A third of women are intentionally ‘dulling their shine’ so men feel comfortable on dates

Women worry they need to let men feel powerful (Picture: Getty)

Romance isn’t dead – that is, if you know your place as a man or woman.

In heterosexual relationships, it appears that gender biases are still hugely impacting how we date.

New research from dating app Bumble shows that what’s deemed romantic behaviour from a man is often viewed in a negative light when enacted by a women.

Think about: chivalry, paying, being forward, providing gifts, being sexually confident – all of these things get a big tick when presented by a man, but are these behaviours praised in women?


Calling it the ‘romance gap’, Bumble define this as ‘the discrepancy in behaviour expected from men/masculine presenting and women/feminine presenting when dating and in relationships.’

By their research, typical attitudes towards dating are still stuck in yesteryear.

While 86% of those surveyed said equality is important between people who are dating or in a relationship, a large 74% admitted that when it comes to romantic relationships, there are different expectations and expected behaviours based on your gender identity.

This reveals how present those ideas are, despite moves to be more inclusive and forward-thinking about gender in our society as a whole.

Over half of respondents believe these expectations are so important that they behave differently and less authentic to themselves in order to fit within the gender ideals.

A similar number of people said this makes dating more stressful.

A key pressure on women is to adapt and essentially dim their own shine in order to make male dates feel ‘more powerful or comfortable’ – 33% do this.

Another reason over half of the women surveyed say they must adjust their behaviour is to avoid looking keen, clingy, attached or desperate.

Showing real, genuine interest is apparently too forward and is thought to be off-putting for men.

This ties in with the idea that men are still expected to take the lead, as 63% expect this. A quarter of men feel pressured by this notion.

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Men are also assumed to be breadwinners and take care of finances – while only 3% believe women should take on this role. It’s unsurprising then, that 10% of women have felt worried that earning more than their partner would be looked on badly.

The other concerns the study highlighted include men feeling pressure to be experienced in bed, while women worry about the opposite going against them. 42% of women felt they had a ‘shelf-life’ and need to settle down sooner than men – sometimes this leads to settling on what they want when dating.

Clearly, there is plenty of work to be done here so that dating truly is an empowering experience no matter your gender.

Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s VP for Europe said: ‘We all know the feeling of 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, too old.

‘This limits us, with one in two people agreeing that it makes it difficult to build equal relationships.’

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