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The Morality of Dating

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.

Join or login to comment.

  • Lilamayi

    Hello all apologies for my transgression. This is a paid for event I shared although not one I am making money from. I attended this discussion and shared in some of the discussion work I had done with Jan and some people asked me about it afterwards so I knew there would be some interest in this and I simply wanted to let people know about the event. I am all for the free economy and would love to discuss it but I still need a day job and very few of us can get by without earning money even if we aim to share more. Have you read the book Sacred economics by Charles Eisenstein? that would be a good focus for the discussion on the free economy.

    January 24, 2014

  • Kaye

    Actually, Phil.... it looks as if someone has been highly discourteous and hijacked the membership interest of Cafe Philo to promote a commercial venture. Manners, please.... Lilamayi.

    1 · January 24, 2014

  • Lilamayi

    Hello all, I don't know if this is allowed here but I wanted to let you know about this meet up event - I mentioned Jan Day during the discussion we had and some of you were interested... http://www.meetup.com/Transformation-Bristol/events/149056482/
    This is a one day workshop in Bristol with Jan Day - one of the leading Intimacy and Tantra teachers in the UK - this is her first visit to Bristol. - the workshop is - Invitation to Intimacy. Sun 2 Feb

    January 24, 2014

    • Phil C.

      I find it interesting that some meetup events are free, and others are ridiculously expensive, don't you? Perhaps we should discuss the free economy and how we can each contribute to it, at a future cafe philo? Or perhaps the free economy is a totally impractical idea put about by a few idealistic eccentrics?

      1 · January 24, 2014

  • Jeremy B.

    I am disappointed I can't attend what looks like an interesting chat. My simple suggestion is online dating has overtaken the old-fashioned idea of introducing people and informal match making amongst people you know which is much better. But it doesnt happen because we live in such a self interested society that if you exist outside a group you have little choice but use these sites to meet people, but you seldom get what is shown in the shopwindow! Check out an HTV television drama documentary I appeared in a few years ago called 'Love bites' ! I'm still reeling from being called closed minded. I'm too b... radical!!!

    October 13, 2013

    • Gavin

      Hi Jeremy, I think this is probably the wrong group for your motorcycles and furniture slide-show, I don't think it fits well with the kind of thing this group normally does. Maybe you should try "Bath&Bristol Everything Group" instead. They have 1600 members, there must be somebody there who's interested!
      http://www.meetup.com...­

      October 15, 2013

    • Jeremy B.

      Hi Gavin, yes of course I understand this is the wrong group which is why I asked for pointing in the right direction so thanks for your suggestion. I could of course start up a meetup called 'Hells Angels dating' !

      October 15, 2013

  • Jeremy B.

    Is it possible to post a resume of the outcome of the talk for those who couldn't make it please?

    October 1, 2013

    • Jeremy B.

      Just a brief reply to Gavin and Paul H about setting up groups in Bath - I did put forward some time ago an idea for a motorbike meet up as I am restoring vintage and sixties cafe racers and am passionate about the whole culture. Not a murmur! Wrong town methinks despite two universities!!!

      October 14, 2013

    • Jeremy B.

      Paul thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I suspect that old British motorcycles or anything remotely to do with getting hands dirty and making things is a long cry from contemporary culture especially in the South of England where there is less of a heritage of building things. When I suggested the topic Bath was the last place I would expect interest from - it is far too bourgois! It took me until the turn of the Millenium to persuade Bath University to allow me to give a lecture there called 'Furniture Today' so my frustration is around apathy and similar when I premiered my film 'Furniture Today 3' at the university in 2012 hardly anyone locally turned up. There is a curious lack of energy perhaps sapped by tourists? My suggestion is that one off talks are given at Meetups on fresh areas of interest. Britain is renowned as a world leader in bespoke modern furniture design but nobody in Britain is aware of that!

      October 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi everyone, unfortunately I was also unable to attend the meet up yesterday. Rather than asking for notes - I think the whole point of these meetings is to get together and chat about issues, bringing your own opinions and views to the forum - can I suggest that we hold another discussion on this topic.

    October 14, 2013

    • Gavin

      Sounds like there's quite a few of you who missed it, why don't you get together and organise a repeat of the discussion (maybe in Bath or even Cheltenham)?

      October 14, 2013

  • Phil C.

    Geat to see a diverse range of people enjoying sharing their experiences and opinions. We covered lots of topics and had plenty of laughs as well.

    1 · October 13, 2013

  • Jeremy B.

    Sorry I can't make it this evening but can't resist commenting on this 'Should the man make the first move?' What century is the writer living in! Since when did men always make the first move. They just did't notice what women were up to! I'm tempted to answer 'its totally inappropriate in 2013 for a woman to even consider flirt winking at a man!' Ha ha.

    October 13, 2013

    • Phil C.

      Must just be something about me then - I don't get asked out by women nearly as often as I ask women out. But it's curious they don't all refuse my invitations :-)

      October 13, 2013

    • Jeremy B.

      Phil - don't forget its a woman's prerogative to say no till she says yes! Rejection is the first thing we boys learn at an early age but I do believe that it is in in the female nature to be cautious and rightly so but this does not contradict my earlier opinion that women make the moves (often) , they certainly make the choices....often!

      October 13, 2013

  • Phil C.

    Thanks to all those who updated their RSVP's - the wait list is now empty so everyone is happy! :-)

    October 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Still planning on coming looking forward to this. see you all in a couple of hours.

    October 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sadly I cannot make this evenings meet - so disappointed! I was really looking forward to it

    October 13, 2013

  • Lilamayi

    Hi... this is a lift request. i am coming from Clifton - near the downs shopping centre. The buses are a bit pants (in to town and out again). is there anyone driving over from near hear and able to give me a lift? I'd be very grateful :)

    October 13, 2013

  • Anni

    Hopefully this should make someone happy. I'll be unable to attend which is a shame as I was looking forward to it. Till next time!

    October 12, 2013

  • Sonia

    I am defo going, hopefully there will be people closer to my age going too!!!

    October 8, 2013

  • Sonia

    Anyone on here interested in joing me form a proper debate group in bristol only....? It would of course be a step up in challenge from a 'talk shop'...

    October 8, 2013

  • philippa a.

    Look forward to this.

    October 7, 2013

  • Jeremy B.

    'How should a relationship progress' sounds awfully prescriptive! Ask a woman what she wants and chances will say she doesn't know! Ask a man and it depends on what company he is in! There is nowt so contradictory or perverse as the dating game. If you think there are rules to the love game you are kidding yourself. just look at history or drama! Folk who don't normally take risks in their everyday lives take the biggest risk in the love game. Morality seems a curious factor in the equation. Cheating has become almost the norm, well almost and 'separated' is a warning sign to any prospective party as it is often code for 'unfinished business'! And the fact is with internet dating you are instantly judges by your photo which is probably why so many people use photos over ten years out of date! Great debate!

    September 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    ill be there :)

    September 29, 2013

  • Lilamayi

    Do they serve tea or coffee at the flyer? Is it a pub?

    September 14, 2013

    • Phil C.

      It is a pub. They certainly serve coffee, suspect they serve tea as well.

      1 · September 14, 2013

  • Jeremy B.

    What morality?!

    September 13, 2013

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