Dating Advice Opinions

Expert Panel – Should Women Offer to Pay on the First Date

Each month, asks a curated panel of dating experts for their advice on a single hot topic as requested by our members.

THIS MONTH: “Should a woman offer to split the bill on the first date?”

Should Women Pay on the First Date | Sparkology | Monthly Experts

All of our experts agree that the man should pay for the bill on the first date.  However, offering to pay and actually paying are not synonymous. On the one hand, by offering you may gain additional insight into the man’s demeanor (will he accept? will he insist to pay himself? etc.).  But don’t be too pushy with your credit card… because you may also be sending a signal that you are not enjoying the date. So: if you’re up for a fun little social experiment, make the offer.  Otherwise, it’s safe just to expect the man to pay.  In either case, remember to offer a simple “Thank You” with a smile to let him know you appreciate his gesture.

Here’s what our experts say:

Maria Avgitidis – No.

Men know the rules. If you cannot afford to date, you shouldn’t be dating. Since I’m sure I’ll get plenty of flack for this, let me just say I have an economics background, so, while some may say I’m anti- feminist, I say shut up– I’m more feminist then you’ll ever know.

How much does a man actually pay to get himself prepped for the courting of a new date? $4.99 on his Speedstick? Maybe he’ll splash a bit of cologne that his ex-girlfriend bought him. Women on the other hand have makeup, tights, matching undies/bras, creams, monthly wax appointments to hide the fact that we have uni-brows, sideburns, and chin hairs. Basically, all this bloody stuff just to look presentable, and not like a prepubescent boy. If you’d like the honor and subsequent pride to have a lady by your side, then men should pay for that privilege. On a pure cost-benefit analysis, the first date expense won’t even come close to what a lady spends to look like one.

Owner of Agape Match, a matchmaking firm based in NYC, which caters to New Yorkers and Greek- American singles.

Donna Barnes – Yes.

If you can comfortably afford to split the check then I think it is nice to offer.  It shows you want to be a partner.  Most men won’t accept but if he does it can give you some insight into his philosophy.

Life & Dating Coach

April Beyer – No.

It sends the “I want to be your buddy” signal to a man. You aren’t earning any points with men (especially mature, successful, relationship ready men) when you offer to pay. It’s emasculating and neutralizes the date. Men would much prefer to see a smile on your face and hear a gracious “thank you.” That’s worth far more than your money.

Matchmaker and Dating & Relationship Coach for Women.

Laurie Davis – Yes.

Chivalry is not dead, but neither is politeness. Men should pick up the check on the first date, but women shouldn’t make assumptions, so reaching for your purse is best if he doesn’t immediately handle it himself.

Online Dating Coach and founder of

Rachel Greenwald – Yes.

Women should offer to split the bill, but the man shouldn’t accept her offer. 84% of men in my research for “Have Him at Hello” said they intend to pay the 1st date bill, but they don’t want the woman to EXPECT him to pay. Therefore, men prefer the “fake-purse-grab” (“May I offer to split the check with you?”) rather than the blind eye (pretending not to see the bill)

NY Times Bestselling Author, “Have Him at Hello: Confessions From 1,000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall In Love… or Never Call Back”

Erika Ettin – No.

While I am a huge advocate of women e-mailing men on the online dating sites, I stick with the old-fashioned tenet that the man should pay on the first date.  That said, when the bill comes, you have a few choices: 1) The “reach,” 2) The offer (“May I contribute?”), or 3) The assumption (“Thank you so much!”)  Given that the date should only consist of a drink or coffee (no dinner on a first online date), I’d opt for #3.  He may think it’s presumptuous, but it works like a charm, and you show your gratitude immediately.  #2 is a close second.  Just hope he doesn’t take you up on it!

Online dating coach and founder of

Evan Marc Katz – Yes.

You (and I) might hope that he picks up the check in full, but it’s polite to let him know that you don’t take him for granted.

Dating coach for smart successful women.

Suzanne K. Oshima – No.

Ladies, chivalry isn’t dead, it’s that simple. As a Matchmaker, I am fortunate enough to hear what many men think and they tell me they do not expect a woman to pay on first date. Some men have even told me that they think if a woman offers to pay that it means she’s not interested in them. All he expects from you is gratitude and the words “thank you”.

Matchmaker & Dating Coach Dream Bachelor & Bachelorette.

Julie Spira – No.

There still is some old-fashioned tradition to dating and if the man asks the woman out, he should be prepared to pay for the bill on the first date. Offering to split the bill may be a kind gesture, but not on a first date, as it sends the message that you’re a “Dutch-Treat” kind of woman.

Online dating and relationship expert and bestselling author of “The Perils of Cyber-Dating,”

David Wygant – Yes.

Absolutely, but don’t pay. Here’s the deal. Offer to split the bill, and if he’s a real man, he’ll pay the whole bill. If he accepts and allows you to split the bill with him, never call him back again, because he’s just a man-boy. So it’s a great way to see if you’re dating a real man or a man-boy. So always offer. It’s a great way to eliminate the pretenders.

Dating Coach & Founder of

Do you have a hot dating or sex related question for our panel?  Leave a comment below or send to


As the company’s visionary, Alex lives, breathes, and (much to the demise of this personal life) sleeps Sparkology. When not meeting with the press, revamping the website, or personally reaching out to our members, he spends his time fending off CPAs, attorneys, and bankers. With two degrees from UPenn, investment banking at UBS and Evercore Partners, and business development for OpenPeak under his belt, it’s hard to keep him out of the weeds of operations. He loves entertaining guests both out on the town and on his sailing yacht, where speed is measured in champagne bottles per hour. A romantic at heart, Alex appreciates a bottle of wine, a tango, and two-person hammock.

  • Anonymous

    My guy friends & I all agree that we really appreciate it when the girl either verbally offers or makes some sort of physical gesture to show that she’s willing to split the tab. We refer to the act where the girl reaches for her purse, but doesn’t actually intend to pay as the “pump fake.” Despite, our preference for the pump fake, none of us would ever allow the girl to pay a dime. It’s merely the symbolic gesture that matters.

    The very act of offering to pay is a sign that the girl is somewhat down to earth and not just out with us for the free meal/drinks. In lieu of the pump fake, some appearance of appreciation would go over just as well. However, it has been my experience that the girl who doesn’t make the gesture to split the bill, is the same girl that fails to show any appreciation when you pick up the tab.

  • Shag Pixie

    I think this is annoying and sexist. Women these days are often making as much or more than the men they are dating. I think the men pay notion is outdated. Especially if the women is having lots of first dates only. That’s a lot of free loading. And hopefully both sides are getting a benefit out of the date or they wouldn’t be on it.

    This brings me to another point. Women who give every indication of wanting another date and then fail to reply in any way to future invitations or communications. Cowardly and rude.

    Come on ladies, get a little class and consideration.

    • Guest

      Yeah but pay it forward. You can’t fight the fact that the woman will bear the child/children down the road for 9 months and then go through labor. I think you can pay for the first month’s worth of dates before splitting. We’ll have pregnancy scars to last us a lifetime.

  • Jessica

    I was curious about this. I was out on a first date last night; I offered to split and he accepted. I was taken aback and did not like it. Then I felt bad because I did not like it, when I am the one who offered. He wants to go out again, and that and a few other things make me wonder if I should. I don’t mind free/super cheap things at all. When I suggested going cheap on our second date, he suggested his place for a movie, which to me is code for sex which reinforces my gut feeling of “not that into me.” It is one of the only times where the guy didn’t want to pay for me, even guy friends tend to pay for me if we go out. (Money is very tight for me and not for them.)