Dating & Building Relationships

Dating, outdated by today’s standards is a necessary step in building solid relationships.  Even if that relationship doesn’t evolve into marriage.  Building good relationships starts with friendships.  If you can’t be friends first, the cornerstone of your relationship is unsteady.

Dating – Outdated?

Is dating now considered outdated?  If we look closer at how men and women dated over the last hundred or so years, maybe we will find a missing key to longevity of building relationships. It used to be that during a courtship, the man would court the woman.  Bringing her small gifts like flowers, sitting and talking within range of a chaperone, and slowly graduating to things like walks and picnics.

dating

In later decades, the dates included going to a movie, concert or dinner at a restaurant.  Men would open doors for the ladies.  Efforts would be made to impress each other throughout the date.  Conversations would be made to further get to know each others likes and dislikes.  During the dating period, they would remain exclusive to each other.  There would be no sexual activity until the wedding.  Usually the couple would be from the same or nearby communities.

Meeting someone

I see evidence of this when doing my genealogy for my family.  My paternal grandparents were from the same township, LeRay Township.  The family farms within a few miles of each other.  My maternal grandparents met in the same town, though my grandfather appeared to be a wanderer, but worked in that town.

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Now due to the growth of technology and travel, people are meeting up using the internet and dating sites.  We are letting machines choose a potential match for us rather than choosing one for ourselves.  We are doing speed dating over a lunch where you have only so much time to have a conversation to determine if you want to see someone again.  There are even some who are not even meeting face to face before making a decision to marry.  Building relationships is taking a backseat.  No wonder divorce rates are rising.

Building Relationships Going Forward

We need to take a step back in time when it comes to building relationships and dating.  Adults need to take responsibility and teach the younger generation the importance of truly getting to know each other and in a respectful, honest manner.  Reminds me of the song “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews in the 1951 musical, The King and I. 

While I realize this moving is over 60 years old and as they say, times were different.  But why don’t we start teaching our next generation better?  Yes, I know I just opened a big can of worms on that subject!

Getting A Lucky Shot at Love

David & I met at a party, a backyard party.  Okay, it was a Kmart party!  My best friend, Kelly, had picked me up and we were supposed to go to a movie.  Nothing good was playing so we headed to this party she knew about as she worked at Kmart.  Yes, we were underage, but I never claimed to be a complete goody-two-shoes.

As she and I were standing around chatting with others, this guy comes in on his motorcycle.  I was literally gaga for this man in black.  And he was oblivious.  Kelly introduced me to Dave (he is and always will be David to me).  She and I went downstairs to get some beer out of the keg.  The tap came off and the 2 of us stood there looking like we had no idea what to do.  Who should come down the stairs?  Yes, David.  I stood there like a dummy, mouth open I am sure.  Again he was oblivious and probably couldn’t tell you what I was even wearing.

Back up we go to the party and stood around chatting and telling stories.  Somehow the conversation turned about who was dating, etc.  Me and my big mouth, with the help of the beer, exclaimed “I’m in the market for fresh meat”.  David put his arm around me and said “Consider me your first volunteer”.  It is definitely not the one liners we heard in the movies!

The Chase is On

The next couple weeks were a blur, I was working as a cashier at a grocery store and still was “dating” a kid in the neighborhood, Jason.  One Friday night, he walked over after my parents had left to go camping.  My dad couldn’t stand this guy.  Not sure how I got brave, but I actually broke it off with him!  I had seen better things for my life and he was not part of the picture.  After he left, I called Kelly.  She and I headed to where my parents were camping.  They were surprised I came out.  When I told them I had broken it off with Jason, Mom practically fell out of her chair and Dad was grinning ear to ear.

I saw David at yet another Kmart party, followed him like a puppy.  He was still oblivious.  The following week Kelly called me to tell me that David was in a motorcycle accident.  He had come in to the store in a wheelchair with his mom to collect his paycheck.  I was horrified.  Little did I know my bestie would have my back.  She somehow had gotten my phone number into his hands.

He called one night while I was working and my mom answered the phone.  This is when we did not have cell phones.  We had landlines and phones hung on the wall with a cord connecting them to the wall.  My mom was impressed with her conversation and demanded I call him back right then and there.  Our first date was set for Oct 1, 1989.

The Amazing First Date

He Picked Me Up in a Gold Fiero!

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My parents had again gone camping that weekend.  David picked me up in a Gold Fiero with T-tops – he says a rare car for a date that was just as rare for him.  We went to eat at a very nice, but expensive restaurant called Maggie’s.  He had steak and shrimp, I had a chef salad.  He had a Budweiser, I had water.  We laughed at each other and with each other during dinner.  We laughed a lot!  And we talked about our likes and dislikes.  (He still dislikes the color green for clothes).  He also got the doors for me every where we went.  After dinner we went back to his apartment, which was just a block from the restaurant.  We wanted to see a movie.  Not a lot of choices, so we saw Parenthood.  Yep perfect first date material!

Afterwards neither of us wanted to call it a night so I asked him if he would like to meet my parents.  I warned him that there were easily 10 or more sets of parents where they were at.  We drove out and as we pulled in, all eyes were on us because of the amazing sports car we were driving.  The campfire was huge and the parents were all sitting around the fire.  My parents got up and walked over to us.  Mom offered David a bowl of chili that had been made over the fire; Dad offered him a beer.  Wait!  You just met him and you are already giving him food and drink!?!

That was a huge confidence boost for me.  My relationship with Jason was the opposite of perfect.  This date is what I needed. Oh and he did meet all the parents too.

A Perfect Midnight Kiss

David took me home after meeting the parents and like a pure gentleman, kissed me at in the foyer and asked me to marry him.  I didn’t say yes until one month later.  When he got the ring in December is when we told my parents.  We don’t look back, only look forward.  To read about our marriage, check out: Marriage – Making it Work For Both of Us.

We have come a long way from our first meeting and date.  We have raised our two sons with the same manners of their dad.  When they were in elementary school and had crushes on girls, we made them meet the girl’s parents.  We have seen how they treat each girl they date as special.  It warms my heart that we have old fashioned modern young men.

We may be hinging on being emptynesters.  We both have our bad habits we both put up with.  But he still gets the doors for me as well as many other things.  We now enjoy relaxing evenings together, him with a Budweiser and me with a glass of premium wine from my wine club rather than water.

Read here for my article on Marriage.

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