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how to respond to a guy who invites you on a date and wants you to pay?
October 10, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

A guy who i've been dating asked me out and made sure to include how much the event would be per person (ten bucks). We've been dating for a few months now and he has always paid. How do I decline and let him know the reason why, which is that I think it's pretty tacky to ask me out and expect me to pay, in a tactful manner?

We aren't exclusive and he has never asked me to pay before. I think he knows I am dating other guys. I never text or initiate contact with him first because i decided I won't be doing that chasing ish any more. Basically, I let the guy take the reigns and fall back or put him out of my head and keep dating until he decides to reach out.

The last time I saw this guy (last week) I told him that I like to DO things on dates - my idea of dating a guy involves activities. I had to tell him this because he had started suggesting lame things like meeting up at a park or sitting around and I was starting to feel like we were fast forwarding to the boring couple phase! Yes, we've had dates where we've gone to the movies, etc. etc. but I had to decline his dates where he just wanted to sit around and talk.

So he just texted me asking me to do something - good start. I said yes. Then he sent another text and proceeded to put it is ten bucks per person. So I said "hm, no thank you." He then sends another text trying to explain how fun it will be and what I will get for my money. I haven't responded.

I want to convey that the event sounds fun but the idea of me paying is a huge turn off! It's like inviting someone to my wedding and after they say they want to come, telling them how much their plate will cost. Ugh.

So, how do I put this nicely in text form?
posted by soooo to Human Relations (160 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not sure that is possible. I am a bit allergic to the "Rules"y approach to dating, but frankly if you have been dating for months I don't see why you aren't suggesting activites/kicking in some money. It all seems fairly one-sided.
posted by maryrussell at 1:36 PM on October 10, 2012 [110 favorites]


If you're willing to lose a guy you've been dating for several months over ten bucks, you're probably not that crazy about him. So maybe now would be a good time to break up. Or, if you're really into the "s/he who invites, pays" rule, perhaps you could think of an event, invite him and pay? There's no "nice" way to talk about this issue about this over text, so any conversation you have should be in person, or at least over the phone.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:37 PM on October 10, 2012 [90 favorites]


I think that he might have stopped seeing you as a date, and just as an activity partner and friend, since you are not interested in doing more casual "date" activities like hanging out in a park talking, don't initiate contact, and might not be reciprocating interest(you said you're not "chasing")?
posted by sawdustbear at 1:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


I never text or initiate contact with him first because i decided I won't be doing that chasing ish any more.

Gosh, maybe he is aware that you're not into him and he's not interested in subsidizing your entertainment anymore?
posted by psoas at 1:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [271 favorites]


I don't think there is a good way to do this. It sounds like you are the type of person who feels like the guy should pay for everything (since you said that the asker should pay and you also said that you won't ask) and he isn't. You get to have your feelings and so does he, and the math just doesn't work on this one. Call it not a good fit and move on, or reexamine the way you view asking/paying.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Um, you date other guys, you never initiate contact, you're not interested just talking to him, and it offends you that he ONE TIME asks you to pay for something. I suggest he's not the guy for you and you would be doing him a large favour by stopping seeing him.
posted by unSane at 1:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [150 favorites]


So. You want him to initiate all dates (and be OK with being ignored, otherwise), plan them, conform to your dating preferences, aren't willing to do "lame" and "boring" things like spend time talking to him in a park *and* the guy gets to pay for the privilege of experiencing all of that?

Do him a favor and don't respond at all. It doesn't sound like your into him and it's not fair to him to string him along.
posted by oddman at 1:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


You can ask for what you want directly (for him to plan and ask you on dates that meet your particular desires and then to pay for these dates), but I'm not sure there is a nice way to put this, as you are essentially asking for him to put in all the effort and pay all the cost. Most people would consider asking for that to be not particularly nice, no matter how it is phrased.
posted by ssg at 1:39 PM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Honestly, it sounds like you're playing games -- you refuse to ever contact him over the course of a few months unless you are returning his contact, you don't want to spend time just talking to him, you want to do stuff with him, in particular stuff where he pays for you (which he has done every single time for 4 months). So from the other side, it sounds sort of like he's testing to see if you actually like him or you just like that he pays for your activities, and your answer seems to suggest that it's the latter.

Why are you dating him if you think talking to him is boring, you don't ever want to see him enough to contact him first, and you aren't willing to pay for anything? Why not just date guys you like better?
posted by jeather at 1:39 PM on October 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


Um, while it's good to have standards, I think you're being kind of bratty here.

You've ordered this poor guy to think up a date to entertain you, and you want him to pay for you. I'm all for the chivilrous thing, but sometimes a guy simply can't afford it. It seems to be an issue for this guy.

Do you like him enough to date him? If so, great. If the only inducement is that he's paying your way in or feeding you, then do the kind thing and don't date him anymore.

It's perfectly okay for someone to suggest that you each buy separate tickets to something. It's perfectly okay for you to decline. It's NOT okay for you to say, "I expect you to pay my way for everything, all the time".

Well, it's okay, but don't be surprised if not too many guys take you up on it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:40 PM on October 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


Your approach, as maryrussell said, seems very Rules-y. Your laundry list of what you will do and what you won't do and how the guy needs to act and where the guy needs to take you is exhausting. Granted, one must have standards, but damn, you are a lot of WORK.

This might be his subtle hint that you ARE too much damn work, and if you're not into him completely, head over heels-y then maybe you better pay your own way until some progress, if any, is made on the monogamy front.

If I were him, I'd be crossing my fingers that you DIDN'T contact me again.
posted by THAT William Mize at 1:41 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think your sentiments are inherently non-nice. People have lots of different opinions about who-should-pay-for-what-and-for-how-long during the dating process, and I don't think that he's being objectively tacky or unreasonable by suggesting that you should pay for something once.

If you want to continue dating him, then the best thing is probably to change yourself so that you don't consider it a problem anymore. Attempting to change him is likely to strike him as offensive and not accomplish much.
posted by value of information at 1:42 PM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


If most of the things he's suggested have involved sitting someplace and talking instead of doing some dollar-requiring activity, maybe it's because he's broke.

When you are broke (ok, don't want to speak for everyone, so I'll just say, when I was broke), knowing that the tradeoff for doing something special is that I'll have to outlay enough money to eat for several days ($10 when you're broke, yes), is extremely daunting.

Regardless, it's better for both of you if you don't go. He'll know that you're not into him, and you won't have to be put out by his $10 "imposition".
posted by phunniemee at 1:43 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


You never initate contact. You never pay. You want him to plan things--but things that you want to do. You're not exclusive. Nthing the "you don't seem to like him so you should stop responding at all" sentiment. He must have the patience of a saint to be still trying to date you at all.

Maybe he's planning "lame" activities because he doesn't want to pay for your (unenthusiastic) company anymore.

FWIW, I get weirded out of a guy does NOT let me pay, at least once in a while. I also stop dating someone if I'm not interested in contacting them (without them contacting me first).

Do both of yourselves a favor and either decide you're friends (and go dutch on everything) or stop seeing each other altogether.
posted by ethidda at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


look, i like a guy to pay too—especially if it's just $10. but then again, it's just $10 and you've been dating for 4 months so if you can't kick in that amount to hang out with someone, you really could not give two shits about this guy and shouldn't be dating him. especially given that you refuse ever to initiate anything yourself, expecting him to do all the initiating and planning, and refuse to do anything "boring" with him like, say, actually hanging out and talking to him. as THAT William Mize says, you sound like a lot of work. too much work. do him a favor and stop dating him.
posted by violetk at 1:47 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I doubt there's a way of saying this without coming across as too ambiguous or on the other hand, too intense and demanding making the guy steer away from you.

Even though he used to pay for your dates, he may be unable to at this point because of financial or personal reasons, like not being able to afford to pay your share or feeling like you're taking advantage of him since this feels so one-sided.

If you like him then go out with him, offer to pay for both the tickets, and have a good time.
This will prove that a) you're not stingy and b) that you are still interested.

But, if you're not romantically interested in him then it's time to change the dynamics by ending things completely or acknowledging that you'd rather be friends.
posted by livinglearning at 1:47 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to stay communicating by text, then you will probably just have to state it baldly: "sorry, but I prefer that the one who invites should pay". You can't really make it sound nicer than that I think. Which is why explaining in person or by phone would be better.

He can probably draw his own conclusions as to why you haven't invited him to do anything.
posted by gaspode at 1:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree with what people are saying here. However, I'm puzzled by one thing: why do you even care enough about this to post it on Ask MetaFilter? Do you maybe like this guy more than you are letting on?
posted by Dansaman at 1:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why on earth would a guy offer to pay for more than one or two dates with a woman who's dating other guys?

If you're going to buy into this idea that the man pays, always, the whole reason, historically, that he pays is that he is demonstrating his worth and status in hopes of winning your exclusive attention. If you keep asking him to pay but you continue to date others and you make it clear that he bores you, why would he treat you any differently than a friend? He gets nothing out of paying here, not even your admiration and attention.
posted by slow graffiti at 1:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think I'm like him in that event tickets seem to be in a different category than dinner or coffee, not that I never paid my date's way to one. As evidence of this he doesn't seem to be in the habit of going to these kinds of things. Is it possibly a cultural difference between you two?
posted by michaelh at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You need to be honest with him: "that event sounds like so much fun! BUT... I am a bit old fashioned and I'm not yet comfortable with paying for a date I've been invited to." Then leave it to him to decide what to do about it.

(I do agree with others that refusing to go because he's asking you to pay $10 is a bit ridiculous, given that you've been dating for several months and force him to do all the heavy lifting, but you didn't ask for advice on that SO...)
posted by joan_holloway at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


To clarify; We're not exclusive because he hasn't asked me to be and who knows if he is seeing other people. We haven't been dating for 4 months - not sure where that came from - it's more like 1.5 months.

I totally don't mind his date suggestions that are FREE but where we will be doing something or somehow being entertained. I think there's more to talk about and stronger bonds are built when you do something together.

Also, I don't mind hanging out and talking with him but there's only so much talking you can do! Dating should be fun in my opinion. Talking about feelings all day is not.

Lastly, I have suggested or told him about things (invited him) that are free - but I only do this in person while we're already on a date.

Yes, he is from a different culture and I do like him
posted by soooo at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to just hop on this train, but - whoa.

So the answer to your question is that you can't really express this politely in a text, but you can probably aspire to directly, which would just be "I would be interested in [activity], but I do not want to pay $10."

Seriously, though, why bother? If you've been dating this guy for four months, presumably you have a sense of whether or not he's worth $10. If it's just that you believe that the dude has to pay all the time, I hope you've made that clear to all the guys you're dating, because in 2012 I suspect that would be a dealbreaker for a significant number of them.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked by the content of the original post. Are you being serious or is this a wind-up? I cannot believe that anyone of any gender in the year 2012 would complain about paying their share of a date.

Sure it's maybe a little tacky to tell people about the cost of something over a text, but in all my interactions socially and sexually with both genders, the tab gets split evenly. Occasionally one person might choose to treat the other but that's their privilege and their choice.

The idea of you paying is a turn-off? If so then you clearly are not interested in this person.
posted by skylar at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2012 [24 favorites]


Dude, I am a pretty traditional girl -- I don't do a lot of the asking out, etc -- and I understand why it would be a turn-off for someone not to spring for $10 for you. BUT I am pretty sure this guy is doing this to find out if you're willing to put any effort into this relationship at all, given that you seem to expect him to do all the work, and fork over all the cash in exchange for merely the pleasure of your company. Do you even like him as a person, or has this turned into a sort of weird Rules thing where you do XZY trying to make him do ABC and the whole thing has turned into a situation where you have kind of forgotten he's, you know, a real person?

It seems to me this is a moot point because you don't seem to like him anyway. Cut the poor dude and his $10 loose. The $10 is kind of a red herring in this situation.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


i decided I won't be doing that chasing ish any more.

This really stood out to me. If that's the only reason you're not initiating contact, you're sending all the wrong signals. "Chasing", by most people's definition (that I know of), is repeatedly initiating. But if he's asked you out last time, or a couple of times, then it's okay to be the initiator from time to time.

Guys are insecure and uncertain too. They also want to know that you like them.

If you specifically want him to chase after you, then you should say so specifically. Most men are happy to pay for all of the first date. Some are okay with paying for all the dates as long as you also make home-made meals for him, do laundry, help clean, etc. (Traditional "feminine" tasks.) But I think it's perfectly reasonable for a man to expect that the woman--especially if she has an income--to also pay for some things after several months of dating.
posted by ethidda at 1:53 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Be an adult and pony up the $10. Or, if you're not that into him, don't.

If you do tell him that you would go if you didn't have to pay the $10 he should run away screaming.
posted by murfed13 at 1:55 PM on October 10, 2012


I want to convey that the event sounds fun but the idea of me paying is a huge turn off!

"Sounds cool! I don't want to pay money for this event. I want you to pay for it. I want you to pay the money for me to attend."
posted by Greg Nog at 1:55 PM on October 10, 2012 [57 favorites]


We haven't been dating for 4 months - not sure where that came from - it's more like 1.5 months.

it came from this from your original post (emphasis mine): We've been dating for a few months now…

a "few months" ≠ 1.5 months
posted by violetk at 1:56 PM on October 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


So your rules are:
1. the person who sets up the date has to pay
2. You will never ever set up a date
therefore
3. you will never pay for anything you do on a date.

sounds like bullshit to me, but if that's how you want to select for 1950's type guys with money, go ahead.
posted by jacalata at 1:57 PM on October 10, 2012 [67 favorites]


OK, so based on your reply - why don't you counter-offer one of the free suggestions you've brought up in the past? Like, I get it, I hate spending money too. So why not, "Actually I don't really want to spend the money, but how about we do this free thing instead?" Or just the second part, really.

Some people don't like to plan because it's stressful for them, and I get that, but if you're offering in-person suggestions, that's probably not the case for you - in which case, make a suggestion. To do otherwise is games-playing, and that is tacky.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 1:57 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hello! It's 2012! Men don't own us anymore, so maybe it's unrealistic that they should be responsible 100% for our care and feeding!

Seriously, even in traditional relationships where the dude is willing to front the costs and be the one to ask for exclusivity and eventually get down on one knee, he probably won't do so for someone who A) doesn't talk to him B) doesn't initiate contact with him C) basically sounds like she isn't interested in him, at all. Like, even my super old school Idaho grandmother did something super shocking! a couple of times and asked my grandfather out on a date. She even picked him up in her car, sometimes. The scandal! They've been married a billion (56?) years now.
posted by vivid postcard at 1:57 PM on October 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


While I mostly agree with the sentiments already expressed by others, a month and a half is not "a few months." It's probably only "a few dates," which makes it seem like you're not quite as demanding and, dare I say, "high maintenance" as initially thought.

I think that telling him you prefer him to pay is going to come across as a bit rude regardless of the words you use if you do it by text. If you phone him and explain the situation, he may be more understanding. Or maybe he won't and he'll break up with you. But, either way, I think you should actually speak to him -- either on the phone or in person -- rather than doing this via text.
posted by asnider at 1:59 PM on October 10, 2012


You don't explicitly say this in your post, but it sounds as though you want him to chase you, pay for things, and you're waiting for him to ask you to be exclusive, all in order to get validation of his interest in you. Why not just have a conversation with him about it? Think about how you feel about him, how serious you are about your relationship, and whether you want to be exclusive. And if you do, at the next date, say something like: "X, I've very much enjoyed spending time with you over the past couple of months. I really like you a lot - so much so that I no longer have any interest in seeing other people. I was wondering what your thoughts and feelings on this are." Or, if you don't want to be the one to say it, you could prompt him to by something like this: "X, I've very much enjoyed spending time with you over the past couple of months, and I was wondering what your thoughts and feelings about me and our relationship are." And then you can get all the validation you need, in a direct rather than a passive-aggressive manner!
posted by UniversityNomad at 2:00 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you've gone out with this guy multiple times over the course of "months" (even a month and a half), don't have any desire to initiate contact with him, and wouldn't consider splitting the cost of an activity together, then my assumption is that you're really not that interested in hanging out with him, and I'm wondering why you're stressing about this.

In part, because you've expressed (verbally and non-verbally) disinterest in this guy, he's dialing it WAY back and basically asking if you'd like to casually hang out at some activity which has a nominal fee. In theory, he should pick up the cost, but it seems that he really doesn't care, and neither do you. Maybe this isn't really a "date" at this point.
posted by deanc at 2:01 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


What do you want in a relationship*?

Ask him for that. Give specifics. Ask him out**. He has things he wants from a relationship, and so do you. If they match up, hey, wonderful! If they don't (like in this case), move on. You're both missing out on meeting the person that does match up with you.




*Maybe you don't know yet. That's totally ok, but you might want to figure that out before you date. I dated a girl who always talked about things she didn't like, so I went out of my way to never do those things with her...the problem is that I ended up not knowing what she liked at all, so we didn't do a whole lot. I think she just didn't know what she wanted. It didn't work out.


**You don't ask guys out? That's totally ok too! But if you don't give specifics, and you want him to initiate, you have to be ok with the fact that most guys won't be a perfect match for what you want. Make sure you know what you want, and move on if this relationship doesn't give you it.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:03 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It isn't tacky for him to suggest splitting the cost, considering that you've been seeing each other for several months and he has always paid so far.

There's no nice way of telling someone that you're not interested in just spending time with them and you only want to do things that they have to pay for.
posted by tel3path at 2:05 PM on October 10, 2012 [17 favorites]


Lastly, I have suggested or told him about things (invited him) that are free - but I only do this in person while we're already on a date.

This is very bizarre. Sure, you don't want to chase someone, but refusing to ever contact them or pay for anything while insisting that they do both is just not common (especially as you're not exclusive), and you're going to have trouble finding guys who like this. You just don't sound particularly interested in him.

What you've done for the past half dozen or so dates won't work in the future, is what this guy is trying to say -- he doesn't want to date you where he pays for both of you and initiates all contact forever, and he's feeling you out to see what you want between the two of you. It's not really clear what you want from this relationship.
posted by jeather at 2:06 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you've been dating this guy for several months and the thought of chipping in $10 makes you balk then this relationship is likely not for you, or him.
posted by Cosine at 2:08 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really isn't complicated, let him know it isn't worth $10 to you to spend time with him. Honest, straight forward, uncomplicated.
posted by HuronBob at 2:11 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, even if it is "proper etiquette" to pay when you invite someone out, it is rarely ever polite to call someone out for an etiquette misstep. Just some food for thought.
posted by murfed13 at 2:12 PM on October 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


It sounds like you're too limited to free active activities and he's too limited to activities that are fun but not free. I'm not sure what to tell you to put in your next text to him, but if you guys cannot arrive at a compromise then your dates together will probably come to an end.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 2:12 PM on October 10, 2012


Also, not to get too academic here, but the current dating system (which is about a hundred years old) has always been intimately bound up in some form with an exchange of money for sex. This was what made people uncomfortable about it to begin with. In the old "courtship" model, the woman was the one initiating (inviting a gentleman caller to her house for socializing; you can't go to someone's house for dinner or whatever unannounced, so essentially the woman was the one asking out, and also hosting the date). The new dating model (which arose, I believe, between 1910-1920) was bound up with the rise of youth culture, urbanization, and paid employment. Men would ask women out and then take them out, and there was an implicit expectation of sex in return. And if you want to buy into the dating system, be aware of what you're binding yourself to - a long history of female sexual obligation for displays of male economic largess. (I personally have major philosophical issues with the entire system of dating, to the extent that I am very reluctant to go on dates, and all of this is why - read Beth Bailey's "From Front Porch to Backseat" for more.)

What I'm saying is: you seem to suggest that you want him to initiate and pay because of some expectation that it's traditional. In fact, it's not. Dating is newfangled. Traditionally, you would be the one initiating and hosting, so if you're crafting your behavior around appeals to "tradition", you could reframe it in your own mind that in fact, you're being ueber-traditional by initiating.
posted by UniversityNomad at 2:12 PM on October 10, 2012 [36 favorites]


soooo said: "So, how do I put this nicely in text form?"

"Hi. The event sounds like fun, but I don't want to pay for myself. I will go if you'll pay for me. Let me know what you want to do, please. Thank you."

This Q reads like you're expecting him to do all of the chasing and all of the paying. And you don't know for sure that he knows you're also seeing other people?

I think this problem is going to solve itself for you, very quickly. Out of curiosity, when was the last time you paid for a date?
posted by Solomon at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


To put it kindly: I think you're going to have a really hard time finding people who think your stance is reasonable. That goes for dateable guys and sympathetic friends.

Your question sounds like you swallowed a copy of The Rules whole. Dating is not about the woman passive-aggressively setting the terms and the guy jumping through hoops to accommodate her. This sort of imbalance is definitely not the foundation of any sort of healthy relationship. If a serious relationship is your ultimate goal, you might want to figure out how you plan to get there from here. If you're just having fun for now, well, you've got other irons in the fire. Keep going on dates with them, but don't be surprised if they bail once they notice you never text or call, don't particularly like talking to them, and haven't so much as offered to buy them a soda from the vending machine.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2012 [17 favorites]


You never initiate contact, you never pay, you date other people, and you expect him to think up "fun" activities for the pleasure of your company.

From the tone of your previous questions, it sounds like you derive quite a bit of pleasure from having men pursue you. If I may ask, exactly what benefit do they derive from you? Pretend for the moment that "the pleasure of your company" is not a satisfactory answer.

If you wanted to get a raise or promotion at your company, the reasonable thing to do would be to come up with a business case demonstrating the value you provide for them. Similarly, if you want this date to subsidize your entertainment, the logical thing to me would seem to be providing him with a similar case to substantiate your value in terms of the happiness you provide.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:14 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


how to respond to a guy who invites you on a date and wants you to pay?

Two scenarios!

1) I have the money to pay my part of the date: "Sure I'd love to!"

2) I don't have the money to pay my part of the date: "Oh, that sounds great, but I can't right now. Perhaps we can do something at another time?"


This is how a Modern American Adult behaves.
posted by jph at 2:14 PM on October 10, 2012 [31 favorites]


You can say "Is it your treat?" and see what he does.

I glanced at your posting history. It seemed like you had bounced between one night stands and waiting for men to call you back, so now you are trying a very different style of screening for guys who actively pursue you and make their desire obviously plain. Okay, fine. You might very well be over-correcting and soon need to swing back to a more moderate approach, but that's for another day.

For example: After a disastrous relationship with a spendthrift, there was a period when I intentionally (and semi-obnoxiously) used coupons and free passes on first dates trying to screen women for their sense of frugality. I learned the hard way and quickly returned to more traditional behavior.
posted by 99percentfake at 2:15 PM on October 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


Relationships are a bit of give and take.

Even casual dating relationships.

But you're doing all the taking here. And not only is that not fair, but it's a sure fire way to stop getting dates.

As for how you phrase this in a text message? Don't.

Have enough respect for him to call.
posted by zizzle at 2:16 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I actually think it might help a lot if you could clarify a few things:

1. Why don't you want to pay for anything? Is it for proof of his affection/desire for you? Is it because you believe that the man should pay for everything? Is it because you're broke? Is it because you're cheap but have expensive tastes, and simply like having others foot the bill? Are you trying to catch a rich man and think this is the best way?

2. Why won't you initiate? Is it from some sort of Rulesy belief system? Is it because you're "traditional"? Is it because you want him to demonstrate his desire for you? Are you simply lazy or think you're not creative enough? And why will you only initiate verbally during a date rather than call him?

3. What is your ultimate goal? Would you prefer to be exclusive with one man, or do you want to date multiple men and have them treat you? Do you see this behavior of the man initiating and paying to last all the way up through your (hypothetical) marriage, or would he be able to stop at some point and you two could go Dutch? Are you looking to have him support you financially after you are married?

The answers to these questions will help us understand what's motivating you, and I think our advice would be much more targeted as a result.
posted by UniversityNomad at 2:19 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


There was a lot of good advice about dating expectations and who pays for what in this previous question.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:20 PM on October 10, 2012


The asker-pays thing only works if both parties have reciprocity on asking the other person to things, and when they both pay about equally (or, given a large inequality in means, pay according to their means). If you have not invited him to things and paid for them, it is unreasonable to expect him to pay for you when he invites you. If any friend behaved this way with me, I would consider them to be a mooch.

Generally, modern progressive people split the costs of dates, regardless of who asked whom (again, with flexibility for large income inequalities), thus avoiding any worry about asking-paying reciprocity.
posted by jb at 2:21 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You like him... but not $10 worth?

If I was in this guy's shoes and was into someone I was dating who acted like you, I'd be wondering WTF is going on. I would assume you didn't really care but was just interested in free entertainment and had nothing better to do.

I might even do exactly this to see if you liked me enough to step out of your "The Rules"-ish bubble; that is: act like an adult human being who does what she wants to instead of doing what she thinks will get her the best return on her time and... other investments.

Not wanting to go dutch on a date -- just once -- is a great signal that you're not that invested, so I applaud him for asking you to put in for a ticket or whatever. (So is never initiating contact, but I guess he hasn't taken that hint yet.)
posted by supercres at 2:21 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suggest at this very early stage he is in fact getting some inkling that you're really not into him and he is trying in a very tactful manner to test his hypotheisis.

If you are interested, go and pay the $10 FFS!
posted by Wilder at 2:22 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's nothing wrong with being the sort of person who isn't comfortable asking someone else on a date. Some people aren't.

There isn't anything wrong with the philosophy that the asker should pay.

That being said, if both of those sentences are true for you, I'd say you're cheap, tacky and entitled. Unless you're broke (and I mean really broke, foodstamps, no discretionary spending etc) the idea that every date you go on must be free for you is nuts. And the idea that your standard of doing fun and entertaining stuff every date at no cost to you is even crazier. Free dates pretty much mean that you go somewhere free like a park and entertain each other through talking, otherwise you need to be willing to bust out your wallet every other date or so.

If $10 is too much for you on principle, cut the guy loose. Politely, since it seems to me he's put up with a great deal of rudeness from you already.
posted by GilvearSt at 2:25 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


There's no way to tell him that without sounding like a douchebag because it's a pretty douchebag idea that he should pay for everything while you recline like Cleopatra on the Nile.

If you like him, ur dune it rong.
posted by klangklangston at 2:26 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


To clarify, I do like him. I show him this by answering his texts and emails rather quickly, usually saying yes to requests to date and getting all dolled up for him, kissing/being physical with him, driving him home after late night dates, etc. I'm also a very cheap date (I don't drink alcohol nor require we do expensive things). Most of the things we've done are free events. I fully expect to pay my way if a friend were to invite me, but said friend better not think that we're going to be making out and getting physical because friends don't do that.

To answer your questions univeristynomad -
* I do believe the one who invites should pay in a dating situation (not friends obviously).
* I want the guy I'm dating to ask me out because it shows how interested they are, and men generally want to chase.
* I do pay once I'm in an exclusive relationship. I used to pay for the most expensive gifts for my ex and treat him to things quite often. I'm not stingy once our relationship is established. Yes, I paid for his meal once and never ask him to buy things for me

Also, yes it's only $10 - exactly why he should pay! And we're in a city where there are tons of things to do for free/cheap.
posted by soooo at 2:29 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've been dating for a few months now and he has always paid.

...he had started suggesting lame things like meeting up at a park or sitting around...

I told him that I like to DO things on dates - my idea of dating a guy involves activities.

Then he sent another text and proceeded to put it is ten bucks per person.


As a Poor Person, this sequence of events immediately struck me as this guy cannot afford to pay for every single date, so he's clearly suggesting free ways to see her. When you insisted that each date had to be an "activity," he probably found something fun and attempted to make it clear that he wasn't not going to pay for your share this time. I could be wrong, and I agree with others that he's also likely testing your "rules," but I would bet he's feeling the strain on his wallet, too.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:30 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not surprised you got piled on, since most people here are used to the whole splitting thing. And you will limit yourself to a smaller pool of guys by not being open to it, that is true.

But there are guys who are fine with that model, and if you want it bad enough (in other words, willing to have to search more and filter through guys) its certainly possible.

Despite the vitriol here, I don't think it makes you "cheap" or a "douchebag" or whatever, thats pretty ridiculous.

As a guy, I'm used to dating the way you describe (I always pay, usually initiate dates, plan them, etc), and I don't think I'm unique in that. I don't think I'm as attached to that model as you seem to be, but again everyone has their own view on what they want a relationship to be like.

So either find guys who like a "traditional" dating model _and_ have the money to afford it, or try being more flexible. Neither is an inherently better approach, but there are tradeoffs to consider.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:31 PM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also, yes it's only $10 - exactly why he should pay!

Wow... just.... wow.

Amazing that this is what you have gleaned from ALL the comments in this thread. You need to tell this guy the truth, there are about 30 versions of that truth in this thread, pick one and be straight with him.
posted by Cosine at 2:31 PM on October 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


I'm not stingy once our relationship is established.

So what's the difference? Exclusivity? It really seems like a lot of your outlook on dating is tied to reciprocity*, rather than genuine affection. That's fine IF you're with someone who's okay with that. I'm not sure that you are.

(I'm proud of myself for avoiding awful unintended "tit-for-tat" puns.)
posted by supercres at 2:34 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


* I do believe the one who invites should pay in a dating situation (not friends obviously).
* I want the guy I'm dating to ask me out because it shows how interested they are, and men generally want to chase.


So what you're saying is that you believe the guy should pay for everything when you are dating casually. Especially given that you are not exclusive and do not ever initiate contact (do you write "Thanks for the date -- I had a lot of fun!" or whatever after dates? That's not initiating, and that would be polite), from the other side it doesn't really read like you're interested, and it's possible the guy thinks the same thing. (Or that he can't afford it, or that he doesn't know that you plan to change this later.)

What you want doesn't seem to mesh with what he wants. I think you really need to be clearer to this guy.
posted by jeather at 2:34 PM on October 10, 2012


To clarify; We're not exclusive because he hasn't asked me to be and who knows if he is seeing other people.

Um, why haven't you talked to him about this? Seems like he's doing all the heavy lifting in this "relationship" (or whatever you want to call it).

I totally don't mind his date suggestions that are FREE but where we will be doing something or somehow being entertained. I think there's more to talk about and stronger bonds are built when you do something together.

I actually think you have a good point with the activities. Early dates tend to be awkward, activities are a good way to share in something and break up the awkwardness.

However, I totally agree with the other posters here. Why should he always have to pay? As a guy, I don't mind being a bit chivalrous but I personally find the "I expect the guy to pay" attitude from women a bit of a turnoff, particularly during first/early dates. To me, it screams "ENTITLED", and is not a good way to start a relationship.

And if you consider spending quality time conversing with the guy one-on-one "lame", then I don't hold out much hope for you two. Do the poor guy a favor and cut him loose. Let him find someone who will appreciate him a bit more.
posted by photo guy at 2:35 PM on October 10, 2012


Dating at this stage in an exercise in escalation and de-escalation. If I ask you out, I will ask you out for a drink or dinner or something relatively laid back. If that is successful, I will ask you out again for something similar. If you initiate contact and we do something, then I will escalate further. And so on.

If, on the other hand, you don't initiate or suggest a followup date, then I will start to dial it back. Fun activities or nice dinners followed by another event will fall back to a drink or brunch. Eventually, if I still like you but you're not giving me much response, then I'll mention casual events that you may or may not be interested in because I enjoy your company but kind of know you aren't interested but would like to see if you'd change your mind, giving me an opportunity to escalate again.

I think what you've done, here, is ended up basically indicating to the guy that you're not really that interested in him-- and, who knows, he might not be that into you, anymore! -- and the two of you have fallen into a groove of, "I will hang out with this person if I'm not too busy and it's not too much trouble."

If this is NOT what you want, you're going to have to confront him directly about this, and that will put you at risk of getting rejected.
posted by deanc at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Um, I would highly recommend you go read the book Why Men Are The Way They Are. There are basically two camps of people (a very tiny part of the book): Those who think the woman is trading her company for the enjoyment of the man's company. And those who think the woman's company is somehow worth more than the man's company and therefore the man should pay.

The OP obviously belongs in the second group. In this case, a man who wants you to pay is not compatible with you. Cut him loose.

Or if you like him, and insist on sticking to your model, you should ask him to be exclusive (or hint at him to ask you to be exclusive). That way he won't have to foot all the bills (which he is clearly not so happy to do).

Also, beware that this type of mentality (the guy always asks, the guy always pays) with such rigidity is much more likely to lead to an abusive relationship where the guy feels like he "owns" the woman and therefore can do what he wants.
posted by ethidda at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, I was being nice before, but this:

I fully expect to pay my way if a friend were to invite me, but said friend better not think that we're going to be making out and getting physical because friends don't do that.


Are you seriously suggesting that men should pay so that you will be physical with them? You realize what that says about you, right? Forget what everyone else said. Seek therapy.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:37 PM on October 10, 2012 [71 favorites]


but said friend better not think that we're going to be making out and getting physical because friends don't do that

You do know what this sounds like, right? If not, I'll spell it out: you're trading him paying on dates for "making out and getting physical". Those are the differences between the two situations, and they're explicitly linked for you.
posted by supercres at 2:37 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Be direct. "Is this a date? I'm super traditional, so if it's a date, the asker pays ;)"
posted by rhythm and booze at 2:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're overcompensating. It sounds like you got burned by guys in the past by buying them stuff/paying for them/whatever and have it turn out that they weren't into you.

Now you've decided that the only way not to get burned is to not pay for anything. This might work, but it's going to turn a lot of guys off. (I'm happy to pay for dates, but if I got a text like the one you're thinking of sending I would laugh and laugh and laugh and then never ask you out again).

So if you're looking for a normal-ish guy you need to decide on a suitable amount to invest in a new relationship that's somewhere between "lots" and "nothing". I'd suggest that going dutch on the occasional date should be part of your new normal.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:39 PM on October 10, 2012 [22 favorites]


Given your update, it seems like the best thing to do would be to have a DTR with him (as they used to call it in the evangelical circles of my youth). Because you seem to be at a stalemate. You want him to pay, in order to show his continuing interest, but you're willing to go dutch once you're exclusive. He sounds either broke or unaware of your interest in him, since you're not initiating. I don't think you're communicating as clearly as you think you are. Rather than more passive-aggressive gambits to try to push him to demonstrate his interest in you via his behavior, I really think it would be better to hash it out verbally and clearly. Also, I'm traditional too (probably far more traditional than you are), but in my experience, having a man pay for you is not the only way (or even the best way) to ascertain his interest in you and/or his intentions towards you. All that it shows if he pays is that he is either rich, or generous, or trying to dig you into sexual debt - and it's difficult to tell which just from the behavior of paying. Far better to have a clarifying conversation. I'm sure that if he's serious about you, he'll make that clear in a conversation. Similarly, it's entirely possible (likely, even) that he doesn't know where he stands with you, as you seem to have given him no verbal or non-verbal indication of your affections. You should make explicit to him what your feelings and intentions are towards him, so he can be at ease too. No more game playing: think about how great that will feel!
posted by UniversityNomad at 2:39 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's another reading I haven't yet seen in the responses above.

He may be using this $10 thing to see where he and you stand in this thing you have. So far, from his point of view, he's put in all of the effort and commitment, assumed all of the risks. You've contributed nothing. He's asking you to put a minimal token, $10, on the line. It's head-gamey and dramatic, sure, but that's the way you guys are relating to each other.

If the message you want to send is that stepping up to a relationship with him isn't worth $10, isn't worth that great a commitment, then send your message. If you do want this to go anywhere else, you may want to re-evaluate your approach. What would you risk?
posted by bonehead at 2:40 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I want the guy I'm dating to ask me out because it shows how interested they are, and men generally want to chase.

Doesn't he deserve you showing your interest every once and a while? You need to show your interest on occasion.

Also, yes it's only $10 - exactly why he should pay! And we're in a city where there are tons of things to do for free/cheap.

Then look up one of these cheap/free events, pick up the phone and invite him and pick up the cheque. It you really like him, it's only $10.
posted by GilvearSt at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I fully expect to pay my way if a friend were to invite me, but said friend better not think that we're going to be making out and getting physical because friends don't do that.

What?? I don't even know where to start with this, except to say that's not how a healthy relationship is supposed to work.

I want the guy I'm dating to ask me out because it shows how interested they are, and men generally want to chase.

No, we don't. Chasing can be fun, but it's a two-way street. If you're not showing interest, I for one would stop pursuing eventually - and I'm sure a lot of other guys would too.
posted by photo guy at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


First off, even if you are not exclusive, 1.5 months in you should be getting past this tit-for-tat crap. I take it you have been out with this dude numerous times, and this is the kind of stuff that people stress over after, like, three dates.

Second, I would not want to date a girl for all that long who considers hanging out with me shooting the shit "lame." That's an even bigger red flag than this whole paying thing - I mean, sometimes I want to just hang out and watch a movie or cook dinner. I'm not here solely for your entertainment.

Just...two things to consider when evaluating this situation. Anyway, if you are serious about wanting to see this dude again either pony up the $10 or come up with an alternative suggestion that would be free. If you can't do that, leave the poor guy alone.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:54 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


It sounds like for whatever reason, you've spent the last half year or so devising this whole set of rules, expectations and thoughts about guys, dating, etc. and that is fine, as long as a) you're honest about it (to yourself and your dates) and b) you regularly evaluate if this still works out for you. Your questions really make me wonder: is this really the way you want do keep doing this dating thing? Do you really enjoy all the insecurities, the waiting, the cat and mouse game? And do you truly think that's the best and most promising start of a healthy, honest and open relationship? Either way, be honest with the guy.
posted by Ms. Next at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


How do I decline and let him know the reason why, which is that I think it's pretty tacky to ask me out and expect me to pay, in a tactful manner?

You've specified some personal rules here, about when you're willing to pay, or to initiate contact, and this guy has no idea what they are. It's more important to be open with this guy about what your rules are than to be "tactful", which would really just be stringing him along.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


[Folks, if you can't be constructive with your answers, feel free not to answer. Otherwise, please keep your answers helpful to the OP and save your nonsense for someplace else. Thanks. ]
posted by jessamyn at 3:01 PM on October 10, 2012


You say you like him, but I'll say from my experience, when I REALLY like a guy, it doesn't really matter what we do, I just want to see him. And I certainly wouldn't care about paying $10. And I wouldn't still be seeing other guys after 6 weeks.

So my hunch is that you're not really as into him as you think you are (or should be by this point).
posted by Asparagus at 3:01 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


You are getting piled on. I don't know if you realize this- it's not because people don't get what you are saying. We do. It's just that there are seriously very few people who will get behind this whole "i don't want to pay for any of my own way even after many dates" thing. Even the Millionaire Matchmaker Chick has her ladies paying more often.

If this is the way you want to go, ok, but it is very very hard to make it sound "nice" to most people. Most people will think you are being a little princessy.

Just decline the date and recommend one of your free ideas. Every time he asks you to chip in for a future date, do the same thing.
posted by Blisterlips at 3:05 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This guy cannot read your mind. If I were this guy, I would interpret your lack of initiation, lack of interest in talking, and reluctance to invest money in dates as a lack of interest and I would stop trying to date you. If you want him to give up on you, keep doing what you're doing, because I think that's the most likely outcome. Or, you know, just tell him you don't want to date him anymore.
posted by prefpara at 3:07 PM on October 10, 2012


Remember the last time you set up arbitrary rules for who should do what in a budding relationship but did not tell the guy what those rules were and eventually, when the games you were playing were indistinguishable from a lack of interest, he wound up taking the hint and figuring you weren't interested?

Yeah. It's happened again.

I believe you when you say you've had lots of good ideas for things to do for free, but:

Lastly, I have suggested or told him about things (invited him) that are free - but I only do this in person while we're already on a date.


See, the message you're sending with this pattern of behavior is that you will only deign to leave the house if he takes you out; you aren't interested in "sitting around and talking" as you say, and then you come up with interesting free things to do when you're already out together. In other words, he's noticed that you're only interested in the pleasure of his company either when he's going to spend money on you or he has already spent money on you. He's noticed that you think meeting up at a park is lame.

He's also noticed that you never initiate.

Which is to say: He's taken the hint.

The ten bucks was a test. He was basically seeing if you were willing to do something that didn't involve him spending money on you, to see if you actually wanted to spend time with him. From the follow-ups you're posting, it sounds like the message you sent was the exact opposite of the one you wanted to, but it doesn't matter so much now. This was a test and you kind of gave the answer he was afraid of.

Honestly, it just sounds like you blew it with this guy. You really need to divest yourself of this game-playing that you keep doing, because no matter what it's protecting you from, it's also driving away guys who sound like they could be fairly cool. If you like a guy and he likes you, you'll chase each other.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:08 PM on October 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


My point is that he always wants to kiss me and be physical when we're together. So if he is just seeing me as a friend (and demonstrating such by inviting me to hang out where I will be paying for myself ... in other words not a date) then he should not expect to be treated as a guy I am dating and romantically interested in, but as a friend. I don't know about you, but I don't go around kissing and being physical with my male friends.

Inviting me to just sit around and talk and/or do nothing in particular and then wanting or expecting to be intimate won't work.

I'm still seeing guys because I am not willing to get hung up on a guy who hasn't expressed wanting to see me exclusively. Seeing other men has probably kept me off ask me by allowing me to stop focusing on 1 guy who hasn't made his intentions clear. No, I don't believe in pressuring a guy to make me his girlfriend.

I think it is good advice to not broach the subject by text. Therefore, I will just say it does sound fun and I hope he has a good time and leave it at that.
posted by soooo at 3:08 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You want a way to be tactful in telling him you think paying your own way on a date is "tacky." But being tactful is a way of being kind while telling a potentially-uncomfortable truth. You are not being truthful or honest in your interactions with him; you are deliberately playing games, hinting, setting secret rules, and so on. If you wish to be tactful, you must first commit to being honest with him.

You think that saying, "Look, I only go on dates where the man pays," will turn him off, because it's not a very nice attitude. If he's a decent sort of guy, you're probably right. You can either be honest with him about what sort of person you are and what you expect in a relationship, and risk turning him off; or you can keep playing games. You cannot do both, which is what you seem to be asking by asking for a "tactful" way of saying this.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:10 PM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


There was a deleted comment that has this nugget of wisdom embedded in the vitriol. I'm paraphrasing; sorry.

It sounds like you chased someone (or someones) in the past and it didn't work out well for you. Now you're swinging to the complete opposite pole and refusing to do anything that can be construed as chasing to BE ABSOLUTELY SURE that the guy is interested in you. But that just means that it's not going to turn out well for him, and you're likely to turn him off in the process.

Everything you say has an undertone of, "Well, of course he should keep doing this. I'm worth it." He's not a mind reader. He is desperately trying to figure out if you're worth it, and you're not giving him much to go on.

If you want to get into a relationship -- ever -- you should probably step back from dating and remember how to act like yourself again. If this is it, fine, but you're limiting your dating pool, honestly.

On preview:

Therefore, I will just say it does sound fun and I hope he has a good time and leave it at that.

You realize you're dumping him with that, right? Because he didn't chase you hard enough?
posted by supercres at 3:10 PM on October 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


A man should not have to pay money to be physically intimate with a girl he is dating. This is a kind of perversion of chivalry.
posted by DeltaForce at 3:11 PM on October 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


In the current day and age most people believe in having more equality with regards to dating. No longer is it the case that guys do all the chasing and women accept payments of various forms and give out sex. So when someone still has these outdated rules, they better be presented right from the start, so the other person knows what he or she is getting into. That's fair. That avoids these kinds of situations, where you are playing mind games that must be agonizing to both parties.

Cut it out.

Either tell everyone you want to date that you have these rules, or change your rules if you don't like the consequences of the first choice.

There is no nice way of telling him, because this is not a nice thing. You are not being a nice person by clinging to these standards.

I wish I could address a whole lot of other issues you seem to be having, but that's not the question. So I'll just say that the way you are handling relationships with other people is going to end up being really detrimental to your well-being.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 3:11 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Coy: "I'm not up for anything that involves paying right now... unless you're willing to take me out, is there something free we could do? maybe [suggestion if you have one]?"

Direct [this probably requires picking up the phone]: "Hey, there's something I need to tell you about how I approach relationships. I feel very strongly that a man should initiate dates and be the pursuer, and I feel that if a man invites a woman out he should pay. When I'm in an established relationship I'm more comfortable with initiating more and paying my own way, but right now it seems like we're just casually dating. If you want to be exclusive I need you to demonstrate interest and ask me. What do you think?"
posted by ke rose ne at 3:12 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Regarding your latest update: surely you kiss him and are physical with him because you like/love him and desire him, right? You're not suggesting that you do those things with him because he's paying? Do you really see this as a sexual-economic transaction where he is buying your affections and/or sexual favors? That sounds crude and awfully close to the world's oldest profession, to me (and is not ladylike at all, if that's what you're going for). And the difference between him and your male friends really doesn't boil down to the fact that he's buying your dinner, does it?
posted by UniversityNomad at 3:12 PM on October 10, 2012 [24 favorites]


To be clear, in general, in US culture, asking someone out on a date where they share some of the costs does not negate the "date" nature of the thing. If you believe that it does, you're in a very small minority of people, and I doubt this guy sees it the same way, especially if this is all taking place in a large metropolis.

And yes, I agree with everyone who has suggested that it's problematic that you think a man has to earn sexual intimacy by spending money on you.
posted by prefpara at 3:13 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Inviting me to just sit around and talk and/or do nothing in particular and then wanting or expecting to be intimate won't work.

Don't you see that you're implying that you don't want to be intimate with him?!

Yes, please do send that text. He will say, "Fuck it." and be better off.
posted by supercres at 3:13 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


inviting me to hang out where I will be paying for myself ... in other words not a date

Just to be crystal clear, this is a "you" thing not an "everyone" thing. For most people going dutch does not necessarily mean it's not a date.

Sit back and think about what you're saying -- you'll only kiss men who will pay for every one of your dates. Is that how you want to live?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 3:15 PM on October 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


Therefore, I will just say it does sound fun and I hope he has a good time and leave it at that.

... which means what exactly? You aren't being direct and you need to be direct. Important note: being direct in saying "I'd love to go but I have a weird/traditional/whatever philosophy that the asker should pay" is not going to make you come across as "chasing" this guy.

I think it's fine if this is your prerogative and all that, but you have to OWN IT and not just be vague and passive and expect guys to figure out that this is how dating you is like. When I was in the dating market, I didn't exactly go to the extremes that you are with no-contact, but I did let my dates know that they would earn big points with me by paying for our dates and planning things.
posted by joan_holloway at 3:15 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm still seeing guys because I am not willing to get hung up on a guy who hasn't expressed wanting to see me exclusively. Seeing other men has probably kept me off ask me by allowing me to stop focusing on 1 guy who hasn't made his intentions clear. No, I don't believe in pressuring a guy to make me his girlfriend.

Okay, let me see if I'm understanding this correctly. Are you saying that you think this guy should either (a) continue to 'court' you (ie pay for dates), or (b) have you become his girlfriend (ie the 2 of you agree you're exclusive)?

To me, it sounded like you didn't really want to be his girlfriend (ie not wanting to just hang out, only wanting to see him if there's something 'fun' to do, implying that you're kinda bored by him). But are you saying that you DO want to see him exclusively? If that is the case, why don't you just ask? Saying, "hey, FYI, I'm not seeing anyone else right now, how about you?" is not the same as pressuring.
posted by Asparagus at 3:18 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this categorization of either sex partner or friend is not helping you.

He likely wants to be both. I certainly want to be friends with the person I'm intimate with. The word is boy-friend for a reason. It's great that he's attracted to you (do you find him attractive? you have never said), but most couples want to actually like each other too. Not wanting to just hang out would be a huge red-flag for me, in fact.

Tell him to have fun and let him be free. He's asking you to step-up or let him go.
posted by bonehead at 3:19 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, if this guy knew that saying "I want to be your boyfriend" would lift this veil of mind games, making him chase, etc, there's a good chance he'd state his intentions right away. But HE CAN'T READ YOUR MIND.

Also, if you are always willing to go out with him, and respond to his messages right away, he might not know you're seeing other people! If you have not told him "I am seeing other people", he probably doesn't know.

Drop the crap and speak up for what you want. What you REALLY want, not what he has to do to win a blue ribbon from you.
posted by itesser at 3:21 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you really like him and really want to go, say: "Sounds fun! This one's on me" and YOU pay for both yourself and him. I get that he invited you, but sometimes it's nice to switch things up, just because you want to spend time with someone.

I'm not sure where the idea of getting physical and making out has any relevance - I'm assuming you enjoy this too? If so, you're getting some good times out of it. If not, why are you seeing this person?

Also, when it comes to being exclusive... you know, it's ok if you start the conversation, instead of waiting for him to bring it up. In other words, stop being so passive.
posted by raztaj at 3:21 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Inviting me to just sit around and talk and/or do nothing in particular and then wanting or expecting to be intimate won't work.

If that rule is contributing to your happiness, and/or improving your dating life, that's fine. I'm not going to tell you that you should change the way you feel if your current approach is working for you. But since you don't seem to be completely content with the way things are going, I think that you should at least consider that this is the opposite of how a lot of people approach dating. This may be a cultural thing, or it may be a personal thing, but your rule seems a little bizarre to me, and apparently to a lot of other MeFites. It makes me wonder if maybe you're not interested in physical intimacy for its own sake?

In my experience, there are "action dates", where you do decide on an activity and then meet up to do it (rock climbing, seeing that local band that everyone's talking about), and then there are "intimacy dates", where you hang out on the couch and cuddle and eat some of the chocolate cake you brought home from your niece's birthday party. Action dates only allow for a little bit of physical intimacy, so most people like to mix in some intimacy dates because the talking/hanging out/smooching is something they look forward to. You seem to feel like intimacy dates are only appropriate once exclusivity is established in a relationship -- please, please believe me that this is a much rarer and more rigid approach to dating than you seem to think. How on earth is they guy you're seeing supposed to know that you will eventually be okay with just hanging out and talking, or with paying for some of your activities, if you never discuss the fact that your ideal relationship is structured that way? He can't decide whether to stick around and play if he doesn't know what rulebook you're using.
posted by arianell at 3:30 PM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


There are a lot of aggressive comments here. Yikes. Let's all try to remember that we are here to help.

First, where I'm coming from: I'm pretty traditional, I let men chase me, I don't get physical until we're heading towards commitment and emotional involvement. I have a (only semi-serious) set of "rules" I follow. I get where your head is at, at least partly.

But your latest response really struck me as maybe a bit misguided. You say:

"My point is that he always wants to kiss me and be physical when we're together. So if he is just seeing me as a friend (and demonstrating such by inviting me to hang out where I will be paying for myself ... in other words not a date) then he should not expect to be treated as a guy I am dating and romantically interested in, but as a friend. I don't know about you, but I don't go around kissing and being physical with my male friends."

You seem to be saying that what makes it a "date" is when he pays, instead of you paying yourself.

I would say that what makes it a "date" is that he wants to kiss you.

The money is sort of irrelevant. I pay for drinks and food and tickets for my family, friends, lovers, dates, and boyfriends because I care about those people, and taking care of them and providing for them makes me feel happy and good. I like when a date offers to pay for me - it shows he likes me and wants to provide for me. I will reciprocate by buying the second round of drinks, or dinner next time, or the ice cream when we go for dessert. I prefer taking turns paying to splitting the bill, because it feels more friendly and intimate, like we are taking care of each other. Less transactional. If he wants to split it, it feels like friends. But I like for us to come out about even in terms of how much we are spending over the course of a few dates.

Likewise, "letting him chase me" means that generally let him initiate the first few times, but I respond enthusiastically and make suggestions of my own. And after 2 or 3 dates, I start initiating about half the time.

Your way may be different than my way, of course. But I think you might be taking the "let men lead and pursue and chase you and pay for you" mindset a bit too far for it to be effective.

Good luck! If you like this guy, go on the date and pay for him. And kiss him.
posted by amaire at 3:33 PM on October 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


I fully expect to pay my way if a friend were to invite me, but said friend better not think that we're going to be making out and getting physical because friends don't do that.

So he's.... paying to make out with you? Good lord, there are some words for that.

Friend, this is your kabillionth relationship post, and across them all, I think there's one commonality that unites a lot of your challenges:

You are not communicating your desires in a relationship and are instead hiding them, leaving these poor guys playing some kind of telepathic guessing game with you.

A key foundation to healthy, happy relationships is being comfortable asking for what you want in a non-threatening way. People - especially when they like you - are pleasers; they want to give you what you want. But they need to know what that is, and the best way of effecting this is by telling them.

The second commonality in many of your questions is a reliance on the guys to resolve your emotional quandries. Be active, take action. Don't mention activities on dates; pick up the phone and ask him on that activity as a date. If you want to be exclusive, ask him to be exclusive. If you like him, tell him you like him. Honesty and transparency with others is generally so rewarding, and it bounces back and you find yourself being more honest and transparent with yourself, too. Good luck,
posted by smoke at 3:35 PM on October 10, 2012 [44 favorites]


Inviting me to just sit around and talk and/or do nothing in particular and then wanting or expecting to be intimate won't work.

The people I have been intimate with are people I enjoy talking and hanging out with. Of course there are people I enjoy hanging out with who I do not want to be intimate with. But I don't want to be intimate with someone if it's boring or not fun to talk to them.

It's okay to not be invested in this relationship for whatever reasons. It's also okay to have rules. But you have very specific rules, which are also unusual rules to have, and which you aren't sharing with the person you are seeing, and this method of dating is going to be frustrating for everyone. You really need to be able to be more clear about what you want. I suspect you're not clear in yourself about what you want, which is why you have somewhat paradoxical rules. That's also okay; it's normal. (Not ideal, of course, but normal.) But you need to be a little more open. It's hard! But it will reap rewards.
posted by jeather at 3:38 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


From your previous questions, I think you might have swung too far in the opposite direction. I also think that most of the commentators here are being terribly mean and judgmental.
If the guy has been okay paying thus far and now has decided that he needs to save money, he could have had a direct conversation with you about that. I'd guess that his suggestions for hanging out, sitting around, etc., mean that he's looking for cheap or free things to do. You can always suggest an alternative to his plans that's kinder to his wallet and his self-esteem, like going to a museum or a reading at a bookstore or taking a walk someplace you want to explore. He can't expect you to read his mind, but you have to take some action and not just be the passive partner who's making him do all the work.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:40 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


So if he is just seeing me as a friend (and demonstrating such by inviting me to hang out where I will be paying for myself ... in other words not a date) then he should not expect to be treated as a guy I am dating and romantically interested in, but as a friend.

The thing is, it can still be a date even if he isn't paying for you. While I suspect that, as others have said, the $10 was a test to see if you're still interested in him if he isn't paying for it, it could also be that he doesn't necessarily have the same "it's not a date if I pay my own way" view that you do. You need to let him know how you feel about who pays on dates if you want to continue seeing him; either he won't share your opinion and the relationship will end, or he'll be more clear on your expectations and modify his behaviour accordingly in order to continue dating you.

As it stands now, it sounds like you're both playing games and things are getting messy and confusing because neither of you will just come out and say exactly what it is that you want.
posted by asnider at 3:41 PM on October 10, 2012


read Beth Bailey's "From Front Porch to Backseat" for more

Or you can listen to her talk about the subject here at the Backstory episode, "Love Me Did: A History of Courtship.
posted by bswinburn at 3:43 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if he is just seeing me as a friend (and demonstrating such by inviting me to hang out where I will be paying for myself ... in other words not a date) then he should not expect to be treated as a guy I am dating and romantically interested in, but as a friend.

I have highlighted the word "should" here. You think this guy should be aware of and adhere to the exact same Laws of Dating as you do. There is no reason for that to be the case, especially because you haven't specified The Laws to him. Every day people are going Dutch and then making out afterwards. This guy is unaware that you have sworn to repudiate that lifestyle choice. You should tell him, so he knows what you are looking for in the relationship.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:45 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


You can do as you like, of course. But I really think you would be better off if you actually communicated with your dates. Tell them what they need to know.

If you don't pay for dates because you have been hurt before and would rather not contribute until you are in a monogamous/exclusive relationship, fine. But you have to use your words and tell them that.

This: "Therefore, I will just say it does sound fun and I hope he has a good time and leave it at that." Is as far from honest communication as you can get. All he is going to read from that is that you do not want to go out on a date with him. You can lean back and let the man take the lead all you like, but it is still your responsibility to share your thoughts and feelings with him, or else intimacy and relationship will not happen. How is he going to know where to lead if you have this assumption that he needs to be psychic and read your mind?

Most of the answers are coming from western culture, and I think you are coming from a different culture of dating. Knowing where you are from might really help shed some light on your actions and make them more understandable to people commenting.

If I were you, the dating exercise I would take on is to practice telling dates exactly what you want. I think you will get so much closer to actually getting it.
posted by Vaike at 3:49 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't think there's a way to be polite, but you can certainly be direct, and that is probably about the best you can shoot for. Tell him that you prefer when the asker pays for dates, at least in a non-exclusive relationship.

FWIW, I think he is testing you because he is questioning whether you are interested. You two probably are a poor match.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:52 PM on October 10, 2012


So, clearly you have some very definite ideas about what men should do and what woman should do. What I want to point out to you is this: the fact that this thread already has over 100 comments telling you that you're not necessarily in the right, is proof that not everyone has the same ideas about dating as you do. Including, probably, the guys you date. Now, with this in mind, you can either just keep expecting guys to psychically figure out your non-standard view of relationships, or you can start telling people what you actually want, or you can change your expectations. These are your options. But I don't think Option One is going to do you much good in the long run.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:53 PM on October 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


One more thing. As a few commenters above have said, I think it's extremely important not to confuse two things: 1. being direct and clear about your preferences and expectations, and 2. somehow usurping the lead from him. Think about it: how can he take the lead and initiate, when he has *no idea* what your preferences and expectations are? Making these explicit isn't taking the lead; rather, it's empowering him to take the lead. Either he won't like your system and will break up with you (enabling you to keep looking for someone who does like it), or he'll go along with your system and you can feel cherished, chased after, etc. Or you can compromise, and he can find some other way to pursue you and assure you of his affections and intentions that does not involve money. Unless you make clear what you expect, you really can't assume he will know it. People bring all sorts of gendered/behavioral assumptions into the dating arena, so unless you either live in a very insular subculture OR you explicitly clarify, it's unreasonable to be able to expect him to mind-read.
posted by UniversityNomad at 3:56 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe you've got a block now where if you suggest something to someone, it doesn't count as them actually doing it. I used to have that in my relationship: if I told my husband that I needed to feel more loved, that somehow it wouldn't mean as much as him reaching out first. But that was bullshit, and I'm really glad I got over that sort of mindset. Reading through a lot of AskMe questions helped me sort this out.

People aren't psychic. Sometimes two of them will meet up and they will be so perfectly in sync with each other that it's almost scary, but that isn't a standard we should hold anyone up to. Most of us will fumble through relationships in the beginning until we get into a groove, and we'll do that because we see something in each other that'll keep us trying.

So maybe you feel like a guy should just know, but that's a problem. A great majority of us, both girls and guys, have no idea what the other person needs or wants if we don't learn their patterns. And it takes more than 1.5 months to figure that out. It can take years. The journey itself is great and amazing, but it's not always one of perfect psychic moments where your partners say just the right thing or do just the right action. But because we want to be around each other, we pull through those times.

Just keep this in mind. It's okay to tell people what you want from them.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 4:05 PM on October 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's okay to tell people what you want from them. Repeated for emphasis. You're not just a game-changing date aspect, you're a person with needs, desires, and dreams. Be it.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 4:13 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree tequila, that's why I asked the question - it's like I want to let him know that I find that unattractive and unromantic in the most way, but I wanted to be tactful in letting him know and I couldn't think of the words to do that so just decided as people suggested to not talk about it over that medium. I have no idea how to bring it up in the future since it's such a delicate subject
posted by soooo at 4:15 PM on October 10, 2012


How about, when he pays for anything you snuggle up to him and say, "Thanks for the drinks, babe. You're so good to me." (and maybe a kiss, too). That communicates that you like it a lot when he pays.
posted by amaire at 4:22 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, it's only a delicate subject if you wait too long to bring it up. If you say this right away when someone asks you out, it's okay. That way they know what to expect and it won't be a surprise you have to delicately dance around.

So next time tell a guy right away: "Wow, thanks! I'd love to [go on date]. Just so you know, I'm kind of old-fashioned and would really prefer that whoever initiates the date pays for it. Is that something you'd be okay with?"

Or "would really prefer [this other rule I have.]" You don't have to mention everything you want from a guy right away, but let him know that you expect him to pay for what he offered, and give him a chance to back out or change his mind. I mean you really won't run into anyone who'll reply with "No, in that case I take back my date offer" but if he disagrees he just won't ask you again. Or you'll have a bigger conversation, I don't know. The ball will be in his court, which is what you like anyway.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 4:22 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You either say "I've decided that it's important to me that I don't pay for dates until we're exclusive" or you stop hanging out with him or you get over it. There's no tactful way to say that you expect to be paid for whenever he wants to hang out with you.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:34 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Soooo don't feel too bad about the pile-on here. Most people who are responding are more "modern" daters. They're just representing the viewpoint of the guy you're writing about- who obviously doesn't espouse the traditional values that you're looking for.

I totally agree in that I like the man to ask me out, to chase and to pay. To me, a man that knows what he wants and goes for it (in a respectful manner) definitely turns me on. It's a clear sign of interest- it could be interest in getting in the pants or interest in the woman as a person, but interest nonetheless.

You and this guy aren't compatible and that's ok! You deserve a man that will pursue you and treat you the way that makes you happy and he deserves a woman that is more modern and willing to contribute financially to a barely-there relationship. It seems as though it would be best for both of you to stop seeing each other.
posted by lovelygirl at 4:35 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just noticed your last question was linked in here, and it made think that you're not entitled (which, honestly, is how this question came off) but kind of guarded and waaay overanalytical. As someone who has been in that position, I'd like to suggest that you try not to think so much. If you're still doing the online thing, it's actually great for this because you can sort of try different ways of doing things until you hit on one that works for you.

End it with this guy - which it sounds like you're already doing - and try not to overthink everything so much in the future.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:00 PM on October 10, 2012


[Folks. 1. answer the question 2. be helpful to the asker 3. If you can't do either of these, keep moving or go to MetaTalk 4. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:13 PM on October 10, 2012


"I have a sort of odd confession to make: your latest invitation has made me wonder if we should be exclusive. I have a pretty personal (and not necessarily easily decipherable!) mindset about dating these days, and I'd like to talk to you about it. Can we meet up in the park on __ day to spend some time together and talk about it?"
posted by argonauta at 5:16 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let the guy pay. If he doesn't and expects you to, he isn't really taking you that seriously or thinks you are worth it. Plain and simple. We may all pretend that it is equal pay equal date deal but it is not. Our so called modernity is only a veneer, real life is different. Moms still come home after a 9 to 5 job and cook dinner, take care of kids, men still earn more on the dollar, there is still a glass ceiling, the list goes on

It is tacky and he doesn't really consider you as a woman he would consider an honor to pay up for. Drop him and stop worrying so much about being nice. He knows it is tacky and he has gone ahead and still asked you to pay.
posted by pakora1 at 5:44 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


That you are favoriting the answers you are indicate that you just aren't getting it. This poor fellow should feel "honored" to pay your way, to get what? Nookie and a heavy dose of game-playing - that only you know the rules to. This is not the way adult relationships grow.

If you are going to be insistant on him knowing to be the one to pay, the one to think of something fun to do that will not bore you (the way "conversation" would), at least have the fortitude to let him know. Favorite one of the many responses above that remind you that nobody can read your mind and know exactly what you want. Either tell him your very specific set of rules or let the poor dude go. As it stands you are being unkind to him in about a dozen different ways.
posted by wats at 5:55 PM on October 10, 2012 [44 favorites]


One thing you may be missing is that your ruleset is likely to alienate your best possible mates. Smart, normal guys are going to run a miile from a girl who plays games and expects to be paid for looking good on their arm. In other words, you're likely to be self-selecting shallow assholes.
posted by unSane at 6:03 PM on October 10, 2012 [29 favorites]


I don't know who you're dating, or what culture you and your date are part of, but I have never, in urban US dating, been with someone where the rule was 'guy pays for every date until we're serious.'

I'm a 'usually pays' dater. I have had plenty of dates where the other person wanted to pay instead, or we went dutch (usually of the form "I'll get this, you can get that later.")

Those are still dates, for me and the people I date. Possibly for the guy you're seeing, too.
posted by zippy at 6:23 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it's quite sweet and definitely a kind of bonus if a guy I like pays for stuff, but I would never consider it his duty to pay, because it would make me feel like he is renting me. I wouldn't even let a guy pay for more than 2 dates in a row.

You may think it's tacky to ask you to pay. I think it's tacky to not date a man because he treats you like an equal.
posted by Tarumba at 6:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it's pretty tacky to ask me out and expect me to pay.... It's like inviting someone to my wedding and after they say they want to come, telling them how much their plate will cost.

It's not like that at all. Because in U.S. culture the consensus is 100%, or near enough, that people throwing a wedding party pay for the food. Whereas the majority view with regard to dating is that splitting costs is a normal and even desirable thing to do.

You don't need to find a polite way to tell him he's being tacky because he's not being tacky--you have like 120 people here telling you he's not, and (I notice on preview) one who agrees with you. What this means is that your understanding of etiquette here is highly idiosyncratic, and it's going to be hard to find many potential partners who agree with you.

If you are okay with having your dating pool drastically shrunk as a result of your standards, that's on you and you just cut the guy loose because he doesn't meet them. But you don't need to set him straight on his etiquette, and in fact it would be rude to try to do so, because he's operating well within cultural norms and it is your expectations that are outside of them.
posted by torticat at 6:57 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Based on the answer you favorited, it seems that you think that if you continue with this policy of expecting guys to initiate all dates, pay for everything on those dates and "reciprocating" by showing physical affection, that you'll be weeding out the guys who are not really that into you, who are just stringing you along because it's fun. Instead, your method of fishing is likely to land you guys who don't mind this sort of game-playing on your part and have a sexist view of the nature of heterosexual romantic relationships.

My own (amazingly thoughtful, crazy-about-me boyfriend) wouldn't have survived your weed-out procedure because on our very first date he invited me to a conversation over a pot of tea at the local cafe, and didn't object vehemently when I paid for the second pot. I did think to myself, ha, this guy is a bit naive about the protocol on first dates, isn't he? But if I'd held that against him, it would have been completely my loss. I understand that you've been burnt in the past by guys stringing you along, but you need to learn to tell the difference between genuine red flags and guys just being human.
posted by peacheater at 7:06 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Inviting me to just sit around and talk and/or do nothing in particular and then wanting or expecting to be intimate won't work.

If you like a guy, then after 1.5 months of dating him you should be excited to sit around and talk to get to know him more! Also, if you like a guy, you would be excited to text him/call him when random funny things happen throughout the day. You would look forward to seeing him and you'd initiate contact. Sounds like you're just not that into him. You like his company enough when he is jumping through hoops to entertain you, but you don't like the normal, every-day him enough to continue dating him.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 7:06 PM on October 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


A possible answer to your question is "Thanks, but I'm not set up to go Dutch on dates right now." In person, you can set a budget for future dates so he doesn't trip over your boundaries. Let him know again that you prefer activities to discourse, too. Some people don't know that long, detailed conversations makes other uncomfortable.

At least he didn't ask you to a $150 a plate dinner at a fancy pants restaurant.
posted by dragonplayer at 7:12 PM on October 10, 2012


Enough people have commented on the inherent unfairness of expecting the guy to pay for everything and to psychically understand your expectations that I don't think I need to join in that pile-on.

I will suggest that you question another of your assumptions - that he isn't interested in being exclusive because he hasn't asked you to be exclusive.

Firstly, you've indicated that you might be interested in being exclusive with him, yet you haven't suggested it yourself. If he is using the same logic you are, then he probably assumes you aren't interested in exclusivity. (Especially since he's been doing most of the work in the relationship so far and you don't seem to be interested in just hanging out with him.)

In addition there are people (like myself when I was single) for whom exclusivity is the default assumption. When I had been dating someone for a few months, it would never have occurred to me to be dating someone else on the side, whether or not we had discussed being exclusive. I realize that may not be the majority viewpoint, but you've already had it pointed out to you that your viewpoint isn't the majority either. Are you confident that you know what his views on the matter are? If not, why don't you try talking to him and find out?
posted by tdismukes at 7:19 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, I don't mind hanging out and talking with him but there's only so much talking you can do! Dating should be fun in my opinion. Talking about feelings all day is not.

Is that.. what talking is to you?

This whole question is ... not good, and you have some real issues to address in how you interact with people.

I notice you're only flagging people agreeing with you as best answers and really, that should tell you something.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


My views on this differ from yours to the extreme, and I really hope you do listen to those who say this is a very problematic way to date, for a number of reasons that have already been addressed.

But to answer your question:

You can ask him: so are we dating or are we just friends? And then if he asks why bring up the whole money thing - I just wasn't sure because I thought we were dating and the way you put it makes it seem to me like you think we're just friends.
posted by heyjude at 7:51 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess I want to say that dating is really difficult, and that nobody is very good at it, and that we all fumble about the best we can. Even guys who I think of as being 'good with women' get tongue-tied and shy and get shot down.

It seems like maybe you've picked up some books or a website or something that's eager to tell you How Things Are. And I think it's easy to believe these people because they sound so sure of themselves, and when you're kind of fumbling your way through, well, they sound like they know what they're doing ...

I'm a big believer in the idea that the thing you use to attract people really affects the kind of people that you attract. Like if you use money to attract people, you attract the kind of people that money attracts. And if you use game playing to attract people, you attract people who are really into games.

And I know, you probably don't think that what you're doing is game playing, but it kind of feels like it to a bunch of people! I think pretty much everybody feels like we're good people and we generally think we mean well, so you know, if sometimes we're a bit mean, well, our essential goodness should shine through, and people should understand ... except that people really can't pick up on any of these mental messages. People are, in fact, really really bad at picking up tiny hints. Strangers are ESPECIALLY bad at picking up tiny hints, because tiny hints are things that require a lot of shared context.

And tiny hints, well, they can be taken in ways that you don't mean. For example, if I suggest a date idea and I get turned down, what I personally get from it is "Uh, I guess she's not really into me that much, maybe I'll try again once or so and then I'll take the hint and vamoose." I'm not thinking "Well, she must just not like my date idea!" In a way, if you're being all "I don't like your date idea so I am turning you down without a counter-offer", you are weeding out men who respect boundaries. Because, look, when I'm dating, what I'm looking for is somebody who I like that also likes me. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that it's pretty much impossible to convince somebody to be attracted to you, so if I feel like they're not; well, why even bother.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that dating and communicating is hard enough without trying to communicate by speaking in some oblique hint filled language. It is OK to have needs and to express those needs, just as it is OK for another person to decide that he or she cannot fill those needs, better luck somewhere else.

I'll also say that I am a person who enjoys treating my friends well, but I'm not a person who enjoys being taken advantage of, and a warning sign for me is a complete lack of reciprocity. I vaguely recall recently reading that the happiest relationships are the ones where you're not keeping track of who owes who what, but where you're just trying to make sure that you're giving more than you get.

Good luck out there.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:30 PM on October 10, 2012 [35 favorites]


Another thing sooo, I've noted your dating questions here over the past few months, and my impression is that your ideas about how men should be the pursuers are rooted in pragmatism/self-protection, not cultural conservatism. Is that right? I mean, you are following these rules because you've been persuaded they are the most effective way to avoid driving off a guy, or getting hurt, and not because of religious beliefs about the roles of men and women or something like that?

I'm guessing this partly because one of your questions was about losing a guy you wanted a fwb relationship with. And it strikes me that the kind of people who for cultural/religious reasons adhere to strictly assigned gender roles are unlikely to overlap a whole lot with the types who are into NSA sex.

So, I might be wrong about where you're coming from in your dating philosophy, but if I'm not, I really hope you'll take to heart the advice upthread suggesting you have overcorrected. The rules you're following may be jeopardizing your chances of finding a serious, compatible dating partner far more than any missteps in the other direction that you made in the past. That is, you may weed out all the people with more mainstream views on dating and find someone who agrees with you that the man should always initiate and pay, and then discover you don't see eye-to-eye on a lot else.
posted by torticat at 8:33 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'll take a different tack here, and ask why you think he is dating other people, and why you think he knows that you're dating other people. That should really be something you've communicated about. Well, truth be told, just about everything you're willing to share with us -- but not with him -- is something you should have already communicated about. Perhaps you should stop talking to the internet, and via text, and start learning to communicate with other people as people, not "men".
posted by davejay at 8:43 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I think it's worth mentioning, as others have said, that from your question it seems far from certain either that he knows you're dating other people, or that he is doing so himself. I realize that a lot of people in urban America now assume that it's perfectly usual and aboveboard to date (and sleep with) multiple people at once, and that dating partners aren't exclusive until it's explicitly clarified; but this is really not universally the case, even in America and especially elsewhere. In England, for instance, where I'm going to school now, my understanding is that things typically do not work this way - so, if you were seeing someone, and physically involved with them, it might well be assumed that you were exclusive and boyfriend and girlfriend and all the rest of it. My English friends have been reasonably shocked about tales of people dating multiple people at once, and one even Googled it because he thought I was inventing fictitious American crazy scandalous dating norms (of course, the possibility exists that I simply have very conservative or idiosyncratic English friends, although most of them are not religious or particularly conservative, for what it's worth).

In any case, the point that I'm making is that especially if he's from another culture (which you say that he is), I really don't think you can take these things for granted. These are mores that don't even hold for all of America, let alone all cultures. For all you know, he believes you've been exclusive since your first date, and I think this is reasonably likely. Your efforts passive-aggressively to corral him into commitment won't work if he's already committed and assumes you are too. I really think you need a frank chat with him about where he sees you two now and in the future, before things go any farther, because for all that you know, you're operating on different assumptions and expectations right now, as we speak.
posted by UniversityNomad at 8:57 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think that, based on your previous questions and all the answers you've provided thus far in the most recent AskMe post of yours, you ought to stop dating all (yes, all) the guys you're seeing and do a little soul searching to see if you really offer what you think you offer to other people and if you are the prize worthy of the treatment you seem to think you deserve. At the very least, consider for a moment that the person you want this one guy in particular to be IS NOT WHO HE IS and it is downright awful of you to be passive aggressively trying to mold him into what you feel is the right kind of guy. In short, let this one go until you have a better sense of how to approach relationships in general.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:32 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


From your posts here and previously you seem to be someone who likes/needs structure to relationships. You obviously analyse and intellectualise things very deeply and dont seem comfortable with the loose, implicit, emotional way dating is commonly carried out.

It's equally clear that this is a problem for you; the emotional responses to the question above, and some of the analyses of the question highlight this. As has been noted; you've got into a position bordering on trading sex for money. I dont believe that this is the full story?

It's OK to want a more formalised/structured relationship. It's OK to understand the value of gifts & payments. Even sex; it's OK to have transactional sex within a relationship.

But the kicker is this; you both have to understand the transactions, you both have to be OK with it: you both have to be part of it. Building/negotiating this kind of relationship will not be easy; you will have to give up as much as you are currently expecting to get but I suspect that if you find someone who also wants this; you could both breathe a huge sigh of relief and get down to your own type of normal relationship.

I hope you can see from the responses above that you are not communicating this well, either to AskMeFi, to yourself; or, more importantly, to the poor blokes you are expecting so much from. At the moment it sounds all memememe; this may be because there is no partner being equally demanding, but unless you can initially reign in your expectations, you'll never get a chance to find common ground and build the type of relationship which you will be comfortable in.

IANAKinkster but you might be interested in how other people negotiate their transactional/dom/sub needs by looking at the kink scene.
posted by BadMiker at 2:47 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Haven't read all the answers, but it's clear that most people posting here have not repeatedly been in the position of being used as a booty call when they wanted to be more than that. I totally get where the OP is coming from. It's not that she doesn't want to sit around and talk to him or that she wants him to "pay" for her time, it's (I think) that she doesn't want him to think he can just ask her over, or to a park or wherever, because he's horny. I feel like people aren't getting that and I think it's because their whole view of dating hasn't been shaped by these kinds of shitty experiences.

But there have been a few good suggestions for how to best respond to the guy in a casual/non-off-putting way. Definitely work on being more upfront with your communication... Don't be afraid to tell him what you want/need.
posted by désoeuvrée at 6:44 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


It sounds like you're into transactional relationships. I'm not knocking that. Like you, I was too nice and got taken advantage of in my relationships when I was younger, so I eventually developed a mild transactional approach to ensure that I no longer felt exploited. Personally I find your blatant "sex-for-money" approach a little jarring (I tend to focus more on how much effort each person puts into the relationship) but I'll try not to judge you for that.

A lot of people look down on the transactional relationship mentality, but one significant advantage we have is that we are very egalitarian and also incredibly open to negotiation - moreso than any other personality type I've seen. People like us generally have very few dealbreakers - we're willing to give you anything you want, as long as you're willing to meet our price. People with special needs or desires tend to find this very attractive. Even for more vanilla people, knowing that your partner is willing to compromise and work with you on pretty much anything is a very nice feeling.

However, for this to work, the transaction has to be explicit. For example, I might say to somebody I'm dating "Hey, I hope this doesn't sound rude, but I notice that I'm always the one arranging fun activities for us to do and inviting you to do stuff all the time. I was wondering if maybe... you could do that more?" At this point, the other person would either agree to a more egalitarian distribution of labor, or give me a counteroffer that she hopes might have equivalent value. For example: "I would, but you're so much better at it and I don't have a lot of time on my hands. How about if instead, I do one of these:"
A) "I pay for more of our dates?"
B) "I arrange one really awesome vacation for us each year?"
C) "I give you more of that kinky sex that you like even though it doesn't really float my boat?"
D) "I cook you dinner more often?"
See? This is how grown-ups handle these things. The passive-aggressive "hinting" that you're doing utterly fails when combined with the transactional mentality that you exhibit. You need to explicitly state your needs and negotiate for them, offering something in exchange.

The second thing you're doing wrong is failing to demonstrate your value. For example, you have mentioned how you are an incredibly warm and generous person once you are actually in a relationship. That has a high value; nobody can deny that. However, it is a value that nobody else can see until you demonstrate it. Until that point, the only person it is visible to is you. How can you expect this guy to know what a warm and generous person you are in a relationship when the only side of yourself that you've shown him is cold, selfish, and materialistic? Even if you told him that you're warm and giving when you get into an LTR, he'd have to be an idiot to believe you, since all the behavior you've demonstrated so far is the complete opposite of that. It's like you're trying to sell him a boulder and telling him it has a high price because there's gold inside. It's easy to say, but most people will want some kind of proof, you know?

The final thing I want to correct you on is this statement: "men generally want to chase." This is absolute bullshit - from everything I have seen, men hate to chase. We chase only when we have to chase in order to get what we want, and the intensity of our chase is in direct proportion to the subjective value of the person we are chasing. If you project the image of something we want (ie, the warm and caring person that you claim to be), then you will get chased a lot more. However, right now (based on 95% of the comments here), you are projecting the image of a spoiled, entitled princess, and that means that most guys aren't going to put a lot of effort into pursuing you. Change your image and you will get better results.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:46 AM on October 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


you both have to understand the transactions, you both have to be OK with it: you both have to be part of it.

This. You're playing a relationship version of Battleship by Hasbro. Except he's blindfolded and thinks you've setup a checkers board in front of him and he's reaching out trying to feel his way through the game in good faith.

Really, tell him the deal(s), which means pretty much everything you've said here in this thread, in plain English, in person, and either engage in the discourse that follows or say goodbye to each other right then and there. To do anything else it so do a major disservice to this, seemingly cool (if not, why are you even bothering with him at all?), guy as well as a huge hit to your karma.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:50 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think BadMiker's pretty much hit it here.

It's your life, and you absolutely shouldn't bow to the pile-on consensus if that's not what you want. What I think you should take away from the pile-on is that the rules you're playing by are not universally followed, and you can't assume that this guy understands them. Rules are great; I like them; but they get you nowhere if you're playing canasta when he thinks you're playing croquet.

So I think you simply need to explain your ground rules clearly and explicitly to this guy, in person. Hints aren't doing the job: be direct. Tell him what you've told the hivemind: ‘If you want to sit in a park talking once in a while, I'm OK with that. But be aware that I don't regard it as a date, and I am not interested in physical intimacy unless you've opened your wallet. Also, I will continue to see other men until such time as we explicitly agree to be “exclusive”.’

Outcome 1, he agrees to your terms, understanding is reached, win.

Outcome 2, he doesn't agree, you go your separate ways. Also a win, since you now have more time to find someone who will play by your rules.

I'm sure there are plenty of guys out there who have zero interest in talking about their feelings, and who would be happy to open their wallets frequently in exchange for some physical intimacy. But if this guy is not one of those, you're probably better off looking for someone else (and declaring your rules up-front) than attempting to mould your current guy into what you want.

Good luck!
posted by pont at 6:51 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Haven't read all the answers, but it's clear that most people posting here have not repeatedly been in the position of being used as a booty call when they wanted to be more than that. I totally get where the OP is coming from. It's not that she doesn't want to sit around and talk to him or that she wants him to "pay" for her time, it's (I think) that she doesn't want him to think he can just ask her over, or to a park or wherever, because he's horny. I feel like people aren't getting that and I think it's because their whole view of dating hasn't been shaped by these kinds of shitty experiences.

I got the impression from the original and follow-up posts that OP and this guy had only gone as far as kissing. Of course I could be wrong about that (and I don't expect OP to confirm either way, that's her business), but the point is, you can ensure that you're not being "used for sex" if you... don't have sex (or wait until you're in a more established relationship to do so).
posted by Asparagus at 7:02 AM on October 11, 2012


This reminds me of a situation I was in with someone where the signals were all over the place, where I was always arranging things and getting brushed off half the time, but then out of the blue, she would contact me and arrange something, and then I would contact her and get ambiguous responses. Then she would respond, then I would escalate, then she would pull back, causing me to pull back, and so on.

I'm 90% sure that she ultimately wasn't that into me. The other 10% is me thinking that even if she was into me, the inability of us to be on the same wavelength about our motivations, desires, and social signals means that we would not have been a good match in a relationship.

Even if you ultimately get what you want from this guy, I have a feeling that it won't be something you (or he) want.

Figure out what you want from a relationship and another person-- not their résumé, but what kind of social/intellectual/emotional interactions you have with the person. That is more important than insisting on a specific courtship ritual.
posted by deanc at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You make up a lot of rules and expect everyone else to just "know" them. Maybe you read these rules in a dating book or something, but these rules are not universal or even that common. He cannot read your mind- if he could, he'd probably run even if he likes you. You are playing games.

One of the comments you marked as best answer said that everyone knows the "real" rules and he's just tacky. Except, here's the thing: if you're not openly religious or culturally conservative, people aren't going to assume you treat dating as so one-sided and transactional.

Besides, think about the type of men you will get with this approach. Sure, they will be "interested" in buying you enough stuff to sleep with you. Ironically, these "traditional" rules can screen for men who see dating as payment for sex. Does that sound like what you want?

Finally, there are around 150 comments in here telling you that you are flat wrong and you marked as best the only four that agree with you. Think about that.
posted by spaltavian at 8:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


Risk management. That's how I read your post - as an elaborate system to mitigate the essential vulnerability and risk inherent in dating, especially in light of your other questions. I can't help but think that your default to a very old school approach to courtship is less about entitlement, being a princess, or the proper roles and behaviors for men and women in dating and more a mechanism to keep yourself safe.

If the guy always initiates, pays for the dates he initiates, starts all conversations about the Nature of The Relationship, Exclusivity, Seriousness whatever, you don't have to guess. There is less ambiguity to navigate, less vulnerability dogging you. With the set up you've imagined, you don't have to put much on the line at outset.

Vulnerability+ambiguity = huge motivation to anchor yourself to some rock of security and certainty. Again, in light of your last questions, it sounds like your last forays into dating/sex/relationships were confusing and painful. It make sense to me that old fashioned gender roles and courtship rules seem like attractive buffers to that pain and confusion.

I tend to agree with the others upstream who say that your approach, as it stands now, will inevitably backfire. I don't think you are playing games maliciously, yet the indirectness, the rigid adherence to a dating code (that few people follow), the inability to be forthright or assertive in what you want, the coyness etc. very much do come off as passive aggressive and game playing. As Comrade_robot said said upstream, it comes off as manipulative and will attract manipulators.

Besides, there are other codes guys speak. Lots of guys want a woman who is an equal and equitable partner in creating a relationship. They figure that chivalry has a place in a relationship, but that it is not a stand in for respect, reciprocity, affection and interest. Lots of men out there don't want to chase. The ones that do often want only the chase and don't know what the hell to do with a woman once that distance is closed and they've stopped running. Said differently, if you want a relationship steeped in the chase, be prepared that distance will be the relationship's defining characteristic. It's safe, but not very gratifying.

So, my suggestion would be to dispense with the rules. They seem comfortable and clear and a good hedge against all the vagaries of relationships, but in the end they're just as messy. Exhibit A. This thread.

No one likes to get hurt in a relationship. The antidote, I think, is learning how to take good care of yourself when you are hurt. The better you can do this, the fewer rocks and anchors you'll need. Good Luck.
posted by space_cookie at 1:36 PM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


he had started suggesting lame things like meeting up at a park or sitting around and I was starting to feel like we were fast forwarding to the boring couple phase!

Also, I don't mind hanging out and talking with him but there's only so much talking you can do! Dating should be fun in my opinion.


These parts of your question really jumped out at me, and they make me feel sad for you. Many of the best times I've ever had, with good friends and boyfriends alike, were spent doing nothing but talking and laughing. The most gratifying and long-lasting relationships are the ones where we could talk all night long and not even notice the time go by, and where it didn't matter what we did, because anything could be fun as long as we had each other's company.

I hope you'll find and experience that kind of connection someday. I hope you'll come to understand that genuine affection isn't proven by how much someone is willing to pay for you. I don't think you will until you learn who you are and decide what you want, instead of allowing arbitrary rules and games to do the deciding for you. It seems like you've recently adopted this high-maintenance facade as a result of having been burned in the past, but is this really you? If not, how will you ever find a guy who is truly right for you, when you are busy pretending to be someone else?

Also, your logic when it comes to giving or withholding physical affection... you still don't see the irony of what you're saying. You think giving someone affection when they haven't paid will cheapen you. But don't you see that putting a pricetag on it is precisely what differentiates working girls from other women?

If you think you might have something special with this guy, don't send that passive-aggressive text, but don't go on the $10 date either. Ask him out to someplace you can just talk. If the fun and romance fizzles as soon as you don't have a bunch of distractions in front of you, then you'll know there's nothing there and can take control and move on, as opposed to waiting and waiting for him to make his next move.
posted by keep it under cover at 1:42 PM on October 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


if i were to guess, i'd say you're probably very physically attractive, and get hit on a lot. so, while for most people your strategy would backfire, you get hit on so much, and enough men have been willing to put of with your strategy that its worked ok for you so far, in the sense that you're not without a date, if you want one.

the thing is, long term, with your strategy, the guy you will attract will eventually leave you. he sees love in this transactional way too, and has no qualms spending money on another woman if she's young and attractive and will reward him with sex (LIKE YOU DO). eventually you will get older and he will move on to another woman.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:09 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going to go against the trend and say that it's tacky for him to ask you to pay the $10. I would say that for the most part, splitting the costs is fine and normal. I would feel weird handing a guy $10 to pay him back for the tickets or what not. I would also think he was sending me the signal that he just wanted to be friends.

On the other hand, if there was a concert you both wanted to see and the tickets were expensive, I would completely expect the other person to tell me how much I owed him for the tickets.

That being said, it's not clear whether you like this guy or not and maybe this was his misguided way of trying to figure out where he stands.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2012


Just a warning that there are men out there who will read into what you are saying -- that you will not just give out physical intimacy without payment -- and assume the reverse is also true -- that if they pay for their meal, they deserve sex even if you don't feel like offering it to them.

I genuinely believe that you are the tacky one in this situation. I would definitely not let many other men know about this attitude of yours. I personally find it extremely off-putting. In fact, if I were this guy and read this post, I'd have zero interest in dating you again.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:50 AM on October 12, 2012


i'd also qualify my opinion by saying that if your income was low enough, and his income was high enough it would be justifiable for him to pay most/all the time. it would also be justifiable for you to pay for everything if the reverse were true.

putting myself in your guy's place: if i knew you had your opinion i'd think "what else will she justify doing/not doing because she feels she's compensating me enough by letting me have sex with her."

and, one final attempt to shake your opinion: who should pay if two men or two women go on a date? in other words, if two women date and have sex, who should pay for the dates?
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:02 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know this question has been beaten to death, but I just want to chime in and suggest that there is a different, much better way of going about dating and relationships and being with people. Instead of getting caught up in insecurity and conventional expectations and other bullshit, make it simply about the enjoyment of being with another person and doing things with them and let everything else fall away. We're going to die some day, after all.
posted by aesacus at 9:46 AM on October 13, 2012


Thank you all for your feedback. So much to think about. I have to admit I questioned myself after hearing your thoughts. Like, I truly didn't think I was being bratty or entitled or anything, and just felt like he was being cheap and trying to devalue/test me. Other guys I date make me feel like a cherished woman, and I see them as gentlemen, when they want to make sure I have a good time and that is my standard (they also spend much more than $10 - and I don't feel obligated to do a single thing with them).

It is possible that he is just not able to pay but I doubt it, and still if that were the case, I can't shake wishing he would have just not invited me because I had a visceral negative reaction towards him for wanting me to. Since my last text he texted me saying he never hears from me; and asked if anything was wrong. I couldn't bring myself to write that I was holding this against him and I don't want to say everything is ok, bc it isn't.
posted by soooo at 8:31 PM on October 13, 2012


Since my last text he texted me saying he never hears from me; and asked if anything was wrong. I couldn't bring myself to write that I was holding this against him and I don't want to say everything is ok, bc it isn't.

This guy is trying to communicate with you in order to understand what you want. You can't bring yourself to tell him what you want. You will have a much, much better chance of getting what you want if you communicate what it is. It's been said above, but: He cannot read your mind.

Communication is key to a successful relationship. It sounds like for some reason - voluntary or involuntary - this is very difficult for you. If you truly feel you can't bring yourself to have an honest, straightforward conversation with someone you are romantically interested in, and are willing to let the relationship die rather than do so, your relationships are doomed to be short-term. Good long-term relationships require openness, honesty, and negotiation. Therapy might help you develop a toolset that would allow you to do this and still feel like you are being true to yourself.
posted by jocelmeow at 10:26 AM on October 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Everything that requires complex varieties of communication becomes much much easier when the communication happens in a way where both parties can see and understand the message. This might seem like an absurdly simple message, but it is one that our culture consistently devalues. We are supposed to like it when sex is silent but each partner still somehow knows exactly what the other wants, spouses arn't supposed to argue about finances because being a team somehow means having homogenous opinions, and friends should somehow just know when they should apologize for that thing they did that really upset you. We are shown and told over and over again from childhood that open communication about an act can somehow sap the romance of it, shatter the tranquility of it, or dilute the meaning of it; but that is all bullshit.

Sex only starts getting awesome when you ask for what you want, important decisions only stop producing bitterness when those involved talk about what they want, and friendships only really get close when friends share their hearts. This is what intimacy really is, rather than what is presented to us on our TVs. The best romance is shared, not imposed.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:51 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Learn to communicate your wants and needs and feelings. Every single relationship concern you've brought here would be resolved almost immediately if you would just tell the dude, whichever dude it is, what you want or need or are feeling.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:39 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Like, I truly didn't think I was being bratty or entitled or anything, and just felt like he was being cheap and trying to devalue/test me. Other guys I date make me feel like a cherished woman, and I see them as gentlemen, when they want to make sure I have a good time and that is my standard (they also spend much more than $10 - and I don't feel obligated to do a single thing with them). "

If it helps to understand where a lot of the respondents here are coming from, think of the golden rule - "treat others as you would like to be treated."

If I'm understanding your outlook correctly, you want guys you date to
1) Always pay for everything
2) Always do the work of coming up with ideas for dates
3) Be the one to take the emotional risk of proposing exclusivity
... because this makes you feel cherished. Doing otherwise makes you feel devalued or tested.

Now applying the golden rule plus your own standards, it looks like the guy in question has every reason to feel devalued/tested rather than cherished. You are, by your own account, not treating him the way you would like to be treated.

With regard to the other gentlemen you are seeing, I'm sure you can find guys who hold asymmetrical expectations for the behavior of men and women in a relationship. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that these uneven expectations indicate a higher degree of valuing you or that they will always work out in your favor.
posted by tdismukes at 12:17 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since my last text he texted me saying he never hears from me; and asked if anything was wrong. I couldn't bring myself to write that I was holding this against him and I don't want to say everything is ok, bc it isn't.

You two clearly have very different communication styles and are playing from different rule books.

He's saying here that he feels like he is doing all the work in the relationship. Guys need to know they are needed too. It's not enough to send passive signals, dressing up and the like. He wants you to be actively engaged and feels like you are not putting enough of you, time and energy into you as a couple.

My grandfather had a great way of putting it: both parts of a couple have to feel like they're putting in more than half of the work. Intentions get misunderstood, and signals get misread. The overlap helps bridge the gap.

If you are serious about him, about the two of you having a future, a late-night talk, in a non-confrontational way could do you two a lot of good. When there's a problem, the best thing to do is talk about it. Guessing doesn't seem to be working out for either of you.
posted by bonehead at 12:45 PM on October 15, 2012


Like, I truly didn't think I was being bratty or entitled or anything, and just felt like he was being cheap and trying to devalue/test me.

I would ask you to consider whether you feel you are being cheap and trying to devalue him? Do you think he has reason to feel that you are? It's just a matter of trying to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
posted by Justinian at 12:47 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER: "Learn to communicate your wants and needs and feelings. Every single relationship concern you've brought here would be resolved almost immediately if you would just tell the dude, whichever dude it is, what you want or need or are feeling."

"I feel, as a woman, that you pay for everything."

That's not going to go over very well.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:24 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You don't have to say it's okay. Say it's not okay, but say why. Don't hold it against him, tell him that you feel undervalued because he's not following the dating script in your brain, and that you understand that he's not working from the same script and that's okay. But for some reason, you still take this script very seriously, and you don't know where to go from there on.

You don't have to keep on dating this guy or even be nice to him, but give him some closure at least. Is there anything to lose at this point when you tell him the truth? Maybe you'd learn something about yourself. Maybe he'd humour you. Who knows? But you need some serious self-awareness. Maybe being more transparent to your dates will help you.
posted by Hawk V at 11:18 PM on October 17, 2012


I couldn't bring myself to write that I was holding this against him and I don't want to say everything is ok, bc it isn't.

You're right. It's not okay, but not for the reasons you think. Your behavior towards this guy is unfair and immature, and it's kind of a shame to see that you're toying with his emotions by not leveling with him about your feelings. You're entitled to feel how you feel about your own dating needs, but you do not have a right to be a crappy person to this guy, no matter how much you resent him right now for making you feel put on the spot.

I reiterate what I said above -- you don't seem ready to have a mature relationship. Take a break from this for a while until you can be honest and, I think, a little more respectful.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:30 PM on October 17, 2012


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