Should I just shut up and let him pay?

Guest post by March Adams
By: Robert S. DonovanCC BY 2.0

Recently I started seeing a guy that I had merely been sleeping with in a friends-with-benefits kind of way. The situation worked delightfully well for about half a year, but then we decided to take it a step further and start dating.

Now, maybe it’s because, save for a handful of first and second dates, I’ve been single for five years and used to making my own way. Maybe it’s because I’m inching towards my mid-thirties and my perspective has changed. Maybe it’s because he and I work in the same field and, therefore, the same income bracket and I have a rough idea of how much he makes. Or maybe it’s just my strong sense of independence and feminist ideals.

Whatever it is, I suddenly find myself in a position where after half a decade of buying my own dinners and buying my own drinks, I have a man buying them for me. And having a man buying them for me feels, well, odd.

Not just odd but a little bit uncomfortable as well if I’m being completely honest.

I’m uncomfortable even when I thank him, and he says he’s more than happy to do it, and I believe him. Even when I know he wouldn’t be buying me dinner, and concert tickets, and surprising me with fancy “just because” cupcakes unless he really wanted to because — let’s be honest — the guy went from guaranteed no-strings attached sex, to dating and feelings and all the strings attached to relationships, including the financial aspect. (But, of course, also the sex as well.) Even taking all of that into consideration, I’m still coming to terms with this new arrangement.

Not to say that I always adhere to this. I’ve taken the check out of his hands and told him it was on me. We’ve gone Dutch. I’ve also surprised him with fancy just because cupcakes.

Obviously he wants to pay and is happy to pay. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t keep suggesting dates that require money. But the offbeat, long-term single woman inside of me resists and rebels.

I’ve spent most of my adult life paying my own way and it’s hard to suddenly accept that someone now wants to do it for me and on a regular basis.

How do other couples do it? Do your partners really not care, or not see it as a burden? Am I over-thinking this?

Comments on Should I just shut up and let him pay?

  1. When my partner and I were first dating, we were long distance between Seattle and Vancouver (BC) so we had a “My country my dollar” agreement. Made sense that if you were earning in that currency you spent in that currency. I made about 3x what he did then and so often paid for the more expensive activities (plus, we traveled more in the US than in Canada). Now that we are married and live and earn in the same currency, it’s all community property anyway. I still make more than 3x what he does (he had to quit a job to move here, so has been unemployed) but often he reaches for the check in a restaurant and puts it on our joint account. There is something very hetero-normative about it, but it also makes him happy, so we go with it. (we are not a very typical gender role couple in other ways, so I let this one slide).

    • I’ve been in two long distance relationships, so yup, I am very familiar with the “my country my dollar” concept, although I’ve never heard it put that way before but I really kind of love it.

  2. Due to my feminist ideals (and weird “does he think I owe him sex now?” issues), I hate when guys insist on paying. I let one ex pay becuase he worked while I was not earning but otherwise I prefer to split it.
    I mean I’m not talking done to the penny. If he pays for my cinema ticket I’ll buy him some drinks or whatever, but if he thinks it’s his duty or some crap that’s a major turn off.

  3. I feel really strongly about making it as equal as possible in all situations. Ideally, taking turns paying for meals and drinks and coffee and equally giving gifts. This is a feminist issue. In my opinion, when a man pays all the time or most of the time or 75% of the time, there is a deficit and at some point, you’re going to owe him something.

    All of that being said, I’ve been married for 12 years. Since I was 20 years old. Long before I had a career or really even dated that much. So I have no idea how to put this into play practically speaking. I think the best thing you can do is bring it up with him. Casually, ideally. Just, hey, I’d prefer to split the cost of all our fun outings. Maybe we could take turns? If that will put you at ease, then try that?

    • I agree that this is a feminist issue. It also, however is just one of many feminist issues in the relationship. As long as things are, on balance, where you want them to be, then this one issue is not my “hill to die on.”

      My partner and I have ways that we are very gender normative and ways that we are not. Every time I get worked up about the ways that we are, I just remember all the ways we aren’t and let it go.

  4. Think about what your underlying values are and how they are contributing to your current feelings…these feelings aren’t just about finances for you, they may be about respect, patriarchy/misogyny, tradition vs. rebellion, feminism, etc. When you figure out what values are being tweaked by the situation, then you’re ready to have a conversation about how to move forward. I’ve been in a long term relationship where my partner generally made more money but we split 50/50 and in a relationship where I made more money and we split expenses according to percentage of income we each brought in…and I’m now in a relationship where my partner is significantly better off financially than I am. My current partner enjoys eating out frequently and traveling, and feels comfortable treating me to dinners and trips…and I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I understand that he enjoys sharing these experiences with me, much more ao than he would if he went alone, so I let him treat much of the time. I still pick up the tab sometimes and get him little gifts and unexpected presents and I always thank him when he treats. We’re both overtly appreciative when the other person treats amd I think that makes a huge difference. Neither of us takes it for granted. I struggle with the imbalance in our financial status a bit, I’m accustomed to being very independent and self – sufficient, but at the same time, I don’t have anything to prove anymore with regards to those values anymore. He definitely respects me and what I bring to our relationship and that makes it easier for me to recognize that there is much more to equality in a relationship than financial equity. We’ve had conversations about our values as well as our financial situations and we will continue to have conversations about them as our relationship grows…communication is one of the best things about our relationship.

  5. After reading this part:

    “Not to say that I always adhere to this. I’ve taken the check out of his hands and told him it was on me. We’ve gone Dutch. I’ve also surprised him with fancy just because cupcakes.”

    I think you might be overthinking this. Does he protest when you take the check or end up splitting it? If not, then paying for stuff is probably how he shows that he cares about you, much like just-because cupcakes are a way of showing that you care about him.

  6. It seems like some of this may be about changing expectations now that you’re “dating” instead of just “friends with benefits” and a conversation about which of these expectations the two of you as a couple are looking for might be really useful. I think that some of these expectations might be really good like additional romance, more sharing of resources, or more emotional closeness, but it will probably be a balance so that you don’t lose the parts of “friends with benefits” that originally drew you together. Sometimes all the romantic expectations can get in the way of just having a great time with your friend (that you just happen to like being romantic with).

  7. Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: For heaven’s sake, don’t go dutch. Alternate who pays for meals, pay the check while he’s in the restroom, but don’t go dutch with someone you’re dating.

    Longest answer: Look, he wants to do nice things for you and do things that make you happy. Also, this could be his way of differentiating “before we were Friends with Benefits, but now we’re a Couple.” And that’s not something you want to discourage (I’m assuming). So if it makes him happy to treat you to things, it would be a kindness to let him do that. Giving gifts like going out to dinner or special treats is how some people say “I love you.”

    Oh the other hand, now that you two are looking down the road at a future together, you have a responsibility to him to not let him continue doing things that make you uncomfortable. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be making you uncomfortable. So this is something you need to address.

    Bear in mind that should this become a very long-term relationship, “yours and mine” will eventually turn into “ours.” So this is something that you will have to navigate through.

    And I will say this, there is something wonderfully intimate about letting your significant other do things for you even when you are perfectly capable of doing them yourself. Not because “hey, I don’t have to do this” but because you are together as a team that cares for each other. For example, this morning my husband drove me to the doctor’s to have some blood drawn. Now I was perfectly capable of putting on my big girl panties and driving myself there, and I did feel a little silly that he was interrupting his work-day for this. But he wanted to do that for me because he knows these things make me uneasy. I could have pulled the “no, I am independent and I can do this by myself,” card and I wouldn’t have been wrong. But by letting him help me in this situation, it builds our relationship. (And obviously I reciprocate in like.)

    This is not to say that you’re wrong in feeling the way that you do. It may be that he’s just doing this because he thinks it’s just how its supposed to be once you’re dating, and that’s not good. And you do absolutely need to weigh how much the independence, as measured by “I always pay for my stuff,” is central to your identity. Because keeping your identity is important.

    Ultimately this is something you *have* to talk to him about. And that’s a good thing! A great thing! Because you will have tough talks and disagreements about important things and it’s fantastic that you get to start early on with a conversation that is bound to have a happy ending.

  8. I’d like to add a little piece I haven’t seen yet here: giving gifts is a “love language.” Just like compliments (words of affirmation) and coming over to help you move (acts of service). When you mentioned that he doesn’t just pay for dates but also brings surprise cupcakes, I thought that it might be one of the main ways he communicates his care for you. I don’t have any way of knowing I’m right. It could as easily be that this is what he thinks is expected of him. It could be some other reason.

    Others have already said, and I agree, this is a great place to have your first couple discussion about what you are both comfortable with. It’s ok if you feel uncomfortable when he pays and he feels great when he pays, as long as you express these to each other and work out some solution that makes both of you feel good. The love languages tidbit (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/) is a little something that might help clarify the situation, or may not apply to you.

  9. You could just take turns. When I was dating my SO I loved the feeling of grabbing the check and taking care of it. Allowing the guy to pay is something that can take some getting used to. I let the guy pay for first or second date usually, if he expects to. Eventually I speak up if it’s an issue for me. It doesn’t always need to be 50/50 on the nose.

  10. Be grateful. Someone’s mother raised him right!

    For the generations before me, men just paid. The end. It was expected and there was never an awkwardness about it.

    The generation after me has men paying, but occasionally at the expense (pun intended) of women feeling guilty. But, you shouldn’t! There are so many things that women do for men that equal out the balance and you wouldn’t expect compensation for those things, right? Let him be the man. Your separate roles create balance. Don’t cuckold him. Let him do the gallant thing, if he wants to. You can be a treated like a lady and still retain your inner feminist. Feminism doesn’t mean doing it all yourself. It means you should be respected for the ability and the right to do it all yourself, if you choose to do so.

    My generation, alas, is the generation raised as feminism was trying to find its balance and footing, so it features the exact opposite of a sweet spot in which men either don’t pay or pay with extreme resentment at the backend.

    • You do not seem to know the definition of cuckold. To cuckold someone is to cheat on him (refers to males, exclusively).

      Also, this whole conversation has me feeling a bit uncomfortable.

      I pay for 95% of our meals/living expenses/everything. My husband is a seasonal worker and I make quite a bit more than him. Reading the words “chivalry” and “gallant” – and jeezy creezy, “cuckold” – in the comments indicates to me that there is still this aura around men paying for stuff that needs to be erased. Is my husband not gallant because he doesn’t pay for stuff? Because he washes my sheets instead of paying for my food? Because he’s folded my laundry and I’m putting up the down payment for our house?

      And Christ, I know that the headline for this article is meant to be ironic and eye-catching, but “shut up and let him pay”? Really, Offbeat Empire? This is the first time I’ve had the feminist rage boil up in me from this site.

      • I agree with you. I would also add that, while the OP’s dude seems to really WANT to pay for things, the expectation that men pay for things can really be harmful! That puts so much pressure on guys, especially if they don’t make much money, or make a lot less than the lady they are taking out. Their masculinity shouldn’t be measured by their financial situation.

        When I’ve gone out with people (of any gender), it’s always nice and makes me feel kinda special when they offer to pay for it, but I never would go into a date expecting it.

      • To me, the problem was framed in a way that didn’t make me rage, because it seemed to pose a real dilemma: I’m a feminist and don’t want a man to think he has to pay for me, but what if I’m in a relationship with a guy who enjoys showing his affection through buying me stuff? And I think that’s tricky, and I understand why she’s uncomfortable.

        But the expectation of different “roles” and assuming it will even out because of the “many things women do for men” and having to let men be “gallant”? Ick. Not so much my thing.

      • As the editor of this post, I definitely interpreted March’s headline as ironic and eye-catching (…which made me think “perfect title!” so I kept it).

        My thought was that readers’ concerns about the headline would be quelled once they read the content, which clearly comes at the issue from a feminist standpoint. 

        And the question itself, ooh boy — that was one that I struggled with myself for years! So I’ve really been enjoying the conversation, even when people have voiced VASTLY different outlooks than I have.

        But maybe it’s a great question for us all — how can you find the balance between self-deprecating irony and feminist fierceness?

      • I definitely used the wrong word. I was trying to get at that feeling that men sometimes have when they aren’t valued for “being men” (whatever that means), and I had a mind blip, but I don’t think my one misused word derailed the whole point I was trying to make.

        I did choose the the wrong word, but I wasn’t being unkind. Belittling someone’s opinion, however, is very unkind. The author asked for feedback. I expect she was hoping to hear lots of different opinions so that she could formulate her own view, or find a way to be comfortable with a view she already held. I doubt she wrote it to weed out those that hold unpopular/counter viewpoints. If so, I’m sorry if I misunderstood the purpose of this exercise.

        PS To be clear, I was talking about dating, not a union/partnership/marriage. Also, I never said a man who doesn’t pay IS “less than.” I said it might make one’s partner FEEL “less than” if he isn’t given the opportunity (if he wants it). Maybe my expressed view isn’t progressive enough to be valuable? I certainly feel attacked for not expressing the “right” opinion.

        • Maybe my expressed view isn’t progressive enough to be valuable?

          I just want to interject here and say that ALL views are considered valuable on Offbeat Home & Life, even when readers may disagree with each other.

          • Thank you, Ariel. I’ve been a member of this community almost since day one, so it means a lot to me that you stepped in to reaffirm that different isn’t wrong, that all opinions are welcome. You and your team have done wonders when it comes to keeping things relatively open and accepting on here. I feel the support from you guys, for sure, both personally and when others have expressed minority or dated opinions as well. Heck, it’s those differences that keep me coming back. For me, I always love to read the varying perspectives of others, ones I agree with and ones I don’t. I’m often surprised by a way of thinking I hadn’t considered before, or listening to the rare life experienced person chime in with something new. It’s a rare, rare thing to find a place where even the aging punk rock population can voice their thoughts. Plus, you’ve created a kick-ass place to learn about new things. Or, it was.

            Nowadays, I’m beginning to feel more and more hard line attitudes jacking the discussions. While they aren’t breaking the “no drama policy” per se, I do see a lot of wave riding condemnation and mean girl syndrome, which is funny to me as someone who’s already lived through all this stuff, as a person who was categorized as “different” at a time when “different” couldn’t be bought at the mall, and different was often a dangerous thing to be.

            See, I identify with many of the young’un’s [said in self-deprecating grandma voice] strongly held opinions. I held them, too, once. But, my thoughts on relationships and children and all sorts have evolved as I’ve grown. Some very punk rock ideals I held as a 20-year-old kind fell to the wayside when reality set in during the journey. Others are stronger than ever. My ideas on child rearing were very, very different before I had a child, when my child was growing up and again now that he’s grown. That’s not to say I was ever “wrong,” just that things change and that’s not always bad. There are some things that I’ve held fast to, and others that frankly seemed like a great idea in the abstract, but didn’t end up working the way I thought it might. I’m not naming those examples here as I don’t want to get flamed again. But this whole scenario of openness and acceptance (by the commenters, not the administrators) reminds of a great scene in the old TV show “Ally McBeal:” Everyone standing around a young woman who is naked from the waist up. They are arguing about whether or not you could tell if she had fake breasts. In exasperation, Lucy Lui’s character rolls her eyes and stomps forward, grabbing the breasts in her two hands, and says, “They may look real…but they don’t FEEL real.”

            Again, my sincere gratitude for your creating a forum built on openness and acceptance, and for attempting to foster respect. It’s not an easy horse to lasso, but you do it as well as I’ve ever seen.

        • I get what you’re saying, and I agree with Ariel that all opinions are valued. But I think maybe the opening of your comment “Someone’s mother raised him right!” was perhaps taken as belittling *other* opinions – as though if we didn’t agree, our parents didn’t raise us right?

          So I think there’s maybe a bit too much drama on both sides of this argument. We can all be more respectful, definitely.

          • Oh. I certainly didn’t mean it that way. It’s a really common Southern phrase here that is meant (and usually taken) as a compliment, but I can see how, maybe in another country, it might have been misconstrued. I don’t think that is the case here, but I could be wrong.

          • Sure, I completely understand you were intending to compliment the OP’s boyfriend – but I still think it’s an odd phrase, as the implication is that men who don’t behave like that (or those of us who don’t agree with men paying) have been badly brought-up. I know you were only meaning to be nice about him! But to me, it’s a very problematic way of complementing someone.

      • Yeah, the headline was all me and not the invention of Offbeat. Like Megan said, I hoped the feminist angle of the article would balance the headline itself.

    • The fact that men paid for generations and it wasn’t awkward is not v helpful, as it takes in quite a lot of time when women could only get very low-paying jobs, if any, and married women (among others) couldn’t own property. That is why men paid. So not really applicable to the situation at hand, where I assume there is (approximate) financial equality.

  11. In past relationships we’d always alternate who paid when we went out. That way it always felt like one of us was “treating” the other, but eventually it worked out about equal. Now my partner and I share a bank account, but weirdly I almost always let him whip out the debit card when we go out, even though the money is coming from the same place, regardless. Hah.

    • We have almost the exact same situation — since we live in Indonesia, if I pay for things he ‘loess face’ as the ‘male head of the household’. So, I usually hand him the money or debit card and let him pay — even though the money is all coming from the same place at the end of the day.

  12. I completely understand, and in fact wrote about my own issues about the ‘who pays’ dilemma.

    I feel that it is important to split or pay some of the time. My SO is Japanese, and so has been socialized to pay for women.Always.

    I found that me paying outright or passing him my half at the counter (as in Japan you go up to a register to pay) makes him uncomfortable, so now I discreetly pass him some cash before we leave the table, and then he pays at the register. Everyone wins^ ^

    • That’s interesting, because I’ve noticed when I offer to pay he kind of has an “…okay” attitude, where he’s not sure how to handle it. Maybe my paying makes HIM uncomfortable!

  13. Confession: It’s been nearly 10 years since I dated, but I always loved when my date paid.

    Does that make me a Bad Feminist? I don’t think so — I always brought enough money to pay my share, but I definitely never said no when my date offered to pay.

    I was in my 20s! And broke! If my date paid for me, that was one less expense I needed to worry about. A good date, a little lovin’, AND a free dinner?! Score.

    My husband and I have been together for nearly 10 years now and there’s no ‘mine’ and ‘his’ when it comes to our finances.

    We have one bank account and two debit cards and all of the money is co-mingled. Sometimes I earn more, sometimes he earns more… It’s all the same in the end.

    I’ve never felt like we needed to differentiate what money belongs to me and what money belongs to him, nor how the expenses get broken down.

    (That’s what works for us, but I know that wouldn’t work for everyone.)

  14. I think general unwritten rule of dating is whoever made the date is the one who pays.

    As far as established long term relationships I think its just whoever has money and is willing to pay? My fiance doesn’t pay every single time we go out, and I think the nice thing about being in a relationship is the knowing that there will be a next time that you can pay for and vice versa.

    I guess I just don’t worry about it anymore and I dont think my fiance does either…

  15. I wonder when you get beyond this stage of the relationship into marriage ( are you living together now?) will you still keep separate accounts?

    It took a lot of therapy to trust my husband enough to add my earnings to the same account. He had never done anything to earn distrust,,,It was about total trust. And the long lasting effect of having my father take off with everything when she ended the marriage with my him.

    I’m in my 50’s and am intrigued that this argument is still going on.

    I feel like my mother burned her bra for nothing.

    When my husband and I dated neither of us paid. We took sandwiches, met somewhere, and drank free wine at art galleries openings with the beautiful people. Screwing, as I was on birth control, was free entertainment. We could afford only to decide whose apartment we would spend the night at.

    He makes ..a lot… More money than I do these days. Though our money goes into the same account, he loves it when I pick up the check to pay for anything from our account.

    (Sometimes off the topic, but… Oh, well)

  16. I just negotiate this by taking turns. I kinda hate splitting up checks anyhow, and when I goout to eat with friends we often take turns picking up the check, so its not weird at all to extend that same sort of arrangement to people I am romantically involved with. Sometimes one person will pay more than one time in a row, but I generally try to keep things approximately fair. And it’s fun to get to feel like you are “treating” someone, so both people should get a chance to do it.

  17. With all of these kinds of things that are about balance in relationships, whether it’s doing chores, making decisions, or paying for things, I’ve found that it works best for me and my partners to make it about generosity. Instead of trying to split everything up perfectly evenly and logically, we both try to be gracious about both giving and accepting anything the other person has to offer. We both like cooking and dislike dishes, so we started by agreeing that whoever didn’t cook did the dishes. But then we realized that we were also both trying to outdo the other person in generosity – so sometimes one person would do all the dishes while cooking, or the cook would quietly go start dishes after dinner while the other person was distracted with something. Sometimes we’d fall back on the default, but trying hard to take care of the other person leaves both the carer and the cared for person feeling good. If someone ends up doing “extra,” it’s all their own choice and they can’t feel mad at the other person for doing less. If someone ends up doing less, they don’t have to feel guilty for it – but they can try to be extra-special caring to the other person, too.

    It works this way with paying for stuff, too. As most people have been saying, as long as you COMMUNICATE a lot and make sure that nobody’s doing stuff out of obligation but instead out of caring, you can find the balance for your own relationship.

    Sometimes that balance is kind of hard to find. My current boyfriend grew up in the South and he likes to pay for things (and open doors for me, etc). It’s got a few echoes of the kind of chivalry that make my feminist self a bit bristly – honestly, before meeting him, I paid for meals and opened doors much more often and automatically than my boyfriends, kind of on principle. In previous relationships, I never liked how much chivalry tended to feel like a deliberate signifier – “Oh I’ll take the check for this nice dinner – see how gentlemanly I am?” “Oh I’ll open the car door for you on date night – isn’t that deserving of makeouts later?”

    With this guy, it doesn’t feel like that at all. The chivalry-type stuff is what his mom taught him. It’s not about sexy gallantry, it’s just about basic respect and being a good person. It’s in the same category as helping a busy mom with her groceries or buying a drink for a military veteran in a bar. So I don’t feel like it’s really anti-feminist, it’s more a quirk of how his “being a good person” plays out based on his cultural history. So in this relationship, he picks up the check on our dates a lot more often, I tend to make up for it in other ways (like the grocery store), and we both feel good about it.

  18. My boyfriend (it’s not really called dating here in Europe, we call it boyfriend from the beginning of seeing us and until we get married :-)) and I are together for over 3 years now. I always hated to let him pay.
    I was 20 years old when I had my first ever relationship with a man and I always had to pay for my own drinks, holidays and shopping items. I am a grown woman with a degree from a university and I make my own money.

    So when we met each other, I made it clear that I will not let him pay anything for me. Not even a drink. Although I earn a lot less than he does. Also I made it clear that I do not want us to buy presents for each other on our birthdays and christmas. Instead we go shopping and buy something together that we both really want for us (like a new DVD or a holiday or recently a machine for home-made icecream) and share the cost and the item and spend some happy hours together enjoying the outcome of our expenses.

    On groceries we usually split it so that one time I pay and one time he pays, since also the shares on the single buy are not always even. But I like to think that it is somewhat weighed out.

    We recently bought a flat together and took a credit together and we made sure with a private contract that if we break up one day, everyone gets the money back he put into this flat and not more and not less, although if we did not have this contract, it would be a huge financial advantage for me.

    In my opinion, that is a great solution for the both of us. And we live very well with that. I am sometimes short on money, but I hate borrowing money from him and I always pay him back within the next week.

    But what I will have to take is that if we should have children one day, he will be the one to earn the most money in our relationship and I will have to take him paying for the most part of it all since I can not do too much in this situation. I still do not feel comfortable on that, I will have to learn to let this happen.

    • what i also forgot to say:
      this behaviour is only in second place caused by being feminist in my opinion. the idea of a relationship being an economical unit is in my opinion outdated since women have the possibility to go to school and work for their money. This is a great opportunity for relationships as well. We do not marry for money any more but we marry for love. Two economical units existing next to each other, but two hearts beating together. This is the new kind of relationship that feminism has enabled us to have.

  19. No, you absolutely shouldn’t just “shut up” about anything in a relationship that makes you uncomfortable. Just discuss it with him. It is entirely possible that he just has no idea that dating works any other way. Feminism has done a lot for men and women…but there is still an overwhelming sense in relationships that a “good” date must pay for his ladyfriend to show that he’s a good provider or whatever. If you’d rather go Dutch, or switch off paying, just say so. I can’t imagine that it would be a big issue for him. And if it is, and also one for you, better to know that now so you can decide if it is a deal-breaker sort of thing with this relationship.

  20. Short answer: no, you shouldn’t shut up, because discussions about money are very important.

    Here’s my suggestion: This really only works in relationships where you know each other’s income, but the way I like to pay for things is by percentage. Add your incomes together and then divide your income by the total to figure out the percentage of expenses (for dates or anything else) you should be paying. This provides the most equitable arrangement and helps prevent one person from bearing more financial burden than they can afford.

    I absolutely think you should insist on at least some type of split, if nothing else to avoid feelings of guilt, like you “owe” your partner sex (or whatever) because they paid for a date, or any number of other icky feelings that come from financial inequity in a relationship. The other advantage of percentage splits is that if one person becomes unemployed for a time, there is no pressure for them to continue to try to pay for things while they work on finding a new job, or if they are choosing to stay home with children.

  21. Its funny, I’m married, finances combined and everything, but my husband still insists on being the one to pay, unless I get there first and just do it, its how he defaults. When we first dated everything was dutch but as soon as things got serious, I think he felt some instinctive desire to take care of me and wanted to pay for things. Its a little old fashioned, but sweet.

  22. My boyfriend almost always insists on paying for dates centered around food, and truth be told, I don’t mind. I’ve offered many times to cover the check, but it makes him feel like a gentleman to buy me breakfast and dinner, so I let him unless he’s already taken me on two or three dates that same weekend. We split expenses like gas and parking, and sometimes, he’ll let me pay for movie, museum, and other event tickets. I spoil him in other ways like keeping his favorite snacks stocked in my pantry.

  23. When I was younger I always dated older, well-established men and I always let them pay if they planned the date (justifying in my head that I was less established and a broke college student). I’d go out of my way to plan nice meals at home and occasional dates for special occasions but I didn’t pay on a regular basis.

    Then I met my husband and I had a job at the time and he didn’t. Suddenly I found myself insisting we not go out on nice dates because I didn’t need him to impress me and we’d trade off who paid. Again, justifying that if I was making more, I needed to contribute more.

    Now nearly 10 years later I’m dating again. I’m with a guy who made more money than I did when we started dating but he’s currently changing jobs and it’s made me really uncomfortable. He wants to go out multiple times a week to bars and restaurants but we’ve not been dating long enough to discuss finances. I am more frugal and rarely go out so it puts me in an awkward situation. Luckily, I prefer to not drink when we go out so I rarely run up a tab, but even things like going to his friend’s birthday dinner we ended up at a pretty expensive restaurant. I was getting ready to pay but he had already covered my portion of the bill. So the next day I went and bought $100+ in groceries because I’m living at his place for a few weeks while my situation smooths out.

    Those of you that don’t regularly go out a lot, how do you balance splitting when your partner wants to drop a couple hundred a week at bars, dinners, and activities? Dutch is hard too because he’ll spend twice as much on food and drinks. When my husband and I budgeted we had $100 entertainment budget each month for dinner and outings.

  24. my situation is a little different, in that he earns at least triple my income I also have 5 children from my previous marriage and he works away 4 weeks at a time. we have been together nearly 5 years.

    what generally happens for us is I pay all the bills and running costs of (my) house where he stays when he isn’t at work. and he will pay for 80-90% of meals and drinks when we go out, mainly because we are going out for his benefit (I’ve become a hermit) every now and then the uncomfortable feeling gets too much and I shout a round or two. other times I am up front and say “this week I have zero money to spare, if we go out you will 100% need to carry me”
    which he is fine with.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.