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Relationships in the 21st century: 4 things you didn't know

It’s no secret that modern relationships have evolved over time.

Today, relationships are much more fast-paced. Courtship isn’t as common as it was in the past. One thing that you’ll often hear your grandparents, or even parents, complain about is how different dating is now than previous generations. But how different is dating really from our parents and grandparents time?

There are 4 key elements that make modern relationships so unique.

  1. Courtship is no longer a thing in many modern relationships. In the past, courtship was the period of romantic activity often initiated by men prior to asking for a woman’s hand in marriage. Today, courtship is the period of limited dating before becoming an official couple. Nowadays, you start as friends, date, and then become a couple. Long gone are the days of chaperoned dates and formal dinner introductions to parents. The closest thing we have to courtship now is “hanging out.”
  1. Relationships are more difficult to define. In older generations, you were either single or dating. Nowadays it’s common to hear young people refer to their “relationships” in a variety of categories. You may hear the terms “talking” “seeing each other” or “it’s complicated.” This language may sound baffling to people from older generations. However, young couples are paying less attention to the rules and labels that governed typical romantic relationships in the past.
  2. Online dating is the second most common way to find a partner. Over the past few years, online dating has increasingly become a more widely accepted way of meeting a future partner. In fact, as many as 1 in 5 relationships are believed to begin online. Compare that to the time when people met their life partners through a childhood friend or a co-worker at your first job. Online dating was thought to be reserved for people lacking social skills. Today, with almost everyone owning a smartphone and spending a lot of time in the digital world— It’s no surprise that online dating is becoming more and more popular.
  3. Couples are contributing equally financially. In today's world, half of the married millennials had either fully or partially merged their finances with their significant other before marriage. On top of that, couples also have no problem splitting the bill on first dates. Women no longer expect men to pick up the tab on dates. Recent studies found that 35% of millennial women stated that they would have no problem splitting the bill with their partner on a first date. That is 9% more than women in older generations. It’s not just dates and bills that couples are splitting the bill on, more couples are splitting the cost of big purchases together as well. Some couples even purchase engagement rings together.
  4. Marriage is becoming more optional. It’s not that people don’t want to get married, but more couples today have different views of marriage than those from the older generations. While our grandparents and even parents had more of a conservative view of marriage— It's common to see unmarried couples living together and even having children before deciding to get married.

While today’s relationships are much different from what our grandparents experienced, there is one thing that has remained an important aspect of all relationships— Traditions. Check out the infographic below for more examples of how modern relationships and traditions of the past have evolved over time.

Amanda H. is a content creator who enjoys spending time with her pups. When she’s not playing fetch, she can be found gardening.


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