The company’s survey indicates that, in the early stages of courting, the pressure to pay falls primarily on men, but this imbalance hardly dissolves as the relationship progresses. Fifty-six percent of men foot the bill in full once they’re in an established relationship, and, even further down the line, 36 percent of men pay all of household bills, versus 14 percent of women. There’s not much in the way of historical data on the question of who pays for dates, but the findings of a 1985 poll suggest that very little has changed in the past 30 years.
Last year, Frederick co-authored a study larger than NerdWallet’s—one that reached about 17,000 people—which also found that men tend to pay for dates. In the study, he and his co-authors called paying for dates “a rare case” in which women are incentivized not to fight old-school gender dynamics. This same logic might explain why men who are okay stepping down as breadwinners aren’t as eager to step up to the demands of parenting and homemaking. (The scope of Frederick’s study was wider than NerdWallet’s too, and, interestingly, 39 percent of its female respondents admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers to help pay.)