Birth Control: Should He Pay for Half?

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Birth Control: Should He Pay for Half?
Should your boyfriend share the cost of birth control?

For the best advice on sex, love, dating and relationships we ask two experts with personal experience. Cathi Hanauer is the author, most recently, of Sweet Ruin, a novel about love, marriage, and adultery. Daniel Jones is the editor of both the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times, and Modern Love, an anthology derived from the column. They've been married for 15 years, and together they provide a his and hers take on relationship questions. This round: who pays for birth control?

My boyfriend and I have been living together for a while now. We’re committed, but since we're not ready to say "I do" or start a family, birth control (me taking the pill) is essential. I want him to share the not-insignificant cost of my prescription. He says none of the guys he knows split the contraception tab with their girlfriends, so why should he? —B.K., New York, N.Y.

Her take: My first thought here was, Of course he should pay half the birth-control cost! In fact, I was preparing to rant about his even questioning your very reasonable request—especially in such a seventh-grade way. "None of the other guys do it"? Please. And in five years, will he tell you none of the other daddies change their kids' diapers, either? My twenty-something sources tell me lots of guys split the cost of the pill. So what does this say about your boyfriend's friends?

But then I started to think twice. (Hey, they don't pay me for nothing.) Yes, if you're one of those couples who co-pay for everything from gas to toilet paper, why not add birth control to the tab (and in that case, should you switch to condoms, you'll of course cough up your half). If anything, he should be grateful you deal with the gyno visits, pharmacy lines, daily pill-popping, and potential hormonal side effects, while he shows up for the party scot-free. But if your dynamic as a couple is more along the lines of "He's the guy, so he pays for the dinners out, movie tickets, and good scotch, while I cover the bathtub votives, chardonnay, and Cosabella," maybe you've established a precedent where paying for the pill does fall under your jurisdiction. This answer depends on what sort of financial—and political/feminist—arrangement you have. (If you're one of those retro-'50s "traditional" types … you reap what you sow, Dollface.)

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