Below is the story of my greatest relationship and a collection of some of the poetry and love letters I wrote for the love of my life. I have loved five women in my life and after loving her, I can tell you that I have loved someone as much as it is possible to love anyone. I can tell you that relationships and love are the most important things in our lives. I can tell you that we are capable of far more than we think we are. And, unfortunately, I can tell you that wealth can very much ruin people and destroy even the best relationships.
Once upon a time, I met a girl. We had an instant friendship and connection. We fell madly, passionately, wildly in love with each other.
The way we met was so random, so lucky, so beautiful that most people would call it fate. We talked about everything. We laughed constantly. We had a sex life most people only dream of. We were both smart, ambitious and talented in different ways. I had never been so entranced, so hopeful, so happy with anyone before. I knew, right from the beginning, that this was someone I could be serious with. Within months, I knew this was someone I could spend my life with. That was no idle reaction to emotion; after three previous long-term relationships, I knew we had what it would take to last a lifetime together.
I thought she felt the same. She said she did. She acted like she did. She threw herself at me and loved me as intensely as I did her. Even when she had to move cities for her career, she begged me not to give up on her or us. She wanted a future. I did too. So I promised that I would never give up. She cried in my arms and was happy. And we continued. It seemed that nothing could come between us.
We had been building our relationship for about 9-10 months when, in her new city, filled with glamorous, rich, high-status business types, the kind of people she wanted to become, she met someone. She barely hesitated, leaping into bed with him and cheating on me, despite the fabulous connection, trust, emotional and physical intimacy we shared. I figured it out pretty quickly and confronted her about it, but I chose to believe her when she said she’d found someone else with a connection that she couldn’t deny. Truth was, she wasn’t in love; it was all about the money. He was rich. I just didn’t know it, at the time. Because nothing about her had suggested she was so materially selfish and greedy.
I didn’t know it was about the money and I didn’t want to give up on what we had. I thought it was the most special relationship of my life. I thought what we had was too good to walk away from over a mistake. Maybe she was young, maybe it was just temptation or inexperience. So, even though she’d cheated and left me, I kept fighting for her, for us. She said she didn’t want to give up on what we had either. So we continued to have a relationship. We continued to love each other.
That battle went on for five years. For five long, painful years, we continued to have a relationship in secret, mostly long distance, by occassionally visiting each other in person. We talked or texted every day. We were best friends. We were a couple in all but name.
I loved her like a partner. I gave her romance, writing her poetry and love letters, giving her flowers and gifts. I called her beautiful every day. I made her feel sexy and desired. I helped her gain confidence in herself, helped her grow into a woman.
I was there for her, every single day. I supported her during her move to new cities twice, supported her in her rising career and her dance hobby, supported her when her family went through terrible problems. When she was tired, hurt, frustrated by life, troubled by other people, always I was there. No matter what I was going through, no matter how much she’d hurt me, I was always there. I always put her first.
I made huge sacrifices for her. I went through hell because of her. Yet I stayed, always believing the best about her, always believing that she could be better. The good we had between us always made the fight worth it. Being with her was simply better than being with anyone else. I was happy just being in the same room with her. And she always seemed so happy and excited to be with me. It was wonderful. I hoped that if she just saw how well we worked together, and how loving and committed I was, then she’d realize that our realtionship was better and come back.
I was the more experienced and mature. I was the more patient and understanding. I was the one who never gave up, who always tried to take the high road. I was the one who saw things in the more positive light, who never stopped believing in the best of her, who never stopped believing in us. I did everything I could to make her happy and to make our relationship successful. Because of that, we lasted though all kinds of drama and came out, I thought, stronger than ever.
We argued over our relationship, but never fought, never tried to hurt each other, always controlling ourselves bceause the relationship was more important than our pain. We built trust, deepened our understanding of each other and relationships, and forged a bond that endured her being with someone else even while we loved each other. To me, our struggles and the fact that we showed up every day to be with each other, no matter what, proved we were an amazing couple. After all, most of the time, we were so happy together. We made so many good memories. We proved that we had the capacity to overcome any obstacle, that we never got bored of each other, that we had something incredibly special.
But it was all in vain. She never left the other guy. Over time, she became a workaholic, and career and the competition and money and status that went with it, became more and more important to her. I was a teacher with a fixed salary; she was in business and saw her salary rise to ridiculous heights in a short period. But instead of looking at what I did as worthy and respectable for its own sake, she increasingly looked down on me from the increasingly lofty heights of her own salary. She thought that if her own salary going up meant she was more successful, then when my salary stayed the same, it must mean I wasn’t successful.
That’s not the way the world works, but she didn’t get it. She only saw things in terms of money. When we met, back when she and I made the same income, she was proud of how good of a teacher I was, of my dedication and love for my students. The work I did investing in society’s future was meaningful and made me someone worth loving and respecting. But over time, as she became rich in her own right, she lost her respect for me as a partner, entirely based on money. She lost respect for me as a provider, as a partner, because she made more than me and because the other guy made more than me. The work I did, the good I did, meant nothing. Only the money was worth respecting, in her eyes. To her, I should have given up teaching and done something else in order to become more ‘successful’.
The more money she made, the more her work in sales became about making money in a competitive and capitalist world, the more time she spent in social circles full of competitive people chasing money and status, and the longer she dated someone for their money, the more her unhealthy obsession with money grew. And the more selfish she became. The more she judged everything in financial terms and nothing else.
She appreciated and valued me less and less over time. She invested less in our relationship. She became more and more selfish. She still showed up, still had lots of fun, but she wasn’t there for me when I needed her. She didn’t show as much care for my feelings and needs as time went on. And no matter how much love and support she took, no matter how well we worked through our problems and proved we were a better couple than her and the other guy, nothing made her want to be with me as a partner. She took my unconditional love for granted. She used me. And yet, because we had so much fun, seemed to have love, and worked so well together, I stuck around, always fighting for us, never giving up. I believed in her, and in us.
Then she and the other guy broke up. Over money. I was overjoyed. She promised that she was coming back to me. We started making plans for the future. I thought that all my sacrifice and love was finally going to pay off. It had all been worth it. I had been right not to give up on us. I thought for sure we were going to be happy together.
But then she contemplated a life with me, and how she’d still be somewhat rich, but not quite as rich as she could be with the other guy, and panicked. She went running back to the other guy and got him to propose to her.
We continued to talk and I continued a dying fight to win her over. Nothing I said mattered. No amount of lover or understanding reached her. She actually thought that by asking her to be with me, I was selfishly asking her to give up a better life for my own happiness. She just couldn’t understand that love, support, loyalty, honesty, commitment, friendship, sexual compatibility, and relationship quality were what you should base a marriage on. She couldn’t understand that these things outweigh having money you don’t actually need.
It all came out in the end; she was with the other guy for his money and always had been. She admitted that we had the better relationship, more love and trust and intimacy and connection and a better sex life. But at the end of the day, the only comparrison that mattered was income. I made money. But he made more money, and had more status because of it, which she also got just by being with him. She thought that money and status was the keys to her future and happiness. So she married him for his money.
It was the selfish and immature choice. What are the odds of success on a union of two people who are financially motivated workaholics who don’t invest in their relationship, don’t value each other for who they are on the inside, and lack the necessary skills and commitment to overcome life’s obstacles? Maybe they’ll last. But even if they do, she will never enjoy the deep love, intimacy, trust, support, commitment, loyalty and passion that we could have had. She traded all of that for a bigger apartment and more expensive things she doesn’t need.
It has been a grueling five year journey while she was with him. Both after she’d cheated on me in the beginning and again after her second betrayal, I had been left in dark depression for months at a time. When her wedding rolled around, when she finally took away any chance of a future together, I was devastated and heartbroken worse than ever before. She left me without hope of ever finding such a connection with anyone ever again. I seemingly face the unwelcome prospect of a future alone or with someone I have a lesser relationship with. I’m nervous at even the idea of trusting or loving someone again. And I’m just angry at life right now.
The only thing about her entire personality or person that I would change is her obsession with money. If she had been a less selfish and greedy person in that regard, we could have been perfect together. I could have had all the happiness that I could have ever wished for. I could have spent my life making a wonderful person as happy as I could. It would have been a noble life. A meaningful life.
This is what money does to us. This is the terrible tragedy of affluence. Having too much does not satisfy us. Instead, it makes us increasingly selfish. It brings out the worst in us. The wealthier we become, the less we feel the need to cooperate. The less we value love and friendship and family and other people. The more we focus on ourselves. We don’t want to believe that this is true. We want to believe that wealth is good, that we’re smart enough to handle it, but we’re not. It corrupts us. It makes us the worst versions of ourselves.
The girl I fell in love with may have had a few selfish tendencies, but no more than anyone else. But after adding all that money and competition to her life, she became a shadow of her former self. If her life had been enriched with love and great relationships and cooperation, she would have been one of the most amazing people around. She had that potential. But money spoiled that and took her potential in the opposite direction. All the love that we could have shared, the family we could have had, will never be.
Why do I share this story with you? As a warning. That selfish people are horrible people and simply cannot understand someone who is truly loving and cooperative. That selfish people value money more than relationships and can’t understand otherwise. That having too much wealth corrupts even good people and brings out the worst in them. That unnecessary competition in life makes people stop working with each other and start working against each other. That situations like this, with people overcome by rampant greed and financial ambition, for the desire for status, these are tearing society apart one relationship at a time.
Ambition is good, when it’s applied to the right things, like love and friendship, honesty and loyalty. Having money is fine, as long as we don’t have too much and start taking people for granted. Relationships are the fabric that hold society together and when we stop valuing them and investing in them, it leads to misery.