Dr. David Frederick, assistant professor of psychology in Chapman University’s Crean School of Health and Life Sciences

This Valentine’s day, you may want to think twice about who will pick up the check at dinner, as
Schmid College of Science and Technology
David Frederick
has just come out with new research that examines men’s and women’s beliefs about who should pay for dates during courtship, and how couples actually go about splitting expenses.

In his paper, 
Who Pays for Dates? Following versus Challenging Conventional Gender Norms
, survey data from more than 17,000 participants was collected, and the age old question of ‘who should foot the bill?’ was examined.

Conventional notions of chivalry dictate that on a “date,” the man pays, whereas egalitarian ideals suggest gender should not determine who pays for the entertainment expenses. This research examines the extent to which people embrace or reject these competing notions after nearly 50 years of feminism. It is known that most marriages (8 in 10) today 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.

Interesting facts:

  • Most men (84%) and women (58%) reported that men pay for most expenses, even after dating for a while.
  • Over half (57%) of women claim they offer to help pay, but many women (39%) confessed they hope men would reject their offers to pay, and 44% of women were bothered when men expected women to help pay.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, and many feel strongly about that:
  • Nearly half of men (44%) said they would stop dating a woman who never pays.
  • A large majority of men (76%), however, reported feeling guilty accepting women’s money.

In terms of behavior, 4 in 10 men and women agreed that dating expenses were at least partially shared within the first month, and roughly three-fourths (74% of men, 83% of women) reported sharing expenses by six months.

Who will be paying for your date this Valentine’s day?