Maybe you’re an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to pay for your stuff. Or maybe you like being taken care of and see no shame in asking your boyfriend for a nice little treat every now and then. Not that it really matters what your preference is, of course. Different strokes for different strokes, right? But for the sake of understanding how people around us are similar to (or very different from) us, we asked four girls to tell us about whether they’d ask their boyfriends for money.
“I personally wouldn’t ask my partner for money because it’s something I wasn’t raised to do. It comes from my mum— she and my dad have separate bank accounts, and she doesn’t think very highly of housewives who just ask their husbands for money. If I really wanted something that was out of my budget, I’d either work extra hard to get the money and buy it for myself, or suck it up and deal with not having it.
Even if I did need money for an emergency, I think I’d turn to my family first rather than my boyfriend. If it’s my husband, then that’s a different thing (since we’d be family), but I think that asking my boyfriend for money in the context that I won’t have to return it would skew the power dynamics of our relationship.
I think I would be OK with my boyfriend buying me an extravagant gift that I didn’t expect, but to give me cash outright is just weird. I suppose it would work for some couples. But generally, I feel that the act of giving cash as a display of love lacks meaning. Using money to buy a gift or treat a person is different from just transferring money—the latter feels more like a transaction rather than an act of giving.”
– Tess A, 21
“I don’t think it’s OK to ask your boyfriend for money while you’re dating— husband, yes, but boyfriend, no. When you’re still in the boyfriend-girlfriend phase of your relationship, you aren’t exactly ‘doing life together’ yet. For instance, if we’re married, we’d have talked about [what I would use the money for] and have an agreed amount that we’d choose to share with each other.
I know some boyfriends pay for their girlfriend’s shopping, but personally, I wouldn’t accept the offer. If I shop, it’s because I have enough money to shop. It’s not a matter of pride for me. I mean, it’s always easy to just let someone pay for me—then I could buy anything I wanted with no regard for the price—but it’s more about being responsible for my own spending.
If I can afford something but choose not to buy it, it’s either because I really don’t need it or because I want to practise self-control, which is something I value. Basically, I’m an independent woman who don’t need no man. That said, I don’t mind the guy paying for meals.”
– Rachel S, 22
“Firstly, I think it depends on the context—what do you need the cash for? When I go shopping with my boyfriend, he sometimes buys me clothes if he likes how it looks on me and wants to spoil me; but I’ve never asked for cash outright. If we’re travelling together and
he offers me an allowance, that’s fine—I might even ask if I was strapped for cash.
But offering me money randomly in daily life is a bit weird. I don’t even mind having a supplementary credit card [that he pays for]. Using
his money is OK, it’s just the concept of cold hard cash that’s weird.
However, if we lived together, I think asking for or accepting cash is fine because part of it would be used to buy shared household items and pay the bills.
I think a guy who randomly gives his girlfriend cash just sees the girl as his property, but an allowance says he’s trying to take care of you there’s meaning behind it and personally, it speaks to my love language.”
– Lisa A, 27
"Yes, I would"
“I think it’s OK to offer (and ask for) cash in a relationship— regardless of whether it’s the boyfriend or the girlfriend who’s giving it. Being in a healthy relationship has a lot to do with supporting each other and I think that should be the case in all aspects. Honest communication is also key and I personally feel like that should mean you’re comfortable talking about topics that might be deemed “uncomfortable”.
When I was 24, I used to date a guy who was only working part-time because he was still in school. Sometimes, I’d want to do things he couldn’t afford to do, so I’d offer to pay. One day, he asked to borrow some money to buy something— I can’t remember what exactly, and it felt strange to lend it to him, so I just gave him the cash to keep and told him it wasn’t a big deal.
Subsequently, he would just ask for cash whenever he wanted to buy something and I didn’t think too much of it because I figured he would do
the same for me if I was in his position. He eventually quit his job and started depending on me for money. We broke up for a few reasons, one of them being that I felt like he saw me as a bank rather than a girlfriend. I still think asking and giving money in a relationship is OK, but next time, I will make it a point to have regular conversations about our financial situations.”
– Tanya E, 26
Text compiled by: Claire Soong