Dating outside of your social class… [Abstract]

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Given by the title, I’m sure you’re well aware of what the topic is, but I labelled it abstract because this post in many ways will be one.

Dating outside of your social class can play a big factor going into a relationship. It is one of the things that people don’t talk about because:

  1. They do not know how to articulate this OR
  2. They would like to believe that this is a concept that is only relevant when discussing business or economics, but that it is completely irrelevant when it comes to one-on-one relationships.

However, social class still plays an enormous role in relationships…

People often meet partners at events or places they frequent, and usually the people attending these events/places all come from the same social class. They tend to have more than their fair share in common because they were socialised in similar ways.

If you go to a particular club in a particular area, you are bound to meet a particular type of person.

Chances of you finding a millionaire in a shebeen is very unlikely because that is not the type of places millionaires frequently visit; barring of course this isn’t Saxonworld shebeen.

Again, these divisions in social class play a factor in our lives and they are impossible to avoid.

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Illustration: Devon Daniels

If you were to take all the people someone has dated (not slept with) and place them alongside each other, then you’ll likely find a pattern. It is usually because these people fit into an archetype. There are exceptions to the rule, but more often than not, people stick to familiarity.

Metaphors aside, people are creatures of habit which is why when moving outside of these habits they present challenges that people aren’t always ready for, and it isn’t easy.

I know that I have existed in various social classes given how I was socialized and raised.

It has certainly helped me in some areas of my life but in others it can be a haphazard.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times before I’ve only been in two relationships, both of which didn’t last long so whatever I write here comes from feeling more than experience.

This isn’t advice, because that would be like a virgin giving you blowjob tips. It doesn’t count. You never know what giving a blowjob is like until you have had a penis in your face, and then you gotta figure out the nuances of what to do with it.

With that said, let’s pontificate.

Dating someone who comes from a different social class can be difficult. Especially in South Africa where there are enormous gaps between our social classes. You have the upper class, upper middle class, the middle class, lower middle class, upper lower class, lower class and then the severely impoverished.

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We fit into these various subsets of our society and it does make it a challenge for some of us to relate to each other but it shouldn’t be something that should stop us from trying.

My ex-boyfriend was able to exist in a space where he had the luxury of studying whatever he wanted at university, he had a mom and dad still together, he could rent a house with two other people, he didn’t need to get a job, he lived close enough to campus where he could walk there, and he was still given a stipend by his parents as well and was able to enjoy his experience.

He wasn’t exactly living the high life given that he had type two bipolar disorder and get panic attacks which did give him his own set of challenges. But he existed in a social class much different from my own.

I had a single parent mom providing for three kids, I was able to get my Bachelor of Arts but there wasn’t enough money for me to do my honours, I lived at home with my mom and brothers (still do), took me two –four hours a day travelling just to get to campus and home (same amount of time to go to work and home). I didn’t have internet access at home, and I never got any spare money. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to work during my varsities days, but that was because my mother insisted I focus on my studies.

I had other privileges in that I had friends who would take me out and cover my part of the bill if I didn’t have any money, and that I didn’t have to battle any mental health issues, but again we moved in different social classes.

It was one of the factors that contributed towards the end of our short-lived relationship.

We had a few things in common, our love of music, books and we managed to enter each other’s orbit because of a gay dating app. There were enough similarities for us to forge our initial bond but we came from different social classes and meeting each other half-way took a lot of effort.

I wasn’t scared to make the effort because I had met him while I was working so I was earning a income, I would visit him and make an effort…but how funny is it that despite earning a income, I was still less well-off than a full time student.

He was probably getting a stipend as much as my income 274dba54dc2e8f3581e25609ea153408was at the time.

Got to love the irony in that.

I remember that as time progressed, I felt a growing frustration at a lack of understanding regarding what my life and social circumstances were but it is what it is.

Dating outside of your social class is not an impossible feat;  some couples have gone on to make it work and gotten married, married for decades and still love each other despite their differences, but they definitely had to put in the work for it.

Dating outside of your social class can actually be an eye opening experience, because it was one for me. I was exposed to someone with a mental health issue that I had no clue about and not only learned stuff about the issue but also about myself.

There are sometimes massive inequalities to overcome when dating someone from a different social class – their lack of wealth or their abundance of wealth are certainly issues that may arise, but it depends on the people.

It’s no one’s fault that some people grew up with wealth and others didn’t, but it is extremely important how in how people deal with contrasts.

If people are willing to meet each other half-way then it could lead to something beautiful and unexpected.

So don’t be scared when you come across someone different to you, it may be a life changing experience you never know you needed.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Getting the interns to do this was a struggle.

Theo. Over and Out.

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