5 Reasons Why I Think “Going Dutch” in a Marriage is a Bad Idea

BY: - 16 Aug '13 | Lifestyle

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If you read this title and had no idea what the term “dutch” means in this context, no worries because I only first heard of this terminology a few days ago, while getting my hair done.  “Going Dutch” means that each person will pay for themselves when they go out on a date – that’s right, as in split the bill in half. The guy in the shop was expressing his frustration about girls these days that he was dating, and how they expected him to always pay for everything (and never offer to share the expense). So to avoid all of that, he and his dates choose to split the bill down the middle when they go out.

I’m not against women paying for dates (full or partial), but I can’t see any good coming out of getting into the habit of “you pay your way, I’ll pay mine”. When my husband and I first started dating many, many years ago, I offered to pay for a lot of things because I was making more money and I didn’t have the bills he had (only thing I paid for was car insurance and food). But even then, I would’ve never considered telling him “you pay for your own food”, nor would he have asked me to do it either (and never has). When I go out with my girlfriends or even some family members, we’ll split the bill and pay for our respective meals. But in a serious relationship? And then in marriage? Uh, no thank you. But apparently, it’s commonplace nowadays for couples to practice this both in dating and in marriage.  To each their own, but I can’t think of any good to come out of a practice like this.

Now, hubby and I do each have a separate bank account, but just about all of our money goes into our joint account. All bills and leisure activities are paid with our joint account. Even though he is the breadwinner, I’ve never had to ask permission to use money from our account. And he’s never made me feel like I had to.

Here are 5 reasons why “going dutch” in marriage is a bad idea:

  1. In this case, practice does not make perfect. If the habit forms during your courtship, it will most likely continue into your marriage. If you’re dating someone and the relationship is serious, why not just take turns footing the bill? Stop all this stuff about “you pay for your portion and I’ll pay for mine”. And if money is tight, there are so many cheaper (and free) dating options you can take advantage of. So be creative. But in my opinion, the habit of splitting the bill is a bit selfish.
  2. Dutch and marriage don’t mix. If you do it while you’re dating, chances are, the practice will remain even after marriage. It always amazes me when I hear couples talking about, “I pay the electric bill and he pays the mortgage”, etc.  If you all are married, isn’t his money your money and vice versa? Often times, I also hear about this leading to “secret” bank accounts which (in my opinion) is also a bad idea. Financial infidelity is real.
  3.  It’s not sexy. It leads to frustration, arguments and jealousies. I’ve now heard a few times of instances where couples have argued over whose turn it is to pay the bill (whether it be dinner, household bills, or groceries). I think it’s ridiculous and totally unromantic.
  4. It warrants trust issues.  If you decide to keep separate accounts (or in some cases, have control over how much money you give to your spouse monthly), I can imagine that the trust level would be anything less than great. I would think it would only create more unnecessary challenges in a marriage. I have heard several stories of the spouse (generally the husband) deciding how much of an “allowance” to give his wife. I’ve also heard instances where spouses will use it as a controlling factor. So not cute.
  5. Two cannot fully be one with completely separate bank accounts. I strongly believe there are some things that should be kept separate in a marriage – like a toothbrush, perhaps – but a bank account is not one. Some might argue that they don’t want to mix their spouses debt with their impeccable credit score. Or perhaps their spouse is not “good with money”. These are all things that need to be worked out before marriage. And if the problem is still there, then is marriage really a good idea?

I understand every marriage is different, and everyone needs to do what works for them.  But all that I’ve seen and heard in marriages that do decide to “go dutch”, has not been positive. And maybe you have one of the unique marriages that this does work for. I just know that it would never be an idea that I entertained in our marriage. But we also didn’t entertain it before we got married either. I think that if there are financial issues regarding money before marriage (trust, debt, secret accounts, etc.), “going dutch” after marriage is not going to solve these problems. If anything, it will only allow them to escalate.

BMWK: I’m really interested in hearing your perspective. What are your thoughts on “going dutch” in a marriage? What about from a dating perspective?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 100 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.


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6 WordPress comments on “5 Reasons Why I Think “Going Dutch” in a Marriage is a Bad Idea

  1. A Wiife not just a Wifey

    I think some spending money should be kept separate. With my husband & myself we have a joint account for household bills such as rent, utility, cable, daycare, supplies, lawn services & childcare. Our checks have a certain amount that goes in per pay period & whatever left over goes into our own personal account. So IF we want to buy the other something as a surprise the one surprised isn’t checking the account wondering wth is this purchase? I’ve seen several wives question every little purchase their spouse makes and vice versa. I don’t need nor want that unneccessary issue to arise. If one of us runs out of funds fRom our personal account bef next payperiod we give the courtesy of like I need a few extra dollars till next pay. Not saying this is the perfect way to go but its worked for 7yrs so far.

    1. Christine

      I appreciate you sharing. We have a similar set up for that reason also (surprises), but we use our joing account for probably 97% of the purchases we make. LOL

  2. Pretty Jewelry Things Store

    I guess it depends on the couple and their spending habits/wants/needs.

    We have been married 24 years and EVERYTHING goes into one big pot and from there the bills are paid, savings accounts funded, IRA’s, etc.

    If one of us needs something it’s just taken from the funded account for such spending. Both of us know what’s going on and I guess we just trust each other.

    This is mine’s, this is his has never come into the picture and I think because of that we have built a great foundation base financially.

    1. Christine

      Thanks so much for sharing! 24 yrs is a long time so congrats on that. Yes, it definitely depends on each individual couple, but I’m not a fan of “his”/”mine” in my marriage either.

  3. 1 + 1 does not = 2

    I am currently dealing with this….. When I was dating my husband, if I asked him out I paid. If he was short I offered to pay. Today, we may alternate or One picks up the tip vs. The bill. When it comes to bills things used to bills, mortgage is split. He pays utility bills … I pay child care, alarm and health ins. and my car note which he uses as needed and we use for most traveling. Recently there have been money desputes and I feel like his room mate vs. His wife. He refuses a joint account because his ex emptied his account when they split up. He admits its not my fault but says he learned his lesson from this. I would normally transfer my 1/2 of mortgage to his account until he recently lied to me or failed to tell the while truth or give details of money given to us. When called on the carpet he said he used it to catch up on his bills. He recently suggested we put some $ up to prep for increased winter expenses. I told him I will not be transfering and $ to his account for 1/2 nor saving for any day as long as he feels this way. I can save my own $ for emergencies to “catch up” on my own stuff. I will not put $ in a acct. I have no access & visibility to… and the BS of that tops it all his daughters name Is on his account. The word says submit one to another .. and the wife is comparable to her husband not a child. He will not give me an allowance on miney I have worked for. I don’t agree nor to I like Dutch…. I thought I was being independant and now he is dependant.

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