Financial Red Flags: When Does Money Matter In Dating?

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Here's how to mix your dollars with dating.

Dating is difficult. If there's two thing that people usually have trouble with, it's men and money. So how are we supposed to mix the two together?

Going on dates is where you first encounter the problem. Is he paying? Are we splitting the bill? Do I do that awkward thing where I reach for my purse and hope he says "no, I got this!" If he asks to split the check, does that mean he doesn't like me?

For some reason, we equate finances with whether someone likes us, and maybe that's the first problem. And traditionally, men are the ones who we expect to front the bill.

Then, once you get serious with someone, truly serious, there's other issues that you have to encounter. For example, when you move in with one another: how do you split the rent? If you take a vacation, who pays, or how do you divvy up the tab?

When you get married-- do you have a joint bank account?

Unfortunately, there is nothing sexy or fun about discussing money, but you have to do it.

Here's how to mix dollars and dating.

Going Dutch

I'm a big believer that the girl should OFFER to pay on the first date. However, I think the man should decline the offer, and then pay. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that the man should pay up to date, say.... 3. If you're getting drinks and things like that, yeah- pay for a round. But I do believe in courtship, and that men like a chase, and part of being pursued is monetary.

But after that, if you continue to let a guy pay for everything, you're taking advantage of them. Guys can't pay for everything forever, and if you're allowing that to happen, that's the signal you're sending. So- offer to pay for dinner. Throw down for a coffee. Start splitting the bill.

I dated a guy once with whom there was a big financial gap between us (read: he made way more money than I did) and he was fine paying for everything. I, however, was not. So we created something called "Sugar Mama Sundays" where I would pay for everything on Sundays when we went out. It became kind of funny, and ended up working out to both our benefit. He wasn't resentful, and I didn't feel guilty. And we had fun with it.

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Rent

This can get complicated, and it isn't always 50-50. Not everyone makes the same income, and this is where it can get weird. Basically, split it however you can. Maybe one of you pays the entire rent, and the other gets utilities and food. Maybe you split it percentage wise, based on your salaries. When it comes to rent its mostly about having open and honest communication about what you both think is fair and within your budget so that neither of you have resentment or guilt when it comes to finances.

Assign costs

Getting serious? It might be a good idea to keep a spreadsheet of who is buying what, or just get down to assigning costs. For example, Ted always buys the toilet paper, and Sally always gets the laundry detergent. This way, you can have a fixed budget. Confusion when it comes to finances is often what leads to fighting, so if you already have a set routine, you can avoid some arguments that might arise.

Marriage

When you're getting married, it might be best to each keep seperate bank accounts. Then, you can keep a joint account where you keep a set part of both your finances, for joint expenses.

The key to mixing dating and dollars is to keep open communication that is free of guilt and resentment. Do you have any tips or tricks?

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