Finding love, or keeping it alive, isn't cheap.

That statement is truer in New Jersey than just about everywhere else in the country.

According to a 24/7 Tempo state-by-state analysis, New Jersey is the second-most expensive state for dating, behind only New York.

The analysis puts the average cost of dinner, drinks and a movie at $104.62 in New Jersey, the seventh highest amount nationwide. It also took into account the combined average tax rate for all purchases on a typical date, plus the price of regular gasoline as of August 6.

According to Stacey Rose, a psychotherapist and head of The Rose Relationship Learning Center in Ocean Twp., dating is critically important throughout the relationship. But not every date has to be a pull-out-all-the-stops event.

"I recommend to all the married couples that I work with that they still date each other," Rose said. "And those dates could be cheap, inexpensive. Walk on the boardwalk in Asbury Park or Long Branch, or a picnic on the beach, picnic in the park."

Rose said committed couples are right to "once in a while" dig deep into their pockets to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Total tabs over $100 just don't need to be a weekly tradition.

For those still looking for "the one," even a first date doesn't have to crush the banking account. A cup of coffee or a drink at a bar would likely do more to connect a couple than staring at a movie screen. This depends on the couple, however. Certain individuals may prefer to be wined and dined.

"I've seen people who have two and three dates in a day," Rose said, noting the costs can really take a toll on those expected to foot the bill.

The Northeast is home to the lion's share of the least affordable states for dating in the U.S. By far, the most affordable states for dating are located in the Midwest.

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