Eventually, We All Pay
So, I have been writing long enough and often enough that I have some regular readers who have some issues they would like my opinion on. I usually just write a blog on the topic and let you all know what I think. But this time I don’t really know where to go on the topic.
I have opinions of course (I wrote a bit on the topic of paying for dates earlier this month), and I will include a few here. But I really feel like fully weighing in would require me to step into a realm I’m not too comfortable with. But my friend has been waiting a long time for an answer and I am actually dying to know what you all think on the topic. So, here’s her question:
I love reading your blog. I was having a conversation with friend about dating last weekend. We were wondering what are the rules for paying on a date. We are both pretty independent single mothers. We usually offer to pay after we’ve been dating a guy for a little while.
Somehow it seems like we end up paying for a lot more than we’re comfortable with at some point in the relationship (to the point of the guy is a jerk). She ended up in a situations where instead of buying dinner for herself and her daughter, she was also buying dinner for the guy and his 3 children too. (And it was expected).
I ran into a situation when a guy came to Florida with my family for vacation. He didn’t have enough cash to pay for the 3 of us until I said that I had some cash. Then he ordered the most expensive thing on the menu (ribs plus an appetizer). I broke off the engagement after that vacation.
My dad said he would never ever had made my mom pay for anything when they were dating.
— S.V. Single Mom Extraordinarre
So, a bit of my opinion quickly. I guess I don’t think a guy should have to pay for everything during the dating process — especially considering how long people date nowadays before they get married. But I definitely think these examples above speak to the character of the men involved and they aren’t saying anything too good.
Furthermore, my personal policy is to talk about everything. Decide what you think and where you stand and then have it out. Granted, talking about money (or any area of potential conflict) can be very uncomfortable, but the situations above seem even more uncomfortable and they may have been avoided with a few conversations.
I should also bring up that I think we often dismiss things while dating or avoid the confrontation because we want to be affable and we want the other person to think we are easy-going. We figure we will eventually deal with it, but in reality we are setting precedence for future behavior. And money is something you will have to deal with for the rest of your relationships whether it lasts for a month or 40 years. I suggest deciding what you want, talking about it early and consciously setting precedence for future interactions.
Now, to all my loyal readers — or anyone reading for that matter — what do you all think about this? How should my friend handle this dating issue?
(S.V., pay attention to the answers some of my male readers give. They are good guys — the type that I think you would do well with. They’ll give you a good idea of what to look for in a good fella on this topic.)