Some gentlemen prefer blondes. Some ladies will only date men of a certain height.
The laws of attraction differ from person to person, but Salary.com recently surveyed readers to find out if the size of a person's paycheck is a determining factor when men and women are looking for romantic partners.
We surveyed nearly 2,000 people regarding the role money plays in romantic relationships, and discovered some revealing information about how men and women view money and attraction.
Money Matters More to Women
When asked if the number of zeros in your significant other's paycheck mattered, the answers varied largely depending on gender and sexual orientation.
Twenty-three percent of straight men said their partner's paycheck plays a role in whether or not they enter a relationship. But when heterosexual women were asked the same question, the number of affirmative responses jumped to 41 percent.
One female respondent said "All men I dated before getting married had to have at least a Bachelor's Degree and working in a profession that paid fairly well (i.e. $100K/year)."
Gay Men Care Most About Money
According to our survey, money generally plays a larger role in relationship decisions among gay and bisexual respondents.
Half of all gay men surveyed said their partner's salary is a factor as to whether or not they date someone. But 44 percent of gay women and 43 percent of bisexual women also answered the same way. However, the issue was less important to bisexual men, with only 25 percent saying they care about their partner's take home pay.
One gay man said "Being able to lead similar lifestyles is important in a relationship. If someone is always bringing home the bacon and the other bologna, there will be fights and disagreements. Small pay separations of 20% or less are suitable, but not more than 30%."
Bring Home the Bacon or Take a Hike
Although the wage gap is closing, men still make more money than women in general.
Maybe that's why only 5 percent of the men surveyed have broken up with someone because he/she didn't make enough money. But when the same question was posed to women, it jumped considerably. Fourteen percent of all women surveyed ended relationships because their significant other didn't bring home enough green.
Of the total number of respondents who admitted to dumping a partner due to their tiny paychecks, 78 percent were women.
"He just could not afford the things I felt like I deserved," said one female respondent.
Is Anything In Excess Bad?
The idea of making too much money is laughable to many. Kind of like being "too popular" or "too good looking."
But 4 percent of the men and women we surveyed said they ended relationships specifically because the person they were with made too much money.
Interestingly enough, 32 percent of respondents who broke up with their superfluously wealthy significant others were men.
One man said "It wasn't about what she made, it was that she treated me like an employee."
Money Shapes Perceptions About Gender Roles
In today's tough economic times, many parents have to decide whether a double income is necessary or if one parent should stay home full-time to raise the children?
Nearly 64 percent of men said they would be open to financially supporting their significant others. But only 35 percent of women would work full-time while their partners stayed home. Furthermore, 34 percent---more than one-third---of all women surveyed said they absolutely would not tolerate being with a partner who wanted to be a stay-at-home parent.
"I would end up resenting my partner because I'd have to get up and drag myself to work every day while he gets to stay home and play house. Not to diminish what it takes to run a household but I think I would also start to think less of him as a man for even accepting the stay at home role. At least work part-time or do some freelance, then we'll talk!" said one female respondent.
But It's Not All About the Money
We wanted to find out what the most important factor is when choosing a romantic partner. We offered three choices: Salary, Looks and Personality.
Despite all the talk of money, only 1.4 percent of all those surveyed chose Salary. Men showed they value the physical beauty of their partners with 9 percent of all men surveyed choosing looks, compared to just 1.7 percent of women. But overall, an overwhelming 94 percent of all respondents chose Personality.
Of the 1.4 percent who said Salary was the most important factor, 65 percent are women and all of them are heterosexual.
One female respondent said "There have been many couples in my life who couldn't weather this financial downturn because there was a drop in salary. So it does matter a lot. Personality and looks don't pay the bills."
Salary.com as a Dating Tool
Our Salary Wizard was developed as a tool for people to determine fair and appropriate compensation levels at their jobs. But according to our survey results, people are using it on the dating front to find out what their potential partners are making.
More than 6 percent of those surveyed said they've used Salary.com to find out the salary of someone they were dating, or considering dating. But many of the people who have not used Salary.com to research potential dates said that's only because it never crossed their minds.
One female in our survey said "No but that's a great idea. I will pass it on to my single girlfriends!" One man said "I have always hated it when one of the first words out of a woman's mouth is 'How much do you make?' Clearly they are either looking for a 'Sugar Daddy' or possibly they just want to make sure I would have something to offer. Either way it felt like I was being sized up. I would look on Salary.com for their approximate salary, just so I would know they could support themselves and not depend on me."
For Love AND Money
Money may not be the only thing when it comes to relationships, but it certainly means something.
Whether it's you who wants to make more money or you have a blind date and want to check on his/her estimated salary level, our free Salary Wizard can help.
Also, click here for an infographic related to this article.
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Women, Men and Money: The Four Keys for Using Money to Nourish Your Relationship, Bankbook and Soul
In Good Times and Bad: Strengthening Your Relationship When the Going Gets Tough and the Money Gets Tight
Money Harmony:Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Life and Relationships