If you ask someone who is in their mid-thirties what generation they are from chances are you will get three different answers: Generation X, Generation Y and Millennial. We are at that strange age where these generations overlap and depending on whom you talk to everyone has a different answer. Because these generations overlap, and thirty-somethings are in the middle of it, we tend to see how things change more so than people who know exactly what generation they are from, such as……dating.
I had a conversation a few days ago with a few women, who grew up in a different generation, about dating and we just couldn’t seem to agree anything! They could not see my point of view and I couldn’t see their point of view. So what has changed?
- Online Dating – Obviously this is probably one of the biggest differences between then and now. Online dating wasn’t even thought about 20 years ago and now it is probably the number one way people who are seriously looking for a mate use. I feel online dating has its perks and it’s downfalls. You are able to meet many people who are looking for the same thing. Hopefully what they write about themselves is true and you can find out a lot about a person before you even meet them. If two people want to meet they can, and if one of them doesn’t it’s easier to say no. One of the biggest downfalls with online dating is people have the ability to pretend to be someone they are not. That is a challenge when it comes to online dating.
- Communication – The way we communicate with almost everyone has changed. We are glued to our phones, computers and tablets. We would rather text or email than pick up the phone and physically talk someone. When planning a date or even asking someone on a date, it is not uncommon for that person to text, or email, or even send a Facebook message to set up the details for the night. Person to person contact is becoming less and less these days. It’s becoming more comfortable to text and to not want that personal contact. I’m almost positive that we can all agree that this may not be a great thing for the dating life, but it’s easy and that’s what it seems like we are always looking for.
- Fear and Cautiousness – The world is such a different place than it was 20-30 years ago. Crime is up, the date rape drug now exists, and there are more sexually transmitted diseases within the human population. Because of these things people have to be more cautious with what they are doing, where they are hanging out and whom they are hanging out with. It can be pretty scary. I know I have become more cautious when I am going out on a first date. I don’t want the person to know where I live at least for the first couple of times we meet so I will meet them at a public place. When I am hanging out at a bar and I have a drink I will never leave it unattended. Did people have to worry about this 20-30 years ago? I don’t think so. I can remember when I was younger, watching my older sister (who is six years older than me) go out on dates. Her date would always pick her up at our house, even if it was a blind date. It was the courteous thing to do. Today, not so much! We have become to fearful of what could happen and we have a hard time trusting people we don’t know.
- Priorities – Back in September of 2014, the Huffington Post published an article stating that for the first time in history, there are more single American adults than married adults. The article states that the reason for this is “implications for the economy, society and politics.” How does this have anything to do with dating? Well, we now have to figure out when we go out on dates what the other person is looking for. Do they want to get married someday? Are they just looking for something casual? Do we want the same outcome from this possible future relationship? **Side note: Please don’t ask these questions on the first, second or even third date!** More people are becoming very comfortable living the single life but it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to stop dating. It’s just another part of the puzzle of dating we need to figure out that people didn’t need to figure out in the past.
Dating is hard. I personally hate it. And in today’s world it has become a lot harder. I think that the people who don’t have to worry or even think about dating do not understand how different it is these days. So give yourself a little slack if you are single. For those who aren’t single and who haven’t been in a long time, give your single friends a little slack and let them know you understand how different and somewhat difficult it is these days.