Money matters

Finances can often be a neglected topic when you’re dating, and it’s no surprise because -let’s face it – these chats are hardly the most comfortable or exciting part of love and new beginnings. But with money cited as one of the major causes of arguments and relationship breakdowns, it’s not something to be ignored. So here’s some answers to common questions likely to crop up when you’re searching for “the one”..

Who pays on the first date?

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of that initial meeting, the question of who settles the bill at the end of a meal is a frequent cause of anxiety. Tradition has held that the man should pay, and many women expect this as a display of chivalry and sign post to future gentlemanliness. However, plenty of women earn more than men and some are offended at the prospect of a man presuming he should pay. It’s a minefield, or at least it can be, but there are ways to get around it. A formal, expensive meal facing one another across a table on which a bill has just been placed, is the most awkward scenario. Instead, perhaps consider something more casual – like a street food market, picnic, coffees, or activity where you pre-book separately. If it’s your intention to pay (regardless of your gender), invite the other person by letting them know that it’s your treat, they’ll probably be thrilled and it’ll take the pressure off you both.

Should I date someone who earns a lot more, or a lot less, than me?

This is something to think about early doors. Earnings have a practical impact on what you can do and where you can live, so your aspirations and priorities come into focus here. Perhaps you have a well paid job and are happy to meet someone who can’t maintain the same lifestyle, even supplementing or supporting them in some way. If you have a modest income, how would you feel about dating someone with more? Or how would you feel if their salary was significantly reduced further down the line, once married? Ultimately love should not be about how much someone earns, especially as it’s subject to change, but your attitudes to this are worth considering before embarking on a relationship.

Is it better to seek a spender or a saver?

A pairing of the two is often ideal: generally speaking, spenders encourage savers to enjoy disposable income and be generous, while savers keep things grounded, with a sensible voice and the security of contingency cash. The like minds of two spenders or two savers can work well too, but there’s a major caveat to all of this and that’s serious debt. As a society we do more on credit than ever before and the spiralling effects of this can be devastating. If you feel your borrowing is out of control, now’s the time to address it and take action – well before you find your spouse. Dating someone with large debt is one thing, but joining that person in marriage is another. Fortunately there’s lot of great organisations (such as Christians Against Poverty) who can help.

Money doesn’t make the world go round

Ideas, expectations, approaches, hopes and fears vary wildly between individuals who may otherwise have lots in common, but with plenty of open communication and an understanding of a potential mate’s ideas on the subject, money need not get in the way of a beautiful romance, whatever your individual situations might be.

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