An elderly couple in North China who have been married for more than 30 years have captured the attention of netizens on Chinese social media after news outlet The Paper reported on how they split all their finances. The debate that followed the Wednesday report show that the "going Dutch" lifestyle is not the preferred choice for most married couples.
The elderly couple living in Tianjin Municipality have insisted on each being responsible for their own daily expenses for more than 30 years, to the point that ownerships of everything in their home is strictly divided, down to the eggs in their refrigerator.
"We take turns cooking and cannot use each other's cooking utensils," the husband says in the video from The Paper as he opens a refrigerator to show the food that belongs to him.
"Sometimes after I cook, she suspects that I stole her eggs," he adds.
The couple's strict division of life expenses sparked debate on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, leading to the related hashtag earning more than 300 million views as of Thursday afternoon.
The Sina Weibo account "Sina Video" launched an online poll on the subject. More than 120,000 netizens voted on the question "Do you support Going Dutch after getting married," with more than 100,000, or 83 percent, voting against.
"I can accept splitting the bill while dating but why do we need to keep going Dutch after getting married? If a couple cannot share everything, that means they are not Mr Right and Ms Right for each other," netizen Jinhuan wrote. Many posts echoed her stance.
Some netizens said that while the elderly couple's method was too excessive for them, they were not against splitting the bill so long as it remained reasonable.
User "Joker" commented that married couples can go Dutch but should clearly delineate who will be in charge of what ahead of time.
"Like going a trip, husbands can pay for the accommodation and transportation, while wives take charge of entertainment expenses. This is what I think going Dutch should be."
One young couple in Beijing who married just last month told the Global Times they agree with the online majority.
Chen Xiaoqian said that she supported going Dutch with her husband while they were dating, but "if he asked to go Dutch after we decided to get married, I would feel that he was unreliable and reconsider whether to spend the rest of my life with this man."
This kind of feeling is common among Chinese women. Whether a man is willing to spend his money on a woman is one of most important factors to see if that man loves and is loyal to the woman.
Another 26-year-old woman surnamed Xiao who got married in 2019 disagrees that a man should pay for everything. She said that dividing up a couple's financial burden can help avoid conflict.
"I have the capability to pay my own bills and contribute to the family, so why not do that? It is also a symbol that I am an economically independent woman and I have not lost my status," she told the Global Times.
Some analysts attribute Chinese couple's resistance to going Dutch to traditional views in Chinese society. Traditionally, there are no clear financial boundaries within a family in China as Chinese people believe that talking about money could lead to hurt feelings, the Southern Weekly said.