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Dating & Money: Gender Wars...Men, Women & Money

This story is part of a package on the new rules of dating & money. To read more, see How to Get the Girl and How to Keep Your Man.

The still moribund economy has everybody paying closer attention to their expenses these days. But "frugal" may be a problem when you're dating â€" at least if you're a man.

When asked how you'd describe a frugal date, men said she'd be "sexy" and "smart." Women said he'd be "stingy" and "boring," according to a survey of 1,000 adults commissioned by ING Direct USA.

But that doesn't mean a guy should go for broke when taking a girl out, particularly if the relationship might get serious. Why? You may be disturbed by what your spouse would do to beat back the debt you incurred while trying to convince her that you weren't a dull, cheap guy.

If women needed to cut back to reduce their debt, they'd be more likely to give up alcohol and sex than shopping and chocolate, according to the survey. (And no, the surveyors apparently did not ask how giving up sex would help a woman budget.)

A few other highlights from the survey:


  • More men would be most upset about losing their job (46%) than an unfaithful spouse (39%).
  • Men would rather gain weight than debt
  • Women would rather gain debt than weight
  • Both sexes think that women are better at managing household finances than men
  • Both sexes think men are better at investing than women. (And, on this score, both sexes would be wrong. Women are the superior investors.)

This stark contrast in money-tudes got me wondering about whether there were new money rules when dating. So I called experts -- dating coaches, matchmakers and even the lauded "Love Doctor" -- a Detroit psychologist who has been studying the success and failure of 300 couples for the past 25 years -- and asked what sort of financial behaviors would serve you best if you wanted to couple up.

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The results, not surprisingly, differed for men versus women. Here's the skinny, broken by gender:

Dating & Money: How to Get the Girl

Dating & Money: How to Keep Your Man