Dating Etiquette: Paying for dinner/drinks/entertainment

posted 7 months ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
2318 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Courthouse

I agree with most PP that I believe whoever did the asking should pay for the date. I also think it’s nice to contribute somehow. On my first date with my now husband, I believe he asked me out (I can’t remember)! So he paid for our meal. But we got shakes after from Steak-N-Shake and I paid for those. Obviously, the shakes don’t cost that much. However, I think it’s nice to chip in. 

I also think it’s a little weird when people nickel and dime each other for dates. I would never want to be with someone who saw the cost of dates as something that needs to be 50/50 on every little expense. 

Post # 17
15 posts

I believe the man should pay for the first few dates to be courteous and gentlemanly and as a signal of interest.  Then after that I believe the woman should start paying and fall into somewhat of a rotation. 

When my partner and I lived apart (30 miles distance), whoever drove to the other person’s area would get treated.  Now, we live together and we take turns on dates and go 50/50 on the day-to-day living costs. 

I’m very financial “fair,” however.  My friend who makes less than average and wants to be a Stay-At-Home Mom tends to date guys who pay more.  In her and her partner’s relationship, her partner pays for the bulk of things and overall I think they have settled more or less on an income ratio split.  Her partner seems to waver between being happy to pay more because (as he says) “It’s my job” and being slightly resentful of her not paying more, which comes out in occasional outburts when he is stressed financially.  

Post # 18
369 posts
Helper bee


I don’t really expect a stranger to be paying for me. Awkward.

If the date is arranged by online app that matches strangers, I think both parties should be prepared to split the first date. Anything other than that is simply awkward.

If the first date is between known persons (friend, friend-of-friend, colleague, acquaintance), I think there’s higher stakes in reputation, and the person ASKING should pay for the date.

Historically, men have been expected to be paying for first date because of the latter being more common, and men were askers. 

Maybe just me but I feel weird letting a stranger buy me dinner. I think my limit is at coffee.

Post # 19
636 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Since it was always a guy who did the asking though… As a feminist this is something I’ve given a good amount of consideration to and the answer really is: it depends. In general I prefer a guy to pay for a first date because 1.they had always done the asking 2. I know I’m fun to be around and they’re paying for the pleasure of my company *all the sass* 3. While I’m not a huge fan of gender roles the fact of the matter is I’m taking a risk when I go on a date, a man is most likely going to be able to overpower me and by putting myself in a date situation I am compromising my safety. If he wants me to take that risk he needs to put forth the financial risk of the cost of a meal or what have you 4. Just because I want to be treated equally doesn’t get you off the hook for being a gentleman. My dad always treated my mom like an equal and respected her, he showed that respect by opening doors, paying for meals ect. that’s the example I have and it’s a hard one to live up to but I’m not impressed by minimal effort. 

I was always prepared to pay for my own meal but rarely did. The exceptions where when I would get the feeling that the guy was going to expect something physical for paying for my meal and would get pushy about it. If I paid then it made me feel like I was sending a message that this wasn’t going anywhere. 

Sometimes if the guy seemed really into me like he was going to be crushed that there wasn’t going to be a second date and it seemed like he didn’t have a lot of money I would pity pay (for my own meal) but not typically. 

After a couple dates though I’d always start insisting we take turns. 

Now that I’m married it’s kind of fun to immediately hand the bill over to my husband as if I would never even consider paying for my meal, because you know I’m just such an absolute gem….so he can pay for it with our joint account. 


Post # 20
677 posts
Busy bee

I’ve always offered to pay for dates, regardless of who asked. Most times, the man rejects my offer. 

With my husband, we have the same bank account so it really doesn’t matter. 🙂

Ultimately, whatever floats a couple’s boat, it’s really none of my business. I’ve seen some bizarre stuff- a friend of mine never paid for any dates at all, in fact she even asked her boyfriend for an ‘allowance’ while she was a student. He declined, but I thought the fact that she asked at all was INSANE. I predicted the relationship would fail, but they’ve been married, oh, 17 years now. 

Post # 21
884 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

lauralaura123 :  When a guy is still courting you, I think he should pay. I also think the guy should be planning dates and initiating conversations for the first few months. Once you have officially established yourself as boyfriend/girlfriend, it’s fine to start splitting expenses. 

My husband actually still pays for all of our dates, with the exception of me treating him on his birthday. We split household expenses 50/50, but he still pays for all dates because he makes more money than me and because he likes to be the provider. Basically any money we spend “together” he pays for. This arrangement works well for us.

Post # 22
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

SVandy60918 :  I agree and disagree with some of your points about dating

But I lol’d hard at flinging the bill at your husband – I do the same.  He’s weird in that he always wants to make a show to whoever is serving us that he’s paying.  He’s even made me give my card for our joint account to him in advance when he forgot his at home, only so he could use it to pay.  

Post # 23
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I’ve always been mostly broke or barely getting by, and Darling Husband makes a good salary, so when dating (and while we’ve been married), I mostly contribute to the relationship in non-financial ways. He would take me out for dinner or drinks, and I would have him over for a delicious meal! I would always go get a second round for us if we went out, and I always spoiled him so he never had anything to complain about, and our finances were always an open book. We helped each other get out of debt too. Nothing really changed after marriage either. The only bill I ever worried about was paying off my car loan, and getting out of debt in general. I guess we are more 1950’s than most couples but I don’t like the idea of splitting everything in life down the middle. I don’t pay the bills, he doesn’t clean the house, but we don’t “keep score” or split things since that’s just not our style.

I always offered to pay on dates but no one ever took me up on it! Most guys seem to take pride in their ability to pay, but they love it if you get them another round of what they were drinking earlier.

Post # 24
171 posts
Blushing bee

I fall into the “if I ask you to do something… I am expecting to pay but if you ask me…I am also prepared to pay…just in case!”

Currently, I have less financial obligations than he does and I make more money…. so right now, I pretty much pay for everything when we go out but I have zero problem with this and treat my friends who I enjoyed hanging out with, the same way if they can’t pay. 

Not going to stop living my life, traveling, and having good company just because someone can’t pay. 

Now, with my dude (who I have known since I was 15 …I am 36 now…but only started dating about a year ago) I do see a return on this investment someday. His career path has incrimental raises that will take him to making double what I make in less than 4 years. I am less certain of my career path (aiming for a 6/hour jump in the next 6 months but after that..I don’t know) 

But even if for some insane reason, we do not work out… I will have zero regrets on how I have spent my money and time because all my experiences in life have made me the person that I am and I like me. 

So….who should pay? I say whoever is able to! If splitting works, do it…if it alternates…great! Everyone’s situation will be a little different … and as long as everyone is open and honest and having a great time, the idea of traditions and obligations go out the window ^_^ 

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