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Dating for Different Generations

Dating for Different Generations

Each generation has its own expectations about how the dating game should work and every old way is affected. The millennials, for example, have a very different idea about how to communicate with a love interest than the baby boomers.


There may be varying ideas about how to search for/ meet to each partner’s role in the relationship. Although there are major differences in dating techniques from generation to generation, there are also things that remain pretty much the same.


With dating sites, matchmakers and so many other ways to meet people today – that specialize in millennials to baby boomers, it’s good to know what the expectations are for your own generation. And, maybe you can learn a bit from another generation that could help in your search for a soulmate.




You might think the millennials (19-to-33-year-olds) have it made with all the dating help they have at their fingertips from the internet, but it can also be very confusing. The goal for some of the millennials isn’t so much to find their life partners, but to have sex and hang out.


Dating as we used to define it just isn’t done anymore by the millennials. They consider it part of the past generation’s methods and prefer to visit in a house, coffee shop or another casual meeting place.


They get to know each other on social media and when they’re ready to have sex, it’s called hooking up. Unlike the past dating generations, having sex does not mean there is a commitment.


The next step to hooking up is to be a significant other. That happens when the couple decides together that they want a committed relationship. Dating apps is the go-to method for meeting new people to have sex or form a relationship.


There are exclusive dating sites for the LGBTQ bunch as well as for those of a particular generation. With all the sites, texting, apps and other ways of communicating it seems that the millennials would know exactly where to find love and how it would work.


But, that’s not always the case. The terms of dating for millennials are extremely ambiguous and overtures can be misleading because there are so many ways to represent themselves.


One of the most frustrating of these methods of dating is called ghosting. Ghosting is done when a person wants to break a relationship with another and simply stops all communication with the person.


They’re blocked from texting, social media sites, phone calls and emails just because they don’t want the hassle of explaining themselves about the breakup. With all the confusion within millennial dating, there is also a bright side.


Millennials are much more open to change and are more willing to accept a person for who they really are and join in more authentic relationships.


Generation X


Millennials and Generation Xs (34-to-54-year-olds) have much in common, but there are some differences that stand out in their approach to dating. Much of it has to do with how each group was raised.


Millennials are known for being tech-savvy and fight turning into adults. Gen Xers tend to be very well educated and focused on their careers, but still try to keep fragments of their childhood to remember and cherish.


These values have made a difference in how each group approach dating. Because of their devotion to work and careers, Gen Xers haven’t had much time to focus on a family and kids.


They’ve also got enough rebel in them that makes it difficult for them to bow down to what others expect of them. But, while millennials are happy in a small apartment and to make just enough money to get by, Gen Xers are more apt to go for the home and marriage at an early age.


Some millennials have more in common with Gen Xers and can gladly date a person from the other generation. They may share the same life passions and interests and millennials appreciate that Gen Xers are surer of themselves and more accomplished.


Gen Xers grew up with television and spent lots of time in front of them – especially watching MTV. An entirely different culture was formed and this culture has everything to do with their dating habits.


The Gen X group loves to try dating websites and communicate on the internet, but so many choices make it difficult for them to decide on a permanent relationship. They’ve also had many of life’s relationship lessons so they are more apt to wait until they know they’ve found the right one.


Like millennials, Gen Xers have less interest in having children. Perhaps they’ve been burned by seeing their parents in messy divorces where the children suffer – or they simply don’t want to give up an active lifestyle.


Both generations are open about sex and freely discuss their preferences when in the dating mode. Gen Xers feel less shame to discuss sex during the dating process than the older generations and feel that sex before marriage is normal.


Gen Xers also know how to disconnect from social media and attach themselves to others through personal intimacy. While they love the connections that phones, computers and iPads provide, they also desire intimacy outside technological advances.


Baby Boomers


They’re set in their ways and know exactly what they want – and don’t want -- in a soulmate. Baby Boomers are the generation born after the soldiers returned from fighting World War II. They’ve learned some things about life and dating.


Having children is not likely to be a topic of conversation for Boomers, but getting along with their kids and family is an important topic and if the kids don’t get along with a potential date, it’s usually over.


Boomers have developed habits that are difficult to break, so dating can be challenging. It can also be rewarding. Most have an income and both partners contribute financially to the relationship.


Dating might include travel to exotic places or traveling together in an RV. Living together without marriage isn’t the stigma it once was, so they don’t feel they have to get married to be together.


Love and romance are still strong desires for Boomers and they want to have fun and experience new things they might have missed in previous relationships. Boomers are having sex sooner in a relationship than they once did, but they still want to have loving feelings toward their partner.


Companionship is one thing Boomers are seeking. They want someone who shares their interests and can experience life with them, but are hesitant to walk down the aisle. They love their freedom and time to indulge in hobbies and socializing.


Boomers are less apt to pressure their partners into marriage. They don’t want to begin a family, but they’re not against living together. Boomers find dates the same as other generations – online dating sites, the gym, church and friends and through friends and family members.


Among boomers, most single women would rather date a person of their own age group, while men wanted a younger woman in their lives. Boomers are still behind the younger generations in using phone apps and online dating sites to find dates, but that statistic shows an upward trend for boomers in using the power of the internet.


One reason boomers are now looking for love online is isolation. They’re more likely to be lonely because activities and work have slowed and people are now living longer. It makes sense to access technology from home to find a companion.


There are dating sites that cater to the older generation and they’re becoming more popular as time goes on.


Understanding the Lingo of the Dating World Today


There could be an entirely new college course in understanding the lingo of the dating world today. Terms like ghosting, Netflix (it’s not a movie channel in dating lingo) and catfishing are just a few of the terms used in conversation (texting) today.


Catfish is a term used to describe a scam where a person uses a false online profile to misrepresent him/herself. They may try to get another person to send money, laundry money or other illegal scams.


Bae is a term used for your significant other and it may be a form of the words babe or baby. Another term, Bot, is also a term where a person misrepresents him/herself by photo-shopping their profile pictures and making them more attractive.


Then, there’s the term, breadcrumbing, which means one person is sending flirtatious messages or texts to someone with no plans to date them – just to play them along. Ghosting is when a person you’ve actually been dating ceases all communication with you without explanation.


Submarining in dating lingo means that someone has ghosted you and now they’re back, strong as ever, with no apology and no explanation, like nothing ever happened. Deep like is a term than means you’ve scrolled through your potential date’s online profiles and liked very old pictures. This alerts the other person you’ve been researching them and that you’re interested in a relationship.


DTR (define the relationship) is a sign that you want to define the relationship. Sliding into DMs is a way to flirt online and means Direct Message. It signals to the other person that you want to privately chat with him/her.


Mention you’d like to Netflix and chill in online dating and the other person knows you’d like to have casual sex. It also has other meanings such as to come on over and hang out. Chill is a term that could also mean several things, but usually, it also means come over for casual sex.


Some online dating terms are simply flirtatious and others describe what’s happening within the relationship – or what s/he would like to happen. If you’re going to date online, you’ll need to learn the various terms to know how to communicate.


Perfect First Date Ideas


The perfect date is different in every generation. Of course there may be exceptions, but for the most part money and time play big factors in the generational dating game. A special date to millennials doesn’t have to be expensive.


They don’t feel they have to impress anyone with money and are more interested in getting to know them. Millennials don’t date as other generations did. They’re more apt to invite a person over to cook together. Visit a farmer’s market first to choose the ingredients.


Statistics show that millennials spend much of their money on food and cook four or more times per week. They also enjoy retro dating. For example, going bowling or skating and trying new experiences.


A trampoline park can be a fun first date and you can usually find one in your home town. It’s difficult not to smile and have fun when you’re having such a good time jumping up and down.


Gen Xers values include working and living life to the fullest. They may enjoy a date that involves activities such as hiking, bicycling, playing games, seeing movies and enjoying a nice (but inexpensive) evening on the town.


If there is a concert featuring entertainers you both like, it makes a good first date. Museums are also a great idea to keep a conversation lively. It’s fun to see what the other thinks about art.


Many bars now have trivia nights with a certain theme, so conversation is never lacking and you can impress the other person with your knowledge of various subjects. It’s a good idea to break the awkwardness of a first date.


For something different, try an escape room for a first date. It makes for a fun starter to the evening and they’re all the rage in most cities and towns. You’ll both try to break the code and escape from the room and it can be loads of fun.


A Gen Xer may be in better shape financially to spend money on a date and it’s expected the man will pay the first time. After that, the Gen X men are happy to let a woman take the lead in where to go and to pay for at least half of the date’s cost.


Baby Boomers run the gamut of what to do on first dates. It’s based on the likes and dislikes of both people and if they’re at the point of dating, they’ve likely established that.


Some boomers enjoy concerts, dressing up and having a great night on the town. Others prefer cooking together and enjoying a meal in front of the fireplace. The first date is a little too early to do things with friends, but subsequent dates can be social in nature.


Many bars have the old-style arcade games and some have karaoke nights which are fun for just about anyone. Or, try taking your date to a drive-in movie. Many cities are bringing back the old style of enjoying a movie from the comfort of your own car.


All three generations are more likely to plan a first date with the other person and choose something that both enjoy. First dates build a foundation for a relationship and can be important in searching for your soulmate – so plan them carefully and make them fun.

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