Marriage and the Family
Topic 6 -
someone else frequently begins with a date. At least, dating plays a
part in the development of most serious relationships, although some
young people get involved by “hanging out” and “hooking up” rather than
dating. Once out of school, many single adults discover
that it is more difficult to find dates. Among the sources of dates are
the workplace, clubs and organizations, singles’ bars, mutual friends,
dating services, personal ads, and the Internet. As the personal
ads indicate, people are selective about whom they date. We use
criteria for assessing people’s attractiveness, which is one of the
most important factors, but not the only criterion for selecting a
dating partner. Ironically, the things we value for the long-term are
not necessarily the criteria used to initiate a relationship with
There are two types of dating: assortative (dating
and experience) and exclusive dating (the precursor to
A. Traditional Dating generally occurs in the Marriage Market - out
there, where everyone can be had for a price. Dating is "window
shopping" - courtship is "bargaining" - Marriage is sealing the deal.
Each dating participant puts on a face or "mask" by attempting to
project personalities that will please and attract the exact type of
person they are interested in. This is known as pluralistic deceit.
B. Finding People to Date / Selection of Dating Partners
1. Propinquity - refers to the tendency of people to meet
marry those with whom they have the most contact. So we find mates in
school, in the neighborhood d, at church - usually. This puts to rest
the notion of there being a "Mr. Right" - or "one and only" just for
us. We make that happen. We also find prospects through friends, at
work, fix ups, at bars, laundromats, the Acme.
2. Similarity, Complementarity, and Compatibility -
strong social norms surrounding who we date, there are some
sociocultural factors influencing our choice of mates:
a. Exogamy - refers to the pressure to marry outside specified
groups (outside gender, immediate family,
Over time in as dating becomes
exclusive, the layers of
are stripped away (erode away) and we begin to know the other more as
show ourselves more.
b. Endogamy - refers to the pressure to marry inside specified
groups (opposite sex, within age limits) within religious and economic
limits, within ethnic or racial limits).
c. Homogamy - refers to pressure to marry people similar to
in social background, values, and beliefs.
The Process of Dating into
- We are Initiated into Dating as preparation for marriage:
functions of dating.
- in preschool we see marriage as heterosexual.
- we pay attention to what mommies and daddies do.
- Marriage is taught to us as an attractive and desirable
- It is personalized
- we are quickly pushed together in mixed sex play
- we develop crushes (these are encouraged), and have
- in adolescence we learn the cues that will serve us later
our identity crisis.
As a social
phenomenon, dating differs not only across generations but across
among different groups within a particular society as well. People not
differ in dating patterns because of ideological commitments, but also
of differing family backgrounds. Children of divorced parents are
have higher levels of dating activity. Dating patterns also differ
various racial and ethnic groups.
- We all have a need
for recreation, and one way to do this is to date.
- Dating offers
intimacy and companionship.
- Mate selection is
the most obvious function of dating.
- Dating can bring
- The process of
learning to function effectively in a group is known as socialization,
dating, we begin to learn how to relate more meaningfully to someone of
- Teaches us about members of the opposite sex - how to get
- Allows us to improve communication and social skills
- We learn to enhance our social attractiveness and promote
- We learn about ourselves through dating, get some
our market value,
- We learn to establish standards for later mate selection.
- Sexual exploration can occur and some degree of
- WE determine compatibility with different partners and
Gender differences in the
exchanges: Men feel pressure
to "put out" financially Women feel pressure to "put out"
- congregations in larger groups
- less paring use of friends
- peer group standards in choosing date
- use of media standards - how do we know that "breaking'
While nobody claims to like
system, it is titillating and
takes on a "game" nature. It is sometimes helpful to think about
developing love relationships in terms of the Intimacy-Commitment
Spiral to explain how couples move from assortative dating to exclusive
dating and engagement.
The basic idea is that:
to approach dating from a psychosexual orientation
Little in the way of trust is
early in the dating process.
males and females fall back on traditional norms, developing skills in
the playing of complex "games" to manage themselves. Traditional dating has its
while Women tend to approach dating from a
Problems in dating
- it is sexist leaving little choice
- it is superficial as all encounters are it is deceitful -
- it is unfair and arouses anxiety - who calls, who waits -
At some point, most people
beyond dating to a more
permanent relationship with one person.
progress to a more permanent relationship, they become more alike in
beliefs, and values. Eventually, if the
couple is moving toward marriage, they enter the period of engagement.
the engagement period, a couple has an opportunity to closely examine
relationship. In a sense, an engagement is a final countdown period in
potential problem areas can be detected before the union is
As we move into an exclusive dating relationship more investment
put into the relationship - matched in equal parts by each
partner. Friends who are not in serious relationships tend to be
replaced by "couples" who will do "couples" things
recreationally . We have couples over for dinner parties, instead of
a buzz with our friends down at the tavern.
- difficulty in getting dates
- initiative is up to the male, leaving the poor female in a
- aversive dating experiences
- lack of social skills
- Violent behavior
that occurs in dating situations includes pushing, grabbing, shoving,
kicking, biting, hitting with the fist, and date rape. The rates of
victimization are about the same for men and women, but women are more
to receive severe abuse, such as sexual assaults and physical and
injuries. Some aspects of the dating situation encourage and tend to
violence in a particular couple.
- Sexual aggression
refers to any kind of unwanted sexual activity, from kissing to sexual
intercourse. Forced sexual intercourse is rape – attempted or actual
intercourse by the threat or use of force – and this is one of the most
forms of dating violence. Clearly, one of the problems women encounter
dating situations is the tendency for some men to justify violent
Engagement and/or Cohabitation - a period of extended
- Exclusivity gives time to agree on and work out any
arrangements - finances, place of residence, spending patterns.
- Provides time to re-examine the goals and means of the
- Allows each other's families time to adjust to the eventual
of the two.
- Provides time to make a final check of each other in terms
interests, values, goals, comfort in each other's company.
- Provides time to work out final details of the wedding.
Sex and the Single Person
- In the process of moving toward marriage, increasing
numbers of couples cohabit. Cohabitation may occur before or after the
engagement. Cohabitation may now be the most typical path to marriage.
also an alternative to marriage for some couples.
- Not everyone is
equally likely to cohabit. Cohabitants tend to have distinctive
values about marriage and various other matters. While cohabitation is
generally associated with younger people, increasing numbers of
older people are cohabiting.
- A little more than
half of those who cohabit say that one important reason for doing so is
it permits a couple to be sure they are compatible before they marry.
- People cohabit for reasons
other than to check on their compatibility. Four types of cohabitation
been identified: the Linus blanket
type, emancipation, convenience, and testing.
- Cohabitation is not the same
experience for everyone. The nature of any individual’s experience
the motives and purposes of the two partners, the length of time the
been together, and whether the relationship is heterosexual or
- For many couples,
cohabitation is a testing ground for marriage. In the great bulk of the
research comparing marriage and cohabitation, it is the married couples
have the advantage. Two ways in which cohabiting couples have an
married couples involve housework (married women spend significantly
on housework than do cohabiting women) and in terms of conflict over
management (cohabiting couples fight less about money than do married
- Research shows
that those who cohabited before marriage exhibit poorer marital
skills and are less supportive of each other than are those who did not
cohabit. At best, cohabitation brings no advantage to those who desire
at worst, cohabitants are at a higher risk for problems and breakups.
are clear: cohabiting before marriage makes a poorer-quality marriage
less stable marriage more likely.
AIDS has put a damper on sex
some segments. -the average
of sex partners for women was 4 (2-10 with the bell shaped curve)
Sex without Intimacy - While
viewed as pleasurable (almost
the dominate value in our society seems to
tend toward sex with
(love or something like it).
Booby Traps on the Singles Front
people experience a number of serious relationships
rather than a single one. That means that most have the painful
- Sexual Exploitation -Date Rape: 20% to 30% of all college
- The Married Person Gambit - Married men are much more
require less attention.
A. If there is
perceived inequity, the lack of self-disclosure, or the absence of
than enhance intimacy, we would expect a relationship not to last. And,
are other factors involved.
intimate relationship is painful, even for the person who wants out.
of responses to relationship deterioration can be identified: Exit
refers to a response of withdrawal
or threatened withdrawal from the relationship; Voice is the response of facing up to, and
trying to talk through,
problems; Loyalty is the response of
staying with the partner in spite of the problems; Neglect is a refusal to face the problems and a
willingness to let
the relationship die. Although breaking up is difficult, we should
beware of a
tendency to think that it is always bad for relationships to break