Q: I have been dating a man 10 years my senior for the past two months. Both he and I feel its time to introduce him to my parents. I thought that it would be nice to do this over dinner at a restaurant of my parents choosing. My mother said that she didn’t care where it was because he and I would be paying. My question is who should pay for the meal? My boyfriend is well established in his career and I am a recent college graduate still looking for work. Should we pay as I suggested that we meet this way or should my parents pay as I am their daughter and only child. My father said not to worry about it and to ignore what my mother had said. I felt that if they paid then we would reciprocate the next time, and vice versa. But, who is supposed to pay this first time out, and if my date and I are to pay how should I let him know this with out causing a ruckus (this was my idea that I brought up to my mother instead of having him just come over the house).
A: Whoever does the inviting pays for the meal, both this time and in the future. You don’t have to alternate who pays, and although your family might come to an agreement later on that you split meals, for example, the rule for now is that the couple who invited the other for dinner is the one that pays. You can still offer to take them to a restaurant they choose, but that doesn’t mean they are hosting the meal.