My Boyfriend Can Afford to Pay for Our Dates, But I Prefer to Split the Bill

My boyfriend is pretty well-off and he has enough coin to cover our dates, but I’ve been working and earning money since I was 15 years old and I like paying my own way. Supporting myself financially makes me feel independent, empowered, and in control of my future, so I’ll always prefer to split the bill.

  1. I’d be paying my way if I was single, so why being in a relationship change things? I work really hard to support myself and I’d have the money to spend on myself even if I wasn’t in a relationship with him. Paying for my share of our dates is the same as paying for myself without him.
  2. I believe equality and respect between partners are really important. Everyone has standards and expectations they expect their partner to meet. One of mine is achieving equality between us so that neither feels subordinate or superior to the other. Plus, in my experience, equality fosters respect, and respect between partners is key to a successful relationship. One of the ways we stay on equal ground is by splitting the bill. It works for us.
  3. I want to check his ego. Sometimes, guys like to pay just because it’s a huge ego boost. I had an ex who actually got angry with me once for paying our entire bill because, at the time, he was always laying his AMEX down for everything we did together and I wanted to reciprocate. After dealing with a guy whose manhood was somehow comprised because I paid for a few round of drinks, I promised myself that I’d never date someone again who’d get angry with me for doing something nice for him.
  4. I feel like our dates are a shared experience. I don’t know about you but when I go on a date with my boyfriend, he is not the only one having a good time. Plus, I don’t go on the date for him. I’m not there for his entertainment — I’m contributing to and participating in the experience. We go out together. It’s shared! ‘Nuff said.
  5. He’s not my sugar daddy. Listen, if I wanted a man to pay me to make him feel powerful, I would just find one, but that’s not the kind of relationship I aspire to have in my life. My boyfriend doesn’t need to financially incentivize me to spend time with him because our relationship isn’t a transaction. When we go out, it’s the time that we spend together that makes it amazing.
  6. I can hold my own. He knows that I’m a strong woman, and paying for my share of our bill on dates is equally about asserting my independence. It’s not even about him, it’s about me. Paying my share empowers me by demonstrating that I don’t need someone else to carry my burdens, especially my financial ones.
  7. I recognize his financial independence. Society often puts pressure on men to be the financial providers in heterosexual relationships. As a result, men tend to shoulder the entire burden and sometimes don’t speak up when they really can’t afford to pay or need to cut down on their spending for fear that they aren’t living up to societal expectations. Even if he can pay for everything right now, I don’t want my boyfriend to ever feel that pressure if his situation changes. Splitting the bill shows that I recognize and respect his financial independence the same way I expect him to recognize and respect mine.
  8. I feel super special on the occasions when he insists on treating me. Like I said, I do enjoy being treated from time to time, so on occasion, my boyfriend will ask if he can treat me on a date or for dinner. That gesture really means a lot to me because it’s out of the ordinary for our relationship and shows that he’s going out of his way to make me feel special to him.
  9. He’s my boyfriend, not my husband. Marriage is a totally different ballgame than a dating relationship. A marriage is a merger of two people’s lives and usually includes finances, among other things. I don’t want to treat our dating relationship like a marriage before either of us is ready for, or wants to, move to that next level. If he becomes my husband and we share everything anyway, sure, he can pay for our dates and a hell of a lot more.
  10. There are other ways that he can take care of me. I’m an ambitious woman. Money (hopefully) will never be an issue for me because I work hard to make sure that it isn’t one. As a result, however, I need as much emotional support from my partner as possible because being ambitious all day can be pretty draining. Kindness, consideration, empathy and love are things that he can show me in ways that mean so much more than picking up the tab on a date.
Marie is an ambitious millennial woman, leading a corporate life by day and doing her best to live, laugh and love.