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It’s complicated: Who pays for what on dates

credit card restaurant receipt
credit card restaurant receipt
Photo by Brad Montgomery via Flickr Creative Commons

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The Wall Street Journal recently re-posed the often awkward question, ‘Who Pays on a Date?

As society’s rules for romantic relationships are ever-changing and gender-based traditions continue to shift, what is the modern romantic symbolism of picking up the bill? According to a 2015 study of heterosexual couples, opinions are pretty split.

Is taking care of the check a gesture of affection or demonstration of control? What are the rules in non-heterosexual relationships? And how do you broach the sometimes uncomfortable topic of paying while on a date, be it a first encounter, or a long term relationship?


Kerry Cronin, adjunct instructor of philosophy and theology at Boston College who also lectures college students around the country about dating; you can watch some of her dating advice on her YouTube channel​