Money is never a more sensitive subject than when it comes up in relationships. In fact, fighting about money is one of the biggest predictors of divorce.
But it doesn’t have to be: Here we explain how to have the money talk—and why it’s so important.
And—newsflash—not only can knowing how to talk about money make your relationship more peaceable, knowing that you know how to handle it makes you more attractive to your significant other.
Don’t believe us? We asked nine guys ages 28 to 40—some married, some about to be, some on the market, some straight, some gay—to reflect on the financial issues they take into account before getting serious with someone.
Hear how they really feel about everything from the “wallet reach” and cheap tippers to settling down with someone who has a lot of debt.
LearnVest: What do you think of ‘the reach’—when your date reaches for his or her wallet when the check comes?
“It’s appreciated and the polite thing to do. Within the first three dates, the guy should politely say ‘I got it,’ but the woman should offer. It shows she isn’t being a user.”
Kevin, Westfield, NJ
“ ‘The reach’ is a bit awkward—it’s like, ‘I’m going to make a very obvious, slow-motioned movement just to be considerate, but I’m expecting you to pay.’ The gesture is nice in a way, but honestly, I just want a woman to give a sincere ‘thank you’ afterward. I’d prefer she say something like, ‘Would you like me to help pay?’ It acknowledges the elephant in the room in a direct, but polite way.”
Greg, Houston, TX
“Depends on when it happens in the relationship. A girl can’t go wrong doing the reach early. It’s the safe play. If there was no reach after date number two—or an offer to pay the tip or, ‘At least let me treat next time’ – then that’s a problem and would give me a little pause.”
Brian W., New York, NY
At what stage of the relationship should a significant other start picking up the tab?
“I’m very old-fashioned, and I still think the person who asks someone out should pick up the check. At least on the first date. I think it starts pretty naturally from the beginning of a relationship and gets easier over time.”
Pat, Pittsburgh, PA
“I think the bigger deal is kind of the opposite—I’d know I’m close to ‘something real’ if we stop thinking so much about who gets what and we started thinking more like we’re making decisions like a pair and less like two individuals.”
Dan, New York, NY
“I think after three or four dates, or once it has become an exclusive relationship, it is probably time to start sharing the cost.”
Brian W., New York, NY
How do you feel about dating an over-spender?
“Won’t do it. Not interested.”
Dave, Philadelphia, PA
“If a girl is an over-spender with a ton of credit card debt and a closet full of stuff she never wears or uses, I think it demonstrates an undisciplined ‘live for the day’ type of attitude. I would be fine dating someone like that but that is as far as it would go—dating.”