Mature men and women who are dating have many questions about money and issues related to money management.
The most frequent question I am asked by men is how to avoid always picking up the tab. Women are curious about how to engage men in conversations about money. What questions are OK to ask? When do you start asking direct questions about money?
Everybody wants to be sure they are financially compatible before they commit to a long-term partnership, but very few are comfortable talking about the issues. There are a few simple things you can do to avoid always picking up the tab.
First determine the occasions that you can imagine choosing to “pick up the tab”: You invite a friend to dinner to celebrate her birthday; You take a friend or family member to lunch as a way to say thank you for checking on your house when you were away.
Next, recognize that it is important to address this issue at the time you ask someone for the date, not when you are sitting in a restaurant or standing in line for movie tickets.
Now develop phrases that sound like you and convey what you mean to say. Consider: “This is a bit awkward for me to say, but, I prefer if we each pay for ourselves. How does that sound to you?”; “I am more comfortable if we each pay for ourselves. Is that all right with you?”
It is perfectly acceptable to say that something is too expensive for you at this time or to suggest an alternative that is more in your price range.
Assessing financial compatibility is an essential aspect of the dating process and can be helpful in existing relationships as well. There is no substitute for spending time together in many different situations, listening carefully to personal sharing, and observing behavior.
Let’s talk about your money personality. Your money personality is not dependent on how much money you earn. It has specifically to do with values, beliefs, concepts, fears, and fantasies about money.
What did your parents tell you about money? What did you learn from observing them? What are your beliefs about spending, saving, tithing, investing, and credit? What are your ideas about earning more or less money than your partner, or supporting someone else or being supported temporarily or for the long-term?
Do you enter each check in the register and balance your checkbook each month or not? What does it say to you about another person who does or does not? What do you spend money on? Do you pay attention to price?
It’s never too early to offer your points of view about anything to do with money and to listen and observe carefully. There is nothing to feel embarrassed about or ashamed of. You are in charge of how you handle money.
Money issues come up sooner or later so you might as well be up front from the start. Your money personalities do not have to be the same. The critical question is “How do the differences affect me?”
Some differences can be easily accommodated. Some differences can cause dis-ease in your relationship that result in resentments that outlive the love.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
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