How Much Relationships REALLY Cost You (Hint: It Ain’t Cheap!)

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Is love WORTH it?

Rom-coms focus on the tummy-butterfly-infused beginnings of romantic relationships, with the credits rolling long before real life — when work, family, and the power bill kick in. Love is an expensive endeavor with figurative and literal costs incurred by a couple as their relationship evolves.

Here’s a breakdown of the price you pay for getting into a relationship:


STAGE ONE: The Courtship

When you start dating someone, the bulk of your money spent is on entertainment. In a study conducted by the American Sociological Association, of 17,000 people surveyed it found 84% of the men and 58% of the women reported that MEN cover the majority of expenses at the beginning of a courtship.


Regardless of if you go Dutch or treat one another, the cost of movies, dining out and trips adds up. You and your love interest make dates and plans that you simply wouldn’t spend money on as a single person.

Dating someone can also have an impact on other relationships in our lives. Making time and committing energy to a new love interest means that you decrease your commitments to others in your life in order to free yourself up. This relationship cost is not monetary, but it can definitely be felt by all those impacted.

Studies have shown that females who swiftly increase the time they spend with a love interest also rapidly lessen the time they commit to friends. This change can cost the couple their close friends if balance isn't created between friend time and romantic-love time.


Compromise will need to take place, as a couple will need to make appearances at various family functions as well as keep in touch with different friend groups. You won’t be able to attend everything, so you'll have to get good at saying no and balancing the variety of expectations of your friends and family, and those of your partner.


STAGE TWO: Getting Exclusive

You have gotten to know one another and you mutually decide you want to be exclusive. This can mean your dating costs actually LOWER, because you’d probably rather spend the night chilling together watching Netflix than getting all gussied up to go out to a fancy restaurant.


With the growing connection of a couple, there can be a desire to signify the more “serious” nature of a relationship. One way of expanding this level of your relationship is with jewelry — specifically, a promise ring, which expresses a token of love and commitment. This is an outward expression of your dedication to one another and your union.

Getting serious may also mean spending nights over at one another’s places.

If you do the math, you realize you’re both doling out rent or mortgage money monthly as well as covering the utilities and groceries for each of your homes. The cost-benefit analysis of this can quickly motivate couples to decide to make to move in together.


Make sure to have a discussion about how you’ll share the expenses before you make THAT move.


STAGE THREE: The Lifetime Commitment

The more commitment a couple pledges to one another and their relationship, the more significant the costs are. Big-ticket items tend to come into play when couples decide to pool their resources and move in together. Their buying power increases because they can combine their cash to buy furniture, a car, or maybe even a home.

If an engagement and wedding are in the cards, the large price tag isn’t far behind. In the US, the average wedding costs around $26,000. 


Some people opt for more lavish events costing upwards of $30,000, while others keep their expenses down below $10,000. No matter where a couple finds themselves on that spectrum, it is a bunch of money to carve out of savings.

The next question after the wedding wraps up is typically, “So when are you having kids?” Or maybe you forgo the wedding and opt to just have kids.

However you slice it, the little rugrats are one of the most expensive investments you’ll make as a couple. Kids cost about $13,000 a YEAR.


The expenses of having a child or children continue even if the couple doesn’t. Yup, there is a chance of divorce. An estimated 40%–50% of first marriages and 60% of second marriages end in divorce. Divorce comes with its OWN hefty fee.

All of the added commitments and stresses of running a household, raising kids while juggling work can take its toll on a relationship. 

A recent study found that husbands create seven hours of extra housework a week — SEVEN! So resentment can rear its ugly head as one partner assumes the majority of cleaning tasks.


Establishing and continuing committed relationship can be incredibly positive experience as it can bring security, emotional support and fun into your life — but don’t kid yourself. No matter what stage you’re in, relationships are hard work and have costs.

Go into relationships with your eyes wide open and honestly discuss with your partner what you’re both willing to invest of yourselves, your time, and your money.


This article was originally published at Never Liked it Anyway. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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