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How Has Dating Changed Throughout History

Dating becomes a thing Shutterstock The concept of dating really began at the turn of the 20th century. Prior to the late early s, courtship was a much more private, unemotional affair. Women would meet with several men, with her parents present, to whittle the pickings down to the most suitable match for marriage, which heavily relied on factors such as financial and social status.

When a young woman decided on a man she wanted to see exclusively, their activities as a couple took place either in the household, or at social gatherings. At that time, there was no such thing as just two young lovers "going out on a date. Still, the ultimate and very apparent goal was still that of marriage. This stands in stark contrast to today's dating world, when the topic of marriage may not be brought up for several years. The gentleman caller Shutterstock The first decade of the 20th century was marked by the figure of the gentleman caller.

If a young man was interested in a young woman, he would follow the proper protocol of calling upon her , which meant that he would come to the family's home and hopefully be welcomed into their parlor. If he was invited back for subsequent visits, he would be free to come and call upon the young woman during hours specified by her parents. As the years rolled on into the s, however, this system quickly became outdated and unfavorable.

Bailey writes in her book From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America, "Dating had almost completely replaced the old system of calling by the mids — and, in so doing, had transformed American courtship. This changed the relationship dynamic between a young man and a young woman, as now it was the man's duty to pay for the date, whereas before it was the woman who decided the terms of the visit. While traditional courtship had its own set of rules and rituals, dating, as it evolved, became less structured.

Courtship was seen as a fundamental part of a well-functioning society. When people started dating, relationships became less restricted and more personal. So what instigated this cultural shift? In Jodi O'Brien's book, Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, Volume I , she writes, "Different institutions were becoming more prominent in the lives of young men and women, such as school, college, and workplaces, which exposed them to a large pool of potential dating partners.

As a result, the purpose of dating was primarily to have fun, not to find a marriage partner. However, couples would form after several dates if they were interested in having more exclusive relationships. A proper match vs. In previous years, love was not seen as being of central importance to a marriage, and if it was to come it would emerge after the wedding had already occurred.

How can you be sure your dating will lead to true love? Rondeau Imagine a simpler time: The two of them were introduced to one another by a mutual friend at a social function some weeks prior. It is their first date. As she steps outside, he offers an umbrella to shield her from rain showers, walks with her to the passenger side of the car, and opens the door for her.

She notices the interior of the car is spotless. The pair takes a scenic route to a special destination: Conversation flows naturally for a couple hours, with each beginning to learn about the background and interests of the other. After dessert, the gentleman pays for the meal and then drives the lady home. Accompanying her to her door, he thanks her with a warm smile and departs. This may be repeated on a regular basis, and could eventually lead to courtship and marriage as the two get to know one another through hours of conversation, spread over months.

To older readers, the scenario above may have at least a vague, distant familiarity. But to younger readers, it may be utterly foreign, antiquated and unrealistic—like viewing a scene from an old black-and-white film in a world accustomed to the rapid-fire images of a high-definition action movie. Instead, in the 21st century, technology is the way to date.

Ask any something and he or she has probably signed up for any number of smartphone apps or online dating sites. Older adults are also applying by the millions for online matchmaking sites or participating in speed-dating sessions. According to the Pew Research Center, one in every 10 American adults has used an online dating site or a mobile dating app. That said, they are unsure of how to address the root of the problem. Step back for a moment and ask: Is modern dating truly normal?

Is there a better way? Or must all single people settle for this path? With the rise of the hook-up culture has come a change in the overall mentality behind dating. As one male friend recently told her: This could lead to them getting to know each other better and potentially moving in together. After a few months or years pass, this could also lead to them getting married or more likely splitting up to find someone else with whom to start the whole process again.

Those in their mids and up often fare little better. While many of them understand the concept of dating and most have been in serious, long-term relationships, the hook-up culture often plays a role in the expectations of the other party, even someone who had previously been married or is looking to remarry. In truth, falling in love is hard to resist in midlife. But how far must dating deteriorate before things change for the better?

And what will be the lowest common denominator? Many see recent changes as progress—but do the results support this view? Unhappy and Unfulfilled While some have met with success online, one of the problems with most relationships in the 21st century is that they often come without definition, as explained by Elite Daily staff writer Paul Hudson.


Finding true love: A look at the history of dating


How the "First Date" Has Changed in Every Decade Through History

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