Everyone has a different opinion on relationships and what’s acceptable in terms of gender roles and equality. There are some women that won’t allow a man to hold the door open for them and get angry when a man offers to pay for the meal she just ate. There are other women who wouldn’t dare pay for their own meal and would lose their mind if a man didn’t open their car door for them.
As I said, we all have different opinions, have been in different situations, and have different expectations and standards for our relationships. Personally, I’ve been on both sides of this battle and now I lay right in the middle. If you’re a little confused on what is “right” remember that there isn’t a right or a wrong way to feel about this topic or to go about it in your relationship. But, if you’d like a little insight into both sides, keep reading…
My last relationship with my ex was extremely one-sided when it came to equality and my current relationship is equal and I absolutely love it.
During my last relationship which lasted THREE YEARS, my ex-boyfriend never once took me on a date. He paid for one meal during our three years and that is because I practically begged him (this was two months before I finally left him.) We went out to eat quite often, but I paid every single time and we went to the movies twice (yes, in the entire three years) and he did not pay either time. He never paid for any trips we went on together either (including hotel, food, and activities). NOTHING. Believe it or not, this experience still didn’t force me to believe that a man should always support me financially.
But, I still hated it. I hated being the constant “provider” in our relationship. I, by no means, expect a man to support me (like I said), but I do expect us to be a team.
In my current relationship, my boyfriend and I are very equal and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that. It makes it so that I don’t feel like a provider anymore and he doesn’t feel like less of a man. I remember he treated me out to dinner and a movie (paid for everything) on our first date and after the experience I had during my last relationship, I felt like freaking Cinderella. I had met my prince! Now, we take care of each other in every way and that removes all the pressure from both us. It relieves the pressure from me feeling as if I always have to act like “the woman who can’t fend for herself” and it removes the pressure from him having to always be the “big, strong, stable man.”
When it comes to this topic, one of the biggest categories here is money. Should the man always pay? In my opinion, no! He should not. If he asks you out on a date, then of course he should pay! I’m not being asked out on a date so you can get your ass a free meal. There is a big difference. If you’re a strong woman who asks a man out, then of course you should be offering up to pay. It works both ways, regardless of gender. It comes down to common courtesy.
Now, when you’re in a relationship, I do believe it should be relatively equal WITHOUT keeping score. My boyfriend and I both pick up the tab for meals, movies, and other activities. We even buy things for each other without even thinking about the score. My boyfriend does his best to “take care of me” the way a man would, but he also has to live within his means which is 100% understandable. Neither of us are well-off by any means, but we still make date nights a priority for our relationship.
Some nights are free where we stay in together and watch movies or go to the park to play basketball (one of our favorite activities!) Other nights cost money when we go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and go see the latest movie at the theater. There are some nights that he pays for everything, some nights I pick up our dinner tab, and other nights where he buys dinner and I pay for the movie tickets, but we don’t keep track.
We enjoy these activities without making the tab a big deal. Of course it feels so awesome when my boyfriend says “baby, I know you had a really bad day at work. I wanna treat you out tonight.” But, he has his days too. If he has a day, I take him out or surprise him with his favorite 7/11 slurpee.
This helps both of us out financially, helps both of us feel spoiled sometimes, and for me, it helps me feel less guilty. There are times where my boyfriend wants to treat me out to dinner, movies, ice cream, or other activities! He loves doing it when he can, but there are times where financially, I know that it’s just not possible and I never, ever want him to feel like less of a man for not being able to spoil me constantly. I’m not in this relationship to be spoiled with dates and money. I’m this relationship to be spoiled with time and love.
When hard financial times like that arise, I still allow him to pay for something (like dinner). I know even if he always can’t, as a man it makes him feel good about himself to do it anyway. I’ll always offer, but if he tells me that he really wants to, I step back and let him because I know it’s something he needs to do for himself just as much as he feels he needs to do it for me. But then, I pay that night for the movie or whatever activity we may choose later on. I never want to put financial pressure on him. If he doesn’t have the money that week, he doesn’t have it and he should never feel bad about that. He works his ass off for himself, for me, and for our relationship. It’s important to know that you and your partner are a team and nothing less.
None of this is about proving yourself as a man or a woman, or receiving gifts or extravagant gestures. This shouldn’t be a stressful topic in your relationship. As long as both of you are putting in effort to do kind things for your partner, it’ll all fall into place.