At first, my date appeared to be a total gentleman. He seemed refreshingly chivalrous and polite and I thought the date was going well… until the check came.
He told me he wanted to treat me to a nice dinner. He was a friend but I constantly denied his romantic advances in the past. Finally, I decided to cave and give him a chance. He insisted on picking an expensive restaurant because he wanted to “show me how special I was to him.” Ew, I know. That should have been the first red flag.
He ordered all of the food for me. I didn’t get a say in what we ordered but I went along with it because he seemed to enjoy taking charge. I thought maybe he was just a traditional guy so I let him choose the dishes from the menu because I didn’t care all that much. I was trying to be easygoing, but in hindsight, I should have been more assertive.
He actually gasped when he saw the bill. Even though he was the one who ordered all of the expensive food, knowing the prices in advance, he audibly gasped when we got the check. It was super awkward to say the least. Everyone at the restaurant was staring at us and I just wanted to disappear.
I offered to split the bill. After he had such a big reaction to the total, I naturally offered to split the cost. He adamantly refused but continued to make comments about how expensive it was. I probably tried to give him my money five times before finally giving up. At first I thought he was trying to get me to pay, but then I realized he just wanted me to feel guilty.
He told me he was broke. After making such a scene when the waiter handed us the bill, he proceeded to tell me how poor he was. If he really was broke, why did he pick such an expensive restaurant? Why did he order the most expensive things on the menu? I started to catch on that this whole dinner might just be a plot to make me pity him.
He said the money was a gift from his estranged father. Yes, really. He told me that the cash he was putting down was the only gift his dad had given him for Christmas. He actually said the words, “I never see my father and I’m spending his present on you.” Was that supposed to make me feel special? It just made me squirm in my seat.
He kept saying that he wanted to splurge on me. He made it sound like he was super frugal but he was making an exception for this date. I don’t know if he expected me to be flattered, but I was getting increasingly uncomfortable. I wanted out of there as fast as possible.
I was too shocked to get angry. Thinking about the situation in retrospect, I definitely should have told him to eff off. In the moment, I was too shocked to say anything. My jaw was hanging open. I just kept repeating, “I can pay, I don’t mind.” He wanted me to feel bad for him and I shouldn’t have given him the satisfaction by responding apologetically.
I tried to give the waiter my credit card anyway. By the end of the date, I’d had enough guilt-tripping for one night. I just shoved my credit card into the hands of the waiter when he came to pick up our bill. My date yanked the card out of the waiter’s hands and threw it back to me. I was shaken by how angry he got. What did he expect? After everything he said to me, I didn’t want to let him do me any favors. The poor waiter was just as confused by his behavior as I was.
I’m glad I got to see his manipulative nature. The fact that he tried to make me feel guilty was a big red flag for a first date. Even though it was a horrible night overall, I’m glad I saw his emotionally abusive qualities early on. I was lucky that he didn’t keep that side of himself hidden until I was in too deep. I was grateful that he showed me his true colors right off the bat. A second date was definitely not going to happen. Looking back, I’m glad I now know the toxic signs to watch for. If I ever find myself in a similar situation in the future, I will leave immediately with no guilt at all.
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