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The cost of a relationship

Thinkstock/Next Avenue
Thinkstock/Next Avenue

As a relationship progresses, sharing expenses becomes more convenient and comfortable. The extent varies depending on the financial means of both partners but even when an income gap exists, this does not automatically mean that one person will bear a greater burden than the other. As your relationship develops, follow these tips:

  • Share the financial burden of dating. If one partner makes more money than the other, create a balance by being creative with your dating ideas. For example, one person buys groceries, the other cooks and cleans up.
  • Focus on time together, not expensive gifts. Make events and holidays celebrations, not competitions, and when you want to share gifts, discuss a specific limit.
  • Plan and negotiate for more expensive activities. For example, plan for more expensive dates by starting an activity piggy bank, or trade services (i.e. massage, chores) for one person to fund the activity.
  • Be open about your current financial situation. You don’t need to make your partner your accountant, but they need to know if you are under financial stress since it can negatively affect the relationship, and in the long run both partners’ credit.

Financial discussions will always be part of your relationships and how you handle them is a good long term indicator of the success and satisfaction of the relationship. “It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, but when they were first together and already arguing about money, there is a good chance they are going to have poor relationship satisfaction” (PsychCentral, 2013). Paying attention to and preparing for potential issues before they arise, can help avoid financial distress and create a more satisfying relationship.


Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, Author of The Essentials and co-founder of Suave Lover International and the Suave Lover podcast (subscribe on iTunes), is a freelance writer and a private relationship-and-social-dynamics coach in the areas of public health, fitness, and social dynamics, a writer and editor for Ask, and the interpersonal relationships columnist for His passion lies in guiding and providing tools to men for overall self-improvement.

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*Edited by Rachel Ritter

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