in the first place. As long as they think they can move to the side where the grass is greener, over that fence they go and they discover the harsh truth that they should have been more concerned with the tender care of the grass and not how green it is.

So can different social classes compete with each other when it comes to love? Would a very rich family accept into their flock their son’s engagement to a very poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one whose family was destitute? I so love movies, and The Bird Cage is one of the best. A young man and woman have a “meet the parents” over dinner moment, but the young man has to hide the fact that his parents are both men who are gay. It’s hilarious, but in the end, the truth comes out and we all just have to love whom we love, despite social barriers, despite class distinctions, despite what others might think – “Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.” I didn’t realize the value of that until just recently. Love is truly the greatest thing you can have, no matter your social status or anything else. A favorite verse from one of the best country songs ever: “Love will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no love.” Love someone for their character, not what they can give you. You can always get material things, but you won’t always get love.  

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