Women, this is why you should NEVER offer to pay on the first date


Are you paying or is he?

By Laurel House

As a dating coach, I have so many clients who ask me for dating advice on this confusing and highly debated first date etiquette question. And I ask them:

What do you want him to do?

Do you want him to pay?

Do you want to feel taken care of… honestly?

ALL of them say “Yes!” They want him to pay. They want to feel taken care of.

So then I ask:

What if you offer and he allows you to pay half?

How will you feel?

Will you resent him?

Consider it a pink flag?

Think he's cheap?

Question if he's really that into you?

Their response? “YES!” So in other words, by you offering to pay, you are playing a game, manipulating him, testing him, and setting him up for failure… NOT the way you want to start a possible relationship.

So… Who pays on the first date?

He does. Period. Friends go dutch. Business associates go dutch. Dates don't. What do you want? A friend? A business partner? A job? Or a boyfriend that might lead to a husband?

Ladies… never put your credit card down, do the fake reach, or even offer to pay on a date again. More than first date etiquette, it’s about setting the expectation and being truly to your relationship needs and wants from the first date. I don't care if you’re wealthier, uglier, fatter, less popular, more pathetic, or luckier (to be out with him than he is with you). You are the woman. Your presence and radiance is payment enough on that first date. In fact, it's payment enough on the first several dates. The act of pulling out a credit card or cash from your wallet at the dinner table is a masculine act and it is not for a feminine woman to do.

Paying = providing (masculine). Cooking/gifting = nurturing (feminine).

When the check comes, don't be awkward. Don't rush up and go to the bathroom. Be confident in knowing that it's ok for him to pay. Let him pay. When he puts that credit card down, look him in the eye, smile, and say "thank you so much. I really enjoyed dinner/lunch/drinks with you."

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The Male Opinion…

Do you want to know what the majority of my male dating coaching clients say about women offering to pay on dates? Here are a few responses from men:

It's awkward.

It feels like a test.

It feels manipulative.

It makes me wonder if she's one of those uber women's lib people who won't allow me to treat her like a woman.

I question if she actually enjoyed the date.

It just feels wrong. Of course I will pay the check!

Later down the line, if you are in a relationship, you can pay in other ways on other dates. How?

You can be responsible for atypical dates like cooking dinner and buying the ingredients, which is also a serious turn on as it shows that you are a nurturer.

Have a special something arranged, like schedule a couple's massage, a cocktail making class, or arrange an activity like a picnic with wine and an amazing cheese assortment that you pick up from a specialty grocery store.

If it's a special occasion and you want to take him to his favorite restaurant, call ahead of time and have your credit card number put on file to pay without him knowing. Or sneak up in the middle of dinner and give your server your credit card, tell him to add a 25% gratuity, sign the check, and go back to the table to enjoy dinner. No bill will come to the table because you already discreetly and romantically took care of it in a way that makes him feel special.

Now, I’m not saying to go on that date and be a bitch, act entitled, or be dismissive. No. Be sweet, interesting (contribute to the conversation), interested (in what he has to say), effervescent, sassy- whatever you are… be you. But be a confident you. Be your best you.

Now, to clarify, just because he is paying, doesn’t mean that you are not a strong, self-sufficient, independent woman. This isn’t about independence. It isn’t about your ability to buy your own dinner and pay your own way. It’s about chivalry.

Another clarification: just because he is paying doesn’t mean that you owe him anything after.

The net? Let the man be the man, and the woman be the woman.

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