Dating: an Old-Fashioned Concept for a Modern Age

Two men laughing togetherYou are out at a bar and meet someone who seems attractive, interesting, and interested in you. He asks you for your number, and you offer it up freely.

The next day you get a call from him and decide to have coffee that evening. Coffee goes so well that it stretches out into dinner, and then a late-night drink. Maybe you go home together, and the next morning you feel that wonderful afterglow and the feeling in your heart that this could be “the one.”

You begin to string together images of moving in together, buying a house, getting some pets, and traveling all over the world together as a storybook couple. Within the week you decide to move in and see how it goes. Six months later, you are fighting all the time, can’t stand each other’s habits, and feel betrayed and hurt.

This is a common pattern that has developed in the gay community, especially amongst people who are searching to repair a fractured family experience from their childhood. Rushing in and out of multiple relationships can make one believe that there is no true love out there and that relationships are for fools.

Maybe the problem is not the people one meets, but the speed at which some modern relationships seem to careen forward into commitment and finality. The speed at which expectations and fantasies take over the reality of a relationship can overwhelm our ability to see the true person sitting across from us at the table.

This is where the very old-fashioned concept of dating might have a place in the hyperspeed modern world that we live in today. Slowing things down and really getting to know someone takes time, work, and focus, and can even be a little scary. At the same time, it can create a strong foundation for a truly powerful relationship to develop. By taking the time to actually get to know someone, we are investing our own energy more wisely and setting ourselves up for future success.

A concept that can be very helpful in this slow-dating approach is the idea of “qualifying” this potential new partner. Look at the qualities potential partners present, not only to you but also to the other people they interact with on a daily basis. Notice how this person interacts with friends, both when those friends are present and when they are not. Does he treat these friends with respect and kindness?

When out on a date, how does this new potential partner interact with the staff at a restaurant? Do you observe respect and generosity? Or do you observe demanding and demeaning behaviors toward the servers?

These are all cues to a person’s true life perspective and can give you insights into what living with this individual might be like.

Another important cue is to listen carefully to how a potential partner speaks about exes and the problems in his past relationships. These can provide valuable clues to challenges that the two of you may face in the future. Unless he has taken the time to do the work to untangle these past problems, the same issues will probably appear again in your future together.

These simple steps, and the time it takes to implement them, will make it easier to know the person you are dating, rather than the mask that he wears to impress the world. Relationships are a lot of work, and each of us has to be willing to make that investment of time and energy in order for the best results to manifest.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Sovec, LMFT. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • maddie

    June 9th, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Dating I have found is a lost art. Too many times these days it feels like people rush into those instant relationships- they click from the evry beginning and think that things are going to be like that forever. NOT!

    They really fail to take the time to get to know one another, to learn their quirks and to find out if this is something that they really can deal with for the rets of their lives.

    Having been there done that now I sit back and wonder what the rush is all about. What’s wrong with going on some dates, even for a year or so and getting to know everything about somebody before jumping in and making that kind of committment? My mom always asked me what the rush was all baotu and now I ask myself and others the same exact thing!!

  • mathew ethrington

    June 10th, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    I agree with you…Most youngsters now do not take the time to asses and evaluate whether the relationship will work and do not even take some time off after having a failed relationship.They rush into a relationship like there’s no tomorrow and thus this feeling of not feeling good soon afterwards sets in.

  • Stacy

    June 10th, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    Dating itself was invented to actually give a platform for people to get to know each other and then decide whether they want to go ahead if they feel he./she is the one.But most people today use this as a tool to fulfill their physical cravings and hence there is a trend of people falling out of relationships faster than ever now.

  • Sandra H

    June 10th, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    I don’t think dating is something ‘old-fashioned’ that is not finding favor with today’s youngsters and that is why more relationships are breaking apart now.There have always been people who actually jump into a relationship with someone just because they are attracted to them with no real thinking of how far the relationship will actually go…there have always been such people.But its just that the number of such people has increased in recent times and that is why there are far more number of relationships that are falling apart nowadays.

  • John

    June 10th, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    And think of how much social networking has taken away from dating. Kids just hook up online now.

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