How the dating scene has changed in the last twenty years!

The first thing that springs to mind is:


  • So much dating happens online now (which was not possible in 1989)! The internet means you don’t have to leave the house to date and it enables you to meet people from other areas of the country or other countries that you probably would not otherwise be able to do. Dating has become global instead of just local!
  • Face-to-face conversations are no longer the norm and often talking on the phone takes a backseat to text messaging and emails. There is less direct interaction with each other.
  • It is easier to lie successfully online; you can post an old photo, give the wrong age and even the country you live in, so you’re never quite sure what you’re getting. In 1989 when it was all face to face.

On a more positive note, when you meet someone new, the internet allows you to verify whether people are who they claim to be. You can Google that person, find photos, articles or do background checks on them.


  • Work is now the main reason that men and women turn to online dating and dating agencies; 20 years ago it was usually because someone had got divorced or become widowed and had no single friends to turn to.
  • The long hours that we work today make it harder to meet partners conventionally. (1am is about the time when most men join Dinner Dates – most likely after a long day at the office!)
  • Also the long hours we now work means that our free time is so precious that we tend spend it meeting friends and family. This means we never have time to meet new people because we are too busy juggling our friends and our work.

Nowadays it’s more socially acceptable for women to be single. The stigma of being single post thirty has all but disappeared and many women don’t feel the traditional pressure from family and friends to marry young, choosing to wait until they meet someone who ticks their mental check list.

This brings me to the next important change:

Equality between the sexes

  • Men and women demand equality between the sexes. In 1989 dating tended to be dominated by men who had more control over how dates progressed,  whereas women now are much more forward about who they do and don’t want to date
  • Today it is generally expected that women pay their share on a date whereas in 1989 men would have paid for everything.
  • Now women ask for men’s phone numbers whereas in 1989 it was always the men who made first contact.
  • However this new equality has made men to no longer feel the need to pull out a lady’s chair, open doors or give up their seat for women as they did 20 years ago and women no longer expect them to. Chivalry has taken a back seat.
  • Today women behave more like men in the way they like sex, have sex, want sex and initiate sex – and post provocative photos of themselves on websites like Facebook.


  • Many men and women now lie about their age once they reach their 40’s. They want to be younger and their friends unfortunately convince them that they do look younger!
  • Older singles tend to look for trophy partners!
  • Men have always wanted to go out with younger women but now women want toy boys too.


  • Currently it seems most single people date more than one person at a time whereas 20 years ago, once you had been asked out on a second date you rarely dated anyone else.
  • Texting and emailing via blackberries make multiple dating much easier.
  • People are far more promiscuous now; in 1989 if you did sleep around you would never have been open about it.


  • Standards of dress for dates have changed dramatically. 20 years ago dates tended to be more of a formal occasion where both parties made an effort to look smart. People now dress more casually.
  • Necklines have plunged and women dress much more provocatively than 20 years ago. With the increase of sex in adverts and the media it is now accepted for a girl to wear almost anything!
  • Men no longer feel the need to wear a suit and tie on a date to impress a female and have opted for a more casual look, ditching the tie and jacket.
  • Men have become more metrosexual in the way they dress, even getting manicures and going to the hairdressers before a date, wearing pink or patterned shirts and much more jewellery than 20 years ago.

So how has the way single people converse with each other on dates?

Dating Conversations

  • People are now incredibly demanding and specific about what they want in a partner. So much so that at the first meeting they will openly discuss their feelings and what they want out of a relationship, including children – this would never have been talked about on a first date in 1989.
  • In 2009 women are especially quick to ask the man’s profession, where they live and ascertain how financially suitable they are. I feel we were more subtle 20 years ago.
  • Both sexes are now not reticent about finding out about the other’s political and religious views whereas 20 years ago these subjects would have been avoided.
  • Past sexual partners and drugs often get discussed on first dates (unheard of in 1989!)
  • People tend not to turn off their blackberries or mobile phones during a date and will even answer them at the dinner table. As there were no mobile phones 20 years ago this never happened  which meant that when you were on a date you had the undivided attention of your Date.
  • People often get a friend to call them in the middle of the date so that if it’s going badly you can use your friend’s ‘emergency’ as an excuse to leave. In 1989 people were not so accessible!

Today we have much more choice than we used to.


  • People are much more interested in value for money in the 21st century and don’t want to spend money eating out with someone they don’t like. This makes people more choosey and fussy before making a date.
  • People are much more likely to complain if they think they haven’t had a successful date, often blaming their internet website or dating agency if their date wasn’t everything they expected. Years ago they probably would have put it down to experience!
  • Compromise has become a thing of the past since 1989 and people are less prepared to make relationships work, opting instead to move on to pastures green.

As you can see there have been many changes, some good and some not so good. But the thing that saddens me most nowadays is that people’s expectations are too high with many want perfection in a partner. I think that this is the main factor why single people today tend to stay single for longer!

Comments (2)

Drawing the comparison between now and 1989 is great. I’ve often felt things have changed alot and I don’t understand the new rules. Your blog helps me know what I felt was right and the reasons why.

It seems the disposable culture has spilled into relationships. On dates I’ve been on there is the sense that judgements are based quickly and on flimsy evidence often made out of context.

There is an almost constant anxiety because the net promises, though frequently failures to deliver, a permenant supply of someone better. This perhaps affects men more who biologically seem programmed to want variety. In 1989 men had to work hard as women were, compared to now, in short supply. Now they are aplenty and its a breeding ground for cads to flourish.

I think technology has had some very negative consequences on relationships eroding the face to face uninterupted quality communication with banal and lazy texts and emails.

I would love to turn back the clock back to a sense of realism which seems to have disappeared. I know I can’t but having tried the internet with disastarous consequences I’d frankly rather be single..

Niti  August 13th, 2010 at 2:18 PM

When I was in my early 20's before my wife and I got married (1989); I had a lot of luck with the ladies. Now that we are almost divorced, I am 49 finding the dating scene sucks so bad it is disheartening. Women are extremely picky.

Tim  March 3rd, 2013 at 12:47 AM

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