On mine and Phil’s first date, he paid.

Was Phil’s desire to pay a sign of a patriarchal society in which I as a female am considered a lesser person than he? Does my acceptance of him paying show that I am stifled by the constraints enforced upon my gender? Was he asserting himself as the alpha in the relationship before it had even truly started?

Traditional or Oppressed

From day one, Phil and I were open about our wishes for the future, and they were aligned. He would work as the breadwinner, I would raise the children and maybe work part time when they were toddlers or at school.

Depending upon your view, you may see this as ‘traditional’, or you may consider it an ingrained social norm in which men are accepted to be the providers while women are the nurturers. Me? I see it as two people who wanted the same things.

Phil has never once undermined my intelligence or abilities; he has been my biggest supporter and has been the one to encourage me to take leaps of faith, strive to achieve great things. He has helped me deal with depression and accept that I’m not built to be a stay-at-home-mum after all. The same can be said for my parents, who encouraged me to do well at school (I did), go to uni (I didn’t), travel the world (I did), and not settle for second best in life (I didn’t).

Nobody oppressed me, nobody taught me that my worth was secondary to that of my brother, my husband, my son.

Money in Relationships

Phil and I had separate bank accounts until we bought our first house, just before our wedding. He earned nearly double what I did, so while we split some stuff, at the end of the day the fact was that unless Phil paid most or all of the more expensive things we did, we wouldn’t have done them!

I am a fiercely independent person who lived alone for a number of years, working 70 hour weeks to pay the bills and be able to have the odd holiday. I did struggle at times to be ‘looked after’, but Phil was in no way undermining me or the work I did – he truly enjoyed being able to treat me the way he felt I deserved.

Asian Adventure - Angkor Wat Gender, Money, Relationships, Power // Are we traditional, or am I an oppressed female?

We have a joint account now and I was recently asked whether I ‘ask’ Phil for money to say buy new clothes, or go out. Nope! We both work. Phil works more hours than me and earns more money than me, I do more around the house, I buy the food, I take the kids to and from nursery and care for them when Phil’s not around. Phil takes the bins out and does the DIY. I’m building my business – which takes a lot of hours for not very much income.

We both do a hell of a lot for our family, so everything in our account belongs to the family. It pays the bills, buys the food, gets saved for holidays and trips away, keeps us all in clothes that fit. It’s not ‘his’ or ‘mine’, it’s ‘ours’.

Are we alone in this?

I was 24 when Phil and I met, and research by Shepherds Friendly suggests that most women in that age group, believe that the bill should be split. I did offer to pay my way, but Phil wanted to treat me and didn’t make me feel inferior when he insisted on doing so. I’d love to know if you agree with the key findings from the Sheperds Friendly survey.

I asked some fellow bloggers about the role of money within their relationships, and here’s what they said:

Lyndsey from Me, Him, the Dog, and a Baby, said:

“My husband pretty much lets me get on with it when it comes to money. He’s happy to send his wages and I take care of the bills and big expenses, even choosing holidays most of the time. I do, of course, ask his opinion but he’s happy with my choices normally.”

Jaymee from The Mum Diaries:

“He paid for our first date, but I did buy a couple of drinks. We both have seperate accounts but I have his bank card and use his money for shopping and he pays the bills. My money goes on the children and what we need. I come up with the ideas for big spends and he researches which one is best for us to buy.”

Stevie from A Cornish Mum:

“Ours was a very first cheap date and we both paid for drinks etc. If money means power in your relationship, then you are probably in the wrong relationship in my opinion. Once you live together and make that commitment, then your finances are tied together, the lines become blurred over whose money is whose.”

Alex from Lamb + Bear:

“My other half offered to pay for the whole date, but I insisted on paying for something. We’re now married, been together 11 years and pretty much make decisions together. It’s up to him what we spend though because he earns the household income and deals with bills etc.”

Katy from Katy Kicker:

“We paid halves for everything on our first date. We spent £150 each and were poor for the rest of the month but it was worth it.”

Lauren from Dilan and Me:

“I paid on our first date! At the time I was a bit gutted, kind of thought that meant it wasn’t a date to him or something?! I don’t know, not very equality minded of me but it was that “is he into me/isn’t he?!” thing. I still bring it up sometimes haha. He paid for the next one, first date was the cinema and second was a weekend away in York so I think I got the better deal in the end!”

Kelly from Kelly Allen Writer:

“We started off a little unsure with money but soon it just became one big pot and we just always say, ‘it’s our money’ no matter who earns it.”

Kirsty from Life With Boys:

“I pay for all of our luxuries and very much am the bread winner. When it comes to big expenses I generally don’t ask, but he doesn’t bother if it benefits him. I’m not sure I would feel the same if the shoe was on the other foot though.”

Emma from Emma Reed:

“I don’t think money means power in a relationship and I am certainly a fan of being open and honest about earnings and finances, especially when you are married. We have a funny relationship when it comes to big expenses. I am get up and go and let’s buy that now and he’s a thinker and will mull it all over so we have to meet in the middle. Over the years we’ve learnt from one another and I can now be more patient and he can make a decision quicker!”

Emily from Babies and Beauty:

“We both pay X amount into the joint monthly (his share more than mine) and to be honest I am definitely the one in control of spending. I think if you see controlling money, as having power – you’re probably not in the right relationship?”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Was/is money a big issue in your relationship? Is the notion of the man paying on the first date outdated and anti-feminist? Let me know in the comments below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

** This is a sponsored post, all words and thoughts are my own **