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

  • I like this post, though I am still unclear how to manage the situation when you make more than your partner/date?

  • why this topic is so controversial? it’s very obvious for me. A men dont have to pay everything on a date, off course he could invite the dinner but the next day us (girls) could do it too!!

  • I actually did research for my gender studies class last summer about whether or not it is possible to be courted by a man if you’re a woman (meaning he does all the date planning, pays for all, asks you out first, etc.) and expect to be viewed as equals in the relationship and society. My research yielded a big fat NO (and I got 85% on my paper!). These “rules” come from dating scripts which originated in the 1950’s when sexism was the word – and they haven’t changed much since. According to the research, paying for yourself on dates lays the ground work for a more equal relationship, better sex and more respect between partners, etc. Many of my girlfriends reject feminism and want to “have their cake and eat it too”. But if you think about it – this “rule” was put in place cause women couldn’t pay for themselves as we were not allowed to work. Now we do – so why are we not paying for ourselves? I personally feel much better paying for myself on dates. It makes it easier to break up with a guy after (if I want) and I feel less sexual pressure. So thank you!

  • I would usually offer to pay the tip if the place was beyond my budget and my date knew that. As far as later dates, if I couldn’t afford to pay at some of the places he would like to dine, I would offer to cook for him instead and make the night as good as any 5-star restaurant.

  • The title doesn’t match the topic, unfortunately. Never once did Matthew talk about a FIRST date in this clip. While I agree with him, I am still confused about who pays on the FIRST date. My guess would be the person who asked the other person out…

  • Matthew I love most your advice but I this is a load of crap. My male counterparts in the work place and men I choose to date will be making more than me. It’s normally a factor women consider when dating. Men still make more than women; not to mention if this is the man that will be potentially the main breadwinner and will have to support a family I think he should be demonstrating he can.

  • Interesting. I’ve offered to pay half on first dates only when I either knew the guy had limited resource, or when I wasn’t interested in a second date. Usually on a first date, I just let the man pay and thank him sincerely. It’s never been a problem for me. I always get asked out again, and have historically always been considered “relationship material” as well. That said, once we’ve gone out a 2-3 times, I insist on picking up a check here and there….which I continue throughout a relationship. I also have always paid if the date was at MY house and we ordered out…and of course bought the groceries if I’m cooking him a meal.

    1. Natalie, you got it exactly right! Everyone is making this way more complicated than it needs to be. Women should try reading the book Getting to ‘I Do’ by Patricia Allen. It explains in detail, the philosophy behind your statement, gender roles, masculine v. feminine energy, and why the way you are approaching dating works! When I figured out what I wanted and applied her case studied philosophy to my behavior with men, I met and subsequently married my husband of now 18 years.

  • Matt,

    That was a hurtful video. I totally, totally disagree with you here. And I can even say that this type of attitude (which is so widespread in men nowdays) is certainly one of the reasons why many successful women remain single.

    I believe that you can tell that a man has come of age when he stops monetizing relationships and starts appreciating companionship. And we, sucessful women, are only interested in men who have come of age, as they are the only men with which we can create a truly and long lasting loving relationship. When I say successful women, I mean women who have managed to find their way to unconditional self love in spite of all the negative and belittling image of ourself that society throws at us daily.

    Successful women understand that they, and their sexuality, is no commercial product. It is given freely, out of genuine love, and is unrelated to the number of date the man may or may not have paid for. This is why we truly feel comfortable only in the company of those men who have stopped counting their money when it comes to relating to us. Because when they do, we also feel “used” and more importantly, we feel disrespected because we feel they are trying to make a purchase and this does not show a good heart. That’s why, at this point, the successful woman feels like withdrawing…

    At this point I would like to remind men with little means that they can create really good, interesting and romantic dates that cost little money. Just use your witts…

    When dating, I don’t think it is proper to take money from a woman until she insists that she “definitely wants to pay” for this date. When it happens, let her. Then you know that you are genuinely winning her heart and soul…

    I don’t want to give anybody a course in economics, but you probably know that women are more likely to be tight with money than men. Let alone when they are single mothers. And in spite of that, I know no woman who doesn’t spend money to keep up her appearance. Anyway, not doing at least the minimum in this field would have us dismissed as anti social weird animals… But most of us do more than the minimum just out of respect for that wonderful man that we’ll meet one day whom we want to feel really proud when we will be at his arm… That’s why we have monthly hairdresser, beautycian and dress bills higher than you do. So, when we arrive at the restaurant table and you ask us to go dutch because, admit it, your were unimpressed by us, maybe we should pull out our beauty bill and ask you to pay half? But we don’t. We accept our loss as part of the dating game, while you try to limit yours at our expense…It doesn’t show a fair heart.

    You say a woman should treat a man she’s dating as she treats her best friend. Well, no! A date, even though you’ve been dating for weeks or months, isn’t a best friend. You are in the process of discovering each other, you don’t know each other well. So please, ladies, don’t entrust the keys of your appartment to your date as you do your best friend!!! LOL! More seriously, we, as successful women, want to be treated by a man with the same level of love and appreciation that we give ourselves. And it is my belief that a man who has come of age wants the same thing : love and appreciation for who he is. But I think that here, there is a little tricky element that I feel is almost always overlooked. Man and woman are not the same, and, here, I’m afraid man needs to give first.

    As I said, man and woman are not the same. Man tends to be more of a “visual animal” when we tend to be more “feel animals”. That means, when you see us walk across the aisle in the supermarket you can feel enough interest in us to walk to us and ask for a date. The opposite is let true. Most women’s heart open from spending time with you and getting to know you. And it’s really hard to warm up to somebody who does not treat you with the respect you feel you deserve. Successful women don’t.

    I was born and raised in a small town in France. As a child, my favorite stories were those of Cinderella, Snow White and Peau d’Ane (don’t know the English translation for this fairytale). I had a head full of dreams and I knew for sure that some Prince charming would see me one day and feel so much love in his heart that bla bla bla… (you all know the story!)

    As a teenager, I became the prettiest girl around (don’t ask me how that happened) and boys around me were so attentive and sweet and well mannered that it reinforced my fairytale beliefs (I didn’t know that my 2 older brothers were carefully screening the boys who could talk to me and also discouraging bad behaviour). It’s only when I turned 20 that I left home to study abroad that I was faced with the reality of all the bad (sometimes appalling) behaviours that prevail in the dating place. When you listen to what the average woman went through in dating your heart sinks. Women reading this, you all know. Besides, 90% of the women I know are in mariages or relationships that I would rate below 5, where 1 is worst and 10 is best. Women in our societies are treated so badly! We are in the workplace, we work very hard, we are paid less, we are often denied advancement, we are being called all sorts of names for “stealing men’s place”, if we think of retiring from the workplace be are called useless, or worse kept women even prostitutes, those who nevertheless do quit face the risk of becoming single mothers with no income. Then motherhood : 9 months of disconfort and finally intense pain that we embrass without ever complaining. Then we get back home : the cleaning, the cooking, the needs of the kids, the child that falls ill. And when, in the middle of all this, the man who cares for you calls to suggest “Let’s dine out tonight”, you’re tired but you make yourself pretty, this is going to be just pleasure time, the man ask that you pay the bill or he’ll feel “used”.

    I think this is why most women nowdays belong to either of these 2 categories, sometimes both : the woman behind the wall and the manless woman.

    The Manless Woman, uppon realising that she had too much on her plate, decided to cut off what she felt was less necessary : the Man. As a matter of fact, she can’t give up the job (need to pay a rent), can’t give up work around the house, would never give up children if she has any. The Woman Behing the Wall is still doing the dating/Relationship because she feels she needs the companionship, or she wants a family, so she copes by numbing some of her feelings and she bears situations.

    I’m the Manless Woman, although I belong to both categories, really. When I realised that I was going to have soooo little of my needs met through a “modern Relationship”, I hapilly decided to provide myself with the life I wanted. Starting with self love, I did whatever course, meditation retreat, book reading that was necessary to learn to love and appreciate myself fully and inconditionally. I undertook challenges, learned to process failure. And it worked. I learned in the process that the amount of love you give yourself you give to others. And the more you give to others, the more you receive. I became joyful, balanced and way more peaceful. I also wanted to enjoy worldly things -without having to feel guilty for using a poor man, remenber? ;) I started my own business. I had ups and downs. I held on to it and it went up again. In times of trouble, there always were women to help me out or even rescue me (I found myself homeless for 2-3 months), never a man, although they were all around me requesting that I made myself available for a date, and sometimes becoming angry because I never did. You know, when you don’t have a roof over your head and some guy say they want to take you out for diner, and on top of this you suspect that they’ll have you foot at least half the bill so they don’t feel used, you question their ability to feel emotions altogether. Your question their ability to relate to others at an emotional level, let alone love.

    I want to stop a minute to say that I am not a man hater. I LOVE men. In fact, I love the whole of mankind more than I ever have. Life has taught me that every being, when they reach their point of equilibrium become their best selves, joyful, generous and open to others. This is true for every woman and man. But when there is constriction in the heart, all sort of upsetting situation unravel… Matt, I repeat it, this is not normal that you feel you’re being taken from when you buy some joy for a woman (in the form of, say, a meal or a theatre ticket) even if she’s not (yet) your woman. To my ears, it’s like hearing a woman say that she felt used for buying a child a toy that brought him joy!!! Who would want to give love back to such woman?

    The same goes for us. How can we unleash our absolutely limitless ability to love if the man’s behaviour sends messages such as “NO love here, sorry” or “Very little love here, don’t ask too much” our “You ate this meal, no sex, you prostitute”? This last underlying message is not only the most hurtful -I was going to write hateful, it’s also the weirdest!! How many prostitute have you seen meet men hoping to get free cups of coffee, free meals, and free theatre tickets while their actual bank account remains empty? We must be prostitutes with no business acumen whatsoever! Come on, do you really think that we went to the hairdresser earlier and came to sit in the restaurant with you that night for a free meal?! Do you have so little self esteem that you cannot make up that maybe we came for YOU? To see what YOU have in the heart? Don’t you know that although a free meal can make a woman feel full it cannot make her feel fulfilled?

    The truth is, all women love to be indulged at time or even be swept out of their feet. I know no woman who tell their friends about this exciting man she met who had her pay half the restaurant bill! But because society has done so much to make us feel guilty (or even filthy) because of this trait in us, I know many women who provide this for themselves. I’m one of them. When I buy myself a deserved holiday, or a pretty pair of earrings, or when I have friends over and I cook for them I don’t count the money. If I cannot afford I save a bit until I can. When the money is spent I don’t look back because I don’t doubt the treat was deserved. So, why would I go with a man who feels cheated when he treats me while he finds it normal for me to cook every day, raise their kids, keep his house and do the laundry every day after a hard day on the work place? We’re not against doing those things, far from it. The problem is that you send the message at an early stage that we will be doing all this while making us feel guilty for wanting the things that make us feel womanly, happy and loving. No wonder why many women quit the game…

    This being said, if a man out there is reading this and is willing to get the love, the affection, the devotion they deserve while providing the happiness, joy and love I think I deserve, I’m open for a partnership. Just leave a message below! LOL!!

    Matt, I hope you will not nourish hard feelings against me for writing this, but I guess it needed to come out and you provided the trigger and opportunity.

    With kindness and love,


    1. @Nell – thank you for your post and detailed explanations of your views. I agree. We are not prostitutes who can be bought for the price of a dinner, however pricey it seems or how much we spend on hair and clothing. Men are not asking me out, I have to do all the initiating. The tables have turned since women’s liberation taught man they could cheat, divorce, drop their kids and still make their old fashioned chauvinistic demands on women. On the first date if I asked him out I pay and if he asked me out he can pay. If we discuss going dutch, and the man insists on paying I am not going to argue with him over money in public– I offer and they insist. I am not using them, I am doing as they wish. Men need to quit dating if they don’t want to do what it takes to get past the stupid expectations of society and the trappings of a past no one really lives by any more. Please open the door for me as I do for you. I do want equal footing. But if the man earns 3 -4 times what I do, why should I pay for an expensive dinner alone? I’m a single mom, after I pay for housing I have $600 a month for me and my son to live on. I am not looking for free dinners. I am looking for a partner for a real relationship that doesn’t keep score — doesn’t keep any kind of score.

      1. Hi LJH, I’m glad you could relate to what I wrote a few days ago. It makes me feel that I’m not alone.

    2. I could have not said it better myself! What a wonderful comment this is – I agree with every word. Matt gives some great advice, but this time he could not be further from being right. I hope Matt will read your comment and understand what it is about. He really should read it!

      1. Hello Sophia, thanks for your comment. It is true, Matt gives great advice, many of which are truly eye openers. I find comforting the fact that you believe, like me, that we’re touching here a fundamental subject. We, as women, are ready to make all necessary effort to create quality relationships with men. The proof of it is that we are all here, following Matt, and trying to understand better the male mindset. We try to understand what we missed out on in order to correct ourselves. But we can only do so much. We cannot change what we are, ignore our very nature. No happiness could come out of it anyway. As women we give a lot to people around us, we often go out of our ways to help others, including men, and we don’t ask much in return. We just want to feel that that special someone next to us thinks we are more precious that any amount of money. It would be great if Matt would start some sort of “open heart conversation” about it so everyone could share how they feel on this…

    3. Well said Nell. I totally agree with you on this. The modern woman has a lot to learn about valuing themselves. If a man doesn’t think enough of me to pay for the date, then he’s not the right one, especially for a long term relationship. That man will always be thinking of his “return” on any investment he’s made in a woman and who wants a guy like that?

      1. You are very right, April. Maybe the problem we’re running into here has to do with the fact that men look at money solely as a means of purchasing things while we view money as a means of purchasing things and also as a way of expressing ourselves.
        When I started my company, I needed the investment of business angels. When the guy who’s job was to put me in contact with the business angels read my financial plan, he said “Add 20% to the money you are asking for, that will be what you really need”. I was surprised, so I asked why. He replied “because you’re a woman”. This time I was shocked. Did he think women could not add figures? Then he added : “When women start businesses they do it mainly to impact their world positively and they focus on doing things right for the customer. And they almost always underestimate their financial needs which becomes a problem early on. As for the men, they go into business to make money. So they’ve always done the counting right.”

    4. Nelly, the other day I had also posted on here that I was disappointed in Matt’s comparison of men being expected to pay for dates to women being expected to have sex with men whenever they want. In light of the Brock Turner rape case in California that is going viral for his lenient 6 month sentence after being convicted of 3 felony charges in this case, I was shocked to see that Matt Hussey has continued to keep this video up. You can hear the “groans” when Matt makes this statement. He then calls it a “double standard” that we women aren’t willing to SUBMIT to sex whenever a man wants, yet we expect them to SUBMIT to paying for our dates. Matt needs to compare apples to apples here. Sex (whenever a man wants it) is not the same as women expecting a man to pay for a date, just like “campus party life and sexual promiscuity” is an excuse for raping a woman who was unconscious. I know this comment will be deleted or not posted, but I hope the people who are monitoring this will rethink and “educate” Matt Hussey on the difference between “sex whenever a man wants it” and “paying for a date.”

      1. Hello Julee, thanks for writting such a brave post that dips deep into the seriousness of this matter. Although most men aren’t violent sexual predators the feeling of untitlement more and more men have over our sexuality is inexplicable. Even more disturbing is the fact that society hardly ever takes our defense. On the opposite, it reinforces this biais. Whether we’re being raped, harassed in a business setting, or if men turn cold on us because they want to have sex and they tired to wait, we are always the wrong doers. And if we dare to open our mouths to argue our case then we are treated like criminals. A woman who don’t sleep is always wrong. Period. Where’s the double standard?

  • wow, that would be imposible for me to make my guy pay for me because he`s my boyfriend… :O actually I feel uncomfortable when he refuses me to pay even my half of the bill each time we`re out or we`re making grocery shopping for cooking together…

  • Hi Matt.

    I was never asked on a date and i don’t think i would have the strength to say yes to a date, but i get your point in this video, and i also think women should stop thinking the guy will pay its like noone cares how much a guy have put out there to earn his money, most women think men are machines and work without any struggles but thats not the case. A guys money is just as valueable as womens money are, equal effort have been put in to gain those funds.

    A date can be so much more than use money. Imagine finding a spot by a lake, on a blanket. No need for fancy resturants when the country itself provides the most romantic setting there is in life.

  • ok…treat them as if they were your best friend…I think I always do that..but…how can I difference the treatment I give to him to one of my friends? I don’t want him to think I just want to be friends.

  • I was always taught to pay for myself. I would never expect a guy to cover my date like that. I wonder where that expectation came from.

  • I never expect anyone to pay for me on a date. This way, I get to order whatever I want without getting the guy broke. However, many men get offended when I offer to pay. So I usually insist on paying the tip… or offer to buy him coffee the next time we go out. This makes them smile and it guarantees me a second date.

    I had one date where the guy pretended to have forgotten his wallet after enjoying steak and wine. That time, I told him, get a cab, go get his wallet, I will wait for him. He said that was humiliating and refused. I paid for my meal and left the place. I’ve never seen him again.

  • Ciao Matthew

    You know Matthew, usually I always think ” Again, I must agree with Matthew” but this time darling not so much.

    On dates I will always “offer” to pay but secretly hope that offer will be rejected but ONLY with guys I like.
    If I pay for dinner, especially if it’s the very first dinner out with a potentially romantic partner, it’s because I want to leave as soon as possible. Not that I can’t leave if someone else pays, but I don’t want to let him invest in me knowing for sure that I’m not interested.

    I was never in it for the free meal I personally have no economical problems to pay for myself, but I am interested in being treated like I believe I deserve it ( and I’m NOT speaking about luxury or quantity but quality) but ONLY from the man I’m interested in. Why you might ask? Why do you deserve anything? Because I said so. And if I don’t say so then who will….

    Matthew, you speak about “being equal”. I DON’T want to be equal to men. I as a woman am thirsty to the old fashioned gallant manners that doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t need anything from a man, I’ve achieved everything on my own.

    Maybe if I’d been the one doing the pursuing I would’ve taken men out for dinner and paid for it, and also open the door for him and so on.. Perhaps there lies the line? Whoever does the picking up should also pick up the check? I’m not sure there can be any overarching rules besides the ones we make for ourselves, but I am sure that once you’ve made them, you should stick to them.

    Matthew, be honest, are you a “I have long pockets and short arms” kind of guy? ;-)

  • Well I think it’s really proper for a guy to pay on the First Date especially if he’s the one who really insisted in asking you out. But for the second and succeeding dates, the girl should definitely offer to pay other half or full.. and it all depends on a guy now if he’s going to accept it or not..

    So am I right Matthew? Because based on your video, it didn’t really tackle on who’s going to pay on the first date but rather the question was about who’s going to pay after 4-5 months of dating in which I agree with your answer that it should an equal pay… But how about if a guy asked you on a first date? Should a girl offer to pay especially if it’s the guy who insisted on asking you out in the first place? Please enlighten me…

  • It depends on what dynamic you seek in a relationship. Traditionally on a first date, the man will pay. I do like it when a man pays, because I feel looked after and I know the man feels empowered. But that is not the dynamic I truly desire in a long term relationship. I am looking for a partner. So, on that first date, if my offer to contribute or leave the tip gets declined I thank the man and tell him I will get the next one. That tells him there will be a next time. After that it’s give and take all the way. A man who can’t handle that has to be the primary in the relationship, which may work for some. A woman who is unwilling to take responsibility will always find herself in an inferior position.

  • Hello Matthew Hussey, my question has nothing to do with the video, it actually has to do with something from the Master Class video.

    I just recently graduated and it was grad night, I was in a hypnotist show with my crush and afterwords before everyone had to go I approached him. I told him that since we would never see each other again and before I lost my courage to tell him that I had a crush on him and that he made me so mad that I want to kiss him.

    He kissed me, we exchanged digits. Next thing I know, he’s texting me about how he isn’t looking for a relationship. I told him that’s understandable, I even used a variation of the script to say when a guy isn’t sure. He told me he would think about taking a chance and that maybe we’d would have a clearer head the next day. Next day comes, I text him that I didn’t really expect anything to come from it(even though I really wanted it to) and how I want someone who wants me as much as I want that person and how he should take some time to himself.

    I wanted to put the ball in his court and see what he would do. He did nothing, no response. I know my problem is that I’m too fixated on him and that there are way more guys out there who would adore me as much as I would adore them, but emotions don’t account for logic and it hurts to say the least.

    Back to the Master Class video, you talked about how there is strength in being honest and vulnerable and one of the ways is saying, “hey, I was looking forward to you texting back and I didn’t get anything back. Let’s talk another day.” I want to say that, but on the same token, I told him that I didn’t expect anything and he told me that he’s making no promises to get my hopes up.

    I just, I don’t know. I just graduated and I’m young with access to information that can bring gods to their knees. I guess I just need to rant about it and move on. As much as I’d like to say that it’s complicated, it’s not. It’s done and over before anything could even happen.

    Anyways, thank you so much Matt (and Jameson), you’ve really helped me out with my life and not even with the dating aspect of it all, just helping me become a nice human being and grow into an amazing woman. I don’t know what I’d do without you in my back pocket lol

    1. I just watched the ghosted video and it put things into perspective. I had tunnel vision and I was fixated too much on getting “the one.”

      I am a goddess and only a mortal can be my champion. I refuse to have a ghost as my champion because that goes against my new standard. I don’t know if I’m in a different stage of denial or if I actually feel better, but like you so eloquently put it, I ain’t afraid of no ghost (much less attracted to one).

      Again, thank you! I don’t know what else to say to express how grateful I am.

    2. You keep telling this guy what to do. You told him to take time off.. you told him to lets talk another time etc… You are taking the male lead with this guy and he is pushing you away. Men are to share their feeling first. WHen a woman tells a man she likes him first, you give him nothing to chase you for. He already has you. When you stay grounded as a woman you will attract real men and repel little boys. What men do or don’t do will tell you who you are attracting.

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