Why The Rich Succeed In Life But Fail In Love — A Psychologist Explains

From providing a sense of security to buying the best vacations in the world, there’s no denying that money brings with it certain luxuries. A study published in Social Indicators Research revealed that financial status explains roughly 10% of the variance in individuals’ satisfaction with life, which is significant.

This goes beyond mere income, and emphasizes the importance of a holistic view of one’s economic position. However, while money can indeed enhance feelings of security and fulfill certain psychological needs, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee emotional connection or romantic compatibility.

Many affluent people often say that it is hard for them to find love and companionship. They say things like:

  • “Balancing my business with romantic relationships often leaves me wondering if true love is out of reach.”
  • “Sometimes I feel that my lifestyle isolates me, making it hard to find someone who appreciates my genuine qualities.”
  • “With frequent travels and events, I’m left pondering if people are drawn to me or the world around me.”

These Are Genuine Concerns, But There Is Hope

There’s some truth to the adage, “It’s lonely at the top.” Take A-list celebrities, for example.

Matthew Perry, in a 2022 interview with Fox News, claimed that he only dates other wealthy people because he has been burned in the past by women who were after his money. So, despite a mainstream trend towards open-casting, affluence does present a practical need to tighten your dating criteria.

However, other people’s actions and goals are not something we can control at the end of the day. What we can control, however, is our attitude towards dating. If you are someone wealthy who is struggling to find true connection, you could benefit from some self-reflection.

A classic study published in PNAS found that the affluent were more likely (compared to people of a lower social standing) to act unethically. Based on the study, here are some ways wealthier people may inadvertently alienate themselves in close relationships:

  • Lax attitude towards rules. They are more prone to break laws while driving, hinting at a belief that certain rules might not apply to them.
  • Skewed ethical compass. Their decision-making might lean towards self-interest over fairness, evidenced by instances of lying in negotiations or endorsing questionable practices at work.
  • Inconsideration. There’s a noted likelihood of them taking valued items from others, which could reflect a lack of empathy or understanding.
  • Overemphasis on winning. Whether in games or work scenarios, they might go to lengths, even cheating, to ensure they come out on top.

The study indicates that these unethical tendencies are, in part, influenced by their more favorable attitudes toward greed. This can create an environment where forming genuine, trusting relationships becomes challenging. It is important to note, however, that this study is not indicative of all affluent individuals.

If you see these traits in yourself, it’s essential to remember that it is a chicken-or-egg situation. Many attributes that drive people to amass wealth, such as determination, self-confidence and risk-taking, can inadvertently contribute to interpersonal challenges. It’s probably not that affluence makes one unethical; rather, the road to immense success might sometimes involve decisions that prioritize self-interest.

So, what’s the solution? Here are some strategies that the wealthy can adopt, inspired by the principles of smart investments:

  • Diversify your social portfolio. Just as diversification in investments reduces risk, interacting with a diverse group of individuals can offer a richer perspective on life and relationships, which is highly valuable.
  • Seek value, not just growth. Instead of always aiming to “win” or seeking flashy, short-term relationships, look for connections that provide deep, intrinsic value.
  • Assess risks in relationships. In business, understanding potential risks is vital. In relationships, this translates to understanding both your vulnerabilities and those of your partner, fostering a deeper emotional connection.
  • Continual learning. Just as industries evolve, understanding love and relationships requires continual self-reflection and education. Consider relationship counseling or workshops as a form of “professional development” for your personal life.


At the heart of every individual, wealthy or not, lies a desire for genuine connection. Wealth can indeed attract a myriad of suitors, but the challenge lies in discerning authenticity. Everyone deserves to find that special someone who sees beyond the bank balance. With patience, self-awareness and a bit of strategy, love is not just a lucrative investment but a priceless one.



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