Is 50/50 finance still a thing?

How to handle finances between a man and a woman?

Our elder could write 20 pages on this – but for now, it’s enough to know that there’s no ‘right’ way to do it.


Dear EWC

I’m a single 18-year-old woman and have never even been on a first date before. I keep hearing and seeing videos of women saying that they should not be doing the 50/50 method when it comes to dating and marriage. For example, one of these women said that their grandmother had told her to never marry a man who needs her finances to take care of her because he asked her to marry him. I could use some options on this. I’m hearing that they prefer a man to not only protect them, but also give them love, security, and support. But they also want a man to be willing to take care of them financially even if the women didn’t ask or insist on helping. I always had the idea of doing the 50/50 at the beginning of the relationship and even after it becomes something more (marriage). But now I’m a bit confused.


Scriber replies

Thank you for writing. There are so many options, in response to your question about how to handle finances between a man and a woman, that it would take about a twenty-page or more letter to fully explain and describe everything. Since you’ve already done a little research on your own and have heard and/or read different reactions from others, I’ll try to just provide my own views based on my own experiences and observations. There are many scenarios, but I’ll just offer a few:

First, there aren’t any specific rules to follow, and there isn’t any set “right” or “wrong” way for a couple to handle finances. You have to figure out what works best for you and your date (and possibly a potential fiancé/husband at some point.) You indicated in your letter that you are 18 years old and haven’t been on a first date yet. In many circumstances, if a guy asked you out on a date, then it is often understood that he’s probably going to pay for things on the date since he’s the one who initiated the invitation. So, if you go to dinner and to a movie, then more than likely, he’ll pay for everything. You probably won’t know anything about his personal financial situation as to whether he can really afford to always pay for everything every time you go out (if there are more dates after the first one). He may have a job, but you wouldn’t know anything about his bills and any other expenses unless he shared that information with you. 

Now switch roles. Suppose you wanted to ask a guy out on a date. (You might be thinking that you wouldn’t do that because you’d always wait for a guy to ask you out. However, many women do ask men out.)  Since you’d be the one inviting the guy out on a date, then it’s only reasonable that you would pay for everything, in my opinion. He may offer to pay the tip at the restaurant or something else, but you’re the one who initiated the date. 

As you get to know someone, you’ll probably get to know more about the person’s financial situation. You may develop an understanding that you’ll split expenses or alternate who pays.  It can be 50/50, but it can also be 60/40, 70/30, 80/20, etc. 

Some women make it clear very early on that they want the man to basically pay for everything if he expects to continue seeing her. That’s an arrangement and an agreement between them, and if that’s what both parties want to do, then that’s their prerogative, right? There are often subtle and not so subtle indications very early on that the woman won’t sleep with him unless he pays for mostly everything. It isn’t necessarily spoken, but it’s understood. So, the guy often feels that if he is paying for everything, then he often expects to have sex in return, in my opinion. (It’s a little more complicated than this, but I think you can get the idea. I don’t want to get into a big discussion about this aspect of dating when it comes to the potential connection between finances and sex.)

Now switch roles. Some men like to be financially taken care of by a woman, and some women don’t mind paying for everything or almost everything.

Sometimes whoever pays for everything is the one who is in “control” of the relationship. It often can be a power issue. If the other person is willing to give over his/her power, then I guess this kind of arrangement can work. It’s a lot more complicated than this, but I think you may understand. I don’t recommend it, but I’ve seen some couples operate this way. (Interestingly, sometimes the one who thinks he’s/she’s the one who controls the relationship isn’t really the one. It all depends on certain dynamics and other issues.) 

I know plenty of married couples who keep their finances separate. They may own their house together, but they keep separate bank accounts. They don’t do things like ask each other for permission to buy things and so forth because they’re spending their own money. They usually work out an arrangement where they either split the household bills or they each pay certain designated bills. For example, one person may pay the mortgage and utilities and the other one pays for food and insurance and so forth. 

Couples, whether married, living together, or dating, have to figure out what works best for them. 

As a woman, I personally think that all women, whether they’re in a relationship or not, should try to be in a position where they don’t have to depend on anyone else financially. I could elaborate on all of the reasons why I feel this way, but again, this would end up being a very long letter. 

As far as the grandmother’s advice, you wrote about where she says that a man should protect a woman, give love, security, support, and take care of the woman financially, even if she didn’t ask or insist on helping – yes, that sounds like an ideal man. It also sounds like an ideal woman too. If you’re in a committed relationship, you want to know that the other person has your back, no matter what. 

I like things to be fair, whether it’s financial arrangements or other things. If one person feels used or being taken advantage of or taken for granted, then you have a big mess on your hands. You didn’t ask about sharing household duties, but it has always bothered me when some men won’t share in doing the household chores. I’d like that to be 50/50 as much as possible, along with the financial arrangements. We’re not living in the 1950s anymore when it was mostly the men who went to work every day while the women stayed home and cared for the children and the house. Today, in many cases, both the man and the woman work outside of the home and bring home the finances to help run the house and take care of the children. 

There’s a lot more that can be said about financial arrangements. When you go on your first date, just enjoy yourself and if you find that you like him, try to get to know him better. As you become more comfortable with each other, you’ll probably learn how to handle the financial aspects. I would advise you to always have enough money with you (or a credit card) so that you don’t have to depend on him to pay for things. I personally like the 50/50 method, as you call it. But sometimes it will be 100/0 or some other combination. Try not to stress about it too much, but also try never to have to depend on anyone else to have to financially take care of you. That’s my advice.

Article #: 471028

Category: Dating/Relationship

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