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Kudryavka

He doesn't pick up the tab. Does he value me?

126 posts in this topic
14 hours ago, holdyourhead said:

Using gender as a basis for paying is reinforcing the idea that a woman giving her time, attention, and affection (or more) means she should deserve money or gifts in return while a man giving the same does not deserve anything extra in return. It's no wonder some men do expect sex, or at least something, in return. Both are as bad as each other.

 

In line with what Holli and others said, if someone wants to be treated equally and reap the benefits of that, they also need to accept the losses.

I think that you have it a bit wrong here. It isn't about a woman trading her attention for money and gifts. It is about a couple showing their interest in each other and investing in each other by doing nice things for each other. It should be reciprocal, but not kept tabs on. May or may not involve money and paying for dates. Both partners generally do nice things for each other, which could range from taking one person out on a nice date/outing, gifts small or large, helping out with a task or errand. This is not something that only men do for women.  Do not most people in relationships, male and female, do nice things for each other, help each other out, do romantic things for each other?

Would the OP be asking this question if the male were otherwise showing that he cares and is investing in the relationship?  

 

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Be vigilant about expectations. If he is doing 'normalcy' during the early dating phase, he might get complacent and lazy in the future. You need to remind him that a relationship takes effort and investment, otherwise he might think you'll accept even less than normalcy.

INTJs need time to understand the expectations, and for a type who gets energy-drained by emotions easily, you may find him even more unsupportive than necessary, when you have need of him.

I know INFPs well: capable of genius-level greatness when they are happy, but with great need when they feel down. You need to make clear to him that normalcy still involves some emotional effort, otherwise the relationship is not likely to last.

Think of it from the INTJ's perspective: you were easy-going during the dating phase, then all of a sudden, you drop an emotional bomb on his head in the future; he might feel you misrepresented yourself...

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5 hours ago, teri said:

I think that you have it a bit wrong here. It isn't about a woman trading her attention for money and gifts. It is about a couple showing their interest in each other and investing in each other by doing nice things for each other. It should be reciprocal, but not kept tabs on. May or may not involve money and paying for dates. Both partners generally do nice things for each other, which could range from taking one person out on a nice date/outing, gifts small or large, helping out with a task or errand. This is not something that only men do for women.  Do not most people in relationships, male and female, do nice things for each other, help each other out, do romantic things for each other?

Would the OP be asking this question if the male were otherwise showing that he cares and is investing in the relationship?  

 

Doing nice things for each other would not automatically fall under the realms of using gender as a basis for it, nor would it be one-sided since nice things are being done for each other. My point was that unless someone is happy to be in a one-sided relationship, or assign higher value to women, assigning the nice act of "paying" for things entirely to men would need a corresponding nice act assigned entirely to women. It's not about keeping tabs, it is about fairness. It's not for me to decide what those nice things exchanged could be. That's up to the couple. Things like giving quality time, affection, sex and intimacy, and such, should not usually count because in most healthy relationships those are not one-way gifts or nice acts. They require both sides to give at the same time and both sides should enjoy. Even "looking nice" doesn't necessarily count as both a man and woman may spend time looking nice for the other. If paying for things is exclusively the gift from men to women, then what is the exclusive gift from women to men, in a fair relationship? An actual example would be, if a man gives his woman gifts, a woman may cook her man a nice meal. That would be an example of a fair exchange in a healthy and traditional relationship. A repeated pattern of money in exchange for time alone and nothing more is an indication that the woman's time is of greater value than the man's time.

 

When my relationship started, we never really needed to make a big deal out of paying for things. It was never really spoken about. We were both non-traditional, as is the case with many young people where I live. When it came to paying for things we probably either split it, or took turns most of the time. Taking turns is effectively the same as splitting. We never gave it much thought or kept tabs, and it would have only became an issue if a clear imbalance was apparent. If you read the fine details carefully, I think the OP's relationship is the same. They have always split, and they both have done a few nice things for each other on top. So the issue isn't really about that.

 

it sounds like both people in the relationship have been treating each other about the same. And it would appear the OP's question stemmed from a combination of societal norms/expectations based on gender, and her "love language". I haven't seen the OP explicitely state that she has been showing care for and investment in him more than he has her. The issue appears to be that the "nice things" he needs to do for her to feel loved are different to the "nice things" she would need to do for him. Either way, at present it seems they both do a few nice things only.

Edited by holdyourhead

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The idea of the guy paying for everything is a throwback to when they had the money and women didn't. Since you earn similar amounts, it would be taking a liberty to expect him to pay. Of course on the first date, he may be expected to. However once things settle down to regular dates, then you should each pick up half each. Most likely in the form you pay for one, he pays for one.

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4 hours ago, teri said:

I think that you have it a bit wrong here. It isn't about a woman trading her attention for money and gifts. It is about a couple showing their interest in each other and investing in each other by doing nice things for each other. It should be reciprocal, but not kept tabs on. May or may not involve money and paying for dates. Both partners generally do nice things for each other, which could range from taking one person out on a nice date/outing, gifts small or large, helping out with a task or errand. This is not something that only men do for women.  Do not most people in relationships, male and female, do nice things for each other, help each other out, do romantic things for each other?

Would the OP be asking this question if the male were otherwise showing that he cares and is investing in the relationship?  

 

That's not why she asked. She was looking for more of a one-way meal-paying arrangement, at least on occasion, as evidenced by her highlighting the fact that he earns more money than she does. I think her prior relationships involved this sort of thing, so she wondered why the current guy wasn't following the same tradition.

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5 hours ago, holdyourhead said:

If paying for things is exclusively the gift from men to women, then what is the exclusive gift from women to men, in a fair relationship? An actual example would be, if a man gives his woman gifts, a woman may cook her man a nice meal. That would be an example of a fair exchange in a healthy and traditional relationship. A repeated pattern of money in exchange for time alone and nothing more is an indication that the woman's time is of greater value than the man's time.

One thing I should mention is that I cook dinner for him/us on a frequent basis and most of the food made is coming out of my pocket (i.e., I bought it for groceries for myself but he comes over and I make dinner).  Occasionally I'll ask him to pick up some vegetables on his way here if I ran out, since I live somewhere miles away from fresh food.  So technically I have been buying him dinner too.  Maybe it doesn't count.  Either way, it's not like I can complain since he never assumed I would do that, and without me saying I'll cook will often grab something to eat before coming here.  And I really don't want to get all technical and businesslike about who has done what for the other.

31 minutes ago, EPMD said:

I think her prior relationships involved this sort of thing, so she wondered why the current guy wasn't following the same tradition.

Yes.  He shows that he cares in other ways like voluntarily giving me massages and being very otherwise physically affectionate.

To continue the saga...

@Distance, I asked him last night over text while he was at work if he cared to celebrate V-Day or if he felt it was just a corporate holiday.  He responded "Valentine's day is a thing".  Then he called me on his way home and was like "So, Valentine's Day... we're both going to be working, so..."  And I said "Well, the reason I asked was because I was thinking of getting you something, but I didn't want to make it weird if you weren't going to get anything."   And his response was basically to go "Hmmm" and laugh and said something non-sequitur in conclusion like "Yeah... Valentine's Day is a thing."  Which I think in his language is basically code for "I don't know wtf to say."

So, I guess in lieu of an actual response, I should not buy the thing.  (Right?  :huh:)

Edited by holdyourhead

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It's lame that you couldn't get a straight answer about this. I think anything anyone here could say about it would just be guesswork.

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Yeah.  I'm in the same boat.  :blank:

I think this is something he does when he hasn't thought about something enough and doesn't want to commit to an answer.  He will give a non-answer, then come back a day or so later with "So yeah, about X, I think Y."  I'm halfway expecting him to bring it up again today. 

He also sometimes does this when he is embarrassed to answer for some reason though, so... I dunno.  I don't want to push it because he usually has a reason for being evasive.  And in the end it's not about the day, it's about the other person.  So even if the other person's like this, I guess that's just how it is.

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Valentines being a thing sounds to me as though he at least acknowledges that it comes with certain expectations, even if he isn't personally invested in the holiday himself.

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From my perspective, without a straight answer, I would let the day drift by. That said, the next time he pulls something like this, ask for clarification at the time.  Otherwise, he and you way overthink the issue where someone has to break the passive impasse.

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50 minutes ago, Distance said:

From my perspective, without a straight answer, I would let the day drift by. That said, the next time he pulls something like this, ask for clarification at the time.  Otherwise, he and you way overthink the issue where someone has to break the passive impasse.

Thanks.  He has the seeming tendency to fall down mental rabbit holes when I ask him questions* so I usually ask clarifying follow-up questions, but it just seems kind of crude for me to push the issue when it has to do with something subjective and personal like this. 

*Overworking Ni, right?

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2 minutes ago, Kudryavka said:

Thanks.  He has the seeming tendency to fall down mental rabbit holes when I ask him questions* so I usually ask clarifying follow-up questions, but it just seems kind of crude for me to push the issue when it has to do with something subjective and personal like this. 

*Overworking Ni, right?

Weigh your relationship satisfaction level with a non-answer. Does it make you happy wondering, after you took the initiative of asking? This does appear to be an important issue to you, otherwise, this thread would not exist.

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Is he Scandinavian? Because in the Scandinavian countries they usually split the bill because women think they owe the men something if the latter pay for their meals. So splitting the bill doesn't allow for any expectations to be formed.

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8 hours ago, Seablue said:

What's a "mo"?

I think she means MO as in the abbreviation for modus operandi.

---

I think everyone on the forum knows where I stand on this subject so I won't go into it too much, but I will say this: people who don't subscribe to the expectation that men pay for stuff usually find it weird that other people do. From my perspective, it's one of those things that doesn't make any sense unless you just don't question it. I would feel incredibly weird if someone put me on the spot about this. The last person I dated flat-out told me that I was required to buy her a birthday gift, and in retrospect, I pretty much mentally ended the relationship there and then.

It's one of those weird things where some people have that expectation, some don't, and both sides consider it impolite to ask. I'd say his thoughtfulness is normal -- I wouldn't know how to immediately respond either, even as someone who has a very strong opinion about this. But I also think it wouldn't be that weird for him to be annoyed that you asked.

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27 minutes ago, Iota Null said:

I think she means MO as in the abbreviation for modus operandi.

That was my best guess too, but I didn't understand why it'd be abbreviated. (The lack of capital letters didn't help.)

Anyway, if that's the case, the answer (to Smylex) is simple. You'd be hard pressed to demonstrate how it's bullshit not to measure your value to others by how much they spend on you. Meanwhile it's easy to demonstrate that, not only would an expensive object not necessarily be valued more than a comparable cheap object, women (and relationships with them) aren't objects to be bought anyway and therefore their worth isn't measured (by decent people) by how much they've spent on it. Or, to put it more simply, you're not calling my "mo" bullshit, because you can't ; I'm calling your "mo" bullshit, because it is. Hope that's cleared up.

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Good communication is key to any relationship.

I can't see how it's a big deal if he doesn't pay for your burger at some casual place. His response to Valentine Day was weird, though. But here's the thing about gifts - you're not suppose to expect something in return. If you want to get him something for Valentine's Day, then do it. I would consider it a bit weird if he gets you literally nothing for Valentine's Day without first having a "Let's not do V-Day" talk. This doesn't mean he has to buy something big or expensive, but something, like maybe a card or a crappy poem he wrote himself. The reason I say this isn't because I consider V-Day some Big Deal, but because if you live in the US, any person should realize that it is a Big Deal to a lot of people, and so in the early stages of a relationship you need to have some kind of communication as to what each of you expects or wants.

But the point here is that in a relationship, you want to be with someone who cares about you and you have to look at the whole picture for that and it's something only you can answer - not strangers on the internet.

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53 minutes ago, Iota Null said:

people who don't subscribe to the expectation that men pay for stuff usually find it weird that other people do

I find this line of thinking very wrong. It's basically saying 'I think X, therefore other people must think X too'. I find it unusual when other people think something which is statistically unlikely for them to think, regardless of my own opinion on that topic. OP can ask the question of his behavior relative to cultural norms, without herself holding the opinion that men must pay or else.

It's my observation that most men and women operate within traditional paradigms in dating in various ways, that may or may not include men paying. But OP could just ask the general question as in 'This girl I know was upset her date didn't pay. Isn't that ridiculous of her?' or something like that, only less idiotic sounding.

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27 minutes ago, castalia said:

Is he Scandinavian?

No.  We live in midwest America and neither of us are first or second generation immigrants or have particularly strong ties to our ancestral traditions.

32 minutes ago, Distance said:

Weigh your relationship satisfaction level with a non-answer. Does it make you happy wondering, after you took the initiative of asking? This does appear to be an important issue to you, otherwise, this thread would not exist.

It's hard to say.  The truth is no, this particular instance doesn't make me happy.  But I don't think it is a deal-breaker either.  I know that the perfect man doesn't exist and every relationship will come with downsides.  This is more information than necessary, but for clarity's sake, a brief roundup of the big deal-breakers I've encountered in men I have considered for the role of significant other:

1.  ISTP, chain-smoker and made fun of my religion.  (Status:  Still a good friend)
2.  Likely ISTJ, sweet guy but incredibly traditional expectations of people and unwilling to discuss controversial/difficult philosophical topics extensively  (Status:  Good terms, we don't talk much anymore though)
3.  Likely INTJ, first relationship - Remained in a state of perpetual childhood, made excuses for not doing anything, allowed hypochondria to consume everything, and had a victim complex, blaming everyone for his failures (including me at the end)  (Status:  I'm trying to get over him)
4.  INTP, made fun of my religion (Status:  Still a good friend)
5.  INTJ, put me down in front of others, picked fights, shut down conversations, was an asshole to me when I stuck up for myself (Status: No contact, gone from my life)
6.  INTJ, terrifying mood swings, he was like a human mine field, constant fighting resulting in threats from him and a police report being filed (Status:  No contact, EVER AGAIN)
7.  INTP, sweet guy but self-destructive (problems with alcohol) and did not understand emotional, mental, or physical boundaries (touching me in my sleep, trying to vaporize my ideals and feelings with logic).  (Status:  Still a good friend)
8.  INTJ (possible ENTJ), nice guy but way older than me, a bit too patronizing/overbearing and the chemistry wasn't really there, it was veering into sugar daddy territory (Status:  Still a good friend)

So... even though the vagueness is annoying, I am still more satisfied with my current boyfriend than with any of the above.  He doesn't smoke and only drinks in moderation, goes to work even though he doesn't feel like it, does not blame others for his failures, is not emotionally volatile, shows support/affection for me in public, is supportive of my religion, respects my boundaries, and treats me like an equal (reassured by some here who pointed out the not-buying-dinner thing is a sign of that).  Stuff like occasionally being mystified/not getting straight answers about how his feelings is OK with me, since I know feelings can be difficult for NT types.  Thinking back, I probably phrased the question wrong and should have asked "Are you planning to..." instead of "How do you feel...".

But thank you for asking, Distance, because it caused me to write out the above, and I feel pretty good about the situation now.  I may have a talk with him at some point about communication, specifically saying "I need to think about it more" if that is the case, rather than just giving vague responses.
 

25 minutes ago, Storm said:

But here's the thing about gifts - you're not suppose to expect something in return. If you want to get him something for Valentine's Day, then do it.

I'm alternating between saying "You're right!" and "I'm not sure, I don't want to make it weird."  I will have to think about it more.

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1 minute ago, Kudryavka said:

I'm alternating between saying "You're right!" and "I'm not sure, I don't want to make it weird."  I will have to think about it more.

I think you could complete the sentence with: "If you want to get him something small for Valentine's Day, then do it." Sure if you get a huge present, it may be weird no matter what. If it's a small gesture, it shouldn't be too weird. If he didn't get you anything, brush that off and say it's fine - say that only if you actually mean it though.

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If the OP will check her privilege, many of her first-world problems will no longer trouble her.

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36 minutes ago, lor6 said:

I find this line of thinking very wrong. It's basically saying 'I think X, therefore other people must think X too'. I find it unusual when other people think something which is statistically unlikely for them to think, regardless of my own opinion on that topic. OP can ask the question of his behavior relative to cultural norms, without herself holding the opinion that men must pay or else.

It's my observation that most men and women operate within traditional paradigms in dating in various ways, that may or may not include men paying. But OP could just ask the general question as in 'This girl I know was upset her date didn't pay. Isn't that ridiculous of her?' or something like that, only less idiotic sounding.

When I say weird, I don't mean it in the sense of unusual or statistically likely -- I mean it in the sense that they tend to struggle to make sense of it. People who don't subscribe to that cultural norm tend, in my experience, not to think "well, I don't personally subscribe to this but I can see why other people do". They tend to think "there isn't a good reason to do it, so I don't". In this sense, I don't find it weird when people say anything I agree with -- because obviously I can make sense of it on some level, or I wouldn't have that view in the first place.

This doesn't necessarily imply requiring other people to agree -- you can have sympathy for cultural differences, or you can just want to make peace with people. But on a personal level, I think most guys who don't routinely pay for the privilege of dating women would be offended if someone they were dating told them that it was expected of them. I can easily see how someone would think to question it without themselves necessarily having that expectation, but I can't see an easy way to bring it up without a lot of people reasonably interpreting it that way, especially if you're asking because it's something that you feel affected by personally. If someone asked me anything about that, I would assume they expected me to pay on dates unless they explicitly clarified otherwise, and even then I might still be suspicious.

 
 
...... added to this post 3 minutes later:
 
50 minutes ago, Storm said:

But here's the thing about gifts - you're not suppose to expect something in return.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I agree in principle, and I think anything different is easily abusable to force obligations on people. On the other hand, if one person is continually buying gifts (especially for holidays) and the other person clearly appreciates the gifts but is not reciprocating, I think it's understandable to be upset.

Edited by Iota Null

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@Kudryavka, you shared a history of choosing men who brought various kinds of abuse and substance abuse into your life.

You chose them, you welcomed them into your life. One after another. Have you figured out the why of the pattern? That'd be the starting point of an ability to reliably choose better.

To me, someone who near the beginning of a relationship told me they're mean... I would believe him. (I would now, at least. Previously in my life I would have made excuses for his comment.) Why don't you believe him?

Same for someone who near the beginning of a relationship told me he can be a selfish person. You responded here "(But, I reasoned, can't everyone? I know I can.)"  Does that sound like you're listening to what he told you, truly taking in what he told you? Or does that sound like you're making excuses for his comment?

 

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5 hours ago, Kudryavka said:

One thing I should mention is that I cook dinner for him/us on a frequent basis and most of the food made is coming out of my pocket (i.e., I bought it for groceries for myself but he comes over and I make dinner).  Occasionally I'll ask him to pick up some vegetables on his way here if I ran out, since I live somewhere miles away from fresh food.  So technically I have been buying him dinner too.  Maybe it doesn't count.  Either way, it's not like I can complain since he never assumed I would do that, and without me saying I'll cook will often grab something to eat before coming here.  And I really don't want to get all technical and businesslike about who has done what for the other.

Yes.  He shows that he cares in other ways like voluntarily giving me massages and being very otherwise physically affectionate.

To continue the saga...

@Distance, I asked him last night over text while he was at work if he cared to celebrate V-Day or if he felt it was just a corporate holiday.  He responded "Valentine's day is a thing".  Then he called me on his way home and was like "So, Valentine's Day... we're both going to be working, so..."  And I said "Well, the reason I asked was because I was thinking of getting you something, but I didn't want to make it weird if you weren't going to get anything."   And his response was basically to go "Hmmm" and laugh and said something non-sequitur in conclusion like "Yeah... Valentine's Day is a thing."  Which I think in his language is basically code for "I don't know wtf to say."

So, I guess in lieu of an actual response, I should not buy the thing.  (Right?  :huh:)

I interpret this to mean that he senses that v day stuff is important to you but not to him so he is buying time to figure this out without upsetting you 

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