How Social Media Has Changed Dating

social networking

social networking (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Once upon a time, a guy would physically see a girl from a distance and become attracted to her and than approach her about going out on a date with him.  The first date most likely occurred without too much prior contact, sometimes with only one brief phone call (this is an actual phone call not a text or email) to discuss the schematics of the date.   But the first date was filled with much anticipation, as neither one really knew the other person and it was a toss of the dice to see if the initial attraction turned into a spark or fizzled out.

Now, things are different.  A girl sees a FB profile of a guy on-line and checks him out on his page and on LinkedIn before messaging him.  They begin to chat on-line, then text, then email and finally work up to a phone conversation long before the first date.  After a period of time, they agree to meet but have already learned so much about the other person that the date becomes the last part of the getting-to-know-you phase and not the first part.  This is precisely why social media has changed the way we date.

Attraction phase.  It is much easier to become attracted to a person on social media websites now because so many people use professionally touched-up photos or at the very least, the best photos they can find.  While a picture can say a lot about a person, it by no means says everything because you are the one interpreting the photo though your own perspective.  Basically, you can make a photo say whatever you want it to say just like you can interpret too much about a person based on one photo.  Don’t allow a photo to determine your level of attraction as you might be more or less attracted to the person when you finally meet them in person.

First-contact phase.  There are no real rules when it comes to who should initial the first-contact however, you should not be connecting with a person more frequently than they are connecting with you.  For instance, if you begin chatting with someone and they don’t respond right away, don’t be too quick to respond either.  If you do, you look desperate.  Rather respond an equal number of times to demonstrate that you are neither too eager nor too unavailable.  All forms of contact are appropriate but most begin with chatting, then texting, then email and finally phone calls.  This is a gradual process not a sprint.

Dating phase.  By the time you go on your first date, you should know quite a bit about the person you are expecting to meet in person.  By this time you already know that you like the other person and they like you, what you don’t know is if that spark on the phone will translate into a spark in person.  You also don’t know if the picture you have been seeing is real or imagined.  It is much easier to pretend to be something that you are not or something more than you really are when the person is not right in front of you.  It is much harder to do this in person, not impossible, just harder.

Social media has changed dating.  The “once upon a time” story will not return and “talking” has replaced “dating” as the new buzz word indicating an exploration of a mutual interest.  By the time a person is “dating” now, a relationship is already implied and exclusivity is expected.  Things are quite different from twenty years ago.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Counseling: Cheap Date Nights

There is a conversation between Harry and Jess who are married male friends in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” during a football game in which one of them says to the other, “I got married so I could stop dating”.  Too often we are under the same assumption that once you are married you do not need to date your spouse.  After all, dating is work and it requires your time, energy, focus, money, a fun plan and a good attitude.  And when you are married, you already know the good, the bad and the ugly so why go through all that effort?

Why?  Because your spouse deserves to see the best of you and to see the person they fell in love with in the beginning.  This is what helps to keep a marriage interesting and adds spice to your relationship.  However one of the biggest objections to dating your spouse again especially in this economy is the cost.  So to help your relationship out, here are some favorite cheap date nights.

  • Matinee movies – Who said your date needed to be at night?  Many movie theatres offer discounts for early movies, if you look hard enough you might be able to find movies for under $5.00.
  • Breakfast out instead of dinner – Generally speaking, eating breakfast out instead of dinner is far less expensive and can be just as enjoyable.
  • Library movies – You can borrow movies and TV shows for free at your local library.  Just purchase the popcorn, candy and drinks at a grocery store and you can have your date night at home.
  • Go to the airport, mall, or local attraction to people watch – This can be a fun activity as you can sit and watch others go on their way, making up stories about their lives just for fun.
  • Purchase special bath soaps and massage oils – Do a little reading about how to give a good massage and exchange massages with each other.  Do not forget a fragrant candle to enhance the mood.
  • Free outdoor concerts – Most cities have free outdoor concerts that you can enjoy the atmosphere even if the music is not up to your taste.
  • Picnic at the park – Pack a picnic basket and go to a local park for an enjoyable time together.  Taking a walk afterwards is a nice touch.
  • Be a tourist – Find a tourist activity in your town or city that you have not done and spend some time there.  Often, there are discounts for residents.
  • Flea market shopping – Walking around a flea market and look at the fun and interesting items that are for sale.  Sample some of the local food for a change of pace.
  • Walk or bike around the neighborhood – Just getting out of the house and walking or riding down a different street than your normal route can help to change-up things.
  • Appetizer/desert meal – Make a meal out of a shared appetizer and desert instead of opting for the more expensive entrée.  This can be a great way to try out a new restaurant or sample food at a more expensive one.
  • Night out with friends – Some of the best dates are nights when you go over to a friend’s house and hang out with a couple of other married couples.  The entertainment is often your conversation and everyone pitches in with a different part of the meal.

There is one idea for each month of the year, so you can at least begin with one date per month and increase your dates to once a week.  The extra effort in dating your spouse even on a budget will in the long run improve your marriage though shared experiences and help you to remember the things which first attracted you to each other.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.