Go Dutch or Go Home?

It’s the 21st century, but I know a lot of women definitely feel like the guy should pay for dates. On a first date, if the guy asked the girl out, I agree – that’s a given. But how much longer till the girl insists on paying or insists on a split check? And when I say insist, I mean like for real, not as some sort of hoop-jumping test to see if the guy lets her.

Personally, until and unless there’s exclusivity or some regularity of seeing each other, I think the girl and guy should pay their own way. I’m not a hardcore feminist, but I always feel like there’s some sort of indebtedness if I don’t pay my way almost all of the time…it’s just a feeling, but I hate it. And shouldn’t all relationships end up in a 50-50 split anyway, both financially and emotionally? (Ideally. Humor me.)

What do you think? Are there are any hard and fast rules you follow?

And on that note, being one in the “Go Dutch” camp as much as possible, how does one finance a dating life these days anyway? Drop $30 bucks for dinner here, $10 for coffee or a drink there – just for the sake of getting to know someone a tiny bit better? SHEESH!

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20 comments
  1. Lizzie said:

    I am more of a what’s yours in mine and what’s mine is mine. He should pay until you are an official couple, and even then he should pay more often. You shouldn’t feel like you are indebted because he paid. You should feel like he is indebted for being on a date with you. LOL.

    • Pam said:

      But why? I get the “indebtedness” thing, but letting the guy pay is just too easy…

  2. Boom said:

    I’m old fashioned, the man asked the woman out to spend time with him, he should pay. If both become a couple, then it will be ok for either one to pay for all or 50/50. My personal take: I’m married and I cook our meals at home, so when my husband and I go out for a meal, he BETTER pay! (doesn’t matter anyways, the money comes out of a joint account but he still whines :P)

  3. Boom said:

    I have to add…
    No woman should feel guilty or have a feeling of “indebtedness” if the man pays 100% of the tab. He ASKED YOU out. You, as the woman, have to lay down certain rules at the beginning what you expect out of this guy, like respect. Now on the flip side, if the woman asked the man out, yeah, EXPECT to pay for the meal but if he INSISTS on paying instead, let him. It’s not a sign of weakness on our part like we’re submitting to the male ego or whatever. Yes, we make our own money, live our own lives but if the man is willing to pay the tab and exhibit other behaviors that will tell the woman, “Hey, he’s a suitable match that will take care of me or (insert your own reason) ______________.” You have to ask yourself what you expect out of this guy, a relationship that’ll lead toward marriage, a fun time *wink, wink* or friendship. Certain rules apply towards to certain expectations.
    Oh, when in doubt, ASK before accepting the date on how you want the tab paid. Remember, lay done the rules and expectations in the beginning. ( the “beginning” evolves more than one date) 🙂

    • Boom said:

      oops! “evolves” is involves!

      • Pam said:

        I get what you’re saying, Boom! But I don’t think a guy’s ability or willingness to pay really says anything at all about him. Being a jerk and never paying or ever offering is one thing. Just because he pays though, well, heck, he could be using a credit card and just digging himself into debt for the sake of appearances…happened with my Ex….just saying… 😉

  4. Lauren said:

    Pam! Oh my gosh it is SO crazy that you’ve written about this topic. I literally just had a discussion with my significant other about this last night. (FYI we both go dutch and have been dating for about 6 months now).
    I’m all for splitting it, especially at the beginning of the relationship (first couple months).
    However, I believe there can be certain exceptions made:
    1. One person REALLY wants to do a certain activity /eat at a particular expensive restaurant that the other person genuinely despises. I think that the other person paying would be fair under this circumstance because both parties are having to compromise a bit.
    2. One person in the relationship is having a hard time financially for a legitimate reason that doesn’t involve him/her squandering money. Okay, so this has never happened to me personally but I’ve known couples to which it has happened. Yes, it could possibly turn into a Judge Judy situation if the couple breaks up and one person wants his/her money back and the other claims it was a gift. For this reason, “donations” should be kept to a minimum.
    However, I wouldn’t have a problem treating every once in a while if the other person had been laid off or if he/she was a new graduate and in the process of finding a job.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents. I enjoy reading your blog!

    • Pam said:

      Totally agree with you Lauren! Thanks for weighing in! 🙂

  5. Pete said:

    a very touchy subject, pam. i like to pay. it makes me feel like a good guy. and i think, like you and boom suggest, that it makes girls feel appreciated and valued.

    that said, we should think about this from another perspective. what’s one thing that makes new relationships more fun than established relationships? one answer is that it’s all new and novel. what happens when the newness/novelty wears off? that’s when relationships can get stale. i really don’t think that starting to go dutch after six months is going to help this at all. if anything, i think it’s more important to continue picking up the check as the relationship moves along into established-ness! i can imagine some girl thinking, “god, you’re so boring now, and i don’t even get a free meal out of the deal these days?!”

    another reason to pay (or go dutch) all the time is that consistency is key. why would you want a girl to think that you’re going to pay for every meal, only to surprise her with the fact that this isn’t the case once you all know each other better? it’s silly, i think, and it sets everyone up for uncertain expectations and uncomfortable interactions (in public, no less).

    as usual, the whole thing can be sorted out with frank, open communication right from the start. if you tell your new friend how you want it to be, and that doesn’t work for her/him, cut your losses and walk away with a still-intact heart. it will be for the best. but we all have to play the game, i guess.

    • Pete said:

      oh, by the way, i wanted to add that males and females should pay for whatever portion of the meal that they want to pay for. they should make up their minds what they want to pay for before the date, and their decision shouldn’t be based on the individual they’re going to dinner with. if you pay all the time, pay. if you never pay, don’t. the other person shouldn’t factor into the decision at all, in my mind. further, don’t let the date change your mind. whether the date goes well or terribly, pay the portion you decided to pay before the date ever started. after all, girlfriends/boyfriends come and go, but you will always have to live with yourself. stand for something, doggone it! 🙂

    • Pam said:

      I agree with consistency. That’s why I think going Dutch almost from the get-go is so important! No one can pay for another person forever, nor should they be expected to.

      Ha, and another thing, going along with your remark about the girl thinking the guy is boring and not even getting a free meal out of it: just another reason girls should pay their portion, I think. No gourmet meal, no matter how delicious, would EVER make me sit in the company of someone I didn’t like, and in the case of a date felt no connection to!! But some people might put up with that…why wonder if that’s why someone is going out with you?

  6. Omar said:

    Not really a touchy subject. Going dutch should happen after the relationship forms. When I was in a relationship, I paid for the initial dates, and even when we got together I paid for the initial vacations to Niagara Falls, and various other places.

    After the relationship gets serious, it is needed that 50/50 would need to happen or one partner would be on the brink of financial turmoil. Personally, if i found a woman that had a problem with going 50/50 and I had to pay for everything, I couldn’t be with her long as i would feel that she is using my good nature for her advantage.

    • Pam said:

      I agree! Especially with the last remark. Why wonder?

  7. Skank Tank said:

    I like to play a game whenever I go on a date, especially first dates or dates early on in the relationship. It pretty much determines whether or not you get a second date. When the bill comes I will ALWAYS offer to pay. If the guys says “ok” or “lets split it” theres no chance in hell Im going back out with him. Its my philosophy he needs to court you. Call me old fashioned but the man should be putting forth some kind of effort here (because p*ssy ain’t free) and should be showing you a good time. If he can’t show you one, how can he ever expect you to show him one?

    • Skank Tank said:

      I should add after a certain amount of time of exclusivity I do think the bill should start splitting.

    • Pam said:

      Hmm…but what if the guy is actually a super nice guy who’s shelled out a lot of money for dates and is just relieved that the girl is willing to split it? I think it would be strange for a guy to say yes to the girl paying 100% (unless she asked him out) – just bc that’s not the norm on a first. Him agreeing to split the check I’d be cool with if I offered — but I wouldn’t…never for the first, def. the second.

      Perhaps I’m not old fashioned at all…butI think dating should be more mutual courting so to speak…I should have to prove myself to him just as much as he has to prove himself to me…

      Of course, all these things could be a reason I’m still single. The Number One reason I’m so adamant about the 100% pay-your-own-way for both parties after date #1? A guy needs to really feel and know that he has to prove himself in other ways than simply pulling out a credit card… Again – JMO, and I’ve been single for a while now!!! 😉

      • Skank Tank said:

        to each her own Pammy, I just know that if a dude asks me out he better not be taking my offer to pay. Also, I don’t do the asking… gotta have a guy with some balls and if he can’t muster up enough courage to ask me out, then he’s probably not the guy for me.

      • Pam said:

        I hear ya Skank. And I’m with you on the asking – I don’t ask guys out either, so the first date at leastis a must!!

  8. Ashley said:

    Just wanted to say that I definitely agree on having the guy pay for the first date. …and maybe the first couple of dates, assuming he is always doing the asking out. I think if the girl asks the guy out on the second or third date, then she should be willing to pay or at least split.
    My bf and I have been together about two years now and we try to take turns paying for dates. He definitely makes a good deal more than I do, though, so I’d say I pay for about 2/5ths of the dates… and he’s usually nice and will pay for the more expensive meals… kind of an “I’ll get lunch, you get dinner” kind of situation. I really do think it’s important to factor in who’s making what (after you’ve been dating for a while, of course, and you’re comfortable having that conversation) because, let’s face it, times are tough right now!

    • Pam said:

      Good point Ashley… And it sounds like you two are doing it pretty well. No hard and fast formulaic approach + open communication is always key! 🙂

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