This concept, explained in depth in The Oxford Companion to United States History , goes, "By the early nineteenth century, couples began to consider romantic love prerequisite for marriage and based their unions on companionship.
Donna Arp Weitzman
The era's fiction frequently drew on love themes, while articles, essays, and public orations stressed mutual respect, reciprocity, and romance as ingredients of good marriages. Young courting couples chose their own partners, and their letters focused on romance rather than on the practical matters that had dominated the correspondence of earlier generations.
In the s, "going steady" was the term for being in an exclusive relationship. This status was about the relationship, sure, but it was also about standing out amongst your peers. According to the University of California, Santa Barbara , "Across university campuses, couples publicized their decision to 'go steady' when the man gave the woman an article of his clothing to wear, such as a jacket, sweater, or ring.
The gentleman caller
The way in which two people experienced sexuality when dating also shifted. In the earlier part of the 20th century, sex and sexuality were not openly discussed. As author Jodi O'Brien put it, "Sex was desexualized" and reserved for marriage, when the couple had entered into a spiritual union with God. As dating gradually became more about personal pleasure throughout the decades, the expression of sexuality became much more commonplace. According to the Oxford Companion to United States History , "The terms 'necking' and 'petting' — the former referring to kisses and caresses above the neck, the latter to the same below it — entered public discussion, giving names to previously unspoken private activities.
Between the popularization of rock 'n' roll, and protesting the Vietnam War, s youth culture was hot for revolution. Not only was it the activities of the US government that young people were resisting, but they were shirking old social conventions as well.
If the '50s saw young people starting to experiment with sex, the '60s was the resulting explosion of sexual activity in the name of freedom. For a long time, sex was either not discussed or seen as a kind of enemy — a destroyer of young girl's reputations. But this stopped being the case with the hippie generation.
Dating becomes a thing
America in the s author Edmund Lindop describes the sexual shift of the period, "For youth of the s, such restrictions were a thing of the past. Many young women took birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. They freely explored their sexual feelings. Sex before marriage was no longer taboo. Young people extolled the benefits of "free love"— that is, making love without marriage or long-term commitments.
There were no rules for dating anymore. Young people did what they wanted, when they wanted, and modern-day "hook up" culture began.
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The next major change in dating started with the introduction of matchmaking services and the internet. But the concept of online dating was being worked out way before the general public even had access to the internet. In , two Harvard students created what is known as "Operation Match" to make dating easier for young people. The "World Wide Web" officially became available to everyone in , and online dating websites were soon popping up all over the place: And it was at the turn of the 21st century that people also began using Craigslist as a way of linking up with other people romantically.
Shortly after, sites like OKCupid followed. In , you can't turn your head without finding someone who has at least one dating app on their phone: Tinder , Plenty of Fish , and Bumble , to name a few. While some people think this approach to dating really works, others collectively sigh at the thought of the current dating game. So why are so many millennials complaining that dating nowadays is just too frustrating and complicated, when technology was supposed to make it easier?
Dating Differences: Millennials & Boomers - Donna Arp Weitzman
The individual has become more and more important in today's culture than ever before, and technology has played a big role in that. Just think of the concept of the selfie. This generation is much more focused on themselves than previous generations. Combined with the casual culture of hooking up, one night stands, and friends with benefits, actually finding someone to seriously date can be difficult.
Millennials simply have so many options that "going steady" can be a hard pitch to sell.
How dating has changed over the last 100 years
There is a case for both sides of this argument. Nowadays, we have more freedom to choose how we live our lives. We make up our own rules or lack thereof and are allowed so many options in how we wish to interact with romantic partners. However, this is exactly what makes dating in so difficult. With Millennials, it means they tend to be in constant communication via texting, chat apps, and social media. Constant communication fosters a different relationship dynamic than in previous generations.
Social media has only been around for about years but it is now a huge staple of our society. What this means for dating is that millennials have much more transparency in their dating prospects. Boomers have access to social media as well, but their post history is generally a lot shorter, more professional, and is of course missing content from before social media and internet proliferation. While millennials have technology and social media on their side, Boomers on the other hand have more experience and intimate knowledge in dating and relationships.
Many of them have been married, are divorced, and have been through a number of serious relationships in their time. Millennials on the other hand are used to instability, both financially and emotionally, which sometimes translates into uncertainty within their relationships. So even though their methods and definitions of dating are widely different, both generations are still both looking for similar things: Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Welcome to Cinderella has Cellulite — a show about love, romance, and how to make it all last!
Relationship expert Donna Arp Weitzman draws on her years of experience, in and out of the dating game, to unwrap the mysteries behind the all-too-familiar fairy tale!