No matter what age you are, it can be confusing to figure out who pays on a date. Is it the person who did the asking? Should the guy always pay no matter what?
Who Pays on a Coffee Date
A coffee date is code for "first meeting," meaning that it is the very first time you go out with someone. It doesn't matter if you met while online dating, if you got set up by your friends, or if it's just the first time you're actually going out with someone you've known a while.
On these types of dates, you should make the time spent together short (about an hour), meet at a public place, and drive yourself. First dates like these often happen at a coffee shop of some sort (which is how the term coffee date came about), but can also be a small lunch or a drink.
On a coffee date, you each pay your own way. The purpose of the coffee date is to determine if you like someone enough to go out with them again, so it would stand to reason that you should each take care of your own coffee or lunch. Then, if you want to go out again, you can go on a "real" date. But if you didn't care for the person enough to go out with them again, they are not out any money and you just covered your own tab.
You're under no obligation to see them again because they paid for you (not that you would be anyways, but some feel guilty about this), so the coffee date is the perfect way to eliminate first date awkwardness when it comes to the check.
Who Pays On a First Date
Deciding who pays on the first "real" date can be a bit more challenging. Some argue that men and women are equal, and therefore each should pay their own way. Others say that the men should pay, based on the notion of chivalry. Still others claim that independent women today will become furious if a man offers to pay for her. (They won't, incidentally. I have a feeling that rumor was started by a guy who didn't like the fact that a woman he went out with made more than him.)
Who should pay on a first date? The man. Yes, I said it. Does that seem old-fashioned to you? Well, just because we have texting and dating websites and all kinds of technology in the world of romance doesn't mean that the core goal of dating has changed. People go out with each other because they are (generally speaking) looking for a relationship. They want someone to love and appreciate them, no matter how old they are or how much money they have.
Women are looking for men who will be attentive and caring. They want someone to "care" for them, which men take to mean as "money" but women define as paying attention and easing her worries. This can include all kinds of things, like listening, holding her hand, and calling her up during the day to see how she's doing.
On a first date, the way the man gives the impression that he's a caring individual is by paying the tab.
Who Pays After the First Date
As you get to know each other, you'll find out where you both stand financially. This may influence who pays going forward, but it should also be noted even if one person makes more money, that doesn't mean that he or she should necessarily pay all the time.
If you're on equal footing, whoever does the asking for the date should pay for the date. But there are also times when one person picks up a drink while the other buys dessert, or one person gets the tickets to a play or movie while the other picks up dinner.
The subject of money is one thing people use to judge another person when it comes to dating, and how you use it does say a lot about your personality. Both people should be comfortable with the payment situation while dating, and if you aren't you need to speak up. If it bothers you that the guy refuses all your offers to pay, let him know you'd appreciate it if you could treat him once in a while. If you're the one paying all the time and have an issue with it, you need to either bring it up or stop asking the person out.