The Negative Impacts of Wealth on a Marriage

Of course, money can’t buy you love. However, it can often set you up to have all the help you need. Still, a question remains. Is a life of convenience good for your relationship? With wealth comes the luxury of having someone to handle each of those mundane tasks. On the surface, this freedom from financial and logistical stress sounds like a path toward marital bliss.

But some things cannot be delegated to an employee. Being a strong, honest, committed, and healthy partner is not a task to be outsourced. Regardless of your economic status, marriage requires being present and doing emotional labor.

Some of the Negative Impacts of Wealth on a Marriage

Generally speaking, the divorce rate remains the same across all economic strata. That said, there are ways that wealth can negatively impact a marriage. Among others, these may include having “too much” independence, e.g.


For couples with financial struggles, the work-life balance can be off-kilter. Either of them may have to work long hours to stay afloat. This limits their together-time. On the other hand, wealthy partners are unhindered by some of the fundamental daily pressures most people face. They may also be involved in business ventures extending far beyond any geographical location. This combination allows for more travel and, thus, more time apart.

Lack of Interdependence

Picture a couple that is not together much. Now imagine that both partners are lacking creature comforts or opportunities. A chance to engage in independent self-growth can be a wonderful gift. When it comes at the expense of mutual self-growth, it can create emotional distance. Lacking a deep bond can lead to another negative impact of wealth: infidelity.


People at any income level are capable of cheating. But research suggests that the wealthy are more likely to engage in infidelity due to higher levels of time apart and increased access to potential partners. Rich men, in particular, appear to view affairs as coming with the territory. In one recent study, the infidelity rate for men making less than $35,000 a year was 21 percent. For men in the $300,000 and up annual income bracket, that number was 35 percent.

Less Empathy and Compassion?

It might be cliché, but studies show that rich folks display less empathy and compassion. They also tend to be more judgmental. This is demonstrated through behavior and attitude. For example:

  • People with wealth do not acknowledge the advantages they may have had in accruing that wealth.
  • They are more judgmental—particularly of people less fortunate.
  • They are less likely to perform random acts of kindness or display basic manners.
  • Rich people are less adept at reading the facial expressions of those around them (a skill very necessary for empathy).
  • They’re more susceptible to addiction issues—including an addiction to money.

Findings like this can have a major effect on relationships—especially when someone of wealth marries someone of lesser means. Overall, though, these are markers with the potential to inhibit any close or intimate connection.

So, What’s the Good News?

All of the above can be worked on and quite possibly changed. We’re not talking about genetic factors. If you’re in a marriage that involves wealth in some way, you can work on areas like:

  • Being more compassionate
  • Scheduling more time together
  • Getting involved in efforts to help those in need

Relationships are fluid, evolving creations. There is no finish line, and wealth is not the only thing that determines your success. You can connect with a couples therapist to discover ways to rekindle and deepen your bond. Commit together to doing the work and watch what happens!

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