Dating today can be tricky, and it can feel like you’re on an adventure to find real connection in a sea of gold diggers. Many people want a partner who will be financially stable, but getting involved with someone whose only goal in the relationship is to make money can be hard on both your emotions and your finances. Here are 10 important questions to ask yourself if you think your relationship might be about how much money you have rather than how much you’re worth. Each question is answered with arguments backed up by study and literature, giving you a complete guide to figuring out what your partner really wants when they show affection.
Are they more interested in your assets than in what you value?
Instead of the superficial appeal of money, a relationship based on real connection grows on shared values, hobbies, and mutual respect. If your partner gets more excited when you talk about your money than when you talk about your personal goals or values, you should be careful. In her book The Science of Relationships, Dr. Amie M. Gordon talks about how real connections are formed through shared events and understanding, not through getting things. Gordon’s study shows that relationships based on shared values and respect are more likely to be satisfying and last a long time.
What do they do when their finances go up and down?
When money is tight, it’s often the best time to see what a partner really wants. If the person you’re meeting seems distant or uninterested when you’re not doing so well financially, that could be a sign that something is wrong.
In her book Better Than Perfect, Elizabeth Lombardo talks about how important it is for relationships to be strong. She says that partners who are there for each other when things go wrong show a commitment that goes beyond money. This toughness is an important part of a relationship that is built on real connection instead of money.
Can they take care of themselves?
A partner is self-sufficient if they have a sense of purpose and the drive to achieve personal goals outside of the relationship. It’s not just about having a job. If your partner doesn’t seem ambitious or depends too much on you for money, it could mean that they are more interested in what the relationship gives them than in the relationship itself.
Morgan Housel’s book The Psychology of Money talks about how important it is to be financially independent in order to grow as a person and how dependency can hurt both the person and their relationships.
Do they support or oppose openness about money matters?
If someone is really interested in a future with you, they will value openness about money and making decisions about money together. If your partner avoids talking about their own money but is very interested in yours, that’s a bad sign.
In her book The Money Class, Suze Orman argues that financial openness is important for building trust in relationships, since a lack of openness can cause power differences and fights.
What do they bring to the relationship?
Contribution to a relationship is more than just money; it also includes emotional support, chores around the house, and making goals together. If you find that you’re the one who pays for everything and does all the mental and physical work, it might be time to look at how balanced your relationship is.
In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman shows that acts of service and quality time are just as important to a happy relationship as money. This shows how important it is to have a healthy partnership.
How do they feel about spending and saving money?
Differences in how people spend their money can reveal deeper values and goals. If your partner spends a lot of money, especially your money, without saving or planning for the future, you should think about how these spending habits fit in with your financial goals.
In his book The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey talks about how important it is for people in a relationship to share the same financial values. He says that having different spending habits can cause a lot of stress and conflict.
Do they keep you from making bad financial choices?
A partner who respects you won’t push you to make bad or risky financial choices. They will also respect your financial limits. It’s disrespectful to constantly be pushed to spend more than you can afford or put money into questionable businesses. In Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert T. Kiyosaki talks about how important it is to be financially literate when making decisions and warns readers not to let their feelings get in the way of their financial judgment.
How do they deal with gifts and gestures of love?
Giving gifts and showing love is a normal part of any relationship, but what’s really going on can tell you a lot. It could mean that your partner is materialistic if they only seem to value expensive gifts or big actions over the thought or work that went into them. In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown talks about how important it is to be real in relationships. She says that real bonds value the feeling over the price tag.
Do people talk about the future in terms of how it will help them financially?
When planning for the future, talking about life goals and personal growth should come before just talking about money. If most of your talks with your partner are about how the relationship will make you money, that should be a red flag.
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel talks about how important it is for a relationship to build a future based on shared dreams and values instead of money.
Do they make you feel like you’re worth more than their money?
Finally, the most important thing is whether you feel respected for who you are, not what you have. When you’re with someone who loves you, you’ll feel valued for more than just your money. They will value your character, your kindness, your intelligence, and your emotional presence. In his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman talks about how important it is to feel valued and loved in a relationship. He says that this is what makes love and bond last.
Finally, these questions aren’t just a way to protect yourself from possible gold diggers; they’re also a way to get to the bottom of what you really want in a relationship. It is possible to build a relationship that lasts and is fulfilling by putting ideals, mutual respect, and real connection ahead of money.