Love or money? Everyone wants both, but if you had to choose one, which would it be? It’s a question that most women we asked hesitated before they answered.
In the end, only a slim margin separated the choices women made when it came to love or money.
Our Facebook poll and a snap poll on the streets of Manipal, with 35 girls, showed that 55 per cent chose love. Most believed that while money would make their life easier, love would make them happier.
But people are never content with what they have, and in their pursuit to find more love, fame and fortune, they sometimes lose everything.
A Psychologist I talked to said that women are conditioned by family and society to seek men with money and status.
He said our societal myth is that we are supposed to value true love over everything – such as, the princess who falls in love with a commoner. But, in fact, we overwhelmingly marry in class, and romantic stories usually have a wealthy, successful hero – the commoner turns out to be a prince. If not, it is usually not a love story, but a tragedy.
“Just look at Cinderella,” he explained. “It starts from kindergarten. Girls are conditioned to look for a prince. There are no poor princes. First comes love then reality.”
He said at different stages in women’s lives they will either choose love or money.
“What we find in teenage love and first-time relationships, love is a main issue. Two or three relationships later, women face reality and love might not turn out to be the ideal thing. She may now factor in the influence of parents, who will be looking for status and money for their child.”
He said this is quite prevalent in Indian families. “The pressure of the parents on their daughters is to go after a lawyer or a doctor, and they will go as far as making a match.”
He also added that depending on a woman’s own status, she might go looking for a partner with money. “In women of poorer background, it is a priority looking for a mate to provide.”
He also introduced the concept of independent women who are not looking for love or money, “just a partner”.
He said this is new and growing breed of women. He said that women who are looking for financial stability will be prepared to put up with a man’s bad habits in exchange for the comforts of money.
He said happiness means different things to different people. For some, it’s buying a new car every other year, a holiday home or finding love.
He added that love is what validates most people’s existence. Love is what boosts people’s morale. They crave love and attention.
According to Dr Pepper Schwartz, some have a heart, “but it beats only when their partner’s checkbook is healthy and investments are doing well. Money is perhaps the single most important need in life, and love comes in a distant second”. And that’s no problem “as long as your beloved knows the score”, says the author of Everything You Know About Love And Sex Is Wrong and The Lifetime Love And Sex Quiz Book.
According to Schwartz, while some people refuse to let their emotions or commitments get in the way of riches, there are pure romantics who have no interest in bank account balances and are willing to sacrifice money for the one they love. For them, their “whole life puts love in the centre of what is important”.
Generally, we are obsessed with money, Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington, said. “We are capitalism incarnate. It is somehow unworthy not to have money and somehow inflates our importance if we do have money.”
According to New York psychologist Dr Debbie Magids, “More and more than ever before, money is valued over love. You’d be surprised, if people were perfectly honest, how highly it’s valued–their actions show it but they won’t admit it.”
Magids, a professor at Hunter College, says that for some people money provides security and safety, while for others who lack self worth, it offers a way to feel good and powerful – “but often it’s a hole that can never be filled; they keep needing more and more and this need can’t be satiated. More is never enough”.
The value you place on money will affect your romantic relationships, Magids said, adding the most compatible couples she has seen have similar money views and habits. “Money and sex have the hugest impact on relationships.”