Rich people, notes an NBC News analysis of this new study, turn out to be “less likely than poorer people to exhibit flexibility, empathy, and all the other traits” that lead to healthy, long-term relationships.
NBC’s Nicole Spector ran the study’s conclusions by several professionals in the relationship field. None seemed surprised by what the researchers behind the study — psychologists Justin Brienza and Igor Grossmann of Canada’s University of Waterloo — had found.
The “stratospherically rich,” observed Beverly Hills psychotherapist Fran Walfish, do often care more about “achievements, status, and how they are viewed by others” than relationships.
“Privilege has endowed them with a sense of entitlement,” she explains. “So, interpersonally, these people can be rigid.”
Wealthy people, adds Lifetime network relationship expert Rachel DeAlto, feel they have plenty of choices. Her relationship coaching experience has taught her that “the more affluent the client,” the “less fear of a relationship ending” — since many affluent consider any partner “easily replaceable.” And if you see your partner as “easily replaceable,” why bother investing any significant time or psychic energy in learning what that partner truly needs? Why be flexible? Why not just move on and find a partner who more perfectly relates to your needs?
For the super rich, the philosopher Philip Slater once noted, finding potential partners along that line will never be much of a problem.
“If you gain fame, power, and wealth, you won’t any trouble finding lovers,” as Slater wrote in his 1980 book Wealth Addiction, “but they will be people who love fame, power, or wealth.”
At the caviar bar, in other words, the seats will always be full. Only the hearts will be empty.
Sam Pizzigati co-edits Inequality.org. Among his books on maldistributed income and wealth: The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970. His latest book, The Case for a Maximum Wage, will appear this spring. Follow him at @Too_Much_Online.