Tom and Annabelle had a wonderful time over their first dinner together. They talked and laughed all evening, until the check arrived. Since Annabelle had invited Tom, a fellow attorney, out for the evening, she offered and proceeded to pay the check. She was taken completely by surprise when Tom began to divide the total on his calculator, and then paid for “his share”. Annabelle was hurt, feeling that a great evening had been ruined. So, who pays? Well if this were about 60 years ago, or anytime before, that answer would be simple, obvious, and I’d be construed as strange for asking. However, that is no longer the case and if you took a poll while walking down the street you’d find a lot of different attitudes about the financial etiquette of dating.
Some men still do not believe that a woman should pay…ever. I think you would find most men to be relieved when a woman offers to pay, and some might even be offended to always be expected to pay. Most people agree that the person who asks for the date should be responsible for the financial end. That’s great for first and second dates, but what happens when you mutually agree to meet for coffee or at the movies?
Well, before you two get into your first argument at the movie theatre ticket booth…talk a bit about it. Now, you don’t have to get into a two hour discussion about each other’s opinions on investments and your 401K’s, but just mention that either A.you’d feel more comfortable paying your own way (especially if you’ve been seeing a lot of each other) or B. making it clear beforehand who would be responsible for the “bill” of that evening. If you’ve gotten past the formalities of the first and second dates, you should probably be comfortable enough to do this. Just remember, it’s nice to insist on picking up a tab once in a while, just like it’s nice to hear that he’s willing to pick it up for you. When you do “pay your own way” it will make those occassions all the more special, and you won’t feel like you or he has wasted a fortune if things don’t work out between you.
Now, as you get further into your relationship you may find that the two of you have very different attitudes about money. You may have decided to never tell a date what you make or where you have your money invested, whereas the new guy you’re dating may enjoy telling you and everyone else that he makes $100,000/year and has a multitude of stock options.