Too Poor To Date

Couple Receiving Their Check

Here’s an excerpt from Heather Jensen’s article on Relationship Deal Breakers that for some reason popped up in my newsfeed:

If you can’t afford a cell phone bill, rent or even a dinner out, you really shouldn’t be in a relationship. Guys, this goes for you too – if you can’t take your lady out, that can definitely be a relationship deal breaker! You don’t have to be rich, you just have to have enough money for savings and not to be completely broke all of the time. 

“Of course!” I thought, “Except college students who are generally poor while studying but yes, anyone over 30 shouldn’t be dating if they have to spend every dime they have to do so. This should be a Dave Ramsey blog.” Then I did a search on too poor to date and article after article talked about how we shouldn’t be dating if we can’t pay the bills. One man said that because he had student loans, and a car debt, he considered himself undatable because financially he couldn’t offer much yet. One woman said, she had an IRS debt and until that was paid she would not be dating. No surprise there but what was surprising were the comments.

Generally speaking most women said they agreed with the concept of not dating until you can afford to do so. I wasn’t surprised by that response because a woman’s number one need to is to feel secure in a relationship. What did surprise me were the men. Generally speaking the men disagreed. They felt that a woman should pay her portion of a date and that it was archaic to expect to ask a woman out on a date and then be expected to pay for her portion of the date. In fact, a survey concluded that 51% of men want to split the bill on a first date.

Here are a couple of comments I read:

“I can afford going out to grab drinks and eat a reasonably priced restaurant but only if she foots her own half of the bill.”

“I’ve never once taken the full bill for a restaurant. Coffee or something yeah, but not full meals. Is that something that’s still expected?”

So I went to my resident expert my Southern Bred Husband.

“Baby, I’m reading about being too poor to date and most men feel that since women fought for equality that we should be paying for our half of the bill when a man ask us out on dates. What do you think about this?”

“Well, you did fight for equality.”

“So you think we ought to pay for our portion of a date?”

“Darlin’ I’m a Southern Gentleman. I would never think to go out to eat where I couldn’t pay the bill and I would never allow a woman to pay for a date.”

Which is true because even when we go out to eat and it’s the same debit card coming out of the same joint account, he always grabs the bill and doesn’t let me pay, except a couple of times when he apologized profusely because he left his wallet in his briefcase when I picked him up for lunch and that’s after being married over a decade.

So what do you think? If a man asks a woman out on a date does she need to bring her own money? Is there such a thing as too poor to date?



2 thoughts on “Too Poor To Date

  1. This very much depends on the situation specifics! (And this turned into a really long answer!)

    In general, no. I don’t think that there is a such thing as too poor to date, any more than there is a too poor to have friends. Dating is about companionship (or supposed to be), not about showing how mug you can spoil the other.

    There is however a thing as being too irresponsible with money to be a good idea to date that person… of being too immature or too impulsive or of having no sense of appropriate priorities.

    A very big difference. Especially when my kiddo was really little, I did a lot of dating while I was very broke as a single parent with really low paying jobs, and dated a lot of guys who weren’t much better off.

    But were we going to the nice dinner places that either of us would pick as a date location in an ideal world? NO.

    We spent a lot of time in parks… walking along the river… sitting on benches while kiddo played on the playground… picnics with cheap meals we’d be eating at home anyway (sometimes even just in the grass outside where one of the guys worked on his dinner break).. riding bikes… swimming in the pool of my apartment complex… driving around to look at christmas lights.. checking out cheap and free events going on around town… and a whole lot of budget movie rentals paired with microwave popcorn.

    It’s not whether or not he has a spare dime… it’s whether or not he knows that the dime he does have has other places that it needs to be, and makes it work anyway rather than throwing adult priorities to the wind in the name of having more fun or impressing someone more.

    I’m not all that worried about future providing… because if things get to that point, it’s already going to be easier for us to make ends meet with having two incomes while only having to pay one set of bills instead of each having our own houses and utilities etc that we are each paying the full amount.

    As far as paying on dates…

    Well, it still depends on circumstances. LOL

    In general, I’m in the more progressive camp. I’m not about to get into the whole nitpicky splitting checks thing, but, if we both have jobs, and both have somewhat reasonably similar amounts of discretionary income, I’m just as capable of paying as he is.

    Often, this ends up being something like he gets dinner, I get the movie tickets and popcorn…. or, he gets it this week, I get it next time.

    It’s nice when the guy wants to pay, but, we aren’t in an age anymore where I’m not just as likely to be able to do so as he is.

    I’m also a worst-case scenario worrier, so, especially when things are new, I’m not likely to agree to do anything that I can’t cover both of us entirely if the need arises… nor am I going to let him drive me somewhere if I don’t know that I’m going to have cab fare home. If the night starts resembling a handbasket, I want to be in a place where I have full control of getting my butt back onto stable ground before that thing starts moving at too rapid of a clip. I want my power to be able to shake my head, pay the bill, and walk out the door with no further negotiation, even if its really highly unlikely that I’d ever actually do so or feel the need to.

    The big however in that though… is assuming similar income flexibility.

    During that broke spell when kiddo was little, I dated an electrical engineer for some time. He had no kids or other dependents of any sort, his house payment was $200 less a month than my rent, and he made more than 3 times what I did even after his higher tax bracket for having no kids.

    I paid for very little in that relationship… because it wasn’t a very logical thing for me to be doing so. I cooked dinners at home and such for him, and would pay for that sort of thing… but given that I was very barely making ends meet while he had a ton of flexibility, it seemed pointless for me to pay for things like eating out or going to movies. He even paid to fix my computer when I wasn’t going to be able to afford to anytime soon as it was frequently the main way we communicated during the week and he knew I needed it.

    But, I’ve also been on the complete opposite side… and I’m one of the people who is crazy enough to much prefer being on the side of paying for everything. If he’s not in a position to do much, and I am, then to me it becomes more about the value of the experience. If he wants to go hang out in the park and keep things low budget, fine… but.. if going to the movies with him is worth the expense of covering both of us, then yeah, I’m going to cover both of us and not think anything of it. I use the same rule on friendships with that sort of thing.

    The part that does get frustrating though is actually just dealing with society. Do you have any idea how many times a debit card with the name on it being a very obviously female name that was handed to someone by a female then gets handed back to the guy of a couple by default? Pretty much every stinking time. Even when I used a credit card that had a picture of a kid and a kitten on it! Guys already tend to be a lot less comfortable with females paying for them, but that just makes it so much worse on them. At one point, I once considered getting one guy a prepaid card in his name that I could move the cash over to the account but skip the whole card awkwardness reminding him every single time that his life was not in a good place.

  2. I’ve been there, done that. I went to a dating site once and after about 4 of them realized that the subject of how much I made per year would be part of the date. I decided I’d probably just have to make up my mind that I’d be single the rest of my life. I pay my way but I’m not about money so it’s a pretty bit of “rock and a hard place” attitude.

    I always thought that some woman would see my work ethic, my maturity, the way I conduct my business, how I treat her & any children involved, and choose me for those things. But I know this is not reality because none of those things matter if I don’t earn the right amount.

    So I don’t date much even now that I am earning a comfortable living. If a woman woulldn’t have anything to do with me before I made the money, she isn’t going to like me any better with it. Though I must say, I always preferred paying for the date since I was raised that way–even if I was a little broke by doing so.

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