Over recent decades, relationships have shifted from customs which occurred in our parents’ day, to what happens now. The shift is as a result of the changing world and societal and media influences which have seemingly left a numbing effect which has made us more accepting of the ‘new’ relationship norms.
While relationships took longer to develop and lasted long throughout marriage, people held values and norms as to good meaningful relationships when our parents were growing up. Below are some shifts that will startle persons who were used to courting, pulling out chairs, and holding doors, etc.
- You don’t have to be by each other’s side that often.
Nowadays, if you see a couple together more than usual, you assume that they have been together for quite a while. ‘Young couples’, couples who have been together for 6 months or less, are seldom together, they would more likely choose to be alone or with other people than their partners. In the past, our parents would be seen together quite often outside of work business travel.
- It’s okay to ‘break it off’ or ‘take a break’.
Breaks seem to be the norm in present day relationships; where if a relationship cannot work at that time, partners can opt to see less of each other, but still be together— something not known to dating relationships decades ago.
- Public Display of Affection (PDA) is less conservative than in previous years.
Partners would keep their PDAs to a maximum of a peck on the cheek or holding of hands when caught in public, but now, anything goes. Couples will go as far as French kissing, touching and even sexual intercourse in public settings, whenever they feel ‘in the mood’, and it doesn’t matter who is watching.
- You don’t have to ask the parent’s approval before dating or marriage.
When our parents were young this was an occurrence which proved that you were really serious about the relationship. Asking the partner’s parents, usually the woman’s parents, to date their daughter or marry them was the norm and was viewed as an admirable act by the man.
Today, it is more commonplace for some partners to not even an invitation to meet the other partner’s parents, and if that happens, it is on the terms of that person, where they have to deem the relationship serious in order to bring them home. The popular song — Rude— by the group called Magic, focuses on a man asking for a father’s approval to marry his daughter.
When the father says no, the man calls him rude and states that he will marry her anyway. This pop-culture scenario is indicative of the trend as it relates to parents and the union as a whole.
- You can be ‘intimate’ before marriage.
This is not to say that persons decades ago got married before having children or even before sexual intercourse, as some couples took that route and then got married in the later years of their lives. There has been an increase in the amount of incidences involving intimacy outside of marriage and a large portion of the society is now trending towards accepting this behavior as an integral part of any strong relationship.
- Relationships can last a couple of hours in length.
Persons tend to ‘test the waters’ and if those waters are not to their liking or if they date for ulterior motives like social mobility and not for genuine likeness of the person. These relationships have become more common and therefore points to an upward trend.
- Relationships have to go on for about 8 months before they can be considered serious.
The seriousness of a relationship means dating for more than eight months in the books of today’s youth. In earlier times, courting was the time during which partners got to know each other then the next level was dating.
- You both can pay for the bill.
Many year ago when you go to restaurants or out on dates, it was customary for the male to pay for the bill. Nowadays, the rise of the independent women makes it that the couple shares the bill equally or takes turns paying.
- Kissing is okay on the first date, among other things.
If the feelings are transcending into the atmosphere and you feel the impending need to kiss your date, it is alright. Some persons go as far as shacking up on the first date.
- You can date more than one person at the same time.
This is a growing trend where persons can date more than one person at the same time. This promotes a form of polyamorous in the early stages of a relationship, but when things get more ‘serious’ it is observed that persons settle down with just one.
- The female can make the first move, even with proposing
Again, the independent woman calls the shots, if she likes a person and they have been dating for a while and she sees that the person is too shy to propose, she will get down on one knee and propose; different to previous decades where the traditional way of proposing was for the man to get down on one knee and ask for her hand in marriage.
- Relationships are more in the public eye and everything is posted on social media.
Everything is on the social media; from selfies with the boyfriend, to cute cuddling videos. There is no filter as to how much you post to your social media accounts, and it can be looked at as a self-infringement of privacy.
By Alexandra Daley
Give us your thoughts. Did we miss a trend?