How to handle dating and money etiquette challenges

Illustration: Zoe Schodder

First dates are a crucial part of any romance. They are the perfect way to have fun, get to know your partner, and, potentially, fall in love. However, the beginning of any relationship also comes with several practical challenges in the realm of money etiquette.

Who pays for dates?

One of the most awkward moments on the first date (depending on how well the date has gone) can be the arrival of the bill. Traditionally, men have assumed sole responsibility for paying, a trend still evident today. A survey revealed that 30% of people who use Parship, an online dating service, believe that men should pay for dates. In the 21st century, however, this method can feel outdated as men feel unfairly financially burdened and women object to being paid for.

The same survey revealed that 40% of Parship users opted for splitting the bill. This option is less romantic and can easily lead to quarrels about who had more of the garlic bread or wine. If handled sensibly, though, it shows a more equal approach for both partners.

Second year Guy Harvey said: “It’s normally easiest to just ask. In the past, I guess the guy would pick [the bill] up, but now I think it’s okay to split the bill. It also depends on how you think things are going [and] how much you are willing to spend on the person sitting opposite you. Maybe if you asked them out, you should pay.”

Whichever way you prefer, it might be easier to get the money discussion out of the way early on (as unromantic as this might be). Once the issue is resolved, both partners can fully enjoy the evening together.

How much should you spend on gifts?

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and it’s not everyone’s favourite holiday.  

According to The Daily Telegraph, Brits spent more than £1.9 billion on Valentine’s gifts last year, with men spending on average £50 and women dishing out around £32. But before diving into the issue of gift giving, it is important to establish the nature of the relationship. For new romances, have “the talk” before making your way to the florist.

If you know your partner well, a personal gift will also demonstrate a greater understanding of his or her interests and personality. As students, a sensible estimate might be up to £20, depending on the length of your relationship, your own creativity and the size of your wallet.

“I like trying to find a gift that relates to something they’re interested in, and if that fails, something to make them laugh is a good idea. Save your best present ideas for birthdays, and keep it simple for Valentine’s Day,” Mr Harvey said.

The solution to this particular dating woe is perfectly simple: communication. Regardless of the issue, it seems that communicating your feelings towards money, gifts (and frankly, everything else) with your partner is the way to avoid disappointment.



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