How Social Class Can Still Play A Low-Key Role In Your Relationship

by Christy Piña
20th Century Fox

It's kind of sad to think that in 2016, social classes still matter. They don't matter as much as they did in the 18th century, when associating with a "lesser" class made you lesser, and we definitely don't marry in order to boost our social class anymore. The archaic nature of social class is thankfully no longer the status quo, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we said money had little to no effect on personal relationships every once in a while.

They matter in the sense that people in different social classes have undeniably different mentalities on all things money. I wouldn't say I'm rich, but I am well-off. My friends always kind of knew, but it just wasn't something we ever really discussed.

It wasn't something I flaunted, and it wasn't something that ever really came up in conversation. It was just sort of there. I grew up not really knowing the value of money. Slowly, but surely, I'm learning.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, didn't grow up that way. His family didn't live paycheck to paycheck, but they did have their fair share of struggle.

This poses an issue sometimes. He grew up one way, and I grew up another. It's hard going against things we were taught all throughout our childhoods because they're not even things we were taught, but rather things that were a reality for us.

My reality was spending money on things we wanted that would bring us joy, even if we didn't need it. His reality was a little less wanting something and getting it, and a little more getting it only if you needed it. With different realities like that, it's kind of difficult to match up circumstances from time to time.

We make it work, though. It's not something that could break us apart, but it's something we have to deal with and something that isn't going away. It's a perpetual, low-key elephant in the room.

Relationships really come down to how you get over things that could tear you apart. Obstacles present themselves, and how you and your significant other work through them will be defining points in your connection to each other.

Money is always going to be a thing for us. Sometimes money's going to be something we don't really clash over, but sometimes it's going to be something we just can't avoid. It's sort of an issue, but it's also not a big deal. It's very ambiguous while being simultaneously complicated. There are times when societal differences will cause a wedge in your relationship through no fault of your own or your partner's.

It's not a bad thing to spend money on someone you care about, but there's a difference between spending money that you have and someone spending money you could be saving (or maybe even money you don't have at all).

Money will be an issue at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of your relationship (and possibly the start of your future beyond just plain old dating). In the beginning, you're going to spend money on "month-iversary" gifts, on little chocolates to remind your boo he or she is your boo, on first dates and on flowers.

In the middle, you're going to spend money on things that are more serious, like anniversary dinners and gifts, promise rings (if you're into that kind of stuff) and maybe even family trips. At the end of a basic relationship (and the beginning of the next phase), your money is going to go to things like moving in together, getting a dog, getting engaged, your wedding, etc.

When you start getting to the “end,” that's when the real spending starts. Let's say you and your boo want to live in New York. For you, it might be easier for you to rent something in the middle of Manhattan than it will be for your boo if he or she struggles more financially.

If you want the big diamond you've always dreamed of, the big white dress and the big wedding (lots of big things happen later on in life, so I hear), he may not be able to financially give you those things you want. It's up to you to decide whether or not that's a problem.

As a relationship gets more and more serious, the gifts you want to give to your SO get more serious as well. And the more serious things get, the more money you'll have to dish out.

Really, the whole different social class and spending mentality thing comes down to how you deal with it. If you see it as a problem, it's going to be a problem. If you see it as an obstacle that you need to get through or skip over, then so be it. If you see it as something that's present, but not an actual issue, then it won't be.

So, yes, social classes are still a thing. And yes, they do still effect mine and others' relationships to a certain extent, but they're not as severe as they once were.

If I want to marry my boyfriend, I sure as hell can do that, and no one can stop me. And that, my friends, is progress.