When Should Guys Pay?

The question of money, along with sex and kids, is the topic couples fight about the most. There is no right or wrong way to handle money as a couple. The key is to be on the same page. But let’s back up before marriage and kids and start from the first date and work from there. We’re going to address this to the women out there and give the more traditional viewpoint, one that’s been in place for centuries. (But we are fully aware that there are exceptions to this basic outline.)

First date: We’re firm believers that no matter what the first date is, the guy should pay. If he doesn’t, or looks at you with those pleading eyes, or makes you feel guilty in any shape or form, you might want to question whether he’s worth investing in. (Irony intended.) This means he pays for coffee, lunch, movies, dinner, take out, whatever. Feel free to offer to pay your share, but if he doesn’t turn you down, then he’s either not been brought up properly or he’s broke. In which case, he shouldn’t have asked you out to any place he couldn’t afford in the first place.

Second Date/Third Date/Fourth Date: We still believe the guy should pay. In part because we assume he will be the one asking you out. (Of course, offering to share the bill is polite convention, but he should still turn you down.) All we said above stands, especially for bigger ticket items like tickets to a show, dinner, that sort of thing. If you have coffee and you want to pick up the check on the third date say, sure, that’s okay. But honestly, he will likely still turn you down and pay.

Fifth Date……A Few Months into Relationship: If it gets this far, this might be the time where you offer to cook him dinner, or do something nice like that. Or plan a special date by say, getting tickets to a show that you pay for ahead of time. (That way you already have the tickets and you remove any potential awkwardness.) What you’re doing is showing that you’re willing to contribute. Most guys will be happy that you acknowledge that money is being spent. This could also be the time you offer to split the check when you go out, but many guys will probably still turn you down. (Some depends on the current status of the man. Is he young? Is he in school? Is he between jobs? This is why each situation is different.)

You’re a Couple and Money becomes Liquid: By this point in your relationship money becomes liquid, flowing unencumbered between partners. The give and take. “I cook dinner, you buy the movie tickets.” Or however couples work that out. This sort of “no arrangement”—often happens naturally as two people become more and more part of each other’s lives, and it’s at this point where other factors play a part. Who makes more money? Are you now living together? Are you using each other’s resources? In some ways it gets easier and in some ways more complicated.

In conclusion, money is an evaluation tool and it can help weed out certain guys by the way they handle money. However, there is no right or wrong way to handle it because each situation is different. That said, if you’re finding the need to ask your friends or write to us, it’s very likely you have a situation on your hands that’s not going to improve over time.


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