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Sunday, June 29, 2014

“You Got This Right?” — Why Do Men Always Have to Pay When on a Date?

By Tamara Hartley

Black Couple

Nationwide — Let’s face it; the world of dating has changed! Thanks to virtual chatrooms, online dating, and reality TV matchmakers, a person’s potential dating pool has greatly expanded. More people can equal more dates. While more dates may increase the odds of finding love for some people, it can be draining for others. Particularly, on their wallets and their bank accounts. While the dating game has evolved, the roles and responsibilities of the players hasn’t changed all that much, at least not according to one man who is concerned that finding Mrs. Right is becoming too expensive and dipping heavily into his shallow pockets.

As an advice columnist, I receive tons of questions from people soliciting help and advice regarding critical issues relating to their life, relationships, and careers. I received a question from a brother who identified himself as a single African-American male in his late twenties who is currently on the dating scene and on the hunt for Mrs. Right. But he has some concerns about some of the unspoken and traditional rules of the dating game. His question to me was “Why do men always have to pay?”

At first glance, the answer to this question appears obvious, because he is a man and we, as a society, are accustomed to men taking care of the check. Some call it chivalry, and others call it a responsibility. Regardless, it is an expectation most people are comfortable adhering to. But in a day where we fight for gender equality, and where women seem eager to flaunt their independence and the fact that they are making their own money and paying their own bills, why do men have to bear this burden alone?

I was genuinely intrigued by his question, and started taking a poll of my own among my family, friends, and colleagues. On one hand, I discovered that chivalry is not dead. There are many men who were raised to respect, protect, and take care of the women in his lives. It is natural for them to open doors, pull out chairs, and take care of the check. On the other hand, there are men who feel that women should share the expense and pay for dates from time to time. This group also feels that there are women who take advantage of chivalry and only accept dates to get free meals, tickets, and entertainment; even if they know the relationship is never going to materialize into anything lasting or substantial. I also asked my married friends about their dating practices and who typically paid for date night. Even amongst married couples, it seems as if the men still traditionally pick up the tab.

I personally think there should be parameters around dating and who should pay for what. But, those parameters are unique to every relationship and situation. Men should have to pay for every date simply because they are men and the traditional providers. I think the expense can and should be shared. Here are a few things I believe couple’s (single and married) should consider:

#1 – Is it a first date or special occasion and how long has the couple been together or dating?
#2 – Who is extending the date invitation, the man or the woman?
#3 – The couple must consider each person’s economic situation. Not everyone may be in a position to ball out or pay for every date every single time. This may s different for married couples who may share one pot gold, but still something to consider.
#4 – Dating expectations of both persons should be clear so that no one feels taken advantage of or disappointed.

If these things are not taken into consideration, the date or date night can quickly turn sour.

I’ll admit, it feels good to be treated and made to feel special. Going out on a date and having someone wine and dine you can make you feel pretty special, even a confident, strong and independent woman. On the other hand, I also do not mind treating my husband from time to time and making him feel special as well, especially if the outing or activity is my idea. I do not think going “Dutch” sends the same message. If we both pay for ourselves, no one really feels special or treated.

There are many things in our society that have changed when it comes to gender equality, gender roles, expectations and responsibilities. It is It is also clear that the dating game has changed, but have the underlined rules of the game changed? Are men still required to pick up the check every single time? What do you think?

Tamara Hartley is speaker, author, advice columnist and personal success coach. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to help others make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Read her advice archives at www.YourAdviceGuru.com. Email questions toadvice@YourAdviceGuru.com or on Twitter @DrTamaraHartley using the hashtag #AskTamara. As a personal success coach, Tamara works with individuals to help them find balance, make moves, and live their dreams. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourPersonalSuccessCoach.com.