I’m writing to you at 4:44 am Wednesday on my phone in bed before I have to post this blog at 9am. It’s been almost a year since I started, and I haven’t missed the deadline I set for myself once. I’ve decided this won’t be the week I do.
What question are we exploring this week?
If you haven’t noticed by now, there are a lot of questions that keep me up at night. I’ve actually been up since 3:14am with a few more I won’t bother you with. The question we’re exploring this week is: Are millionaires bad at relationships?
This week in this series exploring the relationship between health and success, we’re talking about how millionaires act in relationships, which, in a study from Harvard, is shown to be the number one predictor of longevity. Yes. More than stopping drinking or smoking or going to the gym. That is to say, relationships are crucial to health.
Specifically, we’re looking at the romantic relationships, friendships and family ties of millionaires. What I found along the way about online dating, the male sexlessness epidemic and loneliness were interesting to me, so we're going to talk about that too.
What do you think the answer will be?
Before you read on, let’s recap what we already know about millionaires and people who are wealthier (top 10% of society).
With that in mind.
What do you think the relationships of millionaires look like?
What the data says about the relationships of millionaires
There are numerous articles online stating rich people are worse in relationships due to a lack of “wise reasoning”. The problem is they’re all kind of quoting the same study. Looking deeper into outcomes, male millionaires are more likely to be married than female millionaires by a significant amount, and despite the media always highlighting failed celebrity marriages, the divorce rate among millionaires is about the same as the general population (50% vs 40-50% for the general population).
Millionaires have better sex. An article from Forbes revealed 63% of men and 84% of women, credited their wealth with helping them achieve a better sex life. Unfortunately, the Guardian explains that for women, this increase in women receiving good sex in upper-income brackets is in part because “sex is more stressful for poor women because they are less likely to practise safe sex and more likely to be abused by an intimate partner.” It should be noted the study was in Spain, but higher rates of domestic violence and lower use of contraceptives happen in America and the UK too.
The same study from Forbes showed 54% of men and 72% of women reported having had an affair (compared to 33% of the general population), and rich social circles are shown to cheat more when compared to conservative cultures. This is contradicted by some studies which “show that poorer women are more likely to cheat than wealthier women”, however, I did say we were specifically talking about millionaires here, not just “wealthy” people. Despite most millionaires being religious, they cheat more. I don’t think they cheat because they’re religious though, I think they cheat because they’re human. Think about it, sex is a pleasurable experience for most people and with millionaires having high social status because of their money and because they tend to be more attractive, it’s like putting a kid on a diet in a room full of ice cream.
What the data says on millionaires’ friendships and family ties
An article from Vox explains wealthy people spend less time socialising. About 6.4 days per year. Of that proportion, they spend more time with friends than family or neighbours than the average person.
This is because “Rich Americans” ($125k a year or more) pay people to do the things the “less affluent” (£40k per year or less) rely on their family and neighbours for. This wasn’t mentioned in the article, but richer neighbourhoods tend to have houses further apart or gated which could contribute to less chance interactions with neighbours too.
Another thing to consider here is that lower socioeconomic status is linked to larger family size. The most educated people tend to have smaller families, meaning there are less people in their family to spend time with which allows them to expand their social circle to friends they choose. Notice the study didn’t say how long they’d had each of those friends.
How online dating plays into all of this
Yesterday while I was researching for this blog post, I put a podcast in the background which just happened to be a video from Stephen Bartlett and Chris Williams talking about online dating and the loneliness epidemic.
Have you heard about hypergamy? I’d heard it once in a podcast with Jordan Petersons and Rob Henderson. Both Rob and Chris describe hypergamy as why the top 10% of hot and rich guys are having so much sex and why there are a lot of males who haven’t had sex in over a year. The official definition is the action of marrying or forming a sexual relationship with a person of a superior sociological or educational background.
The kid with ice cream example came from Chris, although I embellished a bit, but it’s no wonder rich people are having more sex if they’re getting all of the attention because of online dating apps. It's like a 24/7 club. It doesn’t mean it’s healthy for them or fulfilling, but millionaires are human too. It was an interesting podcast if you want to know more about the loneliness epidemic and how it’s affecting wider society. I’d listen from 52:00 to 1:24:00.
Takeaways from Millionaires in Relationships
Millionaires are less likely to have solid romantic relationships and more likely to cheat. They’re less likely to spend time with family and neighbours but spend more time with friends, yet they are more likely to be happy and healthy.
The best explanation I found is that selfish people are happier, as long as they can avoid feeling guilty and also this explanation from Rachel DeAlto, a relationship expert and coach where she states:
“In my experience coaching and matchmaking, the more affluent the client, there is less fear of a relationship ending because they find [their partner] easily replaceable. The more elite the circle, typically the more rigid the viewpoint. There is also a pack mentality that affects compassion. There is power in money and status, and sadly I’ve seen it do some damage to communications.”
Basically, millionaires have more options in the dating pool than the average person. This correlates with negative consequences like cheating but also positives like boundary setting and self preservation. What you can take away from this is to find a balance between self care and living within your morals. If you’re someone who does too much for the people around you, to the point of neglecting your boundaries and needs. Stop it. Be a little selfish, because selfishly, I want you around longer so you can keep reading my blog posts ;).
Enjoyed this post?
Thanks for reading. Hope you learned something new you can use to get you closer to happiness. Next week we’ll be exploring the mental health of successful people.
Questions that keep me up at night - the blog for curious people every Wednesday at 9:00am.
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