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Married into the wrong/lower class?

Missingme's picture

An esteemed therapist told me I married into a lower class and it was recommended that I disengage from activities involving my hubs and skids.  Somehow it relieved me to hear his advice, but yet I wonder how that's achievable when that means I sit at home when they're all out having fun together.  If we don't have family in common, which usually means so much to our spouses, what do we have?  Thoughts?

Aniki's picture

A lower class?? Gads, the therapist makes it sound like the prince(ess) and the pauper and sounds a tad snooty...

I have friends some would have considered to be "trailer trash" because of their upbringing. One is a well-regarded golf professional in Florida. Another has come a loooooong way from his youth. Owns his own company, belongs to a polo club, and has his own jet

Is this about you having different backgrounds? Are the two of you worlds apart? Do you share the same (simliar) goals in life??

Frankly, I think that class is a state of mind that ANYONE can overcome, if they so desire. ZERO reason you should sit at home and miss out on the fun. Tell that "esteemed" therapist to go jump in the lake and have a good time!

Missingme's picture

Please read my response to Gimlet below to understand further what I'm trying to say.  Thanks.

shamds's picture

They came from a normal middle class background. 

My husbands parents were just normal people, not poor but considered from low class and not educated. All their kids went to high school, 2 to university and 2 more to college for a diploma... my husband worked his way up and quite well off...

people work their way to richness..

opposites do attract and so do those with common interests 

Gimlet's picture

Interesting.  Social/economic class is a topic we love to avoid in the US, I'm surprised to hear that thought called out so clearly. 

What activities is this therapist deeming to be lower class?  What indicators is she using to determine that you have married "beneath you"?

Missingme's picture

As much as we'd all like to think that there aren't differences in class here in the US, there are.  The therapist was only pointing out that both my husband and I were raised under totally different circumstances, morals, financial, family dysfunction or not, etc.  My hub and I come from two totally different worlds/classes and it's much harder.  And his children were raised into an even different/lower (yes) class altogether, as they lived with their mother after their dad and her were divorced.  There are very few common points of interest as such.  They know/feel it and I know it.  I don't feel superior; I just realize now that oil and water don't mix and that if I want to stay married, I'm going to have to disengage on some level, or lower my standards.  

Aniki's picture

You don't have to spend every single second with your DH and skids. 

Nor do you have to AVOID them every second. 

Do activities with them that you find fun. TRY some activities - you might actually surprise yourself and enjoy them.

Missingme's picture

Please read my response to Gimlet above.  What is meant by class is more behavior than anything.  How someone was brought up to behave, etc.  I don't want everyone to get caught up on money for this post.

futurobrillante99's picture

The only obstacle I've ever seen in a relationship is not someone's socioeconomic "class" or family background. The biggest impediment is attitude and how entrenched a person is in their way of thinking - their perspective or paradigm.

If someone earnestly believes THEIR way of life is the RIGHT way of life and judges others for not being like them, it's a NO from me.

If you grew up in the country club set and think the only civilized way to spend labor day is either in the Hamptons or Buffy's yacht up in Maine - we aren't going to get along.

If you grew up in podunk-ville and think the only way to celebrate Memorial Day is to get stinking drunk on Bud Light, go mudding in your big truck and kiss your cousin - we aren't going to have fun together.

These are snapshot examples intended to describe a day in the life of someone who has a fixed idea of how life should be. I'm not describing what an otherwise open-minded person would do for one day of the year.

I find that people whose way of life becomes a fixed and permanent bubble that they exist within and look outwardly, judging harshly anyone who lives differently, which also becomes a legacy that limits the thinking of their children are the BIGGEST obstacle to the possibility of a happy relationship.

However, if someone can be raised in a certain sphere but see / appreciate what life can be like if you try many things - those are the people I'm most likely to get along with.

I have dated and been friends with people who were raised in varied socioeconomic spheres. My successful relationships have been with some people raised in a posh life style who aren't too prissy to go fishing, eat a corn dog or get dirty, and some who were raised with little to nothing and found joy in expanding their appreciation for good food, travel, literature and art.

If you remain open and withhold judgment, you'll get along with more people in this world.

Missingme's picture

I'll say only once more: Class has most to do with behavior, which is what I'm talking about.  Wow, I'm shocked by all the women, mostly, who are focused on money in this thread.  Telling.  

futurobrillante99's picture

I'm not talking about money. A person from podunkville isn't necessarily POOR. They are part of a social sphere that values certain things just like someone who vacations in the Hamptons and judges harshly the lifestyle of other social spheres. I picked two extremes.

Class, by definition, is a social status typically associated with your economic resources (money).

If you want to talk about values, that's a different topic from class, and people from all class levels can share similar values. You can have rich and poor people who like to cheat/abuse drugs and alcohol/neglect their children and feel entitled to the resources of others.

tog redux's picture

Yeah, I'm confused. I grew up in an upper middle class family, my father was a doctor. DH grew up in a blue collar family, his father worked an assembly line at a car factory. 

That has zero impact on our relationship. What is the therapist referring to?

MissTexas's picture

were, he'd be able to find ways you and your spouse are more alike than different, and find ways to bring you together based on how compatible the two of you are.

How does your DH feel about your childhood and how you were raised?

Surely your DH didn't just all of the sudden spring it on you he was from a single mom family and didn't come from money. You married him (hopefully) because you loved him. Where we come from is engrained in us, it's who we are. Characteristics, hobbies, tradtions and individuality are the basis of family.  Long-standing attitudes in these areas cannot easily be broken, nor should they be.

What activities is he subjecting you to, or expecting you to attend with him? Often times what people do not have monetarily, they more than make up in other ways. For instance, maybe a man doens't earn six figures, BUT, he can make his wife his first priority and in turn, feel like a queen. Maybe he stops on the side of the road and cuts wildflowers with his pocket knife for her, instead of paying $100 for a dozen red roses. Maybe he throws something on the grill and cooks for her so she doesn't have to cook. Maybe he takes her hunting or fishing because he wants to show her how he enjoys his down time. There's happiness and joy in simplicity, IF you allow it.

On the flipside, maybe a man with money can take his woman to the symphony in a tuxedo, buy her diamonds, take vacations, eat at 5 star restaurants, and so forth, but if there is no love, no dollar sign will fix that or make it so.

People can be impoverished monetarily, but rich with love and devotion beyond measure. Similarly, people can have a nice fat bank account, but be so impoverished emotionally. A dollar bill can't give you a little kiss or hug when that's all that is needed. It's all about your mindset.

How long have you been married? What was your reason for seeking therapy? Too often people go to marriage counseling when it is too late, and what it really is, is divorce counseling. Once you've made your mind up you don't like something, or someone, it becomes very difficult to change your thinking.

I suggest if you want to stay married, ditch this therapist and find one who focuses on the marriage, and tools, skillset and mindset for strengthening what you have. If your mind is made up then find a good divorce attorney and move on.

Missingme's picture

Texas, you saying my hubs was raised in a single mother home is a great example of how people in this thread are taking what I said and twisting to fit their narratives.  I never said my hubs was raised in a single mother home! LOL  His kids were (their mother) partially raised by a single mother, that is when she wasn't married to one of many husbands and whoring around.  READ and COMPREHEND before running your fingers!  ;-)

MissTexas's picture

the ex you were visiting about. On that topic, many people are raised in chaos and emerge successful, well adjusted and have excellent behaviors. Environment doesn't always determine the outcome to be the same. As you know, this works both ways.

One line that you wrote stated that the kids are being raised in an even lower class than your husband. This implies he's low class, but why? That's the missing piece of the puzzle.

How does your DH feel about your ubringing? Your family? Your class level?

And as for disengagement, you said your therapist recommended disengaging from husband and family. You said you were relieved that the therapist recommded disengagement. Why? Did you need his affirmation of what you'd already been thinking? Then you wrote in another response you don't want to disengage from your husband whom you love. You mentioned not wanting to sit home while you're disengaged. That's not necessary. Disengagment takes on many faces, and what happens during this time is up to the one who initiated it. Some go to the spa. Some read a book. Some meet a friend for lunch. Some meet THEIR kids. So, sitting home as an option  is a limited mindset of what disengagement looks and feels like.

Also, being snarky and condescending when you're reaching out to others for advice isn't the best way to produce the results you're hoping for. In doing, or "behaving" (no mention of money here) so, you're showing your "class" or lack thereof, should I say.

; D

: )

; O

NotThatTypical's picture

Don’t sit at home when they are out having fun? But what happen to being an empty nester?

Thumper's picture

What activities are your husband and his kids involved in that is so below normal range?

Cock fighting? Are they making Moon shine? Is he a bookie, training his kids? Maybe they are counting cards in vegas and dh is using his kids as distraction?

Maybe you should consider divorce. ??




Missingme's picture

No, I don't want to disengage from my spouse who I love.  Wow, are people here taking what I said and twisting it or simply not comprehending.  I'll admit I, too, jump into conversations here sometimes before I reread the initia post and that is wrong.  

ldvilen's picture

So, what does this mean then, in your original post?  "I married into a lower class and it was recommended that I disengage from activities involving my hubs and skids."  Followed by, " Somehow it relieved me to hear his advice, but yet I wonder how that's achievable. . ."

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I think the OP's therapist brought up a valid and thought provoking point, but let's substitute the word "culture" for "class". And I agree that some examples of the OP's particular step dynamic would be helpful.

Regardless of economic background, individuals who possess similar values and standards tend to have an easier time gelling as a couple. People can come from different parts of the world, different religions, politics, etc., but if their mindset, worldview, or approach to life (and to parenting) is markedly different than their partner's, there's going to be challenges.

We have had many posts on ST where the core issues are a difference in standards or norms, and more than once I've noted that a poster seems to have married beneath herself. Take the woman who married a man who use to take drugs and drink with his son. She wanted the SS to clean up his act or move out, wanted her H to kick him out, etc. I called that a culture clash. Or look at what our girl Murphy's Law was expected to accept as normal, or notasm3's dirtbag SS. I think we can all agree that cretin comes from a very different class, despite all the advantages he received.

Maybe the OP's therapist is trying to help OP decide if she and her H are simply from different worlds? Too different?  Interesting. OP, please tell us more?



Gimlet's picture

Well said, Julie. I'm also interested in the specifics.  I like your characterization of culture and norms, even if they are connected to social class because, like Petronella stated above, those things are connected.  I find the therapist's choice of the word "class" to be interesting as well, simply because it's not something that it usually referenced without a euphemism. 

OP, can you give us some examples?  

Missingme's picture

YES, Julie.  Thank you for explaining what I thought I explained very well.  There is a reason why marriage counseling is encouraged.  One of the reasons is to cause the couple to assess whether they have enough commonalities.  "Culture" is also a good word for what I was explaining.  Before marriage, I knew there were great differences between the way we were raised and I saw the poor behavior of the skids and their mother, but I was blinded by love and dove in.  I ignored the obvious.  My hubs and I are different in many ways but also alike in many.  When I referred to class, I was referring to a lot of his family.  My hubs took a different path.    

Gimlet's picture

I  think I get what you are trying to say.

Have you been able to talk to your husband about this?  I am very different from my family as well.  I love them but I cannot have close relationships with them for a number of reasons.  Before I went low contact, DH didn't understand why I chose the distance.  After he experienced their behavior he got it.   If your husband also chose a different path, perhaps he sees what you see? 

Fun fact: I have always been a voracious reader, but growing up in my family I never heard some words spoken out loud.  I embarrassed myself many times before learning how to pronounce them, which doesn't happen anymore.  Culture/class has implications and some are harder to shake than others. 

MurphysLaw's picture

Sometimes opposites attract. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.

We do have “classes” in the States, although not quite the same as European Gentry.

Ive known people with money whom were “trash” and I’ve known people without money that were the salt of the earth, good & decent.

Life is too short to waste it “sitting on the sidelines “

susanm's picture

I don't know about this particular OP's situation because she really has not explained what the core issues are with the marriage,  I can, however, attest that there are deep and abiding differences that stick with people based on the circumstances of their birth despite the choice that they may have made as adults.  I was born in a family with an incredible level of  dysfunction, left home young, and made my own way in life.  As a result I value resilience, education, and saving rather than spending.  My DH was born to an upper middle class home where he never went without, was rarely disciplined, and was indulged to the point where he admittedly was a "late bloomer" because he had no need to actually do anything to gain approval.  His attitude as an adult is that everything will somehow "work out for the best" with no real effort and spending money is no big deal because somehow there will magically always be more.

To an outside observer there is no difference in us.  We both present as accomplished respectable adults.  But there is most definitely a clash of cultures as he will always be the rich kid that nothing truly bad can ever really happen to and I will always be the poor kid who knows damned good and well that tragedy can befall anyone at any time so you better be prepared.  Negotiating that difference is not easy.

tog redux's picture

But that's more about character and parenting than money. I'm from an upper middle class family, and my parents were very frugal. I had hand-me-downs and we all had jobs as young as we could. We were not by any means overindulged, my parents were children of The Depression and despite having money, raised us all to be frugal, too.  As a child I once asked my mother why "some doctors have new cars every year and some doctors have old cars (us)."

They did pay for my education because they valued that, but I was never raised to be entitled and lazy.

Missingme's picture

Yes, I agree, Susan.  I probably should have said culture instead of class, although I think people here could've caught on to that if they'd comprehended my original post.  

ldvilen's picture

Your original post was worded horribly, and definitely implied your husband and his family was "lower," beneath you or beneath your class.

I guess as a woman with an advanced degree who married a "working class" man, I would never in a million years even think of referring to him as lower class or even as being from a different culture (and I'm a sociologist too, so I know what true cultural differences mean).  That has never come up in our marriage, nor during any step-family discussions or difficulties.  Pretty much every step-family difficulty comes down to:  Manipulative, controlling BM and weak, enabling DH = step hell.  It has nada to do with "class."

Rags's picture

A mismatch in socioeconomic background is not necessarily a nail in the coffin of a marriage.

My entire family is comparably very affluent in comparisson to my IL clan.  My wife was raised in poverty and with endless crappy financial and personal decisions made by her parents and the entire family for that matter.  My brides BioDad/MIL's first husband was killed in a single vehicle car accident before my MIL knew she was pregnant with my wife.  My MIL and FIL married when my DW was 2mos old.  Their families had been friends for many years and MIL and FIL were raised together.  All three branches of DW's family are a tragedy of multigenerational poverty, continual crappy decisioning and life choice nightmares.

That said, my bride is an incredible success in her own right though her entire extended family is an ongoing trainwreck.  Though she had SS when she was 16 she refused to go down the same path with the three branches of her family. She completed HS with her class with honors, a dual major BS with honors, and an MBA with honors and has a successful career as a CPA.  SS-27's bio dad is pretty much par for the course with so many in that environment as are my SS's three younger also out of wedlock SpermIdiot spawned half sibs by two other baby mamas.  The SpermClan is a trainwreck as well.

His mom and I raised SS-27 to our standards and he is kicking butt and taking names in his adult life and career.

We raised SS to our standards and did not tolerate the crappy multigenerational performance prevelant in the SpermClan and in my bride's extended clan. That said, with the exception of a crack addict first cousin on her biodad's wing of the extended clan and the case of my SIL who is a crook family resource thieving POS none of them are criminals.

My XW and XILs were reasonably affluent. But also a clan of crooks. As it turned out and fortuneately two decades after the end of that marriage my XMIL was convicted of embezzlent, the whole family was successfully sued by XMIL's employer for $Millions, XMIL went to prison and they all were shredded in civil court with compensatory and punitive damages for their collective ripping off XMIL's employer for decades.

Struggling gene pools can produce an amazing person. Seemingly successful gene pools can be effluent. It all comes down to character, personal choices and performance.

Products of struggling families and successful families can do very well together.  Though it can be rare and take a ton of work. It all comes down to personal performance standards and effort.

IMHO of course.


Missingme's picture

Exactly, Rags.  You understood me perfectly, as usual!  Thanks for the post.

Booboobear's picture



slow your roll......O O O... Missingme stated her definition of the word class to Gimlet's post and reiterated several times to go back and read her meaning. 

"Submitted by Missingme on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 3:04pmPlease read my response to Gimlet above.  What is meant by class is more behavior than anything.  How someone was brought up to behave, etc.  I don't want everyone to get caught up on money for this post."

so there you go.  

now if I were to give examples of my upbringing vs skids upbringing before me.... 

The first time I met SS30, I was sitting on my new boyfriends(DH) couch, and ss30 (6 at the time) came running out, bent over with his butt towards me, actually spread his clothed butt cheeks and tooted. !! I couldn't believe my eyes!  In my upbringing we were not allowed to even say the F (art) word. We did not smile or laugh, we were taught to never call attention to passing gas.   I was polite, and did not react to SS. Later when I asked dh about that behavior, he explained it to me that it was on a Jim Carrey movie, the Mask or something, and he was copying it.  !!! I had never seen a movie where someone spread their but cheeks and tooted, or the movie he was talking about, but why was a 6 year old boy watching inappropriate movies? Well, thats when I found out that BM had been letting all 4 of the skids aged 4-9 watch rated R movies.  :O

also skids ran around like feral kids with no adult home and so they fought all the time and brought their bad fighting habits to our house.  they got CPS called on them all the time and BM always got away with it.  one time the older SS locked ss6 in the crawl space of the house at BMs when they were left alone with no adults.  He was in there for quite awhile in the dark and it was traumatic for him.  when DH would call the skids on BM's week, and ask BM to speak to the skids, she would say "SKIDS! JERK OFF IS ON THE PHONE!" :O

oh, also, at a meal, when we were eating, the skids be eating and then all say "RAG!" "RAG!" "RAG!" :O  do you know what that meant for them? it meant they would like a napkin. 

maybe thats what op meant by class. 


Rags's picture

Definately a prototypical example of a low class gene pool.  At least on BM's side.


Missingme's picture

Once and for all:  This isn't about money, people!  It's about behavior.  You can have all the money in the world and be low class.  Scroll up and read more of my replies for examples.  "Socioeconomic" mumbo jumbo talk above; go to a political website to fight about that, please.  

futurobrillante99's picture

I think I understand, now, that you want to hear what you want to hear. Your words weren't chosen wisely to communicate your topic.

You're not talking about CLASS - you're talking about VALUES.

Merry's picture

Well, OP, if so many people here are missing the mark of what you want to discuss, you’re going to have to explain further. Otherwise, we very naturally will fill in the blanks for what we think you mean. Class, values, behavior, socioeconomic... we could be in a sociology class.  Which is fine with me. 

Several people have asked for specific examples to help clarify. You will provide that or not, but don’t get grumpy when people ask for clarification. Repeatedly saying that it’s not about money doesn’t help us form an opinion about what this IS about.  Simply telling us it’s “behavior” isn’t useful either—way too broad.

Rags's picture

Upon further thought and reading the comments of others,.... I am of the mind that this is more behavioral and character based than about socio economic background.

My parents were both raised by hard working blue collar parents who were modestly successful.  They are the first in their families to graduate from college but the key is that my GPs raised them with expectations and requirements that they be good people, self supporting, and law abiding.

Character is not about money or even education. It is about behavior. It is about choices.

Marrying below ones station can include marrying someone with significantly lower behavioral and performance standards which is far more critical than a miss match in financial station.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

People from a higher socio economic class are just as likely to stab someone in the back (figuratively speaking) as those from a lower socio economic class. So I don’t pick friends and acquaintances based on class  I try to pick them on general trustworthiness. People can pretend to have morals to the outside world ‘for show’ but sometimes not put them into practice.