Social Question

Idknown's avatar

Does the guy always pay for everything?

Asked by Idknown (1118points) March 19th, 2010

I have been with my girlfriend for 5 months. During this time, I am paying for most of our meals and activities, with her fronting some of the small stuff. I really don’t mind this arrangement as I am a working individual and she is a student.

The problem comes that she is from an affluent family. Sometimes she orders things, and requests for things that are just a tiny bit outside of my standard of living, although I can still afford it. On top of that – it’s also in her culture to have guys pay for everything. I sometimes feel she doesn’t always have my wallet’s best interest in mind. However, I would like you guys to think she’s naive about it rather than being a gold digger about it.

The question I want to ask you guys and gals out there is – do you expect the man to pay for everything? For how long?

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41 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

That always bothered me when I grew up. It probably contributed to me not dating hardly at all. I had no money. I was embarrassed to ask a girl to go “dutch” as we used to call it. One of the reason I loved feminism was that women who took it seriously expected to pay for themselves. I didn’t have to worry.

Nowadays, it seems like that aspect of feminism has died. My kids have this notion that the guy always pays. This makes me a bit uneasy.

njnyjobs's avatar

If she’s truly the one for you and she believes that you are for her, then she should be sensitive enough to the reality. If you can’t afford stuff, then don’t go there. Live within your means. Don’t try to impress her with something that you can’t deliver later on as that will cause problems between the two of you.

The sooner you discuss with her what you can and cannot offer (materially speaking) the sooner you can find out the intensity of your relationship.

bellusfemina's avatar

Give her a lapdance and make her tip you money. Then you will have money to pay for her stuff, and both parties will win! lol

laureth's avatar

My husband and I make within a few hundred bucks of each other per year. We split everything roughly equally. When he had a job making twice what I did, he paid more often, but I had to carry it sometimes or I felt like crap about it.

If your GF is from a wealthy family, does that mean she gets an allowance? If so, that should be considered “income” for the purposes of how often she should pick up the tab. If her family gives her nothing at all, it doesn’t help her that they’re wealthy really.

If having a wealthy family informs her tastes (but doesn’t provide the means to pay for them), it might be a good time to have a sit-down talk about budgeting with her. Love doesn’t mean having to go broke to fund her whims, but it does mean being sensitive to each others’ needs and abilities. Maybe she just doesn’t perceive what she’s doing and how it affects you?

So hard to answer these sorts of questions without knowing the whole situation.

vbabe96's avatar

In my relationship we take turns paying for meals and outings. Sometimes I will cover dinner and my boyfriend will pay for the movie.

Fred931's avatar

The earnings of whoever works, even if it is both, in a couple should be thought of as both of yours.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

No, but I have been in relationships in which I haven’t seen anything from my “partner” the entire time I was with them. Luckily myself and my sweetie share everything so its really nice :-) Those of you though who have felt my pain know it is not a good place to be where you don’t get anything from the person you are with. =\

ucme's avatar

Love costs & here’s where you start paying,only joking.I see no reason why the paying can’t be shared between you.

laureth's avatar

@Fred931 – even if they’ve only been dating a month? For me, that kind of sharing happens only after significant commitment (like marriage or cohabitation).

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You’ve raised another question (in my mind, anyway), without even knowing it:

If the answer to your Q is, “Yes, the man always pays,” then who pays when two gay guys date? Or lesbians?

HTDC's avatar

There is no rule saying men have to pay for everything but it is an expectation that has stuck for generations that a man is a “gentleman” if he does so. Half and half I say.

suncatnin's avatar

I prefer to work out an arrangement where we roughly alternate who pays for what, and that arrangement applies to my friends and SO. It’s so much easier than trying to split every bill down the middle, but it does require a bit of recollection and agreement on the other party’s part to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

What kinds of ‘things’ is she requesting? Let her know that you’re trying to save money for some reason (emergency fund, car, place, school, vacation, etc) and see what she responds with.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve mostly been with men who are more comfortable paying for everything, they’d rather I not and it’s not been just because I make less money. I’d enjoy to do a whole lot more and in the past I’ve been able to but as far as dinners and entertainment go, the guys like to call the shots. I try to take a cue from the man if he’s taking me out as to what he’s up to as far as ordering off a menu, for example. I personally feel it’s rude and inconsiderate to feel his wallet is mine just because he’s offering.

Most dating couples should talk a bit about money (I know I hate to do it) and their spending habits and entertainment wants so there can be a comfort zone of going out rather than high anxiety to meet expectations that might not really even exist. My partner is one who loves to pamper himself and spoil me too and when he feels pinched then he apologizes for not being able to do more which I think is silly because I don’t expect him to do all that he does and would hate to think he feels any kind of pressure. I want him to feel my enjoyment and appreciation no matter what it is we do, no matter the cost involved and that’s taken some verbal communication which at first seemed awkward but is now a relief, for both of us I think.

HTDC's avatar

@CyanoticWasp The more masculine one of each?

IBERnineD's avatar

I go by the rule of, whoever is the one who asks the other to go on a date is the one that pays. Keeps it pretty simple.
If I’m in a relationship, we can either go Dutch, or do the “Hey thanks for paying for ice cream tonight! I’ll catch the bill next time we go out!”
My mother never wanted me to come of as someone who couldn’t take care of herself. So, when I went to prom the boys would pay for the tickets and dinner and my corsage. Then when the night came at some point I would slip $150 in their pocket or car. I have had money given back to me, but I had an ex who actually thought he legitimately found the money out of nowhere. I didn’t tell him it was me. There was also a time when a coach lifted my fees to dance for that particular season. ($2000 worth) I thanked him and then after the season was over donated $2000 to the team.

Idknown's avatar

@njnyjobs She’s probably not the one for me. I foresee this to be short term. You’re from NY area – you know how hard these bills can be sometimes for dinner and such. I am a working consultant and I can afford a lot. But hell – to be honest, when it’s a $65 dinner every night and a $25 dollar movie after and then she wants to go to a broadway play for the weekend… I can easily outspend my paycheck…

@laureth She does get allowance. It’s just not in her culture to pay. She’s Korean, and in that culture – the man is very dominant. They pay for everything and they expect total subservience from their women. I am not like that… I am more Americanized, and since I’m not Korean, I never had that way of thinking. This is where the friction comes from really.

With my ex and first girlfriend she wouldn’t let me pay for everything and insisted on half. I am just taken by how much more this new girlfriend expected more than my highschool sweetheart.’

Thanks guys for letting me in on your own personal lives.

tinyfaery's avatar

Frankly, if she hasn’t at least offered to pay for things after 5 months, I think she’s a bit callous. The whole ‘guys pay for stuff’ attitude is so dated. Women make their own money now.

Idknown's avatar

@laureth She is just used to certain things that I am not, growing up from a middle class family. For instance, I don’t get wine with my food, and hardly get appetizers. In NYC, and I’m sure in a lot of places they really charge for those appetizers. Growing up, I never found the need to pay twice as much for the appetizer than my entree for a third as much of the food…

But with the way she eats full course meals, I find it hard to take her out to nicer places than what I can afford to do full course meals at.

@tinyfaery I agree with you. She actually wants to be a housewife though… I don’t want a housewife, but I am ambitious and would love to be in a financial situation to have one though… Is that weird thinking?

noyesa's avatar

It’s kind of a strange cultural expectation that the man pays, and that bugs me sometimes. There’s always this awkward moment at nice restaurants where they take her credit card to pay the bill, bring it back, and try to hand it to me (even though the card has her name on it), and then I have to tell them that it’s hers and there’s usually a judgmental look, like I’m a lowlife who can’t provide for his woman or something like that, like I’m supposed to be paying for everything (everything, everything).

We split everything right down the middle, for the most part. We’re not overly anal about it since we’ve never had any “but I paid for blah blah” wars, but we take turns buying groceries and dinner. What with being two college students trying to live like normal individuals in a small midwestern town, we’re not really in the situation to have one of us “fronting” all the money and simply considering all of our money as ours and not having any guilt when one person seems to pay all the time. Technically, it is, but that doesn’t mean I have enough cash to front all the time for everything. We depend on each other.

Val123's avatar

Is she getting money from her family? Also, how old is she?

Idknown's avatar

@noyesa That happened to me in one of the few times she did pay. Made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

I strongly believe in women rights and a girlfriend is a partner, not a paid companion. I always felt that if I paid for everything – it makes me feel like I’m paying for her ‘services’.

Idknown's avatar

@Val123 She is 22, I am 23. She gets allowance, but nothing that NYC won’t rob you blind of in a second.

She’s still in college, not working.

laureth's avatar

@Idknown – it sounds like a definite culture clash, and that she’s unlikely to change such deep-set convictions.

Val123's avatar

Hm. Yes, I’d say she’s naive! If you’ve never had to support yourself, it’s amazing how clueless you can be. Perhaps you could start saying things like, “Let’s eat in tonight ‘cause I’m a little short on cash this week.”

Idknown's avatar

@laureth Yeah, looks like I can’t really afford to date an upper class gal. hahaha

I’ll get there someday.

@IBERnineD More girls should be like you :).

@Val123 Yeah she is very naive and I guess that’s one of the reasons I find her adorable. She was very surprised to find that not everyone has their tuition paid for by their parents and that her friends had loans. (She goes to a pretty expensive school.)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Do you think you’re at a point of unsurety because you want to believe she is actually appreciative and would be flexible and conscientious if you weren’t in the financial position to pay for so much? Maybe if you talked with her then you’d find she’d be fine with going out to dinner less often and open to less expensive venues than plays? You say you can afford it most of the time and that you do want a home and wife so maybe the bigger issue is wanting to feel appreciated and valued for what you provide on your end so you know your investment in a future with her is not shallow? Talk more.

laureth's avatar

@Idknown – not “upper class” so much as “raised to be ornamental.” If she were upper class and paid for a share of your dates, that would be different. It just sounds like you can’t afford a girl whose aim is to be a non-contributing housewife who wants a husband to take care of everything (which is unsustainable under your circumstances whether she is rich or poor to begin with).

Val123's avatar

Honestly..I’d be concerned about her lack of financial savvy, especially if you guys might get serious. If you got married, it’s possible she’d get all up in arms when denied whatever she wanted. But, you know her best!

Idknown's avatar

@laureth I didn’t think of it like that – but you are absolutely correct. I suddenly feel bad for her… you can’t be pretty forever…

@Val123 Thanks! I don’t think it’ll be that serious – but I will keep in mind when if it does.
@Neizvestnaya Due to the fact that I don’t think this is a very serious relationship, I really think you hit it on the dot. I guess I do want her to feel appreciative that I am really going out of my habits here.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It doesn’t have to be a serious relationship in order for it to be valid to feel you are appreciated for your efforts and generosity but now you know what lies ahead when you do want to get into a serious spot with someone else.

CMaz's avatar

“Sometimes she orders things, and requests for things that are just a tiny bit outside of my standard of living,”

I have a problem with that. Either you are giving her the impression that you can afford her.
Or, she does not get you.

Scooby's avatar

It’s usually Dutch on everything with me, then no one losses out! :-/

ChaosCross's avatar

Only if the female lets them. I find it really attractive and mature if a girl is willing to pay for at least a part of the outing showing she actually cares enough to commit and not just here for “a good time”.

YARNLADY's avatar

I can’t believe this is still going on. After all we went through in the 1960’s for the liberation of women. Maybe you met one who is taking advantage.

snowberry's avatar

One big problem these days with the guy paying the way, is that some guys think the girl “Owes” them something. If she doesn’t come through, she gets raped. I’m in favor of going dutch. It evens the playing field a bit.

BoBo1946's avatar

time to sit down and have a “heart to heart talk Tell her the truth (this is what i can afford)....and “let the chips fall where they fall!”

meagan's avatar

Usually I ALWAYS pay for myself. It makes me very uncomfortable to have a man pay for me. However – I do believe that when youre dating someone, youre kind of strutting around trying to win the Lady’s heart. Right? Show her a good time! Ladies aren’t treated like Ladies anymore. :(
Besides, when you think about the money we spend on “feminine items”, make up, and the clothes we bought to wear to that dinner.. you probably got a steal. ;P

thriftymaid's avatar

It always seemed a little unfair, but when I was dating men seemed offended if I offered. So I was very careful. Admittedly, that’s been a long time ago.

mollypop51797's avatar

I think that men can treat you to something special every now and then during the first few months, but then the woman can start taking care of herself.

Idknown's avatar

Thank you all for your responses. For me personally, I have learned that it’s just the difference in culture that is the core of my problems.

As for the bigger debate at hand: I do think we should keep some tradition in this ‘new age’ and that the man should pay for the dates leading up to the courtship. But I do believe that once you go steady, the costs should be somewhat more evenly distributed. I’m not a believer in 50/50. Men should still pay more. It can be a fair arrangement at 70/30.

I too find a woman more attractive when she can take care of herself and even offers to take care of me. I don’t find it offensive, and it also shows me that this woman isn’t here for my money, or as a leech.

I don’t believe in going dutch between a couple, but going dutch should be represented in taking turns treating each other.

Thanks again for all your opinoins!

Val123's avatar


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