Renée is our incognito "Dear Abby," if you will. Veteran marriage counselor and published author, Renée gets to the heart of it without prevarication. Enjoy this week's truism on Ask Renée...
Q: “I know this might sound like a ‘dated question’ but I’ve done some Googling and I couldn’t find a direct answer. Maybe you can give me one. When it comes to first dates, should I always expect the man to pay?” — Maria R.
First, I’m honored that you came here after going to Google. I thought they had an answer for EVERYTHING! I'm a traditionalist, so if you’re asking me personally I think it’s a nice gesture for the man to cover first dates.
But let’s remove me from this and look at the question objectively.
Dating is an investment.
You are using that time to get to know a potential life partner. In this sense, a date is somewhat like a business deal — in which you are both investing to see if the partnership is a good mutual fit. From this boiled down perspective, whoever initiated the date should pay. If you ask a client out for lunch to discuss expanding your business relationship — you front the bill. So technically when anyone asks anyone else out (male or female), the asker should offer to pay (and mean it).
Doesn’t it send a mixed message to make the first move and then not follow through by paying for the date you initiated?
It seems this rings true in the LGBT community as well. Revelist reports:
Match.com recently released a new study on singles in the LGBTQ community to find out how folks in the community experience the dating world and, after surveying over 1,000 singles 18-70+, learned that 62% of LGBTQ singles believe the person who initiated the date should pay.
I mentioned before that dating is an investment...and I think we should expand on that. We're talking about the monetary element of this, but dating is also an investment of time, effort — an investment of oneself. When one party picks up the bill (man or woman), they communicate that they value your time — that they value you.
So, the monetary aspect of dating (I believe) falls on both parties at some point in the dating process.
From a heterosexual female perspective, first dates should be handled by the man. In my opinion, this also applies to dates set up by a matchmaker. But what about down the road? Why not surprise him by planning and paying for the 2nd or 3rd date? By doing this, you are communicating back to your new love interest that you also value his time and effort. Doesn't it feel nice when someone plans a special date and pays for your evening? I think we should all be taken care of like that throughout the dating experience (male and female).