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March 4, 2019

There seems to be a gap in the mechanics of dating from the current generation of teens and young adults and what dating was like “back in the day.”

Today the proverbial phone number is used for texting-not talking. So here we go:

  •  Person one: “ Whats up with you?”
  •  Person two: “just chillin…why?”
  •  Person one; “thought you might like to get some pizza or somethin”
  • Person two: : “I think Im goin ta just chill here- not tonight”
  • Person one: “ok but hit me up when you can”
  • Person two; “sure”

What happens then is that person one never gets any notice beyond that; no phone call, no text –  nothing. Person one rightfully feels that person number two is not interested in getting together.

End of story. End of a possible friendship or romance. Added to this crude mechanical communication seems to be a paranoia about starting a relationship. I am not so sure where this originates but fear of pregnancy, fear of HIV and other venereal diseases probably plays a big role. So the safe route would be for women to hang out with women and men to hang out with men. Unless there is a homosexual affinity, the issue of sex is removed from the equation and the getting together becomes safe.

A group of guys get together to play video games while altering their perception via alcohol or drugs and have a relaxed wonderful time. A group of girls or young women are at a party and seem to have great fun socializing, dancing and laughing amongst themselves. There is an element of comfort and familiarity among same sexes.

Maybe we are seeing the subconscious effects of the 1980-2000 media blitz putting fear into sexuality, especially because of the AIDs crisis. Sexuality in the 1970’s was fairly casual and almost conventional.

The biggest worry was pregnancy and gonorrhea. HIV was not a factor until after 1978. For those teens who participated in sex, it was a gradual continuum of “going further and further” over many weeks and months of “going together.” Sex was not initiated on the first or second date. It took time for comfortability to set in. Such is not the case today. Using today’s adults as models, dating implies the possibility of sexual activity. This obviously can be scary for a young lady to get together with a man one on one.

Add in the custom of texting and poor skills at talking face to face, this issue of sex and getting together often goes without understanding. Nothing gets resolved so the safest option is to not “hit the other person up.” It would sound ridiculous but relieving if person one above included in his text:

Person one: “thought you might like to get some pizza-my treat;  but look, this is not like I am trying to have sex with you.    It’s just a friend like thang.”

Without face to face dialog skills, relationships may ONLY be centered around sex for those who choose to participate. These are certainly bad models for those individuals who choose to marry and have children. I can’t imagine a married couple having a worthwhile and needed argument via texting.

It requires the skills of reading body language, refining the meaning of what the other person is saying and meaning. It requires the physical presence if an argument ends up with reconciliation, hugs and smiles that resolve difficult issues. Dating purely though text communication is disastrous when one matures and desires a long term companion.

So, for those of us who are members of “old school dating” we may have to better avail ourselves to sharing our stories as teens and young adults. Our young folks WILL listen. They are very interested in intimate relationships; in today’s fashion of social media and texting, they just don’t know how to go about it.

…… with you later,

Dr. D.

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