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Equality important, but expectations vary for men and women in a relationship: Bumble survey

A Bumble survey found that despite positive strides being made towards equality, traditional gender roles and expectations remain, and are accepted, in dating in India.

A little over four fifth, or 82%, of Indian adults say that equality is important between people who are dating or are in a relationship, as per the results of a survey by dating app Bumble. However, an equal number said that in a romantic relationship, there are different expectations and expected behaviours based on gender identity.

The online survey was carried out by YouGov Plc among 1,013 adults during 1-8 February 2022.

Despite positive strides being made towards equality, traditional gender roles and expectations remain, and are accepted, in dating in India. The research found that these expectations are so ingrained that the majority (66%) of people say traditional gender roles lead us to behave in a way that is less true to who we are and 60% of people claim it makes dating and relationships more stressful and/or difficult.

When it comes to taking the lead and advancing a relationship, on matters such as asking the other person out, making the first move, or initiating the first kiss, there is still pressure on men to be responsible for making the big moves. About 39% of people surveyed said that men are expected to take the lead in dating and relationships, while only 21% think women should do so. For men, more than one in four (28%) have felt pressured to take the lead.

More than one in three (37%) people surveyed state that men should be the first to express their love, while only 21% think women should profess their love first. Interestingly, in India, only 34% state that men are expected to ask their partner to marry them.

Men still feel pressure to earn more than their partners and play the role of the breadwinner, in spite of women making advances in their careers and professional lives in India. Half (50%) state that men are expected to earn more money, while only one in four people (26%) think women should do so. More than one in four (28%) people surveyed state it’s important that women are expected to avoid appearing too keen, clingy, attached or desperate. Amidst all these expectations, it’s no surprise that more than one in three (39%) women have changed their behaviour to make someone feel more powerful or comfortable.

Men are expected to hold back when it comes to displays of emotion, 29% say men are expected to avoid appearing to care too much, or show too much emotion whereas 26% say this is also expected of women.

The research found that Indians still lean conservatively when it comes to conversations and openness around sex and intimacy. 26% say men are expected to be sexually direct and discuss their wants or preferences, but only 22% say women are expected to do so.

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