Split the Check?

Q: I recently met a woman I like a lot. We've talked for hours on the phone but have only been out to dinner a couple times. The problem is, I was recently laid off and am on a bit of a budget. She knows this. If things progress with her, how long do I wait for her to offer to pay for a dinner or reciprocate somehow? I've dated other women who are very 50/50 about things, which I find refreshing. -- Jeff, 40

Dr. Susan: Some people are a little oblivious and not necessarily going to go out of their way to split costs. But I'd like to think this woman would soon show that her interest is genuine by offering to cook for you or pay for the next date. Another option would be to directly say that since you're still job hunting, how about a picnic and she bring some of the goodies. See her reaction. If you're an imaginative and creative guy, you know that dates do not have to be expensive. Next time you go out, if you're still paying, bring along a two-for-one coupon, or choose something truly downscale. You need to find out if she's a princessy type used to being taken care of in all ways -- or whether she can adapt to changing circumstances. Nothing like being taken to the local burger dive to test a woman's love. It's also up to you not to show off by spending a lot when you're uncomfortable doing so. That sort of dishonesty is hardly a good way to initiate an emotionally intimate and lasting relationship.

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