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Welcome to A Millennial’s Dating Diary series, where we explore real-life interactions and the obstacles of dating in Southeast Asia. The series will feature the dating stories and misadventures of Arika – a 26-year-old heterosexual female marketing director with a penchant for binge drinking – and other Millennials.
Money and the whole subject of finance can be quite difficult to navigate. Depending on which region of Asia you are from, the subject of money in Asian cultures can be celebrated (like sharing comedian Ronny Chieng) or completely taboo.
Childhood memories, family, and sex are all perfectly acceptable conversation pieces when it comes to dating. Money, however, is not always the case.
“Do you have to reveal how much you make to someone you’re dating?” I asked my girlfriends one evening.
“God no. Are you crazy? You will no longer have a level playing field if he finds out that you are earning less than him,” says my friend * Mandy, 28.
“But what if the two of you have different lifestyles and money comes into play? I questioned.
“Well, then he can take me to fancy dinners.” That doesn’t mean I have to reciprocate, ”Mandy shares without wasting time. “I’ll only reveal it to someone I’ve seen for at least a year or if we’re a couple and looking to move in together.” Otherwise, what is it for? Why does he need to know?
“I think if this happened in a conversation, and I’ve been seeing someone for longer than, say, three months, and something serious is going, I would share it,” my friend says, * Claire, 24 years. “I think you have to decide if you’re comfortable enough with someone in the first place.
In relationships or even in dating, the subject of money is inevitable. For example, in Singapore, one of the common reasons for divorce is financial problems, as well as infidelity, domestic violence, and lack of privacy. While this doesn’t always have to lead to issues, like the topic of money – how much you have and how you spend it, and what your beliefs are about it – it can become a point of contention in a relationship.
Unless you’re the former Ngee Ann Polytechnic professor who made headlines earlier this year, it’s no longer uncommon to date someone of a different race or religion than ours. days.
But what about dating someone who is supposed to come from different financial and social strata than you?
With dating, however, the topic of money isn’t always brought up, but in most cases they do – even if you’re into something. relaxed. Income inequality in relationships is real, and especially in these times.
Personally, I have no qualms about discussing my finances, whether in a serious or casual relationship. However, I can fully understand that dating someone with a relatively higher income level than you might make you feel like you are at a disadvantage in some way.
For example, when I was dating * James, 29, his lifestyle was quite different from mine. From stays in Sentosa to parties on a yacht and dining at expensive restaurants, James, who is an international director at a UK bank, has led a life of privilege. But, to be fair, James is also the son of a Hong Kong mogul, so he was used to a certain lifestyle. Dating James was fun, but it also made me uncomfortable that he also tried to pay the bills all the time because he knew I was making a third of what he was and a fund in Whole trust was waiting for him if he decided to have a full-time job wasn’t his thing.
I truly believe that there is nothing non-feminist about allowing someone to pay for you every now and then. Had James and I progressed further, I was sure he would have had no problem taking care of me, but I personally found it difficult to come to terms with the concept of depending on him. I always felt like I owed him something.
For all he was, however, James never made me feel like I felt lacked or that his wealth was something he could keep on me. “I just want to take care of you, and I think it’s a gentleman’s thing to do,” he would tell me.
Over time, James and I realized that we wanted different things in life and we went our separate ways.
Going back to my original point about the finance discussion, I am of the opinion that sometimes talking about money just can’t be helped, and it can be helpful to be honest about what you earn, especially if things are starting to get serious.
Overall, my best and most successful relationships with people have been when I have been able to openly discuss taboo topics like money, family issues, etc. After all, if we already see ourselves naked and / or discussing things that we love to do in bed, why can’t we just be honest about some of our other struggles?
Based on my own experiences, I felt that the ability to discuss such matters openly could lead to a different kind of intimacy. Regardless of what you’re looking for – whether it’s something serious or casual – don’t we all just want someone who takes pleasure in the same things we do and shares some of the same views as we do?
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