The Most Expensive Lesson I Ever Learned On A Date

She split the check before crushing my soul.

man and woman on dinner date guys_who_shoot / Shutterstock

We were the last ones sitting in the restaurant.

We chatted about life and philosophy, love and romance, and of all things, dating.

She couldn’t find time to date being a resident doctor.

She was busy every day of the week and her working schedule was erratic.

Her work and life made it hard for her to date but she was convinced it was because there weren’t enough good men out there.


"Where are all the good men?" she finally asked me.

"They’re around," I promised, "You might just need to catch your breath and slow down so you can find them. They’re everywhere — maybe even sitting in front of you."

RELATED: Woman Calls Out Date Who Boasted About His High Salary After Insisting They Split The Bill

Our first date

We had both walked into the restaurant together earlier in the evening.

We met online a few days back and sent several messages back and forth.

She told me about her work as a doctor. I told her about my writing dream that I was working on.

"What do you write about?" she asked.


"Ugh…you don’t want to know," I laughed.

"You know…just the usual stuff…love and heartbreak and love after heartbreak."

"Interesting. Different. When can we meet up for dinner?" she promptly asked.

Time flies on a good date

We found each other outside by the fountain in front of the restaurant.

Cool weather, a water fountain, and romantic lighting at the restaurant — this was going to be a great date and it started off that way.

We started chatting outside as we were waiting for our table. After we were seated inside, our conversation flowed all throughout the night as we ordered dinner and a glass of wine each.

We had both been divorced and were both venturing out to date again.


Since I had written a lot about heartbreak and divorce, she was genuinely curious about my discoveries and my insights.

She asked and I answered.

I then asked about her difficult marriage, controlling ex, and unsupportive in-laws.

Talking about our exes and our past relationship may not have been the best thing to talk about on a first date but somehow we ended up there.

We both had a lot to say about these things and two hours passed without either of us even noticing.

Splitting the dinner check

Eventually, the waiter came around to bring us our checks.

The restaurant staff had also been clearing tables and turning off lights.

The message from the restaurant was loud and clear: We could continue talking and getting to know each other but not there anymore. We needed to get going!


I promptly put my credit card on top of the check and let the waiter know we were ready to pay. Without hesitating, my date also pulled out her credit card and put it on top of mine.

"It’s ok, I got it," I offered.

"No, I insist," she said as she gave the check and both of our credit cards to the waiter to split the dinner bill.

As the waiter went to run our credit cards, I thought I would pop the big question.

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Another date in our future?

Our conversation and evening had gone so well. We were both talking about the intellectual and the philosophical. We both had broken down our stories of love and heartbreak. We had spoken about marriage and divorce.


At some point, she said that she really appreciated the conversation we were having. So many dates had gone badly because her dates spoke about the mundane and the common, not about relationships, psychology, and philosophy.

I hemmed and hawed before I popped the question, "So, we are going to go out again, right?"

Her laughter suddenly stopped. Her smile vanished from her face. She started sobering up from the glass of wine she had during dinner.

"Oh, Vishnu, I’m having such a great time," she said, "and learning a lot from you."

"I would love to read your blog and become a reader but I thought you knew."

"Knew what?" I asked bewildered.

I sure as heck wasn’t here to pick up readers for my blog!?


"Knew that I split the bill with you," she said.

"I know, but what does that have to with anything?" I asked naively. "You didn’t have to pay either. I told you I’d get the dinner — you were great company.”

"Well," she replied, "I guess you don’t know, but for me when I split the bill, I know this isn’t going to work out. Romantically, I mean. I would still love to keep in touch and be your reader."

"Wait, what?!?" I blurted out as my head felt like it was exploding.

"You only pay when the date isn’t going anywhere?"

"Yeah," she replied matter of factly. "I only let a guy pay if I like him. If it’s not going anywhere, I don’t feel like the guy should pay for both of us. Those are my values and it’s what seems fair to me."


I was speechless.

After a few moments of silence, I asked if she was the only one who did this.

"I mean…is this a thing? Do your friends do this too?"

"I do it" she replied. "I also know a few girlfriends of mine who do this. We’ve talked about it amongst ourselves. We don’t feel like it’s right to make the guy pay when we don't like him."


"Oh," I said deflated and wanting to slide away underneath the table.

"But I do like you," she jumped in, "just not like that…you know…"

Oh, I know all right.

RELATED: A Woman Called Out Her Date For Leaving Dinner Before The $130 Bill Came But He Claims His Meal Was Only $13

An expensive lesson learned

After we said our goodbyes, I returned home having gained a reader for my blog but not a second date.

I researched dating forums and googled Youtube videos to see if there was anyone talking about this dating phenomenon I had just experienced.

I had never made up my mind on what was the best practice when it came to paying for dinner dates.

The only two thoughts that used to run through my mind were if I was to pay or if we were to split it if she offered to pay.


This new thought and realization blew my mind.

When some women offer to pay for the date, they are doing the right thing in their mind and sharing the cost of the meal with you. When they split the bill, they are not signing up for a second date.

Not only did my date split the bill with me but she left me with an invaluable dating lesson that would help me gauge how future dates were going.

Anytime someone insisted on splitting the bill, I knew this was going to be the last time that I would be seeing that person again. If she let me pay, on the other hand, there just might be a future between both of us.

RELATED: 4 Reasons Why Smart Women Offer To Pick Up The Check During A Date


Vishnu Subramanian writes a popular relationship blog helping people let go of past relationships and start new ones.