New Age Love: Why Are We Using a Dated Dating Model?

March 6, 2015  |  

“I want what my grandparents had.”

I have heard this so many times. Whether it’s from friends, television, movies, or music. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about this last Saturday. She said “That would be a pretty good article.” I sat with it for a few days and then caught the last ten minutes of Being Mary Jane in which Richard Roundtree’s character reitterated the same sentiments that I did.

The way of dating /courting that our parents and grandparents did is a dated model that isn’t applicable today. If a man said to a woman in 2015 “I’m going to marry you (insert short period of time),” they would run for the hills thinking that man is crazy. It would freak them out. That used to work before.

I was once venting to a friend and asking her “How should I tell a good friend they’re getting married too soon?” She responded “You never know. My friend’s grandparents did after meeting a week ago.” I replied “Yeah…their grandparents. That doesn’t work now.” I really wanted to say “You out of all people? Ms. “I want to take things slowly” had this as a response? Riiiiight!”

In almost every other sense we millennials want to be progressive; yet this is one of the only places where we are holding onto old values in spite of the fact that they don’t work.

For starters, we are too selfish.

We want instant gratification in almost everything. Those who are ready to settle down but haven’t see everyone else who is getting married and posting pictures of a happy life don’t understand how much sacrifice and compromise come along with merging one’s lives. Dating/courtship is easy…marriage is hard. It’s like a parent with a newborn child thinking the “staying up all night” phase is stressful. You think that’s harder than reasoning with a teenager or having to help stabilize a fully functioning adult who is trying to get their life together in a rapidly changing climate fresh out of the recession.

The stakes continually get higher and you have to have the patience to be able to communicate effectively. We don’t do that too well because we are generally fixated on expressing how we feel as opposed to hearing our partners out. Communication is mostly about listening and not expressing. We simply want it all while sacrificing as little of ourselves as possible. That’s the opposite of how marriage works.

Secondly, we are getting married much older than the last two generations before us were.

We are getting married and having children in our early-to-mid 30s when many of our elders did so in their early 20s. That in itself drastically reduces the likeliness of having a 50th or 60th anniversary like they did.

In the past, people met while they were younger and grew together. While they were establishing who they were as adults, they were doing so together. The idea of people being a “fit” was virtually nonexistent because they were learning to fit in a time of life when they were much more fluid and receptive of change.

Settling down older isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We are waiting until we are more financially stable. Life is much more expensive than it was 30 years ago and it takes a lot more to be established in one’s career. The other side of this coin means that we come with 10 more years of baggage. We have been hurt much younger in a way that older generations have been. These younger years are still formidable, so the crushing blows effect who we are, change how we see the world, and may take years of deprogramming to undo said pain.

There are more options available as well. So we are looking for an ideal and perfect fit not knowing such a thing doesn’t really exist. Also, being vulnerable with someone is a game of chicken in which the first to admit feelings usually loses.

So why are we following a dated model? We are chasing a paradigm that doesn’t really exist wondering why things just don’t work out. Even if it does, it isn’t something most of us want or prefer.

Just something to think about.

Maybe this could help change one’s paradigm, because the goals are much different and should be more realistic.

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