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What can I do with a guy who’s cheap?

Dear Sherry:

How do I tell my boyfriend that he’s cheap? He’s great in every other way, but his inability to spend a buck is really a bummer.

Sonya

According to my informal poll (40 friends and friends-of-friends), women would rather date a man who’s a so-so kisser than one who’s cheap! But, since you say he’s got redeeming qualities, let’s work on taming his Scrooge-like tendencies rather than discussing tactics to hook you up with a sugar daddy.

Your worst tactic is to put him on the defensive. In other words, don’t start out by calling him cheap or whining that he holds onto his money more tightly than Donald Trump in a pre-nuptial agreement. Start by saying how much you care about him and what a great person he is (yes, it’s tiresome, but flattery really smoothes the way). Then, launch into a general discussion on money. Tell him how your money views and values were shaped. (For example, as a child, were you given an allowance that you could spend on anything that struck your fancy, or did you have to work at part-time jobs to afford clothes and makeup?) Ask him to share his money persona with you. Where did his fears about spending come from? Were his parents unemployed for long stretches of time? Remember, money can be tied to his feelings of security or self-worth. Gently let him know that his reluctance to spend money on you makes you feel he doesn’t value you. End by suggesting a compromise: You cook him dinner and rent a movie three dates in a row, then he takes you out somewhere wonderful.

If, despite his innate cheapness, he’s open to compromise, you’ve got a keeper. A man who wants to please his partner is better than money in the bank. Well, almost.



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