In many areas of life we've made vital progress in tackling gender stereotypes, but when it comes to dating there's still a surprising gap between the sexes.
While 86% of Brits believe that equality is important between people who are in a relationship, this principle doesn't necessarily apply to the dates themselves, with almost three quarters (74%) saying there are different expected behaviours based solely on your gender identity.
The research, by dating app Bumble and YouGov, suggests that dating attitudes are still stuck in the past, with over half (52%) of the 2069 respondents believing these expectations are so important that they behave differently in order to fit within gender expectations.
These discrepancies show up across dating in different ways, with both men and women feeling pressure to behave in a certain way. But not only does adjusting your behaviour lead to less authentic interactions, over half of Brits (51%) say these gender adaptions make dating and relationships more stressful.
When it comes to altering their persona a third of women say they feel pressure to change their behaviour to make dates feel more "powerful" or "comfortable".
Read more: How to date in 2022
Other reasons women censor themselves include trying to avoid appearing too keen, clingy or desperate with 62% of women admitting to this.
Turns out men are feeling the weight of gender expectations too with 63% of Brits still believing men should take the lead in relationships and a quarter of males feeling pressured by this notion.
Although being a high-flyer is of course a positive, outdated stereotypes mean 10% of women still worry that earning more than their partner might somehow be viewed badly.
Other gender-related concerns the survey highlighted include men feeling pressure to be experienced in bed, while women worry about being judged about their number of sexual partners.
Seems females are also concerned about societal expectations with 42% feeling they need to settle down sooner than men.
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So clearly these outdated attitudes show work needs to be done to close what Bumble describe as 'the romance gap'.
“The Romance Gap is a new term, but many of us will know the feeling," explains Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s VP for Europe.
"Those moments of questioning if sending that text makes you appear too keen, waiting for them to take the lead, or worrying if you are being judged for being too keen, too inexperienced or too old.
“An unexamined romance gap limits us, with one in two people agreeing that it makes it difficult to build equal relationships."
Walkland believes the only way to reduce the romance gap is to acknowledge it exists and start an open conversation about how it impacts the way we see ourselves, our partners and relationships.
"Only when we are aware of it can we challenge each other to do away with gendered expectations of who should do what,” she adds.
Thankfully, though these gender-based expectations do still exist, there seems to be a desire for change with Brits feeling strongly that in an ideal world we would not have expectations about who earns more money, has a more successful career or who makes the first move by initiating a date.
More than three in five of us think that it is key to be confident in expressing who you are and what you want (61%) and half of women (50%) state that going forward, it’s important to them to address the topic of equality early in dating and relationships.
To help, Bumble has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the ‘Romance Gap’ and empower people to create healthy and equitable relationships and combat "outdated" gender dynamics.
For more information about the campaign and for tips on how to have a conversation about the Romance Gap see here.
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