Dating Problems Solved: Who should pay?

In today’s blog I answer a member’s dating question.


Should a guy really pay for everything on a first date?


Dear James,

Should a guy pay for dinner and drinks on a first date?

I recently had a date with a girl who I met for drinks. It went really well and I took her out to dinner straight after.  I very much got on with her and hoped to see her again. Traditionally a guy would normally pay for the girl, but I had gone on a date with another girl previously who was adamant that she should pay for herself, even for a soft drink. With this in mind, I decided that we should split the cost for dinner. Later on it pertained that she wasn’t impressed and expected me to pay for everything. She didn’t appreciate it and ended it quickly. I didn’t mind but I am really confused now.

In today’s society women want their independence and I assumed they are generally happy to pay their own way (at least on the first date). It also spells to me that the guy is not “paying” his way into a potential relationship.

I’m not a miser and I’m happy to spend on my family and friends but I think that if you are complete strangers then I wouldn’t want her to take advantage from the off. A couple of close female friends of mine also agree with me, but I think for the future I would like to know the best way to go about it.



Dear Z,

Many thanks for your question. I feel your frustration, I really do.  Dating can be really expensive for a guy and it’s hard working out whether you should pay or not.

However, there’s one basic rule that we always suggest you stick to – the man should always pay!

The reasoning behind this is that it’s the man’s job to be a gentleman and take care of the lady.  You have to show her that you are a good provider and it’s something that goes back to cavemen times.  Above all, it shows that he can take the initiative and lead.

With that in mind, the woman should always at least offer to split the bill, but the man should not let her on a first date.

When it comes to dinner AND drinks then the rules can change slightly.   If the woman doesn’t at least offer to get a few rounds in then it could be seen as her taking advantage.

Going back to the lady who insisted she pay for her own drinks, did you ever see her again?  I’m guessing not.   If someone makes a point of not letting you pay, she’s pretty much telling you she’s not interested and doesn’t want to lead you on.

So I’m afraid you do have to open your wallet if you want to get more dates…..and you’ll get bonus points for tipping the waiting staff well.   If you can’t afford it then forget dinner and stick to drinks.

Good luck!

James Preece – The Dating Guru

One Response to “Dating Problems Solved: Who should pay?”

  1. Motown Philly Says:

    Hi James…..

    I have to disagree with the notion that the guy always have to pay on a first date… I think you need to judge each situation on an individual basis…

    During the date you need to start making a judement call on how the date is going, Has the girl interested you enough to make you want to pay of the meal, If not then you shouldnt feel like you have to pay.

    You also need to get a reading of the girls character,

    I went on a date two months ago which went great, The girl insisted she was going to pay for the whole thing and wouldnt have it any other way… I am still seeing her after two months.

    You should never pay on the first day because you feel you have to, only if you want to. And the way the date goes will let you make that decision.

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