Every generation believes their approach to relationships is the right one. They don’t seem to understand each other and they aren’t necessarily interested in trying to. Their perspectives are certainly reflective of the cultural or societal expectations of their time.
My curiosity is in the younger generation – their ability to inject romance into their relationships.
I have found that older generations had very different expectations:
- Marriage was expected and was often done right after high school
- There were prescribed ways of courting – mostly initiated by the man – who was required to go through the family of his intended bride
- Cultural norms played a big part and not following them was not an option
- It was rare that a couple was not from the same background
- Marriage was a commitment for life and break ups were unheard of
- A woman’s main goal was to have children and stay home to care for them and her husband
- Family time was important and face-to-face communication was standard
- Women deferred to their husband and rarely pursued or even voiced their own dreams and desires for their lives
- Although many have told me that they did what was expected of them, they had some regret at not nurturing themselves
- Over the years, relationships started to take on a more casual approach and commitment was an option
- Women started to have a voice and ventured out in to the work force
- Divorce became more prominent
Is the new generation missing out on romance?
Today’s generation has shared a very different perspective on relationships:
- Growing up in a world of instant access and a ‘trophies for everyone’ experience, has created a sense of getting what you want when you want it
- Relationships are instantaneous
- Dating is a sport and sex is recreational
- Connection is electronic
- Time together is often experienced through alcohol or drugs
- They describe a transactional, comfortable relationship with the option to exit quickly if it doesn’t work out
- They tend to believe ‘it will all work out’ – without the awareness of the type of emotional investment needed
- Many aren’t as interested in marriage so if it doesn’t work out – they can find someone else
- When and if they choose to enter into marriage is likely when they will move beyond the transactional and superficial experiences they have had
- It is at that point that they can start learning about true communication and connection and hopefully go through the ‘courting’ phase – or making the effort to create those special moments that build romance.
History has been written for the earlier generations. For the younger ones, I am curious to see how they will work out over time. They are rewriting the rules for dating and long-term relationships. Will romance survive?