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Relationships and Dating: Things aren’t like they used to be…!

Relationships and Dating – Things aren’t like they used to be!

Dating, it seems, isn’t what it used to be ten or twenty years ago. It used to be much easier and more straightforward to understand the rules of relationships and dating. Now all those rules seem to have gone out of the window! This blogs looks at some of the “old rules” of dating compared to the new.

Old Rule 1: We’re dating because we want a relationship

These days you never really know. Are you dating? Or are you just having sex? Are you “friends with benefits” (and do we still use that term?!) Are you “together” or are you “officially together”? Apparently there is now a difference – exclusivity isn’t always promised. With all these different levels of togetherness that we’ve invented, it’s no surprise that many times we’ll find ourselves with a person and not know how to introduce him or her to friends or family.

Old Rule 2: Relationships are monogamous

As not knowing whether or not you’re in a relationship can drag on for months, uncertainty of whether or not you should be dating other people creeps up. If you’re not in a relationship then you are free to date – but what if the other person finds out and you ruin your chances with him or her? Even worse, what if he or she is dating other people and you’re staying at home being faithful?

Old Rule 3: We all follow the same rules

With every new device and messaging service comes a new rule as to how long to wait before initiating post-date contact. Not only that, there are rules on how much you can and can’t text or on how often you should or shouldn’t see each other. No one really knows what the rules are because they’re so arbitrary it doesn’t really matter, but nevertheless we know that there are some supposed rules out there somewhere and we’ll follow our own interpretation of them. The form of communication itself makes dating more difficult.

Old Rule 4: There is a certain “date-etiquette”

Back in the good old simple days, you might buy flowers or chocolates. You might go to dinner, maybe just go for a walk. At the end of the night, you would kiss the girl on the cheek and go your separate ways. Mission accomplished. Nowadays there are little to no guidelines on going out on a date. When was the last time you saw anyone bring flowers to a date?!

Old Rule 5: Balancing work and life is pretty straightforward

Life was simpler before – there was less to do, less to balance. There were fewer options, possibilities and choices to make. Today we have countless options presented to us every single day whether it’s in terms of where we live or what we buy for dinner. Our nature is to make sure we check them all out – just in case we miss something. We want to follow our dreams. Even worse we have a tendency to keep wanting more and more.  That’s fine except that a relationship takes a lot of time, commitment and often sacrifice. Balancing a career and a relationship isn’t easy.

Old Rule 6: We mainly communicate face to face

The Internet made the world a much smaller place, and while that’s great for keeping up with friends or posting a video of your dog doing tricks but it can also make avoiding your exes almost impossible. Back in the day, you would call someone and if you didn’t get an answer, you would leave a message on their machine then stress about it until you heard back? Well now there are about a million other ways to stress yourself out about not hearing back from someone. For example, let’s say you sent a text at 6 p.m. and it’s now 9 p.m. and you haven’t heard anything back. It’s probably nothing.  He/she is probably just busy or away from the phone. OK, just to ease your mind, why don’t you check his/her Twitter to see if she’s posted anything since you sent that text? OK, there’s nothing there. And while you’re at it, you might as well check her Instagram to see if he/she’s posted a picture since you texted her. And obviously a quick check of his/her Facebook page comes next. And…what if he or she did indeed post a few tweets or Facebook posts  instead of responding to your text???!!!

And texting has its own problems – chiefly the lack of context or tone. You can’t hear what the other person is actually saying, so it’s really easy to misconstrue each other’s words. A light-hearted joke can come over as a personal attack.

Old Rule 7 We make plans

When your relationship doesn’t have a clear and concise label, trying to make plans beyond the next time you’ll see each other is like walking through a minefield. For example imagine you’ve been seeing someone for a month and there’s a wedding you’re attending in five weeks. Do you mention it or not?   If you wait too late to ask, he/she might make other plans but would he/she think that you are pushing things way too quickly?

In my next blog I’ll look at the role of Dating Apps in relationships and dating– are they good or bad?

Need some advice and support?

If you are experiencing difficulties in your relationship and would like to talk it over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.

Book a counselling session today!


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