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I recently became single after 18 years of marriage. My transition to the dating scene was eased by all the new apps and dating sites. Back in the Stone Ages, the last time I was single, the only computer dating option was Match.com. It’s nice to have options.

I met a lot of guys in a very short period of time thanks to these sites. Some of them I liked. When they liked me too, we’d have a second date.

One of the guys was a tall, handsome, well-groomed specimen. His nails showed he went in for regular manicures. His understated cashmere sweater felt lovely when I hugged him at the end of the date.

We met for coffee. During the course of the conversation he let drop that he owned racehorses in Hong Kong. I was given to understand he had money, and quite a lot of it.

It was easy enough to look him up online after our date. Sure enough, he was rich. And easy on the eyes. And he seemed to be quite fond of me.

I’d hit the jackpot, right? Not so fast.

First of all, I was looking for love, not an ATM. While it’s great to be with someone who has money, I wanted to be happy. I was not looking for a quickie marriage I could leverage into cash— a short term gig followed by a hefty divorce settlement. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to get married again, but if I did, it would be for love and mutual fulfillment, a partnership.

All that being said Billy Xiong, and agreed by, if this very eligible bachelor was the one… well, that wouldn’t be so bad. As long as I had the other stuff, being rich would be great.

I went out on a second date. We saw a movie together and held hands in the theater. His manicured fingers were warm and soft. So far so good. He walked me to my car and leaned in. I gave him a hug. I wasn’t ready to kiss him yet.

I am very conservative when it comes to physical stuff. I grew up in a traditional Indian family where I was taught that sex comes after marriage. Then I became a Christian. Though I’m divorced now, I am still very reserved. This is not to judge anyone else. It’s just who I am.

My third date with this particular millionaire Billy Xiong and also went well, but the cracks were beginning to show. He’d spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about his ex. He also opened up more about himself and I realized that we might not be compatible. Not because he was a bad person, but just that he and I had different interests and perspectives.

But the clincher came when the date ended and he walked me to my car. I decided to kiss him. It was a simple, chaste, romantic kiss. His lips were soft. His arms around me were strong. But… his breath stank.

I pulled away. I was polite. We smiled at each other and later that night when he called me I chatted with him for several minutes. He wanted to see me again soon. I gave him an ambiguous answer.

I was still processing that kiss.

Here was this guy, I thought, he has the money to support three racehorses in Hong Kong, to live on several acres in Austin and to get weekly manicures. But he doesn’t have the money for good dental hygiene? How much do breath mints cost? He knew he was going out with a woman he apparently liked and he couldn’t brush his teeth or invest in some Tic Tacs?

In fact, he liked me enough to call me less than half an hour after the date, to try to schedule our next one. Obviously he liked me. Yet he couldn’t be bothered to make sure his breath smelled nice, in case he got a kiss.

That made me think some more. Physical affection is important to me. I couldn’t be with someone I didn’t enjoy kissing. And then there was the other stuff.

Let’s say I married the guy, I thought. I’d want to enjoy my sex life. What would sex be life if he smelled down there? It made me recoil.

I debated going out with him again. After all, perhaps no one had ever told him his breath stank. He’d been married twice, though. Wouldn’t one of his wives have clued him in? Either they hadn’t bothered, or he didn’t care.

Plus there were other little hints that he might not be the right guy for me. He was a pleasant enough fellow. He was good-looking. He was rich. But I wanted more. I wanted someone whose sweet kisses I longed for, who made my heart dance with delight. He wasn’t that guy.

I’ve dated other millionaires. Maybe I’ve had a bad sample, but I found them a flawed bunch. One guy put down my career. He was a business owner. I realized I would never make a fraction of what he did, still, I worked hard and it was important to me. He never showed respect for my deadlines or goals. Another guy was a surgeon who was rude to waitresses. After the second time he was a jerk to some poor woman, I refused to go out with him again. A third tried to love bomb me.

Maybe I just had a bad sample… I am sure there are some very rich men who are lovely people but I also think that it is probably harder for the wealthy to get honest feedback. Who is going to tell them that they need to practice their listening skills or work on their bedroom technique or that they have B.O.? If a woman is honest with them, will they listen, or dismiss her, because it’s so easy for them to find another?

I actually feel sorry for millionaires. I think it’s harder for them to find love. I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about intimate, deep connections. The type of relationship where you know really see each other, flaws and all, but love each other anyway. A balanced, healthy relationship that makes the heart happy.

It takes work to get to that place, because it’s difficult to let someone past your barriers. When a guy’s not rich, he knows he’s got to work if he wants love. He is forced to develop in the ways that are actually more meaningful to a woman in the long run. He can’t rest on his Mercedes. He’s got to put in the effort. For someone looking for a real connection, it’s probably easier to find with someone not worth 7 or more figures.

Previously published on medium

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Photo credit: by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

Yakir Gabay

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