Should the Guy Always Pay?

Who Pays on a Date?A question that’s becoming more and more common among men nowadays is: “Who pays on a date?”   To help clear up the confusion, here are some tips that will help you figure out who pays for a date in certain situations.

If you ask her out…
If you ask a girl out then the answer to the “who pays on a date?” question is a simple one.  It’s you.  When you invite a girl on a date it’s your responsibility to take care of her.  So as a man you should always expect to pay for the date.  After all you want her to be able to relax and enjoy her time with you.  And that will be difficult if she’s worried about the money she’s spending.

Another reason it’s important for men to pay for a date is that it sends a clear message of your intentions.  If you have a woman split the tab with you she may no longer see this as a “date”.  She may instead get the message that the two of you are nothing more than friends.  If you want to avoid her seeing you in that light then paying for the date will go a long way.

What if she offers to chip in?
The woman you date may offer to pay for herself.  She may reach for her purse and suggest once or twice that she can pay half the bill.  This may just be a courtesy, and her way of showing that you don’t have to pay for her.  But in these situations you want to tell her to put the purse away.  Let her see that you want to pay for her.  That spending time with her and seeing that she is taken care of is more important than the handful of dollars you’re spending.

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What if she’s really insistent?
It’s not often but every once in a while you may go on a date with a woman who absolutely refuses to let you pay for her.  If that’s the case there’s no point fighting it.  Offer to pay for her but if she is really persistent about it then just split the bill.

There are some good reasons why a woman may insist on paying for herself.  Maybe she sees it as a point of pride that she can take care of herself.  Maybe she doesn’t want to feel like she “owes” you anything.   Or maybe she feels guilty when guys buy her things and she doesn’t want to feel that way.  If her reasoning is anything like the points mentioned above, you can actually be doing her a favor and showing you respect her values by allowing her to pay for herself.

What if she asks you on a date?
Now the question of “who pays on a date” can be a little trickier if the girl invites you out.  If that’s the case you don’t necessarily have the same obligation as you would if you invited her out.  So in these instances you’re fine splitting the tab.

Of course you can always be the super-gentleman and still pay for her anyway.  Not only would that be appreciated, but it would send a clear message of your interest and desire to be more than friends.

What if it’s a more “casual” date?
Let’s say you meet for something more casual.  Like drinks at happy hour.  If it’s just a laid-back get-together as opposed to a more formal date, who pays for the date then?

It’s still you.  But in these situations you’re likely to find the girl will chip in, too.  After you buy the first round of drinks many women will offer to pay for the second.  Since this is more of a causal meet-up you’re fine letting her pay for the next round.  It’s not going to send the kind of mixed message that might get sent having her pay for herself when out on a more formal date.

What if she picks the place (and it’s expensive)?
Let’s say you ask her on a date but she picks the place.  And she just so happens to pick the most expensive restaurant in town.  What then?  Who pays for the date if she is the one who made it so expensive?

Rather than working out who pays on a date in this scenario you’re better off avoiding this situation entirely.  When you ask a girl on a date it should be your adventure that you are bringing her on.  You want to plan where to go, what to do, how long it will be – all that stuff.  (Of course, don’t forget to take her enjoyment into consideration when picking the place/activity).

At the end of the day you want to be in the driver’s seat so all she has to do is say “yes” to whatever plan you’ve come up with.  This is a great way to approach a date because if she doesn’t have to do any planning or decision making, it’s going to be much easier for her to relax and enjoy herself.

Finally, when you plan the date make sure you have a backup plan (or two) in case your first idea doesn’t pan out.  If you have a second option already in mind when the first plan falls through you won’t get roped into the expensive restaurant that you don’t really want to go to.

How do you keep from going broke?
If you are going on a lot of dates (or just tight on cash) then paying for dates might seem overwhelming.  But don’t worry, because there are a lot of great dates you can take a woman on that will cost you next-to-nothing.  For ideas on what to do on a date without breaking the bank, check out the last section of this article.

Brian M - author of 191 posts on The Art of Charm

Once he realized attraction was something he could learn, Brian spent way too much of his free time studying and practicing everything he could find on the subject. He stumbled across The Art of Charm podcast and eventually signed up for an AoC bootcamp. Excited by the progress he's made in his own life since the program, he decided to start writing for AoC to help other guys do the same. By writing about interpersonal dynamics, he’s finally able to put that psychology degree to good use.


in Art of Dating, Dating Tips

18 Comments on “Should the Guy Always Pay?”

  1. Pingback: Dating and Money | Elementum Money

  2. Well said ! A gentleman never allows a woman to put her hand in her wallet. She will never truly respect you as a man and always think of you as weaker than her . It’s a harsh reality but true all the same. Showing that you can handle treating her, shows that you can offer protection in the modern world. That is all a woman truly wants from her partner . Be confident . Remember that dating her is an investment in your future . Investments cost money.

  3. @ Babe
    Investment? Yeah right. I’d like to know then what am I investing my hard-earned in. The logic behind your comment is that only men benefit from relationships, which is simply untrue. Also, that would mean that women only exchange their time and efforts for the money the man provides and any such action is on par with prostitution.
    Whilst I agree that the guy should initiate the contact and the date, and consequentially pay for it, there reciprocation needs to happen sooner rather than later. After all, a healthy relationship is a two-way street where both partners invest just as much time, effort and yes – money.

    1. Great answer Alex. Also if we talk about investment then women become a property, isnt it ? We are now equal in modern world, especially employment and freedom rights, women can do everything men can. You wanted equality, you have the equality you cant pick and choose like a box of chocolates where you want to be equal and where you dont want to be. Please pay for your own expenses now that you earn.

    2. Alex, when I go on dates I never expect the man to pay because I’ve been in some horrible situations where they have expected s3x! Not nice. However I spend a lot of money of making myself look like a goddess. I spend a fortune on shoes, makeup, hair and clothes. It takes me hours to get ready, so maybe taking that into consideration a man should pay for a classy hot woman 😊.

      1. Are you suggesting that your personal value and worth are in your looks, clothing, shoes, etc.? That’s sad IMO. If a man should pay for a “classy hot woman”, then he can hire an escort or prostitute. Maybe it’s me? I’m not like most guys. I only want ONE woman as my mate. I’ve never dated more than one woman at a time. I prefer to get to know the true person underneath all the bling. I would rather see a woman without makeup and in sweats than in a tight revealing dress and Pradas. I happen to desire character qualities along with looks, like honesty, faithfulness, compassionate, intelligent, humorous, can handle herself, and contributes to the relationship rather than be my arm candy. I think it was Paul Harvey who said something like this, “If a woman wants a man as a husband, remember that he chooses his wife, you do not choose him. If you want to be a wife, then stop acting like a girlfriend and act like a wife.” If you don’t get that, sad!

    3. I agree Alex. Men paying for everything, regardless of who asks whom or where you go, shows disrespect for the man’s value. Where is the “equal rights” when it comes to paying? Why are women entitled to be treated and contribute nothing? I’ve learned that many women (most actually) expect to be treated like they are deserving. What about the man? Is he not deserving the same courtesy and respect? It’s just a date. Expecting a man to pay for everything, especially if the woman chooses the spot, is demeaning, devaluing, and insulting. If a man is required or expected to pay everything, is the woman expected and required to give him something in return, like sex? Of course not. Yet “only gentlemen” don’t let a woman contribute. I think it says a lot about a women who expects to be treated, like she’s better than him, more important, more valuable, that he’s beneath or at least less than she (and her value). Sure, that’ll make for a great relationship should it become serious and they get married. A real woman, who has no agenda and doesn’t feel entitled, and respects men, will not disrespect him and his money, time, or self worth. Men who use their money to treat with the expectation of a physical encounter, lacks character IMO. He may as well hire a prostitute which is a sure bet. Sorry ladies, I realize most like to be treated like princesses and queens but guess what? Your king deserves some respect for his hard earned cash just as you.

  4. This is well written!!!! The things you wrote in this article are the qualities I look for in a man who is pursuing me on an intimate level. The way I feel is if a man is truly interested in and likes a woman, and the woman shows interest in return, courting her should never be a problem. I am so against the tid for tad and nickeling and diming. I am a very generous woman who has offered to pick pay however I must ensure that he makes me feel comfortable and secure. He must allow me to offer to pay, not demand that the next outing is on me, keep a count of how many times he payed, nor ask me to contribute the tip. Let me offer! I feel if a man is short on money, then he should not ask her out nor accompany her on a date (if she suggests they go out). The sole way he should agree to go out with the lady knowing he is broke when she suggests is if he tells her he does not have it in his budjet and she kindly offers to pick up the tab. By then, this pair would have probably been out on more than 5 dates in addition are spending time with each other regularly. I know we are living in a new millennium but chivalry should not die.

    1. Its not really about the money, its more about paying for someone when there is no guarantee it will turn into a relationship, when men have such a guarantee they wont have any problem paying and taking care as you said. But now that women have so many choices, they go on evaluation spree. Sure you can do that but use your own money. How about paying for your own until there is a relationship, fair deal?

    2. Chivalry has nothing to do with ensuring you’re treated better than he. “These are the qualities you look for a man who is pursing [you] on an intimate level.” What if he’s just trying to get to know you and not looking for simply an “intimate” encounter? What if he’s looking for real wife and companion, not just a “girlfriend”? You expressing those “qualities” you look for on an intimate level, IMO, is such a turn off. It comes across as though you’re okay with sex with anyone you date so long as they pay your way. Like your body is that important? Sex requires payment? I believe that’s called prostitution. But whatever, at least you’re honest and know what you want. Don’t see anything everlasting, but what do I know? I’m the dumbass who always paid for everything and got very little to nothing in return. I didn’t respect myself enough to avoid women who take advantage, think their bodies are there to hook a man for “security”. So much for intimacy. HUGE red flag with those expectations.

  5. All of this is a major nope. This BS I way I tell a guy upfront I WILL be paying for myself and if you aren’t down with that go find another girl. I take great pride in paying for myself and I damn well will be prideful over it. Things like this thing make shit harder for me, cause I have to fight a guy over it. There are plenty of dudes out there who feel just fine having me pay, and nobody is under any obligation to pay just because of what sex they are. The person who pays is whoever wants to pay. I will fight about it, and no you won’t be getting laid if you pitch a fit about it. You can pay for your food all you like, but I will pay for myself and any dude who has a problem with that shouldn’t bother “dating” me in the first place. Women have ego and pride too, we go out with men just to get some dick too, not all of us are hopeless romantics looking for a knight to come sweep us away. I enjoy making the decisions and planning, I like being in control and would die before I give it up. You want a little mouse to let you make all the choices and throw your money around, you better make this clear upfront so women like me aren’t wasting our time.

    1. Now thats the kind of woman I am looking for but there are so few of you. But thank you, it gives me a hope there are women who are fair. Paying for your own meal is a fair deal because then if it does not turn into a relationship then no one feels hurt or used. And honestly when a woman is truly interested none of these things really matter, if there is a chemistry but until then please everyone men and women, please pay for yourself so no expectations build up.

  6. Mmm – definitely lean toward chivalry. I will of course offer to pay and follow through for any man who expects dutch, but there won’t be any more dates after that. I want an alpha male and in my experience, alphas take care of their woman.

    What I have encountered (personally and with friends’ BF situations) are that 50/50 guys tend to be betas and these beta 50/50 males are predominantly 50/50 only when it comes to money. The GF has to do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. while the BF plays video games or watches sports on TV. She’s essentially expected to do all the historically “female” tasks for the BF’s home, except now she’s expected to pay for her own way, too. If the beta is still at least a great emotional support and sweet, fun to be around (i.e., has other redeeming qualities), the aforementioned man-child issues can be overlooked (one friend’s BF is like this), but if not and he’s not smoking hot (again – looking for other redeeming qualities) why would any woman put up with that (especially if she’s hot and and he isn’t)?

  7. I have been talking to a guy on hangout and he wants me to help him with money when he has not even met me I would like to know if this is a true man or not.

    I have been telling him that it is not responsibility to help with money because we are not married and I tell him that if we were married it would be a different with my money.

    Can I get anybody else opinion onthis

  8. Women who get mad that a man won’t pay on a date are the same people who complain that they want to be equal lol

  9. Should be whoever asks and suggests. It’s not the 30s anymore. Chivalry has changed. People want more equalness. This idea of men having to pay and it shows weakness if you even let a woman offer to split is so outdated. If I suggest somewhere, it’s because I like it. If I’m inviting you, I’m paying regardless of the intention of the invitation.

  10. I’m all for equality, but situations are not always equal. If you decide to have kids, which one of you has to deal with it for 9 months every time and potentially take time off work after? I want to know my potential partner is generous, comfortable financially and willing to show that he can take care of me. Doesn’t mean I need to be taken care of at the moment, but if I plan to have children I would want that sense of security. Im more than able and willing to pitch in, and I am also comfortable financially. Question is, will this guy step up when needed, or expect a women to carry the baby and be the breadwinner at the same time? Or be stingy with money? Definitely needs to show the willingness to pay, at least for the first rounds of dates. No thanks, I have seen this in many relationships and would rather be alone.

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