Q. Hi Meredith,
I need some advice that I am sure many other male readers could benefit from. I’ve been dating a great girl for over two months but I need some help in the “money and dating” department. My problem is that every time we go out I pick up the check and don’t even get a “thank you” in return. So my issue is twofold. One is the lack of the words “thank you,” and the other is how long is it appropriate for the guy to always pick up the tab? I am 30 years old and probably make two or three times as much as she does. She is 26 years old and has a good job but doesn’t make much money. On average we see each other 3 or 4 times a week.
Admittedly, I enjoy going to the nicer places in Boston so each date runs around $150-$250 with drinks, cabs, etc. Multiply that by 3 or 4 and you get the weekly expenditures. I’ve dated a lot, the training wheels were off quite a while ago, but I’ve never really experienced this issue. First eight to 10 dates is totally understandable, of course the guy pays. My thought has always been that after that period things don’t need to even out but once in a blue moon it really would be appropriate for the girl to at least pay for a round of drinks, maybe a cab ride, maybe for lunch. I’ve got no issues paying for dinner all the time if I saw at least some minimal hint of reciprocity. Do you think I am being unreasonable here? I’m not asking to split the tab every time . . . a simple “thank you” and “let me get this round” would be enough.
This issue is really starting to be on my mind a lot when I am with her. Is this an appropriate subject to bring up with her? What do you think is the right way to approach it? Maybe my time frame is off and it’s really the first few months of dating that the guy needs to bankroll? Again, I’ve been around and never had this issue. Every other girl I’ve dated said “thank you” and at least covered a lunch tab after some time.
A. I wish you had told us more about why she’s so great, TOPATT. Because without having that information, my gut tells me that you have to let her go. The “thank you” thing really bugs me. And while I absolutely empathize with her for being too overwhelmed to even speak when you drop more than $500 a week on dates, she should have said something nice by now. Like, “I want to take you to this cute coffee shop by my place. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s my treat.”
There’s something wrong here. She’s either too uncomfortable around you to speak up about financial reciprocity (which is pretty much a deal-breaker), or she’s the kind of person who’s happy to eat $150 meals all week without ever expressing gratitude (also a deal-breaker).
If she’s really that wonderful otherwise, explain to her that you’re happy to go to less expensive places so that she can feel like a financial equal in the relationship. See how she responds to that. But honestly, only pursue that conversation if her behavior at dinner seems out of character. She’s a grown-up and should say “Thank you.” She should also want to contribute.
There’s no gender issue here, by the way. If you ask someone out because you want the pleasure of their company, you’ll be expected to pay. But after a date or two, there are no rules.
Who cares what the dates add up to dollar-wise, it’s the fact that she NEVER says thank you? Ever? I think you might be exaggerating on that one, but I’ll take your word. . . . So the question I have for you is why do you want to keep dating a woman who is so blatantly a taker and not a giver? One month of that kind of selfishness would have been enough for me. My advice — don’t have any more dates with her. You don’t really say anything nice enough about her to begin with, so why drag this out any further? Simple.
Ugh. Gross. No thank you, ever? I am flabbergasted. She could cook for you. She could invite you out for a picnic. I don’t see wonderful. I see self-important spoiled brat.
Sounds like you have enjoyed showing off your ability to spend $150-$250 per date . . . 4 nights a week. How was she supposed to know when the rules changed? A $200 first date sets a tone . . . one that you choose/chose to set. She’s 26 and makes one-third of your income? How is she supposed to step up to the absurdly high bar you set?
RUDE — that’s my simple take on your date. My husband and I are together 26 years and we still thank each other for a dinner out (and that money is coming out of our joint account).
Start by dialing it back, dude. Unless you own a 20% stake in Facebook or Google, $600-$800/week on dates is ridiculous. She might be a gold-digger. Or she might just think that you’re such a money-wielding power guy that these expenditures barely rise to the noise level for you.
As far as first dates go, I ALWAYS offer to pay – split the bill, get the tip , drinks, etc.; if my offer is denied you bet dinner its followed up by a heartfelt THANK YOU. No THANK YOU? Dude, that’s covered in Manners 101 – heck, that’s covered in kindergarten! I’d ditch her, I have no interest in hanging out with rude people – but that’s just me.
Edited and reprinted from www.boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com. She chats online Wednesday at 1 p.m.