Online Dating Blog

Who Should Pay on the First Date?

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I was discussing online dating with a friend recently and she explained how she has twice ended an online dating relationship with men due to the fact that they didn’t even offer to pay for her on the first date. These dates weren’t anything expensive either, just coffee. These men had also established that they had well paying jobs. I’m surprised that this happened to her twice in a few months so I think this topic is worth covering.

Guys, the rule is simple: you really should offer to pay. Just as dressing nice is important on your first date because you want to show her respect, paying for her coffee or meal sends the same message. Many women are looking for a man who will take care of them and I know quite a few who are more than willing to admit it. Don’t have a great date with a real connection and then blow it by not

Rules For The Guys

  • If you’ve established that you are having money issues prior to the date, it’s fair for each of you to pay for yourself.
  • If you offer and she declines, that’s fine. I don’t think it’s necessary to force the issue. It’s fine to try to convince her but don’t be stubborn. Just say, “I’d really like to do this for you”. If she wants to pay for herself, allow her to. Remember: it’s about respect, not money.
  • Active dating, especially online dating, can get expensive. Unfortunately for you, this isn’t an excuse to avoid paying for her. My approach when I was having several first dates a week was to always try to make sure we did something like coffee or meeting at a bookstore to keep the costs down. Save the dinner dates for when you suspect there’s a real connection prior to meeting.
  • First dates are a sensitive event. Not only are you analyzing her every word and action, she’s doing the same to you. Don’t ruin a great date by sending her an unintentional message when it comes time to pay.

Ladies, I think each date should be measured on its own merits. Just because my friend broke things off when the men didn’t pay doesn’t mean everyone should. If things are going great aside from this single fact, I would ask that you consider to give the man another chance. He may just have temporarily lost his mind talking to you. After my first date with my wife, I forgot to ask for her phone number. Not because I didn’t want it but because I was on cloud 9 and simply wasn’t thinking. Things aren’t always as they appear.

I actually tried to convince my friend that she should give one of the men a second chance since there seemed to be some connection between them. She could not be moved, though. She said she’d been down that road before and she had no interest in dealing with it again. She wanted someone who is truly interested in her and she wanted him to be willing to show it. I can accept that but I think it’s a shame that a man who did so much right lost his chance with this woman over five dollars worth of coffee.

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About the Author:

Brad initially struggled with online dating but over time became quite successful using it. He met his wife using online dating and has been giving advice and helping people improve their results since 2007. He has written a Free Online Dating Guide to help others find success with online dating. You can learn more about his personal experience using online dating and running this website here.

Discussion

  1. Brad  March 5, 2010

    Yeah, every situation will be different so I wouldn't argue there's a universally correct answer. I do believe that as a man offering to pay will never do you harm as long as you don't press the issue. Making the offer to pay is often more important that the actual act of paying.

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  2. Moeen  March 5, 2010

    Hmm, interesting. Actually, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this one. Every woman I went out with either paid beforehand or said specifically they don't like it when guys are chivalrous, or go dutch on the first date, as it seems condescending to them. Perhaps the women I meet are more egalitarian? Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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  3. Moeen  March 6, 2010

    Hmm, interesting. Actually, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this one. Every woman I went out with either paid beforehand or said specifically they don't like it when guys are chivalrous, or go dutch on the first date, as it seems condescending to them. Perhaps the women I meet are more egalitarian? Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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  4. Helen  October 16, 2011

    In my years of dating I have had two guys buy me drinks but never dinner. Where are the chivalrous men? I would love to meet just one. Please!

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  5. Dave  December 30, 2011

    There’s nothing wrong with making a woman foot half the bill on the first date.

    Moreover, spending your moolah might reap a big “thank you” from your date. But it won’t generate even a smidgen of attraction.

    Paying for a woman won’t lessen her attraction toward you. As long as she doesn’t interpret yout generosity as an attempt to get her to like you, you’re fine.

    But when you feel that icky sensation on in your gut that squawks, “If I don’t pay, my date won’t like me,” and then shell the cash, she’ll interpret your “kind gesture” as an attempt to get their validation and approval.

    How in the world do women pick up on this? Are females endowed with psychic abilities giving them the power to know
    what we’re thinking at all times?

    Most women aren’t endowed with psychic abilities. They don’t need to.

    When a man does something to get a woman’s validation she hears it in his tone of his voice and sees it in his body.

    The words “I’m A Validation Hungry Little Puppy Dog” are practically scrawled across his forehead in permanent red ink.

    “So what if I’m a validation hungry little puppy dog?” you might argue.

    Women, my friend, feel no attraction toward men seeking their validation. Female friends of mine have confirmed this.

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  6. Walt  May 10, 2012

    I beleive that a guy should insist on paying for the first date. However, I also beleive that in the new online world the first meeting is not the first date. The first meeting is to see if we will progress and like each other enough to move on to the first date. Therefore, I beleive she should expect pay half in the first meeting. And it is a good idea to keep the first meeting simple…a drink…coffee…. Why would she expect him to pay if she has no intention of ever seeing him again? Just because he is a man? Btw… most often I still pay when we keep it simple. But is is very nice when she offers.

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