Dodging Gold Diggers
“I married you for money and look how that turned out.” – wife to her husband
I kid you not. That is a direct quote said in my presence by a wife to her husband–and he wasn’t shocked. Nothing new had been revealed. She’d married him for his money and now they were sitting in my office, bankruptcy attorney, and she didn’t get what she’d bargained for. Yikes. I mean, no one wants to go through bankruptcy. It sucks. But you kinda hope that at this low point in life your partner would have your back. But if you married a gold digger, that’s not going to happen.
I’m not a bankruptcy attorney anymore, thank god–too many tear and repossessed Range Rovers, but I’m still involved with people, their lives, their money and their relationships as a prenup attorney and coach and in that role I still see a lot of interesting stuff and some of it is no bueno, particularly the gold digger dynamic.
And that gold digger dynamic can have a chilling effect on relationships before they even start. You can think of prenups as prenups, pre-prenups, and pre-pre-prenups. What the heck? Here’s what I mean:
- Prenup–We’re madly in love, a proposal has happened or is imminent, a Pinterest board has been started and we’re already worrying about who’s going to get drunk and ruin the reception. We’re intentionally planning our future together, including in the eventualities of death or divorce.
- Pre Prenup–We are getting serious and want to put a healthy dynamic in place and understand where each of you are coming from financially. Like, do you consider ketchup a luxury? Don’t ask, that’s a personal experience.
- Pre-Pre-Prenup–You (note the singular) aren’t in a serious relationship and the thought of dealing with the financial stuff with a future partner is a little overwhelming. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with a partner in the past, have made a fair bit of money in a short period of time, or have more money than your social group and sometimes it gets awkward. This is chilling effect on being open to a relationship.
Gold diggers can have that sort of effect, a chilling effect. Like any people that don’t share your general values, they can be freaky–like motorcycle gangs–which are fascinating by the way, point them out to me whenever you see them. You don’t get their game. That makes them unpredictable and frankly a little scary. A gold digger is unlikely to knife you in a bar fight, but then again…
So from my perch, let’s look at how to suss out and dodge a gold digger. For definition purposes a gold digger is:
- A person who cultivates a personal relationship in order to attain wealth.
- A woman whose primary interest in a relationship is material benefits.
- A woman who cares more about a man’s bank account than she does about the man.
Notice there’s no dollar figure in the definition. You find gold diggers at the top of the food chain and the bottom, but the ones at the bottom clearly aren’t very good at it. And for aspiring gold diggers there is literature (using that term verrrry loosely)
A Gold Digger’s Guide: How to give what you want without giving it up
The Gold Digger’s Guide to Seduction: Unfair, underhanded and downright shameless tips to getting the man with money
The Gold Digger’s Guide: How to marry the man and the money
I couldn’t make this stuff up. I take that back, I could, but I don’t.
My favorite is Gold Digger: The outrageous life and times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce. She lived from 1893-1957. Peggy Hopkins Joyce was married six times to several millionaires and even a count. They say, “Joyce had no discernible talent except self-promotion.” Holy cow if that doesn’t sound accurate. A scam as old as time.
Before we get into the meat of how to dodge a gold digger, a caveat. Make sure the dodge is really what you want. For some men, arm candy/a trophy wife is important, a status symbol, like a rocking Maybach (so sad I had to Google how to spell that, but proud that I know what one is, but I do live in Orange County). Fair enough. No judgment. That’s a mutually beneficial relationship, like a barnacle and whale. It’s called Mutualism and even has its own equations, the Lotka–Volterra equations.
Far be it from me to diss biology. If Mutualism is what you’re after, you do you.
If it’s a little icky, or even a lot, let’s talk about swimming in the deep blue sea sans barnacles.
- Be really clear on what you offer.
What a deep, why are we here type question. But it’s true, especially when you start to couple up. What do you offer? Are you funny, kind, silly, encouraging? Are you active, fun, intellectual? Several of the above? Awesome. I’ll tell you first-hand, chicks dig that stuff, especially chicks looking for a fulfilling, long term relationship. That’s the stuff that gets you through the cancer scare, the home invasion, and yes, the bankruptcy attorney’s office–knock on wood.
- Conversely, be really clear on what you’re looking for.
If beauty, long legs and big knockers are the top 3, you’ve created the classic gold digger profile. Again, you do you, but know the pond you’re fishing in and the bait you’re using.
Remember, beauty grows when you know character. Average in the eyes of Vanity Fair may become stunningly beautiful with a soul connection.
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, granted not a traditional beauty said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Listen for what you want to spend the rest of your life discussing–not to mention the average IQ of your children if you’re in that age bracket.
One final thing. A classic gold digger move is the trapeze artist, moving from man to man without her feet touching the ground. If that’s her history, consider you may be the swing…
- Move the focus off money during your time together.
Dating is a part time job. It’s hard to come up with new and interesting things to do and throwing money at almost anything makes it easier, but resist the temptation here. Unique instead of spendy, creative instead of cheddar intensive. Where would you take her back when you were a college student? Check out the airplane graveyard scene from Can’t Buy Me Love for inspiration. Give it a try, you’ll get a higher caliber of woman.
- Know your options.
This is actually how the topic of gold diggers came onto my radar. I’m a prenup attorney. Traditionally I work with prenup couples, see above for the lovey-dovey stuff. But for folks who don’t know what can be done on the legal side during marriage and in planning for death or divorce, it can have a chilling effect on their ability to be open to a partner. Burr.
When you know the options, and not just “let the chips fall where they may,” or “I’m keeping every last penny for myself,” and have an idea of what works for you, the thaw can come.
- Time is your friend.
Infatuation. The Honeymoon Phase. Love Sick. It’s a thing. Hormones last 12-18 months and during that time you’re not in your right mind. I don’t care how indefatigably logical and level headed you are in every other area of your life, it doesn’t carry over here. And listen to those you respect. Their insight is invaluable–and they’re not under a hormone haze.
While the above 5 elements are not rocket science, you can see how they’d go a long way against modern Peggy Hopkins Joyces. If you missed one, or if one slips past your radar in the future, cut yourself some slack—these women are pros.
If you’d be so kind, I’d be interested in your thoughts at this point.
I leave you with the immortal words of Patches O’Houlihan, “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” I’m not quite sure how that applies, but it’s too good to waste.