Back in the old days, when men were the primary earners and women were less likely to be able to pay their own way, it became accepted that the man would pick up the bill on dates.

However, these days, where a woman is just as able to pay her own way as a man, the practice seems a bit dated, if not obsolete. In some cultures – Scandinavian countries, for example – a man assuming that he needs to take care of business on a first date can come across as insulting and more than a little condescending.

Image credits: YourStickFigureFamilyWasDelicious

In the U.S. though, the expectation of the man covering fancy dinner still survives to some extent, leading to some awkward situations.

This story didn’t have to be that way. It was all agreed upfront that the pair would ‘Go Dutch,’ a very sensible and honest way of dealing with a fancy date. However, the sense and honesty soon evaporated from the situation, as it became clear that one side of the party was in it just for free meals.

Image credits: YourStickFigureFamilyWasDelicious

Image credits: YourStickFigureFamilyWasDelicious

Bored Panda spoke to Michelle G, a popular relationship and dating coach, for her opinions on this awkward and often divisive situation.

“Generally speaking, most women want men to pay on the first date because it shows his interest in her,” Michelle explained. “However, with evolving opinions on gender roles, this dating rule has now become more situationally-dependent. Here are my general guidelines around first dates and who should pay:”

1. If a woman likes a man and they’re casually meeting, but there is no real connection, she will ask to split the bill and pay for their individual consumption (“go dutch”).
2. If a man asks a woman out, he’s expected to pay. Women believe that if a guy is really interested in her, he will pick up the check at the end of the date.
3. If a woman asks a man out, it can go one of two ways: either she offers to pay, or they “go dutch.”

Michelle went on to stress that cultural upbringing is another factor that plays into the “who pays” scenario. It’s always good to do a little research! “Depending on where your date is from and how she was raised, the expectation may be that the man pays, no matter the circumstance of their encounter,” she told us. “This could be an uncomfortable situation with the potential to make or break the date for her.

The best thing a man can do is to ask, “how should we handle this?” once the check comes.”

“As a Matchmaker and Dating coach, I always advise clients to have their first dates in a low-pressure environment. For example, millennials could make the first date an interactive activity (hiking, wine tasting, etc.) to take the pressure off each other, and allow themselves to enjoy each other’s company in a setting other than sitting across the table at a restaurant or a bar.”

“My advice for divorcees, widowers, and people getting back into the dating scene is to ditch big dinner ideas and go to happy hour and tapas as a great first date! This type of setting gives the daters enough time to know each other with the bonus of not having to sit through an entire meal with a stranger. Plus, it makes it easier if they decide to go dutch.”

Great advice for your next big date! You can check out Michelle’s website for even more expert relationship insights, based on psychology and real-life experiences!

Here’s what people had to say about the ‘date from hell’

What does it mean to you? Is Going Dutch a good idea for a first date? Is going to a fancy restaurant like this a good idea for a first date? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!