Who Should Pay On A Date – Men or Women?

Dating experience | | , Journalist & Storyteller
Updated On: May 11, 2021
who should pay on a date

Dating around is exciting, fun and definitely one of the more enjoyable things to do when one is newly single. But meeting new people, casual encounters and banters at the bar can quickly turn awkward when the date is coming to an end and one has to pay the bill. There is still no clear verdict on who should pay on a date and it can quickly turn into a silly little moment of confusion when the laughter is over and the bar tab arrives.

Who Should Pay On The First Date?

Have you ever dated a man? Well, if you have, then you would know that waiters will often give the bill to them. It is a sad side effect of patriarchy that happens even today. Casual sexism aside, this issue has a lot to do with gender politics. My personal problem with the waiter aside, who should pay on a date is still a big question.

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Usually the deal goes this way, “I am taking you out on a date, so I will pay for your food.” This seems fair, right? I thought so too. But that is not always the case. It also seems that women like to see men paying for the dates. But why should only men have to pay, when you can split the bill? The proportional splitting of bills is fair and square.

In my experience, many men these days would also like to see women pay for a meal. A lot of guys now prefer dating an independent woman and really do not feel emasculated if she takes the lead once in a while, meaning gender should have nothing to do with who pays for the lasagna!

But I also remember a friend of mine said that if she was interested in the guy, then she would let him pay, otherwise the bill gets split. But why should there be a subtle hint for rejection when you can always be upfront about it? She explained, “It doesn’t help if you are upfront about it. Some men are not good with taking rejection upfront.”

It seemed very problematic to me, since I always prefer to be honest, but it seems like these men, when rejected, slander the woman to other people. Well, that was as shocking as it can get, but coming back to our topic, then who pays on a date? Let’s gain some insight with these beautiful little anecdotes that we received from people.

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“I went out with my boss”

So, my boss once asked me out one day and I said yes. Of course, there are complications when it comes to employee and employer dating, but we decided to draw some lines initially before we agreed on a date. I was deeply conflicted with the idea of dating him because this was the recipe for an office romance gone bad, but I went out anyway. I won’t lie; he seemed like a very intriguing person and our date went really well.

But now I felt nervous when it came to the point of paying the bill. Of course, the boss was taking the check, but I restrained him. But he insisted that he pays, because he “took me out”. I also did think it had something to do with the fact that he was my boss, but I was not sure.

who pays on a date
Who should pay on a date is not a question of gender but about who initiated the outing

I was pretty confused, but I did ask him why. He said that when someone asks you out on a date, the general rule states that they need to pay for the date. He also added that if it were me asking him out, he would have expected me to pay.

This was quite a nuanced scenario where we understood that it’s not about the conventions that men should pay, it is more the ethics that one follows when dating. I was pretty clear then about who should pay on a date and agreed with how that scenario worked.

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“We split the bill”

Guess who ordered the “B-split”? We did and I also apologize for that very bad pun. That night we split the bill, because we both were too broke to pay for the whole thing. So, we took one dish and shared it, with sharing the money. If this is not the perfect millennial dating, then I don’t know what is. Should a man pay for a first date? Not unless he really wants to.

We both liked each other, but we had to formalize things with a date. But the question was lingering for a while in my head – who should pay on the first date? But eventually, we split the bill even without looking at each other or with any awkward silences. This should hands down just be one of the unwritten rules of dating. It just came so naturally to us and felt completely right. Trust me. It was very satisfying and guess what, we are still together.

“He said that he’ll be back in a minute but he didn’t return”

I have been on many dates, but this was probably the most embarrassing date that I have ever been on. I met him on a dating site where I asked him out. He agreed. I thought that we were hitting off just fine. So I picked a posh restaurant for us to dine and we went in. I ordered wine and asked him to order what he’d like to.

As the courses started coming in, we talked a lot, but I could see a discomfort in his eyes. Soon after that he said “Excuse me, I will be back in a minute” and left. But he never came back. It was sad, but I packed the leftovers for home.

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After a week he called and apologized and said, “I wish I hadn’t agreed to go on such an expensive place, I felt embarrassed and since the guy has to pay for the first date, I decided to run away to avoid any further complication.” I was baffled, as I never would have asked him to pay in the first place and neither did he have to agree to an expensive place.

So, when it comes to paying the bill, it is always a nice move to read the circumstances and act on it, but I would still advise to divide the amount, because that seems fair and square. When should a woman pay for a date? Well, she should always at least pay for her share of the meal in my opinion.

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Who Pays On A Date – Our Verdict

Who should pay on a date is extremely dependent on circumstances and one’s own social conditioning. However, the notion that women have gotten comfortable with men always having to pay, needs to stop. Who pays on a date should have more to do with the dynamic of the situation rather than the gender.

Just because one splits a bill, does not mean that it is a date gone wrong. It is just a personal preference and a situational decision because not every guy wants to pay for the tall glasses of wine you kept ordering, and he should not have to on a first date.

So keep it simple, casual and easy. Do not fret about when should a woman pay for a date or expect a guy to always cover the bill. Every time you go to a date, go with the mindset that you will cover at least half of the bill, unless you want to cover it all. This ensures there is no weirdness or pressure on the other person.


1. Who should pay for dates in a relationship?

Both! Whether you split each time, or take turns in giving each other treats – both individuals should be putting their hands in their pockets.

2. Should a woman offer to pay on a date?

Absolutely. Women are also financially independent, they can take a man out every once in a while. If you really do not want to pay for the whole date, you can just split and pay for your own share.

3. Should relationship be 50-50 financially?

It is not possible for it to be exact 50 50 but yes one can try. You do not want to be constantly dependent on someone else so you should try to take care of your own share of expenses in a relationship.

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Readers Comments On “Who Should Pay On A Date – Men or Women?”

  1. Vasudha Tripathi

    I think that paying the bill always create a very awkward situation but yes, I found it fair and square that pays one who invite one on the date. I did not like the idea of bill split. MAY be it is due to whatever but I just did not like it.

  2. saloni maheshwari

    I feel it doesn’t matter whether a guy or a girl ask out for a date, the bill should be split between the two. That’s the best thing.

  3. Paying on a date is one of the many big little things that depicts our mindset, our personality. It speaks something crucial about us : not how heavy or light our wallet is, but how much significance we assign ourselves as individuals. Further it also reflects that you acknowledge the other person enough to share the bill and splitting up the expenses. It reflects a sense of shared responsibility, a sense of comradeship which is built on such million little things.
    A much needed take on the subject.

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