Bring back casual dating

By Abbey Ferguson | LTVN Reporter

One of the most shocking stories my grandmother ever told me about her college years centered solely around her crazy dating life. Her, and my now grandfather, had plans to grab dinner on a Friday night. While on the date, he started feeling sick and drove my grandmother back home so he could rest. Adamant not to “waste a perfectly good Friday night,” my grandmother called up another suitor and went out with him instead.

The first time I heard this story, my jaw dropped. I was shocked. Going out with two guys in the same night seemed counterproductive and even rude, but now my opinion has shifted. In this day and age, exclusivity and dating go hand-in-hand, but that may not necessarily be the most practical way of dealing with relationships. Casual dating was the normality back in the ’50s, and I propose we bring it back.

At the time of my grandmother’s young adulthood, going out with multiple different people at one time was encouraged. It allowed you to meet a multitude of possible partners without any added pressure, while also determining what qualities you liked or disliked in each individual. That way, when you felt a deeper and more emotionally intimate attachment to a specific individual compared to anyone else, you really knew that person was the one.

Today, it’s easy to fall for that first connection. You go out on one first date, feel sparks and then feel obligated to narrow in on the possibility of that one relationship, even without any actual commitment. Some may call that empathetic human nature or a clingy personality. Regardless, there seems to be an underlying social rule that going out on multiple casual dates with different people is impolite to those potential partners. Yet, if dating was seen as a relaxing, laid-back process, this social pressure could become obsolete.

On top of that, in the modern dating world, it can be easy to rush into commitment right away. Yet, this doesn’t always lead to a fulfilling relationship. Statistics demonstrate that unhappiness in relationships, especially marriages, have grown in the last few decades, especially in women. Casual dating eliminates the need to jump right into commitment and instead really focus on compatibility, self-growth and learning about your own preferences to decide whether a potential relationship will be gratifying and filled with respectable love.

Now, don’t get me wrong, when it comes to an exclusive, committed relationship or if specific dates seem to be taking a more serious turn, loyalty should always be at the centerfold. Overall, having open communication with any potential partner leads to a foundation of honesty.

Say what you want about the drift away from casual dating, but my grandmother and grandfather have been married for over 50 years, so there might be something to it. Next time a guy cancels on a date because he feels under the weather, just pick the next number on your contact list and enjoy a “perfectly good Friday night.”