Is Dating Worth the Cost?

The costs of dating are shown through a personal loss of money and time

Claire Johnston, Staff Writer

There is one imperative question asked in the mind of a money-wary romantic: does dating actually cost a lot?

Well, the answer is complicated: yes and no, depending on who you are dating, how long you have been dating, and how old you are. 

In 2019, on average, Americans spent $697 on dates per year and $85 per date. But is the date itself the only thing that costs money when dressing to impress? Don’t forget about the money possibly spent buying a new outfit for that date, new makeup, or maybe even a fancy tie that you didn’t have beforehand. 

Preparing for dates can be quite expensive, but not necessarily just for women. 78% of men and women believe that men should come ready to pay for at least for the first date, according to a 2017 survey. A senior, Barbie DeGood, says “I do think dating costs a lot of money, but not for me because my boyfriend likes to pay for everything. He doesn’t really ask either, he just pays for it.” 

Anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays should also be factored into relationship costs. Buying gifts for your partner is not mandatory, but social pressures will more likely than not cause a dent in your bank account. Donavan Mattson, another senior, claims “I prefer to be single because then I have more money to spend on myself and I have more time.”

Although going on dates can cost quite a lot of money, lost time is also a huge cost of dating. Sophomore Brooke Bundschuh shares that “Time costs more than money in my relationship because my only free time is weekends, so on the weekends all my time goes to him.” Even simply thinking about your partner can cost you valuable time too due to emotional hang-ups and persistent thoughts surrounding the person you care about.   

But is money or time more of an important cost? A mother at CHS states her opinion that “Time definitely takes up more cost. You do spend a lot of money, but when you spend all day thinking about your partner and then hang out with them when you get home, that’s more time spent than the money.” Time can seem to revolve around the other person in your relationship, which makes it definitely seem to have money beat in the long run.

What about the costs of being single, whether willingly or unwillingly? Something that can cost a pretty penny for those who are single and looking for relationships is dating apps or websites. Some can have a monthly or annual subscription, where you are able to meet new people, but it costs money to get there.

Having only one income also can surely stretch one thin when it comes to money. However, research shows that unmarried people tend to be happier and healthier than those who are married. Married couples also have to pay more taxes than those who are single. 

So what does this mean? Is being single better than being in a relationship? Depends on your perspective, as there are pros and cons to both. Is there a middle ground between valuing yourself and valuing the mutual support shared by two, or is one more important than the other? Now that you know the costs, it’s up to you to decide.