Love doesn’t see color–or dollar signs (most of the time, at least)–and it’s not uncommon for people of very different economic backgrounds to get married. This discrepancy in socioeconomic backgrounds can lead to some really eye-opening moments.
In the following stories, one partner grew up poor and the other grew up middle or upper class–and this difference had interesting impacts on the relationship.
40. This Is The Most Wholesome But Also The Saddest
When my husband’s family had people over for dinner, if they ended the prayer before the meal with “F. H. B., Amen,” it was a signal to let the children know that they don’t have enough food for everyone, so take smaller servings and let the guests get a regular serving.
F.H.B means “Family, hold back.” My husband’s family were always generous to their friends and didn’t let their lack of funds embarrass themselves when doing so.
39. Snack Time Is Their Meal Time
I did not grow up rich by any means but I would say my family was upper-middle class. My husband was born in Nicaragua and eventually moved to Texas where his mother barely scraped by supporting him and his brother.
Some of the things that surprised me: 1.) He never eats snacks. Ever. They didn’t have food in their kitchen and he would go hungry sometimes. He said once they had an egg in the kitchen and he scrambled it and split it with his brother while his mom hungrily looked on. Now as an adult he doesn’t understand “snacking.” If we eat a banana he thinks that it is our next meal. 2.) He is very impressed with smaller things in life. He had one toy as a kid (a truck) and now, anything I get him he thinks is the most amazing thing in the world. He saves everything. 3.) He is the hardest worker I know. He never wants to be where he was. 4.) He is the most grateful, optimistic person I know. We’ve been having some problems (family drama, trying to sell our house, work stuff, etc.). He is not afflicted by any of it; he is cool as a cucumber. He always says, “Did you eat today? Do you have a place to sleep? Does someone love you? Then you are better than most people.” I dearly love him. He makes me see the world in a different, better way.
38. “Did I Pour Too Much?”
The first night my wife (then girlfriend) moved in, she asked if she could have a glass of milk. I said, “Sure, you can always have anything. This is your house too.” She then poured this very small bit into a tumbler and sat back to talk. I must have looked at her weird because she said, “Did I pour too much?” I told her, “No, drink all the milk you want.” She then asked, “What if you run out?” I told her I’d just get more. I could see those two things didn’t coexist in her world. All the milk I want? Really?
Over the next two days, she demolished the best part of a couple of gallons. I’ve never seen someone so legitimately happy. We’ve been married nearly 25 years, and I’ve always kept a box of powdered milk in our cupboard. We never use it but it helps us both remember and appreciate our situation.
37. You Need To Say The Magic Word “Stop”
More of a funny incident, but I was the poor one. My husband (boyfriend at the time), took me out to a very nice restaurant. The waiter asks if I want pepper on my Caesar salad that was just made table side. I said sure and he goes about it. The thing is, I didn’t know you had to say stop. My husband slowly realizes this, but decides to see it play out.
He did eventually say that I need to say stop … I just thought a Caesar was served this way as it was my first time even eating a salad that wasn’t just iceberg and ranch dressing. It still tasted fine, just a little bit too much pepper, haha.
36. “Emergency Food Kit”
When I dated my husband I thought it was so unsanitary for him to keep food hidden away under the bed. I also worried he had some kind of eating disorder. When we were moving, I asked about throwing away an expired can of beans. He refused. I was bewildered. Was he going to eat expired food?! He explained to me how he has gone without food before and he would always keep some in his room just in case the rest of the house ran out. He agreed to trash the food that was expired and we have an “emergency food kit” hidden behind small kitchen appliances in a corner of a lower cabinet.
I felt so bad because I’ve never had to go without food because we didn’t have any. I realized how privileged I was, then, and it made me a better person. We never know what others have had to struggle with; be kind to people.
35. His Upbringing Made Him Hardworking
I’m by no means rich and didn’t grow up rich, but my family was middle class growing up so I lived comfortably. On the other hand, my boyfriend grew up in poverty, spent a lot of his childhood in a trailer park, etc. The big one for me is that he started working at 13 and was paid under the table. His parents bought him a cranky Saturn and made him drive to work and school at that age too. From that age on, he was financially responsible for anything beyond food and the roof over his head. School supplies, clothes, etc were all things he had to pay for. If the Saturn broke down, he was responsible for paying for the repairs. For this reason, he learned to work on cars and is actually quite the mechanic. By comparison, I got my first job at 16 and while my parents made me pay for my own gas and any extra stuff I may have wanted, but they still covered the essentials and paid for some of my stuff that was non-essential.
As a result of his upbringing, he is an incredibly hardworking individual. He goes to school and works full time in a managerial position, and has even made the Dean’s List. I’m so proud of him, and I can’t wait to see where he goes in life. A more lighthearted quirky thing that he does as a result of his upbringing is that he only has one pair of shoes that he uses for everyday use, and he replaces them every four or five months; they’re usually Converse or Vans or their off-brand counterparts. I’m trying to convince him that having two pairs of shoes for everyday use would be useful, as it gives the other pair some time to breathe and then he wouldn’t have to replace them as often, but I think it’s falling on deaf ears.
34. Getting The Things He Never Had
My husband grew up in a family where they were comfortable but on a strict budget. Six kids and mom on disability. My family had no budget. One day, we were at the grocery store and he always insists on walking up and down every aisle. I finally lost it because he was taking so long and asked him why he did it.
He then said, “Growing up we could only spend $100 a week on groceries for all of us. I always had to put what I wanted back because we couldn’t afford it. Now I can afford whatever I want so I like to look at everything I could have.” It took him 10 years to tell me this. I felt like a terrible person.
33. Credit Cards Were Avoided
For me growing up, we were encouraged to get a credit card in our name and use it as much as possible in order to build credit. There was always money to pay it off each month, so it made sense to 1.) build credit and 2.) collect airline miles or whatever the reward was back in the day.
When my wife and I got together, she always used cash or a debit card. She had a credit card “for emergencies” and avoided using it otherwise. It took a long time to get her over her aversion/skepticism (we were fortunate to have two well-paying jobs), though it also taught me a healthy appreciation for what it means to have a financial cushion.
32. He Is Anxious About Spending
I’m about to marry him. We met in college, and my parents paid for everything while he had student loans and a part-time job to pay for everything else. If he was really hurting, his parents would transfer $40 into his account. But that was pretty rare and they’d give him heck if he asked. He was always very anxious about spending money and never bought name brands. He would also buy essentials like toilet paper two rolls at a time (one ply only). He didn’t really realize that buying so little every few days was wasting money rather than buying in bulk.
When we booked our first vacation (a cheap road trip to Georgia), he couldn’t pay for anything and was worried the whole time. The anxiety that would keep him up at night made me so sad. He still never fills up his gas tank all the way, only $10 at a time. It drives me nuts. But now we both have great full-time jobs, and he rarely has any anxiety. He never has to worry about money anymore and is so much happier as a result.
31. Bawling Baby On Board
I was in my late 30s, recently separated and dating a single woman the same age. She lived in a modest, one-bedroom apartment, lived within her means and generally presented as middle class. One day, I noticed she had very little food at the house, so I suggest we go to the market. She says she can’t until she gets paid, so I said, “Hop in the car.” We get to the market, and I start filling the cart with stuff to eat and have on the shelves. Nothing that extravagant.
I look over and she is bawling like a baby. I ask what’s up. She replies, “I’ve never in my life been able to go in the market and just get anything I want.” I was taken aback. There was about $120 worth of food in the cart. No filet mignon, no shrimp, just regular groceries. Fast forward ten years, she lives with me and goes to Whole Foods three times a week!
30. Very First Birthday Celebration
I fell in love with my uni best friend who really didn’t have any money. When I got a job, for my birthday, I decided to plan a holiday and offered to bring him along.
It didn’t even occur to me that this was the first holiday he’d ever taken. His family could never afford it growing up, and he’d never really thought to do it as an adult.
29. Maybe They’re Just Being Practical?
I was shocked by how many tools her family could replace with a butter knife. I was also surprised by how they used the same cup for everything. Each person’s cup was used for everything from coffee to wine to milk to beer. I’ve come to appreciate many aspects of my wife’s previous lifestyle. I find I’m much less stressed now knowing how unimportant material things are.
One thing I can’t accept, though, is how she used to put safety second. For example, no outlet covers on outlets, no railing on stairs, standing on a makeshift ladder to grab things from a high shelf, etc. I should add I’m not what most would consider rich… However, I was absolutely comparatively rich. I’m also proud to say my wife now makes more than me – get it, girl!
28. Just Like Surprising A Child
I’m not rich at all, but my husband came from a very poor Mexican village. He told me he used to shower outside (because there was no in-house plumbing) and use leaves as toilet paper.
He’s been living in the U.S. for 12 years now, but when we first met it was so interesting seeing life through his child-like eyes. Going to the cinema was a huge event for him. Heating food up in a microwave was a totally foreign concept. And staying at fancy hotels when we went on vacation was like, “Whoa.” I still see him surprised by things now and then, and it just reminds me how much I take my middle-status class for granted.
27. A Pet’s Family Value
For many people who grew up less fortunate, they quickly learn to find the practicality in everything. Not my wife (she will be soon though) but she grew up poor, and one of the big ones is how she views animals. Like dogs and cats? Sure, they’re pets. But they probably have a purpose; you don’t just love on them. Dogs protect your house. If it dies? So be it; you’ll find a new one.
Her home life when I started dating her was so much better than what it started out as, and she had a cat. She said, “I’ve had this cat for four years. It’s the longest I’ve ever owned an animal” because they were either too poor to take the animal to the vet, or it just died because of some other reason. That’s also why she thinks people treating pets like family is really, really weird. “You’re spending that kind of money on a dog? What the heck?”
26. The Environment He Is Used To
My husband grew up in a very poor and seriously dirty house, like trash EVERYWHERE, dog poop scattered around even in the laundry piles. I asked him to do the dishes one day, and he said, “Why? They’re just going to get dirty again.” At his house, they kept all the dishes dirty in the sink instead of clean in the cupboards and just wash one when they need it.
His mom was a single mom to three kids and was in full-time school and full-time work, and none of the kids helped with any of the chores, and the mom never forced anyone to clean, so they never got it done. Now they are all desensitized to dirty environments which is really depressing. Their house is a nightmare. So sad. We are no longer together because of a lot of issues relating to the kind of environment he was raised in and expected to raise our baby in.
25. One Froggy Afternoon
My husband grew up poor in the hollers of West Virginia. Both his parents were alcoholics. When he was about 7 years old, they disappeared for four days and left just half a loaf of bread and some ketchup in the house; the bread was gone by the second night.
He remembered seeing TV shows where people ate frog legs, so, he took a kitchen knife and went into the woods to look for frogs. He found two, killed them, and cut their legs off and cooked them over a fire he made. He said he was crying when he ate them because the legs seemed like they were still moving, but he was so hungry he didn’t know what else to do. He still gets nervous when food in the house gets low. I feel like I should also mention we’re both vegetarians.
24. A Label’s Level
Some wealthy people live very frugal lives and have no interest in “labels” at all. My wife genuinely thought, and her family still does, that there is a direct relationship between someone’s net worth and the labels they purchase. If someone doesn’t have a Gucci bag or a Rolex watch, why, it’s because they can’t afford it!
My wife was astonished when I first told her that there are people who are ultra-wealthy and yet drive old cars and wear clothes without labels.
23. Expired Food Trauma
I wasn’t “rich,” but I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted. I kept getting frustrated that my husband wouldn’t eat leftovers or any food that had just been waiting in the cabinet (like shelf-stable things we’d bought a few months ago). I finally had to just talk to him about it. I can’t make big meals if you refuse to heat meat a second time.
I then found out it’s because he had to eat food past its date because it’s all they had. Even though those foods were probably just fine, he still connected that to a bad thing since they couldn’t afford new food. Now I’m trying to re-frame it as we can afford new food, but there’s no need to most of the time.
22. “Don’t Worry; We Can Always Buy A New One”
My experience is from the opposite perspective; I was the poor one. It absolutely floored me how my wife acted when something like a car, appliance, or clothes broke. As a child living below the poverty line, replacing a tire or other necessities was a disaster, requiring tricky trade-offs in the budget or just plain acceptance of just how boned you were.
When my wife’s phone broke, I went into full panic mode while she shrugged and said “We can just get a new one this afternoon.” And then we did.
21. It’s Like Choosing Quantity Over Quality
Not “rich” really, but I grew up firmly middle class and married an immigrant from a poor family. I was surprised at just how expensive it is to be poor. Planning ahead to limit long-term costs tends to cost more upfront, and his family just didn’t have enough money in a given month’s budget to do that. For example, his family would go through paper towels like crazy and didn’t own any cloth kitchen towels. At first, I found this horribly wasteful, but it’s because a single roll of paper towels is much cheaper than a couple of kitchen towels. Even though you’ll end up paying a lot more for the many rolls of paper towels, you’ll go through in the time it takes the cloth towels to wear out. You just can’t justify the initial expense. And it became a habit, so even when they were at my house, they would reach for the paper towels. Normally a roll of paper towels lasts me a month or two because I use cloth for most things. They’d easily go through a roll or two a week.
Same with pots and pans and any other durable household item – they would buy the crappy pans that only last a year or two, while I have Revere Ware pans that I inherited from my great-grandmother. They also didn’t treat these items well, which caused them to wear out even faster. I’m not sure why that was, maybe just because they had every expectation of needing to replace them, so squeezing out an extra couple of months of use wasn’t worth the time it takes to be careful.
20. The Frugal Spender
I come from a triple-income (both parents work, plus partial ownership of several large-scale ranches run by my grandfather) family of four that lived in a medium town. We were about 5%ers nationally, but in the town we lived in rural Missouri, we were solidly upper class. I just graduated college, so I’ve been on my family’s income my whole life, but I’ll be going financially independent after we move this summer. My girlfriend of three years comes from a single-income family of seven that lived in a moderately-sized city, so she always struggled. Now, she has over $10,000 saved up, but still lives with her “growing up poor” lifestyle.
For me, it’s the amount of soap she uses. Do you know those big bottles of Equate/Suave body wash that cost like $1.88 at Walmart? She literally gags every time I put my hearty dollop on the pouf. She places approximately six molecules of soap on when she goes to wash and says, “This thing should last us six months. We’ve used half the bottle in a month.” Like spending $1 a month on a soap is some alien concept to her. She also got a good laugh when we went back to my home and my mom said to me, “You were always the frugal child. You’re very good with our money,” because apparently, spending $40 a week on fast food lunches is “frugal” to my mom but “excessive” to my girlfriend. She thinks I’m lavish while my mom thinks I’m thrifty. An interesting juxtaposition, that always is.
19. He’s Being Generous Despite What He Went Through
If someone truly loves you, your financial status won’t be the only reason they choose to stay or leave the relationship. Not necessarily this situation but my family was wealthy when I was growing up and it allowed me to be frivolous even as an adult living in a different country with a full-time job. I didn’t realize how dependent I still was on them until they lost everything last year. My partner grew up saving every cent and had to provide everything for himself.
When I told him my family lost everything, I was certain he wouldn’t want to stick around even after seven years. Why would he stay if I couldn’t treat us to movies and restaurants and vacations (really shows you how messed up our perspective can be when we put such a premium on those luxuries)? But he rolled up his sleeves and has helped us navigate real financial scarcity for the first time in our lives without judgment or condemnation. I don’t know what we would have done without him, and I am grateful for his support every day.
18. Off The Dollar Menu
My family is far from rich, but I grew up closer to the upper-middle-class realm and was making three times as much as my now-husband when we met. He grew up extremely poor, and his family is still living that way.
One big difference is how he’s surprised that my parents pick up the check when we go out to celebrate a birthday or a graduation, and that my parents ask him to pick whatever restaurant he wants. Outside of the ritziest steakhouse in town, they don’t care. To his family, a big meal out is going to McDonald’s and not eating off the dollar menu. I’m serious.
17. She Values Every Penny
My S.O. is not a generous gift-giver. I know this is not typical of poor people (who, on average, give a higher percentage of their income to charity than any other group in the U.S.), but she is very stingy. I had to explain to her that she’s a doctor in a small town now, so she should tip 20% instead of exactly 15% down to the penny. I showed her how much I was giving to my friend for his wedding ($200), and she was shocked I was giving that much (it was an expensive wedding, and I got to bring a date). One of the best things about being rich/upper middle class is that you can afford to be generous with people, and I think that she had a problem doing that because she worked very hard for everything she ever got, while I see myself as just a fortunate person for being born into a family that helped support me. Sure, I worked hard in dental school too, but my background gave me an advantage.
On the flip side, I do appreciate how frugal she is. We both clip coupons, look for deals, buy in bulk, cook meals at home, and rarely treat ourselves. Even at a gas station she would look at a diet coke and say, “$1.79? I can get a 24 pack for $10.99” whereas I would just buy it because I’m thirsty, and I’ll pay for convenience. She adapted to her higher income well; she didn’t start blowing it all on expensive cars and vacations, but I had to teach her to let go of certain hangups when it comes to spending money. I tell her it’s okay to get a nicer shampoo, buy an extra towel so she has more than one, and most importantly, it’s okay to be a bit more generous, especially with her family. I’m glad they don’t expect her to support them, and conversely, they don’t get upset at her for spending more money (I’ve heard this happens with frugal families). Her gifts are still practical; she still knows the value of a dollar, but at least now she understands that she doesn’t need to get upset with herself for giving more than the absolute minimum.
16. Financing Your Future
While some of us make financial decisions based on our future, those who are struggling financially are often more concerned with making it day by day. Financially preparing for the future is often considered a bonus. He was making good money but came from a poor family.
One thing that surprised me was the lack of budgeting and knowledge about 401k’s/RothIRAs. Retirement seemed like something that he’d never get to do. So, even though he made good money, he was starting to rack up credit card debt. Now he’s much better at it than I am. He adores budgeting and looks forward to FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).
15. Valuing Things To The Highest Level
We typically take our belongings for granted more than we realize. I’m not really rich, but I definitely grew up being handed everything and was well-off. My wife grew up pretty poor. Something I’ve noticed over the years is her attachment and care she puts into things she owns. If she bought it with her own money, no matter how big or small, she treats it like it’s the only one she will ever have. Don’t get me wrong, I treat my own things well too, but in the back of my mind, I always think along the lines of, “If I crash this car or if I break this phone, my parents will get me another one.” To this day, I still feel like I have a safety net no matter what happens.
When we go grocery shopping, she just wants to always get the bare minimum that we need for the week while I want to put everything I see in the cart like I did when I was a kid. I imagine this stems from her going grocery shopping as a child and having very strict rules as to what she could get.
14. Sharing Isn’t Always Loving
Many children grow up sharing bedrooms with their siblings, but to share a bed with your parents as a teenager is rough. I’m an upper-middle-class guy from the NY metropolitan area suburbs. Not rich, but closer to rich than poor.
One day, I was telling my girlfriend about how my brother and I had to get separate bedrooms as kids because we would always fight. I said I hated being in my room alone but I couldn’t tolerate my brother either. She said she could relate. She didn’t like sharing a bed with her parents throughout her childhood and teens. She always helped remind me of my privilege. I mean, I know people who are poor, but not “sharing a bed with your parents” poor.
13. Because They Can’t Afford Dinner…
We’re not married yet, but when we started dating, she always wanted to chill at my place, never hers. Which was fine. But she gained 35 lbs in just like a few months of dating (she was 100 lbs when we started dating).
Not that it was a bad thing, 1.) I am a chubby man and 2.) I was just glad she wasn’t pregnant. Anyway, it turns out that her family couldn’t afford dinner sometimes. So suddenly she had a place to eat every night and gorged herself.
12. Setting It Aside In Case It’s Needed
I grew up in a middle class family. I have been dating a girl for 10 years who grew up poor-ish. When we first started dating, she would get $10 worth of gas for her car every few days, even though she had the money to fill it and be done with it. It never made sense to me, and frankly, in the winter where we live, it can be dangerous to not have a near-full tank if you get stuck.
We fought about it since I thought it was dumb to drive around near-empty. She yelled, “That’s the way you do it. You put in a little in case you need the money for something else.” That took me back. I had always taken for granted just filling the tank with no concern, never considering that I might need money over gas in the coming days. It really put things in perspective for me. Ten years later, I feel like she is more secure in our life together, and I have become a better person because of her and her different perspective on things.
11. $1,300 Bucks? That’s Definitely An Amount To Cry Over
My wife and her mother lived with her grandfather to not be homeless because her grandfather owned a house. She was putting community college payments on her credit card and building debt with it. I paid off her credit cards when we were dating and she cried from me being so nice (it was only like $1,300). I bought a condo, then we got married, then we bought a house.
I never really considered myself rich until I started dating her and learned that a trip to Wendy’s was a treat. I grew up in the middle class, and we are currently middle class.
10. He Values Everything He Paid For
Not super rich per se, but I came from an upper-middle-class family. Not long after my husband and I married, we were going through our separate stuff to figure out what we needed and what we should keep. In a box, he had every yearbook from high school. I asked him if he wanted to get rid of them.
When he said no, I looked at him confused. “I had to pay for those with my own money.” This astounded me. Not only did he have to pay for his yearbooks but every field trip, youth trip, or extra activity he had to pay for with his money that he made mowing lawns. My brain could not compute that there were parents that did not pay for their children’s activities.
9. Always A One Day Millionaire
The problem is, a lot of things in life that are more affordable and easily obtainable upfront (e.g., renting a car/home versus buying a car/home) are usually more expensive in the long run. This leaves a lot of people in a messy cycle of financial problems. Her family didn’t have a future, and still don’t. They live paycheck to the last paycheck with no retirement savings. They don’t own any houses, their cars have leases that are more than the car is worth, and all are on some form of assistance.
The biggest difficulty is helping her see why we need to save money for cars and houses and retirement. I had to put her on an allowance because she would spend until she saw zero.
8. Living Beyond Your Means
Not married yet but have been dating someone long-term that is “poorer” than me in terms of the amount of debt they have, incredibly low credit score, and the amount of payday loans they have. I’ve always been financially responsible so this was definitely a shocker for me and gave me a great deal of anxiety.
When we started dating and prior before I knew about his financial status, I noticed that he lived a rather luxurious life — blowing $5,000 on one weekend in Vegas, going to many music events, and buying designer things. He’s better now and more grounded so there’s still light at the end of the tunnel.
7. The Story Behind His “Favorite” Meal
My dad came from a poor family, and my mom came from a well-off family. When they moved in together, my dad’s mom came to help with the housewarming, which included cooking. She made it a point to mention how much my dad likes pig ears; she always includes it in the sauce and he always eats so many he has no room for spaghetti.
A while later, my mom decides to surprise him with his “favorite” meal, and he breaks out crying. Pig ears are practically free; it was all they could afford growing up. My dad is the oldest, and his siblings HATED it, and wouldn’t touch it. He’d eat them out of the pot so his siblings didn’t have to deal with it, and then skip dinner so they had more to go around.
6. Two Different Reasons Why They Love To Camp
Honestly, food insecurity. When we were first married she would get visibly uneasy if the food in the house was running low. She never overate or anything; she was just always concerned about it. A lot of times when she was younger, she went hungry.
On the humorous side though, she hates camping. Her answer is always the same: I camped because it was fun, she camped because they couldn’t afford hotels.
5. A Rocky Childhood
My husband grew up in China and later came to the U.S. He told me that he played with rocks and stones as a kid (while I had Barbie’s entire world including her horse, sports car, and mansion). It didn’t really hit me in any way because, by the time we met, he and his family were very well-off. His dad is a neurologist, and his mom is a computer developer. They live in a million-dollar home. My husband is an engineer, and we live comfortably as well. He pretty much buys whatever he wants now, so it’s actually hard to give him gifts. I say all this to paint the image that on the surface; it seems like playing with rocks is worlds behind him.
We are currently expecting a baby girl and recently went to a big baby sale event. Even though it’ll be a few years before she can play with it, we bought her a cute set of wooden veggies. It was kind of a joke because my husband hates salads, and his daughter will be making him pretend to eat them. As we were standing in line to pay for it, my husband casually says, “Even though I don’t like veggies, this set is pretty cool … I wish I had this instead of rocks.” Cue the hormonal preggo lady tears. Even his life is so good now, I wish I could go back in time and change it so he didn’t have to play with rocks as a kid. Of course, my husband then says it’s fine, and he’s happy that he can give his daughter a better life. Cue more tears…
4. Fruits And Veggies Are New Things To Him
I’m not rich but I’m pretty middle class with parents that believe in family-oriented meals with home-cooked food and fresh fruit and vegetables. My boyfriend was very poor and lived with his addict mom who barely looked after him. I was so surprised that he hadn’t ever tried some of my favorite foods like avocado, sweet potato, kiwis, etc. He was confused when he first visited my house (I was still living with my parents) and we sat down and had a meal together with my parents. He would just have microwave meals in his bedroom when he grew up.
He also had a bit of a sugar addiction when we first met (he had just moved out to university) because his mom didn’t regulate the number of sweets and sugary drinks he had. He was surprised that I had never tried some types of soda and I rarely ate sweets. My parents weren’t exactly strict with sugary things but they just didn’t buy them; I had fruit and water instead and only had sweets on special occasions like Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc.
3. It’s Called Love
When you live by the phrase, “Love doesn’t pay the bills,” you tend to become almost desensitized to love. At times, you may forget that people have the capacity to genuinely care for you.
When he moved in with me after home hopping as a teen, he didn’t understand why my mother cried at his graduation. Or why my dad gets mad when his phone is dying (for emergencies). Overall, he doesn’t understand when people care about him. Or people who care. He thought they were being nice or just adults because he couldn’t fathom that they love him or see him as a son.
2. Patience Is A Virtue
My husband and I came from very different backgrounds, and it crops up in weird ways all the time. When we first got married, we were given a bedroom set from a family member. We slept on it for a while, but I wanted to get a new mattress as I felt it wasn’t comfortable. He kept insisting it was fine and that a new mattress was a waste.
I kept complaining, and he finally let me know the mattress he has at his parents’ house was so crappy, he cut it open and put phone books in it to avoid getting stabbed by broken springs. I felt terrible, as our mattress was not actively stabbing me. But I eventually convinced him we could afford to buy a new mattress, and he thankfully loves it. I’ve learned over the years to be patient with him as he adjusts to not having to worry all the time about money.
1. Not As Sweet As Sugar
I’m from an upper-middle-class American family and my husband is from a poor Southeast Asian family. It is hard for me to wrap my head around how poor they really were when he was growing up.
He told me about eating only rice with sugar for meals because they couldn’t afford meat. They were probably living off less than 50 cents a day for a family of five at times.