Money And Dating

      Aleeza Ben Shalom

Money can come up at different stages throughout the dating process. It is an important conversation to have, but we don’t want to let money be the deciding factor either. Here are a few tips on how to broach the topic of money and how to handle the discussion of finances generally – from first date to chuppah.

Splitting the bill splits the connection.

Ladies, let the gentlemen treat you. Gentlemen, take her out – your treat.

Sometimes money comes up right at the beginning. It starts off innocently enough – a nice first date, an enjoyable meal and great conversation, and then the bill arrives. The dreaded question: do you want to split the bill?

Don’t say it. Gentlemen, just take the ladies out. No, really, insist that you pay for her. Ladies, don’t set him up to fail by insisting that you pay your half. For the first few dates, take her out. If she says, next one is my treat, then okay, let her do that. It’s still major brownie points if you insist on paying even when she chooses the date and venue, and offers to pay.

The psychology behind this is that men want to take care of a woman, and women want to be taken care of. The act of paying for the date signifies that the man likes you enough to take care of you. It isn’t about the dollars and cents, or who makes more.

We develop love through giving. Taking her out, driving her, picking and dropping her off, and walking her to her door, is about giving. This is how men give. So ladies, let him give to you.

How do women give? Women tend to be more emotionally ready and available – we draw someone out of their shell. We spend time preparing – hair, makeup, clothes, nails – whatever is important to us. Statistically, women spend a lot of money on these types of things, and time on it. We create an energy on the date, and put in time and effort into dates this way.

By taking the bill out of his hand, we aren’t giving him a place to give. It’s about a give and take, not just splitting everything. It creates an element of romance – I take care of you, you take care of me, versus just treating everything like a financial arrangement. Splitting the bill splits the connection. The goal is to build the relationship. Each person takes care of the other one at a different time. In the beginning, it is nice for the man to pay, "the gentlemanly thing to do." Learn how to receive graciously and accept his gift – say thank you!

Money talks can break a relationship.

Decide if there is a future before bringing finances into it, but do discuss it before things get too serious. Before opening up the conversation about money, take the time to get to know each other and make sure there is a real connection. Once that is established, discuss what you want your life to look like. Do you rent or own? Do you have a car? What is your career path? What do you envision yourself doing in 5 years? Will things look differently when you have a family?

When do you start to have these conversations? It really depends on the level of the connection. The first few dates should be spent enjoying the person’s company and getting to know them. Decide if you like them, if you want to continue seeing them, if there is something significant here. Figure that out before money enters the picture because money can make or break things. You want a solid foundation before it enters the conversation.

Once you feel comfortable, you can start to discuss these things. Do either of you have student loans, or are you in school, or planning to go to school in the future? Where do you want to live? What kind of debt do you have, if any? At what point do you share these things?

It’s a good idea to have these deeper conversations once you realize you feelings start to develop, but before you've lost all ability to be objective. Your own personal comfort level will determine when you are ready – it could be the sixth date or the sixteenth. We all have different experiences of money, how we view it, and how we think about it.

Get on the same page before you bring your families into it.

Make sure your relationship is solid enough to handle an extremely difficult time period. It won’t just be one conversation; it might take a few dates. Take it in small doses. Once there is a wedding to discuss and plan, money can get very complicated. Talking about money when dating is very different than discussing it with parents and families. The conversation could involve pre-nuptial agreements, family money in a trust, no money and tons of debt, or anything in between. When you stand under the chuppah, now one person’s debt is the other person’s debt. It gets really heavy.

Know your own finances. If you’re not good at it, hire someone or ask someone for help. Have a real conversation. Who is paying for the wedding? Which part? It can be emotional and complicated and extremely difficult. The two of you must be stuck together like glue. It doesn’t matter what is happening around you. Do not let anyone make you choose between each other and family when it comes to money. Keep the close connection, and let the families duke it out if need be.

In general, you should bring up the topic of finances, but be prepared to leave the conversation unfinished and go have fun. It can take a while to cover everything. At the end of the discussion, decide what you both agree on in the conversation. Know where you are compatible and likeminded, and focus on it. It takes so much effort to find a someone you like and want to marry – don’t let money be the stopping point. If you have something solid, figure out the money, bring someone else into the conversation, perhaps a money coach. Finding a great relationship is difficult, so don’t let money get in the way.

May you broach the topic of money sensibly and sensitively with the right person at the right time, and walk down to the chuppah with a sense of calm and connection.

 Originally posted on Aish.com