After a seemingly endless 12-year journey, students finally reach their cherished destination and settle down as freshmen. After the struggles of middle and high school, college is a haven for freshers: A warm bed, new friends and, most important of all, freedom. Only one thing is missing: A romantic partner who can bring vitality and flavor to the college experience.
But this flavor can often be soured by that well-worn poisoner of relationships everywhere: Money.
And money issues can damage such a fragile butterfly as campus love.
Male students, as a result of both societal conditioning and a sense of chivalry, often take it for granted that paying the bill is symbolic of both their value in a relationship and the embodiment of politeness.
“I never let a girl pay the bill, or I feel embarrassed,” said Wei Xu, an 18-year-old freshman at Sichuan Agricultural University.”
According to an online survey on Sohu.com that quizzed 6,000 students, 8.8 percent of them (mostly male) get an extra “relationship budget” from parents.
Every month, Wei’s father gives him another several hundred yuan so that he can sustain the status of generous boyfriend. Whereas, according to female students, having a boyfriend that acts like an ATM machine is not always welcome.
“Spending parents’ money is not something to be proud of,” said Pan Tongtong, 18, a freshman at Beijing Normal University. “I would view such a boy as an irresponsible type.
Liu Na, 18, a freshman at Shenzhen University, echoed those sentiments by saying that she prefers going Dutch as a way to show each other respect.
“The nature of a relationship is sharing not taking,” said Liu. “Plus, I don’t want to feel as though I am relying on my boyfriend financially.”
However, male students find it hard to accept the dawning reality of financial co-existence. Wei Xu believes that it would hurt his pride to ask a girl to share the cost. “I just don’t know how to open my mouth to raise the subject,” Wei said.
Girls, however, prefer setting ground rules regarding such matters so as to rule out any possible misunderstandings.
“It’s better to get things straight before dating, so that neither part feels undue pressure on the matter of money, which could be a sensitive subject in a relationship,” said Qin Xiaolan, a 19-year-old freshman at Wuhan University.
Some, however, balance things differently. Ma Shunyang, 20, a sophomore student at Guangdong Foreign Studies University, always gives some money to her boyfriend before going out for a dinner or a movie.
“It is understandable for my boyfriend to be the one in charge in front of others,” said Ma.
Ma also thinks that having expensive dinners or going to expensive movies doesn’t guarantee a happy relationship. “The key is how much thought is put into the relationship, not how much money,” said Ma.