Romance v Finance: Is There A Trade-Off?

In a traditional romantic dating scenario a chivalrous gentleman sweeps you off your feet, pulls out your chair, holds the door, compliments you as you compliment him, and gallantly picks up the bill. In our modern world, this fairytale vision may be obscured by the very un-fairytale wage gap issues for people of colour.

Bringing home the bacon has changed. There are many socioeconomic issues that could impact your dating life. A recent study reveals that almost half of young black men in the UK are unemployed. (source: BBC) Another study reveals that it is much harder for black university graduates to find a job. (source: Graduate Foglink) Others are under-employed. These issues are troubling enough when you’re a single person, but they compound issues when dating and being in a relationship.

So how do you navigate the tricky waters between romance and finance?

Let’s begin by distinguishing between romance and fairy tales. Most of us grew up reading tales where a Prince Charming rescued the Princess. In our modern world, it is mentally healthy to remember that we rescue ourselves. The intersection of love and money can be confusing in the best of scenarios for both men and women. Remember, they grew up hearing the same fairy tales that we did. The good news is that when your love finds you, you can create your own fairy tale together.

If there are more black female professionals than black male professionals in the UK and an achievement gap between black men and women (source: , it raises questions that you should consider in the world of love.

To be an empowered dater, you must do a self-inquiry. Ask yourself:
Is it shallow to consider a person’s net-worth when dating?
Who pays on dates if the woman makes more money?
Should you go to cheaper dating locations if that’s all he can afford?

Please note that there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. What is important is that you are true to yourself and what you value.

Dating a man who is on a lower income

So, should you ignore a man who makes less money? Absolutely not. You want to have a wide range of suitors to choose from. There could be a dashing, intelligent, loving, and respectful man who takes home less income. It would be a travesty for you to not see whether you’re a match. Money won’t keep you warm at night. Rephrase your way of looking at it. Perhaps he is not ‘less successful’, rather in a line of work that generates less money.

I am NOT saying to date deadbeats or n’er-do-wells. Your potential partner should match your values to be compatible. You deserve to be selective and not to settle for less when it comes to love. Just be open to the possibilities and don’t miss your mate for superficial reasons. Please note: the ability to put food on the table is not superficial!

On the other hand, don’t be blind to potential financial disasters. Problems you ignore in the beginning will only escalate. Discuss your money goals. Create financial security by disclosing your history and fears.

Who pays?

Many men and women find it preferable for men to pay on dates, particularly first dates. Men of certain cultural backgrounds find it emasculating when a woman offers to pay. After a few dates, you can definitely treat by paying the bill. In most cases, ‘Go Dutch’ only if you want to stay in the friend lane. Splitting the bill can be a turn off to both men and women.

Even if you know you make more than a man, never insist on paying. Once you’ve offered and he says no, let it go. If there’s a super expensive experience that you’ve suggested like a vacation, you may consider giving it as a gift.

Questions before commitment

As the relationship becomes more serious, there are key issues to address. How will you save? Will you join your debt? If you marry, will there be a prenuptial agreement?

The most important thing when it comes to romance and finance is to be open and honest. Most situations depend on what you’re comfortable with. If the financial arrangements make either one of you feel insecure, this can unravel the relationship before it begins. Be clear about your expectations and your values.

Happy Dating!