Dating Deal Breakers: Money Talks!

A little while ago I was talking to a friend about a date she went on. It wasn’t going particularly well at the start, they both realized there was no chemistry in the middle, and at the end of the date the guy didn’t even offer to pay for dinner. Instead, he just assumed they would pay their own way. I’m sorry, maybe I’ve watched too many romantic comedies, but even if it’s a sucky date and one of you ends up saying “This was fun, I’ll call you,” but you both know full well that’s not going to happen, I still think the dance of the bill should occur. The dance of course being the guy says “I’ve got this”, then the girl goes “Oh no, that’s ok, I’ve got it”, then the guy goes “No, please, I insist”, then eventually the guy pays or they both agree to go dutch. But alas, this didn’t happen, which leads me to believe that simple manners like this doesn’t even exist anymore.

To me, this simple gesture of not offering to pay is a dating deal breaker. It may seem like a small thing to put so much importance on, but I think these little gestures can explain a lot about a person. It could show that they are self-centered, not generous, and lacking some major social skills.

Another deal breaker I would have to say is having major debt. Listen, I know most people have debt, especially student debt, but most people aren’t very proactive about paying it off or are even aware of the imposition it can be to another person. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been very keen on staying out of debt and building up my personal wealth, but the thought of dating someone who is $50,000 in debt and isn’t really concerned about paying it off is kind of a scary thought. Remember, once you get married, your partner’s debt becomes your debt. And if they have a tendency to wrack up credit card debt, that shopaholic problem becomes your problem too.

I’d say my last deal breaker would be having a major difference in opinion in regards to money. My BF and I are both compatible in that we are pretty frugal people, but we also don’t always want to scrimp and save. We both strive to eventually be financially comfortable, have thriving careers, and actually be able to take a vacation to Hawaii without feeling guilty about it (ok, it’s more me with the guilt thing). However, if we weren’t on the same page about this, it would definitely be a deal breaker. Why you may ask? Because I know it would be a big source for arguments down the road, and would probably be the reason why things wouldn’t work out. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t stand dating someone who didn’t understand why I work several jobs, blog all the time, and periodically set financial goals for myself. And I know my BF wouldn’t be able to have a girlfriend who moped around all the time because he had to frequently work night shifts to make a living.

I’m telling you people, if you want a sure-fire way to find out if your date is gonna last long-term, start talking about money.

What are your money related dating deal breakers?

(Image: lusi)


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  • One of the biggest part of dating someone is finding out if they are compatible as marriage material.. If you two are completely not on the same page with money, then yeah, it might cause problems down the road.. but perhaps they have just never had anyone there who could show them “the right way” to do things, and they need some guidance.

  • I think for a guys, one of the biggest money deal breakers is debt. Not just debt, but a person who is in debt that has no motivation to get out. A lot of people are going to get into debt, but it’s the ones who don’t work to get out that bother me.

    • Totally! Most of us have been or will be in debt, be it student loans, credit card debt, or a mortgage, but it’s only a problem if the person isn’t concerned with getting rid of the debt. That to me is a big red flag.

  • “It may seem like a small thing to put so much importance on, but I think these little gestures can explain a lot about a person. It could show that they are self-centered, not generous, and lacking some major social skills.” I could not agree more with your statement. Certain small things communicate bigger things that are under the surface. In terms of deal breakers for me…it would have to be having no motivation to get out of debt (if they’re in debt) or not having similar financial goals as I do. If these aren’t present, then it’s going to be really tough to stay together. Thankfully, my wife and I are on the same page with finances.

    • “It may seem like a small thing to put so much importance on, but I think these little gestures can explain a lot about a person. It could show that they are self-centered, not generous, and lacking some major social skills.” I could not agree more with your statement.

      So what does that say about you not trying to do the same but passively observing the other person rather than contributing to time together?

      • If it was me who asked the guy out on a date, then I would of course offer to pay first, and if they asked me out I would expect them to offer. And if he did offer, then I would do the polite thing, assuming there would be a second date and tell him that I would buy next time. It’s not rocket science.

  • Ah… the splitting of the bill. I disagree with you 100% that the guy should offer to pay! If anything, I’d offer to pay. I want equality and you bet I am willing to pay for it. My money related dating deal breakers would include guys not seeing me as a financial equal, or a constant desire to do really expensive things as dates, haha.

    • Ok that’s interesting. I usually like the guy paying on the first date, then the girl paying on the second date, but that’s just me and I am definitely a bit old fashioned when it comes to those things. That’s a good deal breaker. I don’t think me and my BF could last if he didn’t see me as a financial equal.

  • If they both realized there was no chemistry between them, why should it be up to the guy to pay for the meal? I admit that I’d probably end up covering it, but it seems to really go against the equality that women are fighting for. I think in that case he has every right to offer to just pay his own share. At that point they are basically just friends anyway and you don’t insist on paying your friends’ bills.

    The one about debt is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. I thought I could overlook it in my current relationship, but I gotta face that it is a deal breaker. When I’m working my ass off trying to save, it is so frustrating knowing she’s in debt and not doing much to get out of it.

    • Haha I just had a conversation with my BF and he asked the same thing, to which I replied “Because he’s a gentleman!”. Or at least offer, and if the girl isn’t a gold digger she’ll offer to pay and then most likely you’ll both decide to split it. And whoa whoa whoa on the equality for women thing. This is a blog for sassy and independent ladies, and I’m all about equality, but when it comes to a first date I think the dance of bill should always take place. Again, maybe I’m old fashioned but whatever.

  • I used to date someone who was a financial mess and ultimately it was a deal breaker. I didn’t want to live like that and he was too stupid to ever change.
    Moved on and never regretted it!

  • ooh I hate that awkward money dance. But call me old-fashioned, but I do kind of expect a guy to pay if he asks me out, whether it goes well or not. Super lame if he doesn’t. Anyway, to me it would depend on what the debt was, and what their philosophy of saving/spending is. Money is I think #2 in why couples break up for fight. It’s important to be close to being on the same page.

    • I love the dance! haha. Ya I’m the same way, I think it’s just polite, and I’ll always offer after her offers too. I think it also says a lot about the girl if after the guy offers to pay she says “Ok thanks”. You’ve gotta dance girl!

  • I have been thinking about this! I was thinking more along the lines of politics (it’s an election year, after all) — I could never date someone who didn’t believe in global warming or evolution. Thank goodness I’m in Portland.

    • Same here, there are several ideals I look for an individual but debt and money is not one of them. Unless we’re talking marriage, I could care less about someone’s debt. Dating is just that… dating.

      • Ya I guess it’s only a deal breaker if you see yourself in a long term relationship or marrying the person. If you’re just dating the person and it’s not super serious then them having debt or not being the best with money may not be such a big issue.

  • I’d have to disagree with the guy needing to offer to pay. Especially if it’s a first date or a set-up from a third party. In those cases, I think the best scenario is that you go dutch, otherwise one person might feel they “owe” the other person – which is a bad way to start a lasting relationship.

  • Interesting post! I guess I’ve never really thought about money deal breakers, since we’ve been together since we were really young. Me and him are slightly different when it comes to money, such as he likes to buy material things, whereas I like experiences, but in the end it’s nothing that is a huge deal.

    • I think as long as you too in the end have the same financial goals and are smart with your money then ya not a big deal. My BF likes his tech gadgets whereas I’ve rather spend money on clothes or going out to dinner, but it all evens out in the end.

  • You and Bridget must be on the same wavelength!!!
    I agree with you. Although, some people may say having the guy pay for your dinner does not tie with feminist values, I still think they should offer to pay for it.
    My hubby and I differ on certain financial discussions, but he shares the same end goals I do. I think he dreams more about out future than I do. For example, a couple nights ago he mentioned his dream of owning a self sustaining home in our retirement age. He made me laugh. Who knew? He’s thinking about our future forty years + down the road.
    I manage the finances, make sure bills are paid, and our savings account increases.

  • I will comment on your first point. I think the idea the guys should immediately offer to pay the full bill is a little outdated, and if it isn’t ,it should be. The dance is phoney, so why bother. Its hardly a matter of good manners when the guy knows that the girl won’t care to see him again. The date did not go well. Is it not reasonable to assume that women, for the most part, earn as much income as men on a national average? Or at least close to it by now? If it was standard that they would arrive at ‘dutch’ after the little dance, then maybe they should play. In my experience of dating, of which you know I have had plenty, the offer to go dutch hardly ever comes out from the other party. I make a decent income, so I am sincere when I offer to pay the full bill. For a women to think its a deal breaker for a man to not offer, especially when the date went south, makes her sound just a bit superficial, if not artificial for me. All things between sexes are supposed to be equal, yet in this well-practiced instance, the onus is still on the man to offer to pay it all? What gives?

    • Ok, let me be clear, this is not an equality issue. It’s about doing a frickin’ dance of the bill when the date is over. I think if the guy asked the girl out on a date he should offer to pay, and if it was the girl who asked the guy out, then she should. But there should always be the bill dance! But that’s just my opinion.

      • Yes, the bill dance is fine, if a bit silly. I am curious how many women in your age group ask men out on a date, thus leaving the onus on them to foot the bill. Sure, he can reach for his wallet…

        • Technically I was the one who asked out BF. Well sort of. I pretty much made it clear he should ask me out. And then he offered to pay for the movie on our first date, and I paid for coffees afterwards. And thus began a beautiful relationship. Children of Men sure was a terrible first date movie choice though.

    • Whaaaat? Are we assuming women are paid equal because some act was passed stating that it should be so? Women are paid about 77 cents to a man’s $1. That is not “close to it,” as far as I’m concerned.

      • My comment in that regard is not correct. Sorry about that. I guess I was trying to express more that many, many women do make a significant income in this, easily enough to be able to afford many of the same privileges as men. Certainly in my union run business, a woman gets paid exactly the same as a man for the same job. But if I took one out out a date, I am expected to foot the bill automatically or it would be a ‘deal breaker?’ That’s absurd.

  • I think it’s nice of the guy to offer but if there was no chemistry that’s kind of just unfair to him. Why should have to pay for a bad time?

    I have so many money deal breakers now, it’s disappointing. It was way easier to date when I didn’t care about finances =

  • I’m glad that David and I met online because this very issue was discussed prior to our first date. He matter-of-factly asked about it and said that it was his opinion that whoever was the inviter should do the paying. I said absolutely not, I wanted an even split. So he bought dinner, and I paid for the movie tickets. We’ve been doing the same split ever since.

    My deal breakers, as I stated on Bridget’s post, have more to do with money philosophy. If you’re someone who owns a used car, manages your money wisely, and has a long-term financial plan, we’ll get along fine. I don’t care so much about the amount of debt as I care about the person having a plan to pay it off.

  • I don’t think that the guy not offering to pay would be a deal breaker for me, but I would probably make a note of it. That said, I haven’t been in the dating pool for a good long time so I don’t think I’m much of an authority. I also agree that different spending styles would be bad simply because it would create problems down the road.

  • I remember a first date where it went well and I offered to pay. She said no way and was very adamant about paying herself so she went to the cash machine, took out $20 and was charged a $3 fee.

    Deal breaker….

      • The $3 fee. She was a Psych student and she kept over analyzing everything. She asked me once what I was thinking about and I responded ” Na na na na na na na na BATMAN!”

        She thought I was crazy, but she should have known better then to ask a man what he’s thinking about.

        • Haha! I remember at the start of me and my BF’s relationship he used to ask what I was thinking randomly and most of the time I was just zoning out or was thinking of something stupid like “I’m hungry. I wonder what I should order, I’m so getting a milkshake”. I hate that what are you thinking question.

  • When my wife and I were dating, I paid for the fun from my recollection. As we started dating more seriously, we realized that we’re broke grad school students and don’t have money…so she shared with dating costs.

    • Thanks for the comment, and ya, sharing the dating costs once you’re in a relationship is definitely the way to go, otherwise someone will feel like they are paying for everything all the time and that’s never a fun feeling.

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