money ain’t a thing

this recent post on Derek’s blog got me thinking about some blasts from the past…

while that topic seemed to be concerned more with casual dating-i think-i’m more wondering about when things get more serious. mind you, i have not been in a long-term relationship in 5 years (yeah, yeah, i know.)

both my serious boyfriends didn’t really involve “dating” at all-they both stemmed from the fact that we were friends first. so in terms of paying for things, for the most part we split things, unless it was the kind of thing that warranted one paying for both of us (e.g., b-days, celebrating things like a new job.)

i really didn’t think twice about it-i figured it was pretty much normal. but in the last few months with the 2nd boyfriend, a friend and i were having a conversation…

friend: “yeah, one thing i noticed…he never took you out.”
me: “what do you mean? yes he did”
friend: “but he never paid for you…my boyfriend always pays for me”
me: “but i do outearn him-i wouldn’t expect him to always pay for me if that is the case-that isn’t right.”
friend: “but i outearn my boyfriend and he always pays for me”


now i ain’t saying i’m a gold digger (sorry couldn’t resist that line. gotta love kanye west. i’m definitely NOT a gold digger!)

but seriously i sorta let that one go, but kept my eyes open when we double-dated with other friends of mine and his and noted that for the most part, we were the only couple splitting our portion of the check. was i being taken advantage of, or was this normal?

i thought by that time…if you’re together for multiple years…you’re equal partners in the relationship and experiences you share, expenses should be shared. and on a side note, i love things like my Starbucks lattes and i’m into my fashion, but those are expenses that are completely my responsibility-kinda like my “luxuries.”

it may be all in my head, but sometimes i feel like there is a little bit of a “caste system” when it comes to dating in nyc. all i know is i hate when i get asked things like “how much do you pay in rent” on a first date. i don’t like feeling like i’m being judged by my bank account.

(also FWIW, if any of you remember a post from last month where i made reference to a date where the guy made a point of saying “can i buy you a drink”-he only lasted one date, i knew it wasn’t gonna work-guess my intuition was right. there are certain things that money definitely can’t buy…)


14 thoughts on “money ain’t a thing

  1. mark me as old fashionbut he should be paying.

  2. This is apparently more of an issue than I ever thought; though only in talking to others, not in personal experience. My mom raised me to pay for things on a date. And I did, until I got to college and realized I simply didn’t have the money to do things like that. As I’ve grown older, on a teacher’s salary, I simply can’t afford to pay for two on a date. Even on a first date I will not pay for both. I do not want to set a precedent where I pay for everything. Considering that most women my age will make more money than me, I expect them to pay up. I do make certain exceptions like special occassions, or if I really want to see a movie and asked them to come with me. I don’t expect to have a conversation about money, rent, salary, etc. It shouldn’t matter. Ever. Not until we’re ready to get hitched and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.Still, I will do little things, like the occassional surprise flowers, cards, or even dinners, but it should not be expected that I pay for everything.Maybe I’m just cheap. Hasn’t hurt my dating experience at all and I hope it doesn’t anytime soon.

  3. The guy should pay on the first date and at certain periods going forward. Why? Because it will make the girl feel good and making her feel good should, at times, be the most valuable thing that guy can think to do with the money he has. Don’t got too much money? Well go to cheaper places. But still pick up the check every now and then. If you don’t, it simply says to the girl that you have other things you want to spend the money on other than her and that says that she isn’t that important. Read “The Gift of the Magi” for an example of how people in love spend money on each other. You don’t have to reach that level every time, but you need to get there every now and then.

  4. Does it really make a woman feel good that money is being spent on her? Is it the money being spent ro the thought and emotion being conveyed? I certainly can find cheap, non-money spendnig ways to express my likes for a lady.>Don’t got too much money? Well go to cheaper places. But still pick up the check every now and then. If you don’t, it simply says to the girl that you have other things you want to spend the money on other than her and that says that she isn’t that important. I do go to cheaper places. But, I also don’t want to prevent us from going to a nicer, more expensive place. We can splurge a little, but the key word is “we.” If she doesn’t feel important because I’m not spending my money on her, then I’d probably just not date her. I will not date anyone who feels good because I spend money on her or uses money spent as a value marker for our relationship.People in love spend money on each other, ’tis true, but it shouldn’t be the man who spends more than the woman. There’s absolutely no reason for it. If you want to continue living in a world where the male ego dominats everything, sure, let the man spend money on his woman. I thought we were byond that by now.I still believe in being a gentleman, telling her how I feel, spending quality time, and the occassional gift or dinner. But, if the woman feels important and loved because the man is spending money on her, I find it hard to believe she truly understands the heart.

  5. Protocols and traditions be damned. It gives me pleasure to treat a woman on our first few dates. So I do unless she absolutely insists otherwise. After dating for a while, I’m glad to allow her to treat me or split checks. Or on the first few dates, if I treat for dinner then I’d accept her offer to treat for ice cream or something else.

  6. A girl that has her boyfriend “always” pay for her, despite outearning him, doesn’t sound very nice.

  7. wow…this definitely was a hot topic.(and for the record, if i remember correctly…i don’t think said friend *made* her bf pay for everything-the fact that he’d pay for her was just how it was-if i’m making sense here.)i also think one more thing that goes into the equation here is also the fact that this is NYC-and this is a dating scene like no other. (i’m just going based on what i hear-keep in mind that with the exception of my college years, i have lived in the NYC metro area all my life.) the dating scene is really competitive, and the cost of living and going out is higher than other places. (e.g.; instead of paying $5 for a pitcher of beer back in college, you’re paying $5 for 1 beer) i think that tends to complicate things a little bit as well…and TV shows like “Sex and the City”…and even the more “reality” based ones like “Single In the City” and “Kiss and Tell” don’t do much to counteract that stereotype of NYC dating…

  8. I always offer to split the bill on the first date, but I don’t actually expect to. Why? First of all, first dates should never set anyone (no matter how much money they make) back financially, so that’s not a concern — for either me or my date. It’s more of a gesture. Society is increasingly ok with women asking men out (I do it regularly) but in my experience, most men would rather foot the bill. (Ego, pride, tradition, whatever.) To me this social gesture is more important than the financial aspect of it, and I will admit that a guy who actually takes me up on the offer to split the first date — or who makes a point of splitting it before I’ve even offered — does so to his own disadvantage.The next couple of dates are fair game. When I was a grad student and dating professional men, they always paid (not that I didn’t offer, mind you, but I certainly didn’t insist on it either). Now that I’m working, I don’t have a problem going dutch; although I think it’s more elegant to trade off paying the whole bill than to divide it every time (this also addresses the awkwardness of handling it when with other couples).The exception to this rule are 1) special occasions, when the one celebrating should be treated and 2) dates that revolve around the very particular interests of only one of the two people. I once introduced a guy I’d been dating for about two months (and who had paid for everything up until then) to the opera, and I fully expected to be the one to buy his ticket.I think in today’s world most people understand that it’s not a power or money issue for a man to pay. In a world that is moves so fast and abruptly, I think it’s important to hold on to some social mores and traditions.

  9. And the traditions are based upon the guy showing that he is willing and able to pay for something. There is a reason why this tradition exists. Eventually you are going to do stuff with this guy. You pretty much know going into it that he is down for that. So is pretty much every other guy in the bar who you didnt give your phone number to. So the fact that he make some financial sacrifice is significant. Now there are some guys in this city for whome a financial sacrifice is less than a time or though sacrifice, and their gifts of a fancy dinner should be suspect. But girls should wait to see some sacrifice.

  10. I always turn down a girl’s initial offer to split the bill, but if she wants to insist, I’m certainly not going to get into a fight about it. And I certainly don’t mind. It’s generally pretty successful women who do that, and it’s almost a statement — I don’t need you to take care of me.

  11. There are also first dates and first dates. I might take a girl I met on the subway to a burger joint, but if I spent a few hours talking to some girl at a party, smooched ’em, and then spent the rest of the week emailing back and forth … why not an expensive dinner?

  12. This is a tricky one. Like you said, you WERE friends, first. It’s kinda hard to switch mind-sets on something as tricky as who pays for who. Money is never an issue people like to bring up. But still… part of me thinks he should have offered.In my situation, I’m a full time grad student, and my boyfriend makes big bucks as a computer engineer. I used to insist that we both pay equal amounts (usually not by splitting checks, but by both offering to pay for the other person once in a while). Since then, he has insisted on paying for me more than I pay for him. I was reluctant at first. I didn’t want him to think I was taking advantage of his benificence (is that a word?). I still try to take him out… for the smaller things, like a glass of wine or two, not a dinner. I do what I can. By the way, just found your blog. Very interesting! I do some running myself, but I’ve never raced. I’ll stay tuned to your site.

  13. This has GOT to be be most frustrating string of posts to read, without question. Interesting, but frustrating. It’s hard enough getting the nerve up to ask someone out for the first time (or accepting, if you’re the one being asked), but do you really have to worry as well about whether PAYING for dinner is an absolutely bad move or an absolutely good move? Perhaps you just simply should not worry about it, because if THAT’S a criteria for judging the compatibility of your date, trust me, you’ll find a lot more severe incompatibilities once you start digging deeper and gettin’ to the good stuff. Pay or go dutch, just do what you feel is “acceptable” to you — and if the other person thinks you’re being a jerk, then maybe they’re just not worth pursuing further.

  14. i think this has been the most commented-on topic on my blog so far!!i know it’s a frustrating topic, and apparently one with no clear-cut answer. i’ll just keep going with my intuition…ever since being in the “dating” world, post serious-boyfriend, there have not been any arguments over the bill. so, i must be doing something right there.but i will stress again-i’m NOT all about the money. that’s not how i decide if i like someone or not.

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