My friend and I spent the weekend in Vegas. During one of our conversations, she said she didn’t understand why people seem to be dating with contingencies or backups. I told her she’d been married too long and didn’t know how savage the dating world really is. But the more I thought about it, I realized that side chicks, backups and contingencies are the dating norm now. I think there are several explanations for the trend. Dating seems to be moving away from “traditional” courtships.
Internet dating has done two things. The first is that it’s made it easier to find a date when you don’t really get out of the house. The internet brings the dating choices right to your fingertips, but the choices are the second cause of new norms in dating. The internet brings a lot of choice that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Prior to the internet, you had to go out and be social or answer a newspaper personal ad. While I am sure people read and answered newspaper personal ads, internet dating profiles are much more interesting. You get photos and glossy words about the awesomeness of a potential date. So when things aren’t going as well as we think they should, we can look at a new photo and some polished words and move on to the next one without needing to leave our current relationship in the rear view mirror. We can test out the “new” dater. And when we believe we have found the better option, we can choose to take up with the new dater and what to do without old dater. For some people, that means keeping them both.
Acceptance of non-monogamous relationships
Polyamory has become more acceptable in societal terms. These types of relationships were a bit more “taboo” until more recent shifts in pop culture. Now, every learning channel on television has some show dedicated to polygamy or polyamorous lifestyles. As society views these shows, greater understanding begins. And with greater understanding, we often begin experimenting with different viewpoints.
Because You Want To
Choosing to have a backup plan while dating may just be comfortable. Whether its a need for security or a need to have someone who fills the needs your significant other doesn’t, you can choose to date more than one person.
In my twenties, it no one ever said “side chick”. It wasn’t a norm. We just called it cheating. It was frowned upon in most circles. There was still an expectation of monogamy and faithfulness when entering a new relationship. I suppose the expectation is still there today, but alternative relationships are also the norm.
When we choose to date with contingencies, we may be giving up real intimacy. We may be making ourselves liars by omission. We may be setting ourselves up for failure. If there is an agreement of monogamy, then we should be honest about our intentions.