Money Matters: Jessica and Keegan

Equal Pay?

Jessica and Keegan have been in a serious relationship for over a year. Jessica explains that when they first started dating, Keegan paid for everything, "Now, he switched the rules on me. He makes me pay for half."

Keegan explains his philosophy on dating and paying: "If a woman wants to be treated equal, it should be equal on all aspects ... I don't believe in courtship forever with the guy having to pay on and on."

"I think he's wrong," says Jessica. "He makes a lot more money than I do. I work on the weekends at a restaurant and I'm a full-time college student. My money goes to hair, make-up, pedicures ... He gets the benefit of all that because he likes the way it looks."

Keegan says, "I'm not some big ugly troll that has to pay for everything just to keep a woman around him. I'm a pretty desirable guy."

"His ego is so big," says Jessica. "He thinks he's all that, but he's not! Dr. Phil, I want you to tell Keegan that he is wrong. Can you tell us who should pay?"

Dr. Phil begins by explaining, "There is no right or wrong answer to this. It's kind of an etiquette type thing." Referring to Jessica's comment that Keegan "changed the rules on her," making her pay half when they go out, Dr. Phil asks Keegan, "Did you set it one way until you got her hooked?"

"No," says Keegan. "Here's the deal: When you first start out dating, you're going through the courtship with the guy paying for everything for a little while ... I let this one go a little too far, for too long."

Dr. Phil asks Jessica: "Do you have plans to be married?"

"Not now!" jokes Jessica.

Dr. Phil offers advice to Jessica: "If you don't have the money and you don't want to pay the money, and he doesn't want to spend his money on you, then you either have to not go or do something different where it doesn't cost you money. And I think you can play your hand a little better because I don't think he's just all that and some more."

Dr. Phil explains that there is a school of thought that says that in a courtship, in our society, the man pays, "But in this day and time, when the relationship becomes a committed relationship, then there is a tendency to pool the resources and make decisions together about what you can afford."

"If you are in a committed relationship, you might want to think about that some, but realize that he makes three times the money that you do. You can't keep up. So why even try? You've got to negotiate that differently and say, 'I'm not going to do it. If you want to spend time with me, then either take me somewhere that doesn't cost money, which is OK, or pony up and pay.'"