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Moses Obroku: Should We Go Dutch?

Moses Obroku

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Going Dutch is that situation where everyone pays for themselves during a group activity, rather than one person footing the bill.  For this discussion, we shall confine it to dating periods between people in steady relationships.

I have had the privilege of mingling with people of diverse nationalities and stayed for extended periods at various locations around the world. When you manage to rise above the initial culture shock, going Dutch during outings can be beautiful. It takes away the burden of sinking holes in your pockets, in a bid to have an enjoyable outing.

Bringing it back to people in relationships, if you tried that joke with your girlfriend in Africa, you risk being alone for a long time to come. Guys, it’s a no brainer that we must have some financial capabilities to be in a relationship. I would have loved to tell every guy: repeat after me, “relationships cost money”.

It cannot be over emphasised that there is no free lunch… not even in Freetown.

We all remember that song by Gwen Guthrie:

 ‘…no romance without finance…

Boy, nothin’ in life is free
That’s why I’m askin’ you what can you do for me
I’ve got responsibilities
So I’m lookin’ for a man whose got money in his hands…’

The amount of money required, and the courage to stay on your financial capability lane is a whole different conversation. It is a conversation that I believe we need to begin to have more seriously with our partners.

From observation, I noticed most guys get stuck in a ‘financial make believe’ situation. In the bid to get and keep the attention of ladies, many guys go overboard in spending. They frequent that A-list restaurant and other places that are unsustainable in the long run, thereby putting themselves under immense pressure.

It’s okay to give her a treat every now and then; but I think it is wisdom to take on what one can handle financially. There is no need to go to Yellow Chili every weekend, if you cannot afford it – especially if the regular eatery would do just fine. The operative word here is ‘affordability’.

It is not a rule either, that both of you must frequently have those classic rendezvous. Reasonability requires you both get creative and switch things around a bit. We can surely have a great time without going into debt. There is no shame in sticking with what your resources can handle. There is always the option of cooking and staying indoors, packing your own lunch from home, and heading to the beach or going to the movies occasionally. That is keeping it real.

Personally, I am for ‘living the great life’. If I have the resources, I can expend it on many wow moments. But when the days of low funds come, I am sufficiently balanced to evaluate the situation and adjust accordingly.

I think part of the financial crises in marriages begin from this desire to impress during dating and courtship. Ladies get ‘spoilt’ those times such that, later in the marriage; it becomes difficult to explain that things were not always upbeat financially.  This may explain their inability to adjust if life changes for them negatively later on.

Ladies should also keep it real. You all deserve the royalty treatment; we get that. But it would be nice to drag ‘Mr. Impress You’ to reality every now and then. Surely, you can tell if that expenditure is a sustainable lifestyle, or if he is just putting up appearances. We already agreed the guy must ‘man up’ and confront expenditures. Can you please contribute once in a while? It will not kill you… believe me. While going Dutch may not be African, loosening your belt and ordering what your generation ordinarily don’t eat, is not virtuous.

When some people place their order for food and drinks, you will know they have acquired the finer tastes – as long as they are not paying!

When considered carefully, it would appear we have economic/socio-cultural conflicts that need a resolution quickly.  Ladies have their own war stories to tell on this subject. Some said they offered to pay, the guys claimed they could handle it alone. Others said they paid a few times; only for guys to get laid back and allowed them to keep paying.  Some guys even took it a step further and began to borrow money without repaying such ladies who were supportive.

As such, ladies have become guarded regarding future dates; they are ready to draw blood.  These days, some ladies just show up on dates and don’t care when the bill comes.

It appears we may need to have that conversation now, on what we really want. Is it that guys should increase their hustle, make more money and pick up every bill forever? Ladies, would you all like to contribute from time to time without any pressure? Or should we just go Dutch during dating and courtship, while we try to figure out our financial compatibility before further entanglement?

Whichever method we adopt, can we have more open conversations about finances; seeing its number one factor in the collapse of marriages? Can we stop sizing each other up and speculating or laying expenditure entrapments about our partner’s conducts?

In the end, I think there is no one rule fits every relationship when it comes to finances. A couple should adopt what works for them. Dropping the biases from previous experiences and seeking to understand the other person, will help greatly. And for heaven’s sake, can we keep it real all the way, please?

It would be enlightening to hear various opinions and experiences from you all.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Syda Productions

Aside from being a lawyer, migration management expert, security personnel and fitness buff; there are many other sides to me. I am also a self -proclaimed foodie (and oh yes, to complement that, I can cook!). Of course, writing is my passion and I have a mission to inspire my world, one person at a time. I can be reached on [email protected] Instagram: @mosesobroku

17 Comments

  1. SoniaPaloma

    July 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I do not go dutch, infact I hate IT. It is either you are paying or I am paying and i have absolute no problem either way.

  2. Lekki Dude

    July 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Going dutch isnt African like you already noted… but cutting you cloth according to your cloth is best cus the same lady you are trying to impress would take the next available flight if she meets another guy that can impress her better…

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  3. Anonymous T

    July 20, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    We in ‘ Murica are used to going Dutch. I don’t know or understand what the big deal is . You eat your meal you pay for it . It’s not even foreign to me . Of cus when we go for tapas it’s split equally amongst all of us . But really I don’t see anything wrong with it .

  4. Anonymous T

    July 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    The above is in regards to friends .
    But if it’s on a date then I agree with @ Soniapaloma
    But really whoever invites who needs to pay.
    If a guy invites me let’s do dinner , he’s paying .
    If I invite him and say let’s do dinner then I’m paying .
    That’s how I see it .
    If we are in a relationship or what not . Then we can alternate on different days or whoever is more financially buoyant .

  5. ib

    July 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    No financial commitment expect am married to you…..if u taking me out u pay…thank you and God bless…..lol

  6. Honiilols

    July 20, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    You know how proud our men on this side of the continent are. They love to impress and honestly, nothing wrong with that if you ain’t hitting rock bottom and/or piling debt on your ‘over the clouds’ head.

    I once dated a guy who spent his final year project money to treat me right. I was unobserved. I could have asked where he got money for the almost daily large-size living but my naive mind then couldn’t fathom why anyone would do such in the first place. I eventually had to sell my mobile phone to help out a bit.

    Like Moses said and I agree, “when some people place their order for food and drinks, you will know they have acquired the finer tastes – as long as they are not paying!” Ladies or guys, whoever the shoe fits please be moderate. Do unto others’ pockets what you can do to your own pockets.

  7. Honiilols

    July 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    You know how proud our men on this side of the continent are. They love to impress and honestly, nothing wrong with that if you ain’t hitting rock bottom and/or piling debt on your ‘over the clouds’ head.

    I once dated a guy who spent his final year project money to treat me right. I was not observant. I could have asked where he got money for the almost daily large-size living but my naive mind then couldn’t fathom why anyone would do such in the first place. I eventually had to sell my mobile phone to help out a bit.

    Like Moses said and I agree, “when some people place their order for food and drinks, you will know they have acquired the finer tastes – as long as they are not paying!” Ladies or guys, whoever the shoe fits please be moderate. Do unto others’ pockets what you can do to your own pockets

  8. Omobaby

    July 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    To be honest, we all have to be real. This lack of not knowing your partners finances before getting married is putting people in trouble. Personally, I would prefer you be real with me. We can hang out in cheaper places and I dont mind taking you out too. But biko s a woman, I would like to see that you are stepping up your game and working hard too. You cant come and now be relaxed because “i accepted you the way you are”.

  9. Kelvin

    July 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Truly it depends on wat works for the relationship… A lot of guys have gone broke because of pleasing a girl…. A friend of mine once told me that if a guy asks her out on a date he should have a car to pick her up and be ready to foot the bill…

  10. Rynyx

    July 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I lived in Nigeria for the first 30 years of my life and going dutch was a regular for me. I still do it even with my husband. I consider it courtesy to offer to pay if you invite someone out and vice versa. So saying its not an African thing seems off for me. There are countless other things we have adopted that are non African, i dont see why this should be different. While hubby and i were dating, we had days when i insisted it was my treat and i paid. same with friends. Lets just show a little more courtesy when doing things like this. When someone invites you out, it is best you order what you can pay for if anything goes wrong. That’s not the time to try the most expensive wine on the menu. Besides, like someone mentioned earlier, if you are in a steady relationship with someone, wont it be nice to know what they are capable of financially? And then try not to stretch them beyond what they can afford? Just saying.

  11. Anonymous

    July 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    In term of dinning with friends, I have learnt my experience from a friend’s 30th birthday years ago. She invited her brother and girlfriend, another female friend and 3 male friends. The celebrant decided to do a shared bill when ordering and when the bill came, they all refused to drop reasonable money after ordering what they couldn’t pay for, especially the brother and his girlfriend. After dropping £20 more than my own bill, I said in my mind that the celebrant has to foot the rest of the bill. I decided at that moment that I won’t be doing share bill anymore. One of then even have the gut to say we should pay for the celebrant. Well, I still do share bill but only with reasonable people.
    Relationship wise, you invite me, you pay the bill, If I invite you I intend to pay the bill. But saying that, I’ve once asked a date if he wants to share the bill even though he did the invitation,

  12. Physio Tinu

    July 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    My simple rules:
    If you’re toasting me and you invite me out, you pay.

    If I’m liking you and considering you, I will offer dutch once a while.

    If you’ve been friendzoned it will be dutch from now till eternity.

    That said, cheers to the men who regardless of friendzone or dating can foot the bill now and always. There are men and there are boys. Shift.

    • curi0s

      July 21, 2017 at 8:30 am

      “there are men and there are boys”… let me guess a man is he who can always pay for the date and a boy is he who can’t from your comment… i was scrolling down and waiting for someone to spew this thrash. Right there folks is the problem. While there are lots of great and independent ladies out there..The truth is in Nigeria a nice guy is he who does the spending whether is going on a date or footing the bills for the entire life span of the relationship. This is just the reality out there. Check your social media and you would see that the display of love always falls down to something materialistic. And it goes way beyond dating… it reflects in family life. That’s why you have many Nigerian men who are failing as fathers because they think all there is to being a father is paying the bills (school fees, rent etc),,, so they don’t spend time with their families and support their wives emotionally… after work they head off to the bar or to go see a match or side chick. Even when they are home, they aren’t, cos they are too busy catching up with news or football or something else. His presence is not felt. The kids don’t see their dad leading by example assisting with house chores or even assignments most times. And the cycle continues.
      As for me, i am traditional and i think the man should always pay for the date. However were my issue is, is with the mind set. I have had the privilege of meeting some very kind ladies who are very much willing to share or to help out. While as a “proud” man i tend to turn down such gestures… i never ever forget such acts and with such ladies i would go anything length to prove my loyalty. On the other hand there are some sisters who just hang in there with their entitlement mentality and don’t even make a move…the “your money is our money, and my money is my money” type. Well those are the persons I have problems with.

  13. Revy

    July 20, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Going dutch is a no no for the first couple of dates. We are Africans?. Rightly stated…… Its better to cut ur coat according to ur material

  14. J

    July 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Hmmmm, what ever works for people in their own relationship is fine.
    That said, I think more ladies would be fine picking up the bill from time to time if she is aware of the guy’s financial situation at that moment.
    I do like the way you addressed it though.

    • OJ

      July 21, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Actually the lady doesn’t necessarily need to know of the guys financial situation…it ought to be a natural instinct to accept responsibility to pay for your sh.t

  15. Ivie

    July 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    For some guys, I also think it is more of an ego thing to pay the bills. The key point here is cutting your coat according to your size. Financing should be a topic of conversation for couples especially if they are in the relationship with the hopes of getting married.

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