By Rick Nauert, Ph.D.
The question of who should pay for dates during courtship — and how couples actually go about splitting expenses — is the topic of a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
“The motivation for the study was to understand why some gendered practices are more resistant to change than others; for example, the acceptance of women in the workplace versus holding onto traditional notions of chivalry,” said Chapman University’s David Frederick, a coauthor.
Convention holds that on a date, the man pays, whereas gender equality — seemingly more prevalent in today’s world — would suggest that couples should split entertainment expenses.
Using survery data from more than 17,000 individuals, researchers examined the extent to which people embrace or reject these competing notions after nearly 50 years of feminism.
Currently, most marriages in the U.S. (8 in 10) are based on sharing the breadwinner’s burden, so one question was whether that role is shared prior to marriage and, if so, how early in the dating process.
Study results suggest that the convention persists, with most men (84 percent) and women (58 percent) reporting that men pay for most expenses, even after dating for a while.
However, over half (57 percent) of women claim they offer to help pay, but many women (39 percent) confessed they hope men would reject their offers to pay, and 44 percent of women were bothered when men expected women to help pay.
Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, and many feel strongly about that: Nearly half of men (44 percent) said they would stop dating a woman who never pays.
A large majority of men (76 percent), however, reported feeling guilty accepting women’s money.
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