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Splitting the check - Should you or shouldn't you on a first date?

In the 21st century, the rules of dating appear remarkably different from those that our parents practiced only a few decades earlier. Although “courtship” no longer exists in its more traditional forms for the majority of adults around the world, certain conventions remain remarkably present, particularly when it comes to the roles of men and women when paying for dates. That being said, “going Dutch” is also becoming increasingly accepted, particularly on first dates or informal get-togethers.

Although it may be difficult to discern when the “right” time for splitting the check may be, here are a few scenarios that are likely to occur at some point or another during every single dater’s quest to find their perfect mate.

Scenario #1: A First Encounter Between Daters Who Met Online:

The nature of online dating, more specifically the profile making and matching that each participant undergoes, creates a unique situation where first-dates typically occur between people who know each other’s “credentials” quite well but have no real experience interacting with one another.

Related: How to weed out the "crazies" in online dating

Because of this, it’s often a safe bet to assume that these “first” dates are (or should be) nothing more than an introduction. To assume anything more may lead to disappointment or frustration for either party. Therefore, it may be a smart idea to split the bill on the first date. Not only will this remove the pressure from the man to engage in an act of chivalry that may or may not be desired by their date, but it will also allow both parties to be honest about their feelings and enter into a second date without any feeling of necessity, guilt or obligation.

Seeing as both parties entered into online dating and were “matched” with each other, it stands to reason that there should be complete equality on this first experience together. “Going Dutch”, therefore, would be a perfectly acceptable thing to do, according to many dating experts.

Scenario #2: A First “Romantic” Date Between Old Friends:

In a situation where two individuals have developed an attraction for each other over a prolonged period of friendship, the roles may be somewhat more defined between both parties. There’s a good chance that acts of chivalry have already been undertaken in an attempt to “court” the other prospective partner.

When it comes time to determine who pays for what in this situation, it seems reasonable to assume that the man may take the leading role, particularly in a situation where he is trying to further clarify his intentions. In this situation, the response of the man’s partner can speak volumes as to what the ultimate outcome of this encounter will be. If the partner refuses to allow his/her date to pay, this may be a sign that the romantic undertones of the encounter are less present than originally thought.

Scenario 3: Traditional Mindsets - Traditional Habits

Regardless of what the exact nature of the circumstances leading up to a date may be, the most important factors determining who will pay for a dinner or event are the values and expectations of the individuals involved. In some situations, couples may continually adopt the “male will pay” approach, which, based on historical trends, is entirely reasonable.

Even in the contemporary world of online dating, there do exist a variety of more traditional platforms which adopt the “male takes the lead” approach. Take, for example, PriceDate.com (more information here), which has adopted a bold, captivating new “bidding” system in which individuals can compete for dates with members who have posted their profiles and information online.

While some may view this as a complete departure from the “equality” espoused by other online dating sites, the creative minds behind PriceDate remain confident that their model is capable of producing successful relationships. Judging by the large response they have had so far, they just may be on to something.