How Do You Decide Who Pays On Dates?


There was a time when who handled what on a date was fairly straight forward. However, modern dating conventions have led to shifting mindsets, as one study shows.

A study by the American Sociological Association found that 64 per cent of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, but 76 per cent felt guilty about accepting women’s money. Moreover, most couples agree that in a long-term relationship, sharing financial responsibility is an important quality, so the problem is figuring out when that should start:

In terms of behaviour, even if men are paying a larger proportion of expenses, 4 in 10 men and women agreed that dating expenses were at least partially shared within the first month, and roughly three-fourths (74 per cent of men, 83 per cent of women) reported some sharing of expenses by six months

So, how do you handle the problem? Do you have any expectations that your partner will help pay for dates? At what point do you begin to share financial responsibility for outings?

Men Want Women to Split Dating Costs But Are Scared to Ask [PsyBlog]


  • I feel uncomfortable if the man is always paying. If he pays on one date, I’ll make a point to pay the next.

    • With my GF she was even a bit uncomfortable with me offering to pay for all of the first date we ever had. Splitting bills or alternating are great ways to deal with it.

  • I think it’s a pretty difficult one. As a girl, I feel guilty letting the guy pay and sometimes I feel like I owe him. I know I don’t and would never do anything solely because of that but it can be a bit awkward and it’s hard to know what someone else expects when you first meet them. I’ve also heard someone else put it this way: the guy should pay because the girl usually spends more money and effort going in to a date than a guy would, she has to do her makeup and get nice clothes and grooming etc, whereas guys generally just do sh*t shower and shave.

    To throw another spanner in to the works, if you split bills equally all of the time, you could be giving off a bit of a friend vibe (especially at first) and it can be hard to tell if the guy is being cheap, egalitarian, or just isn’t all that interested in you and can’t be bothered spending his money on you.

    I’ve also been in situations where I feel like I’m emasculating when I pay for the whole date and I only do it because I’m nervous and just want to avoid the awkardness of who pays or I feel like he’s paid too many times and don’t want him to think I’m a gold digger.

    • I’ve also heard someone else put it this way: the guy should pay because the girl usually spends more money and effort going in to a date than a guy would, she has to do her makeup and get nice clothes and grooming etc, whereas guys generally just do sh*t shower and shave.
      I’ve read something similar and personally thought it was a load of BS. Regardless of what I’m doing or where I’m going I like to put time and effort into my appearance and make sure I’m presentable. It’s not that hard to change things enough for a date rather than work, and it certainly doesn’t cost any more or less considering most of the products used are already on hand (i’m nothing if not prepared). Besides, imo it’s like saying “I’m going to the effort of gracing you with my lovely presence, so you sure as hell had better pay up otherwise I’ll find someone else.” It just seems tacky.

      • I do think ‘Person’ has a point. A lot of women spend a significant chunk of their income on new outfits, makeup and salon visits — often they’ll do this specifically for a date. Meanwhile, even the most metrosexual guy on earth would be hard-pressed spending the same amount of money on his appearance. Most guys, meanwhile, barely spend any money preparing for a date (unless you count buying condoms).

      • I can see how you would think that, being a guy and all, but being a girl requires a lot more maintenance than you would imagine. I’m not saying that it means you’re scrubby or that you have to pay us for the favour of our company, but, it is a bit uneven how much time and money a woman spends on her appearance. Blame society, vanity, whatever, we just have a lot more options on what and how we can change/enhance our appearance and that has an impact on our um budgets haha.
        I think it’s more about gauging the effort another person makes accurately and trying to match it. Just like how if someone makes significantly more money than the other, the other (poorer) person has to make more of an effort in other areas (home cooked meals, organising things etc.) to make up for the disparity (in general) unless the couple has a different dynamic that they’re happy with.

        At the end of the day it’s much easier for a guy to look what society considers presentable than for a woman to. I’m not saying it’s fair or it’s right but these are the waters we navigate when dating.

        • I’m not a guy and quite honestly I think it’s pretty biased of you to assume I am simply because I didn’t agree with you. I also thought it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t a guy seeing as I start talking from experience about how easy it is to go from a day look to night look with make-up, etc and that I mentioned I have everything I need to look presentable (regardless of occasion) on hand anyway. And yes, buying everything a woman needs to look good can get quite expensive, but that’s still no excuse to expect a man to pay for dinner because we are able to work and earn a living these days, which in turn means we are able to pay our own way regardless of whether that means paying for skin care, hair care, make-up, clothes, manicures/pedicures, etc or just dinner. Suggesting such a thing also shows a huge amount of disrespect for one’s date and men in general.

          As for society’s expectations of us, yeah, that is a little unfair, but remember, you’re also a part of society, so if you really feel that strongly about what is expected of us then you could work towards changing peoples views. Meanwhile I like how make-up and beauty products make me look so I’ll continue to use them even if that means I’ll be more out of pocket than a date or partner.

  • when i was dating i took it in turns, or if I paid for dinner i found usually they paid for drinks/desert afterwards if we went to a different venue. I didn’t like a first date with out at least an attempt to pay for something from the other side.

  • Dated a guy a little while ago who instisted on paying for everything, and it was getting silly when the Pizza shop guy was having to choose who’s money to take because I kept trying to pay. Even after a little talk where I tried to tell him that paying for stuff/contributing was important to me…’ he was ‘ I am a man I should pay.. ‘ but then I cooked him his favourite desert, so i still felt like I was contributing.

    I will insist on throwing in at least half the bill every time, ( Have cash and be prepared ) or sometimes it’s just easier to hand over the 20 buck note for the first date coffee and make a run for it ‘sure I’ll call/text’

    But this is also the fun in dating, you get to find out if their values meld with yours, and if you feel you are being taken advantage of stop seeing that person.

  • It should just be natural. You just kind of know when to pay and when to split.

    I think after you’ve paid for dinner or something at least ones. The girl should definitely insist on paying, or be offering. I think that’s fair and also a sign that she’s a good person. Then how that goes, naturally just ends up.

    I was out on a date with a girl a few weeks ago, and she paid for the meal while I was off in the bathroom. I totally would have paid for the whole meal. The thing is, I didn’t have any clue how hard to push, ‘no let me give you money.’

    I pushed gently, ‘don’t be silly, let me at least give you my share.’ But not really any harder and it dropped off quickly. That’s right yeah? Better than throwing money or really insisting? Just the acknowledgement and offer.

  • Personally I think it’s a little outdated to expect the man to pay for everything, seeing as most women work and earn a living and thus should be able to afford to contribute in some way. I prefer to pay my own way or take it in turns. Of course, I’ve been on the odd date where the guy has insisted on paying, so what can you do short of throwing money at one another? At the very least, if one insists on paying, the other should offer to pay them back or pay next time, or even pay for dessert/drinks elsewhere.

  • splitting the bill makes it seem less like the guy is trying to pay for sex. (even if it doesn’t eventuate)

  • I’m a bit of a late starter, 25 and only had my first actual date a touch over a month ago (always been far too shy). We went to the movies and I pre-booked because I felt it was going to be packed, I didn’t ask for anything because it just felt natural that I should pay. After that she paid, then we paid our own ways.

  • My courting days are behind now, but I always found setting expectations early with “Can I buy you dinner” or “Can I shout you to a movie” was not only helpful, but seemed to have a higher acceptance rate!

    • That is lovely! It sets it up really well. And if you shout the movie, she can always buy the snacks 🙂

  • My partner and I have a simple rule, whoever had the idea to go out, pays. some months I ask more, others, her. In the end, it all works out and it’s fair that way. Especially with pay and other expenses. eg: If my car rego is due, I’m less likely to want to do something, but she is, and vice-versa.

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