Money Mistakes Couples Make When Dating

by TTMK on June 23, 2014 · 5 comments

money mistakes datingRecently, I shared with someone my thoughts on different types of money mistakes that couple make throughout different times of life.   It’s interesting how many of these issues can be so different at the various stages of life. On the other hand, some of them involve some common themes too.

With that being said, I thought it would be interesting to go through a series of posts outlining some of the various money issues that can impact couples throughout these different points in life. Yes – I’m talking about a series here!

We’ll consider this to be Part 1, covering money and dating and mistakes couples might make. Subsequent posts will cover later stages in life.

So, here goes:

Not Being Genuine With Money When Dating

Let’s be real here: when dating, particularly in the earliest stages, people tend to be on their best behavior. This can happen no matter what the age of the couple, whether in college, middle age, or most any other time. When in that courtship part of the relationship, people are giddy with excitement and putting their best foot forward.

Obviously this makes sense. And it’s fun!

There is a risk, however, that sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we might unintentionally – or maybe even intentionally – “misrepresent” ourselves. This could potentially happen on various dimensions, but the one that we’re interested in here is the financial part.

Maybe it could a matter of pretending to have more money than you actually have, in order to impress the other person. This could also mean keeping your spending splurges to yourself, to make the other person think you’re under control with money (when you’re not). Or, conversely, it could mean treating the other person to lavish dates when you secretly wish you could spend far less money.

Whatever the case, the real you will come out eventually. Will that be a different profile than what you originally portrayed? This could cause issues down the line.

Solution: Be your true self! As we discussed in a prior post, being genuine with money is kind of like “what you see is what you get”. Selfishly, you can benefit from knowing that the way you really are is out there to be seen, and if he or she is cool with it now, that’s a good start. Doesn’t it seem less stressful too, compared to posturing?

Being Afraid to Talk About Money

Money is often a taboo subject for people. Now, when working and in the business world, it’s generally money that’s the bottom line! However, when talking to others, we keep financial information close to the vest. I get that, and am like that too to a certain extent.

The thing is, that’s prudent with people who are not in our inner circle. When dating, particularly for a while, that person is potentially on track to be in your inner circle as a partner. Thus, considering how important money can be to relationships (for better or worse, it is what it is!), it’s probably a good idea to be able to discuss money with the other person.

This means talking about things such as spending habits, savings goals, future career interests, lifestyle expectations, and so on. If you might be thinking of taking the relationship to the next level at some point with a permanent commitment, it would sure help for both people to be informed.

Solution: Get over your fears and just get started. Nicely bring up what you feel is important to discuss. Saying things in a way that makes it clear that such discussions are for mutual benefit is better than framing it up in a self-serving way. Be willing to share information first.

Getting Weird About Who Pays for the First Date

Okay, I know that many people might disagree with me on this. Some might not like how I’m assuming the guy has to pay. That’s cool.

This might slightly contradict the need to be genuine, as I noted above. However, a first date is a bit different. I’ve written about the paying for the first date topic before, and it really comes down to this: if you both want there to be a second date, just let things follow the generally accepted standard.   That way there’s much less pressure on either person, and things can just proceed based on the spark between two people, with money not getting in the way.

I’m not talking about all dates, just the first date. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with people sharing dating costs. If married, there is nothing wrong with female breadwinners or stay-at-home fathers, so the concept of sharing costs in dating seems okay too, right?

But for that first date, why complicate things or make things weird unnecessarily.

Solution: Guys, just pay for the first date without hesitation. Make it affordable for you, and don’t spend more than you should. Ladies, let the guy pay. You can nicely offer to pay, and genuinely thank him for treating you when he does pay.  This way nothing is weird, and two people can enjoy themselves and get to know each other.

My Questions for You

What are your thoughts on these 3 money mistakes couples could make when dating?

Have you or anyone you know made any of these?

Do you have any others to share?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle June 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

I think too many couples are too afraid to discuss money. I know of someone who was engaged to someone and they NEVER once discussed money. It was a scary thing because if you don’t talk about money, do you REALLY know that person? I know that relationships aren’t all about money, but they are a big part of most people’s lives.

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TTMK June 23, 2014 at 10:45 pm

I’m in agreement with you, that wasn’t a good idea! Best to discuss things and get it all out in the open. Only fair to both parties.

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Joe Saul-Sehy June 23, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I agree with all three of these, but with regard to #1….I was always wary when someone was trying to be MORE than on their “best behavior” and instead was trying to be impressive about how much money they had. If someone wants to impress me with their financial situation, I’m fairly sure it isn’t as good as they’re making it seem.

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TTMK June 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Good point Joe. This reminds me of someone back in the day telling me he was set up on a blind date with a model. Now, keep in mind this guy was not exactly a face man, so it wasn’t believable to begin with. Anyway, he later met her and found out she modeled her feet. At least that’s what he said…I was never sure if he deserved credit for admitting it, or if he was covering because he was rejected. But hey, if nothing else it sounded good before he found out the reality of things!

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Michelle July 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I think in the beginning, I would not be disclosing my financial information while dating. If it was a long term relationship, then I would have this discussion. If it is just casual dating, that information is mine and mine alone.

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