Does money equal love?

I want to know in your humble opinion “Does money show love?”

I’ll explain:

My whole life, my mother has used this on me. Whenever i called my dad one something, for ex.

Me: Why did you let dad do that (to me)or (to her) or Why is that ok with you? etc. (My dad never did anything horribly wrong, i was just a kid asking to verify certain behaviors)

Mom: "How can you say that. Your dad paid for this vacation, your dad buys your dinner and pays for our house! etc. etc. (you get to point).

So anyway, now I"m 21 and i found myself using this with my boyfriend in a fight. “How can you be mean to me now when i bought you dinner 2 days ago” something similiar to that.

So i was thinking, was that right? I learned money=love from my parents. I bring this up now, because my mother did it again in an email she sent. (There was a fight and my BF said my dad wasn’t kind/loving something like that) She responded with “Does your bf know it was your dad who bought that savings bond for you?”

So straight dopers, give it to me straight. Should i correct this with her? Does bringing up how much you spent on someone in an argument prove your love for said person?

Thanks so much, (sorry this is so long, i didnt want to misrepresent anything)

Nope, it doesn’t. Whenever my mom tried to guilt-trip me about putting a roof over my head, feeding, clothing me etc. I always told her; “You didn’t do that because you loved me. You did it because the Child Welfare people would have taken me away if you hadn’t! It wasn’t a favour, it was a legal obligation!”
As for the luxury stuff, (Savings bonds, etc.) I would say, “I don’t want your gifts if they come with strings attached(i.e., I have to live the way you want me to). I love you no matter what you buy for me. You get those things for me because you choose to. If you don’t think I appreciate it, then don’t pay for things for me. It has nothing to do with our one-on-one relationship. I know you love me no matter what and I don’t need the gold bars to prove it.”
This might sounds stupid, but it’s my personal opinion.

Although money is not an acceptable substitute for kind displays of love, it is representative of sacrifice. It is easy to overlook a person’s generous spirit when the primary offering is of a material nature. Your mother may be attempting to point out your father’s sacrifices and generosity because she believes you may not realize their import. The money is not directly representative of your father’s love, but it is representative of the sacrifices that he has made out of love for you. Sometimes it is difficult to see this. Perhaps that is why your mother mentions it. Of course, I don’t know anything about your family and cannot assume that this is the case. It could be that your father uses material generosity in an attempt to buy you off. If that is the case, you probably should discuss it with your mother. More importantly, you should discuss such things with your father.

I agree with Tymp. I worked two jobs so that I could make up the difference to my son because his dad and I divorced and I didn’t want him to feel different than the other kids.
Big mistake. I should have worked one job, and spent the time with my child instead of trying to compensate for his dad.
Money does not equal love. And there are many things in life that money will not buy. Time is one of them.

Thanks guys.

I see your point Tymp, but in all fairness he really didn’t sacrifice that much. He is pretty wealthy.
However i don’t think it’s this:
“It could be that your father uses material generosity in an attempt to buy you off.”

I like this:

Thanks guys. I’m going to let my mom know money doesn’t equal love. I don’t think she sees how it sounds when she uses it for arguments sake. So I’ll just clarify it for her.
Thanks Straight Dope!


It is difficult to determine just how much he sacrificed without directly asking him. Remember that he was a lone man once upon a time. He made a decision to support a family. That’s a huge undertaking (from what I hear). Was he always wealthy, or did he have to work at it? Why did he make the decision to become wealthy? Did he give up that one chance to run away with the circus because he wanted to raise his children “right”? Did he never by that Porsche that he dreamed of as a young man so that he could maintain a level of wealth that would keep his family healthy and comfortable?

Sometimes it is hard to see the sacrifices that dads make. It is often easier to see the efforts of ones mother in a traditional household. This is because you can easily see the stress and the effort that she has gone through. Her actions are quite directly reflected in the life of a child. The traditional, bread winning father’s contributions are quite different and not always as obvious. If you were to ask him why he made the decision to stick with his family rather than traveling the world and living a life of whore houses and casinos, you might come to understand why he places such value on the material wealth that acquired.

Of course, I have no idea what the reality of the situation might be. As a young, single, proud male, I just feel compelled to defend those men who have been so much stronger and braver than I have yet to be.

I agree and see your point. It’s great my dad sacrificed for his family.
However, i just don’t think that’s what my mother means when she uses her above quoted statements during an argument. She is using it to prove my father’s love to me.

While he did make sacrifices because he loves me, it is a different point.

I’m very glad that what I said was useful to you, lunapark. :smiley:

" Does bringing up how
much you spent on someone in an argument prove your love for said person"

Sure it does. But you’re probably reading it incorrectly. You’re seeing it as a financial transaction.

When someone says:
“Your dad paid for this vacation, your dad buys your dinner…” they are just trying very hard to say that your dad loves you in the best way they know how to SAY it out loud…Sometimes they say that instead of just saying “we love you, son.” But they are saying they love you all the same.

This is something my son’s father is finding out. He’s got more money than he knows what to do with and in tradition set by his father, thinks he can buy people. It didn’t work in our marriage nor with our son.

I work one job and spend time with my son. I will go without before he ever does, but I know he will always remember the good times we have had and the love that we have.

If you hold things as minute a dinner over someone’s head, be prepared for it to backfire on you. Either you do it out of kindness or don’t bother. People should never have to owe you anything.

Why don’t ya all just ask your folks how they though their folks expressed their love to them?

It can show love, but if its brung up in a arguement like the one you did it doesent.

I’ve never come up with the argument “I bought you dinner 2 days ago” and I would walk away from anyone who said that to me.

I guess it’s a good thing it hasn’t happened. S

But the wording also has something to do with it. If, for instance, somebody came up with the whine “you just don’t care…”

Then you can answer “Are you telling me you didn’t enjoy yourself on Friday night? My first concern was making certain you were happy.”

Expense should never enter into it.

This just might be one of the most awkward and unwieldy sentences I’ve ever read. Impressive.