8 purposes of dating

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The potential spouses assessed each other in the privacy of her home, her parents assessed his eligibility, and either they got engaged or he went on his way.

Over the course of the 20th century, such encounters became more casual, but even tire kickers were expected to make a purchase sooner rather than later.

Yet the round-robin of sex and intermittent attachment doesn’t look like much fun.

If you’re one of the many who have used an online dating service (among those “single and looking,” more than a third have), you know how quickly dating devolves into work.

Five decades ago, 72 percent of men and 87 percent of women had gotten married by the time they were 25.

By 2012, the situation had basically reversed: 78 percent of men and 67 percent of women were unmarried at that age.

A less obvious reason is that the median age for both sexes when they first wed is now six years older than it was for their counterparts in the 1960s.She hopes to find clues about what relationships might look like in a postromantic, postmarital age. If you tested them on their knowledge of Jane Austen and gender theory, they’d almost certainly get A’s.They understand that mating practices have always reflected economic conditions and been openly transactional for women whose lives and livelihoods depended on their outcome. As knowing as they are, Witt and Weigel start their projects feeling “lonely, isolated, and unable to form the connections we wanted,” in Witt’s words, and they know other women feel the same way.Witt, an intrepid journalist and mordantly ambivalent memoirist, looks forward rather than back.With no serious boyfriend in sight—“love is rare,” she writes, “and it is frequently unreciprocated”—she set out to examine alternatives to a “monogamous destiny,” eager for a future in which “the primacy and legitimacy of a single sexual model” is no longer assumed.

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