47% of Gen Z Daters Think Men Should Take the Lead in Relationships

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There are some antiquated dating norms that are more persistent than one might think. 

When it comes to taking the lead in a relationship, 40% of Americans believe it's best if the man does it, according to data from Bumble's State of the Nation 2023 survey.

Perhaps even more surprising is that almost half, 47%, of Gen Z respondents subscribe to this belief. 

Additionally, only 11% of survey respondents said that women should make the first move on a dating app.

This is both surprising and totally predictable, says Jessica Small, a marriage counselor and therapist at Growing Self Counseling & Coaching in Denver. 

It depends on what phase of dating the couple is in. 

'Women tend to hesitate around making initial advances'

"Despite a very large push and progression towards gender equality, the dating landscape still is grounded in more traditional gender roles and beliefs," she says. 

When couples are in the early stages of dating, women often don't feel comfortable being forward. 

"As a dating coach, I often observe that women tend to hesitate around making initial advances and have some expectations that men are going to take the lead on asking them out, planning dates, paying for dates and initiating physical touch," she says. 

Men, she says, also have this expectation but aren't actually turned off by a woman making the first move. 

Women are 'often the ones who are in charge'

Once a couple is in a defined relationship, Small feels women usually take the lead. 

"[Women] are often the ones who are in charge of all things household related, child related, their social calendar and meals," she says. "There is a consistent theme of women desiring more equality in this regard, but not desiring for men to take the lead specifically."

Still, Small notices that in most of the couples she counsels, both parties believe a relationship works best if each person has an equal amount of power and say. 

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