The etiquette is clear: whoever initiated the date, pays the bill. But then why there are still so much ambiguity about it?
Because this is a complex topic that is culturally, socially, and historically charged. And of course, the personal conditioning of each of us is influencing our view and opinion on it.
To be more accurate, I will look into the question of paying the bills 1) during the dating phase and 2) when you are in a relationship.
The topic of paying the bill is a difficult one, because of the many nuances it has. Here are some of them:
The values of gender equality, social rights and high eduction for women, the freedom to choose your profession and to earn your living as a woman, were a needed and a significant step for us as a society. However, with the feminist movement a big part of the traditional feminine activities has been condemned or looked down at. The truth is that many of those gender norms are nourishing women’s feminine energy, even though sometimes, on a relatively shallow level. In the example with the check, women can feel that if they let the man pay the bill, they are going back to these more traditional feminine/masculine roles and that they are losing their identity as successful, earning, and self-sufficient women.
When we talk about femininity, the image of the submissive woman often sneaks in. Women are so desperately trying to differentiate themselves from the feminine submissive woman, that they are going to the extreme of the cold, hard, untouchable woman, who doesn’t need anyone and who gets all she wants by herself. So “No way I allow a man to pay my bill”, because in their mind this comes with the price of their freedom.
Many women have been raised to be independent, which is a good thing, but without an example of a healthy femininity in a strong, vulnerable, magnetic woman, women are just confused and have hard times finding their authentic feminine expression. In the example with the check, on one hand is their conditioning to pay the check themselves. On the other hand, their heart is yearning to feel courted and taken care of.
Men are also confused.
Many of them are raised as gentlemen. They can and want to court the woman. However, with the “emancipated” women who get offended if they open the door for them, they don’t know any more how to act and if they can and should pay the bill.
A chivalrous man risks to come across as arrogant, if he just jumps in and pays the bill.
You can also hear men saying “Women should decide what they want. They claim that it should be all the same and equal, but men should pay the bill. How is this fair?” and they have a point. We are equal (no hierarchy), but we are NOT the same and our gifts to each other are different.
Cultural specifics also play a role. For example, in the Netherlands where I live, most people are particularly careful to not pay more than they have to. Dating a Dutch man comes with its complications and often requires more arguments to get him to pay all the bills. You’ve probably heard the expression “going Dutch”
Good to know:
Paying the bill is boosting his masculine energy – he provides and protects you, he takes care of you, he takes the lead, he puts time, effort and money to be with you. This automatically increases your feminine energy: feeling seen, relaxed, taken care of, trusting, open, ready to give him a chance and follow his lead. This creates an immediate polarity, a sexual attraction between the two of you.
Many (even the majority of men) will be happy to take you out and pay for your dates.
Many women, however, don’t dare to state that this is what they want and that they will be flattered by it. They don’t want to look spoiled, submissive, outdated, not independent enough etc. Also, they are afraid that the man might refuse to pay and that they would need to respond to it. So, many women prefer to walk over what they are longing for, dismissing it as “not that important”, instead of being vulnerable and honest.
Harder a man works for you and the more expensive you are, the more he values you.
50/50 split of bills and expenses does harm the feminine and negatively affects the polarity in the relationship. However, there are ways to work around it.
Before I continue, I want to say that there is no one size fit all approach. Only you know what is important and true for you. And this is NOT what you think. It is what you feel, what your heart is longing for. Is it to be free or is it to be seen and claimed?
So, I am inviting you now to close your eyes and to imagine that you are going out on a date (doesn’t need to be the first one) with a charming and interesting man. He has invited you to a restaurant and after you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal, a glass of wine and each other’s company, it’s time to pay the check. Feel into the scenarios below (or your own variation of them) and check in with your body and with your heart what would make the evening perfect. Don’t think, feel!
He asks for the check and says more like a statement than as a question “This dinner was a great pleasure! Allow me to cover it”. And he pays the check.
He asks for the check and asks you “How do we handle this? Shall we split the check?”
He asks for the check and tells you “I think that it is your turn to cover this dinner. Are you comfortable with this?”
You ask for the check, and you say, “You paid for our last date, let me pay for this dinner”.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred option, I would like you to say out loud. “I feel that for me it is important that…” and complete the sentence. Repeat it a few times.
Super important: Communicate!
For the sake of the example, let’s say that for you it is important that the man takes you out and takes care of the check.
Next time when you are on a date and he pays the check, feel into your body and into your heart and tell him something like “I really like that you are paying the checks. It makes me feel special and taken care of. I can relax in your company. Thank you for this!” (Use your own words and make sure that you mean it. It needs to be authentic otherwise, it is a manipulation!).
Next time when you are on a date and he invites you to split the bill/you to pay the bill, feel into your body and into your heart and tell him something like “I enjoy your company, but for me it is important that the man pays the check when he takes me out on a date. This way, I feel taken care of and courted.” Many men want to pay the check, but just don’t know if this is Ok with the woman. By being explicit on what is important for you and what you want, you are helping him navigate you and setting your standards. Maybe someone can say “I am sorry, this is not for me, I don’t want to pay every time”, then respond based on what your body feels. Are you standing your ground or are you willing to find a middle ground? Both are fine, as long as you stay truthful to yourself.
In a relationship:
In all cases it is important to feel into your body and your heart and to communicate with him as clearly as you can what you feel and what is important for you. Have an honest, vulnerable conversation with him and see what can work for both of you. Whatever happens, don’t take it personally. Read again the top part of the article to help you understand and find understanding for his point of view.
In case he is covering all expenses and he doesn’t want you to pay bills, but you want to participate, find your way to contribute: plan trips, redecorate, organize surprises, buy him gifts, get extra groceries….
In case you are covering all expenses and you want him to participate: work on your feminine energy. Let go of control in some areas, so that he can step up in his masculinity. Challenge him in a loving way to find a better paid job and to take better care of you.
50/50 split of the bills
It can happen that if he was paying the checks when you were dating, when you transition to “in a relationship” he asks you to cover more of the mutual expenses. This can feel heartbreaking, like a betrayal and a deep disappointment. If I need to voice these emotions it will be something like “He got what he wanted, he doesn’t feel the need to win my heart over and over again and now I need to pay as well”.
Is it the end of your polarity (sexual attraction) if you are splitting the expenses 50/50?
This model definitely harms the feminine, which affects the masculine and as a result, the polarity suffers. However, if you are comfortable in your femininity and you know how to rest in it, how to connect to it and how to boost it, the damage will be only on the surface.
A good solution would be to split the expenses 60/40 or 70/30. See if this is an option.
My personal story:
For me it is important that my man pays when he takes me out. In the dating phase and in the committed relationship phase.
My partner, Rogier, has a respectful view on the traditional roles and without being weird or outdated, he treats me like a lady, rescues me and protects my dignity. To be honest, when we started dating, I felt that I needed to level up for him. His strong masculine energy triggered a lot of my hidden femininity and till today this is a source of curiosity and passion between us.
On our first date, next to paying the check, he brought me a pair of beautiful earrings (because he knew that a few days earlier, I’d lost one of my earrings). I was overjoyed by this gesture. It was a very gentleman-like and a very brave and successful move!
During our dating phase, I really felt courted and for something like 2-3 months, he was paying almost all the bills. I would cover only the few dates which I have taken the initiative to organize.
I remember that we were in a fine dining restaurant, and I said that I wanted to pay. He was very pleasantly surprised.
After we moved into a relationship, we started splitting all the expenses 50/50. I didn’t like it and it is still not my preferred way, but despite my efforts, I couldn’t win this battle. What we’ve agreed on though is that even though we are covering our family expenses 50/50, every month he will take me out for a fancy dinner or will buy me a gift. He does understand that for me, it is really important that he pays more than I do (even if I make more money, this would be the case), but his Dutch origin makes it hard for him to deviate from the general 50/50.
Discover what is true and important for you when it comes to the dating phase.
- Feel into how you want to participate in the couple/family expenses.
- Communicate this clearly.
- Each couple is different, and you can find the financial balance and comfort in your own unique and creative way.
- The financial topic is an important one. It could be intimidating to start talking about money. To save yourself confusion, discomfort and disappointment, don’t wait too long to bring it on.
- Make sure that you are taking care of your feminine energy, to feel well as a woman, but also, to maintain a healthy polarity in your relationship
You want to hear easier the wisdom of your heart?
Get my visualization 'Feel free again' and after you follow it, ask yourself what is truly important to you when it comes to paying the bills.