I must admit when I rejoined the dating world after the somewhat lengthy (ahem) absence, I had no idea what the accepted standards and practices were for splitting the check on a date. I did not assume that the guy would pay on the date. I made absolutely sure that I had both a credit card and some cash, so that I could at least offer.
I know what you are thinking—the offering would have been a polite ploy that I had no intention of following. Untrue. I’m a control freak who likes to have pre-planned options. Plus, I’ve never bought into the notion that somehow the man should have to pay for everything.
But I can see where the confusion comes into being. In general, my rules had been:
- If I initiate the making of the date, I assume that I will be paying.
- If this is a second date, and he paid for the first one, then I assume I’ll be paying for this one.
- I always offer to pay at least my share.
Like everything else I thought I knew about dating, those rules were tossed out the window on my most recent first date (by the now boyfriend). I tried to pay on our first date, but was foiled by the person taking the orders (and by the man). I tried to pay on the second date, and was thwarted again. When I responded that this didn’t seem fair, he happily replied, “You’re right. It’s not.”
Did I argue? No. It was a nice gesture by a man who just wanted to be kind. I’m smart enough to appreciate the gesture and pick my battles. For those of you thinking about the issue of “what did he expect for his money,” the answer is: nothing but my charming conversation. I’d set out those ground rules pretty quickly, and he’s a gentleman, so I never thought twice about ulterior motives.
In the end, the only advice I can give you is to make sure you can take care of yourself if need be, but go with the flow. Ultimately, the date itself will be your guide.