Dating has gone through some major changes over the years.
The rules regarding how singles meet, where they go, and who foots the bill are a lot more fluid than they were just a generation ago.
Apps and the Internet can expand your dating pool far beyond the boundaries of your immediate neighborhood, and allow you to gather intelligence on a person before you meet face to face.
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But there are some aspects of dating in the 21st century that are a lot more complicated and potentially more dangerous than what your parents had to deal with.
The definition of a date has changed: For your parents, a date may have looked something like this: your father picked your mother up from her home – probably with a bouquet of flowers in hand – escorted her to dinner or a movie, and dropped her off at her door with a polite promise to call her in the morning.
Today, a date can be anything from meeting your partner and a bunch of friends at a bar to Netflix and chillin’ at home. And while one could argue that any time together can be quality time, it can be easy to get complacent and let these kinds of less-than-romantic options become the norm.
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Figuring out who pays is much more complicated: As the rules of dating have evolved, so have the rules regarding who foots the bill. Back in the day, it was understood that when a man asked a woman on a date, he was also accepting responsibility for paying.
But today, it’s just as likely that either party is doing the asking. Expecting anyone who self identifies as a man to pick up the tab could be perceived as either totally chivalrous or totally sexist. Unless you’ve both agreed on who’s paying ahead of time, you could find yourself doing the awkward paycheck tango at the end of your meal.
Texting makes dating much more impersonal: Gone are the days of sitting by the phone waiting for your crush to call. Having a cell phone can make communicating with your date a lot more convenient. But those pesky little devices can also be extremely impersonal.
Deciphering emojis and abbreviations in a text message can leave a lot open to interpretation – or worse, misinterpretation. And if you’re out with someone who’s constantly checking text messages and Facebook updates, cell phones can be a huge distraction.
Online dating can be misleading: Online dating is an increasingly popular way for singles to connect with one another.
And while online dating can be a great alternative to bar hopping, you can sometimes find that a profile that catches your eye is not an accurate representation of the person who shows up on the date. A 10-year-old profile pic, an inflated resume, or an omission of important facts can make you think you’re dating someone you’re not.
Hooking up on the first date is much more common: The art of courting is dying a slow death in modern dating culture. Because sex on the first date (or even before the first date) is more socially acceptable, singles who are just interested in hooking up don’t have to spend a lot of time working for it.
Back in the day, your parents dated with their eyes on the ultimate prize — marriage. Today’s singles may eventually want to walk down the aisle, but for the most part, they aren’t in a rush.
STDs are more prevalent than they used to be: The consequences of having sex are a lot more serious today than they were when your parents were dating.
And even though information about the importance of practicing safe sex is more accessible today than it was for your parents, the risks of contracting an STD are much greater.
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