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?