Okay, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. Last night my boyfriend and I had a discussion about our financial situations. We’re both in our 20’s and he makes more money than I do. We’ve been dating for almost 7 months. We’re both trying to build up our savings. I have a ton of bills, he has none because his family company pays for them. We live in the Deep South so the man paying for meals and dinners is more of a common thing, (as it should be right?), almost expected.
Well, last night he asked me to start splitting checks for meals and dinners. We split things very rarely. I agreed even though I felt uncomfortable about him asking me to do that. He said he felt bad about asking me to do that because he knows my financial situation and he feels obligated to pay for dinners. Literally an hour after this conversation he says he’s going to get sushi! I was mind blown. He then asked me if I was going to eat and I told him no because I just cooked at home. I went to spend time with him, but I sat there and watched him eat sushi right in front of me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a spoiled brat, nor am I expecting anything from him. I’m very independent. But I also expect my boyfriend to pay for dates. We only go on dates once a weekend. So 4 times a month and they’re never really expensive. I mean after all, we aren’t just friends. I feel like his priorities are sort of mixed up. It seems to me like he would rather spend money on himself and make me pay for my meal, rather than eat at home and save money like he said he’s wanting to do. I’m super confused on his thought process. He says he’s wanting to save money, but then he’ll go out to eat and buy this and that without batting an eye, yet he doesn’t want to pay for both of us when we go to eat. I haven’t talked to him about it yet. By the way, I am totally okay with us cooking at home together. I’d rather do that than go out and spend money on food!
Am I crazy for feeling this way?
-Damsel in Dutch Distress
Dear “Damsel in Dutch Distress”
There are many men out there who view their role in a relationship as financial providers and laugh when you pull out your wallet when the bill comes – unfortunately for you your boyfriend is not one of them. And to answer your question: Am I right for not wanting to split the bill? Well, yes and no. You’re not wrong for wanting your beau to pay for you when out on dates. But the rub lies in wanting this beau to pay for you when out on dates.
You see, when it comes to this guy, his priorities aren’t mixed up. (He wants to save money, like you, and has decided that the way to do so is to get you to pay your own way when out on dates.) Your priorities, on the other hand, are. You’d rather make him feel comfortable than enforce your standard of old-fashioned chivalry.
Oh, if only I could donate to you a free meal for every man I begged to become what I wanted opposed to just partnering with one who shared similar views and expectations. You’d be set for a while! Don’t feel you have to shoulder all the blame for your current predicament, though, as this was a case of bait and switch. He picked up the bill the first few months, and now that he’s got you he’s hoping your feelings for him will excuse him from your standards. Your willingness to work with him would be admirable had his financial situation become dire. That’s the stuff true partnerships are made of. And in your case you might be the only one of the two of you who gets that.
Now, do you have to have a conversation with your man about this whole thing? Yes, but first you must make peace with your standards. If you ask the peanut gallery (i.e. those of us on the internet and the women at the hair salon), you’ll get a plethora of opinions, all shaped from others’ life experiences, values, beliefs, etc., but the only person who gets to decide what goes on in your life is you. You know what feels good and right to you and what doesn’t, and if not having to worry about money when your man is around is something you value then don’t back down from that desire for anyone, not even your current beau.
When you let your boyfriend know what type of woman you are he’ll either withdraw from his current stance and return to picking up the checks, or he’ll decide he rather be with someone he can go Dutch with on dates, which will free you up to be with someone closer to your tastes. Either way, at least one of you will be holding true to his or heart’s desires. Why let it just be him?
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Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.