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By Tom Blake
Wayne, 72, a single South Orange County man, asked, “What do women think about sharing dating expenses 50/50?”
He said, “I don’t want one nickel from a woman for my share of expenses for anything, but it’s difficult to broach the idea of sharing dating expenses even when I know most women I’ve dated have the financial resources to share.
“Am I being realistic, or am I better off moving out of state, where I could live well and pick up all the tabs?”
I asked women subscribers to my weekly newsletter for their opinions on Wayne’s sharing-expenses question.
Bobbi emailed, “I have no problem sharing expenses. I am financially secure, so no big deal, and it’s only fair to both parties, especially with the rising costs everywhere. Most women in our age range should be willing to share expenses.”
Gail said, “I see nothing wrong with sharing the cost for entertainment and travel expenses. However, I would add some conditions.”
Gail recommends that senior singles share expenses based on each person’s annual income, as a percentage of the combined total of both incomes. For example, if the combined total is $100,000, and the man earns $70,000, Gail feels he should pay 70 percent of the expenses and the woman, 30 percent.
Gail added, “Smartphones have calculators, so each person’s share would be easy to figure on the spot. I feel this would be the fairest and most honest way to do things.”
Tom’s comment: I disagree. Sharing expenses should be based on other factors as well, not just income. Taking your phone out in a restaurant to calculate each person’s share of the bill is ridiculous.
Shari stated, “A senior woman should insist up front that she believes in paying her dating expenses. That puts both parties on an equal footing. In that way, the woman is not beholden to the man. Also, it does not put undue pressure on one party to pay for everything.
“I wouldn’t dream of letting a man pay for all the dating expenses.”
Cynthia emailed, “I am from the old school, when a gentleman opened doors and paid for our dates. It never occurred to me to go Dutch.”
Tom’s comment: Times and thinking have changed.
Cris shared, “The key is to discuss expense-sharing early so your companion knows what to expect.”
Nancy emailed, “My advice to Wayne is to discuss sharing expenses and suggest he and his partner share informally, but he shouldn’t expect a rigid 50/50 split.”
Kathy wrote, “When I remarried my husband after four years apart, we came into the relationship with separate checking accounts and a household account that we both pay equally into monthly. It works great; I wish I’d done this the first time around.
“There’s no discussion when I come home with a bag of new clothes or even a new car that I’m spending his money, or too much money.”
May wrote, “Wayne is being realistic in thinking a woman should share in the expenses of dating. I do not want or expect any financial gain from a man. Hopefully, Wayne will not leave California.”
Tom’s comment: What happens if a potential mate doesn’t have the funds to contribute to sharing expenses and yet, that person would be a great partner?
Couldn’t he or she contribute by doing things like preparing the meals, doing the shopping, the cleaning, or even attending to the partner’s health needs? Should sharing expenses be based solely on one’s income? I don’t think so.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: email@example.com.