Going Dutch
February 5, 2005 11:17 PM   Subscribe

My gf and I have been going out for 6 mths. Our relationship is slightly rocky because we've just gone out of the lovey-dovey phase, but at the same time, now that we're in a long-term relationship, I would like her to pay half for meals and gas. We're both college students and I currently pay for everything although she treats me out once in awhile. Would it be best for me to confront her now or wait for things to stabilize? I realized I'm in this current situation (whipped) because she's considered a catch.. initially, it was not a big deal because I was actively pursuing her.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (54 answers total)
"now that we're in a long-term relationship, I would like her to pay half for meals and gas."

I don't see how one follows from the other at all. If you take her to meals, pay unless she offers to pitch in. If you drive her around, well, hey, it's your car, your gas. What's more important to you, doing things with your girlfriend -- who is a catch! -- or a couple bucks in gas money? Don't get hung up on the same principles you might hold your buddies to, they don't apply to this different kind of relationship.

Given that you're troubled by this to the point of Asking MetaFilter, I suggest waiting a while before doing anything like "confront[ing] her", which seems rather silly when you put it that way.

At most, you might mention that money's a little tight lately, if that's the real cause of your concern. I can't imagine a reasonable person would be bothered by a statement of fact.
posted by majick at 11:37 PM on February 5, 2005

I don't see how one follows from the other at all.

I'm going to agree with majick on this, one does not logically follow the other since I've been with the same fellow for nearly four years and he still insists on paying for everything and doing the driving. This is partially because he wants to, and partially because he knows he can and that it's harder for me (me: full time student, him: great job).

I think the "money is tight for me, can you help out a bit so we can keep going fun places?" angle will fly much better than, "I think it's time to scale back on 'taking you out' now that I'm not 'actively pursuing you'" line of reasoning. No girl, especially not a "catch," wants to know you've been treating her only until she commits. It's not an exchange of money for goods situation.

However, IMHO any female student that can't understand student money issues and be fair and mature about contributing to the date fund isn't what I'd call a real catch. There is nothing to "confront" her about, merely something to bring up as a point of reality in polite conversation. I still take my guy out on my own ticket too, we're just realistic about each party's ability to pay and not take things personally.
posted by nelleish at 12:10 AM on February 6, 2005

I don't quite understand this question. Is the girl a "catch" just because she's pretty? Because in my mind, a great catch means you've found the sort of person that doesn't mind you being honest, and doesn't mind sharing relationship responsibilities.

If she's just a pretty face, there are plenty more out there. If you don't care and just want to hang on to what you've got, well, there's an a saying that goes something like: "If you give a girl flowers every Sunday when you're wooing her, you've got to keep giving her flowers even after she's wooed."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:32 AM on February 6, 2005

Just a thought: it might be best to bring this up next time you go out, after you have already paid -- perhaps while waiting for the credit card (or whatever) to come back. You'll come across as a reasonable gentleman rather than a spur-of-the-moment miser.
posted by ori at 1:37 AM on February 6, 2005

I agree with CD. It pisses me off when women do this (and I am one!) - unless there's a genuine reason like just not having the money, and then only when both parties are are OK with it - and she needs to be told to start pulling her weight. She's being selfish she knows it, so be blunt and tell her you're not putting up with it, then take her out to dinner - on her.

Disregard everything I've said if you think she's so much of a catch that you don't want to put the relationship at risk - chances are, if she's that hot, she probably knows some other sucker will pay her way through life.
posted by eatcherry at 1:54 AM on February 6, 2005

I think implicitly you are already answering your own question here - her behaviour obviously bothers you so you should do something about it. 6 months is not 6 years or a lifetime but if you're not happy now it doesn't get any better.
posted by keijo at 2:36 AM on February 6, 2005

You have to be who you are no matter who you're with. You think that a woman in the same situation as you should pay for things, so you need to have a word with her.

If you do everything for her just because she's attractive, she'll either leave you because you won't have any self respect, or she'll be the kind of woman who wants a walking wallet.
posted by lunkfish at 2:49 AM on February 6, 2005

Don't date any girl who knows she's hot shit. She'll wrap your sorry ass around her finger and use you to no end. Secondly, call me traditional but the guy always pays, holds open doors, pulls out chairs, buys flowers randomly, kisses her randomly in an empty stairwell, and sets up a candlelit dinner just to be an awesome boyfriend. Treat your girlfriend like a princess, and whatever money you spend will be worth it. Yes money goes fast. Yes the girl always wants to eat out and it's difficult to take her someplace cheap when she has her own ideas about what she wants to eat. Easiest way to get her to pay for gas is for you to not have a car, but it looks like you already screwed that one up. Get a job, you can easily spend close to $100 in a weekend when you've got a girlfriend. I know this. If you can't afford it, you can't afford to have a girlfriend.
posted by banished at 3:08 AM on February 6, 2005

If you can't afford it, you can't afford to have a girlfriend.

That's the dumbest thing I've ever read.

Anon, you sound like a good boyfriend and it does sound like you're being taken advantage of here. You don't need to have lots of money to do sweet, romantic things and if your girlfriend doesn't appreciate that, then you're better off without her. Girlfriends aren't like wide-screen TVs or something - you don't "afford" them (though nice implication of ownership there, banished), you shouldn't have to budget for your girlfriend's expensive tastes. Sure you can treat her when you can afford it, but you definitely shouldn't be at the point where you're worrying about money because your girlfriend is bleeding you dry.
posted by eatcherry at 3:19 AM on February 6, 2005

there are no hard and fast rules about this kind of thing - at the moment we've just got a bunch of different people reporting on how they think things should work. on the one hand there's what you might call the "traditional" view, as given by banished, on the other hand i was used to splitting the costs when i dated back at uni decades ago. and either way is fine, i'm sure (i guess we all prefer the way we are used to).

the problem is that you seem to be in an uncomfortable limbo between the two camps. so you can't turn round one day and say "hey, you're supposed to pay half", because you started with the traditional roles (your choice, presumably, since you don't mention anyone holding a gun to your head).

the cynic in me suggests that the traditional way to proceed at this point is to get her pregnant, lowering her "market value" (at which point i wonder just how you sad tossers live with relationships based on crap like this).

otherwise, you need to negotiate. which means having a relationship where you can argue things out without it falling apart. find a way to talk about it and, above all, don't be agressive.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:30 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Just tell her to stick a crowbar in her wallet and pry it open.
posted by fixedgear at 4:01 AM on February 6, 2005

I notice that you say "she's considered a catch" (not that she is a catch, but that she is considered to be so) and "I was actively pursuing her" (you are no longer pursuing her) and "we've just gone out of the lovey-dovey phase" (in to the what phase?)

If things are starting to look real to you now, then start acting real: your turn to pay at the restaurant! your turn to pay for gas! your turn to pump gas! your turn to cook! your turn to change the oil! Just say it. Be bold. See how she reacts. You will learn a lot about her.

And if she refuses to pull her own weight even after being asked bluntly, if she wants you to pretend life is one long date, then make a break for it. Six months of "the lovey-dovey phase" is fine, but if that's not followed by the really-feely, shary-wary, pay-your-own-way-ee phase, look for a better girlfriend and let the current one move on to another six-month lovey-dovey phase with someone else.

If we must use a fishing metaphor, find someone who you think is a good catch, and not just a catch and release, but a keeper. Then gut her and grill her and have her with a little lemon. No, no, no. Try to find someone smarter than but not quite as attractive as you are. She will have the sense to pull her own weight.
posted by pracowity at 4:27 AM on February 6, 2005

call me traditional but the guy always pays, holds open doors, pulls out chairs, buys flowers randomly, kisses her randomly in an empty stairwell, and sets up a candlelit dinner just to be an awesome boyfriend

Call me the complete opposite of this. (Except for the random kissing part.) I have dated girls that wanted to be held up on a pedestal like a goddess, and I hated it. This may be the kind of girl banished dates, and the kind anonymous is dating.

I have also dated girls who acted like best friends with benefits. This is the kind of girl I married. Nothing made me happier on a second date than the girl saying "It's my turn to pay, right?"

As for the question being asked, I wouldn't make a big deal out of it and "confront" her. I'd try to find a way to bring it up casually. Maybe you know another couple where the girl pays half the time, and you could mention how cool that is. Something low-key like that.
posted by agropyron at 4:56 AM on February 6, 2005 [3 favorites]

Impossible for anyone to say what is really going on, so we are all guessing, but my thought is that perhaps she just doesn't know what's going on. It's possible that she thinks it's exactly as you want it; it's possible that she has always been taken care of and has actually never really considered the money question (odd, but some people who are from rich families are like this). Maybe she once went out with some guy and offered to pay, and he told her that it was an insult.

The thing is, if she were a golddigger type, she wouldn't have chosen a poor-ish student, so, to me, it doesn't seem likely that she is very caculating. Probably best just to have a frank discussion, and ask her views while telling her yours.
posted by taz at 5:05 AM on February 6, 2005

The whole money-while-dating issue is confusing for everyone. You say she pays every once in awhile, which means she doesn't seem totally ignorant. Maybe it's possible she thinks you like paying (sounds crazy, but I've been out with fellows who swear they would never let their long-term girlfriends pay, most notably one who said his girlfriend of 5 years never paid a cent).

If you really like this girl, and still really want to be with her (and I'm not convinced on that point based on how you phrased your question), this is all about framing it correctly. Tell her.... you really care about her, and enjoy your time together so much, but money is getting tight, so you'd love to start doing things together that don't cost so much- renting movies, making dinner, etc. Do stuff cheap enough that you don't have to split it .
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:22 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

When you say this girl is "considered a catch", I take that to mean that she's high status. In other words because she's attractive enough to have the pick of any man she wants, by dating her you are raising your own status and that makes you feel good.

The problem with that is that any woman who can pick and chose who she goes out with, and doesn't have any particularly strong feelings about you, may quite happily dump you for someone who is prepared to pay for the pleasure of her company. Status always comes at a cost and if you feel you can't afford it then don't be surprised at the results.

And a relationship where you can't talk about money is even more doomed than a relationship where you can't talk about sex.

Christ, I sound like the most cynical bastard in the world.
posted by dodgygeezer at 5:24 AM on February 6, 2005

The opinions above sum things up, depending on the circumstances. Though personally I would ignore the advice of the dinosaurs. It's 2005 and you're a student.

In the future however, should things not work out with ole Catchy McCheapskate, I would suggest broaching this topic well in advance of six months (say by date #4-5). Some girls like everything paid for. Some girls always order the lobster. Those girls are not the ones I care to share my company with, and would rather know in advance of major emotional entanglement.
posted by drpynchon at 5:34 AM on February 6, 2005

Pracowcity's advice is OTM on many, many levels!

I think the key thing is that you're a student, and it's 2005. By now it should automatically be the case that the two of you are alternating meals / gas / various expenses. My girlfriend of two-and-a-half years and I have taken turns taking each other out since our second date--and she 'brought it up' simply by taking the check and paying. That is the appropriate (classy, modern) way to do this. If it's expensive, we always just split it.

In college everyone (more or less) is on the same budget, and this means that all of this the-guy-always-pays-because-guys-are-hunter-gatherers stuff is completely irrelevant. You should bring it up with your girlfriend next time you guys go out from the perspective that it's totally normal to be splitting costs. You can be Frank Sinatra when it's her birthday or on Valentine's Day (if you're in a Valentine's-Day-celebrating nation) by taking her out then.
posted by josh at 5:54 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Make her pay and don't be embarrassed about it.

If it goes to extended ceremony you'll be glad you did. When dating my wife for three years we'd usually alternate back and forth on meals, with me picking up most of the incidentals. It works best when you don't physically hand money to each other. Do it like you do with your friends, if you buy this round, he/she gets the next (whether that be five minutes or five months down the line).

You're setting precedent here. If this becomes marriage you don't want to be a knight in shining armor with a accessible wallet, rather someone who is adaptable and stable. In the long run this makes her an amazing individual, one who isn't dependent (or independent) of you. Perhaps, this is a lot of what you are getting out of when the "lovey-dovey" phase vanishes.

Keep on. If she loves you, monetary reciprocation isn't going to kill anything - especially if that is a desire of yours.
posted by sled at 6:42 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

My best friend mooches off her whupped-ass boyfriend all the time, and he needs to buck up and make her pony up every now and then. They're in almost the same situation as you describe, Anon, and I don't even like the guy, but this lack of backbone is 3/4 of the reason. Don't let women (and I am one) walk all over you.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:43 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

I think one thing to keep in mind is that who pays the bills may be quite telling about who is desired and who is desiring. The best relationships are equal in this, obviously, but unfortunately there are plenty of cases where one party is more into it than the other, and most typically this is men pursuing women, which is expressed in part by the fact that men traditionally pay. But in gay relationships the same thing can happen, and the pursued gets treated to things while the pursuer gets treated to the company of the one s/he desires.

Basically, if she really never pays, maybe she's not really that into you. If you have similar levels of money, then she should want to pay for things as often as you do, because the point is spending time together, not getting free meals. Unless you are from a rich family and she's from a poor one, or there is some other reason she imagines you would have a much easier time handling the expenses, it should have begun to even out when she decided she actually liked you. On the first date or two, if you invited her, she may not have known yet, but soon enough, if she actually considered you a catch as well, she should have started sharing costs.

The thing is, if she were a golddigger type, she wouldn't have chosen a poor-ish student,

But a person doesn't have to be a hardcore "golddigger" to be a general moocher or advantage-taker... if she was pursued, and started getting some benefits (nice meals, etc) and was generally okay with the relationship (cute student > dirty old man), she could just continue to let things go on because she knows how to take advantage of you, but isn't really falling in love with you.

I agree that the best advice is to just start suggesting things that involve spending time together but without money being spent, and mention that you're kinda feeling broke at the moment, and that generally you'd feel more comfortable with a balanced and equal relationship than with a prince/princess style one, and see how she responds. Maybe she just doesn't get that this might be an issue, but I have to say that my sense of it from the way you presented the problem is that she is not really committed to the relationship.
posted by mdn at 7:25 AM on February 6, 2005

I don't have anything else to add except that if you don't bring up this subject soon, it will be harder and harder as time goes on.
posted by AlisonM at 7:38 AM on February 6, 2005

You say the relationship is "slightly rocky". You say you are out of the "lovey-dovey" stage after only six months. You say you have stopped "actively pursuing" her. Gas and food money are the least of your worries regarding this relationship.
posted by oh posey at 7:56 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'd like to help out dodgygeezer, by helping him sound like the second-most cynical bastard in the world, by striding ahead of him across the cynical-bastard-finish-line by one grumpily-waved-canelength.

By which, the phrasing of the question suggests to me that you're mostly looking for an excuse to get out of the relationship. People are bafflingly hesitant to simply admit that sometimes it's time to end things, and that it can be done in a relatively clean and non-melodramatic manner. Thus they seek out opportunities for confrontation, and like their reasons for making molehills a matter of confrontation to be validated. Enough angry confrontations about various matters being had, it validates ending things.

If that's not enough to secure first place in the cynical bastard footrace, I'll add that I can sort of understand this--because generating an unnecessary string of confrontational arguments over very minor things, in addition to eventually validating a goodbye, leads to X number of make-up sex sessions.

That should clinch the win, I think. :)

Non-cynicism aside, previous advice is all good. No need for things to be a confrontation--just bring it up. If something this minor is a risk to the relationship, well, that's valuable data on just how strong the relationship is.
posted by Drastic at 8:02 AM on February 6, 2005

Two things:
  1. I wonder why you're asking anonymously. Does the girlfriend in question read ask.me? And if she does, doesn't even asking anonymously amount to a sort of passive-aggressive hint?
  2. It's imperative that you determine what constitutes sufficient reciprocity with you. It's my opinion that reciprocity is neither symmetrical or immediate; you each have different things to offer under different circumstances, whether it's her not leaving your side when your mother's in the hospital or you paying for dinner because she's broke. What's essential is that you understand what you need and expect from each other and agree to take care of each other to the extent that you're able when any sort of need arises. If you're not able to communicate about that, this might not be the right relationship for you.

posted by willpie at 8:03 AM on February 6, 2005

I'm going to disagree with everyone who has said you need to have a sit-down talk with her about this. It may be a cultural thing, but I would be embarassed if a guy I was dating sat me down and said "It's time for you to start paying for dinner."

I would treat the situation the same way I would with a friend. Wait patiently until the next time she volunteers to pick up the check. Reinforce the behavior ("Thanks sweetie! Smooooch! You're the best sweetie a guy could ask for!") then the next time you're out, pick up the bill and say "Hey, hey, it's my turn," as if she was battling you for it.

I do agree with the folks above who mentioned that it's better to take turns than to split the bill. It's fun to treat people. It makes them feel good and it should make you feel good. If you're feeling used, abused, sucked-dry, etc., then there may be some other issues at work here (i.e. you aren't being as assertive as you should be in the relationship and you know it, you persued her so rigorously that now that you have her there's a large burden of keeping her, etc. etc.)
posted by bonheur at 8:03 AM on February 6, 2005

Wow--I'm kinda surprised that people have taken the fact that this girl is a "catch," that anon clearly likes her, and the fact that he's been paying for more...to mean that she's a princess or goldigger, that she'll treat him poorly, or that she's trying to bleed him dry. Watch those projections, folks!

I think it's quite possible that there's been a misunderstanding. Maybe anon insisted on paying for everything for awhile, and now he'd like to reverse his own policy. Maybe they had some other kind of miscommunication. That doesn't make her a bitch!

I'm with bonheur: you two need to sit down and talk about this, not just whip out the issue at the dinner table. And it doesn't have to be about anon's financial need, either--even if both of you are well off, it's perfectly fair to expect some kind of parity in paying. I don't know many women who expect their boyfriends to pay for everything in this day and age, and maybe this one doesn't either--try to keep an open mind when you approach her, anon, and figure out what's really going on for her.

As anon says, they're exiting the honeymoon phase and entering a period that requires more active work to keep the communication smooth and open. Difficult conversations like this one, which implicate people's identities and ideas about money, can establish a solid foundation for good communication in the future if you're able to honestly address how you feel. If you let the issue drag out unaddressed or bring it up in a kind of underhanded, blaming way (or call her a goldigging princess!), I suspect the relationship won't feel good for long. Good luck!
posted by equipoise at 8:40 AM on February 6, 2005

What taz said. And what oh posey said. And what equipoise said.

Money is one of those things that is easy to measure. In love, however, expecting all things to be divided exactly 50-50 will doom you to a string of failed relationships. That being said, it's perfectly reasonable to ask her what her expectations are- it sounds like she's willing to contribute, maybe she just doesn't think about it as much as you are, and just needs a gentle prompting.

But your choice of words leaves me concerned. Frankly, I wouldn't want to date a guy who considered himself "whipped." If you are feeling that way, I'm guessing there's more going on than just money issues. Some honest and respectful communication is needed.

Since you said you are a college student I am assuming that you are young, and perhaps haven't figured out that there are certain patterns in relationships that are repeated over and over with different people until you take notice and start observing traits and patterns more objectively. Think about what you need from a relationship so that you don't feel "whipped", just as a start. Good luck!
posted by ambrosia at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2005

equipoise, it's hardly projection.

His own choice of words ("catch," "actively pursuing," "whipped") points to him potentially being on the business end of an unhealthy power dynamic. People may be wrong in inferring this, but I hardly see it as a huge leap.
posted by drpynchon at 9:38 AM on February 6, 2005

What if you just start suggesting that the two of you do things that don't cost a lot of money? Go to the park, cook dinner together, rent movies instead of going to them. This will force the two of you to spend quality time together, and will also allow you to save money for big occasions. And, when she says "why don't we go out to the movies" you can say "I'd rather stay in, I'm trying to save some money." Eventually, if going out is that important to her, she'll offer to pay. That's how things worked when I was in college - if it was something I really wanted to do, I'd offer to pay. Actually, it still works that way, even though we both have plenty of money.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:07 AM on February 6, 2005

eatcherry... I said you can't afford TO HAVE a girlfriend (implying that you're not responsible enough to be with a girl). I didn't say you can't afford a girlfriend (implying that she's a prostitute or that she can be owned). There's a big difference. The sad fact of this world is that you need money to go out on dates with a girl. Someone I know was once broke, and he took a girl out on a first date, promising her they'd go out to dinner. He got to her house and she was starving, but he told her they would go out on a walk together first... He walked around with her all night, until it was so late that all of the restaurants were closed, and he was able to just take her home. Although the story is sweet... you can only get away with going out on dates without any money for so long. Even if you accept a non-traditional view that a COUPLE should always "go dutch", which I think is absurd (although I realize that is a statement of opinion)... you have to admit that the man should at least have enough money to pay for himself. If you can't afford to take care of yourself on a date, then of course you just can't afford to have a girlfriend.

agropyron... How I treat my girlfriend has nothing to do with what kind of girl she is. I've been taught since I was little to treat a girlfriend as if she were a princess, and I believe it as strongly as I believe that you should never hit a woman, even if she hits you. These are just things I have been taught since I was little, and as grew up I saw a lot of my girl-friends date some really asshole type guys that would cheat on them, hit them, etc., and I always promised myself I would be the exact opposite of "that guy". These are MY beliefs, but my girlfriend is hardly one who wants to be held up on a pedestal.
posted by banished at 10:28 AM on February 6, 2005

...now that we're in a long-term relationship, I would like her to pay half for meals and gas

The entire problem is in the construction of that sentence. That just isn't how it works.
posted by bingo at 10:29 AM on February 6, 2005

on post-view:

The sad fact of this world is that you need money to go out on dates with a girl...If you can't afford to take care of yourself on a date, then of course you just can't afford to have a girlfriend.

In my own experience, this is not true (suggesting that it's not universally true, either). I have had several girlfriends who were financially in better shape than me at the time, and who paid for virtually everything.

That isn't to say that that's how things 'should' be. But if you tell yourself that women are fragile flowers who have to be worshiped and protected, then you are setting yourself up for a relationship with an imbalance that isn't necessary.
posted by bingo at 10:47 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

His own choice of words ("catch," "actively pursuing," "whipped") points to him potentially being on the business end of an unhealthy power dynamic.

Apparently, I don't read the word "catch" the way some other people here are reading it. To me, it means he likes her and thinks she's cool--not that she's better than him or "out of his league." It certainly doesn't imply to me that she's conceited and arrogant. Same goes for "actively pursuing"--you can court someone without being stepped on. I think my boyfriend's a catch, and I would say I actively pursued him, but that doesn't mean our relationship has an unhealthy power dynamic. I think I'm a catch and he actively pursued me too!

As for "whipped"....well, yeah, that sounds like an unhealthy dynamic to me too. But I view the unhealthiness a different way--to me, it bespeaks some issues on anon's part. I usually hear that term used to emasculate or taunt a man who's being sensitive to a woman's feelings, like "Dude, you won't break a date with your gf to watch football with us? You're whipped." The speakers are the ones who have a problem in that example, not the "dude." If anon's using it to describe himself, I suspect a) he's not asserting himself sufficiently in the relationship or b) he's worried that being sensitive to his gf's feelings makes him look like a loser in other men's eyes. Assuming that she's not emotionally abusive, I think he bears the responsibility for dealing with the problem in either of those scenarios.

Again, none of those terms make me think she's a golddigging princess!
posted by equipoise at 10:58 AM on February 6, 2005

"[I'm] whipped because she's considered a catch." CONSIDERED a catch. Read: out of my league, or I think or thought I had to pay for her company, otherwise I'd prefer not to... If this is truly the case, it doesn't speak well for either of them or the relationship...
posted by drpynchon at 11:10 AM on February 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

It's the job of the inviter
To be all the more politer.

If you instigate a date,
Don't expect her to compensate.

But when she wants to go out and calls it.
She better bring her wallet.
posted by superposition at 12:54 PM on February 6, 2005

what taz said
(can I add those three words to my username or something?)
posted by matteo at 1:15 PM on February 6, 2005

I would like her to pay half for meals and gas.

You might as well call it off, El Cheapo.

If you can't afford it, you can't afford to have a girlfriend.

This is true. Hate the game, but don't hate us for telling you.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 1:50 PM on February 6, 2005

I agree with banished, except for this part:

Don't date any girl who knows she's hot shit. She'll wrap your sorry ass around her finger and use you to no end.

I really disagree with this. I've never been around fat girls, and everyone I've dated has been smart and beautiful. They are more to handle, and sometimes are not very nice, but to disregard beauty because of some cheap platform of discontent is tragic.

There is a reason why so many pretty girls are with terrible men, these idiots are the only ones who will talk to them.

For homework, next time you are at an art opening, look for the most attractive girl there, and go talk to her. You may be glad you did.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 2:02 PM on February 6, 2005

You might as well call it off, El Cheapo.

It's cheap to expect a functioning adult with the money to do so to pay her own way? I've been dating my boyfriend for over three years, and we go dutch on most everything. Personally, I think the princess stuff is crap, and I'd rather feel like an equal in a relationship. But, YMMV, obviously.

What the conversation's coming down to is those who believe women should be treated as princesses, and those who believe that's bunk. Really, as others have said, you need to figure out which one she buys into, and see if you're compatible from there. To be honest, if she hasn't offered to pay for meals in six months, I don't know how receptive she's going to be. (This, of course, depends on how the paying situation has worked -- if she's offered and it's been a "no, no, put your money away" situation each time, then, well, different story.)

I say bring it up directly: "You know, I like you, but I'm going a bit broke here. Do you think we could start switching off on who pays?"
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:02 PM on February 6, 2005

On a re-reading, I take back my last sentence. I think bonheur nailed it:

I'm going to disagree with everyone who has said you need to have a sit-down talk with her about this. It may be a cultural thing, but I would be embarassed if a guy I was dating sat me down and said "It's time for you to start paying for dinner."
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:15 PM on February 6, 2005

superposition got it. You pay if you invite, but if the other party is actually interested, then at some point she's gotta start "inviting" and not just passively agreeing to let you be around her.

mean mr bucket and banished live in a different universe from a lot of us. I know plenty of women who will be annoyed if they're invited on a date and a guy doesn't offer to pay that time, but it should really be about who made the move. Once it's reciprocal, that should be reflected in expenses, making exceptions for serious disparity in resources.

But 6 months later is not when that change will most naturally come about. If she's a princess-y type (by banished's definition) then she isn't going to be happy about that arrangement anytime, and if she's generally more a dutch type, she shoulda started offering to cover things a while back, if the feeling was really mutual.
posted by mdn at 2:25 PM on February 6, 2005

I realized I'm in this current situation (whipped) because she's considered a catch.. initially, it was not a big deal because I was actively pursuing her.

I find myself annoyed at the tone of your question, though I don't quite understand why. I guess I feel like if you are going to do a 180 in changing your behavior now, after you have wooed and won her into the relationship, you are honor bound to allow her to change her behavior, too, so that you don't expect her to look like a princess all the time and you don't hold it against her if she falls somewhat in whatever "catch" standings you're judging her on. If she fell in love with a hopeless romantic and you chased after her the whole time, it's going to be a bit mean to introduce her now to a whole new world of pumping her share of the gas and buying the cold cuts.

You want to instigate this change, and in doing so become less like the guy she thougt was wooing her. What changes, if any, are you going to allow her to bring to the table? What changes has she asked for from you, and have you been receptive to them?
posted by onlyconnect at 3:26 PM on February 6, 2005

You know one of the problems with these anonymous threads is that the poor bastard can't respond. At the moment I bet he's screaming "I was joking about the 'considered a catch' shit"

Anon - get a cat. They're a huge pain the ass, never split the bills, but they're cheaper to keep and they're chick magnets (swaps cynic hat for crass-idiot hat because he can't compete with Drastic {in cynacsim that is} ).
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:46 PM on February 6, 2005

One easy thing to do is simply start opting for slightly less-expensive evenings. Suggest something cheap (renting a movie), and if she bugs you about wanting to do something more expensive (going to a movie), just tell her that you're a little short on cash and you've been hitting the ATM too much already this week. Eventually, she'll either take the hint and pony up every so often, or she'll complain about you being cheap. Believe me, if she starts complaining, you don't want her around regardless of her status as a catch. Don't confront her, unless you want her to start calling you a cheap bastard.
posted by MrZero at 6:54 PM on February 6, 2005

Also, don't try that advice above if you just told her how you blew $50 at the bar with your buddies the night before. She will feel like she's taking a backseat to them. (Or, for that matter, that you blew $50 on whatever you waste money on. Just keep that stuff on the down-low.)

Another thing that my girlfriend and I will do is set limits on our gift spending, i.e. $200 for Christmas, $50 for Valentine's day, etc. Just let her suggest the first number, because if you throw out $20 and she was expecting $200, you're in the doghouse regardless.
posted by MrZero at 7:06 PM on February 6, 2005

Mean Mr. Bucket... There are different types of hot girls. Girls that know they're beautiful and feel like they can treat men like shit as a result, and girls that are oblivious to the fact that they're beautiful. The second type is, by far, the best girl to be with.
posted by banished at 9:05 PM on February 6, 2005

"Sweetums, things are tight. We've got to split entertainment costs."

Simple and soon.

If that's a problem for her, then that's a problem, isn't it?
posted by NortonDC at 10:32 PM on February 6, 2005

Getting past the fact that I'm astonished that you haven't got into a routine of going halves a long time ago (perhaps this is another cross-atlantic social difference?) can I suggest one way to get the issue on the table is to wait until the next time she does offer to pay then suggest it may be fairer on both of you to split bills? Exceptions being particular treat events such as birthdays/celebrations.
posted by biffa at 3:10 AM on February 7, 2005

Girls that know they're beautiful and feel like they can treat men like shit as a result, and girls that are oblivious to the fact that they're beautiful. The second type is, by far, the best girl to be with.

I know we've had this discussion before (maybe not with you, but I know it was discussed around here) but most attractive women have mirrors. A woman can be happy with the way she looks without "treating men like shit." Some beautiful people are assholes and some are not, but seeking out people who specifically have low self-esteem so that they depend on you is really not the way to go.
posted by mdn at 5:48 AM on February 7, 2005

This astonishes me. Perhaps gay relationships have a different dynamic, or perhaps I've been lucky.

My ex and I, fairly early on, very simply evolved ways of splitting our costs. Much of the time that would involve one of us saying "Am I paying?" or "Okay, but you're buying," with no stigma or unpleasantness attached to the question or the answer, We just very naturally assumed things would be equal, and if I happened to pay for all our dinners one week, whatever; it would balance in the end. Mostly, we ended up with me paying for much of our time out (dinners, movies, bars), and he'd cover things like groceries, movie rentals, and would often buy me things-- usually things I needed but didn't bother getting for myself.

So yes, you two need to sit down and have a talk. None of this game-playing bullshit about dropping subtle hints or anything like that. "Sweetheart, I hate to say this, but money's getting kind of tight, and we need to figure out our finances together, because I can't afford to continue paying for the majority fo the stuff we do together."

Long term relationships require utterly open communication, not hints, and games, and related crap. If you can't sit down and talk to her about this, if such a conversation is impossible, then that tells you absolutely everything you need to know about the future of the relationship.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:59 AM on February 7, 2005

Long term relationships require utterly open communication, not hints, and games, and related crap.

True, but I'm not sure I'd consider 6mos. a long-term relationship.

I've had similar problems, from the other side, with friends who made much more money than I did and just kept paying for every dinner out, so that I pretty much stopped offering to pay because they never took my money. Before it got to that point, however, I always used to just ask "How much can I put in?" or "Can I put something in?" when they reached for the bill -- not assuming I'd pay half, but maybe just be allowed to toss in a $20 or something. Perhaps you could try this the next time she offers to pay -- I know it will end up with you paying something *again* on a time that she's offered, but it might open up the possibility of going Dutch.

Does that make sense? Basically, by your saying "Let's go Dutch" the next time she offers to pay, you've suddenly made going Dutch something that you as a couple do, which might spur her into more generosity in the future. You'll make paying for an outing something that you and she negotiate, rather than something that you just do and she doesn't have to think about. And if you do it on a time *she's* paying, you won't look like a cheap bastard.

Another possibility is just to leave the check sitting on the table until she picks it up a few times.
posted by occhiblu at 7:52 AM on February 7, 2005

True, but I'm not sure I'd consider 6mos. a long-term relationship.

Perhaps not, but it's certainly approaching the point at which, in most cases I've seen, the relationship goes from those early stages to a potential serious and long-term affair. And if the communication doesn't start now, then it's never going to.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:35 AM on February 7, 2005

If both attend the same college, the 6 months is long term. College relationships entail daily contact, often for hours a day. They may even live in the same building. That six months may cover more contact than a 2 years of other adult relationships.
posted by NortonDC at 3:18 PM on February 7, 2005

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