Anna Richardson wearing a pink jumper

The cost of loving – Cupid’s arrow hitting credit cards

Ahead of Valentine's Day…

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Youngsters are getting into dating debt of around £2,250 on their credit cards because they are feeling pressured to keep up with lavish meals, mini-breaks and designer gifts other couples are boasting about on social media.

A box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, aftershave or perfume is no longer enough to impress a potential new partner. Now young lovebirds feel a date has to be picture perfect and Insta-envy inducing. Even if they cannot afford it.

Anna Richardson wearing a pink jumper
Youngsters are getting into dating debt of around £2,250 because they feel pressured to keep up with lavish meals, mini-breaks and designer gifts other couples are boasting about on social media (Credit: Cover Images)

Credit cards soaring – the price of love

A study of 2,000 18–35-year-olds by Experian found that for over half of young people (59%), social media influence has contributed to expectations to overspend on their partner or date. As well as that, almost two-thirds (63%) believe social media has led people to date for materialistic reasons over love. Around 85% of the respondents described themselves as straight/heterosexual.

Over one third of men (36%) said they’d browsed a potential date’s social media profile to check if they could afford their lifestyle. This is compared to 28% of women. Meanwhile, one in 20 (5%) men have even ended up over £10,000 in debt from funding dates and relationships.

New podcast from Experian

With so many young people struggling to manage their finances in the modern world of dating, Experian has launched a new podcast series, The Cost of Loving. Hosted by Celebs Go Dating expert and relationships therapist Anna Williamson, the series provides supportive guidance and encourages healthy conversations about relationships and finance.

Experian’s research found a quarter of young people who had gone into debt because of dating had racked up bills of up to £1,000 while 14% had spent between £2,501 – £5,000 more than they could afford.

Launching ahead of Valentine’s Day, the first episode of the Cost of Loving podcast tackles Gender Expectations, and the ever-divisive bill-splitting debate – which is still raging. Whilst 4 in 5 men (80%) said they’d always settle the whole cost of a meal, less than 1 in 5 women (18%) said they preferred to. Although a quarter (27%) explained this was because their partner earned more than them.

Almost one in three men (30%) who prefer to split the bill said they have changed their mind about whether they should pay on a first date after seeing influential social media content.

With topics and advice to help educate and engage, Experian’s Cost of Loving podcast is available to listen on Spotify, with Episode 1 available now.

Woman recording a podcast
A box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, aftershave or perfume is no longer enough to impress a potential new partner (Credit: Cover Images)

Dating is ‘pretty tough’

Speaking of the launch, host Anna Williamson said: “Navigating the world of dating and relationships is pretty tough as it is, without factoring in the divisive debates around finances that we’re seeing on social media. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to tackling these kinds of conversations but, with Experian, we’ve launched The Cost of Loving podcast to bring a burst of fun, relatability and accessibility into the equation.

“As well as having some amazing guests to chat to, I hope the podcast will encourage healthy financial dialogue between partners, as well as tackling some tricky dating-meets-finance questions from listeners.”

James Jones from Experian added: “Managing finances independently is one thing. But bringing a partner into the mix opens up a whole other world of considerations. It’s been sobering to see just how many young people have ended up in financial difficulty due to their dating and relationship experiences, largely due to external pressures. Feeling comfortable enough to discuss financial topics should be a top priority in a relationship. The Cost of Loving is designed to support these conversations and empower young people to confidently manage their finances – both as single people and together with a romantic partner.”

How to listen

Subsequent episodes in the 5-part series will launch throughout February and March, and cover topics such as Wage Gap Relationships, Debt, Dating & Financial Infidelity, Financial Break-Ups, and Financial Abuse Red Flags. Each episode will see host Anna joined by a range of experts and influential figures in the worlds of dating and finance, money blogger Megan Micklewright aka The Savvy Spender, and ex-Love Islander and motivational speaker Malin Andersson.

For more information and support on how to improve financial health, head to

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor