It's a question my friends and I discuss at length and everyone seems to want an answer to: Who pays for a date? Does it matter if it is the first or 2nd, 3rd, etc? To me, the answer is simple. Regardless of which date it is, whoever does the asking should pay. Plain and simple. Of course this comes with some guidelines.
Don't plan outside your budget.
This is really important. If your SO makes twice your salary, they will not expect an expensive restaurant or a private jet. Don't plan a date according to their budget. Plan it on yours. If you keep planning on their budget and constantly expecting them to pay, somehow in the end you will end up looking like a princess who just expects things to be handed to her.
If the check comes and he makes a move to get it, take it and tell him this is on you. Some men like to go the 'traditional' route and offer to pay. If it happens to be your first date, tell him you have this one and he can get the next one. BAM! Second date! If he asks again (this has happened to me), tell him you asked him out so you will get this one. A guy my friend dated actually took this as a sort of challenge. He planned a slightly more pricey date next time they went out. However, that game gets tiring after a while so let him know he doesn't have to do this. My younger sister picks up the tab at times strictly because "You should see the look on a dude's face when you say 'Don't worry. I got this one'."
Like I said before, your SO is not going to expect private jets and $$$ restaurants. Dinner and a movie at home goes a long way, for your budget and your bond.
It's all a matter of opinion. Some of my guy friends insisted that they pay and to 'leave the women's lib crap at home' but my girls believe that they can pay too. What do you think?