The past 50+ years have endured extraordinary changes relative to gender roles in relationships. No longer is it just the husband going off to work while the wife cleans, cooks, and cares for the children.
Women are active in the workforce at historical highs.
The workingwoman now has the means and initiative to take care of herself and not solely rely on the man to “put the food on the table”.
This new, independent woman has had profound effects on dating. Some are good, some bad, and some just plain confusing.
Expectations of men and their gender roles have been redefined.
The modern man is expected to be emotionally intelligent, empathetic, and possess the “feminine” quality of being able to multi-task. Men are no longer expected to be able to fix everything, just as women are no longer expected to cook every meal.
Similarly, men have their own perceptions of what is expected from a woman.
The nurturing, supportive, family-oriented and dedicated woman has been substituted with what is perceived to be more of a hardened, calculated, opportunistic opposite.
The naivety that men once embellished has been replaced with suspicion and distrust. Men are traditionally perceived as not putting as much effort into a relationship because the woman would “know her place” and always be there - the rock of the relationship
It is now required of men to put forth similar attention and dedication to a relationship. The ladies will not tolerate feeling taken for granted.
Men may now be attracted to and impressed by an independent woman, but they still often long for that emotional safety net that a woman once provided.
A disconnect exists between modern gender role identities, and traditional expectations.
The Truth - for Men
Often times, women complain that “real men” no longer exist in today’s modern society. Or, that “chivalry is dead”.
What we've heard from women is that they wish men would still make the first move and ask them to dinner, open their car door, and pull out their chairs. It's a part of our tradition and it goes back to why women want and need men to begin with. Women are attracted to the strong ambitious powerful alpha males, because they have the need for safety and feel that can be realized by a male protector.
Think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Safety and security are some of our most basic primal needs and this is what women seek in men - to feel comforted and that they will be taken care of and protected.
It can be concluded that if you're a man trying to make a good impression, offer your hand to help her out of the car and your arm when you're walking down the street. Especially when she's wearing heels. She'll appreciate it and you'll up your value in her eyes.
The Truth - for Women
At the same time, men complain that women are not family-oriented enough, too career-focused, and not as maternal as they should be.
Many men have been pushed to get in touch with their feminine side and explore their feelings; all the while women are imposing their will in an often-intimidating fashion. They feel emasculated by women who have been forced to take on more testosterone heavy roles in the work place, then allow those traits carry over into their personal life.
Women intimidate men, because men feel that women are not very approachable or inviting. They believe, and accurately so, that if a woman wants something, now she goes after it and gets it herself and will ask the man out.
The truth is, women will still go after what they want, but they still appreciate the feeling of being desired.
Similarly, men respect a powerful woman, but still covet a woman’s loving, caring propensities.
So who's supposed to pay for the first date? Women have their own money, however, they still continue to earn less than men. Typically we encourage the man to pick up the bill since it is the gentlemanly thing to do.
Many women have told me that they would never give a man a second date if he didn't at least offer to pay (she can get it next time). It goes back to tradition. Women still want a gentleman who can take care of her - if needed. We also encourage the woman to split it with him if she has no intent of seeing him again.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Recently, many marriages have ended as a result of the inability to refine relationships to meet modern expectations. Mature couples are finding the need to either redefine their relationships or risk imminent break up.
The more that each person in a relationship can follow the 5 A's - appreciate, accept, accommodate, show affection, and allow the other to explore their revolving interests and goals, the greater the likelihood of success.
The key is to address these issues and find the balance.
What do you think about the evolution of gender roles? Who do you think should pay on the first date? Let us know below!
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