Adventures in Dating

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You know it and we know it: There's no such thing as a perfect relationship. Every couple has a few issues they need to work through. Meet Danny and Corrine (we've changed their names), a real-life couple with a real-life dating dilemma. We'll offer some advice to help them build a better relationship.

Danny Says:
I'm Going Broke!
Corrine's always bugging me about going out. She's obsessed with seeing every new movie as soon as it hits the theater. She always wants to go out for pizza or ice cream or something. And she gives me stuff all the time, like cards and little gifts, then expects me to do the same for her. I like Corrine a lot, but dating her is costing me a fortune!

I just can't keep dropping 20 or 30 bucks every weekend. I mean, I have a part-time job, but I have plans for that money—and they don't include boring movies and the same old pizza. Corrine just doesn't seem to understand that.

I don't want to stop going to movies or eating out altogether. I just think we should limit it to once a month or something. But when I suggested that to Corrine, she told me I was cheap. That's not true, but I can't seem to convince her.

Corrine Says:
He's So Cheap!
Danny's right—I do think he's cheap.

I love going out to eat with him. I think it's romantic to sit at a restaurant and talk for a few hours. And I don't expect him to give me cards and gifts all the time, but it would be nice for him to show me he's thinking about me sometimes.

Obviously, Danny doesn't see it that way. It's like he doesn't think of our dates as chances for us to get to know each other, or that those little notes and gifts make me feel good. To him, those things are just stuff he has to spend money on. I offer to pay for movies and stuff once in a while, but I don't have a job, like Danny does, so I have to ask my parents for money. I don't want to do that all the time.

It just feels like Danny cares more about his money than he does about me.

Carla's Advice:
This is a classic case of two people looking at a problem from completely different perspectives. To Danny, this is purely a financial issue. But for Corrine, this is a question of affection. Danny feels broke; Corrine feels neglected.

So that's where they need to start. Danny needs to clearly explain to Corrine that he cares about her and wants to spend time with her, but he just can't afford to spend a lot of money doing it. Then he needs to get creative.

Corrine can help. It's pretty obvious that what's really important to Corrine isn't seeing a movie or getting presents. What is important to her is spending time with Danny and feeling cared for, and that's what she needs to communicate to Danny. She also needs to be more understanding of Danny's money worries and respect his perfectly reasonable desire to save some cash.

It's easy for couples to get stuck in a movie rut, where the only date they can think of is catchin' a flick. But as Danny knows, movies aren't cheap. And besides, how much can you really learn about someone while you're silently staring at a screen for two hours? The money issue gives Danny and Corrine a great excuse to try some fun, cheap dates that will not only save them money, but will actually help strengthen their relationship.

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