“People will go as far as they have to to find a mate, but no farther.”
For the young people who got married in the 1950s, getting married was the first step in adulthood. After high school or college, you got married and you left the house. For today’s folks, marriage is usually one of the later stages in adulthood. Now most young people spend their twenties and thirties in another stage of life, where they go to university, start a career, and experience being an adult outside of their parents’ home before marriage.
For women in this era, it seemed that marriage was the easiest way of acquiring the basic freedoms of adulthood.
Once women gained access to the labor market and won the right to divorce, the divorce rate skyrocketed. Some of the older women I met in our focus groups had left their husbands during the height of the divorce revolution, and they told me that they’d always resented missing out on something singular and special: the experience of being a young, unencumbered, single woman. They wanted emerging adulthood.
A man was the head of his household and the chief breadwinner, while a woman stayed home, took care of the house, and had kids. Most of the satisfaction you gained in the marriage depended on how well you fulfilled this assigned role. As a man, if you brought home the bacon, you could feel like you were a good husband. As a woman, if you kept a clean house and popped out 2.5 kids, you were a good wife.
about achieving security—financial, social, and personal. It was about creating conditions that made it possible to survive and reproduce.
- “Marriage was too vital an economic and political institution to be entered into solely on the basis of something as irrational as love”
- Women wanted financial security. Men wanted virginity and weren’t concerned with deeper qualities like education or intelligence.
- Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide
The older folks weren’t buying it. They understood that they had had fewer options when they were growing up, but, intriguingly, they didn’t seem to regret having fewer choices. As one woman explained, “You didn’t think about the choices you had. When you found someone you liked, you jumped into a relationship. I don’t think we thought, Well, there are another twelve doors or another seventeen doors or another four hundred and thirty-three doors,” she said. “We saw a door we wanted, and so we took it.”
- Today we want a bunch of doors as options and we are very cautious about which one we open. The emerging adulthood phase of life is basically a pass society gives you to hang out in the hallway and figure out what door is really right for you. Being in that hallway might be frustrating at times, but ideally you grow and mature, and you find a door that really works for you when you’re ready.
“Phone calls suck and they give me anxiety,”
other women said receiving a phone call from a guy showed he had confidence and helped separate those men from the pack of generic
voice mails provided a screening system of sorts.
younger people are so used to text-based communications, where they have time to gather their thoughts and precisely plan what they are going to say, that they are losing their ability to have spontaneous conversation. She argues that the muscles in our brain that help us with spontaneous conversation are getting less exercise in the text-filled world, so our skills are declining.
The messages being sent are inarguably inappropriate and often quite offensive, but, again, over text the consequences of the recipient’s being offended are minimal.
In a face-to-face conversation, people can read each other’s body language, facial expressions, and tones of voice. If you say something wrong, you have cues to sense it and you have a moment to recover or rephrase before it makes a lasting impact. Even on the phone you can hear a change in someone’s voice or a pause to let you know how they are interpreting what you’ve said. In text, your mistake just sits there marinating on the other person’s screen, leaving a lasting record of your ineptitude and bozoness.
generic messages come off as super dull and lazy. They make the recipient feel like she’s not very special or important to you.
- The reciprocity principle: We like people who like us.
- the scarcity principle. Basically, we see something as more desirable when it is less available. When you are texting someone less frequently, you are, in effect, creating a scarcity of you and making yourself more attractive.
- the photos posted on an Instagram page offer a more compelling and realistic representation of someone than their carefully crafted online dating profile.
Some singles we spoke with described meeting a person and being unable to enjoy the date because they already had all kinds of preconceived notions that were difficult to block out.
it seems there are three big approaches: pretend to be busy, say nothing, or be honest.
Their fear is that using an online site means they were somehow not attractive or desirable enough to meet people through traditional means,