How to Tell if the Person You’re Dating is After Your Money

A objective list of things to consider to reveal the truth.

A very, very good friend of mine — someone I’ve known for a very long time — has begun dating a woman who may have ulterior motives in the relationship. My friend is apparently quite smitten with this woman and I suspect it’s because they met at a time in his life when he was feeling particularly vulnerable to an agreeable woman’s “charms.”

Sadly, my friendship with this person is on the rocks — indeed, he’s tuned me out completely and won’t listen to anything I have to say. And although many of his other friends have similar suspicions about this new woman in his life, they just want to “keep out of it” because it’s “none of their business.” I think they should be ashamed of themselves. I think friends who really care do need to get involved, at least to offer objective advice.

I’m doing my part. Here’s list of bullet points to consider when there’s a possibility that the person you have begun dating might be after your money:

  • How did you meet? Dating sites are excellent tools for people trolling for good financial partners. Many sites encourage you to provide financial information such as annual income. This makes it easy for someone looking to improve their finances to find someone in a better financial situation then they’re in.
  • How quickly did conversation turn to your material possessions? Did you mention your multiple homes, flashy European car, or airplane? (These are just examples, of course.) If someone is interested in your money, they’ll be impressed by what you own and more anxious to “seal the deal.”
  • What techniques did this person use to get and keep your interest? This can be conversation based — for example, agreeing with everything you say or siding with you against a common enemy. Or it might be more emotionally based, such as sharing risqué photographs or personal details to gain your trust. A rather well-off friend of mine who tried dating sites told me that a few of the more desperate women sent him “boudoir photos” very early on in their email conversations.
  • How quickly did the other party satisfy your basic emotional needs? I’m talking about button-pushing here — “sealing the deal.” Women can easily seal the deal with good sex, the sooner the better. Men can seal the deal with things like flowers, romance, hand-holding, cuddling, and/or excellent foreplay before sex. Someone looking for a meal ticket will want to build a strong emotional bond quickly, while you’re still wowed by all the attention you’re getting and don’t have time to think clearly about what’s really going on.
  • How big is the financial inequity between you? There are five main things to consider here:
    • Employment status. Is this new person gainfully employed? Has he/she been working steadily for a while or bouncing from one job to another? While being “freelance” or “self-employed” might sound good, if there’s no work and no revenue, it really doesn’t count as being gainfully employed.
    • Income. Is this person earning enough income to cover living expenses with enough left over to live comfortably? Is his/her standard of living and lifestyle similar to yours?
    • Outstanding debt. Does this person have a lot of outstanding debt such as student loans, credit card balances, and personal loans? If this person owns a home, is it under water? If so, by how much?
    • Net worth. Is this person’s net worth — that’s total assets minus total debt — negative? Someone who is in debt up to his/her eyeballs will be highly motivated to find a partner who can help prevent him/her from drowning in it.
    • Retirement savings. Does this person have his/her own retirement savings including pensions, IRAs, and retirement investments? Someone without a retirement plan could be looking for someone else to provide it.
  • Has the other party asked for assistance? Has this person appealed to you to help with his/her finances? Perhaps borrow a small (or larger) amount of money? Ask your advice about refinancing or selling a home? Enlist your help getting a job?
  • Has the other party indicated that he/she wants to get married? Marriage — as I’ve so recently discovered — is more than just a vow of love until “death do you part” (which can apparently be broken). It’s a legal and binding contract with all kinds of ramifications on finances. If the other party is in a hurry to get married, it might be because he/she is in a hurry to grab your purse strings. Remember that a good prenuptial agreement can save you far more than it costs to draw up. And if your new partner refuses to sign it, that’s a pretty good indication of what his/her intentions really are.

In my friend’s case, an objective look at these points raised a lot of red flags. It seems that there’s a huge financial inequity between him and the woman he’s dating. In addition, the woman was extremely quick to seal the deal (yes, with sex) and gain his trust. That, coupled with what I know about the woman’s personality and my friend’s extraordinary behavior changes after they met, has me convinced that she’s primarily motivated by the financial benefits of a relationship with him. But because she meets his emotional needs — constant agreeability, ego stroking, companionship, and sex — he’s become blind to what’s so obvious to the rest of us — including the friends who simply won’t speak up.

What makes this all the more lamentable is that my friend, at age 56, is at a point in his life where he’s achieved an enviable amount of financial security. No, he’s not rich, but he’s financially stable with a positive net worth and very little real debt. To take on the financial responsibilities of a person he barely knows just because she’s pushed the right buttons when he needed them pushed is breathtakingly tragic.

Now I don’t know if my friend will read this. He very seldom reads my blog. I’m sure that if he does, he’ll recognize himself and his situation. He’d be blind not to.

But will he take what I’ve written here in the spirit in which it was intended: as a wakeup call to objectively look at the situation and possibly slow down? Or will what I’ve written here for him further damage our long friendship? Sadly, his irrational behavior lately leads me to believe that it’ll do the latter, possibly destroying our friendship forever. I believe that at this point, he’s too far gone down a foolish path.

As good good friend, however — a really good friend who truly cares about his emotional well-being — I’m willing to take the risk. To do otherwise would be to betray our long friendship.

I hope he reads this and understands.

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12 thoughts on “How to Tell if the Person You’re Dating is After Your Money

  1. I never post on anyone’s blog, but since I am a girl dating a much older man, who by some standards is financially comfortable and retired, I thought I could lend some insights. Please know that I am not dating John for his money. I didn’t “seal the deal” quickly, and we are very happy with our lives without talking about marriage, although it may happen one day. I am absolutely in love with him, and am very attracted to him. I do know the type of relationship you are referring to though, in fact, I know someone in a similar situation, and he does have lots of money and many assets at stake. He fell head over heels with a woman he met online that instantly jumped into bed with him, strokes his ego, and makes him “feel like he’s never felt before.” This same woman tried to poison him (I know sounds like a Dateline episode), but the police couldn’t find any evidence, because she destroyed it before everyone was on to her. This all happened after he changed his will! He was in the hospital for weeks, and after everyone told him what they suspected, he took her back! If there are questions about someone’s motives, it might be wise to take a step back.

    • Thanks for this story, Julie. I sure hope my friend isn’t poisoned!

      In telling this story to another friend of mine and his girlfriend the other day, the girlfriend took offense — at first. She’s like you: dating an older man who is financially better off than she is. That’s not unusual or, by itself, call for alarm. In their case, they’ve been dating for two years and are only just talking about marriage now, she’s gainfully employed at a job she likes in a career she’s been in for a long time, and I don’t believe she’s in financial dire straits. The relationship moved along at a normal pace and she’s only just recently moved in with him. She quickly realized the differences between her situation and the points I blogged about here and agreed that if most of the points applied to my friend, things didn’t look very good for him. In fact, anyone I’ve spoken to who knows the facts of the situation pretty much agrees that my foolish friend is probably on the hook primarily as a meal ticket.

      All I can hope is that he doesn’t do something crazy like become a co-signer on her house re-fi or marry her before he’s had a chance to think about it clearly. But, from what I can see, she’s hooked him good and he’s oblivious to all the warning signs of possible financial motives.

  2. Maria, I enjoy your blog posts and generally agree with your point of view but here is one I disagree with. We all bring certain qualities to a relationship and sometimes it is money. What’s wrong with providing money in a relationship or being someone who wants it? There are lots of people with extra income who are happy to share it. I’ve been on both sides: out of work, facing debt, and wondering if a partner could help me out. That is a legitimate solution for many people. And on the other, when I’ve been well employed and out of debt, I often think: how “expensive” is this person that I’m dating? Do they or will they expect a lot financially from me? And can I afford it? Sex, money, power, and companionship are all legitimate reasons to find a partner. Not everyone is lucky enough to find their “one true love” who cares about them regardless of these material qualities.

    • You said:

      Sex, money, power, and companionship are all legitimate reasons to find a partner.

      Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think money or power are legitimate reasons to find a partner. Companionship comes first, sex second in my book. I would never enter into a relationship for money or power.

  3. TBH, have you thought for a sec that maybe your friend might be fully aware of the intentions of this woman and is willingly dating her with full knowledge that she might be using him for his money? He may have to put up a respectable facade in front of his friends–denying and disbelieving the possibility that she is only after his money. But if this woman is young and beautiful and if your friend does not have youth and looks, then he may be consenting to a relationship where he willingly acts as her free meal ticket. Men are easily infatuated with beautiful, younger women and many are happy to exchange a lot money for a younger woman’s love (sincere or not–just look at Trump and his wife Melania).

    Your article is great and very eye-opening for an older woman like me who recently dated a much younger man (12 years my junior). I have been suspicious of his intentions for some time. I just turned 41 and have discovered that younger men of the millenial generation have few qualms about dating an older woman with more money. They don’t seem to be threatened by a woman who is more educated, successful, and richer…and sometimes all three! It’s liberating and yet a little treacherous at the same time, as I get a taste of what it’s like to be treated like a sugar mommy. I will have to make it clear that I am a sugar-free mommy!

    • Oddly enough, this woman is older than him by at least 8 years, although I’m pretty sure she lied to him about her age and likely many other things. I’ve come to realize that my former friend probably has some serious psychological problems that led him to partner with her in the first place and remain with her to this day, at the cost of many friendships and a lot of money she urged him to spend. I’ve got nothing but sadness and pity for him now, especially as he now approaches retirement age.

      Your experience sounds interesting and almost fun — if you can keep yourself from getting hooked on the wrong guy. But I suspect that entering into any relationship with serious financial inequities when you’re 40+ will eventually lead to resentment. I know I could not date a man who wasn’t financially stable, no matter how attractive he was. I worked hard for what I have, spent a lot to protect it in my divorce, and am careful who I share it with. I don’t want to find myself broke as I approach retirement age, as my former friend likely has.

  4. As a 30 year old woman with no commitments, I was once asked by a man – trying his hardest to establish a “relationship” with me and who was in his late 50s – whether I owned my own home. He has had multiple failed marriages, adult children and grandchildren. Just shows you that it also works the other way around – with lots of older men out there with tons of baggage who think some young women are so dense that they’ll just become a meal ticket cum nurse maid for them and all their hangers on.

    • God, yes. There are a lot of desperate women out there who fall for that crap. I’m very proud to say that I’m not one of them.

      My advice to any young woman is this: Stay independent, keep your own money and investments for your future, and don’t hook up with any man unless you feel that you honestly can’t live without him. Not following that last bit of advice was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.

  5. When your friends object on your significant other usually there’s something fishy. The person is not the bf/gf material. If one is wize enough should take the friends openion in consideration evaluate the relationship. A wise person uses his brain to make the final decision , (without the friends or parents help) to continue the relatìonship and finally marry or move in with your partner, or goes his own way. Now in this situation he is involved with a gold digger, a person who chose you based on your money and possessions not because of yourself. Its not necessary for a glld diggef
    To be attracted to you/love you, all i know they will watch your nice car, know your single with no kids or siblings, this information is enough to get him hooked, naive people will think this is not enough to get you hooked on money that is why gold diggers look for naive and the well off. The gold digger will hurry in a relationship, tell you in the first few days of the relationship they love you, can this be true? Love comes after one year or so i have learnt. Gold diggers have more than one partner, their love is sex and money, mostly money. They are always broke, they only have respect for themselves. They dont give their partner money. They go to dinner and will pay only for a cofee to tell you indirectly you need to pay for the meal ( going to a restaurant doesnt mean buy just cofee) and there are no gifts, except sex.
    Falling for a loser gold digger means all that, unfortunately if your an only child your automatically well off in this case one must also be careful about the type of friends especially when it comes to dates or better be alone.

  6. Hmmn, maby men like to get with women who want them for thier financial stability. As mentioned in the post these women are more emotionally tentative and therefore more naturally attractive. I don’t think nature intended for women to be breadwinners, pregnancy after all betrays that goal. I think relationships that have some basis on the fact that the man is a provider fall more into the natural order of things. There is an inate attractiveness about a woman who knows how to look after a man emotionally. After a hard day at work do you want to come home to someone who is just as irritable and tired as you, and inevitable role confusion? Or the alternative of someone who greets you with emotional comfort and tentativenes, and knows how to bring the nurturing warmth of a woman to a household.

    • All I can say is wow. You’ve shared some really outdated views about women’s role in society. I’m guessing you’re in the 50+ (of 60+?) age group or a member of a deeply religious societal group. “Role confusion”? Seriously?

      Modern women — and men — simply don’t think like this anymore. They look at relationships as equal partnerships. It shouldn’t matter which partner is the breadwinner or who earns more.

      I sincerely hope that the next man I’m interested in does not share your views. It’s a definite deal-breaker. Good luck to you. If I got your demographics wrong, you’re going to need it.

What do you think?