Who Picks Up the Check? A Guide to Paying for Dates

Who Picks Up the Check? A Guide to Paying for Dates

Oftentimes, a wonderful date can get awkward very quickly when you aren’t sure who should pick up the check.

It’s not usual for a woman to feel unsure as to what’s the right thing.  Some women will get offended if a man doesn’t pay, some women will feel like a man is trying to buy her affections if he insists on paying, some women are happy to split the bill, while others don’t know what to think about who should pay.

THE BIG TRUTH IS – I don’t have the perfect answer as to ‘who pays’, BUT I do have a perspective or two that will assist you in most situations.

What I find interesting is; some of my dating and relationship colleagues tell women to NEVER ever pull out their purse, while other dating experts say that a woman should never judge a man by his ability or his level of assertiveness to pay…

In this modern world where women can earn as much or more than men and roles have changed, it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s appropriate.  Conversely, largely women still earn less than men so it’s a bit of a minefield.

paying for dates

This is why when you’re uncertain, the situation more accurately determines who pays, and certain considerations must also be taken into account for each situation.

If you’re not quite sure what to do when the waiter arrives with the bill, here are some general guidelines to help you out:

Instances when the guy pays:

  • Men are often expected to pay during the first series of dates, that is unless you insist on paying. By paying for the first few dates, there is the notion that the man is showing that he is responsible and capable of taking care of you. As this usually gets a favorable response from the ladies, it has become a common practice. **Although most men would like a woman to offer to pay.  When they do pay, men love a woman to thank them for it.  This shows appreciation and gratitude.
  • If he asked you out, it often goes without saying that he will be the one paying since the date is his idea.
  • During special occasions like your anniversary, your birthday or a holiday, most of the time he will pay, though not always expected to pay.
    • When you’re celebrating events such as your promotion or getting accepted into a company, he may take you out to celebrate with you. However, it must be noted that it’s the gesture itself that should matter more than what he spends on you.  Perhaps it’s you who pays or you both pay.

paying for dates

Instance when it’s your turn:

  • Since he pays when he asks you out, it only follows that you should at least offer to pay when you’re the one who asked him out.
  • If it’s his birthday, you can treat your date like a birthday present for him. You get plus points if you make reservations at his favorite place.
  • There are times when you may just be feeling generous, or you would like to show your appreciation for him. You can insist that this one’s on you.
  • If he insists on paying for most things then pay for the little things like; coffee, breakfast, buy him a magazine he likes, surprise him with his favorite chocolate, pay for the takeaway (men love the gesture).

Splitting the bill:

  • Steady couples often choose to share the bill, as your finances can directly impact one another. Oftentimes, steady couples also come to an arrangement for who gets to pay. For instance, you can take turns in paying the bill or one of you pays for the movie while the other pays for dinner.
  • Sometimes, both of you may be comfortable with splitting the bill. If this is what you prefer, let him know.
  • For both ladies and gents, it’s always a good idea to be prepared to pay the bill just in case – always have enough money on you or in your account to assist when appropriate.

If a man earns more money than you and insists on going out to fancy venues where the food and drink is expensive and he wants you to pay, and your income does not support this level of entertainment and social activity, then this will be something a healthy couple can talk about.  Discuss what both of you are comfortable with so that in the future, you and your date can come up with an arrangement for who picks up the check at the end of the date.

Dating can be expensive for a man.  Some men also feel that women are just looking for a human ATM machine.  They get tired of feeling expected to pay…

One way to take the pressure off is suggest doing things that don’t involve too much money. Early in the dating phase you can meet up for some exercise or a nice walk.  Catch up for a coffee or a drink and don’t expect dinner on the first date, especially if you met online.

Much of this all depends on what you value in a relationship.  What is actually important to you? If splitting the bill annoys you and makes you think he’s less of a man, then that’s okay, you are free to think as you choose, and at the same time is this way of thinking accurate and a deal-breaker?

As much as a woman loves to be fussed over and treated like a princess, is there any chance you could be over looking a great man while being focused one something that does not matter in the long term.

To clarify, I’m not suggesting that you hook up with a freeloader who bleeds you dry.  No woman wants that, nor does a man want that.  Just take a moment to consider what turns you on or off a guy, and if this mindset could do with a revamp moving you closer to an intimate and loving connection?

Take a moment to look at the big picture.

Does the amount of money he spends on you equate to what kind of partner he will be?

Perhaps the more important questions are: is he a good man, is he honest, open, attentive, loving, committed, interested in you, kind and considerate, is he responsible with money, does he live within his means or out of his means, will he be or is he a supportive partner on all levels?

If you would like to have children and build a lasting relationship then having an understanding of your and his finances, having a similar relationship with money and similar financial goals, will allow for a more compatible and flowing relationship.  BUT don’t throw the baby out with the bath water too soon in the dating phrase.

Chivalry is not dead, just make sure you’re clear about what that means.


Nadine Piat

Nadine is a Professional Coach, Writer, Speaker and the Founder of Healthy You Healthy Love. Nadine's mission is to inspire women to live a life full of love and inner peace!

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