Money Issues in Dating

So I have been dating this guy for a few weeks now and was wondering when we should start sharing in our entertainment expenses? He always wants to go out and do things but unfortunately I am not as financially stable as he is. I feel bad when he is always paying for everything but I really am not in a position to waste money on things that are not important like going to the movies and out to eat. How do I let him know this in a tactful way?

(Rea, Seattle, WA)


Good question Rea, it sounds like the guy you have been seeing is financially stable and enjoys taking you out. If he did not have the money, then I’m sure he would suggest that you both eat at home or rent a movie instead. The best way to approach him about this, is to be completely honest with him. Yes, it may be a little embarrassing to go into details about your finances with him. But in the long run, he will appreciate that you are being honest. If you have not yet offered to pay, he could possibly feel used and that is no way to begin a relationship.

Let him know first off about your feelings for him, then let him know you appreciate that he always takes you out. I would tell him that you love spending time together no matter what you do. And let him know, he doesn’t always have to spend money taking you out. Let him know that you do feel guilty that you can’t take him out because of your financial situation. It may be good to drop some figures like your salary or that $5000 school loan.

Let him know your long-term goals, so that he knows why you can’t spend on unnecessary things. For example you could say, “I would like to have $2000 saved by the end of the year, so that I can go back to school. That’s why I can’t spend $50 on a concert ticket.” It would be a good idea to do inexpensive things for him to show you care. You could bake him his favorite cookie, set up a room with candles, soft music, give him a massage, or cook him dinner. The most important thing is to let him know that regardless of what you do, you love to be with him and that you care about him.

Every relationship is different. Some men would never let a woman pay, while other men have a more modern view. Always be honest with your significant other about important issues such as finances, especially if you are unable to contribute much financially to a relationship.

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