The money talk

My 63-year-old gal pal has been dating her 70-year-old boyfriend a few years. They recently returned from a fabulous vacation. I asked her how they worked out expense sharing.

heart moneyShe said since he makes significantly more than she does, he pays for hotel, dinners, and other large expenses. She buys breakfasts and simple lunches. She may pay her air fare, but when they are first discussing the trip if she doesn’t feel she can afford it, she tells him. If it’s something he really wants to do and wants her company, he’ll pay all or part of her air fare, too.

I asked how this evolved. She said that they talked about it in the beginning and have just worked it out as each case came up. Her beau is not a wealthy man, but is working and has wildly variable income. When he’s flush, he’s very generous. When he isn’t, they don’t do as many luxurious things.

They live in different cities. He comes to see her more often than she to him. She cooks nearly all meals when he’s at her place, so they figure that evens things out a bit. They may go out once or twice when he visits and he generally picks up the tab.

It interests me to understand how dating couples work out financial details especially after dating for a few months. When my ex and I dated, neither of us had much money. We’d take turns buying dinner and a movie. And we didn’t do anything that was costly. After we were married, we generally split everything 50/50, although if I was having a good year and he wasn’t, I’d subsidize our vacations. This never happened in reverse.

moneyWhen I’ve gone out with affluent men, I’ve not made a big deal out of taking turns buying dinners. I tended to buy the movie if he bought dinner, or invited him to my house for dinner. In “Are you stingy in dating?” I shared that even well-off men like it when a woman offers to buy him coffee or an ice cream cone once in a while. And if a man had an income similar to mine, I’d tell him I’d like to take turns buying dinner or lunch so it was more balanced.

In “Go dutch or accept your date’s offer to treat?” we discussed some people’s tendancy to insist on going dutch when dating. The effect is not always a positive one. The same is true when nothing has been said about your treating ahead of time and the check comes. Your date picks it up and you snatch it out of his hand. It often leaves him feeling emasculated.

How have you worked this out when you’ve dated someone longer than a few months? Have you discussed it explicitly, or let it happen in the moment?

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