Does split bills = cheap ? ( asking for splitting within 3rd dates)
November 20, 2017 1:45 AM   Subscribe

Recently I have met one guy I really enjoyed sharing the intimacy with him, he's a new grad but unemployed for 6 months.

although I was not that interested in his looks but I guess I liked his character ( tsk tsk). On our second date he offer to take me somewhere , we did and ate @ a bar, when asking for check , he explained explicitly to the waitress which is his which is mine. I got so upset so I cut off the rest of the plan and asked to go home. Despite I was so upset but I really liked him I guess. My angry fade away when we reach out my house , we parked @ a park Then we start talking ( he didn't notice I was upset ) then we end up making out (very passionately ).

We decide to make it real so we were discussing should we book an Airbnb next time , I said yes then he asked : you wanna do half -half? I was still drawing in the after-make-out kindness so I said yes even though I start feeling upset again.

But the day after the more I think the more weird I felt. I felt cheap so o text him bad told him: I understand he's unemployeed I don't care where we go nor how fancy it could be but I would like to see that when you offer me something it should be well planned , I can bring food or anything ro equivalent your effort or money but I am not comfortable paying half everytime we go out , if so letz just be friendz or not seeing each other at all.

My actually question is : How to explain to dates split bills makes me uncomfortable, and why it makes me uncomfortable?

Background: Been in Canada for 4 years.
I am a single child raised by a lot of attentions and love, come from a country where most guys are usually/normal(comfortable) paying everthing for the girls ( no matter it's short term or long term).

Experiences: previously I had 2-years old horribly-ended abusive relationship ( which I always offer 50/50 during the whole time or more just to be with him.)
After that I have dated ppl but all of them are always willing to pay.

Right now I am @ my early 20s with savings and a affordable-lifestyle earning .
Due to the horrible LTR I realize I will start having server trust issue if I get into relationships, so protentially I would choose not to expose myself to a certain person to a certain level of intamcy which will grows me dependent on him.

I am seeing different people from time to time, despite my cautious of being taking advance of, I am still genuine and caring to each single person I've seen, for my real close friend I have no problem paying extra or pick up the check, I always buying small surprise for them ( roses, grocery etc.) or help them when the time needed. I really appreciate Friendz who helped me walk through the rough, very rough time.

However I found out that I have zero tolerance for sharing the bills with my dates, especially on the first 1-3 dates. I get extremely offended ( but not showing on my face ) if they asked to split for a simple $40 dinner I will not see them again.

I panned things well and I have had offered many times to my dates and made sure every pieces of the detail of the plan made through without him to worry where to go next where to eat whether it's closed, etc. Cause I believe in effort not staging, offer what you can give, if you have no money for restaurant letz do picnic with simple sandwiches and beer costs $10 max.

I am not expecting nor looking forward to participate in an activity which you offered initially but still need half of my effort to complete eventually.

I find it really cheap, I feels like being taking advantaged. The splitting bill probably not a profound scenario to use as an example for my feelings above but it's the most direct and recent situation I been through and I feel it related to this case.
posted by dadaxiang1204 to Human Relations (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I come from one such country (where men take women out and foot the bill) but even I think splitting the bill in half is reasonable and, quite frankly, a good thing.

It’s a good thing because it puts the woman on an equal footing and doesn’t play into the whole narrative about men as providers.

Now if it’s too much for you, tell that to the guy and let him go,
posted by Kwadeng at 2:29 AM on November 20, 2017 [20 favorites]


Fellow 20-something lady here. This doesn't strike me as tacky or rude of him. I don't know many people my age that can afford to pay for every first date they take someone on.

If you're expecting to have your date pay for you, you might need to date older people, or make it explicit that you want to go on a date that's no cost. Splitting bills is pretty much the norm for millennials now, not only because of shifting gender roles, but because most of us are broke or in debt.
posted by InkDrinker at 2:50 AM on November 20, 2017 [11 favorites]


However I found out that I have zero tolerance for sharing the bills with my dates, especially on the first 1-3 dates. I get extremely offended ( but not showing on my face ) if they asked to split for a simple $40 dinner I will not see them again.

This presents as a sense of entitlement I would not want in a potential partner.

My actually question is : How to explain to dates split bills makes me uncomfortable, and why it makes me uncomfortable?

Maybe limit yourself to dating people with similar backgrounds where this is an expectation both of you share and an explanation isn't necessary.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 3:06 AM on November 20, 2017 [31 favorites]


I am a Canadian woman who dates men. I prefer to split expenses on dates as I am looking for a partner who can be my equal, not someone to take care of me. I am very uncomfortable being paid for.

I would gently suggest that you consider whether this is something you might consider adjusting your perspective on as I think it may make dating difficult for you in Canada, especially in your age group.

With regard to your question, the only suggestion I can give is that you be upfront and tell them immediately when asked on a date what your expectations are so that you can both decide if it's going to work for you long before the cheque arrives.

I'm not entirely clear on what your reasons for being uncomfortable are. From what I can understand, are you doing all the planning and you'd like him to then pay for the date as his contribution? Generally I think if everyone contributes equally to dates, both financially and with regard to planning (or takes turns), it sets up the relationship on a stronger footing. If this is the case, I'd suggest you not take on a larger part of the planning, but ask your date to participate in this, too, so both cost and planning is split 50-50.
posted by thatminx at 3:16 AM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


i think it's great that you know exactly what you want out of a potential relationship. i 100% disagree completely with your actual opinions on whether or not someone who can't afford to take you out to dinner every night is "cheap" but like you said, these are cultural differences.

i think it's really important to get these basic relationship fundamentals discussed and sorted out as early as possible to avoid feeling bad about your personal needs further down the line in a relationship. you've done a pretty good job of explaining how you feel and why you feel that way here, and i think you can use what you've written here as a starting point for a conversation with this guy and/or with others in the future. i think you should be as honest and straightforward about your feelings as possible with this guy before it goes any further and you continue to feel slighted and resentful; otherwise it's unfair to you both.

however in general i think you should not date people you know are broke unemployed grad students and then ask them to live up to these financial expectations; demanding more from those who have less than you simply because you're used to that is thoughtless and unkind.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:21 AM on November 20, 2017 [68 favorites]


You mention you were in an abusive relationship in which you also always split the bills. If I'm understanding you correctly, you paid half in order to stay with this person. I'm guessing that there was some dynamic he created that you were always afraid of him leaving.

This seems like a key part of your anger about being asked to split the bill on a date, perhaps more than cultural differences. I think it's worth doing some more thinking about this abusive relationship and your fear of ending up in another abusive relationship. I think that even if you get over bill splitting for the sake of cultural differences or only date men who pay for everything you will find some other sign of something that reminds you of your ex to focus on. It's worth doing some reading on abusive relationships to learn what are the real red flags of abuse and separate out these false flags you are focusing on. It's totally normal, by the way, after an abusive relationship to have these triggers but not all of them give you good information about a person's character.

For example, many abusive men will insult you under the guise of teasing you then tell you you just can't take a joke. If your ex did this and a new date does this it is indeed a red flag. However, if your ex always drove you home after a date because he was jealous and wanted to make sure you weren't meeting another man and a new date offers to drop you home to be polite these are behaviors that look the same but have different intentions and the new date's behavior is not necessarily a red flag.

Why Does He Do That is a great book for learning about red flags.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 3:37 AM on November 20, 2017 [16 favorites]


Experiences: previously I had 2-years old horribly-ended abusive relationship ( which I always offer 50/50 during the whole time or more just to be with him.)

It's understandable to hate something that reminds you of your ex. I hate things that remind me of an awful ex. There's nothing really wrong with those things, just that I have bad memories associated with them.

Because splitting bills is so common in this culture, you'll need to tell someone on the first date that you don't like splitting the bill. There's just something about splitting one thing 50-50 that turns you off. But be quick to add that you don't mean he should pay for everything.

Tell him you would rather take turns treating each other. If he planned and paid for the first date, you'll plan and pay for the second date. Or if he buys dinner, you'll pay for the movie tickets. And let him know that you're fine with activities that are free or very cheap, like going for a walk or a picnic.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 3:38 AM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think this is really a cultural thing (and I don't mean Canada vs. the country you grew up in but even subcultures within Canada itself).

To you, when a guy doesn't pay for his date it's a signal, or an outright statement, that he's cheap. To the guy, it might signal, or state, that he believes in modernity and gender equality. (Maybe he's just dated too many people like me who strongly prefer not to be paid for by people we don't know well.) It might mean that he believes, pretty logically, that men paying women's way made sense in a world where men didn't allow women to control or earn their money, but makes no sense in a world where theoretically both have the same earning potential. It might mean that his friend group is the kind where everybody splits because they're too broke to treat each other. It might mean that he was uncomfortable with splitting the bill for a long time and felt terrible shame about being broke, until people finally told him that he just needed to get over it and if a woman couldn't deal with it, that was a sign things weren't meant to be. Or it might mean that he's cheap and taking advantage of you.

The thing is to separate the action from your immediate interpretation of it, because you might be coming from different contexts in which it means two very different things. I think this leaves you with two options:
A) decide it's really important to you that a guy pay. Then you have to be upfront about it, and understand that he and others might read your position on this in ways you find inaccurate.
B) decide that what's important to you is not who pays, but that the person you're dating show you a certain level of thoughtfulness, consideration, caretaking, whatever. In that case, I would consider the whole package: maybe he doesn't pay, but does he show these characteristics in other ways? Does he pay but not give you what you need otherwise? Are you truly looking for a paternalistic relationship based on specific gender roles, or can you feel loved and comfortable with one where you create your own roles?

(On preview, I agree with the comments possibly connecting this to your ex (what made you willing to split the bill with him?) But I think, again, that you need to decide whether being paid for is a hard line for you, or whether it's generally being taken advantage of or treated without respect that bothers you - and in the latter case, I'd look out and carefully consider the entire package, not just splitting/treating mores.)
posted by trig at 3:58 AM on November 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think it's fine if you expect him to pay the whole bill if you are planning on alternating being the one who pays. So he pays this time, you pay next time. It's not fair to him to have to pay every time.
posted by bquarters at 4:03 AM on November 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


From dating broke-ass men in the UK, getting them to pay half the bill would be an improvement, not a downgrade. Top tip: if you do not want cheap dates, do not date broke-ass men.

But a lot of this is expectation, which often remains uncommunicated - for example, my mum warned me to be wary of men paying for everything for you, because it sets up expectations in return (not quite as direct as "I paid for dinner so you owe me sex", but a sense of obligation perhaps to continue dating them, or agree to things that you wouldn't otherwise agree to). So a guy expecting to pay for everything would mildly raise my hackles - not in an extreme way because I understand people are brought up differently, but because that's the warning that would go off for me. It doesn't necessarily have a relationship to the actual motivations of the guy - which seems the case here.
posted by Vortisaur at 4:15 AM on November 20, 2017 [15 favorites]


I feel like the bill splitting has been covered well, so I'd like to address this:

Despite I was so upset but I really liked him I guess. My angry fade away when we reach out my house , we parked @ a park Then we start talking ( he didn't notice I was upset ) then we end up making out (very passionately ).

This is not a very mature way to get your needs met. If you're unhappy about something, say so and don't expect the other person (especially two dates in) to read your mind and pat you down. Further, to hold back your anger, then wait for this other person to notice you're angry, but then to start making out with them is not emotionally honest at all. You're describing some very passive behavior on your part and you should probably have a serious think about that.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:59 AM on November 20, 2017 [21 favorites]


Does no one take turns anymore?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:30 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


[A couple of comments deleted. Some issues: 1) Don't angrily lash out at the OP, who has clearly indicated she comes from a different culture (and this is not a good way to interact in Ask Metafilter, anyway); 2) Don't use this thread to vent frustration about women / feminism.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:33 AM on November 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Expecting the man to pay for you all your dates, or at least the first 3 is very out-dated. I wouldn't want to date a man that felt that it was his job to pay for everything on dates because it implies a very "traditional" ie unequal views.
However, if he's specifically invited you on a date, to a specific place IMO, yes, its his job to pay. But in that case you should be planning and paying for an equal number of dates too.

Splitting the airbnb was completely reasonable. Its something you've both mutually agreed to do and will get equal benefit.

I'm really struggling to see how you feel taken advantage of. You have a comfortable income, while he's unemployed so I find it unlikely he offered to take you somewhere you couldn't afford. He's only asking you to pay for what you consumed - rather than splitting it 50:50 and his stuff cost more than yours. Unless you are taking him on dates and paying 100% and haven't mentioned that then you're not being taken advantage of by being asked for pay for your share. Its not very romantic but its not being taken advantage of.

If you expect your date to pay 100% of dates, then you just need to be up front and say that. You don't have to tell them why, they probably wont understand. Just lay it out on the line at the beginning and then they can decide if its a relationship they think is worth per-suing under those terms. I would suggest that you avoid dating unemployed grad students though.
posted by missmagenta at 5:41 AM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


But a lot of this is expectation, which often remains uncommunicated - for example, my mum warned me to be wary of men paying for everything for you, because it sets up expectations in return (not quite as direct as "I paid for dinner so you owe me sex", but a sense of obligation perhaps to continue dating them, or agree to things that you wouldn't otherwise agree to).

So much this! It was never directly said, in so many words but when I started going out into the world, it was very important to me to pay my own way because the subtle cultural expectation was that if you let a guy buy you a drink, you then owe him. So when a guy bought me a drink, I made sure I bought him one - then we're basically buying rounds, we're even and there is no owing of something I may not have been ready to give! (and also has much greater value than a bottle of budweiser haha!)
posted by missmagenta at 5:46 AM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


A quick thought experiment: OP, what would it mean to you if the man that you're dating had also just gotten out of an abusive relationship but in that relationship he paid for everything and he was also, like you, trying to avoid behaviors that he associated with that bad relationship?

If this is about culture, and it's a dealbreaker for you, then it's okay for you to walk away from this relationship and, in the future, be very clear to only date people who share your beliefs.

From your past, it seems like this isn't 100% about culture because there was a time when you were okay with splitting costs. I've seen that it's common for people coming out of a bad relationship to have lots of bad associations from that relationship. It may be part of your healing to talk to other women about your experience and try to separate the wheat from the chaff of what is healthy and what is unhealthy in relationships.

I'm glad that you are moving on from a past abusive relationship and hope that you continue to move forward.
posted by Skwirl at 6:05 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


It is unclear to me whether your feeling is that men should always pay for dates or that the person who does the inviting should pay. I think the first is probably very uncommon now (and was dying out when I started dating 40 years ago), so it may be hard for you to find a man who is OK with that (not impossible, but it will rule out some good guys - be aware of that). The latter will probably seem more reasonable to more people. Whatever your reason, it's really important that you make your expectations clear. I don't think anger at this guy is really appropriate. Very few people now would feel like he did something wrong.
And yeah, don't date broke grad students.
posted by FencingGal at 7:10 AM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I find it really cheap, I feels like being taking advantaged.

On the contrary. Having the power to pay for yourself makes you a much stronger and more equal partner - in other words, try to see paying your half as something that empowers you.
posted by Crystal Fox at 7:11 AM on November 20, 2017 [10 favorites]


I would gently suggest that you consider whether this is something you might consider adjusting your perspective on as I think it may make dating difficult for you in Canada, especially in your age group.

Yeah, I get that you're a bit new to the culture here so to be clear, men paying for everything is very much not the norm in Canada (even less than in the US, where most people in this thread are from). Many will offer to pay the first date to be nice but you're expected to either split after that or alternate paying. It's actually very rude to assume he will keep paying for you every time! A few guys will do it (mostly the very "old fashioned" or just older ones...so you could try to find these guys, but keep in mind they tend to have questionable views on gender equality) but it's still rude to take advantage of them. Why should he have to pay for the privilege of dating you? Don't you want to date him too?

Again I realize you may not be used to this, but if you're going to date Canadian men, it's not fair to get mad at them for behaving normally for our culture. If you want to date guys who pay for everything, you'll probably need to state that early on in the relationship and many guys (very understandably) won't want to date under those conditions.
posted by randomnity at 7:20 AM on November 20, 2017 [16 favorites]


I'm of another generation than the OP, but I think when you're just starting out and want to impress a lady you're interested in, you do everything you can to not make them feel awkward or put-upon. Once a relationship is established, of course splitting expenses is fine, and should be with both parties. But if you can't 'spoil' - on whatever level is comfortable for you - your new potential partner the first few times you go out, and are suggesting expensive outings like an overnight in a B&B - which would include meals whether eaten in or out - and you can't foot the bill yourself, it's time to Not be dating with any sort of expectations, IMO. There will be endless things you want to do with your new partner, and not all outings are free and easy.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 8:05 AM on November 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


I wonder if the "men should pay" idea is a bit of a red herring. The OP stated that this was only an example of a broader theme. To me, OP seems to care equally as much, or more, about the thought and planning that go into the date:

"I am not... looking forward to participate in an activity which you offered initially but still need half of my effort to complete eventually..."

"I would like to see that when you offer me something it should be well planned"

dadaxiang1204, I agree with the others above that the best thing you can do is to articulate this upfront as much as possible and as specifically as possible. You may have noticed that people reacted fairly strongly to the suggestion that "men should pay" as it's not really standard in Canada among 20-somethings.

If I'm reading your question correctly, and if your larger concern is indeed about effort/consideration as exemplified by (but not limited to) paying for activities, then you absolutely should proactively set that expectation upfront - but be quite careful about how you phrase that to your dates. If you use "paying" as an example, they may have a reaction to that and be unable or unwilling to listen to the broader concerns about caring/thoughtfulness.
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:07 AM on November 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


"... I believe in effort not staging, offer what you can give, if you have no money for restaurant letz do picnic with simple sandwiches and beer costs $10 max."

"I am not expecting nor looking forward to participate in an activity which you offered initially but still need half of my effort to complete eventually."


I understand this way of thinking. Within this context, this guy has failed to execute a proper date with you. I don't think he's being cheap, but instead he's trying to take you to what he considers a "proper date" to be, even if he can't afford to completely pay for it. He's not doing something he can 100% afford, like a picnic, because it's likely in his mind that the picnic idea is what would be considered cheap.

I don't necessarily think you should express these expectations up front to some guy because it's really difficult to express properly, but instead set your own expectations. If you know he's a grad student or know something of his financial situation and he suggests dinner and a movie, then expect that you'll have to pay half and be delightfully surprised if he pays 100%. Also, you can counter his dinner date suggestion and ask him to instead set up a picnic, or some other free/low cost activity that he himself can carry out the effort on. Then, if he fails to execute that properly, you know it's not about being cheap, but about a lack of imagination on his part.
posted by vivzan at 9:02 AM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Given that the cultural norms differ from what you are expecting, you may want to start signaling your preferences earlier - like in your dating site profile. Phrases like 'I'm an old fashioned kind of woman' may increase your chances but it may also send other kinds of messages.

It is unfair of you to be angry about something that is culturally typical.
posted by k8t at 9:06 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm a Canadian guy in about your age range, and I might try to pay for the first date, especially if I'd initiated it - but it's something I'd probably bring up in conversation, as opposed to just going ahead and doing it. After that first date, I'd expect there to be balance in some form, be it splitting the bill or alternating paying or something else along those lines.

I think I might be thrown off by what a 'proper date' might entail, too. I would - and clearly this isn't correct - assume that someone who is expecting me to pay for everything on several dates in a row to have similarly rigid expectations for what those dates would look like. If someone is assuming I'm able to pay for three dates in a row, I don't really want to have to say that one of those dinners is a picnic, one is a hot dog from a street vendor, and one is, say, ramen.

I'd probably be put off if someone came back to me after splitting the bill for dinner and an AirBnB and told me that they thought I was cheap - this guy is, after all, paying his own way, and it doesn't sound like he's putting you in situations where the cost comes as a surprise.

A final note - I would try to somehow integrate your concerns about not paying for dates with any requests for low-cost dates. If I suggested dinner, and you proposed a picnic, I'd probably assume that you were hoping for a less-expensive date, or that you were making assumptions about my ability to afford a restaurant.
posted by sagc at 9:38 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks for every single person who provided/read all the sincere inputs for my essay-length-question, I really appericiate you guys take my perspective so calmly and discussed peacefully.
I would like to list out some thoughts I was not able to address/misleading when I wrote down my paper, and some answer to the answers.

1. Be upfront/don't date him/ let him go : Like I mentioned in the question, I have already told him I am not willing/comfortable to treat him as my date if we can't reach out to an agreement, but I would like to continue be friend with him.

2. Efforts !=(notEqualTo) money : Thanks to cranberrymonger and SoftSummerBreeze I realize my point of this question isn't really about money or splitting the bill.
It's because I didn't see the initiation of the guys whose putting on me, if I like somebody, I don't mind paying, if you shows your affection and initiation and pleased me, I will contribute double of the efforts back.

3. Passive behavior : Thank you yes I said yes I will Yes ! For addressing out my very big problem, I didn't even realize it until you point it out, which is I am emotionally insecure, (attachment style: anxious–preoccupied ). I would tend to catering people for attention if I really like them, this is one of the reason I was in that abusive relationship for 2 years.
I think that's part of the reason why I have extreme-rule/reaction towards dates, I want to and must filter out ppl who may protentially drag me into the circle again.

I think the now core of my confusion is pretty clear:

I am happy with guys who pays for me, but I am adore to be with people who put efforts/times on me.
But in this case I don't consider simply go to a bar is a big efforts for him to make on me, it doesn't requires anything "planable". So as the physical effort part failed, my expectation switch to money (being paid) as a competition measurement for me to decide
whether should he willing be works for me or not, Again he failed.

Because when you don't have money, the time and energy is the most valuable investment you can give me.
When you don't even wanna spent on that, I am out.
posted by dadaxiang1204 at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Everybody has very different styles and expectations of what dating will be like. You're not wrong to want what you want. But it's not at all what I would want - because of my history, I would feel nervous if I went out three times with a guy and he insisted on paying for everything, suspecting that he expects me to pay him back in some way and he's planning on deciding the terms which might not be what I want. I would much rather pay my half of dinner than be subjected to some jerk's expectation that because he bought me sushi I now owe him sex. In some contexts, I could see a guy's careful splitting of bills to be an effort on his part to not put pressure/expectations on me. But that's not how you feel about it, which is fine, you just need to say so.

The thing with humanity is that you get to feel anyway you want, as does he. All you have to do to sort this out is to talk about it, and go into that conversation with the assumption that neither one of you is "right" just that you're approaching it differently.
posted by aimedwander at 10:27 AM on November 20, 2017


Like I mentioned in the question, I have already told him I am not willing/comfortable to treat him as my date if we can't reach out to an agreement

OP, you probably are already know this, but I think this bears mentioning since you're getting a lot of pushback on how you're being unfair for expecting the other party to pay.

You mentioned here and earlier about being "uncomfortable", which is kind of a red flag to me. If you're uncomfortable on a date for whatever reason, then it's totally 100% okay to bail out. I think it's better to trust your gut, rather than to rely on what everyone else says you should do.

Look, it may be really about who pays for whom. Or this may be connected to a broader set of issues like SoftSummerBreeze mentions.

I'm probably being overly cynical, but my reading of your date is this guy was trying to pull something on you: on the second date he's already comfortable with splitting a bill and right towards the end of the same date he wants to split the even larger expense of a BnB. But he does it right after making out, when your emotions are running high. Now I'm not saying he's abusive, but I think you made the right choice by texting him you just want to be friends.

As for how to voice being uncomfortable with having to pay. It's not really simple. In American culture there's an ambiguity about what is a 'date' (versus 'hanging out'), even more so than the ambiguity of who pays for a date. And as mentioned earlier, there's also non-monetary effort and labor put into planning/executing dates (which unfortunately in heterosexual relationships tend to eventually fall on women). I have no single answer that will fit every date you ever come across. The better solution is probably as mentioned earlier is to put your expectations up front. If you're dating online, then something to the effect of, "I expect my date to act like an adult, which means putting in just as much time, effort, and thought as I put into dating." Mind you, this won't filter for everyone, so you'll have to keep relying on your gut and feeling periodically like you have done before to check if you're being treated fairly and well. And this should be done even beyond the first three dates, as the unfortunate truth is some guys eventually kind of stop planning for dates when they feel a relationship is secure
posted by FJT at 11:10 AM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm answering this from a UK perspective, as that's all I know. The key point I read in your message was "On our second date he offer to take me somewhere". That's the key here. If he offered then the date is "his", especially this early on in a relationship.

The usual dance is that the man would offer to pay, as it's his date. It would be reasonable (and really expected nowadays) that the woman would then offer to split the bill or even pay all of it. The man jovially insists that it's his treat: his date. If the woman were to insist a second time then the man would happily agree to whatever financial deal is suggested.

This isn't coming from any kind of gender-based rule. If, on another date, the woman offers to take the man somewhere, the situation would be reversed (whereas thirty or forty years ago it probably wouldn't).

In my experience if either party isn't working along these lines then, barring exceptional circumstances, it doesn't bode well.

There are variations, such as when one party quietly pays the bill (either up front or when the other person isn't looking). This can appear chivalrous or generous, and is fine later on in a relationship when you know each other better, but shouldn't be attempted at second-date level as it appears controlling and doesn't allow for the other party to take their opportunity to offer to pay.
posted by tillsbury at 12:15 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Because when you don't have money, the time and energy is the most valuable investment you can give me.

sure, this is a good way to look at things, but it still comes from a place of privilege. please understand that a side effect of not having a lot of money is that your time and energy can also be affected. the stress of being a recent grad with no employment prospects just 6 months out of school can be intense. you seem to feel that someone who is unemployed and struggling financially has plenty of free time to plan picnics and make you food, and that may not be the case.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


Given that we have now established that it's not about OP wanting the man to spend lots of money on her, it's more about the effort expended, I think she may be onto something. This is a great way of weeding out the men who are prepared to put in the emotional and actual labour of planning something.

As she said, anyone can slap down a few bucks for a beer. But she wants to see that her guy can plan a thoughtful date - any date, it could just be sandwiches and a bottle of inexpensive wine in the park. It's the fact that he thought about where to go, what to take, what they could do there etc.

There's been a lot of talk about men who leave everything to their wives to do. If you're looking for someone who gets that they are equally responsible for planning and executing tasks, what better way to look for this than when you first start dating?

To answer poffin boffin's question, if a man doesn't have money to date, that's fine. If he also doesn't have time or energy to put into it, he really has no place dating at all, because the expectation then of planning, executing and paying for everything lands on his partner while he just rolls up and blesses her with whatever spare time he can squeeze her in for. (According to you, he's unemployed so I would imagine he has SOME free time?) Regardless, what does he bring to the relationship, then, if he can't even provide effort? Not much.
posted by Jubey at 3:14 PM on November 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


This is an interesting question. If you want people who will plan romantic gestures, (the picnic etc), a lot of people are not the kind of person who will do that. I wouldn't try to turn someone who doesn't do that into someone who does; I don't think that will be very successful. That said, it may also be kind of a lot to expect in the very earliest days when he's still getting to know you. And I wouldn't let people "buy" their way out of this expectation if it's important to you. And on the Air BnB example, suppose he offered to do all the research to find and book a place below some price that you guys had agreed you would spilt. Would that be okay? I have the feeling that it wouldn't be, so I think that what's stated here is not quite yet the full story.
posted by salvia at 3:45 PM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


If you're not comfortable, you're not comfortable, and that's OK. But if he's expected to pay, he needs to be the one choosing the venues so he can make sure it's something he can afford.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:03 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


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