Dear Dr. Darcy:
I’m gay and I've been dating a man for about 9 months. I feel as though he should pick up the tab on all of our dates because he earns triple the salary that I earn. He is also 10 years older than I am. Recently, he started hesitating when the check is dropped and not knowing what else to do, I began picking it up. But I’m not happy about this new pattern and I feel inclined to have a conversation with him to express my feelings. Do you think that sharing my thoughts is a bad idea?
I’m never one to discourage a conversation, however, before you go there, perhaps you want to get clear on what this all means to you…
I don’t have a problem with roles: In my family, I’m the cook, so unless I’m exhausted, I’m usually the one in the kitchen. My wife is just under 6 feet tall and is a hockey player. When it’s time to reach for something on the top shelf of a cabinet or carry something heavy, she’s usually the one to do it. We never sat down and discussed these specific responsibilities. They evolved because they happen to coincide with each of our strengths. But sometimes we switch it up. It helps me to feel appreciated when she cooks a meal, and I’m guessing she appreciates it when I climb like a monkey onto the counter and then scale the walls to reach for the paper towels, rather than disturb her when the Stanley Cup is on TV. Doing one-another’s ‘jobs’ shows each of us that we don’t take the other for granted.
Nowhere in your questions did I hear you say anything about being financially strapped for money. It sounds as though your feelings come from a sense of entitlement rather than from real need. Let me tell you something: No one wants to do all the heavy lifting in a relationship, and particularly early on (9 months is still early on), we test one-another to confirm that we’re not being taken advantage of. It sounds to me like he’s over picking up the bill, and he’s testing you to make sure that you see him as something more than an ATM.
I think you’re looking to be taken care of. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as the boyfriend knows what he’s signing up for. Before you have a conversation with him you’d better make sure that you’re clear on what you’re bringing to the relationship. You can’t expect to have a sugar daddy without paying a price.