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Love Can Hurt -- Your Bank Account

Courtship costs moneyat least men seem to think soand Valentine's Day can hit wallets hard

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 .