The Costs of Dating

One of the reasons I have been slacking on the blogging scene has been my personal life…I’ve finally pulled myself out of a rather toxic relationship and needed some time to regroup.  I’ve felt much happier ever since.

After a solid amount of single-me-time, I felt ready to dip back into the dating pool.  It’s been an interesting adventure so far, and has intersected with personal finance in a surprisingly large number of ways:

1.) Gettin’ Presentable

Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, with no make-up, I look about 16 years old, despite the fact that I’m in my mid-twenties.  Since I’m mostly interested in men my age and older, I find I have to look my age in order to attract someone NOT of the pedophile variety…and that means nicer clothes and makeup, all of which cost money and take time!

2.) Dates Themselves

The last few men I’ve dated have had some very traditional ideas about dating – they wanted to plan the dates, pick me up, and pay.  I didn’t know how to react to this!  I’m a little uncomfortable letting a date pay – I want to carry my weight and I don’t like the feeling of “owing” anyone.  This means that one way or another, I’ll try and even things out – either by planning and paying for another date, going dutch on a date, or by getting my date a little something extra, like a bottle of wine or liquor I know he’ll enjoy.  And since I’m a grad student, most of the men I’ve been dating have a considerably higher income, and therefore prefer going to places that are more expensive than I can normally afford on my own.  Plus dating simply gets me out of the house and doing more activities than I do on an every day basis, and those activities have costs that can add up in a hurry!  I think it’s easier to keep costs down in a relationship than in the getting-to-know-you dating world.

3.) Dreamin’ Too Soon

I have a tendency to over-visualize my future…I enjoy imagining all the possibilities, and sometimes that takes me down an unfortunate spending route.  For example, I’ve started taking different fitness classes, including spinning and yoga, and imagine myself becoming a regular…so I bought more specialized clothing and equipment.  At least with fitness I am pretty committed, so the purchases have been greatly used!  But dating is a whole different story…I see a fairly formal, gorgeous, dress at a store and envision that if I just had that dress I’d somehow get myself all polished and go out to dates at the theater or out to the more glamorous restaurants for tapas.  If I give in to the fantasies of the life I’d live if only I just bought that item, what usually happens it just sits in my closet, tags still on, waiting for that opportunity to come to light.

4.) Nesting Instincts

When I start to care about someone, I have this odd urge to cook for them.  And while cooking at home is frequently advocated on PF blogs as a cheaper alternative to dining out, I’m not talking about taco nights here…I’m talking full-on gourmet meals with obscure ingredients.  I absolutely LOVE cooking, especially from various ethnic/foreign cuisines, and the less common ingredients can get rather pricey rather quickly.

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