The Dating Game – Who Pays?

Guest post by Ivy Munro


I felt compelled to write a post after watching this video by relationship expert Matthew Hussey.


It all boils down to intentions. Yes, a woman should always be ready to split the bill if asked, but she might just be in the dating game for the wining and dining experience, and he could simply be in the game for a quick return on investment *wink wink* So for the record we first need to clarify a few things.

Firstly, this entire post is based on the scenario of a man pursuing a woman with the aim of dating her.

Secondly, this is our definition of dating:

– When one party expresses a romantic interest in the other, they may request a date.

– We consider the term “dating” to be the period in which two people spend quality time together in an effort to get to know each other, with a view to entering into a relationship.

– During the dating period both parties can see other people unless they agree to date exclusively.  However, the fact remains they’re just dating and not in a committed relationship. 

– Anything outside of this definition, we consider to be ‘dating without intention’ or ‘dating just to date’.  If that’s you, then look away, this is not for you.

Comprende?  Probably not but we’ll continue anyway.

Let me start by saying that paying for dates remains THE biggest turn-off, a close runner-up would be the guy who asks to borrow money during the dating phase.

I agree with the financial arrangement which Matt spoke of towards the end of the video.  During a committed relationship, engagement or marriage, the financial dynamics inevitably change, so I’m all for financial ‘teamwork to make the dream work,’ but only within the boundaries of commitment, during which time we’re building towards our future together. However, in the dating phase when there’s no real semblance of any possible future together… not so much.

That’s not to say women shouldn’t contribute at all while dating.  In fact, I’d tell a man to run fast and far if his dates never actually paid for anything. When you date a considerate woman she will occasionally split the bill, purchase the popcorn, and sometimes she might knock out the entire bill. But save the full-on pooling of financial resources until within the boundaries of a committed relationship, and let your potential man step up to the plate and pursue you properly and graciously. He doesn’t need to insist on paying like some egomaniac, but he should be prepared to pay at all times.

Men, kid yourselves all you want.  The pursuit is not just about making a good impression during the first few dates, but rather showing consistency of effort over time and across the board, in word and also in deed.  When a man provides for the dates in which he requests, it’s a testament to his character.  It shows grace, appreciation, gentlemanliness, and at the very bottom end of the spectrum, self-respect.  You’re trying to gain the heart of a woman, and unless she actually enjoys paying for dates, I can say with quite some confidence that there is nothing even marginally appealing about a man inviting a woman out on a date, only to turn around and ask her to pay.

Dates don’t have to be expensive.  Nobody wants to be a cheap date, but it’s not every day chop Dishoom or Jade Palace.  Sometimes a picnic in Hyde Park or Shawarma at Freedom Park. (Not sure why I’m catering this to my Lagosian readers. Most Lagos guys worth their weight in gold won’t allow a woman to pay for anything at all – which comes with its own set of issues for another day).  But fellas, be creative and mix it up, and you’ll soon discover whether you’re entertaining the wrong ‘’type’ of woman.  Ladies, it’s a great insight into his money management ability.

The exception: bruk pocket.  Perhaps you’re dating a man who’s struggling financially.  Nothing wrong with that, but the current economy is too shaky to invest in a liability, so put aside all notions of his ‘potential’ and focus on what his behaviour demonstrates today.  Is he showing good intention?  Does his word consistently align with his actions, e.g. that guy you’re dating with the not-so-great job who has ambitions of a better tomorrow, is he showing consistency and follow-through in that area?  If not, you’re probably looking at your joint financial future dead in the face.

Time exposes true intentions.  Did you watch the video?  If so, you may recall an audience member lamenting about paying for dates with the guy she’s been dating for the past 5 months!  There’s the problem – perpetual dating purgatory.  I’m no advocate of ‘the rush down the aisle’ but if after 5-6 months of dating/spending a significant amount of time together, one or both parties are still unsure about entering into a real relationship, then the chances are you probably won’t.  So it might be an idea to establish a mutually agreeable cut-off point, as opposed to continually investing your time in hope that ‘it’ will eventually turn into an actual relationship one day.  That might be three months for some people or 12+ months for others.  Just don’t end up in limbo.

I have to reference my guy Paul Carrick Brunson on this one, because I’ve witnessed it myself.  When a man wants a woman (as in gangan/genuinely), he won’t rush the process, but he certainly won’t leave room for another man to swoop her up.  Not money (incl. paying for dates), nor distance, nor time, will stop him from doing the necessary to lock down a relationship and try to make it work.

So ladies, put those mutually agreeable cut-off points in place….while he quibbles over the bill.


Editor, Brand Strategist & Photographer. Living the London/Lagos life.

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