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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?