05/14/2013 02:14 pm ET Updated Jul 14, 2013

Be Fearless: Steering Clear of Gold Diggers

As a psychotherapist specializing in part in sex, dating, and relationships, I see a lot of single people who are searching for love or at least a good guy or gal to get to know. I help them write their online profiles, figure out who would be a good match, overcome date anxiety, and of course, face their fear of being rejected and never finding Mr. or Ms. Right.

In helping them navigate the wild world of dating, I hear their complaints, and there are many. Overwhelmingly, the biggest one from the guys is about who should pay on a date and also how to deal with people they take out who don't thank them or are seemingly ungrateful. These fellows have good careers and earn decent salaries, and they're fed up. They actually fear that they will go broke and they'll be liked not for who they are, but for where they might take their date or how much they spend.

Here's my advice for being a fearless dater:

My take: These women are simply rude. It doesn't matter if it's a $2 coffee or a $100 dinner -- a thank you is warranted. Those who don't thank either were not raised well and not taught basic manners or they have a grand sense of entitlement, expecting guys to pay while they are too oblivious to recognize his generosity. You might say, "Thank you for allowing me to take you out tonight." This should elicit a thank you. If it doesn't, then my advice: no second dates. It will only get worse.

There's no doubt men will encounter women who are simply after a good meal. Many female clients have told me they go out with a new guy just to get a free dinner. Don't be victim to such gold digging. An expensive restaurant on a first date is too formal and can lead to awkwardness. Pay for the first date and limit it to a drink, appetizers, or coffee. The focus should be on getting to know the other person, not judging each other by how much is spent.

Subsequent get togethers aren't that clear cut. A man paying for dates is deeply rooted in tradition and is widely-accepted social etiquette. On the other hand, dating presents an opportunity for women to assert their desire for equality and to move away from 1950s thinking. It's a bit of a conundrum. Some will think, "If women want equal pay for equal work, they should contribute the same across the board." If a man asks a woman to chip in on a date, she might think he's cheap or uninterested. If a woman offers to pay, he might think she is only interested in friendship. And if the man accepts the woman's offer, he might feel emasculated and she might think he's cheap.

If you really like her, ask her out again. If money is an issue, then simply go for a drink or coffee or something affordable. Consider options that won't break the bank: cooking at home, an outdoor activity, watching a movie. Explain that you're open to other activities to get to know her so long as she can contribute. If she snubs you, then you know she isn't the girl for you. If she is open to alternative activities or chipping in, then you've got yourself an understanding one who might be worth pursuing.

For more advice on being a fearless dater, check out my book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days.

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