"Misunderstandings are bound to happen": Young women still expect men to take initiative when dating – and they’re annoyed by it
Most straight women still expect men to make the first move when dating.
This is the result of a representative study by the dating platform Elitepartner.
Many men were annoyed by this expectation of women.
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It’s a scenario that most of you may know from various romantic comedies of the early 2000s – or perhaps from your own experience: If a flirtation or a relationship is initiated between a man and a woman, the man first approaches the woman. Not the other way around.
Nonsense, you say? That is a completely outdated image of heterosexual dating? Well, a look at a new study by dating platform Elitepartner shows that the expectation "the man has to make the first move" is still widespread in 2021. And especially among young women.
Young women act less confident when flirting
For the study, a total of 1.500 German heterosexual singles asked how they go about flirting and what is important to them when getting to know each other. With the result: 56 percent of the single women wished that the man takes the initiative. And: The younger the women, the more widespread this expectation is apparently. 72 percent of those under thirty think a man should write or approach them first if he’s interested. By comparison, in the 50-59 age group, only 45 percent of women think the man should make the first move; among women aged 60-69, it’s only 35 percent.
Many men are obviously annoyed by the expectations of young women. This is also shown by the survey of Elitepartner. Nearly 60 percent of male respondents said they were annoyed by female expectations that they should make the first move. However, straight men are not entirely consistent in their own expectations of female flirtation partners either. After all, according to the survey, 42 percent of them preferred women who showed their "sweet" and "reserved" side while flirting.
At least younger women seem to be aware of that. This is because, according to their own statements, they adapt their own flirting behavior to men’s expectations: Almost one in four women under the age of thirty in the survey said they purposefully keep their self-confidence "in check" when flirting – out of a feeling that men would like that.
The man pays automatically?
But where do these developments come from, which seem like a step backwards to long ago conservative flirting times? It’s because of the unprecedented diversity of the dating landscape, says Lisa Fischbach, a psychologist at Elitepartner. When – as is the case today – a modern and liberal understanding of gender meets traditional, conservative expectations when getting to know someone, this initially leads to confusion on both sides. "Misunderstandings are inevitable," explains the psychologist.
There is also a misunderstanding – or rather an irritation – when it comes to the question of who pays on a date. According to the survey, only one in seven women (14 percent) think it’s no longer appropriate to let a man ask them out in a cafe or restaurant as a matter of course. The rest of single women are still happy to let the man pick up the tab without a guilty conscience these days. This also upsets many men: 42 percent of all male respondents would consider the idea that the man should automatically pay to be outdated.
And what does psychologist Fischbach now advise in order to counter these contradictions and to flirt successfully?? Quite simple: "Talking to each other instead of being limited by role expectations." The only question is who takes the initiative in such a conversation.