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General Problems Encountered While Dating

Nov 29, 2007
A new system, once it gains momentum, is hard to control, and it accrues by-products that were not anticipated and that are not always desirable. Such has been the case with dating. There are all sorts of problems involved for the dating individuals; but just a few of a rather general nature may be mentioned here.

One of these problems comes from the fact that now dating has become accepted it has also become expected. It was this that caused a part of Jayne's panic when at the ripe old age of fourteen she had not yet had a date. If everyone else is doing it and you are out of it, it is worse than turning up at a Blue Jeans party in a strapless formal. It not only makes you stand out but also carries the stigma that there is something wrong with your personality. Factually this is not necessarily so.

Many a boy and girl who have not been popular with their age mates at fourteen, or even twenty, develop later into very attractive and popular people, and have made good marriages - perhaps better than they might have earlier. However, the danger is that the teenager himself may be convinced that there is something irreparably wrong with him. This burden falls more heavily on girls, who have to wait to be asked, than on boys, who can keep on asking until they find some date.

A second problem that has arisen in the dating system is an economic one. It is expensive - for the boys. It seems that the male is expected to foot all the bills while dating, to an even greater extent than he is in marriage at the present time.

Even the growing customs of the Dutch Treat and Coke parties in girls' homes have done little to lessen the expense for a boy who wishes to date an ever changing number of girls. Most boys seem to agree that the first few dates with a girl must be impressive ones, and that only after going with one for some time is it permissible to include frequent free dates.

The two problems already mentioned - the psychological hazards for the girls and the expense for the boys - have led directly into still a third problem, "going steady."

This is the problem most discussed by young people and adults at the moment. Verdicts cover a wide range.

One mother thinks it "very nice" that her daughter has someone to depend upon to take her places. Another tersely dismisses it as "absurd!" Still another wonders why people are so excited about it. It is just another "phase" that young folks will outgrow, like so many other phases. A teenager remarks that it makes for security and cuts down on his expenses. Another one thinks that it is a "disgusting rule" that prevents her from dating other boys but makes her feel "promiscuous" if she tries to.

The Roman Catholic Church takes such a dim view of its effects on moral behavior that four students were recently expelled from a Catholic school for going steady. Yet Dr. Cole, the President of Amherst College, finds in the "fiercely monogamous premarital folkways" a behavior pattern that may carry over into married life and stabilize it.

Dr. Robert Herman of the University of Wisconsin, after having 193 questionnaires on the subject answered by as many students, states that there seem to be two kinds of "going steady." One has matrimonial intentions. The second does not. The various motives for it may be covered by describing it as "dalliance."

Obviously parents, teenagers, church leaders, college presidents, and students of the family take the dating system very seriously. Going steady has created quite a furore! Any teenager who wants an unequivocal and definitive answer about its real effects is apt to be disappointed, for the only answer seems to be, "It depends."

These are the main problems in dating, although there are many who see this process as having more advantages than disadvantages.
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