Dating and money. Why spoil all the fun of dating with unpleasant talk about money?
Money rears its head in subtle, sometimes problematic ways, right from the start. That’s why it’s important to address it from the beginning and throughout the relationship.
There are two important reasons to think about money before you start dating:
- partner compatibility
- dating scammers
First, the goal of dating is typically to find a long-term partner. Partners need to be compatible if there is to be any long-term success, and money is an important compatibility ingredient. Without a similar mindset about money, relationships quickly sour. I get into reasons why, below.
Secondly, you want to avoid dating scammers by being alert to financial red flags.
Of course, if your goal is just to have fun and go on dates, money is less of an issue. Yet there are still questions you want to answer before you head out on a string of first dates.
When you are proactive and make a plan to handle money and dating, there won’t be any surprises. You can relax and have fun.
The questions below will help you craft your own personal plan on how to deal with money and dating.
Questions About Money and Relationships When Dating
Whatever your dating goal, here are several financial questions to consider.
Who Pays on the First Dates?
In this Kiplinger article on dating and money etiquette, the consensus is that whoever does the asking does the paying.
A survey about who should pay for the first date from Money and SurveyMonkey found 85% of men and 72% of women feel men should pay on the first date.
Those of us over sixty probably grew up with the notion that men are supposed to pay. Also, men do most of the asking, so they do most of the paying.
However, there is another important viewpoint to consider.
In Who Should Pay for Dates?, Forbes author Kim Elsesser writes,
“Social scientists label chivalrous behavior like treating women to dinner, benevolent sexism. Benevolent sexism is the notion that women should be adored and cherished, along with the paternalistic notion that they need men’s protection.”
This notion of chivalry affects how women think of themselves and how others treat them in every area of their lives. This belief is said to be a contributor to the gender pay gap.
Elsesser continues, “Men have a difficult time breaking the cycle as well. Straight men who fail to pay for dates risk being viewed as cheap or uninterested.
What’s the solution to who pays on the first date?
The Forbes article mentions that LGBTQ couples don’t have this problem. One survey found the majority believe the person asking for the date should pay.
If you’re sincerely in the fight for women’s equality, the right thing to do is insist on splitting the check.
However, the reality is that it’s hard to buck the pressure of cultural norms. On my first date with Daisy, I believe I paid because it seemed like the “right” thing to do. Daisy offered to split the check and I declined. It wasn’t a big deal for either of us.
One way to minimize the money issue and have a better time is to do coffee first dates. That way, if one person ends up paying, they won’t spend a lot of money. If the cost of a coffee date is keeping you up at night, you’ve got bigger financial problems to fix.
It also doesn’t hurt to simply ask the money question before the date or towards the end of the date. “Do you prefer to split the check. If it doesn’t matter, I’m happy to pick it up and we can split later dates.”
Talking about money in this way is a good way to see how your partner responds to money conversations. Also, by treating money as a normal topic on the first date, it won’t be awkward as the relationship progresses.
How Do I Know if My Date is a Romance Scammer?
First, don’t be put off by the risks of dating. As Daisy mentions in this article on mature dating safety, there is some risk in meeting any new person, whether you met them online or through your network of friends and family. The risks are easy to minimize, and the reward—meeting your ideal partner—is immense!
Dating con artists are easy to spot, and they usually operate in online dating apps. Some of the warning flags you might be talking to a scammer include:
🚩 They’ll write long letters, trying to build trust and make it feel like a relationship. Then they’ll ask for money because of some fake emergency.
🚩 They use poor grammar in their messaging to find the vulnerable. For example, “My heart good for you” or “Nice you. Pretty lady.” Anyone who responds is an easy target.
🚩 They’ll urge you to move communications off the dating site. Don’t do it until you are ready. Communicating on dating sites is secure and safe. Follow their guidelines.
🚩 They’ll offer excess attention and flattery to convince you they’re in love.
🚩 They always have an excuse to not meet in person.
Also, if your gut is telling you to beware, listen to it.
When in the Relationship Do You Ask About Their Finances?
Probably, aside from the low-key “who pays” question.
Right now, you’re just trying to find out if you’re a good fit for each other. No need to be asking about retirement accounts or credit scores.
The time to discuss money and your relationship is when you think the relationship is ready to get serious. If it’s headed that way, the conversation should be had before it gets too serious. Nor do these have to be big, heavy conversations.
As you share your life’s stories with each other, it’s easy to weave in mentions of your job, retirement status, mortgages, housing, savings, children, family expenses, debt, and other money-related values.
These natural conversations during the first few dates will let you know if you want the relationship to get serious.
Men don’t usually bring these things up. Women do. The key is to not get defensive when the topic arises, whoever mentions it.
Money in the New Relationship
So, you both decide to commit to a serious relationship.
Now is the time to get into financial details with each other. Studies show that financial compatibility is important to the success of long-term relationships.
Money and Relationship Statistics
A 2017 study revealed some interesting marriage and money statistics:
➤ 94% of couples in great marriages discussed their financial goals compared to 45% in just fine or problematic marriages.
➤ 87% of spouses with common long-term financial goals expressed greater satisfaction versus 41% without common goals who expressed average satisfaction or were in a marital crisis.
➤ Another study from Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, quoted in the article found, “The possibility of divorce increases by 45% among couples who think that their partners spend money irresponsibly.”
The good news for those in our generation, according to a story on PR Newswire, is that 44% of married adults 18 to 54 years old cited money as the number one stressor, while only 23% of adults 55 or older said money was the key point of stress.
Lying About Money in a Relationship
Lying about anything in a relationship is not good. It undermines the trust that’s essential to a good relationship.
Partners who lie about money might have a shopping, gambling, or drug addiction. Or perhaps they’re ashamed of the amount of debt they have.
If you’re already in the committed relationship, then you’ll want your partner to get help. However, lying might be a deal-breaker, signaling it’s time to move on.
The bottom line is that while money might be less of a stressor for us as we get into our fifties and sixties, financial compatibility is essential for a healthy, happy and long-term relationship.
Financial Items to Discuss in a New Relationship
Keep in mind, we’re not financial planners. And every dating situation has different circumstances.
Yet there are some common financial items to discuss when planning the future of your relationship.
Debt and credit status. What is the current status and what is acceptable to each?
Living arrangements. Where are you going to live? What happens to the other’s house or apartment when you move in together? How will you handle mutual expenses and finances? Will you split the bills evenly? Or does one partner believe whoever makes the most should pay more?
Financial accounts. Separate or joint? Daisy and I both believe it’s important to always have your own money.
Short and long-term financial plans. Where are you now and where do you want to be?
Going into business together. What is the structure of the company? Who is responsible for what? As in any business partnership, there should be plenty of upfront conversation to avoid misunderstanding and disappointment.
Estate planning. What happens to your assets should the other one die? Don’t leave it up to probate courts or extended family members.
Conclusion – Money and Dating Over 60
Money is not a taboo subject while dating. It’s important to discuss money as your relationship develops.
The more a couple has these kinds of conversations, the easier they become. It becomes a natural part of the relationship. If you need expert help, whether its financial or emotional, don’t be afraid to get it.