Dating: When it's your turn to pay

It has almost become tradition for the guy to pay for the first date. But what happens after that? If you continue to date, at what point do you start to pitch in? From my experience and talking to other people in relationships, I've developed some guidelines to go by when deciding when it is your turn to pay.

Although it is very kind of your significant other to always pay for dinner, know that there should definitely be times when you offer to pay. When you offer, they might say at first, "No, I've got it," but remind them that they have paid for the last few dinners and it is only fair that you treat them too. This way the cost of dates doesn't always fall on one person and your boyfriend knows that you are aware that they usually pay.

If your boyfriend insists on paying for the meal, I would insist on paying for the tip. This way both of you have contributed and both sides feel good about it (this is something that I do personally every time I go on a dinner date). I always make sure to have $1s and $5s so I have tip money ready when the check arrives and I'm not able to grab it. Always paying for the tip is something that you can make consistent which allows you and your date to know ahead of time who will pay for what.

There are several factors to consider such as financial situations. Sometimes one person makes more money than the other, which can make it understandable if one person cannot contribute as much as the other. If you are low on funds but want to pay for a date, suggest seeing a movie on a discount movie day (many movie theaters offer a discount ticket a certain day of the week). You could say, "I would love to take you to that new movie you've been wanting to see, but I'm a little low on cash right now, so would it be okay if we go on Tuesday when tickets are $5.00?". Don't feel embarrassed if you aren't "making bank," your significant other will really appreciate that you thought of them and want to treat them.

Of course you don't always have to pay, but neither does your boyfriend. Although you might be told not to worry about the bill, just make yourself aware of what things cost and make it known that you appreciate when he pays. Once you start dating someone and get to know them better, you will both feel more comfortable talking about money and having those conversations that might seem awkward to talk about at first.

Although money can be a stressful topic, don't let it get in the way of a good time. Set up your own system of who will pay for what so it isn't something you are stressing about while on a date. Know that there should be times when you offer to pay, and the other times when someone is treating you to an evening out, always say, "thank you", and appreciate the gesture.