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Dating & Dollars: Recession Relationships

The economy has been a mess these last couple of years, forcing many people to rethink the way they deal with money.

It used to be, for instance, that it was OK for women to take men's finances and earning power into account when considering whether to date them. It used to be that the men were always expected to pick up the check. And it used to be that if you met someone who had to move back in with their parents, some would write them off as potentially permanently flawed.

But now, times have changed. Oftentimes women make more than their male counterparts, and the dinner check is now regularly split. Due to layoffs, many have been forced to move home with their parents. And to admit that you are attracted to a man for his money seems a very negative stigma.

So what are the new rules?

Cosmopolitan magazine has written an article about the new rules of love and money in their October issue. In the upcoming article, a featured poll of men and women (over 1000 from the ages of 18 to 34) finds out what they think of the complexities of the economy, dating and love.

The poll finds among women, 59 percent say that if they were on the fence about dating a guy, they would be more likely to go out with him if he made a lot of money. That's a pretty big number, considering that women often say that it doesn't matter. Many professors and statisticians say that this is because women are hard-wired to want a mate who can provide for their offspring. While 74 percent of women still check out what a man as wearing as an indicator of their resources.

And 62 percent of women say they would not tell their friends about a guy's lackluster job status, if they were unemployed or under-employed. So while they might go on dates with men whose status isn't what they wish, they might not be so proud of it. One of the most shocking statistics is that 73 percent of women say they would downplay their accomplishments, if they felt their man was under-employed or unemployed. Experts warn that downplaying may backfire, and leave your man resentful when he learns the truth.

But what about men? Twenty eight percent of men earn less than their girlfriends. Of those men, one-third say they still pay for most things. And 42 percent say that if the women they were dating were unemployed or under-employed, that they wouldn't willingly explain this to their friends and family.

And on "The Early Show" Wednesday, Matt Titus, author of "Why Hasn't He Called?" and Nicole Beland, Cosmo executive editor, shared their opinions on these new relationship rules in a classic he-said/she-said debate:

Is it wrong for women to be attracted to a man with money?

(Titus) HE SAID: Absolutely not, women have historically been attracted to men of money and power. Lets face it, it's a total turn on being in the presence of a man that can buy and sell everyone in the room or restaurant. Women also have a subconscious feeling of security around men of wealth and power just knowing that he could "take care of them" for the rest of their lives at a moment notice if necessary.

(Beland)SHE SAID: No it's not wrong. Maybe it doesn't sound so good if you talk about it exactly that way, but it's only natural. First of all, women are born with an instinct to be attracted to those who can provide for her and her offspring. Also, if a man has money, it's an indication of other good dating qualities-Responsibility, Goal orientation, Detail orientation are all implied in a man who is successful. Don't feel bad, if you let money give a man you are the fence about an extra push. Now that doesn't mean that you should date anyone JUST BECAUSE of money., but it's ok to weigh it in as a factor.

If you are dating a woman that makes more than you do, do you still pay for dates?

HE SAID: I can't that this is even a question!!!! Why should she get penalized because she is more financially successful than you!! of course you pay...MEN ALWAYS PAY! Chivalry lives and it thrives in relationships where the guy is a true gentleman and worth something.

SHE SAID: Due to the traditions of dating, men should probably pay for that all important first date. But if you want a relationship of equality, women should offer to pay. in the Cosmo poll, 50% of women say that they offer to pay. Now it's possible that a man may resent you for paying, which is not a good sign for the future of a relationship. Also, women should not offer to pay if they do not really mean it. Offering to pay and then resenting him when he accepts is a silly way to waste your energy.

How and when should you split the check on dates?

HE SAID: NEVER!!!!!!!!!! What is this world coming to? When a woman allows a man to split the check, she is lowering her position in the relationship by showing him that she is as ordinary as the guys he splits the check with. When a man is not led to believe that he is privileged to be with a woman than he will treat her no better than his male friends.

SHE SAID: Again, men should really pay on the first date, it's a societal tradition. But after that, there is no reason that you can't take turns treating each other, it's easier than constantly splitting the bill. Also, if you are a little strapped one week and it's your week to treat, you can steer the date to a cheaper locale. It's backwards thinking that men should always pay.

Are you more or less willing to go out with someone who has moved back in with their parents now that layoffs are becoming the norm?

HE SAID: Look I don't care how bad off you are financially as a guy but if you have to move in with your parents then you shouldn't be dating during that time.

SHE SAID: It depends on the age. A lot of 20 somethings live with their parents as a way of saving up for the future, it's just smart economics. After college, times are tough, and a lot of people have to pay off loans.

However, if your date is living with their parents and is a little older, it can be a bad sign. There are, however, ways of finding out. Approach the subject with your date...have a sense of humor about it. Instead of asking, so you are living with your parents, what is that about? Try: Living with you parents must be tough. What's your exit strategy? Really listen to the answer, and go from there.

Do you talk about money on dates?

HE SAID: Not if you have a shred of class!!

SHE SAID: It's not a great thing to be blunt about money (i.e.-This is how much I make, how much do you make? Or how much did you house cost?)But the way someone talks about money could be an important indicator of what kind of relationship you will have. So talk more generally about the economy -- what it's doing, what it's done. A great question to pose to men is -- so where do you see yourself in five years? Again, it's a great way of talking about goals and ambition without directly asking about money.