Guys, it may not be fair, but if you want to get the girl, you're going to have to pick up the check.
That's the conclusion of a panel of three experts: Los Angeles matchmaker April Beyer; Los Angeles author and dating coach Evan Marc Katz; and Detroit relationship therapist Terri Orbuch, better known as "The Love Doctor."
"In the courtship phase -- before you're a couple -- a guy should always pick up the check," said Katz.
What if she offers to pay?
"Wave her away," he said.
What if she's rich and he's poor? Take her someplace romantic, but inexpensive, he advises.
Really? In this day of gender equality, where new research indicates that young, single women might be earning more than men, shouldn't things be more equal?
Probably, but it's not, he says. That may be particularly frustrating to guys because they get rejected for second dates about half the time, which means they spend a lot of money on strangers, Katz said. But if you want a second date, you'd better not hesitate when pulling out your wallet.
"It's interesting how women could have an otherwise perfect date and reject a guy because he allows you to split the check," Katz laments. "Refusal to pay for the first few dates is an instant deal-breaker for a woman."
Matchmaker April Beyer agrees. In fact, she counsels her female clients to dump a guy who splits the check on a first or second date.
"It means so much more than being cheap," she says. "It means the man is insecure; he doesn't fully adore women; he's probably not a provider. Men who are real and loving and want a relationship, have no qualms about paying."
At least at first.
After a relationship gets out of its infancy, a couple would be wise to have frank conversations about what they would like and need when it comes to money, said Terri Orbuch, a Detroit relationship therapist and author of a book called "Five Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great."
Money remains one of the top relationship killers, but not necessarily because of who pays. It's more about the deeper meaning of money that may come from our backgrounds or life experience. By and large, men see money as a reflection of success and ego, she said. Women see it as security. So while you're still getting to know one another, women may view a man who pays as a protector. That makes you the strong, masculine, knight-in-shining-armor type that gets the girl.
But what seemed chivalrous in the beginning of a relationship may appear chauvinistic later, especially if a man uses money to control or hamper his partner. One woman recently complained to me that her long-time live-in boyfriend refused to move to a nicer place because he couldn't afford half the rent. She offered to pay more than half because she earned more and wanted the nicer digs. He refused, making her wonder whether she was going to always have to sacrifice her personal comfort to his need to keep the money equal. Then, too, it created some worries about what might happen later if she stopped working to bear and rear children. Would she lose her ability to help make economic decisions?
Once a relationship is established, successful women may want to treat at least part of the time and become partners, romantically and economically. A girl who earns more probably won't mind paying more, as long as knows that she's not being used. (Pretty much the same as you, right?)
"After the first few dates, everybody starts to set into their comfort zone," said Beyer. "For women who have the money, they are more comfortable participating in the finances of the relationship. They start to get itchy palms wanting to reach for the check."
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