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Dating- Who pays?

August 11th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

People are so divided about who should pay for what when dating. Some of my friends have rules: first date the guy pays, then you split; never let the girl pay; asker pays either way. Some just do whatever feels natural when the check comes.

It's always a little bit awkward. I'm a big fan of always offering to split without pushing it to a level of embarrassment. My logic is to let the guy feel chivalrous if that means something to him, and not feel like he's snagged a freeloader if it doesn't.

21 Responses to “Dating- Who pays?”

  1. greengirl Says:

    i always feel a little weird letting people pay for me, i guess it just stems back to childhood psychological issues... (lets not go THERE today!). my BF and I just pay separately, or keep a tab of who owes each other what, or who's paid more lately, and it usually evens itself out in the end. since BF got a payrise he has paid a couple of time for me which i am JUST starting to feel alright about. i suppose i better get used to it if we decided to buy property later this year, as he will be paying twice what i do!

  2. themoneyadventurista Says:

    This amused me so much that I couldn't help but smile. But props to you. I agree that the guy shouldn't be made to pay all the time, but I believe it should be more natural. If the guy feels like paying, then he pays. If the girl wants to treat, then by all means. At no time should one party be made to feel taken advantage of. But I believe your ex should have understood your financial situation then, and adjusted his spending accordingly. It's not about rules, more about graciousness.

  3. Apprentice Fun-Frugalist Says:

    Hi All

    I've recently been out on 2 dates with the same girl.

    First date I paid. I had told myself I was going to pay before the date so I did - without asking the girl. Its what I was brought up to believe was chivalrous behaviour.

    Second date - Girl grabs the bill as it arrives to the table and makes moves to pay it all herself. I mini-freaked out: we were the only ones in the restaurant at the time so no embarrassment factor - after a "ah, don't do that" plea, we split the bill.

    I don't know why but when she grabbed the bill, she might as well have kneed me in the goohoonies !! :-) Ladies paying for dates just goes against all that I was taught by my parents. Anytime my parents go out to a bar/restaurant, my father pays each and every time. This probably has something to do with my mother being a SAHM.

    But still I feel like I failing in my duties as a man if I don't pay. To be honest, if a girl didn't let me pay on a first date, chances are that there won't be a second date.

    I'm fine with splitting from the second date onwards, but I think that girls should just play the game and allow men act chivalrously instead of trying to make a feminazi statement (an unbelievable turn-off for me). All the girls have to do is LET US THINK we are in control - when in reality, the girls are the ones in control in most relationships.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    I have always been a splitter, and luckily, always dated splitters. I just don't think they cared. I am sure most of the guys I dated offered to pay the first date. I probably insisted to pay my share. I just don't remember, but am fiercely independent so how I would imagine it played out. (I disagree with the feminazi term. Come on. If a woman always pays her way in life, why should she change for a first date?)

    Anyway, when I read these posts I just cringe. I think dating is such a mind field on this issue. So though I am very pro women empowerment, I am seeing what happens when some people forge ahead in independence, and others hold on to more traditional values.

    Needless to say, glad I am not dating. LOL.

    On one hand, it was never an issue, so I would guess it could be a good initial test of compatibility. I never had interest in dating anyone who wasn't going to appreciate my independence. But I could easily see very compatible people getting caught up in this issue and not going on that second date. Kind of a shame.

    But seriously, I think it is in how you approach it. I dates a lot before I met my hubby at 18 and it was just never an issue. Never had a guy scared off because I wanted to pay my own way. Maybe more of an issue if I was older and/or dated well into my 20s. I just don't think I come off as very intimidating. So I am kind of surprised to see some of the male responses in these discussions. Not my own experience. But if I was a really intimidating feminist, yeah, I could see it. Or maybe poor college students can appreciate a girl paying her own way - I don't know. Wink

  5. Broken Arrow Says:

    As a guy, I naturally assume that I'm going to be paying for everything until told or negotiated otherwise. So, I guess budget-wise, that's how I would approach it too. From there, there's no pressure since if someone else pitches in, then it's just gravy to me.

  6. greengirl Says:

    apprenticefunfrugalist: i just have one thing to say, that while you say that we should not 'try to make a feminazi statement' you expect women to be ok with you reverting back to 1950's?

  7. sillyoleme Says:

    I always let the guy pay for the first date. I guess I just think there are some things that are best left "traditional". That's how it works for me anyway.

    That said, when BF & I started dating, I always offered to pay for my part, or the whole thing every now and then. He never let me, so when we had been dating a while, I started to insist on paying every now and then.

    We never really had an issue of it though, I honestly never gave it a second thought, I would just offer to pay every now and then, or if I knew he had bills coming due, etc. We never kept tabs or anything.

  8. jIM_Ohio Says:

    I am married, so if I went on a date I would be in trouble regardless.

    You talk about the XBF, is there a new one which is doing any better?

  9. Apprentice Fun-Frugalist Says:

    It's difficult to express/justify my gut reaction to having a Girl try to pay for our date. If I had known she was going to try and pay for it by herself, my first thought would have been not to go at all. But of course I would have went and probably end up splitting.

    Splitting is fair and equitable. I agree 100% with it.

    However on the first date/first couple of dates I really would prefer to pay. Why ?? Because I am courting the lady. Because I want to be able to entice her with pleasurable food and good conversation. I want her to sit back and relax - have nothing whatsoever to worry about other than enjoying herself.

    I'm gonna be controversial here and annoy some people but here it goes:


    I love feminine women. I love women who wear their hair long, wear dresses and are elegant. That's just my type. The most positive/life-enhancing experiences I've had with women have been with feminine women. They acted like women. I acted like a man. UNTIL WE GOT TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER. Then sure I am open to negotiation on everything. If the women I love wants to buy a 1000 dollar dinner in the Ritz in Paris- I'm there !! lol If she wanted to share her stale bread with me - I'm there also.

    A lot of women of my age in my country have taken the Oprah Winfrey brand of female empowerment (Please understand. I love women. I love female empowerment, female independence and women who are happy.) and turbo-maxed it into "whatever a man can do, I can do 10 times better", "men - who needs 'em", "hey, I can open my own door, thank you very much !!", "no you won't pay for me...what - u think u can buy me ???" etc etc etc......

    I don't think true female empowerment necessitates the debowelling/castration of men - the ripping away of the VERY FEW little remnants of male chivalry/generosity/thoughtfulness by the Girlpower brigade.

    I am afraid that the baby is being thrown out with the bath water. If a man paying on the first date is the biggest empowerment issue facing women today, the feminist movement can retire - it's work is done.

    p.s. again let me stress I believe in both genders reaching their full potential & living life to the max !

  10. cargirl86 Says:

    Yeah ... I don't think you fully understand what the feminist movement is all about. I also think you're taking women paying their own way a little personally ... you're fine with your date buying a $1K dinner for you but if she pays for the $20 cheap Italian dinner on your first date you feel castrated. But whatever, this isn't your post or your blog ...

    To answer the blog post in question, I always offer to split. If he wants to pay, fine. I don't just expect him to pay, just like I don't expect him to expect me to pay.

  11. Apprentice Fun-Frugalist Says:

    Wow... first of all, you're right... this isn't my blog or my post - so I'll keep this short...but I don't like not defending myself when people take a swipe at me (must be that god-damn testosterone !! haha)

    Cargirl86.... I am not a feminist scholar...nor am I a scholar in men's studies....I never claimed that I understand everything there is to know about the feminist movement. My point that I intended to make was as follows: I'm sure there are 1001 more important issues for women to be fighting against than men paying on the first date.

    To OP - Kim : Sorry if I have hijacked your post... it was a great topic in that it aroused some strong emotions !! ( in me anyway :-) ). Your statement "My logic is to let the guy feel chivalrous if that means something to him, and not feel like he's snagged a freeloader if it doesn't." I believe this is perfect for a first date and I would split there on after - when/if the two of you start a relationship and move on past courting !!!

    p.s. I must concentrate on how to write shorter posts..they always end up longer than I intended !!

  12. spendinginsocal Says:

    Interesting debate! Kind of sorry I've been MIA and missed it... Feel free to hijack all you want. Smile

    I understand the initial reaction of the women who have posted (basically: are you serious?). I am all about female empowerment and more than that, equality, but I'm not really about to jump down Apprentice's throat. He's not saying that he wants women to be helpless or insecure- just that he likes feminine women. Plenty of girls don't want men to be chauvinistic or sloppy, but they prefer masculine men. In my mind it's about the same thing. If a woman doesn't like a man who adheres to old-fashioned chivalry, and prefers to open her own doors and pay her own way (which is more than respectable) then she simply won't date Apprentice.

    Oh and to answer the other question- no new bf. Last one didn't inspire a lot of confidence in humanity, in general.

  13. greengirl Says:

    i just think it's ridiculous that someone would think that a girl paying for her own meal is a feminazi statement.

    but i mean hey, that's just me. Smile

  14. Reba Says:

    Ladies, definitely, if the guy asked you out, let him pay for the first date. Perhaps on the second date, if a meal, offer to pay the tip. The third time, suggest you take the check and perhaps he will allow you to do that. If he doesn't, don't blow his ego by insisting. Find another way to reciprocate. Buy tickets to somewhere or make him a fantastic dinner or two at home.

  15. whitestripe Says:

    you should do what feels right, not what other people say to do, or whats 'traditional'.

  16. justdumpedascrooge Says:

    This guy and I dated for less than 3 months. I asked him about his comment "Boy you sure made out by only paying $16 for movie tickets and I had to pay for our $35 lunch". This really upset me because I had bought groceries to cook for our dinner that evening. And, we didn't have the relationship "talk" if we were serious. He dismissed my question saying I was thinking too much about it and then after that he disappeared and wouldn't take my phone calls for 4 days. So I had no choice but to dump him over email. Good riddance!

  17. eva Says:

    i have recently been faced with my bf saying that he has been wondering why, when the bill comes, I do not split it with him. I'm sorry, I really thought that was his department.....

  18. Nina Says:

    Apprentice Fun-Frugalist - I like you!

    Simply, I like a gentleman. Call me traditional, but I think a man should pay for most dates when in a relationship. Splitting the bill is embarrassing, either he pays or you do. I am a very independent woman, empowered, earn my own money rah rah rah but I still find it very attractive it a man pays on a date, it's probably just instinctual for me as well to know that they will be able to support me in the future.

    I'm not a gold digger or wanting to take advantage of my situation. I just like a gentlemen and same with Apprentice Fun-Frugalist, my father always pays for my mother, so it's something I've been brought up with also.

    Then again, some are OK with splitting. My friend's BF splits down to the very single scoops of ice cream (even if its in the same cup) and I think that's just darn right embarrassing. I'd toss that tightarse.

  19. i26 Says:

    I offered to pay the first time i went for dinner with a girl. but since then we have gone to restaurant and bar more than five times and i always had to pay the whole bill. When the bill came she said i don't have cash and i don't want to use my card either. It has been around fifty dollars each time, and the only thing i could do was to eat something at home and only order a drink for myself, but food and drink for the gril. when i wanted to kiss her she said it is early to kiss in the first three months.

  20. i26 Says:

    Is it polite if i ask her that we should split before we go to a restaurant next time?

  21. coopersgirl Says:

    i love this!! First i must say i greatly appreciate Apprentice Fun-Frugalist approach. I have always said the woman's movement for me is about equal opportunity adn rights BUT NOT EQUAL TREATMENT. God created a female when he made me and as a general matter, i dont want to be treated and handle the same as a man.
    My boyfriend and i recently broke up...literally 3 days ago and one of the issues was our approaches to money. He makes 100k+ which equals exactly twice as much as me BEFORE we include his annual bonus. Yes, i like for a man to pay for our dates/ entertainment and yes, i will occasionally chip in and am a very good gift giver too. We've been dating for over a year and exclusive for almost a year. For the first 8mths of the relatiosnhip he was unemployed like so many Americans but now things are going very well for him.
    Well, after a series of discussions he said "You grew up in sunny cali relaxing on the bech, went to college and now make X. I worked hard to get into a great college and grad school and now make XX. We are both being paid fairly and what we deserved based on the work we've put into our career goals; and I AM NOT going to raise you up! If i was willing to trick (slang for paying a girl for her company) i can be with a girl who's 22 (we're both in our early 30's) - but i want someone who doesnt want me for my money" (lately he frequesntly says its not fair that i can save money while he pays for outings)

    Well, nothing more to say about that. He wants us to stay together but i'm not that kind of woman and dont want to be. Make sure whoever you find agrees with you about money.

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