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It's also manifesting as a hesitancy to reach for the check at the end of an outing."Guys aren't jumping on it anymore," Fields said. Men ages 25 to 44 are feeling the most stressed about the effects of their personal economic situations on their love lives, according to the e Harmony survey."It's uncomfortable."Wendy Rice, a 33-year-old chef from Hollywood, said she'd also experienced an unusually high frequency of daters playing "chicken" with the bill."Some guy took me out to dinner at Benihana's and he only brought 0. You're taking me out,' " said Rice, who, on the Craigslist ad she posted last week, asked, "What happened to date night? Psychologist Diana Kirschner speculates it's because American men derive so much self-worth from their jobs."A lot of self-esteem and self-love and the identity of being a powerful person is tied up with work in this culture," said Kirschner, a New York City relationship expert and author of the dating guidebook "Love in 90 Days." "It can really stress people out if they're out of work or financially challenged or feel like they can't do their normal courting routine."But even though less income often means lower self-esteem, it doesn't have to be that way, Kirschner said."When there's less money available to go on fancier dates, people can have a very simple connection that's even more fulfilling," she said.
Financial stress is a difficult topic to discuss, regardless of relationship status.
Hobbs said he has "never had that kind of conversation" with a date.
" "Another guy took me out and said he forgot his wallet."Rice didn't believe him."You left your house. Doing things like going for a walk means there's more talking.
And where "there's more talking, there's more sharing, so there's intimacy. You wind up being more real with each other," she said.
Those disturbing trends aren't likely to end any time soon.