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Going Dutch on a Date: 16 Rules, Tips & How to Decide to Pay or Split

First dates can be awkward when it comes time to pay the bill. So, you might think that going dutch on a date is the best option. Read on to find out.

going dutch on a date

We all know how weird and uncomfortable some first dates can be. It’s a little uncomfortable because the “rules” are pretty unclear. Most of society thinks the guy should pay for the meal or activity, but what about going dutch on a date?

Whatever you do, with the changing times, going dutch on a date is becoming more and more popular. And for good reason. [Read: 15 things to do on a first date to get them to fall for you]

What does “going dutch” on a date mean?

If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, it’s just a classic term used to describe when each person pays for their own food and activities while on a date.

Instead of making a single person pay for the whole thing, they split it and call it even. It sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of people still confused about it. 

How do you decide to go dutch on a date? When do you decide? Do you make it a rule for all your first dates? Should this last the entire relationship? Should you split the bill evenly or pay for what you ordered? [Read: Rules of dating – The unspoken guidelines that create the best dates]

Why the old rules of society just have to go

Because of all the “dating rules” we see out there, it’s becoming harder and harder to know how to act on a first date. Instead of actually enjoying each other, we’re focused on obeying the rules.

We don’t get to know the other person on the level we should, and it’s uncomfortable all around. And first dates shouldn’t be that way, which is why old rules that society has put in place just need to go. It’s not worth it. 

These old traditions tend to be sexiest, or at the very least, have sexist connotations. What could be better for feminism and equality than going dutch on a date? [Read: 15 reasons why casual dating is the best ever]

Assumptions about going or not going dutch on a date

There are a lot of dating rules that have been around for centuries. Some are better than others, and not everyone follows them. And then there are some common assumptions about dating rules, which include going dutch.

So, let’s look at some of these common assumptions people have that make them confused about whether they should go dutch or not.

1. “If you asked me out, then you should pay”

This is a common dating rule that a lot of people abide by. It makes sense. If you’re the one who did the asking, then you should be the one doing the paying. And this is regardless of gender.

Although men are more used to paying on the first date, if a woman asked him, then she should pay. At least that’s what a lot of people think. There’s no right or wrong. [Read: First date nerves – 18 ways to not feel nervous for a date and feel calm]

2. The man *or whoever asks the other person out* pays for the first few dates, and then you go dutch after that

Some people still stick to the person doing the asking paying for the first few dates – not just the initial one. The reasoning is that if you’re going out on three or four dates, then you probably like each other.

There might even be a chance that it could turn into a relationship. And then, the finances would be balanced more equally.

3. He’s cheap if he doesn’t pay for the first date

Some women think that if a guy was pursuing her and asked her out, then he should pay even if she offers to pay for herself. If he allows her to, then a lot of people think he’s a cheapskate!

And some people don’t think that’s very sexy to be so cheap. They think it’s mostly about the courtesy of paying on the first date – kind of like a chivalrous thing.

4. Don’t ever expect your date to pay for everything

Just because someone hopes their date will pay, that doesn’t mean you should assume that they will. In fact, it’s best to assume you are going dutch. But if they insist on paying at least you won’t be disappointed. [Read: How to behave on a first date – 28 tips to impress anyone in minutes]

5. What about gender equality?

In this day and age, women still don’t make as much money at their work as men do. In fact, it’s something like 77% of a male’s salary. So, does that make it fairer for the man to pay on the date? Some people think so, but others don’t.

6. Go dutch if it’s a casual date

If the date is casual, or if you’re not even sure if it’s an actual “date,” then it’s probably best to go dutch. That way, no one has any expectations that are violated.

If it is established later on that it is, in fact, a date, then maybe one person will end up paying later. Or, if it turns into a relationship that can happen too. [Read: Is it a date or are you just hanging out? 22 subtle signs to read their mind]

Should you go dutch on a date?

The clear answer is yes. You should. It can’t hurt, especially on a first date. Here’s why adopting this modern dating rule should be common practice amongst new potential couples everywhere. [Read: Where to go on a first date – the 22 best and worst dating spots ever]

1. It gets rid of the awkwardness

You go on a date dreading the moment when the bill comes. It’s weird, uncomfortable, and the last thing you should be thinking about when you’re getting to know someone who could potentially be the one you spend your life with.

Being able to put that issue to rest ASAP will help you relax and actually enjoy your time with them. You also won’t have to worry about what to order and feel bad about getting something expensive since you’re paying for yourself. [Read: 8 easy ways to avoid awkward silences on dates]

2. You won’t feel guilty if there’s no second date

Many people who get their first date paid for often feel guilty if they don’t want a second date. They feel like they owe the other person something even though they don’t.

A great solution to that is to go dutch on a date. You won’t have any remorse about forgoing a second date with someone. You won’t feel bad about the money they spent on you, at least.

3. It puts you on an even playing field

You two are equals when you each pay for your own food and activities. It shows you view your date as an equal. It doesn’t put someone in a higher position of power, and that’s really the best way to go about a date.

If they pay, you’ll feel the need to behave or get something cheap that you don’t actually want. When you’re on an even playing field, it’s a lot easier to be yourself and do what you want instead of what’s expected. [Read: The best dating advice for men – 27 tips to boost your dating game]

4. There are no expectations

Speaking of expectations, there are none when you go dutch. Some people *douchebags, mainly* feel that you then owe them something if they pay for the date. Many try to cash in on that via a second date, or worse, making out.

When you go dutch on a date, there are no expectations. You just have fun together, pay for yourselves, and go on a second date if you like one another. It’s easy to follow, and everyone’s happy. [Read: Dating advice for women – 20 tips to transform your dating life]

5. It makes for more fun when you’re not worried about who pays

You can have a lot more fun when you just pay for yourself. All of your worries can drift away about the “dating rules” you need to follow, and you can be yourself.

Not only is that a hell of a lot more fun, but you’ll be able to show them who you truly are when you can relax a bit more. This will help them open up, too, and it just makes for a better date. [Read: 33 awesome date ideas every couple should try]

How to offer to go dutch on a date

This is just the truth, and it might be a little weird suggesting you go dutch. And you don’t have to say it exactly like that, but it helps to bring it up the right way. Here’s how you can handle going dutch with class and ease.

1. Mention it right away

Don’t hold off for the last minute because then you’ll still be tense about telling the person you want to go dutch. Say it right away. Tell the waiter or waitress right away that you’d like to split the bill.

If they speak up, just say it’s what makes you feel comfortable. They can’t really argue that, and it’s an easy way to get it out in the open right away. [Read: Being upfront and 8 other unladylike things most men love about women]

2. Offer to go dutch between the date activities instead

This might be a little easier for a date to understand. Basically, if you’re going for dinner and a movie, let them pay for the meal, and you pay for the movie. You’re not splitting it exactly, but you’re still doing halvsies, which is close enough.

More people who are likely to be offended when you go dutch on a date will agree with this tactic more so than just paying for everything on your own.

3. Tell them you’d prefer it that way

If you make it clear that it’ll make you happier to split the bill, they can’t really say no. They’re on a date to make you happy, and if doing that will make it so, they’ll agree to it.

Plus, they’ll look like the bad person if they argue against something that makes you happy.

4. Don’t make a big deal of it

If you make it seem like a huge deal, it’ll make your date nervous. They’ll wonder if you don’t want them to pay because you don’t like them. 

Just casually mention that you’d like to go dutch and leave it at that. It’s simple enough for them to realize it’s not a big deal and firm enough for them to agree to it.

5. Don’t fight them if they insist on paying

This will just make everything all the more awkward. Obviously, they’ll probably try to persuade you, but if they’re adamant about you not paying at all, don’t fight it.

If you do, they’ll only take it offensively, and you’ll be left with a grouchy date. You can repeat that you’d like to split the bill a couple of times, but just let them when they start being insistent. It’s not worth the struggle. [Read: What to talk about on a first date to make them like you instantly]

Final thoughts

Going dutch on a date is confusing for a lot of people. Back in the old days, it was common and customary for the man to pay for the woman on all dates. But that was back when women didn’t really work much and chivalry wasn’t dead.

Now, since the women’s movement of several decades ago, the rules aren’t as clear-cut. Some people like to be traditional and do it the old-fashioned way. While others recognize that we’re not living in the 1950s anymore. This is the 21st century, and men shouldn’t be required to pay for the woman.

The thing is, either approach is okay. What matters the most is that both people are comfortable with what happens. So, think about it ahead of time and decide what you want to do.

[Read: How to have the best first date ever – The full guide to planning a date]

If you want to go dutch on a date, do it. Don’t let any of society’s dating rules sway your opinion on the matter. Do what’s best for you and follow these tips to do it with class.

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