Recently I was reading about a spate of women who were getting tired of being financially used by their boyfriends. So they broke up with them. All I can say is — good for them!
Of course, the same is also true with men. It’s not OK for a woman to use you either.
Does that mean that on a first date, you insist on splitting the bill 50/50? Well, if you are in Germany, that seems to be the prevailing custom. In Nigeria however, even if it’s just a casual lunch between friends, it’s a custom for the man to pay.
What about here in the United States? It varies!
My personal rule when I was dating — whoever asked the other person out should pay for the date.
This should not be a huge money sink. Go out for coffee, have a beer, or take a walk in the park. Keep it simple.
If you ask someone out and they offer to split the bill on a first date — it’s OK to let them. It’s also fine to tell them you’ve got it.
You know the three date rule? For me, it’s not about sex. It’s about who is paying and whether or not we continue pursuing romance.
I always gave a guy a second chance if we didn’t spark after a first date. But by date number three, I knew and I would let him know whether or not I wanted to see him again. If I did, I’d invite him out on our next date and insist on paying, and we’d take turns treating each other after that.
The exception? When I really liked someone but not in a romantic way. Then I’d ask if he wanted to stay friends. If he did, I’d treat him like any other friend.
However, there were a couple of times when I was broke and the person I was dating took care of me. There were also a couple of times when I was working and the guy was in school, and I would cover things. However, in each of these cases — it was voluntary. We communicated and respected boundaries.
However, apparently, there are men (and women) out there that over time drift into letting the other person pay for everything without a conversation about it.
I was reading about one woman whose boyfriend kept forgetting his credit card and so she would cover their meals, with him telling her he’d get it the next time — but the next time never came. She finally had enough when he paid for tickets for himself and his grown daughter for an event but expected her to buy her own, even though he already owed her for many dates.
I have also seen the other scenario play out, recently with a friend of mine who was feeling more and more resentful because his girlfriend kept making reservations at expensive restaurants when he would have preferred more meals at home that they cooked together. It wasn’t so much the money in that situation as her total disregard for what he wanted.
This is really the core issue.
When you are in a relationship, it has to be based on respect. That means your needs matter, but so does your partner’s. If it’s all about you — then you shouldn’t be dating anyone else, you should take a mirror with you. If it’s all about the other person — ask yourself why you are a glutton for punishment.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. Because most of us have done the same thing. The lovely thing is we can learn, we can grow, and we can do better.
I am fighting stage IV cancer. If you can help with medical bills, I would really appreciate it. Or if you enjoy my writing and would like to buy me a cup of coffee, that’s great too. Maybe someday I can return the favor.
This post was previously published on Shefali O’Hara’s blog.
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