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    Dear Rabbi and Shira,
    I’m not sure what to do. I went out on a first date last week, and everything was going nicely. Despite the differences in our
    backgrounds, we have a lot in common. Conversation was flowing well and we genuinely enjoyed our time together. When it came
    time to pay the bill, I was horrified that she didn’t even attempt to offer to pay it. I took her to a fairly expensive venue, and I think
    it’s only appropriate that she would at least offer to split the bill. In fact, the last three girls I dated offered, although I would never
    allow them to. Is she not for me? Am I missing something?
    ~Check Please,

    Dear Check Please,
    Thank you for writing. Dating cultures vary across different
    groups. Behavior which might seem like a terrible faux pas
    to you might be very acceptable in other jewish cultures. For
    example, in other cultures it would be unthinkable that you
    took her out to eat at a relatively expensive restaurant for a
    first date. In those cultures, such a date would be assuming
    a much more committed relationship, and one would never
    expect their date to even offer to pay.
    It’s always a good idea to explore both of your assumptions
    when dating across background/ culture lines. Gaining an
    understanding of each others’ worlds will help you overcome
    misunderstandings. As you see in your situation, there are
    assumptions as to the nature of the date, who will pay for it
    and the venue. Many times, a person filled with righteous
    indignation will say, “Well, everybody knows that you x or you
    don’t y” The other party will respond, “says who? Noone that i

    know.” Add some volatility and then shake well.
    Generally, many conflicts emerge from a misunderstanding of
    intent between the two parties. Due to this misunderstanding
    each party reacts in a style reflecting their reaction to the fight
    or flight response. The brains prepare for a conflict, losing
    some capacity for rational and adaptive thought, and then each
    party seeks to “win the fight.” Unfortunately in most situations
    everybody loses. We tend to “go for the jugular” seeking not to
    resolve the conflict, but to dismiss, belittle and deflate.
    Most people are not wretches nor sociopaths, (although be
    on the lookout, just in case) and when given the opportunity,
    when something seems off or weird (of course there is no
    excuse for abusive, or controlling behavior) there could be a
    simpler misunderstanding occurring.
    In situations like this, it’s good to take a breath and look for
    what is being misunderstood. Follow each line of thinking

    to the end. Is she a rude, overbearing person, assuming you
    are there to pamper and shower her materially? Was that the
    impression she gave off? Or was this a weird discordant note
    over the melody of a wonderful evening?
    If it was congruent with the rest of her personality, then we
    believe that you have your answer. If not, was there someone
    who set you up?
    Maybe you could speak with them and unpack the whole
    situation? If you just met, perhaps you might explore her
    expectations of dating culture to get a more clear representation
    of her expectations.
    Good Luck and let us know if we can be of further assistance.
    Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack.