The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Is courtship really dead?

Maybe it's just changing its look.

By Kristin Wong Jan 17, 2013 4:31PM

The New York Times posed the question this week in an article titled, "The End of Courtship?" 

Writer Alex Williams noted the new trend in dating that doesn't include, well, a date: 

"Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other 'non-dates' that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend." 

The Heart Beat has been wondering—is it true? Is courtship really dead, or is it taking a break? Maybe it's simply transformed into something unrecognizable and only seemingly unromantic. Maybe romance is just getting a makeover.

Photo: Rayes/Getty ImagesMore on MSN Living: Just got engaged? 11 things to do NOW!

Online dating has almost commodified potential partners, the article argues:

"Faced with a never-ending stream of singles to choose from, many feel a sense of 'FOMO' (fear of missing out), so they opt for a speed-dating approach — cycle through lots of suitors quickly." 

Because of this, suitors opt for dates that are less meaningful and more cheap and quick—what Williams dubs the "speed-dating approach."

Adam LoDolce is an author who might support this argument. As a dating coach who helps dudes find romance, he's made a career out of the prospect that courtship is dead. And technology, he told MSN's The Heart Beat, is often an issue when it comes to dating.

 More on MSN Living: Engagement etiquette tips everyone should know 

"One of the biggest mistakes that men make on a date is checking their phone," LoDolce told us. "It's the biggest deal breaker." 

But according to the Times, fewer and fewer men are willing to put the phone away, so to speak. These days, it's less about tradition and more about "hanging out." Some have called it "pre-dating." 

Dating coach and expert Paula Rosdol agrees that courtship is dying, blaming it on our "fast-paced, time-starved culture."

"Courtship is all about taking the time to get to know someone," she tells The Heart Beat. "Like pursuing and attaining any worthwhile goal, finding the right person and relationship at any age takes a certain amount of commitment and determination, as well as time, energy and money."

Ami Angelowicz of The Frisky made the argument that courtship isn't dead, it's just transitioning: 

"Texting or Facebook or the recession or confusion about normative gender roles don’t become an obstacle to love, they become a bridge." 

The Times quoted Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, who said that the changing dynamic between men and women is further complicating courtship. 

"Maybe there's still a sense of a man taking care of a woman, but our ideology is aligning with the reality of our finances," she told the Times. A man might convince himself "that dating is passé, a relic of a paternalistic era, because you can't afford to take a woman to a restaurant." 

Frankly, men are too broke for traditional courtship. And polls might support her argument, depending on who you ask. A survey earlier this year found that only a third of men are willing to pay for a first date. But a separate poll found that 74 percent of men are willing to pull out the wallet on a first date. Anyway, if a decline in picking up the tab is the end of courtship, it doesn't appear to be keeping women from feeling courted. Only about half of women in the latter survey seemed to think the guy should pay for the date.

But the dynamic isn't just about money. Rosin adds that many men are "worried that they might offend women by dating in an old-fashioned way." 

"It’s hard to read a woman exactly right these days,” she said. “You don’t know whether, say, choosing the wine without asking her opinion will meet her yearnings for old-fashioned romance or strike her as boorish and macho.” 

What do you think—is courtship over? Or is it simply changing?

Subscribe to The Heart Beat

More from The Heart Beat:
Cellphones are ruining relationships
Why powerful people are more likely to cheat

Study: Confidence before marriage leads to a happy union

Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest

Photo: Rayes/Getty Images

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • courtesy of viralnova.com // courtesy of viralnova.com (courtesy of viralnova.com)

    This special note will make you believe in love

    Forgotten what love is all about? Read this note, and remember.

  • fotostorm, Getty Images // fotostorm, Getty Images (fotostorm, Getty Images)

    3 surprising factors that predict a happy love life

    And a few that aren't so shocking.

  • 9 marital habits

    9 marital habits to avoid

    If you find yourself doing any of these things, consider changing your behavior or counseling.

  • Glass lamps

    Inspiring expert wedding ideas

    From pineapple sculptures made out of sunflowers to bold graphic printed tablecloths, ten trendsetters in the wedding industry shared 100 days’ worth of inspiring new wedding details. See The Knot editors’ top picks for the coolest and most awe-worthy ideas from the wedding experts.

  • Ever couple gets into the nothing fight

    The 10 rocky moments every relationship faces

    Those Facebook friends who seem to have perfect lives with flawless mates whom they adore at all times? Even they face tough times like these.

  • Lies wives tell

    7 lies your wife tells you

    How to flag her little fibs. By Laura Tedesco

  • A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com // A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com (A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com)

    Being the odd one out may make you more attractive

    A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change.

  • The Viceroy Anguilla

    Great getaways for a spring-summer honeymoon

    As a general rule, any island that offers great weather year-round is going to attract the most visitors in the winter (high season) when we’re all trying to escape the snow. Once summer rolls around, many islands see a sharp drop-off in tourism since many people have beach weather right in their own backyards.

  • Getty Images

    The top 10 complaints from unhappy husbands

    And how you can attack the issues together.

  • 25 wedding photo bombs

    25 wedding photo bombs

    A wedding is an exceptionally special day. Sometimes, an opportune photo flub makes the occasion even more memorable. Here are 25 awesome wedding photo bombs.

  • He takes you on nondrinking dates.

    7 signs he’s getting serious about you

    Somewhere between the first few butterfly-inducing dates and the committed-for-life stage, there’s the period of wondering if you’re both on the same page about how serious you feel about a future together. If you’re not quite at the point of "that talk" but you’re looking for a few clues you’re heading in that direction, here are some signs he’s in it for the long haul as your relationship progresses.

  • 'Have you tried online dating?'

    15 things single people are tired of hearing

    What’s that sound? It’s white noise blocking out the well-meaning person proclaiming groundbreaking news about where you can meet someone, asking why you’re still single, or bugging you about when you’re getting married already. Don’t be that person. Here are 15 annoying things all single people don’t want to hear.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat