Dating and Dollar Signs

When a new relationship begins, questions usually arise about financial give and take. Listen up guys - she wants to know that you think she's worth a little extra effort.

In the Beginning
Most women expect the guy to pay for the first date or two. It's best to treat her during the first few outings, but allow her to pay for some things early on. If she never offers, you can try to change her expectations. When she says thank you for the dinner or movie (and she'd better or you'd better move on), respond with, "My pleasure. You can treat me next time." And smile a genuine smile to let her know you're serious and would appreciate her contributing. Then when you're planning the next date, lay the groundwork by saying, "Because I like you so much, I'll let you treat me to a date on Saturday night." Then when the question arises about where to go, you can say, "Since you're treating, you can decide." That way she knows you're expecting her to pay on that date and contribute in the future. After that exchange, if she's tuned in and considerate you'll go back and forth on footing the bill.

Show-Off vs. Cheapskate
Of course, if one partner has a much higher income, the balance of paying for dates often shifts in that direction. Each relationship is different, however. A few notes of warning: Don't try to win her over with a show of your wealth. Flashing a wad of $100 bills and buying her expensive gifts when you're window shopping may be fun in the short term, but it won't make her respect you in the long term. On the flip side, she won't be impressed if you're overly cheap. Allow and expect her to pay sometimes, but also don't take advantage of that willingness to contribute. Don't be the guy who brags about how his woman pays for him. She wants to know that you think she's important enough to treat her to a nice dinner or a movie sometimes.

Equity and Respect
If you're getting into a serious relationship, exchanging information about your financial health is important. It helps to know what you're both coming into the relationship with - or without. Discussions about debt and income are an important part of deciding if you are compatible.

An intelligent woman usually doesn't want to be catered to like a princess all the time. She loves treats and surprises, but she wants you to be financial partners in your long-term relationship. Most likely, your sweetheart wants equal respect and an equal division of household chores. But take note of this important factor, most women don't want to be with a man who makes less money than they do. You lose big man points in her eyes if you expect her to shoulder more of the burden and don't even try to boost your earning power. If you don't step up, she may step out of the relationship.

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