Dear Couples on Venmo,

I see you. I see when you begin your courtship as you turn volleying money back and forth for inconsequential things into an Olympic sport. You're still in your honeymoon phase where every little activity is politely split. You're on your best behavior and have yet to reveal your crushing student loans or credit card debt. I see when you move in together as your transactions suddenly upgrade to house emojis, groceries, or utility bills. I say to myself, “oh this must be getting serious,” as I scroll through my Venmo feed with fervor, finding out more about your lives from a cash app than I do from the photos you rarely share on Instagram. Cursing the fact that when I click on a profile to stalk your new boyfriend, all I can see is what people have paid him for. It’s like a financial fairytale that I can’t get enough of.

I need more.

The more I see your shared cost of living unfolding, the more your relationship progresses. You may buy a home or perhaps get married. It’s possible that you’ll even pay your florist via Venmo, allowing me to know the exact date of your wedding that I will never be invited to. I’m just spitballing here. At this point, you’ve solidified your relash. You went from splitting the monthly heat bill to sharing a mortgage and a small child.

And this is where I start to judge you wholeheartedly. My incredibly single, barely passable income, responsible-for-all-utilities household is watching you build a very stable life with another individual and YET still splitting the bill for drinks on a Saturday night.

So listen here, you two. I’m all for economic freedom and keeping your earnings separate. Three cheers for the ability to go on an absolute RAMPAGE at TJ Maxx without your significant other judging how much you just spent on a bunch of variously sized wicker baskets and a wardrobe full of coordinated sweats no one will ever see. However, if you created a HUMAN BEING together, I think we can go ahead and stop publicly paying each other for Starbucks or your share of electricity in the home you both own.

As someone who is legally peeping all your transactions, it pains me to give you this unsolicited advice because it will mark the end of my voyeuristic guilty pleasure… but GET A JOINT CHECKING ACCOUNT, HOMIES. I’m not saying you should merge all of your earned assets. It’s 2021, baby. Ain’t nothin' wrong with keeping a little independence. But hear me out, it’s quite possible boomers don’t have it all wrong. No need to start writing paper checks for every purchase or balancing a checkbook—take it from me, it’ll never get balanced. I’m just strongly suggesting you open up a checking account with both of your names on it, each of you deposit an equal amount of dough, and then maybe USE THAT TO PAY YOUR BILLS.

I know. It seems scary. “How will everyone we’ve ever exchanged phone numbers with know we’ve paid the babysitter each week if we have a private account designated for that payment?” is probably what you’re saying through tears as you panic about the uncertainty of a future where your relationship is not attached to Venmo.

It might take some getting used to not use a social network to broadcast all money moves. But I promise you, we will all get through this together. As a great philosopher once mused, “Love Don’t Cost A Thing.” I’ll have to wean myself off of knowing where you’re at in your relationship based on the cash flow between you two, but ultimately I’ll sleep better at night knowing you graduated to a long-lasting adult relationship by taking a day trip to Bank of America (or your local credit union—#ShopLocal) for a debit card that you can both hold with pride. You might even like it so much that you’ll get an adorable jar that lives on your contemporary kitchen countertop inspired by your favorite couples HGTV show to hold cash (from both of you) for when you want to splurge on date night!

Did I go too far? Ok, sorry. Baby steps. You can do it. I believe in you. But until then, I’ll keep creeping to see if you guys take that ski trip this year and keep my fingers crossed your dog didn’t have an emergency trip to the vet again. And don’t even try to use emojis to cover your reasoning for money changing hands. I speak fluent emoji. I’ll crack that code. I see you.

Sincerely,
A Nosy Girl Who Refreshes Venmo Almost As Frequently As Twitter

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