Originally Posted by The False Prophet
I was nearly involved once with a girl who came from not insignificant money, and while she was absolutely lovely and responsible and not ostentatious or vulgar, she just didn't *understand* me in some ways.
She was very bright and capable, and I'm sure she'll be successful in her own right. That still doesn't change things though. We sort of parted ways when she suggested I spend some time with her in France, and while I'd have liked nothing better, I had no obvious means of funding such an adventure...
In my final year of university, I had a relationship with a young woman who was a) a model and b) came from a wealthy family.
From a psychological and philosophical standpoint, I found our relationship fascinating. I found it interesting that I actually felt quite uncomfortable when I went out with her, because the eyes of pretty much all the men in any room we entered would be on her. On the other hand, she was almost oblivious to the attention as she was so accustomed to being ogled (whether it be overtly or covertly). I noticed that I began to deliberately steer our dates towards places that would have fewer people, just so we wouldn't have many people looking at us.
Anyway, the dealbreaker in the relationship was not her wealth, but the fact that she seemed almost incapable of talking for any length of time about things that were not associated with the trappings of wealth and social status. When we spent the weekend at her family's holiday home in a rather exclusive coastal resort, the conversation revolved around who would be there, where they lived/would be staying, who they would have with them, what they would be driving, what their parents had bought for them recently, where they had been for the holidays, and other such topics. Whilst she was not stupid - she was doing very well at university - she had no curiosity about life or indeed anything outside her own social circle and its trappings.
Ultimately, it seemed to me that these type of people are largely self-perpetuating. They mix in fairly exclusive circles, and they reinforce the exclusivity by talking about people that they know, or social details about which they are knowledgeable. Unless you are effectively sponsored by someone, it's quite difficult to break into the circle. Although I was "lucky" enough to be sponsored by my then-girlfriend, I found that I didn't want to enter the circle, as I found it deadly boring.
F. Scott Fitzpatrick wrote, "The rich are different from you and I" and perhaps that's not too wrong - just as with any social clique, rich people tend to set themselves apart by adopting a set of customs or practices that tends to exclude people who are not privy to that knowledge set. Of course, that is a generalisation and not all rich people are like that - I know a man who owns his own management consulting company and is conservatively worth some $10 million, but he chooses to live simply and drives a Honda Prelude.