Dr. Date: I go on dates for the free food — how do I say no to splitting the bill?

They’re normally bad dates, but the one guy I DO like wants me to pay

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Dr. Date

Dear Dr. Date, 

Look, a girl’s gotta eat. So when I’m feeling up to it, I do what any single girl does — swipe right on every guy on Tinder in hopes of a dinner date. So far, this method has been working out well. I get a free meal, some guy gets company, and we both part happily (and satiated), never to meet again.

This month my budget has been rough, so I’ve been swiping right more than usual. I actually matched with someone who’s totally my type and was thrilled when he suggested we go out to dinner. Maybe this time, my night could end with a little more action, right? 

We went out to this great pho place and had a wonderful time. For once, I was actually enjoying the night. But when the check came and the waiter asked if we were together, he said, “Split check, please.” I was horrified! Here I thought we vibed together, and he’s making me pay for my own meal! Worst of all, I didn’t have enough and had to run to the bathroom to transfer money from my savings account. 

He just asked me out again, but I don’t know how to tell him he’ll have to pay. Should I go back to the days of loveless lunch, or try my luck (and my bank account) with a new man?

Sincerely,

Famished and Flat Broke

Dear Famished and Flat Broke,

Look, I don’t mean to be too harsh, but you are everyone’s Tinder nightmare. Thinking someone likes you then finding out they were taking advantage of you is soul-crushing in the dating world. There are plenty of viable options for free food without borderline scamming people. 

Anyways, unless you’re prepared to explain your history on dating apps, I wouldn’t go out on a date that costs money with this guy. You can always have him over to Netflix and chill, but hoping that he’ll take care of the bill and having no backup plan when he doesn’t is a relationship killer. Check out some free date ideas so you can stop using dating apps to find both food and love — it’s just not fair to the people involved.

Sincerely,

Dr. Date