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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Dating Buyers Guide

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

A Dating Buyers' Guide

Contrary to what you might think, I’m not going to talk about bachelor or bachelorette auctions, or indentured servitude or anything that might imply purchasing other people.  Instead, I’m going to focus on the interesting point in relationships where you need your significant other’s advice on making a major purchase.   

I love to shop, but I’m clueless—happily so, most of the time—about all of that “guy stuff”.  Lowe’s and Home Depot bores me to tears; I’m lucky if I know the difference between a flat head and a Phillips head screw driver.  I have absolutely no interest in home repairs, car buying, electronics, tools, or any of that stuff that might require physical labor, getting dirty, or playing “helper” and assisting with a building project that will probably take up a whole afternoon.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with that stuff from time to time.  And as a homeowner, I deal with it whether I want to or not (usually not).   I put it off as long as possible because I’m totally ignorant about it, and have no math skills or mechanical inclination whatsoever.  I’m perfectly happy to hire someone to do whatever needs to be done. 

So I was thrilled beyond belief (or not) when I had to go car shopping this summer. 

I had a list of a few definite “must haves”—4 wheel drive (I live in the mountains with tricky winters and am a total baby about driving in snow) was at the top of the list, followed by roominess, good gas mileage, and a fairly decent price.  I knew enough to shop around a bit, but figured (correctly, as it turned out) that when it came to negotiating and sealing the deal, I’d be a sitting duck. 

I didn’t hesitate to turn the whole mess over to the guy I’ve been seeing, who loves to do research and go on these little fact finding missions.  I gave up on comparison shopping after a few days (though I usually like shopping, I get bored with it quickly), but he persisted.  We went to the dealer, and I let him do most of the talking.  I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and agree to more bells and whistles than I really needed, and have it cost me more money than I’d agreed to. 

They could all smell fear and probably knew I was an easy target, and sure enough, when they called me a few days later to finalize pickup, they told me about a few more options, and did I want to add them on?  I didn’t know if I did or didn’t.  I wasn’t comfortable talking to the sales guy without support, but what could I do?  I said yes to one thing, but  I got wheeled and dealed to the point that he had to call the dealer to cancel something I’d agreed to purchase (an expensive, unnecessary monthly maintenance inspection something-or-other).  He was mad that they’d clearly taken advantage of my ignorance, and I was mad at myself for not being more savvy about the whole process.  They thought he was my husband and it was less of a hassle to let them think that, but

We talked about it afterward and he said that it was sort of awkward—calling the shots and making the deal on something that he wasn’t even buying.  I was happy to have him do it, since that’s so over my head.   But it brought up an interesting point—how much input or involvement should a significant other (not a spouse) have on a major purchase, like a house or a car? 

Many of my friends are at the point where they’ve been out of Mom and Dad’s house for a few years and have been out on their own.  Most of them are taking major steps toward the next level and buying a house.  Some are married, some are in serious long-term relationships and probably will get married, and others are buying solo.  I live in more of a rural area where it’s hard to meet people, so there aren’t many serial daters in my crowd—most of them find a guy or girl they want to be with, and they’re set for life.   So I don’t doubt that those folks both gave their input, even if just one of them was buying.    But what does that say to the other person?  “I’m making this major investment, with or without you”?  If I was that girl, my first thought would be “Gee, thanks”. 

If you aren’t quite in that serious stage yet, you might rely on a parent or sibling to help you navigate through the murky waters of technical jargon and real estate-ese.   But if your family isn’t readily accessible, how involved is your significant other in the big buys in life?  Take it from me—do your own research and make sure you understand the basics of what you’re in for once you start the negotiating.  Even if you let him/her seal the deal for you, in the end, you’re the owner and should know the ins and outs of what you just purchased.

 


Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon. She can be reached at sarhodon@yahoo.com.


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