“Really, that’s just not fair. I always pay my share the first time I meet a man.”
This is what ‘Janine’ had said after I suggested waiting for the man to pay for dates, and then paying her part only if he indicated he wanted her to.
And not dating him again if indeed, that’s what he wanted.
It’s a tricky topic, and one women have asked me about often in my role as a science-based relationship adviser. Some, like Janine, think it’s unfair to expect the guy to pay; others are confused, wanting to be treated, but thinking that might be wrong; and still others do the fake-pay, pulling out their wallets and feeling shortchanged when he takes her up on what she thought was a symbolic offer.
So what’s the deal?
Blame It On Great-Great-Great-Great Grandma
In a survey conducted on best and worst dates, women’s top reason for not wanting to see a man again was his failure to pay the bill, “in full, without audible complaint. Period.”
Why? Well, just as we inherited Daddy’s height, or Nana’s curls, we’re heirs to our ancestors’ thoughts. Studies in more than 37 cultures and societies globally prove it. Men have a shared psychology with other men, all over the world. And women have a genuine sisterhood, psychologically. It all comes from what got people’s own genes cast forward. Men of the past didn’t have to worry about who was going to provide for them; they could get their own wildebeest, thankyouverymuch.
But women couldn’t always get enough food when they were pregnant, nursing, and baby-schlepping. Those who happened to value a man who could and would provide, got what they needed to make sure they and their genes (aka kids) survived. Were there women who were devil-may-care when it came to whether a guy brought home the bison? Probably. But those women are part of human history~not human ancestry. Today’s women want what their successful female forbears sought: a good provider and protector. Factually, it’s still relevant to women. And our genes’ survival. Globally, right now, women who have a fully invested husband are healthier, wealthier, longer-lived, and happier than women who don’t. And their kids survive better, too.
Pass On Going Dutch
Upshot? Dating is the modern test to show whether a man will provide; it’s the best information we’ve got, up-front, that he is or isn’t into us. Studies show that where a man invests his money, he’s investing his heart; and where he’s not, he’s not. When men fall in love, they fall harder and faster than women do. One way they know they’re falling is whether they have positive feelings about paying for dinner.
By going Dutch, Janine was casting aside some of the very most valuable information you can get: Does he care? She changed her strategy and found that suddenly, she no longer got played for weeks or months of sex and housekeeping with guys who didn’t truly want her.
So bring on the stayers and eliminate players. Let the guy pay. If he doesn’t, you can easily move on. If he does~that’s a move towards Yes, for love and possibly for life.
Duana C. Welch, Ph.D.
LoveScience: Research-based relationship advice for everyone