A few days ago, I had a huge fight with my boyfriend. It was about money that had nothing to do with money indeed. I hated that we always split the cost for things that we do together instead of taking turns so that we don’t have to be calculating our share. Every time I put my share of cash on the table, I felt part of me connecting to him was silently withering. A few months back, I had already complained how negatively it affects my feelings towards our relationship. He understood and he made an effort to fix it. He wasn’t just used to it. Money is the last thing I care about when it comes to my relationship. Yet, experiencing negative situations that always had to do with money over and over made me extra aware of money and paying. I was already so poor. I had no income but only spending from my savings. I almost cryingly admitted that it is especially a sensitive issue now that I have no disposable income to treat people whenever I want, which already makes me feel miserable and owing something more than money to people I care about.
I’ve always felt awkward for splitting bills with close friends. When I walk to the counter waiting for the cashier to tell us how much we need to pay, I suddenly feel the whip of socio-cultural obligation-like urge during the 5 second interval between the announcement of the addition and reaching for my wallet, I claim “I’ll get it.” I thought I was simply too used to this kind of culture until I couldn’t just take it anymore. It turns out, this isn’t a choice for me to like or hate splitting bills.