It's not easy dealing with money in a relationship. Figuring out who pays for what can be even trickier when one person makes a lot more than the other. Some couples re-evaluate dating and money as various life factors pop up, like when rent goes up or one person gets a raise.
There's no single perfect solution that works across the board for every couple. But if you're struggling to figure out exactly how to navigate finances in your own relationship, it can be helpful to hear how other women handle money with their partners.
Ilana, 23, is a clinical psychology doctoral student engaged to a PhD student in behavioral neuroscience. The brainy duo splits on paying for things like dates most of the time, but it fluctuates if one has more money than the other in a given week — her fiancé gets a stipend from his university, and Ilana does not.
"I also don’t think a man should have to pay for me; I think it is antiquated and unnecessary," Ilana tells Elite Daily. "He sometimes will mention wishing he could pay for me and 'take care of me' but I never would expect him to." Down the line, when Ilana and her future husband will be more established in their careers, she expects to re-evaluate how to handle money in the relationship.
Another couple, Sadaaf and Sophie, both 24, also will reconsider when they're both more set in their fields. Right now, Sadaaf is a "broke-*ss bartender" and Sophie's in graduate school, so money isn't really flowing for them. Sadaaf says she always wants to pay for Sophie.
"Sophie is much more responsible with money and she tries to mediate my spending, but also finds it really hard to turn down a deal so it doesn't tend to work out," she says. The couple has plans to move in together "soonish" and raise a puppy together, so that will be another financial conversation they'll have. "Hopefully by that point we'll be able to go 50/50 on everything, but in the meantime we're happy to pick up each other's slack if need be."
Marina*, 24, a freelance social media editor and lifestyle writer, and her boyfriend, a marketing research analyst, have been dating for five years.
"We never get upset if we feel someone has been paying more than another because we understand the different monetary struggles the other has," Marina tells Elite Daily. "Right now, he makes more than I do, so he has been paying for most of our dates — a favor I plan on returning once my salary raises again." Marina's happy with the way they handle paying for things now, and knows if they move in together, they'll have to split rent, utilities, and food equally (unless, she says, one has a significantly higher income).
Shani, 23, and her boyfriend are both chemists. He makes a little bit more money than she does. They split the cost for things that involve the two of them, except on anniversaries (he pays) or his birthday (she pays). She likes that they go half and half for paying, and thinks if one of them is in graduate school while the other works, the working individual will pitch in more money.
For full time students, figuring out payment could be a little harder, since neither usually have jobs. Rachel*, 21, and her partner, 21, are both full-time students. Her partner pays for most of their dates: she says she can only foot the bill when she "explicitly" says beforehand that she's paying. While she doesn't know what her future financial situation will be, she says their handling of money and payment will change down the road. "Unsure how, but I'm sure it will," she says.
Ellis, 24, a content curator at Vaco, and her boyfriend, Tom, a software engineer at Eventide, make sure that it's equal. "If I buy him a drink at one bar, he buys me one at the next," Ellis tells Elite Daily. "If he puts his credit card down for dinner, I Venmo him for my portion. We're never urgent about paying each other back, though. We know we'll pay each other back eventually."
When discussing finances with your partner, and how you'd like to handle money for the two of you, it's best to be respectful of the other person's possible financial restrictions, and determine a routine that makes you both comfortable. And hey – once you come to an agreement on a doable system, you can focus on more important things – like what to do with that money you'll split or splurge.
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