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Dating: When to Split the Check

who should pay on a date

In these modern times, women and men are equal and often share the financial responsibilities with each other. I’m all for equality and financial independence, but where is the line between gentlemen and jerk? When is it appropriate to split the check on a date? If I insist on paying, am I insulting my lady friend?

None of these questions have easy answers, but I have some personal rules that have worked so far. I always insist on paying for the first dinner/date. Call me old-fashioned; I was just taught the man should buy at least on the first time. I believe it’s essential to get a handle on the woman’s finances somehow on the first couple dates. Knowing the woman’s employment status, financial history and background, and general opinions on money are a good start. If she is the type of lady who expects me to pay for virtually everything, I usually make the first date the last.

With any luck, the woman usually offers to pay for at least part of the date by the second or third date. If not, very awkward situations tend to arise. While I don’t believe in the woman paying for everything, I think in most cases she should at least offer to pay her part. In my personal dating history, the women who haven’t offered to pay have ended up breaking my heart the worst.

The financial circumstances at the time also have to be considered. If the woman is a student like me or is having trouble making ends meet, my expectations financially are lowered compared with someone in a stable situation. If I’m broke or going through difficult financial times, I’m just honest with the woman up front about my situation. If she doesn’t understand, she’s not for me anyway. And if she does, we might have a great free date at the park.

Splitting the check does sometimes feel unmanly to me. I know it’s ridiculous to some people to think that, but societal norms and other influences have made me feel that way. The best way to get rid of that feeling has been taking a very honest look at my financial situation before the date. No matter how much I want to treat the woman to an expensive date, I simply can’t afford it usually on a college student budget.

It may be cliche to say that honesty is key, but it’s absolutely true. If I can’t be honest about my finances after a couple dates, it’s obviously not going to work. Also, if the woman and I can’t talk openly about splitting a check, how would we ever talk about much more important issues?

What are your rules about splitting the check? After how many dates should the woman offer to pay (if at all)? What other factors should be considered concerning finances in dating?

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