When Did Dating Behavior Become So Mediocre?

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

A recent Frankie Valli concert got me thinking about how much dating behavior has changed since that time period for the worse. Here is my Love Essentially column on the subject, published yesterday in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.


Dating in 2016: Worlds Different Than Sherry baby by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press

I recently went to see Frankie Valli at Ravinia. As the 82-year-old who stole the heart of every woman back in the day belted out well-loved songs like, “Sherry” (1962), “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (1967) and “My Eyes Adored You” (1975), it brought me back in time, and for some reason got me thinking about how different the dynamics of dating were back then.

Back in the days when Valli was singing his songs, dating seemed simple. Men and women met through friends, school, church, the community or family. They arranged dates either in person or on their home phones. The guy went to the girl’s house, picked her up, opened the car door for her, took her to a restaurant and at the end of the night gave her a peck on the cheek and asked to see her again. During this era, men seemed to have so much respect for the women they “courted,” and in return, women expected to be treated a certain way that I think fails to exist in today’s dating world.

It’s really sad, but what I’m wondering is how society allowed this gradual but complete change in the effort men make for the women they date, along with the standards women are willing to accept. In other words, how did we get from a sweet goodnight peck on a first date to swiping on Tinder, hooking up and then saying “Buh-bye, see you around?”

I want to clarify that I’m not speaking about all men and women. There are still some old souls out there (including my boyfriend) whose thinking is similar to those during the glory days. But I think for the most part, dating in 2016 as opposed to the Frankie Valli time period is a nightmare for several reasons.


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First of all, no one calls anymore. Conversations and plans are made via text, Facebook or Instagram. Although a time saver, it’s impersonal and there is no spontaneity in conversation. People have as long as they need to respond to a text and to think of a funny, witty answer to a question. That to me really isn’t how you uncover someone’s authenticity.

Next, I have heard so many stories from men and women of all ages about how sex is just expected – even on a first date. When the heck did that happen? Umm … I have a 12-year-old daughter. I know we live in an immediate response-driven society where we want everything right now and where Siri will give it to us. But does that mean we can’t let a relationship breathe and enjoy getting to know someone before we take off our clothes?

Furthermore, people don’t seem to date exclusively very much anymore. It seems perfectly acceptable to go out with (and have sex with) multiple people in the same week. Call me judgmental, but that just doesn’t cut it for me. Besides feeling kind of gross, multiple sexual partners leaves people feeling empty, used and with low self-esteem.

I’m not saying true love doesn’t exist any longer, or that men and women don’t experience romance and the innocence of vulnerability. I just want to know when such mediocre dating behavior became so acceptable, when men decided they didn’t have to try so hard and when women lowered the bar. What happened to that strong, manly man who was supposed to sweep a woman off her feet, treat her like a princess and give her the fairytale? What happened to the woman who felt worthy of being with someone who made her feel treasured? Did self-esteem become obsolete like Valli’s 45s?




I understand times have changed, and that women are more independent and self-confident. I also realize strong, self-sufficient women can be intimidating to men, and that maybe men are just trying to do what they think a woman wants.

What does a woman want? Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. 

Like this article? Check out my post, “There are No “Buts” in a Healthy Romantic Relationship



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

8 Responses to “When Did Dating Behavior Become So Mediocre?”

  1. mgm531

    “…when such mediocre dating behavior became so acceptable, when men decided they didn’t have to try so hard and when women lowered the bar.”

    When? After decades of society drilling into the heads of both and women that BOTH genders are equal in all thing in life. Whether it be In education, in careers, in parental roles and responsibilities or politics. We men got the message loud and clear, and quite frankly, we more or less agreed with the message. But along with shared equality comes share responsibility. Call it an unintended consequence if you will, but this new reality has manifested in ways that a lot of women didn’t quite anticipate and maybe didn’t quite like. You see, the ‘golden age’ of dating was very much a one-way power play. Men did all the courting and pursuing and the women ‘decided’ whether they accepted men based on their ‘worthiness’. Sure women like and preferred that type of dating, and why not? It was an unequal and unbalanced approach to dating that allowed them to call all the shots. So after a couple of generations of boys and men getting the gender equality messaged pounded in their heads they finally took a second to stop and think ‘hey, we’re all equal now, right? So why am all doing all the risk when their so little chance of success?’ They started to realize the ROI of putting a lot of effort into courting is actually a pretty crummy deal. Thus the evolution of mediocre dating. You must forgive me for being blase about it, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand gender equality in ALL things and then expect exceptions in areas that you’d rather not have it. Sorry, doesn’t work that way…

  2. Mini

    After dating for almost 16 years now, and being in my mid-fifties, and with a sleuth of followers, you are so dead on with this article! The expectations are ridiculous, and if I am so beautiful, kind, and educated (as I have heard from these men),why do they even think I will except less and hop right in to bed with them? Dating is almost comical now…or is the word ridiculous more appropriate?

  3. Anonymous

    Dating is complicated for divorced peeps with kids, and teenagers don’t really seem to be dating very much, at all.

    For us divorced, working, with kids demographic, logistics, co-parenting schedules, and finances play a significant role that was not a part of Frankie Valli’s world. We are all sooooo busy: Kids, work, family, friends, exercise/hobbies….fit dating into the equation and you have a very packed calendar.

    Sadly, perhaps that idealism is perpetuating the fairy tale ending, knight in shining armor dream which often leads to disappointment.

    However, I am the first to admit, I want to feel like my guy believes “I am too good to be true,” and I want to feel cherished because I am giving myself to him, (dear lord, I hope my teens never see this…..they will be mortified, but I think it’s worth sharing, and will hopefully help men and women (myself included!)caught in this crazy, conundrum)), and I believe sex is sacred. Who has time to create a trusting relationship with more than one person in which you can have fun in the bedroom, on dates, and be each others’ cheerleader?!

    And let’s not forget needs…..we are human. We crave touch and intimacy. For me, the empty, rejected feeling after being with someone with whom you thought you were going to continue to date after you sleep with him is not worth the temporary pleasure.

    I am an optimist, and have not lowered my standards in regard to monogamy, phone conversations, and desiring an element of chivalry. However, I have become increasingly flexible and communicative on other dating issues due to the messy nature of divorce. Ladies, don’t be afraid to let your man know how you truly feel about what matters to you, and be prepared for your guy to share his values and expectations with you. I make an effort to see the other’s perspective, have compassionate conversations, and ultimately listen to my gut.

    My ideal formula: meet someone with whom you share a mutual attraction and perceived values. Once you both decide to become sexually engaged with one another, create the space to get to know that person, and only that person for as long as it takes…..could be a few weeks, months or possibly years, but dedicate the attention to the relationship in order to know if the glass slipper fits. Sometimes the shoes feels great in the store, but after wearing them for a while, your dogs start barking!

    There are also many emotional places on the divorce spectrum. Timing is everything, and two people need to be in a similar zone in order for a relationship to grow. You may be in the “I need to sow my oats phase,” or you may be in the, “I’m ready for a boy/girlfriend phase.” Be honest with yourself and with your new friend.

    You are spot on , Jackie. Thank you for your insightful post.


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