How Is Dating Different Than It Was 30 Years Ago?

Imagine a world when two individuals were forced to meet in person and correspond through letters to express interest in one another. In this same world, women dress much more modestly, and men are full of chivalry.

During these years, people often met up at parties or social gatherings and were not permitted to speak to one another unless formally introduced, an idea that might sound absurd in this century. Women and men could often date friends of their friends without anyone being excessively jealous, a rule that has been reversed in modern times.

With the coming of the 21st century has come great changes in social expectations and values. There are numerous factors that have contributed to this new form of dating including social media platforms, dating websites, co-ed universities and schools, later marriage, and LBGT+Q.

Innovations in Technology

Before individuals had access to the technology of today, they were forced to correspond through letters, telegrams, and in-person. They did not have the convenience of texting one another using smartphones, and thus those styles of communication often forged closer bonds between the two people.

In modern times, individuals may use social media platforms of dating websites to find a significant other. Without access to these new forms of technology, people often met one another through family, friends, and even at a social gathering. It was common for two families to set their children up on dates.

Because we have access to the internet and phones at our fingertips, we often take advantage of our ability to call and text. Some couples do this by texting endlessly throughout the day, something that could not be done in previous times. Sending letters or telegrams was often difficult, as letters required good penmanship and often covered more important matters such as confessing your feelings and not a simple “wyd today.”

Co-ed Schools

Gender-specific school institutions were very popular back then, and as such, it was difficult for individuals to date while in school. For this reason, people often have limited contact with the opposite gender. Friends would allow their friends to date people they have already dated, an idea that most definitely would not work in modern times.

With the rise of co-ed schools and several events such as dances, prom, and parties, people have more than one chance to date during school. Schools often strive for an equal ratio of males to females, and while it is not for this reason, it does give everyone an equal opportunity.

Later Marriage

The styles of communication in previous times, such as letters, meeting in-person, and sending telegrams often made interactions between two people more personal, and consequently formed stronger bonds. As such, people often got married as young as their early twenties.

Of course, this can also be attributed to the now present norm of attending college after graduating from high school. This process takes approximately 4 years after high school and maybe a year or two more for a person to become financially stable. In modern times, we often choose to become financially secure before deciding on marriage.

Individuals are often engaged for many years prior to marriage and they only get married upon reaching their late twenties or early thirties.

In contrast, arranged marriages were quite common 30 years ago as people believed that women were housewives and had no other hobbies other than cooking or sewing. This has changed with the movement for female rights and the rise in feminism, which now allows women to attend university along with men, and even hold positions men would usually have.


One obvious change over the years has been the LGBT+Q movement as countless of individuals every day are identifying as sexualities other than heterosexual. In 2003, in the court case, Lawrence v Texas, being LGBT+Q became legalized nationwide. This was only a few years ago, meaning that identifying as anything other than heterosexual was looked down upon greatly prior to year 2003.

No doubt, attending a co-ed school prior to that year would have resulted in individuals questioning their sexualities, but being that LGBT+Q was not normalized at that time, people could not admit it nor express themselves freely.

The legalization of such sexualities has come with a surge in same-sex couples, transgenders, and more. Because this is now normalized, it is now important to identify one’s pronouns and sexual orientation prior to dating.

Dating has changed greatly as more people are now looking for short-term relationships and only being serious later in their lives. People have become more career-oriented and accepting of others, a positive change that is sure to develop as the years go by.