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7 Ways That a New Survey of Singles Supports a More Modern Dating Etiquette

When Mars Women Date
Sara Blum

Over the years as a dating coach I've seen dating etiquette and traditional gender role notions change, especially as women get more successful in their careers and become more independent in their lives. In my book, When Mars Women Date: How Career Women Can Love Themselves into a Relationship of their Dreams,' I explore these changing dating trends and beliefs, citing examples of how many romantic relationships are becoming more balanced.

I wasn't surprised to see how several of my assertions were revealed in a recent survey with singles, conducted by ResearchNow for Here are 7 ways that traditional dating trends are becoming more modern and balanced:

In the past, men usually asked a woman out on a date. This survey revealed that 92% of men feel comfortable when a woman asks them out. In my book, I cited other research that showed that when a woman did ask out a man out, 51% of those female initiated dates led to a relationship that lasted more than six months! This is good odds and positive news for women who often feel there's little that they can do to initiate a relationship, except to passively wait to be asked out.

In traditional dating with the old gender expectations, men dated around and women automatically wanted to be in a relationship. This survey revealed that now women want to play the field longer and to keep their options open. 72% of single women think that it's okay to casually date more than one person at a time versus only 60% of men!

In traditional dating etiquette, men always planned the date but this survey revealed that 59% of singles want to plan a date together. Only 25% of men wanted to plan the date themselves. So from the beginning, a man and women can co-create the date and relationship.

In traditional dating and gender roles, women were told not to discuss their accomplishments because a man needed to feel like the more successful one and he would be turned off by anything that smacked of competition. This survey revealed that most men today would date a woman who makes more money and is more educated!

Traditionally men would pay on dates. As a dating coach I saw that men were starting to resent this expectation but women were still strongly for it, especially on first dates. This survey showed that even women are softening their views on this. 35% of men and 27% of women feel that men should always pay for a first date. The percentages are probably less for ongoing dates (although this question was not asked).

In traditional dating, women looked for men who would provide financially in marriage so they could stay home. Although this is still a valid choice, half the labor force is soon to be women and more women are graduating college and grad school than men now and younger women are making more money than men in respective jobs. So, many women may want to focus on their careers and have a balanced home life. Thus, what they need in a partner might be different than before. They may prefer someone who will be an equal partner in balancing work and home and who will help out equally with domestic tasks. This survey revealed that today only 14% of singles marry for financial security. This is a low number and it's a definite shift from the past.

In the past, women mostly dated men who were the same age and older and men dated younger women. This trend has also changed. Now women feel free to date younger men who are less successful and provide other things. Men are now dating older women who offer maturity, wisdom and experience. This survey revealed that 33% of men would make a long-term commitment to a woman who is at least ten years older. This is a significant shift.

I wrote 'When Mars Women Date' because I knew there was an emerging group of singles who wanted to be whole partners and to provide each other equal access and support with the spheres of work and home. They wanted to provide models to their children of being able to succeed in a career while having a close family, whether these kids were male or female. And I could see how this shift really needed to begin with our dating assumptions and roles.
So far, When Mars Women Date is being translated into Chinese, Korean and Czechoslovakian, so gender roles in romantic relationships are shifting globally too.

To learn more about the new things that many men and women are now looking for from each other in dating and romantic relationships, pick up your copy of When Mars Women Date on Amazon.

To see Dr. Sherman discuss dating issues and answer dating questions on video, see:

Happy dating!

Bio: Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist who specializes in dating. She 's the author of 'When Mars Women Date' and 'Dating From the Inside Out,' published by Atria books. She's been featured as a relationship expert in over 30 media outlets, including Glamour and the NY Times. For more information see and

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