How dating culture has changed since our parents’ days

November 13, 2016

Much has changed since the ‘60s and ‘70s—the days of free love and psychedelics, the Rolling Stones and the Stooges, the Vietnam War and the Women’s Liberation movement. This sounds pretty liberal, but we truly work, play and live in a completely different environment, especially when it comes to relationships.

Sure we still listen to old school rock and roll and tie-dye shirts are slightly more back in fashion, but our dating scene has never been more different. The options we have today either weren’t available back then or were definitely frowned upon.

Then and Now: 3 Ways Dating Culture Has Changed

Let me preface this with a disclaimer. Though I’d love to be versed in old school dating cultures from all over the world, this is not my experience. I will focus on the way people date in the Western world and this is a generalized commentary. There are and will always be exceptions to every generalization.

Now that we are clear on that, let’s continue.

1. Online dating

The main difference between how your parents dated and how you do now is the advent of online dating, specifically via dating sites and apps. Because the Internet as we know it now was not a thing back then, online dating apps would sound ludicrous and crazy to people dating in the ‘60s and ‘70s. For us, it’s a normal and necessary way to meet people and an avenue to find a community we feel we belong to.

2. Gender and sexual expression and expectations

In the simplest terms, the predominant social norm for dating used to be that men often asked women out on dates, which also meant that it was an incredibly heteronormative scene. Men were expected to be handsome, tough and chivalrous and women were expected to be beautiful homemakers. People who identified as gay or transgendered, bisexual or any other non-gender binary status were not recognized in any formal manner, and if you didn’t fit into the heteronormative binary, you were out of luck. In today’s dating world, it’s completely different. Thanks to the rise of feminism and gay rights, women now ask men out, LGBT individuals have their pick of dating apps to choose from and people are more open about their sexual orientation.

3. Dating goals

Along with the way people go out on dates, the reason for dating has changed. Older generations dated to get married. And usually, people got married quite young. Today, people have different reasons to date aside from a desire to get married: long-term relationships, hookups, threesomes, open relationships. Frankly, we love that.

These three differences are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myriad differences between how our parents dated and how we do now. Our dating culture has transformed into an open and more expressive place—even if it can still be hard to explain our choices to our parents.

Photo credit: Wikipedia