Recently, 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?