Relationships Then And Now: Changes In Social Values Change The Dating Scene
- March 1st, 2011
- 3 Comments
Today we wrap up our Youth Advisory Board series on relationships and romance. Christopher Walcott shares his perspective on how dating has progressed from the time when his parents dated to now — and it’s not all sunshine and roses. He feels that sincerity and romance are absent. In fact, he prefers the old ways of courting that are more in line with his values. For another take on modern dating and relationships, check out Caroline’s opinion of “textmance.”
If you’d like to contact the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board, send an email to youthadvisoryboard @ ypulse.com or leave a comment below.
Then Vs. Now…
My mom and I were talking the other day about the differences between relationships now, compared to when she grew up. Traditional means of dating appeared very technical back then. Before a young man could date a young lady, he would have to go through “the procedures.” Conversation between couples didn’t rely on Internet capabilities — interpersonal relationships stemmed from face-to-face interactions, which were limited to either school or a visit at home. And to see the object of his affection at home meant the young man had to prove himself before entering her house. I chuckled a bit when I heard that one. These days, a young man doesn’t have to go through the long tension of the girl’s father’s eyes piercing into his soul trying to find the slightest fault in him — not to mention the thousand questions he’d ask:
Where are you from?
What are you planning to be?
Have you ever been to jail?
The list can go on and on…
Parents aren’t included as much as before — dating now is more autonomous, independent, and liberated. So while parents may disagree with your choice of partner, it won’t necessarily bring an end to the relationship. Some parents get more involved than others, but I would say parents are less involved now than in the past. A few decades ago, young people were more respectful of their parents’ wishes. Now, it’s more “I’ll do what I want despite what you think.”
Dating is about easy, quick, and affordable interactions. The whole nine yards that people used to go through have been condensed into one “new age of communication” with cell phones, text messaging, email, Facebook, bb messenger… Some parents who felt that things were too restricted in their time take a looser attitude toward their children dating, giving them greater freedom and ability to make their own decisions.
For young people today, real communication is on pause. Dating is more online than real time or face-to-face. The value of relationships seems to be diminished from its truest form and meaning. There is less sincereity in relationships now than then. Though there may be an increase in communication, the value and the intimacy attached to it has been lost. In the past, people were more focused on character than on commodities.
The way the media portrays relationships today — for example, shows like “I Love New York” and “Jersey Shore” — has corrupted people’s perception. Celebs are in and out of relationships quickly, have children out of wedlock, and have their marriages annulled within months. Seeing this affects what we do, aping their behaviors and actions in our own relationships. Back then, such perversions of relationships wouldn’t appear in mass media, instead, couple’s interactions were depicted as more value centered.
As I continued discussing with my mom, we realized that there was a major difference in how past generations viewed relationships compared to now. Relationships used to offer companionship, with couples holding closely to one another. In the past, people valued marriage, but now people marry for many reasons besides the most important: love. Instead, money, homes, land, pregnancy, green cards, and even citizenship serve as the basis for dating. People ask, “What physical assets I can get out of this?” There is no more “to have and to hold”; there is “get rich or die trying.”
Today, many young people are putting off marriage in favor of focusing on their careers; so relationships must be convenient. If the timing isn’t right, then you take a sexual partner without considering marriage. In the past, marriage was of paramount importance in a relationship. A man looked for a woman that could make a good wife and mother and bring honor to his name. He would also honor her by waiting for marriage to engage in any sexual activities. But now, with less focus on partnership and commitment, one can have conveniences of marriage — sex and companionship — without the legal or religious commitment. As a result, many relationships are casual rather than formal. These days it is easier to get a divorce than to buy a car, and often, instead of working to save a marriage, people simply choose to end it, sometimes for seemingly ridiculous reasons.
To me, I believe that getting into a relationship now is harder than in the past. For many in my generation, the value system, concepts, and theories about dating have changed to accomodate casual affairs, while for me, my values and expectations of relationships are more reflective of the old-time way of courting. It is what I was taught growing up; to get to know a woman as a person, to know her parents, and to introduce her to mine. Fewer and fewer young people seem to feel this way, making it difficult for those with traditional values to find a match.
Christopher Walcott graduated from Caribbean Union College Secondary School and is in a process of acquiring a BS Degree in Computing and an Associated Degree in General Business at the University of the Southern Caribbean. There, Christopher Walcott became passionate about being a social entrepreneur. From a young age, he has been involved in an active youth group called Pathfinders, and has aided in building shelters for the poor, clean-up campaigns, anti-drug marches and being a positive male role model in society. His love for youth work, ambition and enthusiasm got him nominated to be a Youth Member of Parliament to promote the youth voice. During his tenure, he was involved in the Common Wealth Heads of Government Youth Forum (CYF) 2009 where he was one of the founding members of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Economic Society. With his continuing involvement and development in youth activities, he was selected by the British Council out of sixty (60) young social entrepreneurs from the world to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the first ever Latin America and Caribbean Youth Summit (LACYS) 2010, in Rio, De Janerio Brazil. You can learn more about Christopher on his blog: walcottc.wordpress.com.