Monday, April 12, 2010

Question of the Day: What do you think of couples who, when dining out, split the tab versus alternating who will pay each time?

I had dinner with a group of friends several weeks ago and something happened that has been on my mind for awhile now. A few of them were coupled up and were there with their partners. When the bill came, we divided it up and there was one couple that split their portion of the tab between the two of them. This occurred even though all of the other couples had one person picking up their portion for the both of them. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for equality between the sexes and what-not, but I have to admit, I not only found this situation unconventional, but perplexing as well.

Actually, if you think about it, even amongst friends it's not very common.
For instance, when you have a platonic friend that you go out with all the time you most likely take turns because you know you will be going out again and it will be a wash. Usually, it's really only when you have that random person that you see infrequently, you split the bill. In my personal opinion, its as if this romantic relationship is being set up to fail because it creates a separateness, as in, it's me versus you. You are either a unit, or working to become one, or you are not. Money is another energy source that can either work in your favor as a couple, or work against you. I've seen it that when too much focus is put upon money in a relationship, it causes unnecessary strife and conflict.

When it comes to dating and dining out, the most successful unions I've encountered are when the higher earner typically pays the tab, with the other person treating occasionally. Look, at the end of the day, it shouldn't be a scorecard and where we keep tabs on who paid what and what was last given to the other. If relationships do best when they naturally ebb and flow, wouldn't you agree that splitting a restaurant tab is subconsciously sending a hypocritical message?

1 comment:

  1. Great Seinfeld comment: "Men have money issues, women have food issues. So where do we go for a date? To a restaurant, where we use MONEY to pay for FOOD so we can both be miserable." But seriously, focusing on financial fairness can really interfere with the happy vibe that the meal hopefully created. I think it's far better to offer to alternate than split it right down the middle (which also brings up the issue of getting change for the other person). When i've offered to pay for the woman and she insists on contributing her share, I'll say "You can get the next one" or "Tell you what, i'll flip you for it. heads or tails?". That usually works very well.