1 I’ve been told that six weeks after their first encounter, Mary Ann and her roommate/future maid of honor decided it was wise to move closer to Rich. To me, this falls under the description of “crazy.” I know that if I were to tell people (including Mary Ann) that I am basing my apartment location off of a guy I met six weeks prior, they would say:
To me, six weeks seems quick to even be exclusive— to have had that whole DTR conversation. So, over lunch recently, I inquired as to when this occurred. Apparently, they have yet to have had that conversation, 35 years into their marriage. Apparently, they both assumed that, since the other person was going on dates with them, they were exclusive. Apparently, this was a very normal practice not so long ago.
This is such a foreign concept to me. Being in my mid-twenties, there is absolutely no way I just assume someone wants to be in a relationship with me, even if they’re taking me on dates. To illustrate why, I relayed the following true story to Rich and Mary Ann:
Charlie, 24, works in consulting and travels a lot for his job. He and one of his friends from college started to hook up. He told his sister that it was a really convenient situation, because he didn’t have to worry about picking someone up while out drinking with his bros: she was a sure thing at the end of the night. Meanwhile, she assumed they were moving toward a relationship. He doesn’t mind limiting his hook up options to just her, but doesn’t want to be her boyfriend. He’s tried the “I travel so much” excuse, but she didn’t take the hint and said she didn’t mind. Now he’s trying to figure out how to end whatever it is they have without hurting her too badly and ruining their friendship.
Mary Ann’s response to this story? “Well, there were sleazy guys like that back then, too.”
But here’s the thing: guys like Charlie are not considered sleazy. They are the norm. This behavior is accepted and expected. In fact, the fact that Charlie isn’t just planning to continue hooking up with his friend until he meets someone else, pull the slow fade, and tell her “I never said I was your boyfriend” when she questions him is practically commendable.2
Obviously, assuming that they were exclusive worked out for Rich and Mary Ann in the '70s, but those were different times. My explanation for this is the rise of perceived choice and instant gratification. With social media and dating sites (and now dating apps), why wait until you get to know someone to sleep with them? It takes so long to build trust and intimacy! And with so many options, you don’t want to have to settle if someone better comes along. I’m sure dating sites and apps were initially intended to make dating easier, but I really don’t think it has. What do you guys think? Is dating easier or harder in the 21st century? Comment below!
1 The girlfriend of the celebrant, who was throwing the party, really got the surprise: her boyfriend showed up with another girl.
2 Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen to enough friends to know how it typically goes.