Examining the economic downturn's effects on how we find and show love.
In terms of dating, the recession will likely cement the shift feminism started several decades ago. Gone are the days where women with an old-fashioned sense of etiquette wait for the man to pick up the check.
"Women are pitching in more and are more understanding about money," Weil says. Meanwhile men feel less pressure to take their dates to pricey restaurants or on expensive vacations.
"Regular dates will be more low-key. They may be more like bowling, or maybe some group activities, rather than going to fancy restaurants on a regular basis and having expensive drinks," adds Hart. But that doesn't mean romance is dead—it's just parsed out more slowly. "Special" days, such as birthdays or anniversaries, will "become special again," since splurges are less frequent. Hart expects those moments of celebration to take on new meaning.
Weil adds that this mindset shift that could outlast the slump. "People are starting to realize what's important," she says, and that's a lesson that can stick.
The sudden change in our nation's economic state may also spark a shift in the dating philosophy. With the collective understanding that having money isn't necessarily a top requirement in a relationship, the chances of people finding love might improve, Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, a psychologist and author of Dating From the Inside Out predicts.
"There are so many aspects of a person," she says. "It's kind of sick that we only focus on jobs or money." Perhaps the diminishment of both was all we needed to see that clearly.