It’s a jungle out there, that’s for sure. The dating landscape has never been easy to navigate, between awkward first kisses, trying to find the perfect romantic restaurant and knowing whether you should stick with your steady or just break things off. But dating today is more complicated and different than ever before.
The internet has totally and completely changed the way we live, from the ways we conduct ourselves and our business to how we date. And online dating and mobile dating apps like Tinder or Bumble aren’t the only way technology and the modern era have altered dating. You know how your date used to pick you up at home before a big night out? Yeah, today that is not going to happen.
But that’s not all that’s different between dating in 2018 versus dating in the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s.
Whether you’re trying to get back out onto the dating scene after a divorce or the end of a long relationship or just looking to see what your kids are up to these days, here’s how dating has changed since you were in high school.
Depending on when you went to high school, online dating may not have even been a thing back in your day. And if it was, it was something left for the desperate, and those who met their significant others online would lie about how they came to know each other. According to a 2005 Pew Research Center poll, 29 percent of respondents said those who used online dating sites were “desperate.” In 2015, that percentage plummeted to 23, and we suspect it’s even lower today.
Swipe right, swipe left… it’s all about finding love quickly and easily these days with mobile dating apps. According to Statista, the go-to dating site is Match.com, but Tinder comes in at a close second and is the preferred dating site for 5 percent of users in the U.S. But people who use dating apps may not be doing it out of any sort of urgency to date. According to Esquire, 63 percent of Tinder users use the app just because they’re bored.
There’s the sort of classic scenario: A girl waits nervously at home for the cutie from drama class to show up, ring the doorbell and take her away to the best date spot in your state. Today, that’s not going to happen. Are you and your date heading to the bar for a cocktail? You’re just going to meet there. It’s a safety issue; if you just met someone, you probably don’t want them to know where you live until you’re sure they’re trustworthy.
Make sure to have your phone nearby when you’re in the throes of a new relationship. That whole idea of waiting three days before calling someone back is so over and done. If you had a good time on your first date, send a short and quick text a little later letting your new beau know! Just remember not to play games with texting, and to reserve important conversations for the phone or real life. Doing otherwise is a big etiquette mistake.
Ghosting, also known as the “Irish exit,” is a fine way to leave a party when you’re in a rush, but it’s not a fine way to treat someone you’re dating. In a dating context, ghosting is a total and complete silent treatment without explanation, and it’s probably going to happen to you, especially if you are meeting over the internet. According to a survey by Plenty of Fish, nearly 80 percent of millennials have been ghosted.
According to a study from the General Social Survey, 29 percent of respondents said premarital sex between adults was "not wrong at all" in the early 1970s. In 2012, that number skyrocketed to 58 percent. And while some religious groups are more likely to abstain than others, only 3 percent of Americans wait until marriage to have sex, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Just because people are having sex before they tie the knot doesn’t mean they’re having tons of it. According to The Washington Post, millennials are actually having less sex and fewer sexual partners than Gen Xers and baby boomers. Why? They’re too dang busy. In a 2016 study, 15 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds reported they had not had sex since turning 18.
While faith is an important aspect of life, don’t rule out someone who has a different religion than you. Other daters certainly aren’t. According to the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of people are married to someone of a different religion than them. That’s up significantly from the ‘70s, when just 24 percent of people were in mixed-religion marriages.
If you are dating someone and things become serious, don’t worry about getting hitched right away. Millennials certainly are getting married later, but they’re more willing to move in together before any legal commitment. Pew reports 14 percent of people age 25 to 34 were cohabitating in 2016, and 8 percent of 35- to 49-year-olds.
First comes love, then comes marriage. Right? Well, not for modern daters. While cohabitation has increased, marriage rates have decreased among millennials. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age of first marriage has risen to 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men; that’s up nearly three and a half years for women. Why? People are waiting until they’re financially stable to get hitched. After all, it is expensive to plan your dream wedding.
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