Having been single on and off for over a decade, I’ve had the pleasure (and sometimes displeasure) of seeing several notable changes in how dating works. The core elements remain mostly intact, but expectations seem to have changed. These changes range from how a potential couple meets, to what mutual expectations the two have of the first few dates. I’ll delve into these issues, and what I believe is the reasoning behind them.
How a Couple Meets
When I started dating, the notion of not having seen the other person was practically fiction. You met them, got to know them a little, and then went out, or a few friends felt sorry for you and hooked you up with a blind date. That has considerably changed in the age of social media and online dating.
First and foremost, online dating has become the latest and greatest thing. I’ve written other articles on some of the intricacies of online dating, but one thing that is very relevant is that the online dating industry has grown into a mammoth of a beast. With revenue that measures just shy of $1.25 billion, sites like eHarmony and Match.com certainly have a vested interest in attracting single people.
However, people in the digital realm aren’t even limiting themselves to sites dedicated to romantic match-ups. I’ve witnessed people using Facebook to meet their potential love interests on a continuously increasing frequency, often getting conversations started in friend’s comments section, then taking it into private messaging. Facebook notoriously has started its ‘own’ dating service, called Zoosk, however the platform leaves much to be desired with many of the features landing behind a Farmville-like pay wall, something that doesn’t match well with most Facebook users.
Most of my single life has been during a time when either the recession was beginning to hit, or while it was in full swing. This has given me the opportunity to observe some rather interesting changes in what a couple expects the first dates to be like. I remember during my first stint in the dating world, it was expected that a first date would include a rather nice dinner, semi-formal attire, and a classy bit of entertainment after.
That is no longer the case. Increasingly young single people such as myself have found themselves unable to part with the large amount of money these fancy first few dates usually entailed, and have increasingly moved into accepting a less formal environment where the two can get to know each other how they really are.
While I think fancy, classy dates certainly still have a place in the dating world, I think this shift is a very positive one. I personally would rather invest money in making the other person feel good when I have a better understanding of who they are and whether I can see myself with the person for a longer term, rather than spend a considerable amount of money just to find out that I can’t stand being around the person.