You may be surprised to learn that it’s a relatively common concern. Yes, there are women and men out there looking for an easy ride on your gravy train, but sometimes people are unfairly branded as gold diggers.
Some of the misconception lies in the fact that men expect “liberated” women to want to pay for themselves, but women still want to be treated nicely. At the same time, successful women worry that an unscrupulous man will take advantage of her “feminist” feelings to dig a little gold of his own. So, where does the line lie between treating and taking advantage?
Why Don’t You Pay…Again?
The most obvious sign that you’re dating a gold digger is that you are paying for everything. From movies to restaurants to gum at the variety store, your date has a way of making you feel like it is your obligation to pay. Perhaps they always forget their wallet or conveniently go to the washroom as soon as the bill appears.
Jack, 26, experienced this firsthand with his last girlfriend. “She was like Houdini. We’d be having a good time and then suddenly the bill would come and ‘poof’ she’s gone.” The easiest way to test if your flame is truly after your cash is to simply stop paying. Still treat them with love, of course, but keep your wallet in pocket or purse. And this means: don’t pay for a single thing. Eventually, as you both sit staring at a restaurant bill for 20 minutes, you’ll either have to talk about it or they will pick up the tab.
Let’s Do Something Expensive
You’d be happy with a picnic by the lake but they always seem to want to hit the expensive five-star restaurants. It’s front row U2 tickets instead of a free concert in the park. If you’re always adventuring out to do fancy-pants activities (and footing the bill) you might have a cash-hound on your hands.
Megan, a Chicago-based marketing executive found out the hard way how pricey this can be. Her fiancé was always suggesting expensive outings even though he didn’t have a job that paid him very much. Then, when the gravy train dried up he was suddenly the ex-fiancé.
To test your theory, start insisting that you embark on free or inexpensive outings such as gratis band shows, festivals, farmers’ markets or simply exploring an unknown area of your city. Rent a movie instead of getting soaked at the cinema. You get the idea. If they start complaining that you never do anything nice anymore, ask them if nice means expensive and see what they say.
So How Much Money Do You Have, Exactly?
I was on this date once where the guy snatched a bank statement out of my wallet as I was pulling out some cash. He did it playfully but I felt pretty violated, and judging by his reaction, he was less than impressed with my balance. Salary snooping is a red flag that you’re dating someone who’s looking for some payola.
Be aware that this financial skullduggery can be overt like that loser I lusted after or more subtle, like the dude who merely peers over your shoulder at the bank teller or glances at your credit card statement.
Are We Moving Too Fast?
If you feel that your lover is trying to insinuate themselves into your life too quickly, it could be a sign that they’re craving your coinage. Attempting to move into your stylish and expensive condo two weeks after hooking up might be cause for concern, for example. They may suggest “buying” a car together — even though it’s you who will be making the payments and they’ll cover just the insurance.
Or it could be the pressure to marry before you’re ready to take the plunge. There is a very simple way to catch out this gold digger. In a word: pre-nup. The minute you suggest it, the money moocher will act defensively and say that pre-nups aren’t romantic, using any tactic not to sign one.
A Final Thought
Use these techniques with caution. Paying for things here and there is fine so long as there is a balance. It’s when you feel like you are his or her walking cash machine that you should be suspicious. Protect yourself by maintaining your financial independence.
Keep your own bank account and approach joint accounts and credit cards with caution. And, as always, the best way to deal with your hunch is to hash it out with them. That way, there can be no misunderstanding, and you won’t throw away a good relationship by mistake.