Gold diggers in Singapore aren’t what they seem. Keep these in mind if you think your date only loves you for your money.
The “gold digger” phenomenon is one of the most common male gripes. It’s a stereotype – women who pretend to like a man just because they want money. In reality, it’s not quite that straightforward.
When we call someone a gold digger, it’s usually just an offhanded insult for someone who has offended us. Here are a few things that you should bear in mind about the “gold digger” stereotype:
1. We Think Gold Diggers are Women
There’s a common – and sexist- assumption that gold diggers are women. The reality is quite different.
Last year, for example, Forbes magazine ran an article on how millennial males are actually more likely to be gold diggers. When advertising powerhouse DDB conducted a lifestyle survey in North America, they found that 20 per cent of singles would marry for money – but of that lot, 54 per cent were men.
Due to the patriarchal nature of many countries, men even have more to gain from marrying a rich woman – in many older Asian and European cultures, for example, they would stand to be in control of the money that their wives inherit or possess. It works both ways.
Many of us know one or two deadbeat husbands or boyfriends, who seem to rely entirely on their partner’s paycheque. Oddly, we are less ready to use the term “gold digger” on them, or to caution our daughters against their type.
So consider this a public service announcement: women, you need to be wary of dating a gold digger too. Some guys really are just after your money.
2. It’s Easy to Mistake Your Partner’s Love Languages for Gold Digger Behaviour
Gary Chapman has an excellent book called The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate. This is a rundown on what behaviours people find most fulfilling from their partners.
The five love languages are time, touch, words, gifts, and services. Most of us have one or two of these. For example, someone who likes long walks by the beach might be a “time and words” person.
One unfortunate potential combination is gifts and services. A partner with this combination appreciates presents, being driven to and from work, buying them a membership at a club, etc. You probably see the problem here – it looks like classic gold digger behaviour.
Except it’s not. Someone with these love languages isn’t necessarily after money. They are just more receptive to these types of gestures – they may not need an expensive gift or service, for example. You cooking them dinner will be received just as enthusiastically as you taking them to a top restaurant. And they do care and love you for doing it.
But a true gold digger has zero emotional connection to you. They won’t love you more for what you give them – they don’t love you at all. Period. They’re just there to bilk you out of all your money.
Learning to tell between “gifts and services” love languages and plain gold digging can be difficult. But just because your date seems to appreciate those gestures more, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are gold diggers.
3. Those Who Attract Gold Diggers Don’t Realise Their Own Behaviour Causes It
If you know someone who has been victimised by a gold digger, take a look at their past relationships. Is there a pattern of them repeatedly attracting gold diggers?
As with the classic “jerk magnet”, the wrong kind of courting behaviour can result in repeatedly drawing a certain kind of partner.
One stage of the courtship process is what’s known as the demonstration of value. An example could be dropping hints that they volunteer for the United Nations, or that they are well known by the restaurant staff. It is a way to show they’re desirable, and have social status equal to or exceeding the person they are courting. Don’t be embarrassed, we all do it.
(For those of you who are bad at finding partners, here is a bonus SingSaver.com.sg tip: prepare stories that exhibit the best side of yourself, which you can quickly bring up in any conversation. It’s also useful for your career.)
Those who repeatedly attract gold diggers may be relying on terrible ways to demonstrate they value. They do so in ways that most appeal to the materialistic.
If your demonstration of value involves showing off your two cars, explaining how you own a S$2 million condo, or how you holiday in the Bahamas every year…who do you think you’ll attract? Of course you’re more likely to draw a gold digger – you’re practically carrying a signboard calling to them.
Obviously, the place where you meet people matters too. If you use a dating app that caters to “society’s elite”, of course you’ll meet gold diggers. Where do you think they meet their next target?
4. There are Stealth Gold Diggers and Honest Gold Diggers
“Honest” gold diggers. We must be joking right?
Not at all. There are some gold diggers (again, men and women) who are direct about their interest in money. They will broadcast this immediately, such as by asking how much you earn on the first date. And if you don’t qualify, you’ll be told in no uncertain terms that they’re not interested.
These gold diggers are not dangerous – those who get into relationships with them know what they’re getting into (see point 7).
The type of gold digger you need to beware of is the stealth gold digger. These are partners who pretend not to be interested in your money, but that’s what they’re actually after. They will feign emotional attachment, and manipulate you into spending more on them. What hurts more than the financial damage is the emotional trauma, when you realise you were never important to them in the first place.
So don’t get worked up about the honest gold diggers. Worry about the stealthy ones.
5. Anxiety About Financial Security Can Seem Like Gold Digging
Everyone looks for financial security, and that can easily be mistaken for gold digging.
Let’s be blunt: whoever you are, you would think twice before getting into a relationship with a homeless person, or with someone who is bankrupt and $250,000 in debt. You may be able to look past that, but it is going to worry you. And you are going to pressure them to fix the issue.
Most people who are looking at a long-term relationship hesitate when their potential partner is a financial disaster.
Mind you, every person defines financial security differently. For some people, earning $3,700 a month and owning a three-room flat is enough. For others, living in anything but a condo is a sign of financial want. For a select group, not owning a Sentosa Cove bungalow and a yacht is a sign of being in dire financial straits.
But there is a difference between these people and actual gold diggers.
The difference is that a gold digger will reject you outright if you don’t meet their standards. Real gold diggers can’t waste time on poor dates. The non-gold digger, however, can love you even if they are constantly nagging about money issues. They do it because they don’t feel secure yet.
6. You Can Invent a Gold Digger to Prey on You
Do you treat your partner like a gold digger, even if they are not?
Some gold diggers are invented in this way. Expensive gifts are foisted on a partner, and when things are not working out for non-financial reasons, we get confused. We’re treating them well, so they should have stay with us and be happy.
Ironically, we’re the ones with the materialistic mindset. We keep upping the ante, and throwing more expensive and lavish things at our partner. All the while we’re ignoring the real cause of a dying relationship, and trying to use money to make it better.
When we invariably run out of money, we start with the gold digging accusations. It’s even worse if our partner leaves in the end, because that just “confirms” our belief that they only wanted to use us. We invented a gold digger to prey on us because it’s more convenient than looking at our potential deficiencies.
Throwing thousands of dollars at someone or insisting on paying for their problems is a manner of asserting your power. You are suggesting that they are helpless or shallow enough to be with you just for you money. If you’re repulsed by gold diggers, think of how you would react if someone assumed you are one.
7. Not All Gold Diggers Rip Off Their Partner
Not everyone with a gold digger partner is gullible. Sometimes it’s an amicable relationship.
Some folks are okay to pay for the affection they receive. Whatever you think of the ethical dimensions of that, remember they may not need you to rescue them.
Not every woman with an unemployed boyfriend needs a white knight, and not every man with a materialistic girlfriend is a naive dolt. They may be perfectly self-aware about their relationship and happy with it. In that sense, the gold digger isn’t ripping off their partner at all; their partner is complicit in what’s going on.
This can be difficult to accept when the “victim” of the gold digger is a family member or someone you care deeply about. But before you don your cape and spandex and try to break them up, make sure you have a clear idea of what’s happening.
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.