Photo via GoToBermuda's Flickr page

Despite our down economy, consumerism seems to be on the rise. People racking up debt on credit cards to keep up with the Joneses has long since been a practice of those trying to “fake it till they make it,” but after years of buying now and paying later and the rise of generation bling, is our incessant need to consume affecting our relationships?

Over the past few months I’ve had many conversations with my male friends who complain that women want too much, and before they can settle down, they need to make a certain amount of money in order to give their potential mate “the finer things in life.”

Once upon a time “the finer things” included a night out at a restaurant, a house if you were married, and maybe piece of jewelry from time to time—maybe.

But these days many women expect their men to shell out thousands on vacations, gifts, and drinks at the bar before they’re even fully committed. And if after all of that you make it to the altar, many women (including some of my friends) expect a huge diamond that looks like it’s kin to Plymouth Rock.

I mean, I get it. We all want to be appreciated and treated appropriately, but when (and why?) did being courted turn into being bought and paid for…on credit?

But it’s not just men spending money on women. Women have also begun showering their boos with expensive gifts, elaborate trips, pairs of Jordans, and other things they can’t afford. Not to mention hair appointments that can run upwards of hundreds of dollars a week, shopping trips to buy designer dresses, and weekly trips to get a mani and pedi. It can all be a little much at times.

I know many like to act like the media doesn’t affect us, but it’s hard to ignore the cues we get from celebs. After Cash Money began touting “bling bling,” the word become apart of our collective lexicon, and the attitude that went with seeped into everything around us.

These days it’s commonplace for women working at MickyD’s to rock Louboutins (or a quality knock-off), and guys pulling double shifts at the Foot Locker to spend their whole check on a pair of Watch The Throne tickets or a night out with bottle service.

While these things are becoming indicative of our culture, they are also having a negative impact on our relationships.

What’s happened is that people have unrealistic expectations for their mate. Instead of being able to just be ourselves (or even have a “off day”), women are pressured to look like we just stepped off of a TV set—full hair and make up done—in order to catch the eye of a gentleman we hope will be worth our efforts, while men think they need to flash their cash just to be in contention.

It’s a vicious cycle. But how do we break it?

When it comes to dating, are you affected by our culture of consumerism?

*Via WhoYouCallinABitch

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  • Ocean Blue

    “When it comes to dating, are you affected by our culture of consumerism?”

    No. I don’t like to spend my money on other people, and I’d rather not have a man buy me things.

  • gwan gyal

    This is one of the main reasons that I am hesistant to get into another relationship….so many men are so materialistic and don’t live within their means

    I’m grateful that my ex was frugal but not in an annoying way. I actually learned a lot from him.

    Right now, I’m focusing on paying off these student loans…and refuse to buy a house until I can pay cash for it…even if it means small apartment living for a while…it gives me more peace of mind…it took me 5 years to pay off my new car and I hated that ish..imma drive this car until it wont go no more!

    As far as a mate, I do want him to be generous..but I dont want him to feel pressure to impress me with things and go into debt doing it…life and a relationship is so much more than that.

    In regards to feeling the need to be ‘done up’ all the time…I say pssht to that! i get compliments all time about my naturalness (no fake hair, no fake eye lashes, no goo gabs of makeup, etc) and I dont do it for attention at all…I just think getting really done up is for a special occasion for me…not a daily occurrence.

    I think it is time women stop putting so much pressure on themselves to look a certain way…just do things to make yourself feel good. i work out everyday, eat a vegan diet, and take care of my skin b/c it makes me feel good…not to impress men.

    • Ocean Blue

      I think it is time women AND MEN stop putting so much pressure on themselves to look a certain way.

  • Pat

    I have a friend that is obsessed with name brand everything and expects her hubby to be to spend, spend, spend. I on the other hand am frugal and don’t see the need to spend what I don’t have or on things I don’t need. When she and her fiance argues over money(he is frugal as well) he calls me to advise her on seeing things his way. I feel its becoming a problem, for she might end up without a good man based on her materialistic ways. And I am tired of playing money piece keeper each time she doesn’t get it. The bottom line is to choose a partner that is on the same page when it comes to money. Or you will be broken in the heart and in the pockets…

  • I’m African.We are poor.We love big hearted men. #theend