Romance and Finance

Disclaimer: this is a bit of a rant.

Unpopular opinion time: In dating, money matters.

I’m not saying I want to go out and get a sugar daddy (although I knew girls that did that in college, with mixed results). What I’m saying is, if I date somebody, I need them to have their shit together. I don’t care if they’re making minimum wage or 6 figures, or if they’re unemployed, as long as they’re responsible enough to do whatever they need to do (legally) and aren’t insecure about it.

I already take care of my cat. I don’t need another dependent that I can’t write off come tax season. And as much as I want to say “all you need is love” and dance with Ewan McGregor on top of an elephant, I’m working hard to build my life. I’m not looking to subsidize the lifestyle of someone I just met.

Need me to spot you for your movie ticket? Totally fine. But sorry guy, if you don’t at least offer to Venmo me afterwards (so I can feel all fancy by saying “no, don’t worry about it”), that’ll be the only movie we see.

It should go both ways. I don’t believe that men should have to pay for everything, because gender equality.

I have my own income, and don’t need a ring on my finger so I can own property or have credit. And my dad finally gave up the dream of getting a few nice goats from some guy in exchange for my hand in marriage. He wants goats, I’ll buy him goats. But I digress.

My point is that courtship is no longer centered around optimizing land or finances. I want to keep it that way. But I see relationships strain and fail because of financial mismatch.

One of the most amazing, self-reliant women I know found out her long term partner is under so much student debt, he refuses to even look at the bills as they arrive in the mail. Now she’s left pushing and pulling, trying to convince him to start tackling his debt like a damn adult should. She’s been trying to get him to take his debt seriously for months, and still he refuses.

I would go crazy. When my last serious boyfriend disclosed his student debt, we got creative and got rid of it. While my role was strictly supportive (and maybe a little strategic), he took ownership of the problem. And if he hadn’t, I don’t know that we would have lasted as long as we did.

And now that I’m dating, I always split the bill – I’m not asking anyone to pay for me, any more than I’m asking to pay for them. And even if everyone’s stepping up and taking care of themselves, it’s not enough. I don’t just want someone who has their shit together. I want someone who isn’t bitter about it.

It’s great that gentlemen will share their financial or career information unprovoked. I’m all about openly discussing finances! But in some cases, it comes with surprise hostility, like they’re testing the waters around whether I’m looking for my MRS degree and a nice, cushy shared nest egg.

And to be clear: I’m not going around asking for anyone’s net worth, credit score, or income. That said, when a guy mentions that he can’t scuba dive because of work, it’s only natural to ask what he does. The response I got: “I work for Autozone, does that matter?

It didn’t – until he made it a sore spot.

I might not have to take care of him financially, but I don’t see myself spending time coddling his financial or professional insecurities. If he’s defensive about what he does, to the point that I can’t even know about it without him presuming to judge me, that’s on him. I don’t have time or emotional energy for that nonsense.

So, in summary:

Dating Venn Diagram

Oh no! No room for you, little guy!

2 thoughts on “Romance and Finance

  1. You do have to tread the water lightly when talking about finances for the first time. Obviously, us bloggers talk about it openly all the time without issue. We have a passion for it and enjoy the discussions. Others are a little more reserved. And I see where people are coming from in some of those aspects. Don’t want a person to only be into you because of financial reasons and stability. There is a term gold digger for a reason. So I don’t like to rush into the financial discussions until I get to know someone a little better first. More of a surprise anyway when they think you don’t have money then you suddenly do lol.

    • Agreed. It’s definitely not something I open with. Believe it or not, usually at some point they find out about this blog, which means they’ll know what I earn/have, but I’m definitely not pulling out my tax returns or pay stubs and putting them on display.

      It’s frustrating to see the reaction, though. Jokes about being the breadwinner, the sugar mama, etc. are fine, but it’s the aggressive or insecure responses that really ruin things in the long run.

      I’m interested in the FI/RE guys’ experience, because (based on stereotypes) I haven’t been as worried about gold diggers. Instead, I’m worried about these guys feeling compelled to put my line of work down, or overcompensate for the difference in wages.

      I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I won’t let anyone make me feel bad for what I do or what I’ve built. Ain’t nobody got time for that 🙂

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