My Outlook - Billion Dollar Gestures May Not Add Up

A 29-year old man featured in an article about Generation Y relationships said he has stopped dating because he just can't afford it. He is among the 30% of adults ages 22-37 who say dating is too expensive and they're not willing to put that sort of money into what he described as "a completely worthless investment." Ouch.

Research suggests the cost of a typical date night in Canada comes in at around $127, with the most expensive night being Toronto at $150, while the least costly was Quebec City at $112. Using criteria including a meal, wine, movie and cab, researchers compared this to global locations. The most expensive city in the world to try dating is Oslo, Norway at $211, followed by London, England at $188. The least expensive city to test the dating pool is Ankara, Turkey, at a budget-friendly $48.

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Several millennials agreed with the premise of the article stating dating is too big a hit on their wallet, but there was also a fair bit of pushback from those who say it's an excuse to justify unwillingness to put the work into a relationship. But while some are avoiding the dating scene, others are embracing it—married couples.

The idea of a married couple 'date night' has been encouraged by therapists and counselors for a long time, but the last decade has seen a marked rise in the number heeding the advice. Surveys of 10,000 couples over a 10-year period found that those who had a dedicated date night once per month reported being more satisfied in their marriages than those that didn't.  

It’s Valentine’s Day and the pressure to come up with grand, romantic plans is on, particularly for men in relationships with women who believe this is a make-or-break day. According to a survey quoted by Business Insider, 53% of single women said they would break up with their boyfriend if he didn’t live up to their expectations for Valentine’s Day. That's a lot of pressure on one day.

To be honest, I am far more grateful when my husband comes through on all the other days—the more ordinary days when the gestures may not be as romantic or whimsical, but oh, so necessary. When I'm sick. When an appliance breaks down or there's a problem with a vehicle. When schedules feel overwhelming or important decisions need to be made. It's not glamorous, but it's the stuff of life. Of family. Of marriage.

We have enjoyed some pretty spectacular days, made all the sweeter because of some of the days that weren't quite so dazzling. We've sat side-by-side on bleachers cheering on our kids, but also in the doctor's office when the news wasn't what we expected. We have held hands walking through world-class gardens, as well as at the funerals of beloved people. We have experienced the highs of favorite vacation spots along with the lows of some really tough days that came uninvited.               

Flowers are beautiful. So is an empty laundry basket. Or a filled gas tank. A fresh cup of coffee. Or simply, a grilled cheese sandwich enjoyed without interruption of a phone. A petal strewn path leading to a candlelight dinner can be wondrously romantic; all the more so, if it is with someone who has been with you when the setting wasn’t quite so perfect or the food not nearly so gourmet.

Economic projections suggest $27.4 billion will be spent on Valentine's Day this year, with married people leading the way. That's up $6.7 billion from last year. This is great news for retailers, but perhaps intimidating for those who don't have the resources to "do-it-up big". Rest assured that while some may have extravagance in mind, the average spending will be right around the cost of that date night in Ankara.

The celebration of love can be truly special on February 14. But it's even better when you know the one you love will follow through with a demonstration of commitment on February 15. That's my outlook.

© The Outlook

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