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Going Dutch: What Does She Really Think?

by Eharmony Editorial Team - January 31, 2009

At the end of that first date, you offer to split the tab. She accepts. But what does she really think?

While dating should always be about finding that special someone, going broke having to shell out hard-earned cash can make it seem not all that worthwhile. In some ways dating is still archaic and steeped in the tradition of wooing the other person, leaving some women still believing the man should always shell out for the bill on at least the first date.

However, before you give up dating in favor of your budget, read on for what real women think about going Dutch and paying their own way. It seems it is not always as cut and dry as tradition would have you believe.

Who Asked Whom Out on the Date?

By asking someone out on a date—whether it’s the girl asking the guy or the more traditional guy asking the girl—it is generally assumed the person doing the asking should at least make an offer to pick up the whole check. When you ask someone on a date, you’re acting as the host, just like if you invited a potential partner over to your home for dinner, you wouldn’t ask for half of the grocery bill.

“If a guy asks a girl out on a date, a traditional going out to dinner type date, the woman can offer to help with the bill, but it would be courteous if the guy wanted to pay,” says San Diego native Sage Nichols. “If it was a casual date I’d have no problem offering to split the bill and go Dutch, however it does feel very special when a guy picks up the check.”

What Type of Date is It?

For some women the thought of going Dutch comes down to simple criteria: location, time of day and cost. “It all depends on the type of date,” says New Yorker Alex French. “If you’re grabbing a quick bite for lunch, pick up your own check. For after work drinks trade off buying a round. If it’s dinner at a local neighborhood cheap spot, the date is probably more of a getting to know the person meeting and the couple should go Dutch.”

However, if it’s a big night out like late night drinks and a romantic dinner, offer to pay and really mean it, but if the man insists on paying don’t turn it down and pick up the check next time. It’s not worth it to make an awkward situation out of who’s paying, she says.

Will there be a Second Date?

No matter what your feelings are on going Dutch, by the end of a first date you should know if you want to go out on a second one, which might make all the difference in who should pay. “I think it all depends on if you want a second date with the guy,” says Bay Area resident Michelle Feduska.

“If there aren’t any sparks, don’t leave him with the bill. Politely offer to pay half, which in itself might let him know you didn’t feel a connection and when he calls you’ll feel perfectly fine telling him you just aren’t interested.” Whichever circumstances surround your date, one thing is for sure, right or wrong some women just aren’t willing to balk at tradition and go Dutch.

“Generally, on a first date the man should always offer to pay,” says entrepreneur Rebecca Hazen. “If the woman wants to pitch in she should do so, but personally I want to know that my date is willing to spend money on our relationship and me.” If you’re a man who prefers going Dutch, opt for a more casual first date or even a no-cost date, which won’t leave you both feeling awkward when the check arrives.