Coming to America, Pretty Woman, Nollywood’s Violated and a couple of
other movies where love conquered the social class divide.
can meet anyone, and nobody kicks up a fuss about cross-class
relationships or marriages anymore. It is not considered overtly
scandalous. We no longer factor it in when considering the root of our
relationship problems, and we look to psychology or gender norms instead
when trying to figure out why our partner is being an ass. We pretend
that we live in a classless society where background does not matter as
much as present compatibility. Things are changing and people’s classes
are no longer inscribed in stone.
say socio-economic differences, still pose a very difficult challenge in
relationships today. Anyone who has dated someone outside their social
class can affirm that there are strange tensions and inevitable speed
bumps that come with these kinds of relationships. It can be fraught
high-class, wealthy family while you come from a working-class family
with less money. He travels a lot and has been to all these places
around the world just for fun, while you have never crossed the borders
of Nigeria. You start to think you cannot keep up with him because you
have to be extremely careful with money. Also, you know that the only
way both of you could travel together on a regular basis is if he pays
for you, and that just seems wrong.
are the girl from an upper-middle-class family, while your man has a
working class background. Of course, financial equality does not mean
cultural equality, so you wonder why he attaches too much importance to
simple things like good food or designer labels. He, on the other hand,
gets exasperated by your easy-come-easy-go spending attitude.
while having drinks with some friends at Intercontinental hotel (which
turned out to be a horrible experience, as the place is nothing like a 5
star hotel…or even a 4 star -the food is substandard and the roof of
the bar leaks), a friend mentioned her recent experience on a date. She
had gone out with a guy who, although was wealthy, obviously had a
working-class background. Being a girl brought up in an
upper-middle-class home, the first thing she noticed was the huge gap in
their personalities. According to her, his mentality was very different
from hers. While he had asked her to pick any venue -a way to let her
know he could afford her tastes, he had hinted on the food being
overpriced (although, he could clearly afford it) and exhibited terrible
table manners. Also, he had felt the need to talk about his
achievements and how he had risen above all …as though she made him feel
insecure, and he needed a form of validation from her. Again, there was
the fact that his diction was flawed, and their experiences growing up
were very different.
guy. She had shared her experience to find out if her declining a second
date with the guy and refusing to speak to him again afterward
portrayed her as being a snob. Another friend who was out with us,
*Bisi, jumped in and assured her that she made the right call nipping it
all in the bud – she was better off with someone in her class.
married into a super wealthy home despite being from a lower
middle-class home. Prior to her marriage there had been endless disputes
over her husband marrying down, and her family’s wealth being all too
recently acquired. According to her, while cross-class pairings or
relationships seemed egalitarian, it was complicated and required a lot
of work. Bisi stated that stereotypical class prejudices are real – in
any cross-social class relationship, both parties would have differing
views, beliefs, attitudes, and practices on things such as
child-rearing, money management, career advancement, how to spend
leisure time e.t.c. This would go on to stir feelings of insecurity,
resentment, usually in the partner on the “lower” side of this
difference. And as a result, there will be a lot of negative pressure,
tension, conflict as well as a sort of imbalance in the relationship,
making it difficult for the couple to last long or even survive.
marriage which all seemed a little incredible, and in between laughs, it
dawned on me that I’d never dated anyone outside of my socioeconomic
strata, which I’d describe as middle class. I have never been with any
one of the glitterati nor have I been with a blue collar. Obviously, I
have nothing against it, but it certainly would be quite a chore
building a relationship with someone from a dramatically different
social background, wouldn’t it? Sure, all relationships take work, but
with a combination maturity and a willingness to healthily compromise,
you can overcome any relationship problem. However, it is better to opt
for one which isn’t already threatened by the boundaries of class at the
initial point…don’t you think?
Have you ever dated someone with a richer or poorer background than yours? What were the issues? How did it work out?