Sunday, February 23, 2014


Dear Jen,
I'd like to ask you a relationship question if I may. I feel a little lost as to what to do and I can't help but feel I've caused this problem myself somehow. 
When my partner and I go out for dinner, I feel a certain responsibility to offer to pay at least half of our bill. I feel guilty if I don't at least offer. We both have decent jobs and money is not an issue. So it's not that he can't afford to pay for me. 
Is it that he wants me to pay my way? Or am I putting out the vibe that I can pay my own way? A friend of mine has suggested that I am sending "I'm self-sufficient" vibe.
Truth is I would like him to pay and take the lead. What I'd really like is for him to say... "put your wallet away, I've got this."
Where am I going wrong?
Phillipa Ballantyne - Sydney

Phillipa this is a very good question and one that many young women face in their relationships. I think the problem is multifactorial and you should not blame yourself or even your partner. The world has turned upside down when it comes to relationship etiquette. No-one is absolutely clear on what the correct way to proceed is when it comes to money. In fairness to men, they can be seen as patronising by some heavily Andro women if they pay the bills. They can be viewed as mean if they don't pay the bills by other more feminine oriented women.

From a man's point of view, especially young men, women are equal and so they get to share the bills equally even when you are out to dinner. And this is where couples run into trouble.

We have progressed so far down the road of gender neutrality that there does not seem to be any difference between men and women any more. That is the problem - we are equal but we are definitely different. And it is within that difference that these types issues cause pain and heartache. 

Many women, who know they are equal and are quite independent would still like to feel the 'dance' of courtship. The wonderful feeling of being cherished and cared for. They long for things not to be too 'basic' like paying your share of the bill when out on a date.There is nothing romantic about that for most women. But in truth many women have lost the art of romantic behaviour, with the inevitable loss of their feminine selves.With women's equality and independence, unfortunately there have been sacrifices along the way. And in that process many men have lost their masculinity. 

In my opinion the issue of money is also tied up around a person's personal belief systems around the subject. In my experience this is complex area and the way someone's family views money will definitely have an effect on how they handle financial issues and situations.

If their families were 'tight' with money then the odds are they are going to be a little frugal and make sure that they get value for money where ever they go. That includes making sure that everyone pays their share.

If you are unhappy with 'the commercial arrangement' that has developed between you and your partner, it might be time for you to evaluate how you want the money issue to be handled in the relationship. Perhaps when you are on 'dates' he definitely pays so that you feel you can relax into your feminine and leave your wallet at home. If you are able to reconnect with your feminine in relation to your partner, he benefits too. He gets to have a beautiful, caring and relaxed woman by his side.

You might surprise him and pay for Saturday afternoon lunch. You might have agreements on things that you share, like household bills (not sure if you live together). If there is not a shortage of money you are in a very good position to sort this out in a logical and kind way. He might not have any idea that you are unhappy with the current state of affairs.

It is also important for you to evaluate your own 'energy' around money. What are your belief systems? It is really important subject and best to clarify how you operate around money and how you want to proceed with the finances in your relationship.