RELATIONSHIP: Should partners really be splitting bills on a first date?

RELATIONSHIP: Should partners really be splitting bills on a first date?

Splitting bills during dates or in a relationship can be quite a complex topic as it requires open discussions about financial responsibilities, transparency, trust and fairness. Undoubtedly, money matters can be a major point of contention in any relationship. When two people decide to share their lives and living spaces, handling finances becomes a critical part of nurturing a healthy partnership.

In this piece, Skabash! addresses this commonly asked question about splitting bills between companions, a question that often lacks a definite and universally affirmative answer.

What is splitting bills?

What is splitting bills?

Splitting bills refers to dividing shared expenses between two or more individuals, usually when they are living together in a relationship or as a fun group of friends on a trip together. So, when you are splitting bills, each person chips in their fair share to make sure the financial responsibilities are distributed evenly. It is like having a big potluck where everyone brings a dish to share except in this case, it is all about the expenses.

You can split all kinds of costs, like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation and any other shared expenses you can think of. It is like everyone pitching in for the epic adventure you’re all embarking on together. From rent and utilities to groceries and transportation, you can split all kinds of costs. Think of it as teamwork for your exciting adventure together!

In the current day, there still exists the age-old belief that splitting bills in a relationship is a “man’s thing”. Well, it all goes back to traditional gender roles and societal norms that have been around for a long time. In the past, men were often expected to be the primary breadwinners while women were seen as caretakers and homemakers.

As a result, many people grew up with the idea that it’s the man’s responsibility to take care of the financial aspects of a relationship. This notion has been reinforced in various cultural and media portrayals, perpetuating the idea that men should be the ones to foot the bills and cover expenses.

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However, times are changing and so are our perspectives on relationships and gender roles. Many people now believe in more equal partnerships, where both partners share responsibilities, including financial ones. Splitting bills is seen as a fair way to distribute financial burdens, regardless of gender.

couple Splitting Bills

Now, let us talk about methods. As a couple, there are different ways to go about splitting the bills:

  • The equal split: One of the simplest methods for splitting bills is an equal split, where both partners contribute an equal amount towards joint expenses. This approach works well when both partners earn similar incomes and have comparable financial obligations. However, if there is a significant disparity in earnings, the equal split may lead to one partner feeling burdened.
  • The proportional split: In cases where partners have different income levels, the proportional split might be a more equitable option. With this approach, each partner contributes a percentage of their income towards joint expenses. For instance, if Partner A earns N1 million annually, and Partner B earns N700,000, they might agree to contribute 60 per cent and 40 per cent of joint expenses, respectively.
  • The 50/50 hybrid approach: Some couples prefer a hybrid approach, combining elements of both the equal split and the proportional split. In this method, they split fixed expenses equally, like rent and utilities, while handling variable expenses, such as groceries and dining out, proportionally based on their incomes. This approach can strike a balance as it acknowledges the joint responsibility for certain essential expenses while considering individual financial capacities for others.
  • Alternate bill splitting: Another approach is to alternate bill payment responsibilities. For example, Partner A might cover rent and utilities for one month while Partner B handles these expenses the following month. This method can be suitable for couples who have similar incomes and prefer a straightforward and flexible system.
  • Owning a joint bank account: Some couples opt to open a joint bank account from which they pay joint expenses. Each partner contributes an agreed-upon amount to this account each month, covering shared bills from that fund. While this approach can simplify bill payment, it requires a high level of trust and transparency in managing shared finances.

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Should you be splitting bills on a first date?

Should you be splitting bills on a first date?

Splitting bills between couples has become one of the hottest topics of conversation on the Internet in recent times, sparking intense debates and differing opinions among the public. Twitter, in particular, has seen a flurry of takes on whether it is ideal to split bills in relationships and on dates. The contrasting views range from the traditional notion that men should take charge of the bills to the belief that expenses should be equally divided between partners. Another perspective argues that the person earning the most should bear a greater financial responsibility.

With such diverse opinions, the issue of splitting bills has become fascinating and, sometimes, led to heated discussions in modern relationships. But the real question remains; should you be splitting bills on the first date?

Realistically, splitting bills in a relationship is not necessarily a bad thing as long as both partners are on the same page and understand each other. But hold on, there are a couple of other things to consider before going all-in on splitting the bill on that first date.

  • Communication: It is essential to communicate openly and honestly about the bill-paying expectations before the date. If one party prefers to split the bill and the other expects the other to pay, it can lead to awkwardness or misunderstanding. Pay attention to non-verbal cues or remarks during the date. Some individuals may indirectly express their preferences regarding the bill.
  • Cultural norms: In some cultures, it is customary for one person to cover the bill on a first date as a sign of respect or chivalry. However, these norms are evolving and many people now prefer to split the bill to promote equality and avoid any sense of indebtedness.
  • Financial comfort: Consider the financial comfort level of both individuals. Some people might not be comfortable with the financial responsibility of paying for the entire date, while others might prefer to handle it.
  • Equality: Splitting the bill can be seen as a gesture of equality, indicating that both individuals are on equal footing and neither is expected to bear the financial burden alone.
  • Flexibility: If you choose to split the bill, be flexible about it. If one person insists on paying the whole amount, gracefully accepting their offer is also respectful.
  • Alternatives: Partners can take turns paying for different parts of the date. For example, one person covers dinner and the other buys movie tickets or dessert.
  • Relationship context: If it is a blind date or the first meeting through a dating app, splitting the bill may feel more appropriate since both parties are just getting to know each other.
  • Setting the tone for future dates: The way the bill is handled on the first date can set the tone for future interactions. It is essential to consider how both individuals feel about this aspect to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts later on.


As mentioned, you can indeed split bills on dates and in relationships. The key to making it work lies in open communication, trust and a fair approach that takes into account each partner’s financial circumstances. Whether you opt for an equal split, a proportional method or a combination of both, the goal is to find a system that suits both individuals best.

By doing so, you can create a harmonious financial arrangement that promotes equality and ensures both partners feel valued and supported in their financial journey together.

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