How do you handle money issues when dating?
The idea that the guy pays for the first dateis pretty well established in our society, though it’s certainly becoming less set in stone. After all, more than half of college degrees are going to women, who are of course just as able to work and earn money as men. When a couple has been dating a while, it gets a little more variable in how things go. Sometimes the guy still pays for most things. Sometimes two people share in some way. And, in the occasional situation, the girl pays more.
What about when it comes to financially helping somebody you’re dating? Especially when it comes to dating somebody in debt?
A friend of mine, who I’ve known for quite a number of years, was faced with this situation. He is a really great guy, who has happened to have some bad luck. He has been previously married, and then dated somebody who was younger than him but a seemingly good match. He seemed excited about the relationship.
Things seemed to going well, and he seemed really happy. Now, keep in mind that he’s not as into personal finance as I am, so I’m really not sure how much thought he might have given to his girlfriend’s finances. In other words, what kind of problems might be facing him! Well, you might be guessing that problems emerged, and you’re right. What happened is that she was in debt, and he decided to help her pay off her debt.
Now, I have no doubt that he probably had the best of intentions in helping out. However, the relationship suddenly hit troubled waters out of the blue, and before long they broke up. He was hurt over this. Furthermore, there is that realty that he did help her with her debts, and ended up getting a raw deal out of the whole thing.
He asked her if she would pay him back for the money he helped her with. Now, I don’t know exactly how much it was, but I’m guessing it was probably at least several thousand dollars. Well, as you might imagine by now, he didn’t get it back from her.
She was appalled that he would have the nerve to ask, apparently thinking that it was dishonorable for a man to ask a woman he dated to pay him back. He, on the other hand, seemed to view it differently. The notion was that the money he spent on helping her with her debt should be repayed, as it wasn’t a part of normal dating expenses and courting.
I’m with him on this. She should show more honor, and should pay him back for the help he gave with her debts. Or, at the very least, make a genuine promise to pay later. On the other hand, I’m not totally with him on this because I don’t think he should have helped her pay back her debts in the first place. It’s smart to work to avoid debt, as we just discussed in a prior post. Taking on somebody else’s debt? That should only come later, something that would happen only if a couple actually got married.
I do have a couple of questions for you:
- Who do you side with here, my friend, or the (ex) girlfriend?
- What do you think about the idea of helping out a person you’re dating with his or her debt?
Part 2 will cover what happened months later, when she eventually expressed interest in patching things up and dating him again. This will come in another post!