It seems Sara holds a genuine belief that "When on a date, a gentleman should always offer to pay for anything a lady might consume or purchase, even if he is not partaking himself."
I am baffled as to how she arrived at this belief (in this day and age) but I guess that's beside the point. OP, I know you said you weren't going to show this thread to Sara, but I think it would be a kindness to let her know that this belief of hers is not shared by most people, and will probably severely curtail her chances of success with dates. Alternatively, as other posters have suggested, Sara should make this belief upfront (like, on her dating profile) so her dates don't get put in uncomfortable positions.
I think the bolded is a rather interesting assumption. Lots of people - men and women - in this day and age, in the same general age range as Sara (30's) subscribe to this belief. Its extraordinarily common. In fact when I didn't date with perimeters that included being hosted for dinner I had terrible dating
experiences and all my friends, male and female alike, essentially told me this was a huge part of my problem (I'm in my mid-30's). And when I changed my standards to expecting the guy to buy me dinner the caliber of my dating
partners increased significantly, to the point where I had previously always been in the going-nowhere deadbeat relationship
to now I'm engaged (and all my friends who insisted on having the guy buy them dinner way back in their 20's are happily married for several years now).
Sara's problem isn't with her expectation
. Sara's problem is with her communication
Sara should put in her dating
profile something along the lines of "interested in serious dating
only" and "I prefer more traditional dating
methods". When asked on a date Sara should clarify "will we be having dinner as well?" or if clearly asked on a date that doesn't include dinner she can decline politely with "actually I prefer a more traditional first date that includes a meal".