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Money really can’t buy happiness

Updated: August 16, 2013 6:05AM

When Stacy was 36, she got involved with Jack, who was 48.

“He was extremely good-looking, well-built, striking eyes, beautiful smile, personable and charismatic. He wore the best clothing, his hands were soft, and he carried himself with confidence. He spoke with authority. He was well-off financially and wanted for nothing. I was only vaguely aware of his assets, one of which was a home near the ocean in a foreign country.”

At this time, Stacy was a single mom with a good job. “My divorce lacked drama, and I was very comfortable with who and where I was and what I wanted. I was quite independent and happy spending time with my children and friends.”

Stacy says Jack treated her “like a queen. His taste was quite expensive, which meant only the best restaurants and establishments. After several months of exclusive dating, he made plans to build me my dream home. When he surprised me with the plans, I was a little upset. It was extravagant and inappropriate. I didn’t feel like he bought me things because he appreciated me, but rather because he needed to buy me.”

Jack had some disgusting habits. One was the way he treated restaurant servers, always a test of character.

“The first episode I witnessed was with a waiter. There was a very minor mistake in the order and Jack called him names and degraded him as a human being. The server was clearly humiliated. I was embarrassed as well. I just knew that one day he would treat me this way, too.”

Nine months into the relationship, Jack proposed. Stacy told him she’d give him an answer in a few days.

“When I arrived home, I called my mother and asked her what she thought. She asked if I loved him. The fact of the matter was I didn’t love him. I didn’t even really enjoy his company. His narcissism and overbearing behavior bothered me, and his focus on money was boorish.

“It suddenly occurred to me that I was just another item he could acquire through money. I firmly believed the extravagant gifts were his attempt to hide his failings. I called him the next day and told him I didn’t think our relationship, marriage or otherwise, would work out.”

A year later, Stacy started dating Andrew, who, having heard about her history with Jack, made it a point not to give her elaborate gifts. But he did impress her with his kindness, honesty and respect to her and others.

He was far superior to Jack in every way but one. “While he earned a good wage, financially he did not compare to Jack, but money was not my priority. The relationship with Jack taught me what I really wanted: a compassionate and loving man.”

It’s now 14 years later and Stacy says her husband Andrew has been her best friend for all those years.

“I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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