Urban Therapy: Taking Life’s Questions and Giving Real Answers from the Heart
Question: What are the pros and cons for going dutch on a date?
Answer: Understanding that everyone’s experiences are different, it’s difficult to identify pros and cons. I think what is most important is examining the reasons behind it.
Self-Assurance & Equality
If it’s important for you to maintain your sense of independence and confidence, go for it and don’t make any apologies but beware of how your independence comes across. Maintain your thinking about what it means to you personally without turning it into a negative situation. For example, saying you would feel more comfortable splitting the bill is different than getting on your “I don’t need anyone to…” soapbox. If you don’t need anyone, then why are you on a date in the first place. Ultimately and ideally, your relationship will be a partnership, which requires some interdependence. It’s okay to let the other person take the lead as long as you are willing to reciprocate.
This question actually comes up frequently in same-sex relationships, where all things are equal but the same rules apply. It’s not a man-woman issue, it’s a people issue. If it feels petty or too much like minutia, think more broadly. Instead of splitting hairs over the check at dinner, perhaps let them pay for dinner and you pay for the movie, or parking, or valet.
Eliminating the Beholden
Some people, often women, are reluctant to let the other person pay and feel better going dutch because they don’t want to feel beholden in any way. I say use your instincts. If you feel like the other person will want something from you that is unwarranted, that might not be the best choice of date.
Practically every movie in the last decade that depicts a single woman’s saga has illustrated an example of a date who suggests going dutch. Plain and simple, there is nothing wrong with it and I don’t think a woman should automatically asssume a man will pay. However, if your date suggests going dutch, note the difference in a conversation and agreement about it versus an expectation. Laziness equates to lack of responsibility and attentiveness – two things you don’t want in your relationship. Don’t ignore the red flags for what might come later down the road.
In the end, learn to take a compliment. If your date offers and insists to pay for the date versus going dutch, be kind and acknowledge the offer, whether you accept it or not. You’re not anyone’s property but the act of treating you can forecast their willingness to invest in your relationship, should one develop.
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