My question is about money. I just started seeing a new guy who I think is really cool. On the first date he paid, but didn’t seem too excited about it. On the second date I paid. And on the third date I wound up paying again. I’m wondering what this means in a potential relationship?

by Simone Kornfeld

Oh girl, this issue is stickier than figgy pudding, and much less delicious to ponder. The role of money has implications for all areas of your union. Because this is such a complex topic, we feel it deserves a thorough answer. Here is Part One, stay tuned tomorrow for Part Two. We have dated guys along the entire financial spectrum, from homeless (yes, homeless), to multimillionaire, and found the following: 1) When you pay more, you are his sexy mama. 2) When you pay the same, you are his sexy buddy. 3) When he pays more, he’s in the traditionally masculine provider role, which makes you his sexy lady. There are times in life when it feels natural to be the sexy mama: to pick up the tab for his tacos, give him a swipe on your Metrocard, and then nurse him on your teat back at your studio apartment. And there are also times in life when it works to be his sexy buddy: you’re in college, both of you are broke, so you scrape together what you can, don’t think too hard about where it came from, and make a night out of sharing a sixer of canned beer while playing foosball in the student lounge. Then there are times in life when you might possibly be considering choosing a mate for domestic partnership and procreation. This is where the money issue gets extra gooey.

If this guy plants his seed in your uterine tube and that seed starts growing into a wee little bambino who the hell knows what could happen? Suddenly you’re puking every morning and can’t scrape yourself out of bed to teach the Zumba classes you make your bread & butter on. Or perhaps your health insurance is contingent on you working 40 hours a week and doggonit, that just ain’t possible because your doc has assigned you bed rest. In these cases we really hope that you didn’t procreate with guy #1. And if you happened to procreate with guy #2, we sure hope he’s rapidly becoming guy #3.

The point is there are serious biological reasons that guy #3 is hotter than the first two. Basically, he’s got the makings to take care of you in this most primitive role. And his behavior when the check shows up, even on your very first/second/third date, give you important information about what role he is capable of playing in your life. Whether or not you ever get close to making babies together, all this stuff is present in your first encounter, and it will certainly play out in bigger ways as time marches on. Feeling more attracted to the guy who can provide as shown by his gestures to pick up checks is perfectly natural, and feeling less attracted to the guy who suddenly needs to pee when the bill arrives is also natural. This issue runs deeper than a greedy desire to have lots of dough. It’s about survival.

So the first thing to do is evaluate where you are in your life path and what kind of partnership you are looking to sign up for. If you are interested in starting a family and your guy is not yet financially stable, that’s ok--as long as you feel he has the potential to be. Qualities such as determination, ambition, self-reliance and optimism, when it comes to money and career, go a long way. If he’s got those, chances are he’ll be a solid provider, regardless of how high the numbers in his bank account ever get.

With that said, there’s more to say…