Who Pays On The First Date? It's Complicated....

Who Pays On The First Date? It's Complicated....

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Dating is full of anxieties that can strike even the most confident of people. There are so many rules about dating that you may have grown up with yet you may hesitate, wondering if times have changed enough from your youth to invalidate that practice in senior dating. This article is solely concerned with clarifying the murky matter of who should pay the check on a good first date.



Looking at the Numbers


One 2017 survey from the dating site "Match" concluded that 78% believed that the man should pay the entire bill on his own. That advice is however only suitable for heterosexual pairings; the rules of mathematics make it impossible for both men to pay the entire bill and this idea is a useless pursuit for lesbian dates since it would boil down to dining and dashing. When it comes to dating among the entire spectrum, the survey found that the majority opinion (62%)  was that whoever initiated the date should handle the check.



Some Good Advice


Whether you believe that the initiator should handle the tab, a fair practice is when each participant covers the cost of their order or evenly split the bill 50:50. It is important to consider that your date may not always be on the same page as you regarding what is going on. You might believe that you are seeing someone to start a potential relationship while that other party might think this is just a social outing.



Point #1: It All Comes Back to Communication


The first piece of advice when it comes to dating is to make sure that both parties are on the same page. It is not a great feeling to be taken somewhere nice, have a wonderful time, head home and wake up the next morning with an invoice from "Venmo" asking for the $30 from your portion of last night's bill.



Point #2: Payment Sets Expectations


The onus of how the relationship can go is on the initiator of the date. While the bills for future dates with the same party can be negotiated before they show up, paying the bill already sends a signal to a potential partner about how they can handle themselves financially and provide for someone else. It should be reiterated that while the initiator may be willing to cover the bill, that person should not have any sort of expectation of sexual congress as compensation.



Cover Your Bets


One handy piece of advice, that is still worth mentioning separately from the previous point, is to never agree to eat at a place that is out of your budget. If you are the initiator, ignoring this piece of advice will likely blow up in your face and sour the relationship; you cannot just take someone out to a four or five-star resort on the first date and then slum it at a fast-casual or fast food place on future dates.In cases where the other party is the initiator, you should still chime in on the venue. By keeping your income level in mind when selecting where you will go for food, flirting and conversation, you avoid coming across as exploitative or a gold-digger.



Other Perspectives


Talia Goldstein, the female CEO of a matchmaking company, found that when it comes to male-female dates, it is generally best to have the guy pay for the bill. While she concedes that women are increasingly promoted to be strong, independent women, there is also something nice about finding someone who will take care of everything and even make a woman feel special and pampered. As for the guy's position, he will generally be amenable to another date so long as the woman is not outrageously ill-suited or -behaved.Another perspective is to be willing to foot the bill but acknowledge and decline if the other party decides to pay their half. While going Dutch on subsequent dates is perfectly fine, a person should only relent on doing so on a first date if the other party absolutely refuses to have everything handled for them. This sort of situation can even lead to a subsequent date by saying a line like "You can cover it next time;" their reaction to this statement might also clue you into whether or not the chemistry is right for both parties. Furthermore, never let the lady you've asked out to offer to pay the entire bill; the initiator should either agree to pay the whole thing or concede to going Dutch. When it comes to same-sex pairings, the initiator should cover the first date's bill and the other party should cover the second.



© Robert Kneschke - Fotolia.com


Editor, 07/01/2021