Dating someone who is poor
It’s a different world, it’s a different life, and so many of us have to fold our identities into it, in spite of ourselves. Of course, being upper class, or even middle class, isn’t just about money.It’s a mode of learning and culture that dominates how we operate as a society.
I’m an adult in a world which I have not been equipped to understand. And now the last cornerstone of who you are is being taken to personal task, as the person you love is someone who will only ever half-understand you.“It wasn’t until I began dating someone genuinely middle class that I became aware of quite how much of a division there is culturally in class and how difficult that is to bridge,” says George.“Little rituals or behaviours that were seen as the done thing to the person I was dating were things I’d never encountered in my day to day life and my lack of knowledge of such things was treated as a stick to beat me with instead of being understood.“I found quite often that my being working class was something that was fetishised when it suited but something that wasn’t accepted as a mitigating circumstance when it led to an issue,” he adds.
But in romantic relationships, that vulnerability is a noxious double bind.
Relationships between the classes demand that we bridge parallel lives, and it’s not easy — especially for working-class people.
Even with good intentions, you get sick of being examined. Your laugh is an octave too high when they botch the impression of your accent.
You long for the time when the people you liked came from where you came from — the sameness you shared — before your plans intervened, and you chose not to stick around and make a go of things in the place you love, the place you know, the place you find yourself disavowing in order to fit in. Latin was and is as boring as it was for you when your snobby History teacher tried to cleave it into a class about your poor use of split infinitives at school. Upper-class leftists are all of a sudden a proud exception to the rule, tying a string to their bow because they have managed to “understand” the plight of the less fortunate.
Shouldn’t they be embarrassed that they don’t know anything about mine? One time, it wasn’t the palatial size of the house of an ex’s parents that fascinated me, it was the way they shopped. Just the whim of indulgence, safe in the knowledge that it would be accounted for in the next pay cheque.