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Ask Dr Maymunah: Who Should Pay The Bills?


Good day, Dr Maymunah.

I’m a 23-year-old university undergraduate student at one of the Nigerian universities and currently dating a 28-year-old banker. Whenever we go out, he keeps pressurising me to pay bills and if I remind him that I am a student and can’t pay, he reminds me that I have to start someday and it is beginning to irritate me. I keep telling him that he is the man and is supposed to be the one to pay the bills, but he always objects to it. So I want to know who is meant to pay the bills whenever we go out?

– Chinelo, Abia state


Good day, Chinelo and thank you for the email.

Since I don’t have information as to when this relationship started and the foundation to how it started, I will only advice based on your write-up. I wouldn’t ask you to walk away because it’s an option or advice you to stay and deal with it. But with your present challenge, I will suggest the following:

No one size fits all
I know you are a student and I am not saying you should be paying the full bill on every outing you two embark on. What I’m saying is that you should erase the perception that he is to pay the full bills on his own in every outing, at least you should assist a little or else you might have issues like you’re already facing in your relationship.

Assist not to show dependency on the relationship
Try to assist a little, if not for anything but to show that you are not relying on the relationship as if your life depends on it. Show him that you can be an independent woman if you want to and that way he will appreciate you more.

Cut your cloth according to your size
When you assist, don’t overdo it to show complete independence. Some men don’t like that and it might not be good for you and you might even ask for what you did not bargain for. Even if it means paying for the water you had, that alone will go a long way, since that is what you can afford for now and I’m sure he will appreciate you for that.

Want fairness
If he insists on being fair, then paying bills should be by ratio considering the fact that you are a student and you don’t earn. On this note, talk to him and make him realise that he is too money conscious and that he has to be considerate of your situation.

He insists on paying the bills
Even if he insists on paying the bills all the time to show affection to you, once in a while get him something like a takeaway pack; that will also show that you are contributing to the relationship to show affection on your part also.

One way or the other, also contribute to the paying of the bills
Have you ever thought about it that he may be putting you through a litmus test? This means trying to see how you will react to this pressure of paying bills. My best advice is to sit him down, have an effective communication with him, find out where the relationship is leading to, and encourage him to speak his mind. This will surely help you define or redefine the way forward.

Don’t be in a relationship where you aren’t happy, this is not healthy for both of you.

All the best.

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