For Richer and For Poorer (No Romance Without Finance)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are not necessarily the views of all members of The Superspade. It may be simply the nonsensical rantings of a frustrated twenty-something.

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

Whitney and Bobby. Reese and Ryan. Britney and K-Fed. Eddie Murphy and his wife. Babyface and Tracy. Kimora and Russell. What do all these lost souls have in common? They are no longer in marital bliss. Technically, theses people have enough money where all they have to do is be in love and live. But yet, more and more celebrities are breaking up. Why?

I have been having this ongoing dialogue with my female friends that circles around men and finance. It is my belief that women and money are a lot like fire: They can either help you or hurt you. With that said, as women begin to outpace men in the areas of education and high paying jobs, we come to a fork in the road as I perceive it. Women want men to be men. A significant portion of this traditional gender role is that a man should provide and furnish comfort and security. Or they want him to have at least the same level education/money as they have. On the surface, this seems fair. You don’t want any deadweight in your relationship. However, do these kind of expectations reinforce class in American society, especially in the area of romance? If I drive a bus or work at the post office, is it unlikely that I can date a lawyer or a doctor?

Think about it. Education, in theory, affords you access to more resources. It is an economic truism that people will buy as much lifestyle comfort as their paycheck will give them. Hence, if a woman is making top dollar, then how does this affect the dating expectations? Along with more income, comes a different environment. When you come home from a long day of work, who is more likely to understand what you are talking about if you are a doctor/lawyer/engineer? And how does this affect the power dynamic? I know some women who try to rule over their man because they hold the purse strings. Or on the other end, the man tries to over-compensate because he feels inadequate about his lady making more change. It is a real obstacle.

Perhaps this belief is only prevalent in the young adult demographic, but I have encountered frequently. However, this is like having your cake and eating it to. If a woman today is likely to rise more quickly, especially a minority woman, is it fair to put all the weight on the man?

A lot of women in my age group want the men they deal with to be a “high roller”. They are more concerned with status than character. And as men, we feed into it. I would venture to say that 75% of what we do is to please a woman somewhere.

I had a conversation not too long ago with a certain young woman and she expressed to me that she was afraid she was going to be poor if she stayed with this certain young man. She came from a little money and he was more blue collar. She continued to go on about the lifestyle she was accustomed to and the like. So I asked her, what did comfort look like to her? She replied it was paying the bills, saving, taking trips on occasion. I then asked her, how much did she need a year to feel and do those things, and she said a quarter million.

This is just one of the many conversations I have had with a variety of women. I am not saying anything is wrong with it, however, when pressed, they could not quantify these abstract wants and desires. If you cannot quantify it, then you will never be happy. Because it will never be enough. And while that man is out trying to stack, these will be the same individuals that will complain about him not helping around the house or with the kids or spending time with them. You can’t win for losing.

In Other Words

Maybe I am tripping. But I know for most people in their twenties, you don’t have a dime. You just finished school and you got bills. You have not made any real money and you just trying to get by and adjust to the “Real World”. Yet, when you go out, all the shorties is checkin for the dudes with the rims. Where do the real women hang out at? The ones who see your potential and love you for you? What happened to finding a good dude with some goals and who treats you like a queen? What happened to working as a team and making it together? By making the profit motive supreme, you miss out on some really good people. But like they say in the mob, “Nobody wants to work for it anymore.”

What people do not realize is that when you struggle and come up with somebody, it brings you closer. It is not predicated on a business transaction, it is based on some real, hell or high water type stuff. Then we wonder why the number of unmarried couples outnumber the married couples. Whether it comes to money or relationships, you have to have teamwork. A woman cannot expect to sit around while a man is working, or vice versa. Both people need to play their position. The money will come. It is more important that you share the same goals and values. And anyway, everyone needs to focus on getting their own in this world and stop waiting for someone to give it to them. As my mama says, “If you waitin for somebody to do something for you, you gonna be waitin a long time.”

I could just be voicing my insecurities, because I was never the dude with money. I have lived on a budget for as long as I can remember and I had to work for everything I have. Yet, I am a decent dude. I might not be able to “cake” a woman off now, but I am resourceful and she will never have to guess where she stands with me. And by the way, I am going to be rich. But you do not want someone who is going to fold on you as soon as money is tight. Every man needs a Hilary-stand-by-your man-ride-or die chick. I want to know that the woman in my corner is loyal and she is real. And fortunately for me, I have found that one. ;).

Final Thought…For Now

Ladies, I am not saying that you are gold diggers for having standards. But make sure your expectations are reasonable. You should hold yourself higher than any dollar amount a man could give you. Demand more than his money, demand his heart and his time. If you have that, you wont ever have to worry about finances.

Fellas, if we want to demand the ladies step it up, we have to make sure we are real men. I am Old School, and it is my belief that the man should set the tone for the relationship. We must lead by example. Prove to the ladies that you are worth the risk and that by hooking up with you, she is joining something great. If all you have to offer is that same ghetto-mentality and lame duck excuses, do us all a favor and just turn your wallet over now. Many a good woman has been ruined because she was under “bad management”, ya dig?

I could go on for pages, and I got a little off topic. But this is just how I see it being played out in my neck of the woods. I will revisit this issue from time to time and report my findings.

But in the meantime, you, the SuperSpade community, let me know what you think. What is the role that class plays in romance? How important is money really? How are prevailing attitudes affecting our relationships? Sound off.

Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas


Friendships & Relationships


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11 responses to “For Richer and For Poorer (No Romance Without Finance)”

  1. njemile says :

    steve this hit home more than i expected it to. i’m in a relationship with a guy that comes from a very different background than me. and when we first started dating, i had this virtual wall up because he isn’t a doctor/lawyer/engineer or whatnot. but guess what? i love him just the same (and perhaps more) because he’s a strong, independent, goal oriented, conscious black man who can take care of himself. i may make more money than him, but not by much…and anyway who cares? at the end of the day, what’s his is mine and what’s mine is certainly his.

    so keep fighting the good fight, cause i’ve been on the other side…and when u find true love, none of that matters.

  2. Ranell says :

    Yo Steve,

    I love this topic that you wrote about. Me and some of my boys here at work and in my inner circle were noticing the same traits about these women who are “Looking for a Meal Ticket.” And this quote, “I would venture to say that 75% of what we do (men) is to please a woman somewhere.” Your a Jay-Z fan and I know that you realize Jay summed this statement up on that Best of Both Worlds track “The Power of the P-U-*-*Y!” That’s why we get haircuts and try to stay fly.

    Status in a relationship can have a negative affect on both men and women. I was reading Stedman’s book and he references Oprah’s status and how he’s only know as the guy on Oprah’s arm instead of “Stedman” Oprah’s man. They both do well (obviously her a lot more so), but society just recognizes that someone has to be the shining star in a relationship. As so with Brittany/K-Fed, Bobby/Whitney, Russell/Kimora and even Jessica/Nick.

    I honestly think that this societal view will never change because the world will never recognize a couple as equal even in marriage!

    So, those are my comments! Let me know what you think!


  3. Monique Perry says :

    Steve, I do agree that many women are looking for a meal ticket or a savior. Now having said that I also will say “GIVE THE SISTA’ A BREAK”. Not because she is right but because she is misguided, dehumanized and oppressed in the patriarchial, capitalistic society we still live in. Women may be out numbering men in education and “certain” job arenas but please know they are NOT being paid the same amount of money as men for their work. Men still hold the paper in this society. We are not anywhere near equals on that level.

    I thought I was old school, more recently, I have given up on any idea that a men and a women have a specific role/position they have to play in any relationship esp. marriage. Males made up these roles and women are still playing by your rules. Don’t misundertand me “it is white men who have created this race-sex hierarchy, not black men. Black men merely accept and support it”-Bell Hooks). Reality is if you want women to stop being so focused on money in relationships, you need to step up and help us fight the other isms(racism,sexism, captialism, classism and etc) that are holding us back and that divide you from me. It would mean liberation and healing for us both.

    BTW I don’t mind if a brotha makes less or more than me. His actions and words mean a whole lot more.

  4. Anonymous says :

    Side note: For a long time and still continuing, a lot of women are recognized as some guy’s girl and not for who she is (similar to the Stedman example, but the other way around). Stedman is just experiencing the changing societal ways that women have stepped up to the plate to compete and if no one else will take care of them, they take care of themselves. That is just some women though. Sure, some women look for someone to take care of them–particularly financially—but what you have to understand and I think Monique was hitting this point is that (taking it back to our sociological days from freshman year) girls are taught to sit and be pretty and let the man take care of them and the woman take care of home. Some men like it this way. Boys are taught typically that it is their responsibility to take care of their woman, but some guys nowadays get caught up in being taken care of by a woman that it is not important to them to work hard and provide. Bottom line, neither sex has to make more money…or less…that’s not important..What is important is that both partners contribute fairly to the relationship. These contributions cannot be quantified. Because while one may step up the financial security, the other may provide mental/emotional security. Everyone has roles but they don’t have to be defined specific to relationships or gender. We must be careful not to overgeneralize because some women actually do still care to be with men that will give them their heart, time and mind with or without the money. I am one of them. I care more about what’s on his mind and in his motives and heart than what’s in his wallet. Don’t get me wrong, I think men should work hard to please women–and this is not necessarily limited to money or buying them things…some women still actually like chivarly and to know you’re just thinking about them, but on the same accord, if a woman finds a man that does these things for her, whether he has money or not, she should put forth her best effort to please him as well, and cherish that they have both found someone to share everything they have (thoughts, money, possessions (both tangible and intangible) with one another)As far as money, it should not be so important as to how much a man (or woman) makes, but rather how they manage the money they make. And this, I learned from my man. How you like them apples?

  5. "The Consigliere" says :

    First, Let me thank all of you who responded to the post. This is the type of dialogue and POV that we need in order to truly gain understanding. There is a lot to respond to, so I will attempt to do so in short order.

    Njemile makes a very good observation and I think it is the fruit of maturity. After having a few good/bad experiences, it really does not matter. You want someone who adds joy to your life at the end of the day. But the hard part is getting into the door. A lot of women have a wall up, especially to guys who are totally different than what they are used to. It cuts both ways. I have been told by women I was too clean cut for them and they wanted a street dude. We just dont venture out of comfort zone. But you never know what type of package God will wrap your special somebody in.

    Ranell and Monique,

    You both bring up very good points. I know the song Ranell is speaking of, and I think it is true. Women have more power than they realize or take advantage of. Men or white men might have made the rules, but women are the All-stars of the game. They might not make as much and it may seem like a man’s world, but like James Brown said, “It wouldn’t be nothing, without a woman or a girl”. I can go deeper, but I will leave it at that.

    I totally feel Monique and echo her sentiments about men stepping up and helping women. We do need to help our sisters see the beauty in themselves and they should help us see our strength. However, I still hold onto the notion that men and women have roles. Yet, they are not carved in stone. They are dynamic. In a relationship, you are a team. And every team member must play their part. What I am saying is that if there is an impasse, the man should set the example, especially in the home. And by setting the tone, I mean being a servant and taking care of the needs of everyone else. If him and his woman have an argument, even if she wrong, he should seek the peace. And hopefully, she follows his lead and they can work through it.

    There are things that only a woman can offer that I never could. And likewise, there are things that I can offer that a woman would not even know where to begin. Now, that could be a function of me being a man or me being me. It could be both. I think we would get a lot further and just acknowledge that we need each other. We all be acted like we don’t need each other, but if we didnt, the GOOD LORD would not have created male and female. I know the ladies who frequent the Superspade are enlightened, virtuous women and are diamonds in the rough, but what advice do you have for the fellas who keep running into that other type of woman, who surely outnumber yall? How can we help them understand? I believe that is the real challenge and the best way we can help.

    Anonymous made some great points. We should learn from each other. I know I would not be the man I am today had it not been from the influence of the women in my life and my family. Monique is going to kill me, but I think it helped me to define my role. And that means where could I add to the women in my life, rather than detract from them. I truly believe the dynamic is changing in male-female relationships as we are becoming more comfortable seeing women in positions of power. I am not saying it is equal, but I am saying that those norms are shifting a bit. I believe that both partners shoul;d contribute equally. But the rela question is: What are we contributing? What are your needs and what are you partner’s needs and how do you work together to make sure you are happy? For me, I don’t want my lady to want for nothing. I am the oldest of five children, and I have been the man in my house since I was seven, so I come at it from a whole different angle. We have to look at how our background and upbringing plays a role as to how we function in our relationships and our attitudes.

    I guess what it boils down to is that I just want people to be happy. The world is too cold and hard to be alone. One of the first things God gave us after life was companionship. And a lot of what we go through with each other aint even necessary. Let’s put the -isms to the side, the games, the power dynamics and create a sacred space where we can be real with each other. Let your relationship take the shape of your needs. It aint about who in control or who run who. We are a team and we are working together towards a common goal and destiny. Anything less is just a sham.

  6. Monique P. says :

    I’m not going to kill you Steve. I’m just going to reply :).
    Anonymous said, “Everyone has roles but they don’t have to be defined specific to relationships or gender.”

    Thank you Anonymous! People will have to work as a team and contribute but our roles don’t have to be defined by the type of relationship we have or what other people think about gender. History (way back to slavery) has had a major effect on the way Blacks (men and women) see themselves and their relationships. What some people think they got (relationship roles) from God and the bible they actually got from slave master and his wife. Don’t pretend folks don’t use the bible for evil intend. Ya’ll know they do. I don’t want any man I date or marry to feel pressure from me to be the “provider” for our family or me. Statistics show he’ll most likely make more money than me. He’s not going to have me breathing down he back about it though. I just want people to enjoy what they do and not what society tells them they should or have to do. I say these things because I’ve witnessed these relationships (it didn’t turn out good for either side). Many men start out has setting the lead in the relationship aka the provider and end up abusers (Yes people financial abuse is a real concept). This concept of men being the provider has got us what (gold diggers, male resentment, female low self esteem and the list goes on).

    Steve- I certainly cannot let those isms go. I find many black men to use racism as an excuse for sexism. When men tell me my role in a home or believe they have to lead (aka control) me, I see that as a form of sexism. Racism and sexism are serious forces in my life. Sexism comes into play more when I’m talking about relationships (not referencing mixed race couples). A man can certainly nurture his children and a women certainly can work and pay bills. In my eyes the person who pays the bills the most or makes the most money DOES NOT mean they are the provider for my family. When men and women answer these questions: What does our family need? How are we going to supply it? Are we both contributing and addressing our family needs? Then WE are the providers for our family. Maybe we provide different things for our family but we are both providers.

  7. Anonymous says :


    It not a wonder that most of us struggle in our twenties because of the time needed to get established, but because must of us at that age is not wise, we sometimes place value on the outward signs of sucess (car, travel, house on the hill) rather than look at the opposite sex in terms of finding someone that is our soul mate. Some one whom we can grow with, share with, and love for who they are and aspire to be. God knows the pressures that the young feel when their friends and family are getting married, having children, buying cars, and houses and you have not found that special someone who makes you feel special.

    My advice to the sisters is to hold on and hold out for the right kind of guy. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to look successful and be unhappy for the rest of your life.

    Much love,

    Lady B

  8. Brandon Q. says :

    Great post Steve, I really don’t know where to jump in but to answer your question, class plays a huge role in relationships but let me take it a step further. How many of us have had situations where we were shocked by the class of the family of our significant other? I am referring to situations where your girl is from the hood or lives in a mansion. How has that experience changed your perceptions?

    Ok, to try and answer your question again, I think men have a much bigger problem with class in thinking that their income should be able to provide for a significant amount of the household income. Now could a man really handle being a stay-at-home husband?

    Also, I think we as men really do ourselves a disservice by thinking that we are unable to either date or ger married until we reach certain class status.

    I know I am all over the place, but just go with me.

  9. "The Consigliere" says :

    The most important thing I gather from your response is that people should begin to think for themselves and examine for themselves what is truth and their beliefs. History and religion have played a role and been perverted, but has not all truth undergone such attacks. When I say set the -isms to the side, I am saying to not let them affect how we interact with each other. I believe there is a place where we can peel back the layers and get back to basics. And that is looking at each other as helpmates. And I agree with you that both individuals provide special services and qualities to the relationship enterprise. And society has been remissed in not acknowledging the labor put forth in the home.


    The first portion of your comment intrigues me. I have dated many a woman from “the upper crust” and a lot of times I did wonder why they wanted to be with a guy like me. I could not give them what they were used to. I guess it was a function of the environments I was able to “infiltrate”.

    Plus I am a man of pride and principle, so I didnt want to feel I was competing with her family (i.e. her father). Nor did I want to be viewed as a leach. I say this because since the father is the first man in her life, he sets expectations. This can be quite a hurdle to overcome. Until I grew older and realized what I really could offer, those differences became less important to me.

  10. Brandon Q. says :

    Steve, I too have dated women from the so-called upper crust but what is it about our ability to “infiltrate” that separates us from the brothers that would not be able to navigate multiple crowds as it were?

    And this might be too personal for the Superspade, but Steve, what process did you have to go through to realize what you could offer?

    Stay up,


  11. "The Consigliere" says :

    To answer your first question. I believe that we are able to infiltrate these other environments because we are positioned in the right place. Let me explain. First, we have a “passport”, what we may lack in pedigree, we have fully exploited with our educational background and professional endeavors. We tend to migrate to where intellectual, as well as financial capital aggregates. As such, we have been blessed to have some doors opened so that we have the experience to feel comfortable in environments that were so unlike whagt we grew up in. Knowing this, through hard work and God’s grace, we have been able to go where a lot of our families have never dreamed of. I cannot overstate the role education plahys in this. America is the only country (someone correct me if I am wrong), where if you have a college education, you are considered middle class instantly. I know for my own part and my family, the emphasis on attaining and utilizing education has allowed us to make tremendous gains. At the same time, since that is not our environment, you can see both sides. You still have your street sense, but education may have polished you a bit. So, you kind of develop this anthropological approach to your environment.

    Personally, I think that it was a function of maturity, confidence and comfort with my self that allowed my to realize that money does not validate who I am or who I can be with. My attitude basically became hate it or love it, I am me. I do not deal with people based on their background, and I figured that a woman I am dealing with should be able to see the value in me, regardless of where I come from. if she could not, then she was not the one. A lot of women I have dated or developed relationships with had to undergo a culture shock in dealing with me. And perhaps that was by design.

    In any relationship, you must be able to see the value or as you like to say, abuse will result. Believing in myself as far as this goes took time. But the greater challenge is getting someone to see your vision and be willing to support you in that. That has been the real challenge. When hyou can find a woman that can dream as big as you do and is willing to put her heart into a shared vision, then there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.

    Truth and Peace,
    Steven M DeVougas

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