Are you a keyboard lover or a traditionalist?
The digital age has changed the way we find partners, but we are all still looking for the same old thing.
I was invited to my twenty-something second cousin’s wedding recently. She had met her fiancé online and love flourished from there. And now here they were getting married in my uncle’s backyard, a very traditional outcome to a very modern way of dating.
As she walked towards her beau wearing a stunning white dress and radiant smile, I looked at the expressions on her girlfriends’ faces. I could see wonder, exaltation … and yearning. You could tell they were happy for their friend that her dream had come true, because it was their dream too.
I found this surprising in such a young cohort, given the rapid reshaping of values and behaviour in modern dating rituals brought about by the digital revolution.
But it underscored something that is increasingly apparent … however we go about meeting our dating partners, traditional values and conventional relationships are not old hat. Compatibility, shared goals, loyalty, love and marriage are still highly sought after.
Dating through the decades
Indeed, eharmony’s latest research into dating differences through the generations confirms that marriage is still the most popular form of “happy ever after”. The survey examined the dating experiences of more than 1000 people in different life stages, and found that their search for love was shaped by the culture, technology and traditions that emerged when they first started their dating journeys.
Respondents were sorted into four categories: 50-somethings who started dating in the 1980s (Duran Duran Daters); 40-somethings who started dating in 1990s (You’ve Got Mail Daters); 30-somethings who started dating in 2000s (DotCom Daters); 20-somethings who started dating in the 2010s (Digital Daters).
As you would expect, the harnessing of technology to find a date is far more prevalent among the Digitals and Dot Coms, a fifth of whom say they met their current partners online. By comparison, three-quarters of the Duran Duran generation say they have never met anyone online, preferring the time-honoured method of utilising their social lives (meeting friends of friends, or meeting someone in a bar or at parties) to foster romance.
While technology has given younger generations access to a global pool of potential partners and easy ways to communicate, it has also bred uncertainty. Regardless of the amount of online interaction, a large proportion (43 percent) of Digital Daters said they still need to evaluate a potential partner face-to-face before they’ll commit, while 60 percent of Duran Durans said they “just knew” – a reflection of their experience at reading people perhaps.
Some things never change
The one thing that hasn’t changed through the decades is what attracts us, with the most important qualities that Australians look for staying consistent across age and experience. Chief among them is sense of humour (69 percent), shared hobbies or interests (64 percent) and sexual chemistry (52 percent), with looks (41 percent), a stable career (36 percent) and a shared desire for having (or not having) children (31 percent) close behind.
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