Women: You’re on a fabulous first date. The bill arrives and the man advances to pay. You may offer to pick up the tab or at least contribute for your portion, but let’s be real; this offering is more of a formality than a genuine intention to pay. After all, it is broadly expected of a man to pay on a first date if he is interested in continuing to date you and a gentleman. Assuming he is interested in you and a total gentleman, he pays the bill and you move one step forward in the relationship.
Men: You too are on a fabulous first date. The bill arrives to the table and you insist on paying. You are grateful if the woman sitting across from you offers to contribute (in fact her “date-ability factor” just increased by the offer) but you do the gentlemanly thing to do – you pay. Not just because it is expected of you but because it makes you feel chivalrous.
Dating and relationships can break down due to money matters.
Date two comes around, followed by three and four. Who pays thereafter, during the relationship phase? How should finances be divided fairly and equally, as they should be?
If the male and female in a relationship are both earning an income then both should be expected to contribute financially after the initial courtship phase is over and a relationship has begun. Otherwise one person would be bearing the entire financial burden while the other saves and spends on him/herself only. This is unfair and can cause resentment, aside from financial strains. It can also cause an unhealthy division of power and equality in the relationship, which can manifest itself in other areas as well.
Many relationships break down due to money related matters. Communicating about money isn’t easy, but having a conversation about finances early in the relationship will help set the tone by managing expectations and agreeing on a method of sharing expenses.
The following are two options for you to discuss with your partner in a non-threatening way and without having to ask for separate bills or splitting checks down the middle every time.
The 3:1 Ratio Whoever is earning less in the relationship will plan and pay for the date once for every three times the higher-income-earner plans and pays. This will take any financial pressure off of the one earning less income because they can plan according to his/her budget. This option can be suggested as a way of sharing responsibility and input when organizing dates instead of making it all about money.
Switzerland Account: Together a shared checking or savings account is opened at a bank, where both contribute on a monthly basis. The amount contributed could be a percentage of the salary or a lump-sum amount depending on how much one can afford. All dates or any shared expenses would be paid using the debit card for this account.
This option can be suggested as a way to learn to manage money together by sticking to monthly budgets allocated for date nights and entertainment.
Dating is fun and important in a relationship, but could potentially cause a break down if expenses and effort are not shared. Unfairness or inequality can cause an imbalance of power respect in the relationship. Along with communication, these are fundamental components that should be established early in the relationship and continuously enforced throughout. So speak up, share and be fair with regards to everything, including your finances. Plan and pay for one another – the time, effort and money is your investment in the relationship.