Is Going Dutch a Deal Breaker?
  • Naza Shelley

Is Going Dutch a Deal Breaker?

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

Times they are a changing! But are some social expectations, like the guy paying for the first date, so ingrained in our dating psyches that failure to do is a non-starter?

Perusing through potential matches on CarpeDM, one profile stood out; a handsome guy who was on his way to "Like-ville" until I saw that he wrote "Dutch on First Date." This simple statement gave me pause. After asking myself why his upfront expectation-setting caused me to hesitate in liking him, I concluded that despite how progressive I might be, I still want the guy to "invest" in getting to know me by paying for the first date.

Let me caveat this personal preference with a couple of things: 1. I am always prepared to pay for myself; and 2. I do not expect a guy to pay for every date if we start to see each other regularly. I'll also add here that I know guys are concerned about women who accept dates just to get a free meal. While strange, I know it happens. I also know that for a guy who is dating regularly (say 2-3 dates a week), consistently paying for dinner and a movie starts to quickly add up. So, there is some validity to the concept of going Dutch. I just don't like it!

#TBT I am not the only woman who is instantly turned off by a guy asking to split the bill. I did a quick texting poll (very scientific) of about 12 of my female friends and 10 of them said going Dutch on a first date would be a deal breaker! Ouch. I've also done post-date wrap-ups with friends who, when asked why they aren't going on a second date, admitted that the fact that the guy didn't pay for the first date was the deciding factor.

I'm not going to get into a battle of the sexes where a man might say: "We're dating each other so going Dutch is fair" or "Women want equality until the check comes." Or where women might say: "If he doesn't pay, then he's just cheap or broke." Like I said, I think there are valid reasons on both sides of this debate. But there also has to be a happy medium.

So, what's the solution? It seems pretty simple to me - instead of disclaiming that first dates must go Dutch, opt for free or free-adjacent dates. Most women love it when a guy sets the plan, so you'll likely be in control and score points for taking initiative. I can think of a ton of free to nearly free things to do that are perfectly appropriate for a first date. For example, a walk in the park, a tour of the monuments, a visit to the local animal shelter, volunteering to help the less fortunate, or pursuing one of D.C.'s many free museums. Indeed, grabbing a simple cup of coffee, a hike or yoga-date, or hearing some live music at a local bar are all perfect first date ideas that would set a guy back next to nothing.

Opting for a free or inexpensive first date is also a great way to avoid making such a controversial statement on your dating profile, which could (and probably would) turn away otherwise great matches! Ultimately, despite whether your desire to go Dutch is rooted in a perfectly valid reason, first impressions matter so it's just not worth the risk when there is such an obvious win-win alternative!

What do you think? Leave a comment letting us know if going Dutch is a deal breaker or if you don't see a problem with splitting the check! Also, share your favorite free or inexpensive date ideas!

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