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

  • Sign placement/"10 Most Outrageous Wedding Photos"/Photo: Brooke Aliceon Photography

    10 outrageous wedding photos

    The typical wedding: A white dress, tiered cake, floral centerpieces and a cute flower girl -- you know the drill. Every once in a while, though, a couple trades in tradition for a quirky, never-seen-that-before idea. Here are a few of the most out-there wedding photos that made us do a double take.

  • Hot wedding trends for fall

    9 hot wedding trends for fall

    There's a lot to love about weddings this fall, like cocktails served in copper Moscow mule mugs, industrial-inspired lighting and pheasant feather details. See what's new!

  • Monique Pean Mineraux diamond and rose gold ring, $3,400; barneys.com

    Why single ladies are rocking a wedding ring

    Do you have to be engaged to sport a ring with bling?

  • ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images //  ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images (​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images)

    Majority of Americans are single

    124.6 million haven't gotten hitched.

  • least expensive places to get married

    These are the 25 least expensive places to get married in America

    Even though the national average wedding is $29,858, that’s just an average. If you live in a smaller state like Idaho where the average wedding costs $16,159, you may find yourself saving a little more than half of the national spend! Check out some of the other least expensive cities to get married in below:

  • M Swiet Productions, Getty Images // M Swiet Productions, Getty Images (M Swiet Productions, Getty Images)

    Americans have nostalgia for summer romance

    Summer is winding down, but the ubiquitous summer romance lives on.

  • 8 signs it's time to break up

    8 signs it’s definitely time to break up

    For those times when nothing big and horrible happened--but nothing is feeling right either.

  • Actor/"Why we love an older man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love an older man

    He’s confident, distinguished and anywhere from 4 to 20 years older than you. Age is just a number, but there’s something about older men that we love. Here are eight reasons why being in a relationship with an older man is tops.

  • Actor/"Why we love a younger man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love a younger man

    While a younger man may have less life experience, that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally mature. Here are the eight reasons why being in a relationship with a younger man is tops.

  • Other woman (Courtesy YourTango)

    5 reasons the other woman slept with your man

    Have you ever wondered what the 'other woman' was thinking?

  • Apple picking

    6 fun fall date ideas

    So fall is coming and you need some romantic inspiration now that long walks on the beach are out of the question. Well look no further! From apple picking to pumpkin carving, these are some great fall date ideas from girls just like you!

  • Go to a theme park

    8 cute celeb date ideas

    Getting bored of the same dinner and movie date night? Take an adorable cue from your favorite celebs and try something new! From dancing to boxing you can't go wrong with these awesome date ideas.

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