Can't Afford to Date
Q: I recently finished college and have an entry-level job. I work really hard and even do additional temping to make ends meet. I want to date but feel like I don't have the means to treat a girl right. For me to take a girl out for dinner and a movie would use up my spending money for an entire paycheck. Am I going to be stuck flying solo until my financial situation improves? — Michael, 23
Dr. Susan: You don't have to "fly solo" for years. What you have to do is reconsider what it means to "treat a girl right." Not every date has to be a dinner and a movie. I always thought movies were a bad idea on early dates, anyway, because you can't talk much or get to know each other. Look into 2-for-1 coupons and that sort of thing, for nice meals. Do NOT be embarrassed to use them with a girl you like. If any female judges you by your ability to spend a LOT, then maybe she isn't right for you. And after the first date or two, you can open up that you're trying to save for whatever, and could you do a picnic or a matinee or just rent a DVD?
You don't want to come across as ungenerous or cheap, but you're allowed to be honest about your limitations. Having fun can be really expensive, or it can be casual and much less expensive. A skeeball date at Chuck E. Cheese? And hopefully, any girl these days would offer to pay her share, at least after a while.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.