There have been so many changes over the past sixty years in many areas of everyday life. Some of these changes seem to be progress, are exciting and open up new possibilities. Other changes are less positive.
The roles of men and women in our society have certainly changed and brought confusion as well as more opportunities for some. These changes in roles have affected numerous aspects of dating. It is no wonder many find modern dating a minefield.
The way we find someone to date has changed. Sixty years ago a couple usually met through study, work, church, a social group or were introduced by family or friends.
Dating was generally for the young. People were expected to marry at some point in time and many did so at what would now be considered a young age. My parents married at what was considered ‘later in life’ back in the fifties. Mum was twenty seven and dad was ten years older.
It was considered a good thing for the man to be older as there was more chance he would be financially secure and able to provide better for his wife and the children who would start to arrive soon after marriage.
These days it is not unusual for a couple to meet through an internet dating site. People of all ages are looking for a date. Many have been married and divorced and perhaps more than once.
Dating may or may not lead to a permanent relationship. Some people are not looking for a permanent arrangement. People are aware many relationships do not last. Decades ago more couples married and stayed in that relationship, even if they were not happy.
Expectations of what form ‘dating’ will take and if it is going to lead to a permanent relationship has changed. Even the idea of what a permanent relationship will look like has changed. It could be marriage, a de facto relationship involving living together or the two may retain separate housing.
How has going on dates changed? It used to be that the man would ask the woman out, never the other way around. The man would pick the woman up for the date.
Men generally earned more than women and paid on dates. These days there is uncertainty which can become a big issue. Should the woman still expect the man to pay, at least for the first date? Should the person who initiated the date be the one to pay for both? Should each pay for their own or should the bill be split? If the two continue to date should they take it in turns to pay? What happens if their incomes are very different?
A man with traditional ideas may feel uncomfortable if the woman offers to pay. Some men may feel a woman is a ‘gold digger’ if she expects him to pay. Perhaps a man who pays is expecting to be repaid with ‘certain favours’. (Perhaps this is expected regardless of who pays for the date.)
A woman may or may not expect the man to pay or she may feel they should share the cost. There are so many variations of what different people think is the way to handle the ’paying on a date’ question. People may feel awkward about bringing up the topic,
especially when they don’t know the other person well.
Considering the changes in wider society it is no wonder there is confusion over numerous aspects of dating. There are no rules as a guide, there is no norm. Perhaps everyone who is dating needs to acknowledge it is confusing and be willing to be understanding of the dilemmas the other party is facing.