DEAR ALI: ‘Is Dating Dead?’
Is dating dead?
This question actually didn’t come from a reader of my book, but from the front page of USA Today a couple of weeks ago. I found the findings in the article to be quite astonishing. It basically highlighted some of the trends emerging among college-age students and young adults in America: “Recent studies indicate that traditional dating on campuses has taken a back seat to no-strings relationships in which bonds between young men and women are increasingly brief and sexual.”
Increasingly brief. Increasingly sexual. Sounds about right. At least that was seemingly the case at Princeton, where I attended college. The dating culture there seemed to be characterized by a sort of ‘all or nothing’ paradigm. You were either:
a) In a super serious relationship, or as some might say, ‘practically married.’
b) Part of the ‘hook-up’ culture characterized by casual hanging out, low or no commitment levels and sexual activity (to varying degrees).
c) In neither category, wanting something in between ‘hooking up’ and ‘practically married’ but remain frustratingly single because no such thing seems to exist.
Can you identify with any of these?
I’ve been out of college for nearly five years now, so when I was asked to speak to a group of 25 college women a couple of weeks ago, I took the opportunity to get ‘up to date’ on the dating scene on campus (no pun intended):
“How many of you are currently in a dating relationship?” I asked.
2 out of 25 raised their hands.
“How many of you would like to be in a dating relationship?”
Almost every hand shot up.
“How many of you have been asked out on a date in the past year?”
Not one hand was raised.
A group of attractive, smart, talented women and not one of them had been pursued for a date??? Kinda strange if you ask me. And this trend is not only prevalent on college campuses. There is also a lack of dating within churches too. There are groups of single women and groups of single men, all under the same ‘roof’ so to speak, and they just aren’t getting together.
If dating is in fact dying, what is killing it?
The USA Today article cited the following as some potential reasons for the lack of dating among young adults today:
- fewer men than women on campuses (I’ll add in churches here)
- more openly sexual society that often takes cues from media
- declining desire to make relationship commitments early in life
Do you agree/disagree? What would you add to the list of reasons why dating is a severely lacking element in the relationship equation for young adults today? Is less dating a good or bad thing?
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue the dialogue on the topic of dating, specifically within the context of a Christian perspective. Some of the questions to be addressed are:
- What does the Bible say about dating?
- What are some of the different views on dating within the Church?
- How do I discern which view and/or approach to take?
- Does ‘waiting on God’ exclude dating all together?
- What’s the difference between courtship and dating?
- How can I incorporate my faith into my dating life?
- Should the men be the only ones initiating?
- How am I supposed to ‘guard my heart’ while dating?
- Is there a proper pace to a dating relationship?
- What are some pros and pitfalls to dating?
- Is dating the only path to marriage?
Gosh, we have a lot to cover don’t we? haha. I must say, this is a topic particularly relevant in my life right now, so I am excited to explore these topics with you. Please note however, that I am not coming at it as an expert (by any means!), but simply a fellow traveler on the same road as you. I can’t wait to journey along together in the next few weeks and see what God reveals to us, as we seek Him for answers and revelations in this very specific and special area of our lives!
Please comment and add any further questions/issues/struggles you would like to see addressed in regards to Christian dating and relationships. And if you have friends whom you think might benefit from these discussions (single or currently dating), send them over this way!