Once and for all, who should pay on a date?

Should it always be the guy signing the receipt?

I’m a single guy in the city. I’m really tired of gold-digging women expecting me to pay for everything on dates. I understand it’s appropriate to pay for the first date or two, but why is it that women can’t chip in at all when they want equality in every other part of life? How can I handle this? I want to continue to date but don’t want to go broke doing so.

No doubt, you’ll encounter women who are simply after a good meal. Many female clients have told me they go out with a new guy several nights a week just to get a free dinner. Don’t be a victim to such gold-digging. Pay for the first date if you initiate it. No need to take someone to an expensive restaurant on a first date. The focus should be on getting to know the other person, not judging each other by how much is spent.

Subsequent dates, though, aren’t that clear-cut. A man paying for dates is deeply rooted in tradition and widely accepted social etiquette. On the other hand, dating presents an opportunity for women to assert their desire for equality and to move away from 1950s thinking. Men and women then find themselves in a bit of a conundrum. Some people might think, “If women want equal pay for equal work, then they should contribute the same across the board.” If a man asks a woman to chip in on a date, she might think he’s cheap or uninterested. If a woman offers to pay, he might think she doesn’t want anything more than a friendship. If the man accepts the woman’s offer, he might feel emasculated and she might think he’s cheap.  

If you really like her, ask her out again. If money is an issue, simply go for a drink, coffee or something affordable. Consider something that won’t break the bank, like cooking at home, an outdoor activity or watching a movie. Explain that you’re open to other activities to get to know her so long as she can contribute. If she snubs you, then you know she isn’t the girl for you. If she is open to alternative activities or chipping in, then you’ve got yourself an understanding partner who might be worth pursuing. 

–  Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. E-mail him your questions at jonathan@jonathanalpert.com. Find Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter, and look for his new book, BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days, this April.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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