When you’re in a relationship there are a few subjects that can be tough to talk about or come to an agreement on. They are:
- What/Where should you eat
- Where should you go on date night
- Who’s family will you spend the holidays with
- Who’s going to drive
- Who should pay
There are obviously many, MANY more important topics that should be discussed as you become serious in a relationship but I feel number 5 is one of the bigger ones.
We all come from different backgrounds and families. Some parents instill in their children, male or female that the man should always pay, as men are “providers”. I find this ideology to be rather old-fashioned and outdated, stemming back to a time where women made little to nothing compared to men; so of course it made sense for a man to foot the bill.
There is also the belief that whoever makes more should pay more often or cover more of the bill. This allows both people in the relationship to contribute monetarily to joint activity without resulting in the person who makes less spending more than they can afford.
The last belief (that currently comes to mind) is splitting the bill in half. There isn’t one person that pays more or pays at a certain time; with any activity that you do together, you share the cost.
I can see how each idea makes sense, and if I’m being honest, when I started out dating, at 18, I thought the guy should pay. To shine more light on the subject, I wasn’t working at the time. I was a full-time college student and had no extra money. My parents were paying for my gas so I could get to and from school. Once I began working, my perspective changed, slightly. I then held the belief that both individuals should contribute but whoever makes more should pay more. To shine even more light on the subject, I was making $7.50 an hour then (in 2010) and working only part time. The guy I was seeing worked full time and made almost $10 an hour. He was able to afford a lot more than I could, so if we went anywhere, I paid what I could and he covered the rest.
Now, we’re in the beginning of 2017, and I have yet again changed my opinion. (This change happened in 2014 when I moved in with my then boyfriend.) I now feel that there doesn’t have to be one set way that you cover costs in a relationship, if that doesn’t work for you because people are all different and each situation is unique.
In my current relationship we discussed how we felt about spending money from the beginning. We agreed that neither of us wants to nor should feel obligated to purchase anything for the other, if we don’t actually want to. If we want, we can but, for example, if we go out to dinner, I don’t expect him to pay for my meal in addition to his. If we go to the movies, we’ll purchase our own tickets, however if I’m doing okay financially that week, I’ll happily buy his ticket or get him a drink.
Just like everything else in any relationship, open communication is the key, without it, this would never work! For example, if I’m short on funds and we plan something, I let him know immediately so we can make adjustments to our plans, if necessary.
It is still funny to see the reactions of people when we ask for separate checks or when we purchase movie tickets and he requests just one. The cashier will glance at me, with a look of uncertainty on their face and smile. Some of them just proceed with the transaction as normal and others will give me a sad look, as if they feel bad for me.
While the way we operate in our relationship may not be the norm, it works for us right now. Later down the road, if marriage is on the table, the way we do things could change but until then we will happily continue to pay however we feel.
(If you’ve read this and want to share how things work in your relationship, or if you have any opinions about what I’ve written feel free to leave a comment 🙂 )