Is Dating for Dinner Ok?

This topic will stir up a bit of controversy. Dating “for” anything sounds like you are exchanging your charm, your company, your…whatever in exchange for a meal—a monetary item. But, when I say dating for dinner, I do not mean dating because you cannot afford your own groceries. I mean dating for experiences…

I watch the news, peruse travel journals, and have even taken a cooking class here and there. I do what I can to reduce the number of times I fiddle my thumbs at a dinner party while guests discuss a topic I know nothing about. But even though I’ve taken the lead on opening my own eyes, the fact is that a lot of what I know has come from experiences on dates. What am I talking about? Trips I’ve been taken on. Nice dinners. Phenomenal hikes to locations barely open to the public. You get the point—experiences. These could be anything. If you’ve been asked out by a guy who you just don’t feel a ton of chemistry with, but who you know could expose you to a lot of amazing and new experiences, I’m going to say it—GO on the date.

There are 4 ways this could end up.

You Fall Madly In Love
I do believe you could actually fall for this guy that’s about to take you to that rooftop restaurant that is perpetually booked a year in advance. People have layers and you need to see them in different settings to really get to know them. You may be thinking that there just really wasn’t chemistry when you met him, but if there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that feeling chemistry upon first meeting someone doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s a whole human being you are about to explore. There is just as good a chance you find out he’s completely intolerable as there is of you falling in love with him. If his initial instinct about you was correct, then you two could be happily on your way to a relationship full of love AND nice dinners.

You Make An Agreement
Here’s the reality. You want an experience. That’s what you’re getting in exchange for showing up and being good company. If he is a perfectly decent guy, don’t over think this one. You may start feeling guilty about not really getting to know him. He is paying for extravagant activities, and you haven’t asked him much about his family, his childhood, his aspirations…you know, the things people “bond” over. But, ask yourself this: has he tried to learn any of those things about you? If not, you may actually find that he wants the exact same level of intimacy that you do. He may just want the company of a beautiful, charming woman to enhance these amazing experiences. And if YOU can handle that, then the two of you have an unspoken agreement. You provide the company, he provides the trip to Milan.

The Credit Card Comes With A Heart
It’s not fair for you to lead this guy on. If you can tell he wants to get closer to you—say he starts suggesting you meet his family, or asks you how he should resolve a fight with his best friend—and you just don’t crave that closeness, then it is time for you to fold up your silk napkin and ask for the (large) check. It’s only fair, because then he can move on and find a girl who will actually fall for him, and you can move on to a guy you’ll actually fall for or…your next “dating for dinner” relationship.

You Want More Than He Does
I know, he pursued you. He called you multiple times before you finally agreed to that one date. He wined and dined you and somewhere in the haze of the glamorous life…you fell for the guy. And he just doesn’t feel the same way. If you keep up this relationship, it will hurt you. He may still love the idea of the “arrangement”. You’re the cute girl on his arm at galas. He buys you gifts, takes you out, and doesn’t have to know anything about your personal life like, oh, your feelings. Being in this set up will be painful because it will always feel like he is just at arm’s length. You spend time together. You’re maybe even physical together. But your heart is more in it than his, and you can feel that. Once again, time to trade in the ball gown for your trusty footsy pajamas. This one’s a bad match.

Hopefully by laying out these 4 different scenarios, I’ve shown that I actually have a heart and some morals thrown in there too. If you think you’re in a “dating for dinner” relationship, just be honest with yourself and identify which one of the 4 types you are in. If you think it’s one of the better scenarios, stick around for a while. Who knows where this could take you—literally! (Front seats at Fashion Week anyone?)


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