Less privileged partners told stories of mistaking a “night sail” for a “night sale,” puzzling over how to use a dishwasher, and taking note that their in-laws prefer the theater to the rodeo.
Most couples maintained that their class differences were behind them after marriage, as they now shared a bank account, a home, and a life.
In 2012, does a class system exist in the dating world?
As she continued on about how her future wedding would only be involving two doctors, I started examining my own life.
Few people I spoke to reported having parents who plotted against their children’s relationships, or felt they were subject to social stigma for their cross-class relationship.
In fact, it’s usually not until meeting their in-laws that the couples themselves tend to become aware of their differences: more privileged partners spoke of the shock of walking into a house with hundreds of crystal figurines or trying to eat spam with a smile.
She informed me that her new resolution is to only date someone at her level of education or higher.
Often, these strategies are variations of going with the flow and taking things as they come. Isabelle, for example, is the daughter of a farmer and a bartender.
(All the survey participants have been given pseudonyms.) Her family did not know how much money each year’s crops or tips would bring in.
But while she thought she was being kind, she was actually inadvertently hurting Steve's feelings with her generosity. "It is harder on men than on women, because for many, there is still the expectation that men are the providers and much of our confidence is tied up in this," says Alden.
So how does a man cope with a girlfriend who makes more money than him?
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