I Make $40K And My Girlfriend Never Offers To Pay For Anything

My Girlfriend Never Offers To Pay For Anything

Hello Evan. I recently started dating a girl. I really enjoy her company and she enjoys mine. We get along fine, we’re really into each other and we share many commonalities. There’s only one issue – money! I have absolutely no problems taking her out on dates and footing the bill 100% but we’ve been on about 5 dates and we’ve hung out with mutual friends on numerous occasions, but she never even offers to pay – not even a disingenuous offer. I understand that if we are happy, then money is a small price to pay, but I barely finished college and only make $40,000 a year. I cannot afford to spend $200 every weekend. I mean, even when we’re not on dates, she expects me to pay. I don’t know how she got this old fashioned mindset, but it’s really starting to bug me. Personally, I work just as hard as she does for my money and I don’t find it fair but at the same time, I find it too early in the relationship to bring it up. I just don’t want her getting the idea that I’m ok with it or that she can take advantage.


I don’t even expect her to pay half. If we go out to dinner, I’ll pay for the date and the dinner, but the least she could do is pay for our ice cream or maybe buy me a single drink? I want to have that feeling, like if we’re at a bar and my girl comes up to me and asks me what I want. It’s like she has my back. It’s not about the cash- it’s more about being appreciated and not taken advantage of. I do not know how to approach the situation. I know she is going to explode if I bring it up, but how much of this should I take? I am not cheap, but at the same time, I am not made out of money. Does it make me a bad person to be thinking this way? I am somewhat of a liberal, progressive thinker, and her traditional mindset seems backwards to me. Advice? —David

We’ve established that men and women are equal.

Thank you, David, for writing a question that addresses the very hypocrisy of modern-day dating.

We’ve established that men and women are equal.

We’ve established that women are more highly educated and (often) make more money than their male counterparts.

We’ve established that the concept of men paying for dates came from a time when women didn’t work and therefore men HAD to pay.

Which leads this blog to receive comments that read like this:

“In our society, it has always been customary for a man to pay for a woman’s dinner. Men are wired to protect, and take care of a woman. If he doesn’t want to pay for dinner that is a glimpse into his character and/or how he was raised. Any self-respecting woman should steer clear of such a man. It doesn’t matter if she has decided not to see him again before she even picks up her fork. If he is a gentlemen, he will gladly pay and expect nothing in return.”

Anyone who feels that way should go back and read David’s letter.

Stop acting like you’re six-years-old and don’t have a purse with cash and credit cards in it.

This is a liberal, progressive thinker — a good man of modest means — who is trying to do the “right thing” and pick up the check as the anachronistic rules of chivalry still dictate.

He’s not railing against the concept of picking up the tab while he’s courting her — he’s just annoyed that he feels taken for granted. And when a woman never reaches for the check, offers to split, or insists on picking up the tip, the cab, or the coffee afterwards, it can really start to wear on a guy.

I am a man. You are a woman. You are not poor or helpless or dependent.

So stop acting like you’re six-years-old and don’t have a purse with cash and credit cards in it.

Stop acting like he should be thrilled to drain his account in hopes that he might procure a good night kiss.

Stop acting like you’re not really his equal when you want to be treated equally in every other respect.

As I said here, if we can agree it’s in good form for a man to pick up the check while courting you, we should also be able to agree that it’s in good form for a woman to offer to split the check and/or insist on picking up the check while he’s courting you.

If you think it’s rude when men don’t pay, we think it’s rude when you assume we will pay.

It’s basic golden-rule stuff, y’all.

I’m not expecting much dissent on this one, but if you’re brave enough to explain why the original poster David is wrong, cheap, or short-sighted, have at it.

Personally, I think he speaks for just about every man I’ve ever met who got sick of being an ATM.

Here was my breaking point — when some woman intimated that she was my “sugar mama” after I allowed her to split the check on our fourth date.

And you think that women are the only ones who get burned out on dating…




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  1. 21

    Hi Evan, I’m just curious – do you think men and women should split the bill no matter what? I know you’re blog is mostly directed to ‘strong, successful women’ – but what if you’re not either, and happy being that way? I earn about the US equivalent of $12k a year and mostly date men who earn the equivalent of $100k – I’m not an Alpha female, and happily let my man lead (as per one of your previous posts). I want to marry, and when I do, will delight in being a ‘housewife’ and raising our children – I get treated as if I just pooped on the floor by many wimen for saying that, but I feel it’s what would make me happy and I will not feel the need to work in order to be fulfilled. I believe I bring many other qualities to the relationship aside from money, and I would like a boyfriend – and eventually husband – to be able to support me so I can be all those other things – does that, in your opinion, make me child like in my behavior and generally wrong? Do you believe I should still be splitting bills even though my dates earn approx 8-10 times more than me? I appreciate that if we’re dealing with two ‘high fliers’ then the women wantung to be Alpha *and* still have everything bought for her may seem a little like she wants the best of both worlds but can’t we still enjoy the ‘traditional’ way of things, if that’s our choice? Interested in your thoughts…

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nia – I’ve never said men and women should split the bill. I’ve said that entitlement is not an attractive quality, no matter how much the guy makes. So, as a woman, you should genuinely thank him every single time he reaches for the check, occasionally reach for it and insist on picking it up, and if that’s simply not possible, compensate by giving in whatever way you can. I never expected my wife to pick up a check because I made a lot more than she did, but she still offered from time to time at the beginning of our relationship. Her gesture was greatly appreciated, if not accepted.

      1. 21.1.1

        That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. Who offers what they don’t actually have to give! He should dump the girl and find someone who believes in this fictitious 50/50, equality scam. Equality ain’t real and I’ll pay for a man when patriarchy no longer makes the world go round. You gotta pay the cost to be the boss!

        1. Cathalei

          If you actually bothered to read, Evan said that he didn’t accept his wife’s offer, nor did he expect him to pay. He never talked about 50/50, neither is the point that. Relationships are based on reciprocity and if you think you’re entitled to be paid for every single dime it doesn’t signal a good relationship material. If one picks up the paycheck, they do it out of generosity and to show that they like you, not because it’s their debt. And if you look for a boss and not a partner, you should simply look for a different arrangement and that isn’t dating.

  2. 22

    When I was in my 20s and my boyfriend made at least double what I made, our agreement was that I’d pick up the tab for every 3rd time out, which was fair.   Now that I’m older and most anyone I date makes much more than I make, I still offer drinks or tip every few times.   Can’t say I’m not glad when they don’t accept, but it is good to offer so they don’t feel taken advantage of.   Or at least cook them a good meal every few times you go out!   Do something !

  3. 23
    Lisa M.

    This is one of the things that has made it so very easy for me  not to commit and why I have decided to stay on the sidelines for so long.   I HATE DATING! The male and female dating and mating dynamic is so out of whack. It all just gives me a headache. If I offer to pay or split the check — there are some men who will think that I’m being too masculine and in some cases  become  offended and if I don’t pay then I’m using  them as an ATM.  
    Where does all the  madness end?  

  4. 24

    I have grown in a family, where my mother had more money, and she made sure that both of her children were educated so that they never would be dependent of any man.
    I earn a bit more than an average man here, so I can pay a date, but if if a guy expects me to pay (during the first few dates) then he is history.

    I don’t need a cheap partner, and I can pay my single life in the future.  

    What I hear of Evan’s response, is what I would avoid..  I just don’t want to be “we” with a man like that. Companionship with a man like that would be a drag.
    Simply because if that little money what my dinner costs is important enough for a man to complain about, I am sure he would also complain about my spending of my own money, when he realises how I love to splurge my hard earned cash on shoes etc… and I don’t care to explain where my money goes, or how much I earn to any cheap man who thinks what I want it is unnecessary for me.

    Age old question, which once was applied to men.. why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?  So being single is easiest, no need to explain to anyone and I always get milk when I want it. =).. and a good companion for me, is such with whom money is not important issue at all.

    1. 24.1

      Says the girl who – as you say – out earns most of her male dates

      Sorry, but you seem quite selfish, why?

      1. You earn more then them but still expect them to pay for dates
      2. You don’t want to spend money on them and are offended if they tell you off for spending the money (they helped you accumulate by paying the bills!) on shoes and other unnecessary items without any accountability to them
      3. You see men as walking ATMs (they have to pay while you can dump money on what you wish) and in my book this is ABUSE (of the generosity of your partners)
      4. You only take the good things of being equal to men (mainly: being able to work, have your own stuff etc.) while not wanting any of the bad stuff (contributing your share for example!)

      And all this makes you an undatable woman (at least for me, I grew up being told to be responsible for your share, but never to be a pushover/doormat and that women have to do their share of work)

      greetings LAX

  5. 25

    Hi Evan… Super appreciate you giving your thoughts… I never expect it, do offer to split sometimes, often pay for ‘smaller’ parts of the date ie he pays for dinner & I pay for drinks after – and I always shows lots of appreciation & thanks afterwards – even if we’ve been together a year or two… So I’m really pleased we still *appear* to be on the same page here as I REALLY like your blog! Yay! 🙂

  6. 26

    Applied to women.. *corrects*

    Anyway, if I insist to pay when I am on a first date with man, that is a way to say that “I don’t trust you enough, therefore I don’t want to be beholden to you in any way at all”.    That is the last date we are having.

    Men miss that signal totally =D..

  7. 27

    What stood out to me in this post was how unappreciated he felt & that he thought ‘she would explode’ if he brought up this subject…sounds like he knows he’s dating an emotionally unhealthy woman

  8. 28

    If you say that you are “100% willing to pay” for the dates….then do so…. BUT keep it within your means…
    Even if you say you’re going to put chicken on the grill… and you already have a bottle of wine… ask if she could bring a salad…and maybe that great ice cream you had at her house…for desert…   Just ask….
    If she asks you about “going out” then let her know you’d love to… but you just need to curb your spending a bit…so you thought of some great things to do in between those dinners out…   She’s either going to understand and you’ll both do things you can afford… or she’ll show you who she really is….good or bad…

    1. 28.1

      Couldn’t agree more with this. My thoughts exactly, Bren. Men need to understand that many women don’t respect a man who expect them to offer to foot the bill. We know you don’t like that, but, hey, we don’t like that you oogle Victoria’s Secret models…it’s life. Deal with it. Plan dates you can afford and can execute and stop expecting women to be men. What I mean by that is that men are supposed to court women, not the other way around. Most women will give in their own way, sometimes it’s financially, often times it’s not. If you like her, what she offers as tokens of her affection for you should be enough.

      1. 28.1.1

        In a way this is true, men need to court women but a good relation ship can be so much better if it is an open relationship and both parties get what they want/need/deserve.
        If we go on what a man “needs” to do, then a man needs to pay for everything? In this case he now did he’s part correct? So, now the woman needs to do her part…(sex?) – This is sarcastic, not my view!
        This is not normal people, no one has to do anything they do not want/need to, this includes men!
        If the bill is split or the one who pay’s is happy then it is OK. But men also want’s to feel respected and loved, men also want to feel special.
        A woman saying a man needs to pay needs to show that man the respect he deserves and he needs to be loved the way he needs it. If this does not happen then he is being used! (But also men, speak to your girlfriends about this, if they do not know, they can not do anything about it and will think you want to pay, even if you think she does it on purpose!)

  9. 29

    @Bren:   It has been my experience that men do not equate the kinds of things you referred to as a contribution as something that equalizes anything.   It doesn’t seem to register with them that a meal cooked at home — especially if you try to make really interesting dinners– costs.   And can cost a lot.

    I recently dated a guy who would come over for dinner I prepared. He would bring a movie so— dinner and a movie at my house..   I didn’t really think about what these dinners  along with wine and desert  cost me until I noticed when we were out that he expected me to pay part or all of a lunch.   I started thinking about it and realized I was spending quite a bit on nice dinner ingredients and he was expecting me to ante up money for other meals.   He did not contribute to meals in any other way– dessert, wine, flowers!!   I’ve noticed this dinner-at-home oversight before.   Those dinners are not free!   Not to mention the menu planning and shopping in addition to the preparation
    Couples (everybody)   should do nice things for each other.   The best relations I’ve seen involve reciprocity.   Some people are really happy to do things (and pay) for their dates at least some of the time.   I like the equitability method rather than the 50/50 and I will still offer pay for something outside the split agreement.   Btw, I  no longer date that guy.   I realized he is too selfish in many , too many ways.

    As to our poster:   communicate but do so in a tone that will build empathy– like @Lovestuff suggested.   I think the poster sounds like a good guy and if this woman doesn’t think he is a keeper someone else will.

  10. 30

    INteresting. I just tuned into this blog because I wanted to write Evan with a variation of the same question.   What ever happened to, “I’ll pick up the check this time, you get it next time”?   To me that is a signal that we want to continue to see each other. It’s flattering and fun to always be either treating someone or being treated.  

    I’m a 40 something feminist female, recently out of a 2 year relationship with a man who always split things 50/50 IF I didn’t pick up 100% of the check, which I often did because I made not a huge salary, but twice what he did as a freelance writer. I have a lot of men friends and always splitting the check 50/50 is my signal to them that we are Just Friends.  I hated the 50/50 split at every meal and event with this man that I was in a serious relationship with.   And yes, I talked with him about trading back and forth, but that went nowhere.
    Now I’m doing on-line dating.   I lost my job so money is tight right now.    I feel fine about paying separately at a first meeting because it is more of a meeting than a date.  I suggest inexpensive activities such as meeting for coffee or a walk.  

    I am very far from a gold digger, but I’m surprised that men do not offer to pay for my $10 movie ticket when they ask me out for a subsequent date or they suggest more expensive restaurants and then expect me to pick up half the tab. I’m talking businessmen and doctors! They know my financial situation.   I would like to pay for some things, but if there is a big difference in salary, I think the person who has more $$ picks up the tab for more expensive dates; the one with less money picks up the tab for ice cream or drinks or meals at the local diner.  

    How do I tell men that I no longer want to date them because I’m looking for a man who is considerate of my situation and that I want to be courted/flattered/wooed, which, when I look at the animal kingdom, I think is basic biology?   If a man wants me to pay separately for all my expenses, then he’s looking for a buddy to hang with, not a potential partner.

  11. 31

    in addition to my last post…I feel I should also add that as a single mom who has to cover the cost of the babysitter just to be able to go out on a date in the first place I don’t appreciate being expected/asked to split the tab! FYI I do not expect my dates to cover the cost of a babysitter – tho it is definitely appreciated when they offer…

    1. 31.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Cecilia – Do you offer to pay for HIS babysitter if he’s a single dad and you wrote to him first online? I sure hope not…

      Furthermore, there are actually men who offer to pay for your babysitter? Really?

  12. 32

    Maybe people should just stop dating beyond their means, and both genders should be honest about it.   If a friend was asking you to go out to $200 dinner/theater shows/concerts EVERY week, you’d easily put your foot down (unless that is within your price range), but you WOULD do it every now and then.

    If your “usual” night out is in the $20-40 range, keep it consistent when suggesting dates.  

    @Martha #32 – I wouldn’t let your experiences with your cheap ex-boyfriend spoil future dates.   If you do a first date “coffee” meetup, I would suggest getting their first and buying your coffee, or letting him pay. (If he is disappointed, just say something like you felt “safer” being off the hook since it was a first meeting, but he can pay next time – this way you haven’t established that you want to pay all the time).

  13. 33

    #32 Martha said the same I meant too:

    “I have a lot of men friends and always splitting the check 50/50 is my signal to them that we are  Just Friends”

    To me it means the same, we’ll never be an item.   and so it goes, it is a “next”-sign.  We might become /are friends, but nothing more..

  14. 34

    It’s so fascinating how much this not paying for the first few dates triggers such knee jerk judgments. Men who don’t pay are cheap. Women who don’t pay are gold-diggers. I mean, seriously, how simplistic!
    I wrote on another post awhile back that I think the whole guy must pay for first date thing is a rigid story from our past, but that I end up paying for most first dinner dates anyway, knowing that it’s such a commonplace expectation.
    And what’s also ridiculous is that Lisa’s comment about being called “masculine” by men when she offers to pay just shows that a lot of folks of both genders are still sticking to this narrative, even though it makes less and less sense, given than men and women are getting closer to earning equally. (Evan, women are still behind men overall when it comes to earnings – the glass ceiling still exists.)
    The way I see it, if there is a great income disparity, the one with the larger salary should cover the bulk of costs for things like going out for dinner, movies, music, etc. And if there isn’t much of a disparity, then it’s up to the couple to decide what to do – whether to split 50/50, switch off paying, or whatever.
    Jane, I recently cooked dinner for a date – something I like to do when I get the chance. You’re very right about the cost, and if someone isn’t at least appreciative, it kind of makes you wonder if a relationship is going to be worth it.
    Back to David’s letter, the best thing I can offer is to bring it up, no matter how you think she might react. That kind of thing can easily become a resentment that blows up in much worse ways later on. And if she’s totally into herself, and not someone who will “have your back” sometimes, then it’s best to know now, rather than a year or two down the road.

  15. 35

    In my experience, I’d like the man to pick up the check the first couple of times we go out. After that, I will offer to pay for something smaller, like our drinks (I am job-hunting at the moment). Most men who have been more serious about me won’t let me pay for much, if anything. The ones who have or even asked me to split things turned out to be jerks, in contrast to a much smaller percentage of “payers”, as A-L said. After there’s a real relationship beyond dating, it’s more up to the individual couple and their circumstances.

    In David’s case, I am surprised that the woman is accepting such expensive dates and not at least offering to pitch in for anything at all. I don’t know how much money his girlfriend makes, but she could offer to cook dinner for him or do something else that isn’t pricey depending on her means. I do find it disturbing that David thinks his girlfriend is going to “explode” if he brings the subject of money up – not a good sign.

    Martha #32

    I never pick up the tab when meeting someone for coffee for the first time, although sometimes a guy will make it known that he expects me to pay. Those who do that almost never have any real interest in me, and that is one of the ways I gauge the date. My suggestion is to stop offering to pay for your $2.00 coffee and let the man pick up the tab. He probably was the one who asked you out anyway, so he should pay.  

  16. 36

    Also, David mentions that his friend has never offered to pay, not even a “disingenuous offer”. He says, “I want to have that feeling, like if we’re at a bar and my girl comes up to me and asks me what I want. It’s like she has my back.  It’s not about the cash- it’s more about being appreciated and not taken advantage of.”  I’ll be he is the kind of guy who would still pay even if she did offer. I get the sense that he doesn’t entirely trust her, that he’s afraid of her anger, and of finding out that she’s an entitled princess type.

  17. 37

    @Jane – I agree… dinners at home can be costly… I do this because I want to give to that person in a way I can afford to…. and when I am the one doing the cooking I can control the costs…
    When a man invites me to dinner at XYZ restaurant…. I believe he is also choosing to do something he can afford…   He could just as easily choose to invite me over to his house for a frozen gourmet pizza and salad! Someone I’m dating just just did that…and then two days later he took me to brunch at a place he really loves and wanted to introduce me to…
    As long as everyone feels they want to reciprocate in the way they can afford to… it can balance out without everyone keeping a score card!

  18. 38

    @ NN

    I think the alternate phrase you are referring to is “Why buy the whole pig when all I want is a sausage now and then?”   🙂

  19. 39

    I always pay on the first date — even if it went shitty and she was rude or unpleasant — ’cause I rather “feel like a schmuck” (i.e. felt underappreciated) than “LOOK like a schmuck” (i.e. look cheap)…. first date guy paying — it’s the cost of dating — it’s what it is…. I never think twice about it

    But after date 3 or 4, if the woman doesn’t offer, doesn’t thank me, doesn’t fake a move to the purse, doesn’t offer to pick it up this time, I start to feel a little weird and not good about things in the pit of my stomach….

  20. 40
    Katarina Phang

    I’m sorry people, splitting a dinner 50/50 is ICKY.   That’s hardly romantic and it will kill my libido for this man forever.   Don’t do it.

    I don’t care how alpha a female you are and how much you make or how little the he makes, if you want a masculine guy who takes charge, that’s not how to do it.   That doesn’t feel feminine, number one, and it’s eventually emasculating to him (like, “what I can’t even afford to pay her dinner?” ).   It kills the romance.   He doesn’t feel masculine doing that and it’s very much like some others say: A FRIEND ZONE.   

    Ask yourself if you feel all womanly and taken cared of/loved/adored/cherished to split the check 50/50?   Men need to woo you to fall in love with you and we women need to feel wooed too.

    It’s not about the money.   It’s about what works instinctively on the most primal level.   We haven’t evolved that much since the days of our ancestors.

    I would prefer letting him pay for every date and I give back in different ways (there are so many creative ways to pay back what he spends on you, and it can include or exclude money or paying for something).   You see, he will feel manly and like a sufficient provider and you will feel cherished and in a feedback loop it increases passion in relationship because the two of you are so polarized (feminine vs. masculine).   

    Nobody feels cheated or taken advantage of.   in fact each one feels his manhood and her womanhood being magnified and appreciated.   Each respects the other and both are more than happy to give now because they find out the more they give, the more they receive from the other.

    1. 40.1

      Preach!!! This is 100% on the money. You nailed it!

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