Your man displays any number of great qualities: kindness, the ability to keep his mouth shut during a movie, a willingness to entertain your "does this make me look fat?" clothes-modeling ritual, an unwillingness to splash out any cash any time you two go out ...

Hold up -- what was that last one again? Is it possible that Loverboy is perfect in every other way except when it comes to parting ways with Lincoln, Franklin or Grant during a date with you? And if so, should this trait be a deal-breaker for the relationship?

First, let's define what makes him "cheap" versus "not a sucker, "has other priorities," or the garden-variety "is poor":

The Non-Sucker
The guy who feels that just because he's a dude, he shouldn't be automatically expected to pay for absolutely everything, especially if he feels the lady in his life is not even attempting to reciprocate by treating him to dinner every once in awhile.

Man With Other Priorities
This is the dude who is saving up for a down payment on a house, has kids to support, or is responsibly paying off his college loans and therefore doesn't have much extra to spend on anything, including himself.

The Poorhouse
The artist/musician who lives in a hovel and is a proponent of dumpster diving. 'Nuff said.

The cheapskate, on the other hand, is the guy who always has the funds to spend on himself, no matter how stupid or trivial the purchase, yet never seems to cough up the dough to either go Dutch with you or treat you to a latte every once in a blue moon.

When you go out, he calculates the tab down to the penny and tells you your share of the bill is $29.34, including tax. He wouldn't dream of buying you flowers, but will take you for a walk past the park and point out the blooms within. If you think he was treating you to a drink, he'll call in the "favor" later by suggesting that since he paid for your martini last month, you "owe" him a drink on this outing. Or he'll grudgingly pay for a meal, but grumble about the price and generally make you feel like you're noshing on nickels, rather than naan. You get the idea.

So, is this fundamental frugality a reason to ditch your dude?



Tristan Coopersmith of Menu Dating urges women to ask themselves the following:

"Is he just cheap with money, or is he cheap in other ways as well? Is he cheap with time? Do you have to fit into his schedule? Is he cheap with sex? Is he cheap with emotion? When you ask for him to be there for you -- or for him to express himself, how much do you get?" she asks.

It's also possible the two of you simply have different views on what constitutes generosity. "People value giving in different ways and all are equally good -- be it spending money, giving compliments, sharing time, being affectionate, etc.," Coopersmith says. "What is critical is that the way you want to receive gifts be compatible with the way a guy wants to give them to you, and vice versa. Maybe he gives in other ways, but not in a way that is meaningful to you."

"In relationships it is all about compatibility," Coopersmith advises. "Not sameness necessarily, but the ability to tango together. If this is an area you can't tango, start looking for someone with more generous pockets to dance with."

Of course, some ladies have already made up their minds.

"My ex was incredibly cheap," says Denay. "I first noticed it by the way he tipped. I brought it to his attention and he made a small effort to give a little more but always with a silent struggle. His cheapness turned out to be more widespread," she says. "Pretty soon he wanted me to pay for everything and was trying to milk me for every dime I had. Hard lesson learned."

Steph of Philadelphia agrees: "Cheapness is usually hiding something else. In my opinion, something WORSE. So this 'otherwise perfect' guy? Ax murderer."

What do you think: Is a man who won't part with his pennies one you should part with -- or learn from?