Is the old-fashioned stereotype of women marrying for money still a norm in today's society?
Writer Amy C Fleitas asked several relationship experts what they thought. All five experts said yes, but not as much as it used to be.
Despite massive improvements in career options and social liberation, many women are still marrying for money. But they're not as cold-hearted as one might think. The experts say the money-focused women are not necessarily motivated by greed, but by stability.
His bottom line is a factor
Too many people resist the connection between finances and happiness, says Pamela Klainer, Ph.D., workplace consultant and author of How Much Is Enough?
"The only people who say money isn't important have always had more than enough. We touch money more often than we eat or have sex - but no one wants to talk about it.
"Women are looking for stability," she says. "When ends don't meet, it takes over the marriage. If you don't have any money, you don't have any choices. That's not a very enviable position.
"People in our culture don't understand the relationship between money and power. They need to," she says.
Why not pursue wealth?
"There's nothing wrong with wanting to attract a wealthy man," says psychologist Patricia Farrell, author of How To Be Your Own Therapist. "If you have money, you have more choices. You can go out to dinner and afford to hire a baby sitter. Without money, you can't do those things."
Ginie Sayles, author of How to Marry the Rich, agrees.
"If you never have enough money to go anywhere, life shrinks to the size of a TV screen," she says. "You are only living vicariously - watching other people live life who have enough money to afford life."
Sayles says women who pursue wealthy men are normal. She believes that people who label these women as gold diggers are ignoring obvious human needs.
"There's a lot of denial about it. Actually, it's normal, not aberrant, to choose a mate who makes life happier or better," says Sayles. "Does anyone want to choose someone who makes life worse or harder?"
Financial stress strains relationships
The security of plenty of money can be a powerful aphrodisiac, and living without it can kill a relationship.
Couples forced to work more to make ends meet may be setting themselves up for disaster, Farrell says.
"If you don't have sufficient funds, the stresses on a marriage are enormous. The couple has to work more, so they see each other less. They grow apart."
It's a recipe Farrell says sometimes results in affairs, often with co-workers who they see more frequently than their spouse.
And if the time apart doesn't destroy a relationship, arguments over financial problems might. "Fighting over money can destroy love," says Sayles. "People think love is eternal, but it can be ripped apart by ongoing stress over the financial needs of life."
Grandma was right
Michael Broder, Ph.D., author of Can Your Relationship Be Saved? says that while the idea of women marrying for money isn't as common today as it was in the past, it still happens.
"In the '50s and '60s they used to say 'It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man,'" says Broder. "Women now realise they don't need a man for wealth. Being empowered is the trend now."
But, he adds that finances do play an important role in relationships - and have the potential to end a marriage.
"If there isn't enough money and getting necessities is always an issue, then money can be an issue that will break a relationship," Broder says.
A symbol of love
Relationship experts say even for the financially independent, money plays an important role in a relationship - as a symbol of love.
"It's important to both men and women," says Klainer. "We are looking for a tangible marker of affection. 'How much are you willing to spend on me?'"
Sayles says the way a man spends money on you early in a relationship is also a good indicator of how he will treat you in the future.
"If he is stingy with his money," she says, "he will be emotionally and sexually stingy and controlling with you in the long-run."
While marrying for money is a sound financial move, the experts are quick to add that finances shouldn't be the only consideration in a relationship.
"I think it's important to be honest with yourself," says psychologist Elayne Savage, author of Breathing Room. "The reality is, you have to have a certain amount of money to live, but money alone won't make a happy relationship."
Savage says many people fool themselves into believing money will solve all their problems.
"People fall prey to what I call magical thinking," she says. "Like children, they close their eyes and think 'If I have enough money, everything will be OK.' It won't."
Farrell says that communication about finances and financial planning early in a relationship can help couples avoid disaster in the future.
"You need to find someone you are compatible with. Before things get serious, you need to sit down and have a serious conversation about the role of money in your lives and what compromises you are willing to make," says Farrell.
"If you don't talk about it, it will lead to a breakup, divorce or disappointment later. You have to have a plan."
-Adapted from an article by Amy C Fleitas