That's really not for me, after having grown up with kids like that my entire life. I truly love and care for my boyfriend. I don't think I'm "better" than him or anything of that sort. I am not dating him because I have some inferiority complex what one of my friends suggested, to my disgust. They ask me why I don't date a 'nice guy' from our university instead.
Don't get me wrong, I know I am fully capable of doing so, I just don't want to because I have a boyfriend who I love, very much. We always pay for things evenly and although we have talked bluntly about wealth, it has never been a point of tension for us. They could decide whether to spend money to go on a vacation or to invest in private school.
Either way, their plan could be carried through. This difference—taking a hands-off approach or a hands-on one—followed individuals from their pasts and into their marriages. It shaped nearly every aspect of their adult lives. In regards to money, work, housework, leisure, time, parenting, and emotions, people with working-class roots wanted to go with the flow and see what happened, while their spouses with middle-class backgrounds wanted to manage their resources by planning, monitoring, and organizing.
The couples had a lot to negotiate. Should money be spent according to gut feeling or only as the carefully-created budget allowed? Should careers unfold as they may, or should specific career trajectories be planned and sought out? Should emotions be expressed as they are felt, or only after they have been carefully considered and an appropriate response has been formulated? Should kids be nurtured but let to grow, or should goals and schedules be set for them?
One couple I talked to experienced these differences profoundly. Vicki grew up as the daughter of an upper-level manager while her husband John grew up the son of two factory workers. Vicki, a teacher, plotted how to become a superintendent. John, a restaurant manager, kept his eyes open for opportunities but did not plot how to get from one job to another. John believed he should meet his kids before deciding on how to parent them and that it was not his place to decide who they should become.
Emily Wyndham married her husband 11 years ago this week. They met at Oxford University. Not anywhere nice — it was in a crap industrial coastal town they forgot to close down. In doing so, they made quite a lot of money — enough to send us to private school — so we were the first generation of our family to go to university. He's always very keenly been aware of his position in life, and always very keenly felt he was working class, and wanted to assimilate himself to become middle class.
He reads the Telegraph; he's voted Tory for years and years. Three of my closest friends had been to comps; we were all pretty much lower middle class, all from quite similar backgrounds. I think quite early on in our relationship he went off shooting. It was like he'd moved to another world that I hadn't known existed. This is way outside anything I've ever experienced. I smoked at the time. Generally, I got the impression that I was being looked up and down and found rather wanting.
But, in my favour, his sister was going out with someone who was even more low-class than me. They wanted him to marry someone who had grown up around the corner, whose parents they knew and of whom they approved. They attached no value at all to academic prowess. And also, I think they just slightly thought that I was a little bit too loud — not the quietly understated, elegant person that would fit into their quietly understated, elegant lifestyle.
My parents were sending out invitations, but they were on their uppers because their business had gone to pot. The invitations had to come from them. And there were all these titles, and they'd been told his aged aunt would only open invitations that were correctly addressed. My mum was very much, 'They'll just have to take us as they find us. The wedding sounds very stressful: I wonder why she didn't put it off a bit longer. And Tom was not that bothered about class — he couldn't have married anybody who was a class warrior, who thought everything he stood for was awful.
He had to feel that he could be himself, and he did, and so did I. In purely class terms, the decision about secondary school will be major. If they go to the state school, they will very obviously be different from their grandparents and even from their parents.
Marrying out of your social class will be hard, but not doomed
The Truth About "Mixed-Collar" Dating — From the People Who Make These Relationships Work
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