Every first date comes to that same awkward point: Is he going to offer to pay? Should she take a stand and put down cash? Does anyone go Dutch anymore?
According to theÂ State of Dating in America report, findings from a survey of more than 2,700 U.S. singles between the ages of 18 and 60 compiled byÂ JDateÂ (authors of this post) andÂ ChristianMingle.com, 78% of single men believe the man should pay on the first date, and 55% of single women agree.
Related:Â The 5 Biggest Turn-offs
â€śThe more things change, the more things stay the same!â€ť says Rachel Sussman, a New York-based marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical social worker. Sussman partnered with JDate and ChristianMingle to analyze the State of Dating in Americaâ€™s findings and provide her expert insights.
â€śIn this society, maybe men are brought up being told itâ€™s their responsibility to pay their way, at least on the first date,â€ť Sussman says. â€śIn general, men believe they should be the ones paying, and thatâ€™s the message thatâ€™s reinforced in media and culture.â€ť
So, is it safe for ladies to relax and presume that the man will always pay for a first date?
â€śSome women are more comfortable paying their own way,â€ť Sussman says. â€śIf a woman prefers to pay for the first date — or at least her half — thatâ€™s her prerogative, and her date should respect that.â€ť
Here are a few tips from dating experts on how to avoid that potentially awkward wallet-grab on the first date:
- Be up front. If the findings of the report are right, a majority of women AND men expect that the man will pay for the first date. If you want to buck the trend, just say so.
- Show gratitude, but donâ€™t feel indebted. Of course, itâ€™s always best to thank whoever foots the bill. But since that person chose to pay, and the other party shouldnâ€™t feel like they owe anything!
- Consider going Dutch! Splitting the bill in half might seem outdated but it allows both parties to feel they contributed.
- If youâ€™re going on first dates frequently â€” for example, meeting several different people youâ€™ve been chatting with online â€” consider getting coffee instead of going out to a restaurant. You’ll feel less romantic pressure and will save both parties time and money.