The first date is just the start of what may turn out to be the largest spending spree of your life. With the average courtship before a marriage lasting about two and a half years, dating is an increasingly expensive venture. Flowers, presents, dinners, and movie tickets are just the start of the list of items single men need to factor into their budgets, dating and relationship experts said. And don't even get us started on the costs of maintaining a long-distance romance.
By the time you head down the aisle, you can easily have spent more than $40,000 on vacations, jewelry, wedding expenses, and meals out, according to our calculations.
In extreme cases, some people are so intimidated by the cost of dating that they avoid it, said Pepper Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington who also serves as an adviser to the dating Web site Perfectmatch.com. "I've had men say to me, 'I just don't want to get into a relationship because it's going to cost me a tennis bracelet,'" Schwartz said. "But I don't think most people think about it. They feel true love is worth what it cost to get there."