The Relationship Novice: When To Go Dutch

Pesky money. It ALWAYS seems to be an issue in life. If it weren’t, I can guarantee you I would quit my day job. I’d pack up my bags, hop on my free flight to Paris, (because in this fantasy world, money doesn’t exist) and spend my days roaming the streets for cheese and wine. Since this clearly is not the case, I sit all day in a 5 x 5 cubicle staring at gross aluminum lights until 5 p.m. rolls around. (This sounds pretty depressing when I type it out. Truth be told … it is.)

Some women seem to think that “dating” a guy means they’ve got a free meal ticket. For every breakfast/lunch/dinner date, these girls think the guy should always pay … and keep paying. I hate to burst your bubble, but every gal should pull her own weight after a while. After all, your date doesn’t work to make sure you get fed (not unless he’s a farmer and you’re a pig, in which case he does want to fatten you up).

So, when should you stop spending your food allowance on clothes and start pitching in? Here are a few rules to live by for matters of the heart AND stomach:

1. You should ALWAYS offer to pay your share, even on the first date. Even if the reach for your wallet isn’t sincere, make the effort. This guy is your date, not Daddy Warbucks.

2. If you’ve been out on four or five dates and your new boy-toy has paid every time, offer to make him dinner. If you don’t know how to cook, offer to order in or take HIM someplace fun. He’ll appreciate the reciprocation, and won’t be left wondering if you’re just dating him for the free calamari.

3. Once you and your man have decided to be in a committed relationship, you should start assuming you’re going to split the bill. If he makes tons more money than you, work a plan out where he pays 70 percent and you pay 30 percent, or vice versa if you’re the cash cow in the relationship.

While these are good rules of etiquette to follow in a relationship, it doesn’t mean chivalry should die. Every so often you and your boyfriend should take each other out to dinner and pick up the tab, even after you’ve decided to “go Dutch.” If that doesn’t happen, well, that’s a whole new column.