My friend Kathy, a 42-year-old single mother, began dating Brad after meeting him on a dating site.
They exchanged messages and flirted online before agreeing to meet in person.
It seemed to be a done deal in all but name.
Kathy considered this. “I have a positive feeling about this,” she reasoned.
After all, Brad’s profile said that he was a firefighter and helped out at the Little League in his town.
Plus, his (already highly flattering) photo featured Brad’s pet Labrador, which, in Kathy’s view, was the deal-clincher for her.
And they seemed to get along well from the start.
The food was excellent, the beverages were plentiful, and the sparks were certainly flying.
Kathy knew the chemistry was undeniable less than an hour into the date. She was certain Brad was the perfect match.
And the bill arrived.
Kathy was fully expecting Brad to say something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it…”
However, after nervously inspecting the check – and sharing glances – Kathy broke the uncomfortable silence (which felt interminable) by asking, “May I chip in?”
Brad said, relieved, “Oh, if you’re okay with that, then I’ll cover my half.” Thanks!”
Despite a small twinge of frustration, Kathy agreed to share the bill with him.
Who Is Supposed to Pay The Bill in the First Place?
They’ve been out a few of times since then, but Kathy is always on the fence about the whole thing.
This is why she approached me, seeking my opinion on the case.
“On our second date,” Kathy said, “he explained that he had just had his car repaired, which is why he was happy when I offered to split the bill.”
“And the good news is that he paid for it immediately, without waiting for me to talk.” Kathy continued.
“BUT here’s the thing,” she said, her voice somewhat disappointed, “he kinda reverted to his ‘old ways’ on our third date…”
“See, he *did* pick up the bill that time, but he bore the SAME expression as on our first date… You know, the ‘please assist me’ look…”
Kathy concluded with a sigh, “Everything would have been perfect had it not been for this whole bill mess… That is, is it even a problem in the first place?”
Thus, this is what I said to her:
“In my opinion, he should have picked up the tab on the first date, as he was the one who asked you out. And if you offered to share the bill, he should have insisted on paying – that’s how dating works.”
“However, the fact that he attempted to make amends by obtaining the bill AFTER that is a positive sign.”
“And you are aware that he is not a millionaire, which might explain why he behaved the way he did on your first and third dates.”
“I know a lot of guys who are fearful of money.
.. and many of them fear that women would judge them solely on the basis of their income – and nothing else.”
Then I said, “If the way he handles the bill offends you, you’d better move on…”
“OR, you could take into account all of his great characteristics and give him another chance to prove himself.”
“If he proves to be a pathological scrooge, at the very least you tried.”
How To Avoid Money Constraints On Your (Dating) Style:
As with Kathy, many women lack the power necessary to determine how to proceed in a similar situation.
When they lack financial independence, it can really throw their dating lives for a loop…
…to say nothing about their relationships.
To put it another way, in an ideal world (one in which money is not an issue),…
…a woman will pull out her purse when the bill arrives and then wait for the guy to initiate contact (as he should).
And if he agrees to pay, she may simply smile and conclude the transaction.
However, if he does not offer to pay, she should be willing to assist – and mean it.
And if he accepts her bid, she will pay her share without any repercussions.
Later on, she would be able to determine whether the whole situation was simply a miscommunication…
…or whether his actions hinted at genuine cheapness.
In any case, it’s prudent to be in a strong financial position regardless of the result – and financial independence is the BEST way to do so.
And, in the event that things do get serious, being able to pay for your own belongings provides a strong base for the relationship – and fosters a healthy dynamic between you two.
However, what do I mean by that?
Consider the following three ways that financial independence (FI) establishes the proper precedent in a relationship:
#1: FI Promotes Autonomy (Hint: This is a Good Thing!)
Financial experts believe that it is preferable for someone to be financially independent BEFORE entering into a relationship.
That is because it results in a smoother and less stressful transition for those involved (financially speaking). There is noticeably less controversy around spending or disagreements about who pays which bill.
And if all partners in the partnership have a say in how their money is spent, there will be fewer complaints.
#2: FI Establishes a Foundation for Mutual Respect
As I previously said, a couple would avoid quarrels about the items they purchase for themselves.
If they both earn enough to split the expenses evenly (or, at the very least, agree on a reasonable arrangement),…
…at which point they are free to purchase anything they want on their own dime.
That means there will be no petty quarrels over the boyfriend’s (or husband’s) taste in classic vinyl records or the girlfriend’s (or wife’s) penchant for designer accessories.
As long as the other person’s spending habits do not adversely impact their savings – or way of life – they are likely to be tolerant of the other person’s spending habits.
#3: FI Is Long-Term Beneficial
Couples that are not dependent on one another generally retain their individual identities.
That is, in a financially secure relationship, individuals will relate to and act toward one another on EQUAL terms.
Thus, a couple should concentrate on being there for one another and growing together…
…without having to deal with the needless burden of financial concerns.
And being financially independent eliminates the drama that Mindy endured.
As comedian Chris Rock puts it, “wealth isn’t about getting a lot of money; it’s about having a lot of choices.”
And when you’re out on a date, FI gives you three options:
Allow him to take care of the bill if he offers…
You will pay your share if he prefers that you remain “halfsies”…
Or you could even cover the whole bill…
In any case, you’re fine.
If you want to keep dating a man – or keep looking elsewhere…
…you understand that your choice is based on self-sufficiency, NOT on neediness.
Now, as much as I’d like to discuss the how-of to’s financial independence, that’s a whole different topic…
However, I would assert that the world’s richest individuals share a trait.
It is not a matter of being born wealthy, attractive, or talented.
It’s more HABITS.
Thomas C. Corley, a prominent author, and financial authority spent five years of his life researching the practices of almost 200 self-made millionaires.
And he asserts that habits distinguish the wealthy from the rest. According to him, the activities we engage in subconsciously account for 40% of our waking hours.
That is a SIGNIFICANT amount of time spent on AUTO-PILOT doing tasks – and making decisions.
When you think about it, habits are merely mental shortcuts that allow us to make a large number of decisions quickly during the day.
This way, we avoid depleting our brain capacity and willpower.
As a result, a significant portion of our financial freedom (or lack thereof) is strongly affected by our implicit decision-making abilities.
And anyone interested in enhancing their financial condition just needs to refine their subconscious money habits.
However, you might be saying, “But habits take a LONG time to form.”
To be honest, I’m relieved to report that this is no longer the case – at least not now.
As you can see, there is a method for explicitly encoding “rich people patterns” into the subconscious – without spending months or years doing so.
And once you begin acting, thinking, and behaving in the manner of a wealthy individual…
…then the truth of your financial condition will eventually catch up with your habits.