Thanks to Paul for working with me to frame this topic...
In days gone by finding love was widely restricted to going out to a bar/nightclub, through friends, or at the workplace. The onus was largely on the man to approach the woman. He would then identify the best moment to use the most appropriate cheesy line to start a conversation. Those men who felt awkward in this situation were left standing on their own, whilst many women waited uncomfortably to be asked.
Times have changed, especially for those who are beyond their first serious relationship. There are many new ways to meet potential partners – internet dating, speed dating, some meetup groups... Adverts claim that 25% of relationships are now starting online. Dating online makes the difficult process of finding a partner much simpler, especially for those whose spare time is being squeezed by increased working hours, family commitments etc.
Once a couple has met, their expectations of “a relationship”, and how this should develop, differ widely. The notion of a single partner for life no longer seems appropriate for many people. Why? Are the expectations unreasonable? Have we become too selfish? A host of alternative options are available: Serial monogamy; Deliberately maintaining the freedoms of independent living; Friends with benefits; Polyamory... These all seem to work for some people, some of the time. Coupled with this, the physical side of a relationship can develop over a matter of hours or over many months.
So there are a myriad of conflicting attitudes and opinions about how dating should be done these days, and what it should lead to. Are there any moral signposts? What is acceptable/unacceptable behaviour? Is there any consensus?
Questions we might discuss include:
Should the man always make the first approach or is it just as valid for women to ask a man out?
Who pays for a date?
Is it too easy to meet potential partners?
Is meeting strangers through the internet too risky or too unnatural?
How should a relationship progress?
What sort of relationships should we be aiming for? Is the traditional monogomous, heterosexual, living together relationship still a gold standard? Is anything else acceptable? Or preferable?
What do “loyalty” and “commitment” mean nowadays? How do they develop? What is “cheating”?
How does dating differ from interviewing?
The reported rise of STD’s amongst the middle aged suggests a cavalier mentality to sexual health. What is acceptable sexual behaviour? Why do people take risks?
The dating game is changing at a rapid pace. With increased freedom comes responsibility to help ourselves and others enjoy happy relationships. Are we ready to meet this challenge?
Come and share your views in a friendly relaxed atmosphere.