In With The Old: 7 Classic Dating Habits To Bring Back

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There is no doubt that technological and societal advancements have improved dating and relationships in many ways. If we write someone a letter or a note it’s because we want to, not because it’s our only mode of communication with them. If we want to meet someone new, we can go online and don’t have to rely on our family, friends, or social outings to do so – though, sometimes that may still be best.

The point is, we can communicate more consistently with our significant other as well as meet more people from more places who have the potential to be better matches for us. But there are still a few things that classic dating seems to have over the hookup culture that we live in today. That is, if you desire a real, deep relationship with another person.

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Way, way, way less distractions.

The fact that we even have to worry about people taking out their phones on a date is a new-age struggle that our parents and grandparents never had to deal with. When they went on a date with someone they cared about, they were on that date with the person they cared about. That was it. Just two people talking, getting to know each other, and enjoying each other’s company.

If we want to build an emotional connection with someone, we need to eliminate all of the noise around us and focus. Being constantly in touch with the world is great for business or networking, but when it comes to dating – unplug.

There used to be clear intentions.

He hasn’t texted you in 2 days, what does that mean?! Is he not really interested? Does he just want to sleep with you and nothing more? You’ve been ‘talking’ for over a month now, are you a ‘thing’?

Maybe it was because dating used to be courtship and it actually had a process to it that seemed to be clearer than what we have today, but for whatever reason it is, people seem to be sort of floating at sea when it comes to knowing where they stand with someone. If you are up front, honest, and state your intentions – your chances of finding someone on the same page as you are suddenly become much higher, as long as they are equally honest.

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People knew the part they played in the process.

Alright, before the hate mail starts and people call me sexist or chauvinistic or say I am promoting male/female gender roles, hear me out for a second.

I am completely all for equality in society and in relationships, as I have written about repeatedly before. But (there’s always a but) I think that a lot of people begin to get confused when they hear “equality.” They think it means two people have to do the same exact things to keep everything “even.” If you go to dinner, equality means you need to split the bill, or she needs to pay next time, or whatever. No, not really.

How about she pays for the next round of drinks or takes care of your parking or surprises you with tickets to a show, or does something to contribute in her own way? Equal does not have to mean the same and I think that everyone is getting a little confused by the difference.

There is no scorecard when it comes to dating. If a man wants to do something for a woman, that is his choice. If a woman wants to do something for a man, that is her choice. Each party should be appreciative and accept the gesture graciously. You don’t need to do the same exact thing in return to be equal, just contribute in your own way.

They actually used to build a foundation.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen an ultrasound photo or an engagement ring photo on someone’s Facebook who I swear was single just a couple of months earlier. Then, before much time passes, the engagement is off or someone is worried about the baby or the entire situation has crumbled.

People don’t actually progress anymore. They immerse themselves in each other’s lives and go from 0 to 100 without any steps in between. To build a solid, healthy relationship, you need to do just that. Block, upon block, upon block. Build a pyramid and work your way up – it will take longer to get to the same height than if you just stacked block upon block upon block, but it will also be much stronger and last much longer.

They became a team together.

Think about your grandparents. Or their parents. Or their parents. Relationships in generations before us seemed to be unit. A team. Two became one. It wasn’t John, and then his wife Susie. It was Susie and John. They were equal parts of the recipe that made up their relationship.

These days everyone is so caught up on being “independent” that they aren’t as willing to really be with someone to the same extent that older generations were. Sure, they had their reasons to rely on each other. Women couldn’t work, or didn’t make nearly as much as men. But just because a woman makes an equal amount of money (or more) than her boyfriend/husband, doesn’t mean anything when it comes to forming a bond together.

We are becoming more individualized as a society. Too many people have been hurt or jaded and are running around saying “I’m just gonna do me” and never put themselves out there anymore. They are not open to building that bond, or forming that team – which is an essential part of having a long lasting relationship.

They saw chivalry as respectful, not as demeaning.

Small acts like opening a door or pulling out a chair were a sign of class and respect. Some parts of chivalry may be rooted in old-school chauvinism where men did things for women because they weren’t perceived as doing it themselves, but no longer. I believe we can bring the good aspects of being chivalrous into the modern era and leave behind the negatives.

The new era of chivalry is not rooted in the chauvinistic mindset of the past. We have evolved past performing these acts for women because “they can’t do it themselves.”

The modern gentleman performs these acts for the right reasons – love, caring, and respect.

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They fixed things that were broken.

When older generations made a commitment to each other, they made a commitment to each other. They did not simply walk away when things got tough or when there was a challenge. They stood by the side of the person who they pledged to love – perhaps because they did everything else above and actually intertwined themselves with another person, so the thought of leaving shattered pieces on the floor didn’t occur to them. They cleaned up their mess and moved forward. Together.

Of course there were divorces and affairs and arguments in our grandparents’ generations too – I don’t want to romanticize everything to an unrealistic point, but I think we can all agree that things are just…different now.

For those of us who want a strong, long lasting relationship – we should probably avert our attention from our peers who are no more successful in this area of life than we are. We need to observe, inquire, and talk to those who have been successful, and acquire new knowledge from their experiences.

Relationships then lasted a lot longer than relationships now – and it’s time we started asking ourselves why that was. We just might learn a thing or two.

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Click here to get my new e-book, The Modern Man’s Guide To Chivalry And Courtship!

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12 Comments

  1. Nancy Cokinda on September 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Another good one, James. People seem to be “borrowing” each other today, without any clear, long-term purpose in mind. Like the old concept of checking out a library book, taking it home and parking it around the house, knowing you would return it “sometime in the future.” Maybe current dating practices should come with library cards?

  2. Tina on September 17, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    *bows down to you*

    I wish these notions still happened. I was clearly born in the wrong decade.

  3. Satin Sheet Diva on September 18, 2014 at 9:04 am

    “People knew the part they played…” – I was just explaining this in a discussion with a guy a couple of weeks ago. I framed it as men and women came to the relationship with clear definitions of who they were; they weren’t looking to be validated / completed by the other person and they knew what strengths they brought to the union.

    It harkens back to a point you’ve made before about being grounded in who you are as a person BEFORE you seek a relationship. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and be proud of what positives you bring to a relationship.

    Oh, and I think the way you described equality was brilliant. I’ve struggled with that concept in past relationships so seeing it as you’ve explained it here is definitely helpful.

  4. Phyllis Walsh on September 18, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hello James,

    Just sending you a few lines to say how much I enjoyed reading this report from you.

    How I would love to have these dating ideals back in place where the art of courtship was bright and alive. Where respect was something of a mutual given. Especially the way men treated women. Which turned them both naturally into ladies and gentlemen. Romance is the magic the essence of joy in getting to know someone new.

    Anyway keep up the good work and thank you very much for all your hard work.

    God Bless

    Phyllis.

  5. Matt on September 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    And where are all you women? Not in my neck of the woods :-/

    I lost count of dates where women didnt notice or didnt care wether or not I ‘did the right thing’ as hes stated above.

    I do agree, things arent the way they used to be. My grandparents were married for 56 years until he passed this July. My parents only made it 20 or so before they divorced. Oddly enough, my father was not really present from 16 on up to about 28….so I struggled to learn some of this first hand…but a lot of it were values instilled by my mother, which Im very thankful for.

    People these days dont want to stay for the hard times. They want easy peasy well off 24/7. Life doesnt work that way. Yeah Im ‘doin me’ at this point in time, but Im working on myself to become the best version to give to someone else, as apparently it ‘wasnt good enough’ for my previous relationship.

    Ive mentioned it before, but if someone is interested in you, you two will WANT to talk all the time. There shouldnt be any game playing trying to come off ‘cool’. And if she/he is interested in you, she will love you for your hobbies and the things YOU do..not what you could possibly be.

  6. Lisa on September 18, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Awesome post!

  7. michellemanning2014 on September 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Awesome article (again)! Last year a much older man that I dated used to tell me I was “conveniently traditional”, almost like I was talking out of both sides of my mouth. I used to wonder if I was “confused”about being a modern woman and what that really looks like. I’m now in a relationship with a really good man, that I’m CrAzY about and it all makes sense to me now. I don’t think it’s necessarily about gender roles, I think it’s about the fact, as you have stated, that men and women are naturally wired differently and being comfortable with who you are as a man and as a woman. I, as a woman, love being pursued, love my boyfriend opening doors for me, taking me out on dates, staying in for the night or doing crazy, fun things with our kids (which are “games”that here makes up and makes us ALL laugh like mad!). Some things he loves about me are the fact that I’m so nurturing and affectionate, he’s never felt so cared about in his life, he loves how I throw on heels, even if I’m just wearing jeans to go out on a date, he loves how naive I am and loves to see me smile and make me laugh. He loves to help me, like when my lawn mower wouldn’t work right, he came over and fixed it plus a million other things he’s helped me with) and yet he teaches me HOW to do things too, so I’m empowered! Yet, I’m single handedly raising a teenage boy and teenage girl, run my own business, have a decent sized house that I take care of with an acre yard, etc, etc. So point being, I have determined that I am a modern woman, but one who is comfortable with my authentic self and my boyfriend completey respects the fact that I’m independent but makes it clear when he WANTS to help me and take care of me.

  8. Ritter Standley on September 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I agree with everything written here. I was driving down the road and saw a couple (in their mid 80s, I reckon), they were walking together, holding hands still. Makes you wonder how come our relationships don’t last that long. Chivalry rocks!

  9. Derek on September 28, 2014 at 8:36 am

    And wait to have sex. Sex too soon is huge part of the 0 to 100 thing. Creates clouded impressions of the relationship and confuses the feelings. Chivalry respects and isn’t scheming sex from the first date.

    • James Michael Sama on September 28, 2014 at 10:06 am

      If this is what works for the two people involved then I agree with you, Derek. But it is possible to have sex on the first date and still end up in a long term relationship with that person. It’s a case by case basis of course.

  10. imaram on November 3, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Nah….women say they appreciate this shit…they don’t….if chivalry is demeaning at all it’s demeaning toward men…women shouldn’t get preferential treatment simply because they are female…they especially shouldn’t feel entitled to this treatment…fact is most women have had more cocks in them than the mens bathroom at a dingy strip club.

  11. Ginger on February 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    “There is no scorecard when it comes to dating. If a man wants to do something for a woman, that is his choice. If a woman wants to do something for a man, that is her choice. ”

    I LOVE this! My boyfriend makes a LOT less money than I do and I’ve tried to explain to him that when I buy him a gift for no reason (like sending him a DVD he talked about) or pick up the tab for dinner sometimes, it’s because 1) I care about him and want to show him in that way and 2) because I can easily afford it. It doesn’t make me feel bad at all that he doesn’t reciprocate with gifts. He does special things for me, too, like installing a light kit on my ceiling fan or building me a shelf I wanted, because that’s what he’s talented at and it’s how he shows me love. Me sharing expenses with him or sending him little gifts is how I show my love. I happen to LOVE to send cards through the mail so that I know when he gets home after work and gets my card out of the mailbox, he’s reminded of me.

    I’ve always hated that “equality” as it relates to gifts. Like drawing names at Christmas. If I want to buy every family member a gift, I will… regardless of what the “RULES” are. I don’t expect to receive anything in return or something of equal value. I just enjoy giving the gift.

    Great article!

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