Now that I am out of the dating game (seriously thankful!) I can reflect on my dating adventures. In hindsight I blew a lot of money trying to find Mr. Right, when I shouldn't have done so. It would have been an interesting analysis to see exactly how much I spent before ending up with my fiancee, during the what I call “rampage online dating” period in between my 7.5 year relationship and my soon-to-be husband.
The Goal of Dating
So since dating is a means to an end (meaning a long term relationship possibly leading to marriage and children if that's what you want), then the goal of dating is to find someone who you connect with, and who you share similar values with. Dating is a process of discovery. It is a process that often gives you the feeling of “falling in love” because your mind just creates this image of the person you are spending time with, and you end up creating someone in your head who might not be that person you are creating. It is a time of exploration to see if you are romantically compatible with one another.
In summary, my opinion of dating is:
- A time to find out if the other person matches you romantically
- A time to assess each others values and goals
- Do they want the same thing out of life as you do?
- This does not necessarily mean spending hundreds of dollars on a date
- The more you to know them (e.g. ask questions) the more that image you created
Obviously it Depends on your Values
If you're reading this blog post, you're probably more savvy about your personal finances than the general public is. Which means that money (and the preservation and accumulation of it) is probably pretty important to you. If you enjoy and you value living for the moment, buying items, and not saving for the future, you probably don't value the same things as someone who has more frugal values.
Frankly, I'm not a “hopeless romantic” and I find generic flowers disappointing and find large public displays of affection embarrassing. I don't value that kind of stuff. That stuff costs a lot of money too. Especially on Valentine's Day (when the mark up for roses is 200% or something ridiculous like that).
In the relationship that lasted about 5 months, it was not a very good experience because it involved spending tons of money at fine dining restaurants (I'm probably one of the few people in Vancouver that isn't considered a “Foodie”), going away on lots of weekend trips, all the while he was in debt (thank goodness I got out of that!).
The Date Ideas and Activities are Extraneous
Movies, bowling, Go carting (you know, everything that you would see on the Bachelor or Bachelorette) etc. all that stuff is fun and interesting, but doesn't provide much opportunity for you to connect with the other person and get to know them. Sure, you get to see how they react to different situations, but that's pretty much it.
A Walk or Coffee is Sometimes All You Need
For my fiancée and I's first date, we went for a hike. Many dates were spent just walking around the Vancouver seawall or visiting parks, or even jogging around it. We went to McDonald's I think on the third or fourth date (haha!). This must have been his test to see if I was high maintenance. I think we spent less than we did in three months of dating that I did in one month of dating the previous guy.
Another idea is to take turns planning a ‘date activity' that you think the other person would like, and it doesn't have to be expensive (but whoever plans it should foot the bill). This allows you to show intention and interest and even empathy! A picnic in the park is a perfect way to get to know someone! Unfortunately, Netflix and chill does not help you get to know someone, nor is it a great ‘date activity'!
Readers, did you (or do you) spend a lot of money on dating? Do you feel that it is an expectation?