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What are your thoughts on the etiquette of paying for dates?

Please read the thought provoking short article (or not) and provide your opinions.


kensmile4u 8 Jan 28

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I always offer to pay if she asked me out but, If I asked her out I'm grabbing the check and you'll never see it. Hell, I do that for friends I've asked to join me somewhere.

That's a good approach.

Nah, the last significant relationship I was in we both had good had jobs if I asked her out or to go somewhere with me I paid. If she asked me to go somewhere she paid. Pretty simple.


This conundrum is why I discourage doing much more than a first meet in a park, to just walk and talk. I figure if I and the other person cannot simply enjoy one another's company, without any distractions, it's not likely to get beyond that first meeting.

No pressure, no money need be spent ! And if things are obviously working well - plans can always be expanded ...

That's a good first date. What are your thoughts on dating beyond the first date?

@kensmile4u If there's a mutual desire to have a second date, then a meal, or a movie, might be a good way to learn more. Again though - keeping things simple and low pressure. This stuff is supposed to be fun !

@evergreen I agree keeping the mood lite is a golden rule. But who do you think should pay when you start regularly dating someone?

@Stevil I never thought i would get a serial killer to answer this post! What a surprise! So how do you handle dating? And at what point (pun intended) do you end the relationship? Lol

@kensmile4u depends on the people involved - no one-size-fits-all answer. Several times, I've offered to pay all or part of a bill, only to be told nicely - "that's ok - I got it"

@kensmile4u when they're in the trunk ...

@evergreen haha


If it is a first time online date or blind date, you go dutch because those are not even real dates. You never met the person, you don't know if there will be any chemistry, you don't even know if you will want to be there. For a first real date, it is better for the higher earner to pay and usually that is the man even in 2018, but not always. Sometimes if he pays for a movie, I will buy the popcorn. For an ongoing relationship you alternate who pays but if there is a wide pay gap the alternation should be of a type favoring the lower earner. Also, if I (I'm a woman) suggest a place that is more expensive than what we typically go to I will treat him even if he offers to pay since it was my idea. What complicates this is that many guys prefer to pay and I've decided if he feels strongly about it, it's not worth arguing over, especially if I am financially strapped at the time. Wow, I just realized the way I handle this sounds complicated but

but I just operate on the principles of being both considerate and flexible.

It doesn't sound complicated at all to me. It's based on your agreed upon ability to pay unless you request something special. Do you keep the same etiquette when the relationship gets deeper? For example living with someone?

kenmile4u, when I was married our money was comingled, so it didn't really matter who paid since it came out of the same joint account. However, I had some bad experiences with being negatively impacted by my husband's finncial decisions that I initially said no to but eventually said whatever because he would not otherwise STFU about it. And if we had had separate accounts I don't think it would have helped because if the house is at risk, it's at risk. So if I ever live with someone again it would have to be someone with similar values about money.

@Solidarity I've been through a similar experience. I like your words considerate and flexible. It would be nice if people held to those words in all types of relationships.


The article pretty much covers my opinion. My personal rule is... Everybody should offer; nobody should insist.

skado Level 8 Jan 28, 2018

That's never a problem for me. I just tell my date to get ready to dine and dash.

Do you at least let her sneak out first so she can warm up the getaway car? Lol

@kensmile4u Oh, I insist — that way she also gets away with the silverware I had her slip into her purse.


First dates or first meetings are probably best if Dutch treat. I usually prefer to pay my own share anyway, but will graciously accept if my date insists on paying. And I am always grateful in any circumstance where someone treats me.


I almost always pay on a first date. I'm not offended if she insists on paying her share or all of it unless I know her financial position is not as good as mine. After several dates, I will either continue to offer to pay or suggest that we alternate paying if she has a similar income etc.

I do a similar thing with friends. If we are more or less equal financially, we take turns paying. If I know I'm much better off, I will always pay and am happy to be able to do it. If someone else is much better off, they typically pay for me.


I have always thought of a date as a party for two. When throwing a party, my concern is that my guest(s) and I have a good time. I do not expect them to reciprocate, or feel obligated to reciprocate (especially sexually).

I am a little old fashioned, and feel that the gentleman should be ready to pay for the date, especially a first one. But it is perfectly acceptable for the woman to offer to pay part of it. If she does do that, she should make sure to let the man know at the end of the date or soon thereafter, that she wants to go out on another date with him.

If it looks like the relationship is going to "go somewhere" than both people should start having a conversation about finances and their values and priorities about it.

Ultimately it is about communication. Especially in this day and age when so many things are changing about gender expectations (mostly for the better I think).

I like the party for two mindset. I use a similar mindset except with a different focus. I try to treat every date like we are celebrating life. I also agree that communication is critical in today's multicultural and multigenerational dating environment.


I always pay for the 1st date, it is a me thing, after that, I often pay when out, hoping the lady may cook me dinner at her place. (Single dad sick of my own cooking). Strangely, my ex stopped cooking for me close to 30 years ago, since then I have had had ladies cook a meal for me less than a dozen times. My home is quite laid back and they always prefer to come here, and thus I have cooked many hundreds of time. Not fair really.


The person doing the inviting should pay.
When someone says "let's do lunch" I see that as dutch but if I invite my friend to lunch then I pay.


I always suggest coffee or beers. It's usually quiet enough to hear each other and no one feels obligated afterwards.


I'm an old divorced lady. I have paid for my share throughout my life. Now tho I feel if someone in his
50's or 60's can't pick up the tab for dinner , he probably shouldn't go. Now...I don't pay.

What are your thoughts on dating etiquette for younger people? Same rules you lived with or different?

@kensmile4u I think just meet for coffee or a drink at first...if its a big issue go dutch. After that personally I think the guy should pay, and the woman should pay every 3rd or 4th time or for a b-day.. Just hve to work out as the relationship goes on.


Well, that didn't eliminate too much confusion, did it? 😉

I prefer to keep dates simple and short, like meeting for coffee, when it's the "get to know you" stage. If someone insists on paying for my coffee, it doesn't result in a feeling of obligation on my part but I would expect to go dutch. Plus, I like meeting in places where a conversation can be had, so things like a movie are out. By the time I've committed enough for nice dinners and such, it should be less awkward to determine who will pay.

That is an elegant way to work through the potentially awkward issue.

Thank you, @kensmile4u. 🙂


I'm happy to treat, but always respect a dates choice to pay her own way, but if I've ask her out I'm always ready to treat.

Do your thoughts change when things get serious?

good question. should you find yourself in the complicated situation of a serious relationship, I think the way you, as a couple, have decided to handle finances, one pile of money or two, would kind of make the difference.


Have gone on a few dates and have no qualms on splitting the cost....but as stated on article most older men will not accept...

Do you think the way younger men handle dating is different from the article?

@kensmile4u yes think the younger generation are more comfortable in discussing the money issue...funny enough many like mine raised by a single mom understand that sharing expenses is not offensive or demeaning


I prefer to pay for myself in the early stages at least...some unenlightened men in my age group get very offended by this! Then I can find out if they are simply old-school and I can awaken them to the idea that I want to see them as much as they want to see me, or if their idea is, (quote) "I paid, now you owe me." (sexual favors) because they are still acting like it is the 50's.

I like how you mentioned there are unenlightened people with different sets of expectations. This could be from a generational difference like you alluded to with older men. Additionally i have noticed there are differences driven by cultural background as well.


Whoever does the asking should pay for the meal. The non-paying person should get the tip. My number one rule is to never order something I can't pay for myself even if it's clear I'm not expected to pay. Rule number 2. always offer to pay part of bill.


Seems to me that for couples where both are earning, both should pay. In the past, many women had no income, hence the man had to pay.

I expect to pay at least half of the time myself, often more.

Zster Level 8 Jan 28, 2018

I'm never dating again. It's a friggin' mine field.

True! You would hope that people will spend some time to catch their balance after a bad experience. But too many use dating as a distraction from their problems. So for a lot of people it looks like everyone is out there on the loose.


It's easy to say, "Whoever does the inviting does the paying", when 99% of dates are initiated by men, and women expect men to do all the initiating lol

I'm old fashioned so I pay anyway, but dates are ripe for manipulation for women to not pay for anything. How many women go on dates with guys they don't really like just for free drinks or meals etc? There is basically no risk for women and if they meet a good guy they are compatible with then it's a bonus.

Shouldn't people who aren't in a relationship pay for themselves at first, or offer to pay half the time? This all goes back to how society has formed opinions on these issues. Isn't the man deciding where to go and paying for everything part of the patriarchy? I thought women wanted to be more independent?

Women want men to make all the first moves including asking them out, then they want men to pay for everything, and then they want men to make the first moves when it comes to anything sexual. Men are basically at risk at all times in the dating/courting process. Then men are the first ones to be criticized for going about it in a way where a woman can interpret it as being wrong. I'm not talking about blatant sexual harassment or anything like that. There are those grey areas that I'm talking about.

Then women will think less of a man if he doesn't do things expected of a man like being aggressive or paying.

Is this conditioning or genetics? Both? I would say it's both. Conditioning is kind of in conflict with genetics here. No?

Just opening a discussion.

You bring up some good points. I suppose there will always be people who take advantage of societal norms. But this issue gets even more complicated when you consider there are different norms for the various generations and cultural backgrounds in the dating pool. I would really like to read a woman's perspective on your comments. Maybe you should make this a separate post If we don't get a woman to respond on this comment.


If I issued the invitation, I will offer to pay, but saying something like "may this one be my treat?" I don't just assume I will pay since that can also give the impression that something is owed in return. Circumstances sometimes change my approach, like when I recently met someone for brunch who I had met on this site. She had travelled a long distance, part of a longer trip, so I offered to pay for the meal.

You bring up a good point. What we say during a date can create the frame for future dates. Like you said "may this one be my treat" or something like "why don't i pay for this one and you can get the next one. That will open the conversation for two important questions. The first question is will we be having future dates? And the second question is will we be sharing expenses in some form?


i am old fashion. I always insist on paying. That is just one of the things that I was raised to believe in, that I still do.

Do you think those same rules apply to all ages?

@kensmile4u Young people do things different now. I know it does not.


That article wasn't helpful, at all. While they said less than 25% of respondents didn't say the man should pay, they didn't say the gender composition of that group. All I know is that if the check comes on the first date and the dude suggests they split it, it's highly unlikely that there will be a check to worry about on a second date.

I get that you think the first date is on you. If you start regularly dating is there a point where you will bring up the idea of sharing costs?

@kensmile4u Nope. I can't find a woman [that fits my parameters] that wants to go out with me when I'm willing to pay. Not going to reduce my pool of potential mates any further for something as meaningless to me as a hundred bucks or so.

Edit: Oh, did you mean regularly dating the same woman? Eh, that probably just happens. The girl I wanted to marry who wanted kids slightly more than she wanted me and I made about the same amount of money and it just kind of happened. We were so into each other the money never even crossed my mind. I just wanted to do as much for her and spend as much time with her as I possibly could. And I guess if it didn't it would depend on our financial situations.


It’s a question for the couple.

I agree with that but when do you bring the question up?

When you’re talking about dating. @kensmile4u


I would never expect anyone to pay for me nor would I pay for anyone else.

I'm not familiar with dating etiquette in the UK. I assume it is the same as the US. So when do you establish the "always buy your own meal" policy? Do you bring it up shortly after a date invitation is accepted?

@kensmile4u as soon as an opportunity arises

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