The topic of finances can be difficult to bring up with your partner. Depending on the stage of your relationship, the conversations you have about money will vary. Regardless, if you take your relationship seriously, money is an essential topic of discussion.
After countless times fighting my partner when they’d grab the cheque or press confirm on a delivery order, we finally had the discussion about money we’d been needing to have. Of course, societal expectations and gender norms may affect how you view who “should” pay for dates and dinners.
However, we are living in a time when these norms are being challenged more frequently. Not only that, but I am in a queer relationship which definitely changes the dynamic and expectations we’ve been taught to fulfill by society.
We talked about money together
Though my partner and I are still fairly early on in our relationship, we know that we want to make things sustainable. This is why we talked about money together by answering just a few questions to give each other an idea on where we stand financially and what level of financial literacy we have:
- Do you have student loan debt?
- Are you planning on taking on more debt (i.e for further education)?
- Are you being paid a livable wage considering your circumstances?
- Do you have savings?
- What are your main financial goals for the next 5 years?
Having this discussion solidified where both of us stood financially. Knowing more about each other’s money has helped me rationalize why it’s okay to charge our burger order to their credit card rather than mine. Plus, the fact that we were both willing to be open about such a personal topic is a good thing to know going forward in a relationship.
Our conversation didn’t stop there. While my partner and I are far from splitting expenses beyond dinners and dates at this point, knowing that we are intentional with our personal finances is key. Especially considering how different they are at this point!
We talked about sharing a KOHO joint account in the future. It’s an awesome way to share expenses and savings goals with someone while earning cash back on your purchases! KOHO makes things simple when it comes to savings, which is why my partner and I thought it would be a good, low-stress way to start merging our finances together gradually when the time comes!
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Our incomes are not the only factor
Once we established our financial standings, we knew our incomes are not the only factor that validate why my partner pays for dinner. Our debts, savings, and living costs play an even bigger role.
While we earn a similar salary, I have debts to pay off monthly, and higher living costs in proportion to my income. Not only that, but my past living expenses costed more than theirs which means I’ve had less opportunities to save money. What you earn is not all that determines how much money you have to actually live off of in your budget each month! And for us, this helped us establish that I ultimately earn less and face more financial burdens, like student loan debt, than they do.
They want to do it
To put it simply, my partner buys me dinner when the opportunity arises, because they want to. And of course, I’ve been known to treat us to the occasional evening ice cream, but for the most part, they are the one that chips in extra for groceries when we cook together or pays for our food altogether.
If you’ve had the necessary discussions to justify these choices, then leaning on your partner a little more financially sometimes should not be a problem. I let my partner pay for dinner because it’s a financial choice we’ve both consented to!
What about financial resentment?
Financial resentment is when someone in a relationship begins to resent the other person for the money they’ve spent on them. Especially with non-essential spending, this can create a toxic power dynamic in a relationship, or force couples to grow apart.
This is why it is so important to have serious conversations about money with your partner and establish that you’re on the same page when it comes to the ways in which you want to share or give to each other financially.
It’s okay to let people help you if they can
So, yes, I let my partner pay for dinner. Because it’s okay to need help and accept it when it’s offered. It’s okay to acknowledge that I am far more burdened by debts. It’s okay to not always split things equally. And it’s okay to simply enjoy a pizza together rather than argue why I “should” be paying for it.
Obviously, you do you. But when people give us things, even if we don’t want them, we have the impulse to reciprocate. That’s why people created that scam of giving you a flower and then asking for $1. So I think in the end, maybe it all comes out even.