Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: Who Pays For Your Dates?

Last week, a (male) LW wrote in complaining about how a woman he’d been out with seven times or so had only paid for about 10% of their dates. This, he noted, was not uncommon in his and his friends’ dating experience. He wrote: “This isn’t the first woman that I’ve had to spend money on. There’ve been others, of course. I’ve heard complaints from friends and other men about women NOT offering to pay. And you know what? I’m tired of it. Men are tired of it.” He went on to say that women have credit cards, educations, and good jobs, and he doesn’t understand where they get this old-fashioned idea that men are supposed to always pay for dates. “Personally, I work just as hard as any woman does for my money,” he said, “and I don’t find it fair. I just don’t want any woman getting the idea that I’m OK with it or that she can take advantage. I don’t want to be her ATM.” Lovely, right?

As of this morning, the post has nearly 230 comments; people have a lot of thoughts about his argument, and there seem to be different ideas of what is normal and expected. So I thought I would open the discussion up further and ask:

How do you handle who pays for dates when you go out? If you identify as heterosexual and exclusively date people of the opposite sex, is it always the man who pays? Always the person who does the asking out (and, if so, is it always the man who does the asking?)? Do you take turns, split the bill evenly, go dutch (each pay your own expenses)? If you identify as something other than hetero and occasionally or exclusively date people of the same sex as you (or who are gender fluid or non-binary), does that affect who picks up the check? And if you’re in a long-term relationship – even married and living together – how do you handle paying for dates?

Related: 52 Cheap Date Ideas

62 comments… add one
  • avatar

    napoleon1066 May 30, 2019, 12:09 pm

    When my wife and I first started dating, I think I paid for everything. She had said she wanted to go out, but technically I called her up and made the plans… I think it’s probably fair if I’m deciding how much money is being spent without any knowledge of her financial situation, it’s probably better that I pay. As things progressed, since I made more money than she did, we’d split things, but not evenly (so, for instance, I’d buy dinner, and she’d get breakfast the next morning).

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    • avatar

      Salli May 30, 2019, 5:57 pm

      I’ve preferred the taking turns picking the date activities and the person who plans pays, then if the relationship continued it evolved into a balance more along the lines of if one had more fun money that person paid for a little more.

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  • avatar

    Kate May 30, 2019, 12:17 pm

    Omg. I split 50/50. First date was usually just a drink and I’d throw down a $20 for mine.

    After that, split, not itemize.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant May 30, 2019, 12:21 pm

    I’m long since coupled up.

    When we were dating we were young and poor, I don’t remember specifically who used to pay for what when we were still in that getting to know you phase.

    After we became serious and moved in, we kept up the my finances are mine, your finances are yours and we split everything 50-50 (although 50-50 could sometimes mean gas bill is in my name and I pay it, comcast bill in yours and you pay it). We went on this way for a few years after we married even, but our financial advisor kept telling us, how about you open up a joint account with a low interest rate?

    Eventually we did, although it was secondary to our personal accounts. But a few more years on, we pretty much use it exclusively and basically all the money goes there. I have just as much access to “his” money now as he has to “mine”.

    When it comes to be out and paying for dinner, there’s no, whose paying? It’s which card do we want to use, what kind of points do we want? And I usually calculate the tip because I’m better at math, so I’m usually the one signing.

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  • avatar

    Kate May 30, 2019, 12:23 pm

    We still generally split 50/50 now we’re married. Sometimes if he gets a really pricey Scotch or something I’ll take that into account and pay less. We treat on birthdays and special occasions.

    We do not have all our money in one pool. Our retirement stuff is all together in a Fidelity portfolio and he’s the beneficiary on my personal accounts, but we don’t have joint checking or savings. He’s got a very different financial situation from me. For one, he has to put aside and save his own money for taxes, because he gets paid by a Canadian company that doesn’t take taxes out. We both track our business expenses.

    We split the household expenses according to income but without using a joint account. It’s very easy to move money around.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant May 30, 2019, 12:32 pm

      We do have a number separate investment accounts and separate retirement accounts (that’s what happens in a country where your retirement is funded by your employers, sigh), but we are beneficiaries on everything, and in terms of our non-retirement accounts, we are authorized to make decisions on one another’s accounts.

      We do technically still have our individual predecessor checking and savings accounts, but they get minimal use.

      We didn’t overhaul our finances overnight, it was a slow roll where we opened a joint account and first we just used it only for a few things, like our mortgage, but over time more and more money has gone into that account and less and less into our individual accounts. It just became a pain, to say, for instance, hey I need a little more in the account to make sure there’s enough to cover the payment to our indexed life insurance, or whatever, can you move over money from your account? Or to have to move over money from my account.

      I still have a personal credit card just under my name (and vice versa), but even the payments for that are made out of the joint account.

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      • avatar

        Kate May 30, 2019, 12:37 pm

        I get it, I just don’t see a need for that personally, since everything works really smoothly, and we each have bills we’re responsible for.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 30, 2019, 12:45 pm

        Yeah totally get everyone is different, and I did feel like I stuck my foot in my mouth a little in that other thread in response to Logan yesterday.

        I’ve heard other women say they want to maintain separation because they want to maintain independence, but for me, I don’t feel a lose of independence at all. Yeah, I’m losing control somewhat of the money I make, but I also have automatic access to his money, so…we’re equally dependent on one another. Which to me, is kind of what marriage is. You entwine your life pretty permanently with another persons, giving up some freedoms but getting a lot in exchange.

        But, that’s my opinion and it works for us.

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      • avatar

        Kate May 30, 2019, 12:52 pm

        Here’s the thing though. For some percentage of women, their spouses end up being real creeps, or abusive, or irresponsible, or have a gambling problem, or have affairs, or things get acrimonious. That’s why it’s smart and safe to have your own money he can’t access. What if you need to leave, and quickly? I have the utmost trust for my spouse and he’s a wonderful guy, but there’s just no need for me to give him access to all the savings I came into the marriage with. If he needs it, it’s there for him, but I prefer to maintain control over it.

        Also, neither of us want to be responsible for all the finances, so it’s just easier to each have bills we’re responsible for, and settle up once a month.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 30, 2019, 1:00 pm

        I respect that and wouldn’t advise every woman to go about things the way I have, but…in my particular marriage, with my particular husband, I trust him and am not concerned about keeping a quick exit. That might be foolhardy to someone standing on the outside of our marriage, but, I’m the one that’s been with him ten years, I feel confident in how we are handling our lives together.

        We also have been together a long time and built our finances together. It might feel different if we got together and had more established adult lives, but we started dating right out of college together. We’ve built this life together.

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      • avatar

        Kate May 30, 2019, 1:02 pm

        Another thing… mental illness or crisis can often manifest suddenly in middle age. Or an affair. Then you risk someone draining your bank account and running off with Susie from CrossFit. What works for you is great for you, my point is that there are different ways to do things that make just as much sense.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 30, 2019, 2:02 pm

        I mean, that’s all fair, and people, women in particular, should live their own lives in a way that they feel is safest and most comfortable for them.

        But what is life, if not a risk? For me, my personal risk in how we’re handling in my specific marriage feels like a risk I can afford to take.

        And honestly, I’m just as capable of draining our bank accounts and leaving him high and dry as he is. I have all the same access, all the same authorizations. If I wanted to drain our account and take-off, I’m just as able as he is. If I wanted to call up our financial advisor and tell her to sell of certain stocks of his, I could and she would.

        I realize historically and at a macro level more men than women have financially screwed over their partner, and women historically have less financial clout on their own, but we’re not talking about all men and all women. We’re talking about one man, and one woman (me and him), and I feel okay about the risk we’re taking by fusing our financial lives together.

        I could eat my words in a couple of decades, but I feel okay with my personal choice.

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      • avatar

        Kate May 30, 2019, 2:05 pm

        And no one’s suggesting you change what you’re doing! However, you came at someone the other day for not having pooled their finances, so I think it’s worth explaining why some people don’t.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant May 30, 2019, 2:42 pm

      You’re right, once I read his response I realized I was wrong.

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  • avatar

    Peggy May 30, 2019, 12:26 pm

    I think after a couple goes out a few times,they should take turns paying,taking incomes etc. into consideration or at least discuss what seems fair. The first date,I think the guy should pay-if he has initiated the date.
    I dated a guy 2 years LD and he spent gas to come to me and paid for a dinner or movie date and I bought the groceries,wine etc. for the weekend. That seemed/seems fair to me.
    We live together now,he pays rent.utillities etc. and I buy groceries,household needs and pay for treats like concert tickets,a night out. The thing is,we have made a plan that works for us. FYI,we are older,in our early 60’s,so maybe we have a different view because of age.
    In the case of the L.W.-I still think he comes off as cheap and penny counting-plus he is upset with his date,without actually talking to her about it!

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  • avatar

    anonymousse May 30, 2019, 12:36 pm

    When I was younger, it was pretty equitable. We’d take turns, or split the bill. When my husband and I started seeing each other, we’d take turns, and it usually was whoever planned it would pay. He would always offer to pay. After we became more serious, he did pay for most of our dates. He enjoyed going out to nice places and would treat me. I’d take him on cheaper dates. But he made a lot more money than me, he knew my financial limitations and we talked about it.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse May 30, 2019, 12:40 pm

    I do think this LW is cheap- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But he doesn’t want to express that. He’s hiding a key part of himself. He knows it affects the way he appears when first dating. He is too cowardly to be real and speak his mind and that’s why he continues to score-keep and walk away feeling cheated.

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  • Copa

    Copa May 30, 2019, 12:41 pm

    Even on first dates, I’ve always offered to split. I don’t know that a man has ever taken me up on that offer, but perhaps being in the Midwest — which tends to be more traditional — has something to do with that. For the early dates with my boyfriend (like the first 2-3), he paid. After that we started taking turns or splitting 50/50, though I think taking turns is more common. It’s informal and unplanned, but it’s been working for us and there’s no nickel and diming.

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    • Copa

      Copa May 30, 2019, 12:50 pm

      And yeah, as far as the recent LW is concerned, the ick-factor wasn’t exactly that he was frugal, it was that he was nickel and diming and keeping score! Even though we tend to take turns paying, I don’t think it’d come out exactly even and would wager my bf has spent a little more.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 30, 2019, 2:08 pm

        Yeah, making hay over a few dollars here and there is just…ugh.

        And more than that, he was pretending like there is this one standard that EVERYBODY knows, even though it’s like, no man, look at all these different ways one could interpret “paying equally” and look at all these different sorts of expectations people are encountering in the dating world, clearly there’s not one uniform expected way to do things.

        AND THEN, he can’t even communicate clearly what it he wants. How can you possibly fault her for failing to meet your expectations when you cannot clearly tell her what they are?

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy May 30, 2019, 12:43 pm

    When Drew and I met, I was finishing graduate school and basically had no money. In the 13 years since then, he continues to make significantly more than I do, and so the way we split bills when going out hasn’t changed much: he treats a lot more often (although now have a joint account and we each have individual accounts and it very much feels like one big pot). I’ll pay for less expensive stuff — like pre-dinner drinks — or I’ll leave a cash tip for our dinner or I’ll pay the babysitter (which, at $20 an hour, is a lot). If I made more money, I’d be more insistent on contributing more, but I don’t. As for household financial contributions, I buy almost all the groceries from my individual account and pay for some the kids’ extracurricular activities or clothes or haircuts or whatever. My pay is erratic, so if I have a good month, I’ll contribute more or I’ll buy the plane tickets for our next trip or whatever. This has all happened pretty organically, and it’s what works for us.

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  • avatar

    Vathena May 30, 2019, 12:49 pm

    For our first date, I asked my now-husband out, to see a movie. He accepted enthusiastically, and suggested getting dinner beforehand. I paid for the movie tickets and he paid for dinner, and also for post-movie drinks. After that he paid for most things – I was always prepared to pay my own way but he would wave me off (he’s older than I am and had been working a well-paying job for 15+ years, whereas I was just a few years out of school and still renting and paying student loans). He’s a generous soul and knew that he would be financially comfortable even if he spent an extra $20 here and there! I did insist on treating him sometimes, and paid his way when he was my +1 to various weddings.

    After we moved in together in the condo he owned, he told me he wasn’t my landlord and didn’t want my money for rent. We set up a joint checking account for groceries and such, and I paid off my student loans shortly before we got married. We still do yours/mine/ours, with each of us contributing about 75% of take-home pay to our joint accounts. We have individual checking/savings as well, plus individual 401(k)/pension funds. We track everything with spreadsheets. Date nights go on our joint credit card, which is paid off every month from our joint checking, unless it’s a birthday or other gift-type outing, and then we pay from our individual funds.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant May 30, 2019, 12:53 pm

    I’d also say, since our finances are so combined, my husband and I know longer have the concept of treating one another, at least financially, cause what does it matter when it all comes from the same pot.

    Treating each other now means more about being thoughtful, planning things (which could be a nice dinner or a spa day or a getaway) for the other person that they might like, doing things to take the burden off the other.

    What matters now more is the sentiment than who pays. Because who pays is both of us.

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    • avatar

      Miss MJ May 30, 2019, 1:10 pm

      This is where my husband and I are, too. We started off with separate accounts and a “house” account, but eventually, everything just ended up in the house account. While I sometimes think I should get a separate account for gifts and stuff for him, we’ve kind of gravitated away from getting each other “gifts” in favor of going on trips for birthdays, Christmas, etc. Obviously, if I see something I think he’d like, I’d buy it for him and vice versa, and we’d consider it a gift from the other one, but we’re really both paying for it.

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  • avatar

    Anonymous May 30, 2019, 12:55 pm

    When we first started dating, we’d usually get separate bills when we met for drinks or dinner. We were both frugal recent grads, trying to budget, so that agreement happened naturally, without much discussion, since it’s how we both split bills with our friends, too. But, if one of us had planned a fancier date and was “taking” the other person out, they’d treat, like when I surprised him with Blue Jays tickets or if he took me out to a club to dance. I never kept a running tally of how much I’d spent compared to him – it was a pleasure to treat and to enjoy the experience.

    Now that we’re married, we have joint accounts and separate accounts, and use income-based percentages to ensure we’re both contributing equally to bills, household/relationship expenses, and joint savings. We used to take turns paying for dates, using joint funds unless one of us was treating the other for a birthday or a something, but lately he’s always treating. He travels fairly often so he got one of those elite-type credit cards for the free access to airport lounges and it comes with a far better cash-back rate than our joint or my own credit cards. He uses his own money to pay off that card, but since he now makes significantly more than me, he has more disposable income left at the end of the month, which he usually puts down on our mortgage or adds to joint savings, so he doesn’t mind using some of it for something else that’s also for “us”. If he feels like he’s overused that card in any particular month, I’ll pay or we’ll use joint money.

    Whatever system we’ve used to pay over the years, it’s always been something that worked for both of us.

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  • Lucidity

    Lucidity May 30, 2019, 12:56 pm

    When we first started dating, we’d usually get separate bills when we met for drinks or dinner. We were both frugal recent grads, trying to budget, so that agreement happened naturally, without much discussion, since it’s how we both split bills with our friends, too. But, if one of us had planned a fancier date and was “taking” the other person out, they’d treat, like when I surprised him with Blue Jays tickets or if he took me out to a club to dance. I never kept a running tally of how much I’d spent compared to him – it was a pleasure to treat and to enjoy the experience.

    Now that we’re married, we have joint accounts and separate accounts, and use income-based percentages to ensure we’re both contributing equally to bills, household/relationship expenses, and joint savings. We used to take turns paying for dates, using joint funds unless one of us was treating the other for a birthday or a something, but lately he’s always treating. He travels fairly often so he got one of those elite-type credit cards for the free access to airport lounges and it comes with a far better cash-back rate than our joint or my own credit cards. He uses his own money to pay off that card, but since he now makes significantly more than me, he has more disposable income left at the end of the month, which he usually puts down on our mortgage or adds to joint savings, so he doesn’t mind using some of it for something else that’s also for “us”. If he feels like he’s overused that card in any particular month, I’ll pay or we’ll use joint money.

    Whatever system we’ve used to pay over the years, it’s always been something that worked for both of us.

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE May 30, 2019, 1:10 pm

    I’m in a very new relationship and we take turns paying after 2 months. He paid for our first date drinks – 2 drinks each – and since then we have taken turns or split. His financial situation is more precarious than mine even though he is older than I am, and I’m sensitive to that. I often buy food for us to cook together at my house rather than going out and spending money; it’s cozier, we’re both introverts, and he enjoys cooking in my kitchen as it’s bigger than his plus he gets to show off his cooking skills. Other than that, when we do go out, one of us will buy drinks and the other food or whatever, depending on who’s gotten what. None of this has had to be discussed in any kind of formal way yet, so it’s nice.

    I do want to go out to a nice(r) restaurant soon and have already run it by him to make sure he’s OK with it, since the bill there will generally come to $60-80 before tip depending on what we get. I expect we will split that one, or limit the number of $10-13 drinks we get there (it’s the South, that’s pricey for a cocktail here) and opt to drink somewhere cheaper after we have dinner. 🙂

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    • Copa

      Copa May 30, 2019, 4:05 pm

      I think you need to update the dating thread! 😉

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      • TheLadyE

        TheLadyE May 30, 2019, 10:44 pm

        Heh, I know it seems silly but every time I update the dating thread, the guy flakes, so…I’m trying to not jinx it. Eep.

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    • TheLadyE

      TheLadyE June 4, 2019, 12:37 pm

      Update on this, too: this weekend my boyfriend (of 3ish months) and I went to a comedy show where I was performing and then out to dinner. We split our first order of 2 cocktails and hummus at the bar, he bought me another drink ($7 I think) while I was getting ready to perform, and then we split our check at dinner. The dinner was pricier than he anticipated and I could tell he was stressing about it, so I offered to pay for the $9 appetizer I suggested as well as my own food/drink to make it easier on him. I also paid for the uber to get downtown from my house and back because it was raining, though he offered to pay for the way back. (Side note: I rarely take uber so wtf is up with the surge prices?! It was double the amount to go home at 11:30 as it was to go downtown at 7:30!) I expressed frustration at the higher cost of the uber and he said he would definitely drive us next time.

      I think I’m saying all this because I’m super annoyed at that guy in the last post who says “no women offer to pay” for dates. Grrrr. YES WE DO. The last thing I want is for my boyfriend to be stressed about money while we are out together. I out-earn him and $9 for an appetizer and $25 for an uber isn’t going to kill my budget. Damn.

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  • avatar

    SM May 30, 2019, 1:19 pm

    Typically, when I go on a first date whoever asks pays. There’s been a few times I’ve mustered up the courage to ask someone out for the first time, I’ve paid. But if a guy asks me out first, he pays. If that first date is dinner and he pays, if we get drinks out afterwards somewhere, I’ll pay for those. Once I’m past the getting to know you stage and in an exclusive relationship, I like to alternate. If we go out with friends I pay this time, he pays next time. I like to treat for birthdays, and a date night is paid by whomever does the planning.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been in an exclusive relationship, but I try to use this route for all relationships. Not many have gone against it.

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  • avatar

    ktfran May 30, 2019, 1:28 pm

    Throughout my entire dating career, the “who pays” has varied. I always offer to split 50/50 though.

    Most of the time, the man declined on our first date to split and he’d pick up. On date two, it’s usually split the bill, or he’ll pick up at one place and I’ll pick up at the other. As the dates have progressed, that has always been the case. Oh, you bought drinks here? I’ll buy dinner there. Or whatever. So I guess I personally prefer the “taking turns” method.

    The husband picks up most of our food out because that’s the CC he wants our dining out points on. We do keep our finances separate. I give him $ every month to help with the mortgage and our savings. He makes a significant amount more than me. And we do feel like it’s “our” money even though everything is separated. We also check in every few months to make sure we’re on track/it’s working.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs May 30, 2019, 1:46 pm

    i think it should be 50:50….but typically i go with whoever asks pays….i’ve dated 3 guys who made less money than me and i know its not right, but it actually bothers me when they think i should pay for most of the dates (including the guy i’m dating now)….one guy even wanted to stop working and have me support him while he focussed on his acting career….ugh, such a turn off….so i think this has given me empathy for when the shoe is on the other foot and men are expected to pay more

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  • avatar

    alafair May 30, 2019, 2:09 pm

    We’ve been dating for a year. My boyfriend is from a different country and has some pretty firm ideas on who should pay (him…). I’m in IT, and pretty well paid, but he’s world class at what he does and makes a whole lot more.

    So what I do to even it out? Well, I’m a planner, he’s not. More often than not I’m the one who’s arranging the things we do. So I pay for the things we go to (concert tickets, movie tickets etc) and he pays for dinner. I once found a dinner and show that I could prepay for. Alcohol and tip weren’t included. (He insisted on paying for those). I also try to take care of him in different ways – I’ll make and bring over dinner, or bake etc.

    The lovely thing is neither of feel nickle and dimed about it.

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  • avatar

    Ashley May 30, 2019, 2:09 pm

    I’ve done a lot of online dating as a woman, and I think it’s only polite to offer to pay for your drink or whatever when you first meet. Very few guys have taken me up on it, but I’m in Texas. Now my boyfriend and I will take turns, and I think like anything in life, having roommates, splitting parental duties, youll have a much happier time if you don’t overanalyze and try and nickel and dime every purchase.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor May 30, 2019, 7:08 pm

    It’s surprising to me how many married people on this have separate finances from their spouses. Not judging or anything,but surprised.

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    • avatar

      ktfran May 30, 2019, 7:20 pm

      I was 37 when we got married. I’m not changing my last name. We’re not having kids. We don’t have even have pets. Neither one of us are concerned with combining finances. It’s working and we check in so it’s like, why bother?

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      • avatar

        Kate May 30, 2019, 7:24 pm

        Right, I’m still trying to figure out why bother or what’s the point, even after everything Ele4phant said. Again, nothing against it, just doesn’t make sense for me.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 31, 2019, 3:49 pm

        In reflection, I definitely think, at least for me, it matters very much when we got together.

        We were 23 when we started dating. We had entry level jobs that didn’t pay super well, we had no assets, we had no retirement funds, we barely had savings.

        We each had our own checking meager checking accounts, I had a cat and he had a car that his parents gave him for college graduation. And a couple of bikes. That was it.

        As we matured, started getting promotions and raises, started acquiring investments and property and just building a more complicated financial life, we were doing it together. So, easy to merge things together when they didn’t already exist.

        I can definitely see if how I stayed single and eventually built the sort of financial life I have now on my own, it would be kind of a nightmare to try to combine my finances with someone else’s complicated financial life.

        There’s also no idea of the financials I had before we got together, there were no assets before one another.

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    • avatar

      Ange May 30, 2019, 7:52 pm

      Eh, we have a joint attitude to our finances so who cares where the money is actually kept.

      As for dates I think at the beginning we’d kind of go one paid for food and the other drinks but these days it doesn’t really matter, it’s all our money. With bills it’s in his name so he pays but I have a transfer set up each fortnight to pay my half. We get paid opposite weeks so whoever gets paid that week gets the groceries and we both save what we can. It’s a truly equitable system and we’ve never had any issues just because our money is in different accounts.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 30, 2019, 8:01 pm

        We have a similar mindset, different execution. It’s also so easy to move money these days.

        I’m good with whatever couples decide as long as it works for them.

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        Ange May 31, 2019, 12:28 am

        Yeah exactly. We use the same bank so we can move money between accounts instantly if needed. I think as long as you’re both involved and in agreement about how money is managed you do you! It’s amazing how many people seem to think separate finances mean you’re not truly committed though (not saying you do Fyodor I’ve just come across it a lot recently for some reason). To me it’s not any form of statement it’s just convenient. Yes, if it did go south one day I’d have my money protected but the overarching reason I haven’t merged accounts is because we don’t see a need for it and we’re kinda lazy. We still just hand each other our cards and info, I think I walked around with his card in my wallet for like a week once lol.

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        Kate May 31, 2019, 5:42 am

        I do feel like there’s a little couple-shaming going on when people use words like “weird.” This was on a different thread. “Interesting” is a bit better.

        And I think some people feel like it’s a badge of, I don’t know, something (adulthood? Commitment?) to have a joint bank account. And if you’re not using a joint account for expenses, your relationship isn’t as valid? Whatever works, seriously!

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        Fyodor May 31, 2019, 3:52 pm

        Yeah, absolutely wasn’t implying anything wrong with it. Money isn’t the number one thing couples fight about so people should do what works for them.

        I commented mostly because IRL I don’t necessarily have any insight into how any of our friends handle their money and I wonder if my default assumption that most had joint finances was wrong.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 31, 2019, 5:18 pm

        My friends and I do talk finances and I do know that of our friends, my husband and I are in the minority. Most are either completely combined or contribute to a joint while also maintaining some independence with a separate. I don’t think your assumption is totally off base.

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    Fyodor May 30, 2019, 7:08 pm

    It’s surprising to me how many married people on this have separate finances from their spouses. Not judging or anything,but surprised.

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      Kate May 30, 2019, 7:20 pm

      I did, the first time around. I have nothing against it, I just think it would be a lot of hassle for us now, with no benefit for either of us. The biggest thing that IS beneficial is him being able to be on my health insurance, and having our investment and retirement accounts in a managed portfolio. Pooling all our money would just be a pain at this point, and I don’t want to get involved in his tax situation. I do mine on TurboTax, easy, but he needs an accountant.

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        Kate May 30, 2019, 7:22 pm

        I mean I had joint finances the first time I was married.

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    decibel May 30, 2019, 8:27 pm

    Wendy asked how some same-sex couples handle this issue. Similar to a lot of the other couples, at the beginning, one person paid.. in our case, that was the more masculine one, who usually did the asking also. Then we took turns, although I think she still paid more often but I would pay for the most expensive things. My experience is perhaps less typical for couples now, because I grew up in a more butch/femme era and still enjoy that. We’re married now with mostly merged finances. I make more money, but she always picks up the bill when we go out. I still appreciate the gesture. There’s something about being taken out to dinner that feels very romantic. The mortgage, groceries, child care costs, and utilities all come out of the account with my salary (in both our names), but I still love being taken out to dinner.

    I will say that on paper, this sounds like a bad idea—my money is joint, hers isn’t. So I’m not sure I’d recommend that to others, but it’s worked well for us for more than 10 years.

    Two common themes to a lot of the answers are that the man usually pays more at the beginning and later, the person who earns more pays more. I wonder if the guy who wrote in has not gotten past the early stages and hasn’t gotten to the more equitable stage? Or if he’s always dating women who earn less?

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    Sapphire May 30, 2019, 9:41 pm

    I’m 20 years old girl and here’s what I know. I think I learned this from either my friends, my older sister and her friends, or magazines. Whoever ask, that person pays and had to have plans on what to do on the date (dinner, movie, museum, hiking, or whatever event). If the date goes well, they usually ask you for a second date and then they pay. If they’re officially dating, they usually split the bill. I do know some people feel guilty about letting their date pay for the whole thing, so they offered buying ice creams or drinks afterwards. Btw, I usually do the asking.

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    SweetT May 30, 2019, 10:48 pm

    I think my situation is a little bit different than others. When my husband and I started dating 3.5 yrs ago, I made almost 5 x as much as him. He paid for our first date but I was conscience that he didn’t make as much so picked an inexpensive chain. Now, there is no rhyme or reason to who pays. It’s usually him but not always.

    We have separate accounts that are linked and joint savings. I pay all the bills – 1. Bc the house is my asset, in my name only and 2. there was no increase in those bills with him living with me.

    He now makes double what he use to and almost 1/2 goes in to our savings. He pays for all our extras and kid activities. My two kids have been adopted by him – all their sports, lessons and gear he takes care of. We went to Disney in March and it was his salary that paid 100% of the trip.

    While he has the passwords to the accounts, I manage it all. I’m better with the finances than he is. It works for us but I not sure it would work for everyone.

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    Surfgirl May 31, 2019, 4:34 am

    Well. I actually just had a date tonight. I pick a coffee place because I didn’t want the guy to spend too much money on the first date. He did not even want to pay mine 2 dollars and fifty cents of coffee. And did not even tried to walk me to my car given it was dark at night.

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    Allornone May 31, 2019, 6:35 am

    Since the beginning, my boyfriend of five years (I’m a hetero, cis woman) and I naturally just fell into splitting costs. Sometimes I pick up the check; sometimes he does; sometimes, we split. There’s no real discussion about it and it just happens organically. The same with household costs. I think I end up spending a little more than him for no other reason than I make a little more than him (though he just got a new job, so yay!). Gender dynamics have never come into play in that regard.

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    jnsunique May 31, 2019, 7:40 am

    My younger brother (now 34 years old) has always been very cheap. My dad is frugal and we used to discuss what was ok to buy used, and brother said he would buy and wear used underwear, no biggie. He also graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Washington with $12k in savings, no debt, which is admirable. One day my mom, 2 sisters, brother, his gf and I were all out at lunch and he starts talking about a friend who paid for his fiancee (they had been together 2+ years and were actively planning a wedding) to go on a week-long vacation with him to Hawaii and she broke it off when they returned. Brother said that he would NEVER have paid for her, until they were married, in front of his own gf of 2 years. Luckily she already knew him and thought it was funny, but they are no longer together. He’s matured, and while he is definitely still frugal, he ended up marrying a doctor so I don’t think he’s worried about her sponging off him. I do agree it sucks when people just expect that a person will pay for other people’s expenses, but the LW strikes me as immature. If someone I just started dating asked me to pay $200 for concert tickets, we would definitely have a discussion about expectations and/or stop dating. On my first date with now-husband, I let him pay $2 for my tea because I thought it would be weirder if I insisted on paying. I believe we explicitly talked about expectations for date paying early on, and I know we talked a lot about money and our relationship to it. I came from a family who was relatively good at saving money, and he didn’t.

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      Poppy May 31, 2019, 2:22 pm

      My husband had an ex refuse to pay his mother back for an airplane ticket to Hawaii because he had broke up with her prior to the trip. The break up was reasonable in that they tried working it out but it wasnt working. He told her she was more than welcome to still come on the trip and enjoy what might have been a once in a lifetime trip. She should have paid his mother back; it was her debt. The ticket was in her name and no one else could use it. I am in the vote to not go on big expensive trips. You never know what might happen.

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    Poppy May 31, 2019, 2:20 pm

    My husband had an ex refuse to pay his mother back for an airplane ticket to Hawaii because he had broke up with her prior to the trip. Hthe break up was reasonable in that they tried working it out but it wasnt working. He told her she was more than welcome to still come on the trip and enjoy what might a once in a lifetime trip. She should have paid his mother back, it was her debt. The ticket was in her name and no one else could use it. I am in the vote to not go on big expensive trips. You never know what might happen.

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    Kelly L. May 31, 2019, 2:53 pm

    Probably me (F) more than him (M), because I make more, but it goes back and forth. And if one of us has a great idea that’s out of the ordinary price range (i.e. “Hey, I have the sudden urge to try out that new fancy restaurant!), that person will pick it up.

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    Bittergaymark May 31, 2019, 6:27 pm

    Usually 50/50. Though I recently dated a guy who not only made a ton of money he inherited a ton as well. (Yes, yes, yes. It sure would have been nice — had THAT relationship panned out. Sigh…). He paid for our REALLY big nights out (ALWAYS his idea and his places of choice). And I bankrolled most of our fun smaller money dates. I also tended to always be the one who drove use everywhere, too.

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    dinoceros June 1, 2019, 7:43 pm

    Usually first date is splitting the check, though some guys have insisted on paying, which is fine. For subsequent dates, it’s often splitting or switching off. But dating more exclusively would be switching off for sure.

    That said, most of the guys who indicated they preferred to split the bill at first turned out to not be that interested, either in me or they just wanted something casual and wanted to send a message that they didn’t want a relationship in the future.

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    allathian June 3, 2019, 8:38 am

    When I was dating as a poor student, we usually split. The one who asked, paid, or else we’d ask for separate bills.

    When I met my husband, he was making considerably more money than I was, so he paid for pretty much all of our dates. We have separate finances, with a joint household expenses account both of us pay a percentage of our income into. Because he makes more, he pays more. The only expense we split 50/50 is our joint mortgage. He pays most utility bills and we each pay our own bills for things like clothes, groceries are paid from the joint account. Both of us contribute to our kid’s expenses.

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    SpaceySteph June 3, 2019, 10:33 am

    I’ve been married for over 6 years so its been awhile since I was in the dating game. When I did date, I offered to pay every date and generally the guy would turn me down, but starting with the second date I would INSIST that I do the paying on every other date (unless it was a special thing he invited me to and then I would wait til the next date– i.e. I didn’t pay for something super pricey that he invited me to just because it was my ‘turn’).

    Now we have combined finances so we both pay officially, but my husband “pays” most of the time as in signs the check. Its generally because his wallet is in his pocket and mine is at the bottom of my purse (which these days usually is chock full of baby stuff so finding my wallet takes effort) on the floor over there so its just easier for him to get his card. But I guess I like the illusion that he’s paying for me, too. So I’m not sure what that says.

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    Carol June 4, 2019, 5:55 am

    I offered to split the bill on our first date. My future husband declined. Then the next date I paid. We alternated paying for dates. While living together we have a joint account for shared expenses. We each have our own accounts for our own money. For many years my husband made more money than I did. I did not take advantage of this. I continued to pay for alternative nights out for dinner even when we lived together. I don’t want any man to pay for me all the time, other than my father (who is dead).

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