What should I do if the guy I'm dating is struggling financially?

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What should I do if the guy I'm dating is struggling financially?

Nov 13, 2006 |Candice Watters
Question

I am a Christian single in her 30s, and I court from time to time. I find that some men who are interested in me have past and present financial obligations. Sure there are plenty of free things we can enjoy together, but some things of interest do cost. They want to date me, but it seems that their "male ego" won't let them because of financial struggles. They feel or may insist on paying for a date or two but their financial situation won't allow them to at the moment. Money becomes an issue.

My question is how do I as a female handle this situation? Should we just ignore our interest in each other until times get better? At times, I feel led to say, "Well, we can go Dutch." But in saying that, the guy's ego gets in the way, and he won't feel right if he can't pay for the date. Plenty of my single girlfriends have been on dates where money becomes an issue. So inquiring minds want to know how we should handle this situation.

The thing is I've heard guys say that they don't want to date because it's too expensive at the moment for them. Is that just an excuse or do men really feel challenged in this area?

Answer

In addition to "getting to know someone," an important part of dating/courting is observing a man's character. Just as he should be assessing your interest in being a lifegiver to his potential children, you should be weighing his ability to provide as a husband.

Granted, some men will provide a blue-collar living and others a more professional salary. There's no magic number that admits men to the "able to marry category." But any man interested in marrying needs to be able to provide the basics for living not only for himself, but for a wife and future children.

A man's ability to either make the budget sacrifices necessary to pay for your coffees, movie tickets and sandwiches — or to be creative in stretching his resources to make a special event with a couple of bucks — are important cues for the future. If he says he likes you but can't afford to date you, you have to wonder what would change so he could afford to marry you. If marriage is "too expensive," and the whole goal of dating is to find a mate, why waste time dating him?

That's not to say every date has to consist of dinner at a 5-star restaurant and a Broadway show (in fact we've said before on Boundless that dates of that level of intimacy are best saved for engagement), but it is a man's responsibility to provide. If he's unable to do so for once- or twice-a-week outings, it begs the question: What will he be like as a husband?

I believe that a man who is pursuing a woman for dates should already be convinced of his readiness to marry in a timely manner. And that includes the ability to pay for the outings.

In our culture, we often think it's sexist to expect men to be providers — since women are obviously able to make substantial financial contributions of their own. However, even though women are capable of providing, it's men that bear the ultimate responsibility to do so within a family. In fact, 1 Timothy 5:8 says that a man who doesn't provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever.

Sincerely,
CANDICE WATTERS

Copyright 2006 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.

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