Dear Prudence

I Inherited a Lot of Money. Then My Boyfriend Turned Into a Jerk.

Prudie’s column for Aug. 31.

A woman covers her face in shame as a man wears a suit with a dollar sign gold necklace.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by dangrytsku/iStock/Getty Images Plus and ajr_images/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Prudence,

I am a 26-year-old woman. My parents are well-off, and I enjoyed private education, nice vacations, and a number of other advantages, but it was always understood that I would go to college, pursue a career, and make my own way through the world. Recently, my grandmother died and left me and my siblings enough money that theoretically we don’t have to work unless we want to. I hadn’t realized before then how substantial my inheritance was. I love my work and have no intention of quitting. Everyone I know works!

My boyfriend has changed overnight from being a lovable, down-to-earth guy to being someone I don’t recognize. He is pressuring me to quit my job and work with him on an unfunded travel blog. He has also recently started being inexplicably rude to waitstaff and is expressing increasingly conservative views about poor people. The other day he made an overtly racist joke about our cab driver’s nationality and his “laziness.” I was mortified. When I challenge him on some of his more offensive behaviors, he tells me he is joking. I feel like this shift has occurred only since we discovered I had more money. I don’t want to break up because I love him but am blindsided by the change. Is this who he always was, or has the money changed him?

—Partner Turning Into Rich Jerk

I’m not sure if your boyfriend has always been like this in the sense that he’s been counting on your inheritance from your first date, but no, your grandmother’s money didn’t magically and overwhelmingly change him into a selfish, self-centered, thoughtless, racist person. It didn’t magically make you any of those things overnight, and it’s in your bank account! Surely if that’s just what that amount of money does automatically to any human who comes across it, you’d be as irreparably changed as he is and would have thought his joke about your cab driver was absolutely hilarious. I know you love him, but I think if you stick around and listen to many more of his pound cake speeches, or watch him push around a bunch of underpaid waitresses, you’re going to watch your love shrivel up and die in record time. He is telling you everything that you need to know about his character. He feels entitled to your money, doesn’t care about your career, thinks people who work in restaurants and drive cabs and work in the service industry are beneath him, doesn’t even bother to hide his contempt from you, and thinks you’re stupid enough to buy the excuse that this overnight personality change that happened to coincide with your inheritance is just a series of hilarious jokes. He is handing you red flag after red flag, and if you ignore these warnings, it’ll be at your own peril.

Dear Prudence,

My wife and I have been married for 35 years. For the first 25 years we had an active, exciting sex life. We experimented with swinging and threesomes with both men and women. At one point my wife became very emotionally attached to one of our friends. I didn’t have a problem with it because I love her and believe whatever made her happy was a good thing. The problem is that since then she’s grown guilty about how she felt and behaved. She is not interested in sex at all. She does it to make me happy, but there is no passion or real desire on her part. We are both in our late 50s and I know age brings a lot of changes. But I still enjoy sex and have a strong drive for it. My wife says it’s fine for me to find other partners just for sex, but that feels wrong (and I have some Catholic guilt about the idea). Should I spend the rest of my life deprived of sexual satisfaction in order to be loyal to our old standard, or should I have sex with others just to fulfill my desires? You only live once, after all.

—Long-Time Marriage, New Problems

There’s an opportunity to learn more about what’s going on with your wife here before you decide to move ahead with sleeping with other people. What exact behavior does she feel guilty about? Is it possible some of this guilt could be unresolved feelings toward your mutual friend? Is she really so guilty about falling for someone 10 years ago that she can’t bring herself to have sex with you now—or is her heart (and sex drive) with someone else? If guilt really is all that’s at play here, is there a way you two can find ways to resolve it and extend forgiveness toward each other, so that this crush doesn’t get in the way of your intimacy now?

If you two talk about it and ultimately wind up at the same conclusion—that she’s no longer interested in sex, but you still are—you can go ahead and consider how you might want to do so and whether you’d be interested in seeing a therapist to work through some of your Catholic-adjacent guilt over having wife-sanctioned extramarital sex. But save the “sex with others” part of the conversation for after you two have spent a little time reexamining the first 25 years of your sex life, its abrupt end, and the emotional and sexual aftermath that has followed.

Catch up on this week’s Prudie.

Read More Advice From Care and Feeding

Through a combination of a grandparent gift and cutting cable and some financial aid, my oldest daughter has started going to a private school, and most of the culture shock has been reasonable, EXCEPT these stupid, stupid slippers. The school has a uniform, obviously, but apparently in their downtime and at their parties and hangouts, everyone wears these ridiculous $500 slippers, and my daughter feels like a sore thumb. She’s a really good kid—she hasn’t even asked for them—but it’s just clear this is adding some stress to her whole transition into her new school. Should we try to buy them? Am I crazy for even thinking about this?