I totally believe that a guy should pay for the first date because it’s the chivalrous thing to do, especially if he’s invited me out, but he shouldn’t be footing the bill for everything after that. I realized just how strongly I felt about this when I dated a guy who wanted to be the one to pull out his bank card at every single dinner.
My debit card burned in my hand. Since he’d paid for the first date, I wanted to pay for our second one. It was only fair for me to pay and taking turns on paying was how I usually liked to do things. When the check came, I pulled out my debit card, but instead of gracefully accepting my offer, he snatched the check away from me and said he’d pay.
I thought we were doing the “check dance.” You know how it goes, right? You offer to pay, then the guy insists that he’ll pay, you both laugh, and then you go around in circles a few times before you both agree on how to proceed. Whoever agrees to let the other one pay promises to pay for the next outing, but this time was different.
He told me what he expected. He said that I’d never pay for anything in our relationship. He wanted to be the one to pay every single time. Um, what? He made it clear that these were his relationship expectations and I was NOT on board.
Hello, is it 1950? All I could think when he was telling me this is that he wanted to have all the control in the relationship. I wasn’t about to accept this. It felt like we’d been teleported back to the ’50s and that’s not what I was looking for.
I told him it wasn’t my thing. I politely explained to him that I wanted things to be more equal in a relationship. I didn’t want to feel bought. He seemed quite surprised at my choice of words, but I wanted to be open and lay my cards on the table before we proceeded—if we were going to proceed.
He said he wanted to be the provider. OMG, this was just getting worse! He explained that he’d always been the type of guy who wanted to provide for the woman in his life. He was brought up to be a gentleman and he wanted to make me feel special by taking care of me. He threw in that he’d never let any of his ex-girlfriends pay for dates either and they’d been fine with it.
Was I supposed to be impressed? I just wasn’t. In fact, to be honest, it felt a bit sexist to be “cared for” by a man. Was I supposed to just go along with this way of dating? Even more insulting was that I was supposed to like it because other women had greenlit this dating rule. Ugh, whatever. I just couldn’t imagine having to depend on the guy I was dating financially.
It’s not my style and I told him straight up. I told him that we clearly felt very differently about things. I wasn’t the type of woman to agree to this ridiculous relationship rule. I was independent, financially and otherwise, and I didn’t want the guy I was dating to be in control of everything.
It wasn’t just about money. He tried to explain that this wasn’t about control, and maybe he really did believe that. The thing is, this wasn’t just about money in my opinion. This was about letting one person take charge of things in the relationship. This was about me feeling helpless and vulnerable and needing a man to buy me dinner. Who wants to feel like they’re desperate or constantly in debt in a relationship?
He thought I was being “crazy.” Yup, he actually used that word because he expected me to roll over and let him be “the man.” He claimed I was blowing the whole issue out of proportion. What?!
Imagining our future filled me with dread. I tried to imagine entering a LTR with this guy. He’d control the finances, and that meant he was always going to be in a powerful position. I’m not saying that I want to compete with my partner, but by choosing to let him pay for everything, that’s what we’d be doing. I want equality, mutual respect, and not to be treated like a child. It wasn’t just weird thinking about him footing the bill for everything, but imagine him paying for—and having the say in—everything else in my life!
His attitude to money would affect so much. He wanted to be the provider, so I’d probably have to let my career and finances take a backseat. His provider mentality could probably also be linked to other dated concepts like gender roles, but I wasn’t going to wait around to find out. No thanks! The check for our second date was the last one he was ever going to pay because I never went on another date with him again.
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