Dating, Relationships and Money. Who Should Pay?

From time to time I like to sit back, relax, and spend some time taking a trip down memory lane by watching music videos from the “golden eras” of hip-hop and soul music via YouTube. If you’re a hip-hop head like me, you can almost let the videos roll one after the next (knowing all the words and even the year they were made). So after being on a video high for nearly an hour, I decided to take a brief intermission to grab my beverage of choice. When I returned, Heavy D’s, “I got nothing but love,” was next in rotation. I remembered the video vividly, because of 2 things: Chris Tucker and the array of beautiful sisters that were present throughout the video.

Like the majority of videos in the 90’s, it begins with an entertaining skit. Heavy is joking around with two individuals, one of which is Skeeter (played by Tucker). The camera then pans to a group of young ladies having a candid conversation about their male counterparts. One of the women emphatically stated, “Girl all I know is what’s mine is mine and what’s his is mine.” I had to immediately press pause and let that statement marinate a little bit. I could sense that my creative juices were beginning to flow (I’m always inspired by other forms of art). In my mind, I just knew that this would be the perfect topic to discuss via realblacklove.com.

Being in a relationship is a beautiful thing: love, joy, pain, hurt. You get to experience the full gambit of the emotional roller-coaster along the way. If there is one particular drop during the thrilling ride that makes your stomach sink the most, it has to be—the financials.

Let me just state that arguments are bound to pursue as it relates to money. I don’t care how great of a relationship you’ve had in the past or the one you’re currently in—there is no escaping it. Sometimes, it feels like the elephant in the room. Having little access to it can make some brothers feel inferior, embarrassed, or even depressed. Some women view such men as weak and unreliable leeches. These labels may be the furthest from the truth, but they most certainly can make or break relationships and friendships for that matter.

There are different stages of relationships: the initial meeting (feel out stage), curiosity (get to know you better), dating (the weird affectionate name dropping begins), and marriage (yous’ mine now).

I will be discussing the final two stages: dating and marriage. I will briefly explore how the “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine,” mentality can potentially destroy the trust, bond, and eventually—the relationship.

Dating

To some, dating is probably the best stage in the relationship process. It’s still fresh; cupid’s arrow still can be seen through the abundance of public display of affection (PDA). In this stage, there are still rules/guidelines that one is to follow. In the first two stages, it’s pretty much open season; there are really no rules to gauge.

So when you have that official first date as boyfriend and girlfriend—who picks up the bill? Are the boundaries set going forward?

For many of us brothers, as young boys coming up, it has always been instilled in us that we should always foot the bill. Whether its dinner or a movie, we are expected to pay. Society shows us this all the time. For example, when you go out to eat, who does the waitress/waiter place the check in front of? I would be willing to bet that 97% of the time that the recipient would be the male in the respective relationship. It’s the whole being a gentleman ideal. In some ways, it feels as if it’s one of the natural rites of passages to becoming a man.

So, what happens when you find yourself footing the bill 100% of the time when you’re just dating? Some may begin to feel used, taken advantage of, or my all-time favorites—feel like, Sam Sausage Head or Boo-Boo the Fool.

That awkward feeling will soon begin to eat away at the relationship. After all, who likes to feel used? Because of this, some brothers may begin to build that protective wall to prevent that feeling of being treated like a human ATM machine. As a result, the gentlemen-like qualities will soon evaporate and the next female in line will feel the burn the most.

Please, don’t become that awkward couple slyly sliding the check across the table back and forth. Have the financial conversations upfront, because if you don’t, you could potentially find yourself frustrated, confused, and broke (financially and relationship wise).

 

Marriage

Marriage—the final stage in the relationship process. If you’re lucky enough (or unlucky depending on who you ask) to have made it this far, then you’ve crossed the finish line. However, the race is not over. This stage presents some of the most serious and damaging arguments as it relates to finances.

Financial issues in a marriage present enough stress and pressure to tear any marriage apart. At the end of the day a woman wants to feel secure, not only in her relationship, but financially as well. If her sense of security feels threatened in any way, you can be certain that Argument Street will be right around the corner.

Theoretically you’re supposed to be in it together. Terms should have been extended from the dating stage. Unfortunately, money tension always seems to rear its ugly head.

Things such as who pays for dinner or dates, is all thrown out the window at this point. Because who really cares about things that trivial at this stage? Now—the arguments are because of bills, debt, power, extended family, responsibilities, children—I can go on for days.

Considering all things are equal, is it okay for a spouse to have a separate bank account from the joint account you have together? For example, if the man deposits 100% of his check into the joint account, is it okay for the woman to only deposit 70% (for sake of argument, woman secretly has this account)? What if you’re struggling to maintain bills? If your significant other did this, could you trust them moving forward?

This is where it gets a little tricky. It would have been too easy for me to present the Gold Digger argument. I want you to think a little on this one.

To conclude, the only preventive method to all this financial madness is to simply—communicate. In most cases, having that simple line of communication open can alleviate a ton of stress. I’ve always believed that a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. If you believe that you’re getting taken advantage of in any capacity, bring it to light. Also, in any stage of the relationship, if you’re at a point where you feel financially insecure, talk about it. If you’re with your soulmate or someone who is 100% down for you, then all the material shenanigans would be minimal.

And to the Gold Diggers out there—this debate is not for you!

To the rest of my beautiful sisters, as Heavy said, “I got nothing but love for you.” I want to hear from you…

Questions:

  1. Should ladies at least attempt to offer to pay the bill in the dating stage?
  2. Women: would you date a man if he didn’t foot the bill every time?
  3. Should dating or relationships be a 50/50 deal?
  4. When is it the right time to have the conversation about money?

 

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