In Today’s Economy, Is Dating a Necessity or A Luxury?

You make good points, but here’s the counterpoint: dating has some inherent costs when you’re a man. If you can’t afford them, then refrain from dating until such time as you are in a better economic place. After graduating law school in an economy almost as bad as the current one, I spent a grand total of 18 months before I got a decent job. I made it a point not to date during that time so that I didn’t embarrass myself. Getting a job was my #1 priority, not getting dates. – Craig

This date when you have a job and can “afford it” story is a bunch of classist crap. I’m mostly unemployed right now, but I’m sure as hell not going to let that keep me from going on a date if I meet someone I want to go on a date with. I’m tired of hearing people tell me and others like me what my “priorities” should or shouldn’t be. People should date when they feel ready to date, not based on some arbitrary financial marker. – Nathan

I wouldn’t try myself if i was unemployed not because of what someone else says but because of my own confidence or lack of it. If it doesn’t affect you, than sure go for it. But I bet dating was easier back in your grandparents days before all these internet perfectionist attitudes. - Steve

I think each person’s opinion is going to depend on whether or not they consider dating a necessity or a luxury.

As we’ve discussed before, dating is expensive for both genders. Let’s exclude upgrades to appearance like new clothes or a trip to the stylist. You’d be getting those anyway and are not expenses paid out strictly for that one date. I’m referring to transportation, parking, contribution to the bill, etc. That can total, for both, anywhere from $50 to $100 per date. That’s a utilities bill, a Metrocard or gas allotment for a month. When money is tight, and you’re living from paycheck to paycheck or off of savings, those expenses add up. Especially if you’re going on 2-3 dates a month, and that’s on the low end.

I’ve mentioned before that being told by a man that he doesn’t want to have drinks “for money reasons” certainly puts a damper on things. I had no problem, if I wanted to get a drink, footing the bill for both of us. If that’s what I wanted to do, and he told me his limitations, then I should pay for it. What makes me walk delicately is knowing that he’s managing tight finances and might be counting every penny he spends. I’d also be concerned that, by offering to pay after he made such an admission, might make him feel like a charity case. Dating already has its own built in stress and anxiety inducers, so why add more?

Even the “free” dates aren’t really free. You still have to pay to get there, and almost inevitably you find yourself thirsty or hungry. I’m sure you can create a date that costs under $20 (if you have suggestions, please share.) But there is still money involved. Money that could go towards something you need, like food or rent or credit card payments.Often times you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. Which, if we’re to be honest, is a big reason why we as a nation are in the economic straits that we are in. We over spent on things we didn’t really need, but thought we did because everybody else was doing it.

These days, it’s not rare for people to have to think very carefully before they spend that $50 or so. You don’t want to find yourself, at the end of the month, saying, “Shit…I could have really used that $150-$200 that I spent on those dates.”

So what is someone on a modest budget or who is unemployed supposed to do? Frankly, I agree with Craig that if you’re in major financial straits to the point where you’re rationing out food the way the guy in the previous post may have been doing, then you shouldn’t be dating. In that case, I’d consider dating a luxury.

One thing I found very interesting about Craig’s comment was that he chose not to make dating a priority when he was unemployed so that he “didn’t embarrass himself.” Let’s be honest, there is something embarrassing about having to say you’re tapped out or can’t do something due to a lack of funds. Even now, even though we know that so many people are struggling financially. You don’t want to seem like you’re hinting or asking for some kind of handout. Nor do you want to be judged as sad or financially irresponsible, like Nathan said. It’s that shame thing again, and nobody needs to endure that.

So what are your choices? Stay home until you can afford to date? Or take money that you know could go towards something else and consider it an investment in your future? Or..and I don’t say this off the cuff as I know it’s a lot easier said than done….take a part time job doing anything  just to have the extra cash so you can still date?

Final question….are you upfront with your dates about your financial situation or do you keep that to yourself? What has been the reaction?



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52 Responses to “In Today’s Economy, Is Dating a Necessity or A Luxury?”

  1. Novelty718 Says:

    The two times that I was unemployed I didn’t date…beside the cost of getting there I was brought up with the notion that when you go out “always make sure you have some money to pay or cab it home” PLUS there was the grooming aspect of hair. nails, clothes…YES all those things that didn’t need to be new or done professionally but regardless when you aren’t working every cent spent is a cent you could have saved.

    Yeah I was lonely but looking for a job so I could pay rent and my other bills was number 1. Instead of dating I hung out with my friends that knew my situation and didn’t mind and I didn’t feel weird if we were out and I needed someone to spot me a $10 or $20.

    The downside was since I wasn’t dating if I wanted my physical needs met I called on an ex…Can be a post in itself…but again the ex knew my situation so it wasn’t too weird.

    I do think that dating is a luxury in these hard times…even now that I’m working I still shy away from doing stuff that is costly just because. I don’t think less of a guy if the first few times we are hanging out it is over coffee, or if he isn’t working. I do remember wanting to date or at least have someone to think about so I didn’t have to always be focusing on my lack of employment.

    • Kab Says:

      “As we’ve discussed before, dating is expensive for both genders.”

      I often find that statements like the one above that Moxie makes to be very dissimissive of the actual reality in place. Every expense a woman has, a guy also has. However, men have the additional default position of providing the financial costs to cover the actual events at the date.

      The reality is that most men don’t mind spending money. What men hate is when they spend money and the woman knows well ahead of time that he is is a very low probability situation, but she however goes ahead and lets him fritter away his cash. It’s really better for you to turn him down than do this, especially if you expect a guy to always pick up the tab. People like to think of themselves as good human beings. Well if you are one, that is what you should do.

      And while we are it, let’s look at guys too. If a woman asks you on a date or approaches you, don’t just go along for the ride because you think it’s an easy lay. If she has really low chances on meaning anything to you, don’t string her along. What goes around comes around!

  2. HotChick vs Losers Says:

    If you want to date someone or spend time courting or wooing someone, there are always walks in the park (or riding bikes along the beach if you’re in LA as I am now). I think there’s a difference between waiting to date/get romantically involved and taking a woman/women out on dates.

    If you want to date a woman who seeks a provider and you like the kind of women who gauges your worth by your ability to buy her a diamond ring, then you should probably stay home.

    I don’t pretend to speak for all women, but I can speak for women like me. I don’t want to have to carry a guy financially, but I will if we’re in a relationship and he’s hit a rough patch, but I fully intend to provide for myself. Isn’t that one of the things that the women before us opened up? Our ability to earn good money outside the home and navigate the world without a man?

    What it boils down to is that women like me want a man who can keep up. Ideally, he’ll be able to keep up in all (or at least most) realms. For me that means he can hold his liquor, he can climb a mountain, he can navigate a crowded airport or subway platform or city sidewalk, he can throw a football, he can talk philosophy and economics and music and art, and he can afford to go out and play, enjoying the occasional night out.

    But it’s all about tradeoffs. If the otherwise perfect man just hasn’t found a buyer for the brilliant book he’s written on evolutionary psychology or hasn’t turned a profit at his bio-remediation start-up, I’m going to buy his plane tickets and give him homecooked meals. And if the guy who can afford to fly me to his condo in Aspen on a chartered jet can’t actually ski or snowboard, doesn’t know how to grill meat, and has never read anything other than the financial section, I’m not going to board the plane. And that’s not just me. It’s most women like me.

    And, yes, I fully realize that not all men want to date women like me. Like in anything else, you gotta know your market.

  3. offensivedan Says:

    This has been my experience.

    Dating while you are on a budget or are trying to save $ sucks. The last few dates I have been on where dinner was included have cost up to $200.00. Even when I go out to have drinks I have spent up to $75.00. When I wake up and realize I will never see this woman again I think to myself, “damn, I could have put that money in a CD, savings account or paid down some debt.” Crap, I could have gone to a strip club, spent the $200.00 and at least have gotten some action. Other than conversation and meeting someone new, going out with this woman has netted me nothing. Of course, now and then, you get a one night stand which is a return on the money you have spent. However, those are rare.

    Basically, dating for the average man is like gambling with the odds stacked against you.

    And this argument about women spending money to go on dates is such bullshit. Again, I base this on my experience and my locale, but the most that women have spent going out on a date with me is for cab fare–about $20.00. I don’t count the time they take to get ready because I have to do that, too. Women do not go to stylists before going on a date–that’s bullshit and grabbing at straws. As a guy, going on a date exposes you to bankruptcy or, at least, eating ramen noodles for the rest of the month.

    Right now, I’m on the fence about dating and shutting it down for a few months where I can save, invest and pay off debt. I’m getting little return for my $ and normally, when that happens, in other areas, such as investments, you find a better investment for your $. I have a friend who, although is classless and despised, does not spend money on dates or buys drinks for women. You can bet he’s got a nice, nest egg going on. Maybe that’s the way to go.

    If you are a wealthy guy, spending money on women won’t affect you much. But for most men, dating costs $ and most women don’t understand or appreciate that. They have this shit mentality of “well, he asked me out so he has to pay.” Or they justify their behavior by convincing themselves they went out with this guy in order to see if they were interested. More b/s. There’s a lot of that going on. There’s a lot of this entitlement attitude shared by many women. Honestly, it is turning me off on dating. I mean, noone says you have to blow me after dinner but, shit, be gracious and say thank you. Dont’ sit there with this entitlement attitude as the check is brought or sit there thinking I’m here because you pestered me or to be nice. Fuck that. I have a mom if I want someone to eb nice to me.

    Plus, women expect you to have cash for dating I have gone on dates with women who ask me questions about whether I am on the partnership track, whether I like to go on vacation etc. I can tell right away I would go bankrupt dating this woman and, so, I don’t follow up.

    My advice–take the money you would spend on dates and invest it. If you need femal companionship, make it as cheap as possible or go to a strip club.

    • HotChick vs Losers Says:

      Brutal. But honest.

      When women attack you for mentioning a return on your dating investment, remind them that it’s like everything else. Just as they probably don’t shell out cab fare if they don’t expect some gain, nor do you shell out for dinner and/or drinks without expecting some gain — even if that gain is simply not dining alone.

      • offensivedan Says:

        Who’s dining alone? There, again, is the female entitlement/superior mentality at play. I don’t eat alone as I have plenty of friends–male and female. So, when I ask a women out it’s not so I don’t eat alone. Why do women always assume a man is lonely or without any other options if they are not in the man’s life? I don’t need fucking charity or some broad thinking I have noone else in life so she takes pity on me and agrees to go to dinner with me. Christ, the hubris women have when it comes to dating. Plus, that’s not being nice or charitable. A woman being invited to dinner does not have to do shit or spend any money. You want to be nice? Say no and save me the wasted time and money when it’s clear you are not interested.

        • tall girl Says:

          Really? WOMEN – ALL OF THEM – are full of hubris? Get a hold of your bitterness, guy. Not all women are like this. You sound just as nuts as a woman railing on about douchebags who only want sex.

          There are plenty of women who do NOT expect $200 dinners, and would thank you for your time and whatever else you decided to contribute.

          Maybe you should be looking at the kinds of women you are choosing. And in the meantime, skip dinner. Grab drinks. If the date sucks, go dutch. You can do this without looking like a jerk. Plenty of guys do.

          • grace Says:

            I have never eaten a $100 dinner (my share whether I pay or the guy pays) in my life. I agree with moxie, dating cost money whether the guy/girl pays or you go dutch, it’s money.

            Right now, I’ve chosen the road of taking a part-time job/temping to pay my bills until I can land a full-time job that will pay a decent salary. It is hard, because the temp jobs are WAYYYY below my skill-set, but I am happy that I can get temp jobs because I know several people who haven’t been able to land ANYTHING in more than 2 yrs.

            I’ve chosen not to date, because really my head is wrapped up in maintaining and doing all that I need to do to find a job. Not the sexiest mindset, which for me is necessary to wade into the dating world. I am definitely feeling the lack of male compansionship, but those needs will just have to wait.

            I have to say that I appreciate having a place to talk about all of this. We all know that sooo many people are going through this, but it almost feels taboo to talk about it.

        • HotChick vs Losers Says:

          “Just as they probably don’t shell out cab fare if they don’t expect some gain, nor do you shell out for dinner and/or drinks without expecting some gain — even if that gain is simply not dining alone.”

          The possible perceived gains are numerous. Having company is among them, and was chosen as the example to give lest anyone think I was implying that the gains are exclusively sexual.

          “Who’s dining alone? There, again, is the female entitlement/superior mentality at play.”

          If women actually have a “superior mentality” as you suggest, perhaps they should feel entitled?

          And if women were so full of hubris, would they *really* be flocking to sites like this to find sounding boards for their dating decisions? I think not.

          I’m sorry I raised so much ire in trying to acknowledge the soundness of YOUR original post.

    • P. Says:

      O-Dan, didn’t you talk here before about taking women to expensive restaurants that you also wanted to go to? I don’t expect a guy to take me to a really expensive place, especially if we’re meeting for the first time (drinks alone is fine), but if one of the “selling points” for the date was “hey, I’ve been really wanting to try this hot restaurant (and I know where you live has plenty of them) — would you like to join me?” then you can’t blame the woman for how much you’re spending if she’s going along with what you’re suggesting.

      Guys, you can’t have it both ways…you can’t always use your job and your financial status to try to land dates with or impress people who might not date you otherwise, and then complain about what you’re spending on people you’ll never see again. If you were focused on women who didn’t need a fancy dinner to be impressed, then you wouldn’t be spending that much over and over again (because most dates aren’t going to work out if you’re doing the high-volume online thing with strangers, and you might weed out some of those who just want a free dinner out of it.)

    • Kab Says:

      Offensive Dan I feel your pain. But you have this thing all wrong. The good woman that really likes you doesn’t really care if you spent less than $100 on a date. Heck, she will get past you spending less than $50 on a date. I think that you are in the wrong mode. I suppose we all have to sell ourselves, but remember, dating is a game where she has to sell herself too. You have to shift the paradigm here where you are not the only person doing the heavy lifting.

      Next, you may be going after the wrong women. If your finances are such where you have to put aside money and not spend it frivolously, then target women who are on the same page, and trust me, there are a lot of women on that page.

      Your real problem is that you don’t have enough self-assurance so you feel you have to take extra measures to court a woman. You are also hanging your hat in a place where you certainly can’t reach it.

      • offensivedan Says:

        How come it always comes back to “you lack confidence etc.” Typical ereply. Does not even address her genders’ propensity for abuse at all and assumes it must be the guy. Nah, it’s not about lack of confidence. It’s a plainobservation of the opposite gender, Ms. Apologist.

        And yes, some of the girls are the wrong sort but how the hell do you know that without going out with them. You imply that’s there’s some way to screen any woman who is high maintenance.

        Anyway, you are completely wrong.

        • DowntownAngel Says:

          I second that you’re going after wrong women. Look, some women are expensive and you can’t afford them, you just sort of have to deal with it. I consider myself such, and I believe its very easy to “screen” for women you can’t afford. They usually flock to high-profile clubs and lounges where a cocktail is gonna cost you $19, so don’t look for a date there. They carry expensive bags (i understand that straight men don’t know designers, but everyone can tell an LV or a Prada bag, those are 2K a piece on average), so if you see it – run. They can be in high-earning profession themselves (i.e. doctors, lawyers), so if you hear it – run, or they can be model-like stunningly beautiful, so if you’re cheap they won’t give you the light of day.

          A right woman for you is a nice neighborhood girl somewhere in Queens, hanging out in a local bar and working something like as an administrative assistant for example. Go for it and you won’t be disappointed.

          • offensivedan Says:

            What kind of fucking advice is this? Now, I have to become an expert on ladies’ handbags to figure out if I can “afford” my date? All these women assuming the porblem is my piggy bank is not big enough. That’s not the point “downtown julie brown.” My point was to answer the question whether the $200.00 I spent on a date could be better utilized.

            Further, I don’t live in goddamn NYC. I live in the dirty Ole South near the Gulf of Damn Mexico. Man, this is why all I want out of women, nowadays, is sex. And i will say this , typically it’s the non-well off chicks that are the pain in the ass.

            • Cricri Says:

              Look OD ( yeah I think you might be overdosing in the bad dating). Who decides where you’re going on a date? You’re acting like you have ZERO input in the process. Like you just show up, take out your credit card and leave. It’s like me saying I’m going to go ahead and milk every man that asks me out just because I picked the wrong guys in the past and they fucked me over. It doesn’t make any sense and puts you on a bitter destructive path.

              • Selena Says:

                It’s also possible the women you are dating are picking up on your nasty attitude even though you try to hide it and that’s the reason they don’t want more than a couple dates with you.

            • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

              Dan – Okay, seriously, you need to calm the fuck down. All you’re doing by reacting this way is making yourself look angry and insecure. And in response, the women smell the blood in the water and attack. Dan, you do lack confidence, which is why you keep attracting the deadbeats and attention hounds. You make yourself a target. Even here, you get swarmed by women whenever you go on the defensive.

              This happens every single time Dan goes on the defensive, and it’s always the same people jumping on the pile on. It’s beyond tiresome at this point. Berating a guy isn’t going to get you what you want, nor is it going to make him change. if anything, it will only serve to encourage him to stay exactly as is.

    • Lonias Says:

      Just curious if “appreciation” is measured in any other way besides sex…

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        Appreciation is about attitude–one of those “minor” things that women apparently don’t understand why guys get so upset about.

        For instance, in the recent post about M, the Doc should have appreciated a guy who wanted to spend an entire day with her and planned several fun things to do. Instead, she bitched about the show he wanted to take her to and eating at his place as if she were entitled to more simply because she deigned to grace him with her presence. It had absolutely nothing to do with sex.

        • Lonias Says:

          Ok…thanks…I wanted to make sure I understood where you were coming from…and I agree that many people fail to see the value in others’ intentions and integrity…

  4. P. Says:

    I’m a firm believer that both genders should pay their way (on dates and in relationships) and live according to their means. So, I don’t want a guy running up a credit card bill or spending money he doesn’t have in order to impress me — if I find out that’s what he’s doing, I’ll be the opposite of impressed. I’m fine with doing something relatively low-cost or free — I live in a city where there are all kinds of things going on that don’t cost money, and I’m fine with him suggesting them or I can suggest them too. I also don’t want to be taken advantage of: I wouldn’t want a guy to date me because he thinks he’s getting a sugar mama, or continuing a relationship with me because he thinks I will provide most of the financial support.

    With all that, I agree with Nathan. Whether your unemployment is temporary, or you’ve made a conscious decision to pursue a career path that either pays less or has its ups and downs (like starting a business or working freelance), you need to maintain your confidence and presence in the world, and continue to engage with people in your life, including the people you meet to whom you’re attracted. We hear lots of stories about relationships that started when one or both were starving students or barely making it when their business was just getting off the ground, and through their partnership and perseverance, they’re now successful beyond their wildest dreams.

    So you shouldn’t assume that just because now you’re unemployed or underemployed, that you can’t meet the person who will be with you “for better for worse; for richer and poorer.” And if you withdraw from the dating world, make sure it’s not part of a larger withdrawal from the world that may indicate depression and create a snowball effect when it comes to finding a job.

    • offensivedan Says:

      Alright, P. If you find a guy is spending cash or running the credi card how do you stop him or how do you handle it?

      • Christina Says:

        Typically, I would go dutch, or pay for the next thing (movies after dinner, drinks & cover charge after dinner). If it’s more than one date, I pay for every other one if we don’t split it. If I get the feeling that the guy is spending a lot of money, it makes me uncomfortable early on in a relationship, so I suggest free/cheap activities for the early dates. I really don’t want some guy I don’t know spending a lot of money on me.

        Basically, when I was dating a lot, I didn’t go out unless I had the money to cover all of the bill, and I usually suggested cheap/free activities.

    • Lonias Says:

      “Whether your unemployment is temporary, or you’ve mad a conscious decision to pursue a career path that either pays less or has its ups and downs (like starting a business or working freelance), you need to maintain your confidence and presence in the world, and continue to engage with people in your life, including the people you meet to whom you’re attracted.”

      VERY well said…

  5. nathan Says:

    A few observations. First, I do agree with Moxie that if you feel so strapped that you’re afraid to offer your date or girlfriend some food in your own apartment, you probably should reconsider what you’re doing. I seriously can’t imagine acting like that guy did in the previous post.

    Secondly, what’s interesting to me is that many women today speak about wanting to be with a man who isn’t defined and controlled by his job. That he has more in his life than his paid work. So, I really think it’s telling what a guy does outside of work, and how he uses his time if he’s unemployed. I’ve been back in school over the past year, volunteer in multiple organizations, write multiple blogs, and have active hobbies. I know others like myself, but the main point is that lacking a job doesn’t have to define a person, and yet I find that some women seem to use that information alone to reject men. While at the same time saying they want a guy who has diverse interests and isn’t married to his work.

    Thirdly, as far as free or low cost dates go, I’m guessing that those of you who live in NYC or a few other large, expensive metro areas have a harder time than the rest of us. It’s not that difficult to find free or low cost options here in the Twin Cities.

    • Selena Says:

      Adding: one of the least expensive ways to date, or just socialize, is to invite someone to your home for meal. Doesn’t have to be steak or seafood (though preparing those at home is MUCH cheaper than a restaurant). Learn to make a few dishes that are delicious and economical.

    • P. Says:

      I think most big cities, while they may have higher costs of living generally, also have their share of free and low-cost stuff.

      Moxie asked for ideas: We have a lot of free museums, and pretty much every museum has a free day each week or month (I know my bank offers free museum days as a perk with a debit card). If you don’t have a beach or famous landmarks, surely you have a park that is a great place for a stroll and people watching on a nice day. Soon many areas will be setting up public ice skating rinks, which are generally inexpensive. I’ve found lots of people enjoy roller skating as a throwback to their childhood, and many rinks have one or two dollar nights.

      Look at the local alternative paper for listings about neighborhood festivals — sometimes you can hear great bands for free and get some really good ethnic food cheaply. A lot of churches have fall festivals as well if you share that in common. If you sign up for the various deal-a-day sites, many of them have day-of specials that you can get for half-price that day, so you can pick the best deal in a particular neighborhood. My local newspaper, alternative paper and radio stations are always having sponsored happy hours which are either free or very cheap. If you’ve discovered something in common, like a hobby, check Meetup to see whether there are any applicable meetups scheduled, or even something like a board game night. Author readings at a bookstore can be cool, or if you’re a sports fan, look for a bar with game-day specials. If you both share common political views — check out your local #Occupy encampment; the signs alone will give you plenty to talk about.

      And maybe it’s because I’m a tourist, but riding the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty on a nice day is still one of the cheapest thrills around — anywhere.

  6. dimplz Says:

    I prefer to date a man with a steady job. Like seeks like. I am myself steadily employed, and if I were to suddenly find myself unemployed, I would be seeking a job and not worrying about whether or not I’m meeting someone. I live in the real world where you need health insurance, social security or some kind of retirement plan for when you are older and might not have children or family to support you when you become sick. And becoming sick is a matter of when, not if. Doctor visits cost money. Medication and surgeries are expensive. I don’t want to be eating cat food because I thought about my husband’s wonderful character whether than if he planned for his future. Part of a great character to me is someone who has planned for the future, saving, and working hard, not flying by the seat of their pants, thinking about only their happiness, only living in the moment, and not planning to be an active contributor to the household and be an asset to their future spouse/partner. YMMV.

    • dimplz Says:

      whether = rather.

    • kay Says:

      As someone who is unemployed and job hunting, i wouldnt consider inemployment a lab of future planning. Savings can only go so far, especially when there is no income coming in. Job hunting, like dating is a numbers game. More exposure leads to more contacts, which could leads to a date or job opportunity. Doing one should not indicate less focus on the other.

      With the stress of losing or the inability to find a job, sometimes fying by the seat of one’s pants is the only way u keep your sanity. You simply cannot spend 8 hours a day job hunting. You need to network, volunteer and do other things that help u maintain your sense of self worth.

      • kay Says:

        Sorry, im on my phone and my fingers are freezing.

        I wouldnt consider unemployment a lack of future planning.

      • Selena Says:

        “Doing one should not indicate less focus on the other.

        Depends. There are lots of things to do for $20 or less, but if you need every penny for rent, utilities, and food…spending $10-$20 just to go out may not be possible. Sometimes the focus has to be suvival – not dating.

        • kay Says:

          Im all for not dating if it isnt affordable. My point was/is that dating can also be a networking opportunity, which often cost money as well. Most dates dont turn into something intimate or romantic but if you have a good rapport with that person, that’s an additional person who knows youre looking and could potentially help you land a job.

    • Breebree Says:

      dimplz you and I are <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>> with regards to the comment:
      “f I were to suddenly find myself unemployed, I would be seeking a job and not worrying about whether or not I’m meeting someone.”
      I think if you have your priorities straight if your unemployed unless your in school full time and/or a millionaire with a money tree or have wealthy parents that will support you if your out of work your focus should be on getting a job or a degree of some kind. Especially if you live in a big Metropolitan city.
      I’m in DC. The reality is with no degree, years of experience, and contacts/networks, you will be hard pressed to find a halfway decent paying job here. I’ve heard many other places the job market and economy is worse than in DC, MD, and VA.
      And thats not to say that you shouldn’t go out when you can and still have fun. No sense in being depressed and being a hermit just because your out of work.
      But again dating and relationships shouldn’t be your main focus and something you devote too much time to if your out of work. Especially if your a guy, as a man your going to be investing more money into dating than a woman, (unless your a pimp, loafer, and/or male gold-digger and lookin for a “mama” and not a girlfriend or future wife).

      • Breebree Says:

        Not to confuse anyone and dimplz those <<>>> means we are “here” , meaning seeing eye to eye and I agree with that statement.

  7. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Dating on a budget is no different than the myriad other “handicaps” you have when dating. You have to adjust your expectations to match what you bring to the table. As a man, for example, you’re not going to be able to impress some women with your fat wallet, and you may have to be more selective about who you spend your time and money with. But maybe you’re really smart or goodloooking and you’re offering something else that women find attractive.

    For me personally, when times are good, I’m very generous and it has usually “paid off” in terms of meeting and keeping the attention of women. When times are lean, sure,it’s a little more difficult, but you find women (like some commenters above) that can support themselves and are not overly concerned with status. In a million years, I would not give up dating because of money. I adjust. When work is slow, there is more time to date. If a woman judges me for lack of funds, it is her problem. For me, life is not all about money and work and I don’t define myself by it.

  8. bill Says:

    If your a guy who has to use your money/wealth/provider to impress a girl no matter how much you have or do not have will never make a difference.

    Instead just be a really cool person.

  9. Douchebag Says:

    Dating isn’t a necessity. But fucking still is.

  10. Trouble Says:

    I’m a single mom with two kids, I’ve never wanted to spend a lot of money on dating, nor have I wanted men to spend a lot on me. While we’ve always split the cost of dates, here are some of the things the guy and I do now that he’s a full time grad student:

    1) Groupon. We recently had sushi, decently nice restaurant, 2 people – $15. (I bought a $30 groupon for $15 bucks and we skipped alcoholic beverages). I see groupons (at least in our area) for coffee shops and cheaper little cafes, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use a coupon (maybe not on the first date, but definitely okay on date 2 and after)

    2) One of our all-time favorite dates – feed the ducks at the park ($4 for 2 loaves of bread).

    3) Old time soda fountain near us – we split a sunday (about $5)

    4) Board games – we make a pot of chili, and play scrabble or put together a puzzle.

    5) Hiking date – we pack drinks and hike a 5 mile loop near my house. Dog optional.

    6) Local college does movies for $1 each in their student life center. Most are classic films, so you get the movie theater experience but not the price. And you have an excuse for going to the less expensive location (I just love Humphrey Bogart!)

    7) Picnic in the park…it’s getting cold now, so hot cocoa, a blanket, and some kind of snack would be romantic!

    8) Some college sports are cheap. Football tickets can run upwards of $50 per person, but we go and watch the college girls’ basketball team play ($5 each) or we go and watch men’s soccer/baseball depending on season. High school football/basketball is equally fun and really cheap.

    9) We rarely go and see big name bands, but we often hit the college bars to listen to up and coming bands for $5-10 per person (recently, Toad the Wet Sprocket in a tiny venue for $15 each).

    I don’t live in a big, expensive city, but there are plenty of free and low cost activities in my community. I suspect there are in yours, too, if you exercise some creativity and do some research.

    If a girl isn’t “wooed” by feeding ducks in a park, she may well be too high maintenance to date if you’re on a budget. ;)

  11. Vox Says:

    I don’t mind low cost or free dates – even in NYC you can eat at BYOB Thai or Indian spot for less than $20 for two – but I don’t split the check. I also would not date an unemployed man who’s trying to sell his brilliant book (or whatever); I married that guy and it ultimately cost me in the mid-to-upper 5 figures. Never again.

    A man who is broke simply needs to be more clever and inventive than the next guy. How about an art exhibit, or a cheap restaurant like I mentioned? Yes, some women will be turned off by a dinner that cost $20, but I believe they are the exception, not the rule.

  12. Mark Says:

    Have you ever been hungry? I mean really hungry?

    I have. Not for very long, and it was quite some time ago. It wasn’t fun but the lesson was certainly not forgotten. At least not for me. Which is why I help out from time to time at a food bank. Because I remember….

    Unemployed, underemployed, gainfully employed. In essence, at least here in America, that seems to say quite a bit about who you are. For many, it’s lock stock and two smocking barrels. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s part of the culture. In some places,(ie NYC, LA) more than than others. Not casting judgement, merely making note of it.

    As an attorney, I can say I’ve seen both sides of the coin of Moxie’s statement. More than you might know. Certainly more than I care to say.

    Which leasds me back to the original question.

    Necessity or A Luxury?

    Be honest. You all adults who are not neophytes to the game. As always, you are free to choose what elements are important in the person you are looking for. Be it employment, religion or whatever those things that you deem important. Your reasons? Well those are yours and yours alone.

    Ya’ know, for the most part, it’s always been that way. Moreover, as far as I can tell, it always will. So if you are really, really looking for someone who fits most of what you are looking for, the chances are pretty good you’ll find him/her.

    The rest is only so much backscatter and jabberowcky.

  13. Saj Says:

    Hrm considering every guy I’ve gone out with has been poor or unemployed at the time it can be done. I can’t remember which things we did a ton of that costed money after the first week (if you are a serial dater I can see cost being a problem) but you can find good food for cheap or just forgo food and do something outside, watch newish movies on redbox or netflix, eating in, window shopping. Most of all my initial dates were in the 10-20 dollar range and it was fine. If I wanted to do something more special and high end I’d pitch in half or most of it if I was the only one working at the time.

  14. Breebree Says:

    Moxie I agree with you. I think Nathan is obviously not hurting for money and has the extra money to spend on dates when he wants to go out.
    However, as I said only a fool would spend money on anything that wasn’t a necessity like food, water, clothes etc etc etc if he didn’t know where his next dollar was coming from and/or when it was coming and had to constantly make a dollar out of 15 cents.
    I was unemployed last year and I didn’t date. At the time I had no “real” savings and I couldn’t afford my old apartment so I moved in with a friend who is a single mom. I wasn’t bringing any men around her 2 yr old daughter out of respect for her. Plus her daughters father is just crazy and bipolar and I didn’t want any trouble from him, even though he didn’t live there he was still around and in his daughters life.
    Now I’m working and I plan on going to school for my Masters. I enjoy traveling, going out and having fun. You need money to do those things. So I my focus is on making money to have a significant savings and to be able to do the things I enjoy and still pay my bills and live well.
    I have my own place now and I’m doing fine but still have a ways to go to build up my finances.
    Now if I meet a man who accepts me as I am and wants to date me then fine. People have to realize the key is meeting someone who can fairly easily “fall into” your lifestyle and be ok with it.
    People say “I want a person who is kind, caring, sweet, fun, loyal, out-going, considerate, blah blah blah.
    But the reality is in the world we live in today Money Matters. There are things you can do for free, but most everything costs. Even with free events you have to have gas to get there and if your using public transportation you have to pay for that. Food and drinks is going to cost you too, although happy hours and sunday brunches are fairly inexpensive and matinees are cheaper than seeing a movie at peak hours. There is also McDonalds or Burger King….lol
    At any rate, most folks honestly (even though they don’t want to admit it) don’t want to date a poor broke person….men or women.
    A man dealing with a broke and unemployed woman may see her as a potential “gold-digger” and needing him to much and potentially being too dependent on him financially, (especially black men who make less than white men and women).
    Women will see a man as not being able to be a good provider if he is out of work with little to no money.
    Not having money can affect your friendships too. There was a great movie with Jen Anniston called “Friends With Money” where she plays a broke house-keeper who lives paycheck to paycheck and she has these wealthy friends that she feels disconnected from and wonders why she is even still friends with them. She knows it and feels it when she is with them that she just doesn’t fit in with their circle and it’s true. She can’t afford to participate in events that she can’t afford, go places with them that she can’t afford, or travel with them. This creates a distance between her and her friends. Things like this happen in real life all the time.
    And for men it can be especially embarrassing to be out of work and not have much money because men have been socialized and viewed to be providers since the biblical days.

  15. Horace Says:

    I used to be a broke single dad, and still went on dates.

    You see, dating for women is mostly about the experience. Guys with no personality, no vision, no understanding of women will simply PAY to provide a decent experience. A nice dinner at a nice restaurant. Cocktails. Dancing. Etc.

    But there are all kind of low budget things you can do that provide for a good-to-amazing date. When I lived in Upstate NY, I used to know all the romantic walks and trails with waterfalls and such.

    Any free-to-the-public event can be made fun and exciting by sneaking in a bottle of wine.

    Art gallery shows in NYC are free and tend to have free wine. Just read up on the artist(s) first, and score mega culture-points.

    I’m a big fan of the picnic date. Shut up. It’s not cliche. I’ve even done a picnic in some odd places just to up the ante, like in the middle of Times Square and once actually on the Brooklyn Bridge! Yeah, I’m like pro-level.

  16. Vox Says:

    one thing I thought of about broke men – don’t complain about money to the woman you are dating. A few years ago I dumped a man for being too damn broke, though really it was more about his COMPLAINING about being broke. I kept thinking he would ask me for money at the end of our conversations.

    Real topics of conversations which led to my giving him the boot:

    “I had to drive from NYC to Princeton (where he said he is a professor) today using regular roads instead
    Of the highway because I didnt have toll money.”

    “my car was impounded at 1 am for unpaid tickets, and my mother wouldn’t help me. Can you believe that?”

    “I’ve solved my money problems for the week: I will ask 5 friends to loan me $20 each and that should ride me over.”

    • grace Says:

      Were you dating a 15 yr. old? Those comments sound like something a teenager would say or dialogue from Two and a half man.

      • Vox Says:

        I wish I had exaggerated those statements, but sadly I did not. He gave me a real earful when I gave him the boot too, all about how I am another typical woman who runs as soon as a man hits a little financial rough patch.

  17. Steve From the City Next Door Says:

    I was unemployed for quite awhile and went back to school for part of it. I found that I never got a (nother) date when I woman found out I was unemployed. One even said I was really great and if I got job to feel free to give her a call again — (we were setup by a classmate). I only went on a few dates.

    Just considering early dates (not in a relationship) I find that it is expensive for men and basically free for women and my women friends agreed with the assessment when we discussed it some years ago. (not this is based on where I used to live, not where I currently live)
    Actual cost of event/dinner : Men:100% women:0%
    Parking: generally zero for both
    gas/(maybe mass transit): say a gallon $4. same for both.
    One female friend noted she “made money” because the cost of the meal (paid for by the man) was usually more than cost of gas or what she would have spent anyway.

    First dates can be cheap like coffee but after that before say the 10 date mark or so – every low cost date asked for has been rejected. I also noticed that only once have I been turned down after a coffee date when the second date has been a normal date (e.g. dinner).

    There aren’t many good options at any of the places I have lived. The occasional neighborhood street fair maybe. Art gallery shows tend to be a bit expensive – they seem more like a fund raiser. There are not very many either. The museumums cost also and are one of the few places where you basically have to pay for parking. ~$10per + $10/car and most of them are not very big. – after the remodel the contempry art center has two 40 foot walls of paintings and one giant scultpure. My date and I cover the place in 20 minutes…then she suggested getting food at the cafe next door.

    • offensivedan Says:

      Steve you hit the nail on the head. Also, when you are a doctor or lawyer a lot of women expect you to take them to nice places otherwise they think you are cheap.

  18. Lipstick and Playdates Says:

    The money issue is kinda lame, especially where there are TONS of wonderful free things to do. I can think of 10 things off hand that a guy can ask me to if money were tight. At this stage, I’d be touch if a guy invited me over and cooked dinner.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “I can think of 10 things off hand that a guy can ask me to” So why not suggest them? Or, horrors, invite guys out to those things yourself?

      “I’d be touch[ed] if a guy invited me over” OTOH, if a guy asked them over to his place for a first or second date. most women would probably assume he just wanted sex.

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