Who Pays on a First Date? (LIVE Clip from My Seminar)

You’re on a first date with a guy.

You just finished your drinks and the waiter hands you the check.

He’s about to pay. Should you offer to cover your half of the bill? Or just smile and say thank you when the guy puts his credit card on the table?

I’m not going to lie, in this week’s blog video, I get PRETTY controversial. But I think this REALLY matters, so I hope you’ll keep an open mind when you watch this.

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96 Replies to “Who Pays on a First Date? (LIVE Clip from My Seminar)”

  • YES!! Freakin’ Amen! I feel sorry for the guys for this double standard that they have to pay for everything, what a pressure. I do like a gentleman who opens the door for me, treats me like a woman, etc. and if he offers to pay, I wouldn’t refuse him. But I would never expect a man to pay for me, unless he insisted on doing something toghether, that was way out of my budget zone, and I know he has the money. I don’t want financial security from a guy, that’s not what I need. I need someone who makes me feel safe emotionally and respects me as an equal human being. And if he didn’t spend a fortune on me, then I don’t feel obligated to do anything I don’t want to either. I can understand that a man don’t want to be financially responsible for another grown up. You can be a generous person in so many other ways :)

  • What is happening here? Our world is so screwed up now. What happened to the days of a man being a man. If a guy asks you out then he should pay. Just like he should open your door for you, etc. Its called being a man. Men have never been so emotional that like what you said in your video to sit back and think.. Oh I’m paying for everything is my time not worth anything? Seriously? Come on! Things are getting so out of control in the dating field period and that’s why there are so many single women and men. It’s a lack of respect and men taking advantage. A man should not feel like a real man if he’s expecting the woman to go half on the date that he asked her out on to get to know her. Matt you speak about how it’s like going out with your best friend. It’s not, because your best friend isn’t hoping one day that you’ll become her wife. As women we look for men that can make us feel safe, be our protector, give us some form of stability. If the man is already complaining about splitting the check on the first date be prepared to sign on that line before the wedding so you can’t get half of his money when he divorces you.

  • thank you! at last somebody voiced this obvious thing in a neutral, matter-of-fact, inoffensive manner.
    the earlier a woman realizes the blatant truth behind this statement, the shorter her path shall be to a truly beautiful profound relationship.

    I used to support this theory that the guy gets to pay all the time, but then something happened that got me to revisit my attitude. I had a friend – a wonderful smart insightful ironic person whose company I enjoyed greatly. it could be that I was searching for her company a little more than she for mine, but on the whole it was a pretty balanced friendship. except for one thing: she always expected me to pay. I don’t know how this pattern came about, but it came to stay. and it is true I probably make twice what she does, but still. her birthday is Feb 15th and my birthday is Feb 17th, so, this year we met on Feb 17th to hang out and celebrate our birthdays of sorts. so, I brought her a present – she brought nothing. we went to a Frida Kahlo exhibition – I covered that. afterwards we went to a Moroccan restaurant – I covered that. each time a bill arrived, she wouldn’t make a single effort to at least part in on tips or something, she would just look at me expectantly, and that was that. it made me feel very belittled, insignificant, rejected even. as if my presence was so burdensome that I had to pay to compensate!
    so, it got me thinking: that’s what all these guys felt like when I expected them to pay by default…

  • Truly amen! I cannot believe the chorus of women expecting men to pay. I wish you’d also address the situation where the woman is financially better off.

  • This sound like MH’s own world view on money and women rather than any useful wisdom.
    If you’re in the process of getting to know someone you actually want to settle down with long term, then the idea that a woman could be treated like a man’s best friend just doesn’t wash. A woman in this context should come in a category of her own – ‘goddess’- a special companion! That is, the man’s attitude and behaviour should ideally be one of chivalry and a good helping of ‘awe.’
    So, the man shouldn’t hesitate to pay for ‘dates.’ Also, a woman could with some discretion clarify a man’s attitude to money before proceeding to the dating stage. This subject could covered in another MH video :/ .

  • I usually agree with you, Matthew, but on this I disagree. I am looking for a lover and partner. I already have a best friend. Several, actually. And none of them are hoping to sleep with me. Yes, my time is very valuable. As a woman, I have less time to get this romantic part of my life sorted than a man. Seriously. This is especially true after a certain age, and even moreso if a woman wants children.

    Women like generous men. Full stop. It’s appealing to us on an Instinctual level. Much like our looks appeal to men. Instinctual.

    That being said, I am happy to contibute what I can, and yes, I do offer to pay. I also make my own unique contributions in proportion to my income. For example, I’m taking a man I’m seeing to a concert in a couple of weeks. My idea, I’m planning it, getting the tickets, all on my dime. Happily.

    I think you need to work on this particular area and give more clear guidance. Usually your insights are clear and extremely helpful. I feel confused after watching this clip.

  • I think it is a mature confident responsible well balance woman who contributes to a date or meal monetarily. Who says a man is supposed to pay all the time. That’sexist and biased. If you were married wouldn’t you share the load of living expenses?
    Besides the allowing a man to pay for everything is giving up your power. Looks like you’re weak. Nothings
    sexier and attractive to a man than a confident empowered woman.even if it’s just taking care of the gratuity on the bill.

  • You never stop to amaze me coach!!

    “It has nothing to do with money. It has to do with the luck of gesture” you are SO RIGHT. The little things make all the difference. Offering to pay, not ordering the most expensive item from the menu, or if you get asked “Where would you like to go tonight?” you can reply by saying “Let’s take a walk together hand in hand.” After all the “where we will go” is not that important, it is the “whom we are with” that really matters!!!

  • You still got it Matthew. Hit the nail on the head once again. Plus, I’m not the kind of woman that expects to be wowed by an expensive night on the town on the first couple of dates. I prefer a low-key, low cost date so we can focus on getting to know each other without the power struggle. Later, he can take me out for a fancy dinner to show he’s really interested or to celebrate our time together. I really wish more women felt this way so men would feel more open to asking women out on dates.

  • In my case, i do leave the guy to pay the first date; is a lady gesture to leave the guy to pay at first time. This is a man thing. After that, i do pay the following 4/5 dates until he feels the luck of gesture and then he will do it. At the end…i make clear to the guy we should share everything. And works very good for a relationship. This is only for the guy i want for me…friends are different situation.

  • This is my rule.If he invites me to dinner I expect he is taking me to dinner and will pay. When I invite him, I will pay. I’m old fashion that way and dinner doesn’t equate to sex.
    When we’ve devoped a relationship and are dating then we can talk splitting checks.

  • Hi, Matthew!
    Well, I must admit, it’s unusual that I respond to any videos of that kind, but that was just too much.

    My opinion on who-pays subject is the man pays! I mean, I have many costs being beutiful and have many useful thing in my purse, that are not given away for free as well so it all just adds up.

    One more thing: I hate pulling out my wallet in front of him. That gives me feeling, he can’t take care of me. It’s not money that is the problem here. I can buy tickets or anything else, when I’m alone at home ordering it via internet or something, it’s really not the money. It’s the feeling of financial stabilty. And if the man I’m dating can’t ensure that, well, fine, I want I man who can and will do that. And of course, I never demand to go to any expensive location. I suggest different options and then we decide for one.

    So, I insist on man paying when we’re together out but also keeping in mind that I contribute financially equally, but indirectly.

    I would reeeaally be grateful and like to read what you think about my point of view.

    Best regards,

  • Matthew,

    This is so helpful and gives such a clear understanding. Even for me, being a feminist, I have always struggled with this question.

    Thank you so much.

  • Hi Matt! Great video with points that need to be addressed. People should never expect anything from eachother firstly. If a man would offer to take me out, especially on a first time date, I would not expect him to pay. I would offer to split the bill with him. After all we do not know eachother yet so expectations of any nature should be taken off the table. If all went well and we wish to see each other again, then I would still offer and if we were to go for a third round and then he expresses that he would like to pay this time then that would be lovely.

  • I think you’re missing the mark here, Matt. I agree with Wendy’s mom in that a man should pay for a lady’s company (if he is doing the inviting). I raised my boys to pay if they suggested the date/event. I also raised my boys to offer to pay if the girl plans the date/event and let the girl decide if she wants to carry the bill alone or not. If she plans something to surprise him and has already paid for it, he should not have to offer to reimburse her…it was a surprise and a “gift” from her. More importantly, I’m not happy with your comparison that paying for a date is the same as giving up the most intimate part of you (“sex anytime he wants”) as an “equal” trade off. Your comment only reinforced many mens’ idea that dates and payment with sex go hand in hand. Believe me, I have had 10+ years of dates where men expect sex on the first date (or some kind of physical intimacy) as payback for the “FIRST” date! Please choose your words carefully and the messages you are portraying to both men and women that paying for dates and sex are not reciprocal nor are they to be viewed as equal or a “fair/accurate” comparison when discussing this topic.

  • I have no idea where that concept, that a man should pay for a woman in a date came from?And also, why? Because he’s supposed to be a gentleman? It’s just a stupid reason. It’s a guy’s choice to be a gentleman, and I think that I shouldn’t force a guy to be one, but he’s supposed to be a gentleman by his own choice. And also I don’t think that him paying for a woman in a date is a fine way to measure how much of a gentleman he is.

    1. My guess is because, traditionally, men were demonstrating their ability to provide, which was crucial before women typically had jobs of their own. Men still earn a lot more money than women do on average, so it’s still a factor in your potential future quality of life.

      I’ve had cash flow issues for a while now, which makes it difficult to date because 1. it’s hard to afford “extras” and 2. because I know I’m being sized up and I don’t look good in that area right now.

      If it’s a first date, and he asked me, and it’s just coffee or a drink or two (I’m a lightweight so I don’t rack up a big bill), sometimes I offer and sometimes I don’t, but I don’t worry about that. It’s a quick and easy test: if he even blinks at buying me a drink, there’s something wrong. NEXT! The second date is usually a hike, so it’s clear that I’m trying to pick his brain, not his wallet. If we date/hang out more, I’ll buy sometimes. I’ll contribute my time by traveling to him (typically 40-60 minutes each way). The good ones understand that. (And I *really* look forward to the day when it’s not an issue.)

      Hadar, you’re absolutely right, willingness to pay is a stupid metric for “gentlemanliness”. It’s as good as anything for a first impression, but in the long run, it’s crap.

  • I was brought up that men must court women. That included taking her out at his expense. There sh/b no intimacy. “Why should he buy the cow if he can get the milk for free?” Times have changed somewhat. It became: I would pay my way on a date as a way of letting the guy know I wasn’t interested. My paying for myself made it more of a ‘meeting’ and not a date. Which would come in handy if he started telling people He dated me, because I could deny it was a date on those terms. Then I moved to a state known for its poverty level. 50th out of 50. I started seeing a man who “picked up my handkerchief” so to speak. We were immediately monogomous. But in this case I was the one who ended up paying for the few dates we had. Neither of us had much money at the time. I didn’t care so much until he expected it. And I think that is really what you were getting at. We both had the same favorite store, but in two different parts of town. He came with me to mine, which he hadn’t known about. He pointed to a pair of skinny jeans on a maniken and said he thought they would look very nice on me. So I said “okay, well one day when you are able you can buy them for me, I’d really like that” and gave him a big smile. He stopped talking and his face screwed up like why should I expect he buy me anything. I have to say I lost a lot of respect for him at that point. I didn’t understand that kind of treatment. Well, ultimately, we got to a point where we either should quit or go to a next level of commitment. And he ghosted me. So now I know what that is. LoL. But it gave me a lot of time to think about it all and I agree with a point you briefly alluded to. This man practised ‘serial monogamy.’ But yes, I do think he is sociopathic regarding women. He loves sex. He loves beauty. But he doesn’t love women. So I learned from that and I was able to deal with that (in exactly the manner I subsequently read that you suggested) through love. It is the only way. And, although I’m not with anyone else at the moment, and although it is not how I was taught growing up, if I take the attitude I agree with (namely, you can’t have a lasting love without friendship) then your approach of sharing expenses makes perfect ethics and good sense. So here’s a question I have for you: I met a guy I am interested in getting to know. He lives and works a couple of counties away. I met him at a meeting down at his union hall. He seemed kind of shy but interested. And then he had to go into the meeting. Sometimes I think some older guys from more rural areas forget a woman could be interested in them. So, I called him up to invite him to a party. (Lol-one of the first things I did was get his cell number!) and he has a pretty wall-to-wall schedule. He and his co-workers live at the Mine and go home weekends. He told me he goes to sleep early because he has to get up early so I should always not call him late but the time I was calling-3pm-was just right. So I thought that was kind of a prompt and felt hopeful. He explained he has to work where and when the work is available according to the market and I said I was very familiar with that, not to worry. So I said “Well, now you have MY number so if you are ever down here (my town) and you want to grab a coffee just give me a call. I’d really enjoy that.” He was quiet and I guess it was starting to sink in that I wasn’t calling him on business lol. So I just finished by saying “Well, I don’t want to keep you too late. Sleep well when you get there.” He said okay. I said “Until soon. Stay safe.” He said okay. His whole tone had changed as what I was saying was sinking in. And we hung up. What’s your take on what happened there? Thanks.

  • THANK YOU, MATTHEW!!! I am a single mom on a tight budget, so I can’t plan extravagant dates, but I DO want to contribute! So far, he refuses to let me pay, even for ice cream. I can’t wait until the next time when I’m able to say that I wouldn’t expect my best girl friend to go out and always pay for me, so I don’t expect him to either. THAT is the answer I’ve been looking for. I appreciate what he does, and I never want to get the point where he thinks it’s one-sided. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  • I live in Sweden, and here that is not a big issue. The usual thing to do on a date is that each person pays for their own meal, and I think that’s good.

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