Being raised in an old school Dominican family I was raised believing women should never pay for a date. A man needs to open your door and open his wallet whenever you ask. However, growing up in the late 90’s early 2000 in such a liberal NYC I saw things in a completely different way. Being only 16 years old in my first real relationship I did not believe in a guy paying for my things in order for me to be happy. I think its funny now but my mentality was as follows. If a man needs to take me out to dinner or buy me flowers aren’t I just a different type of hooker? A women being paid and showered in gift for something in return; in this case love and attention? I saw man and women as equals if you give me something I felt obligated to give you something back making sure they didn’t expect anything else in the future.
Because I was only 17 and my boyfriend 19 at the time there wasn’t really many “expensive” things we can do. Our dates consisted of movies, cheap dinners, and museums. By the time him and I had about 3 months together I was in love. We all know our “first love” the very handsome high school jock going to college who always dresses to impress, has a job and is charming to the family (Now as an adult we realize these our actually psychopaths). By the time we had 6 months together he was fired from his job and I had officially started my first “real job”.
At only 18 years old I was making about 280 a week. With no rent, bills, sense of what money is or responsibilities. Coming from a lower class family this felt like a six figure salary to me. I was taking him out to dinner about 2 times a week, paying his cell phone bill, even giving him money to make it to his games. He was the love of my life after all he loved me and showed it to me all over his Facebook. Plus I knew he was going to be getting a job real soon and making me really happy.
Another year passes and I am noticing a pattern. He drops out of collage his first year and is having a horrible time looking for a new job. (of course how can one find a job when all they do is play Xbox). I started filling out job applications for him and even made him a decent resume. By this time I didn’t have 1 dollar in my savings, a bad start to credit for many reasons one being I applied for Banana Republic card to buy him decent clothes to wear to interviews (he never paid), and last my mother had to pay for my books for my second semester. But I couldn’t give up on him not after all my time and money wasted, his luck was going to come around and it did. He found a full time job at a local University with no experience making $900 a week. This was it, we were going to have enough money for an apartment, vacations and so much other things. But there was one big problem by this time he was 21 his only interest was going to clubs and going to really nice places with his boys, NOT ME. Every time we would go out he would claim he left him wallet or that her would cash me the money.
It took me three years to open up my eyes and realize a few things.
- Accepting a paid date, a nice gift, or even money does not make you a hooker. (Unless I dated one for 3 years)
- He didn’t have bad luck he was just lazy
- I was not responsible for the actions of a grown man
- Even if you are in a relationship you need to learn to value and love your self first
- I can do much better
I finally outgrow that financially draining stage of my life, and broke it off. Then made another other mistake.
Was dating a guy and every time we would go out I decided I wouldn’t even take my wallet, I would order the most expensive thing on the menu and when ever the check came I will look the other way. This didn’t last very long the person I was dating quickly told me and I quote “so your one of those girls that thinks like my grandma, that a women can never put anything on a date”. I was so embarrassed because I knew those were not MY INTENTIONS. I was just so hurt and afraid to be taken advantage of again. But I decided to break things of with him by the next week. He shouldn’t have ever said it in such a way (What a jerk).
From both of these experience I learned two thing:
- To not be an extremist to either end. Its ok if he pays or if you pay or if you both pay.
- Talk in out. Depending on how verbally open you are with one another or what stage in your relationship you are, talk things out when it comes to money. Every one has a different situation and a different upbringing. Eventually we cold be missing out on great relationship for being hard headed and not talking or understanding each other when it come to “money talk”.