Over the years as traditional gender roles’ influence in society have lessened one of the casualties has been the art of courtship. This is due to the confusion that men now have about what is acceptable behaviour when trying to romance a woman and what is not. There is no longer a hard and fast rule when it comes to courtship traditions about what behaviour a woman will like versus being offended by.
A great example of this is the simple act of holding a door open for a woman to walk through. This is one of the simplest exercises of courtship, but many men don’t do it anymore because they’ve come to believe that a woman’s reaction will be that it is a sexist act and become angry. This belief will have come from either a past personal experience or something that they were exposed to by society at large. While it is true that some women would regard such a gesture as sexist, it is just as true that other women would see it as a kind and respectful gesture. However, men will typically err towards the behaviour that is least likely to incur a negative reaction which is why many of them won’t hold a door open for a woman.
Perhaps the greatest example of courtship tradition that men are uncertain about is whether to buy flowers for the woman they are dating. It used to be very customary to buy a bouquet of flowers for a first date in order to show affection and make a memorable impression. However, nowadays you will find numerous women who have never at any point in their dating lives received flowers. Once again, if the idea of giving flowers to a woman has occurred to the man, it has likely been deterred by a past experience that ended badly. For many men, when they will have given flowers in the past to a woman the reaction will have been dismissive and unappreciative. So they stopped doing so believing that the act of giving flowers was considered undesirable.
Another element of courtship that has tended to be lost nowadays is the taking of time to get to know the other person. A lot of the following of courtship traditions resulted in the couple slowly getting to know each other, and their families, before becoming sexually intimate with each other. Yet, with their erosion, couples usually find themselves having sex very early in a relationship before they’ve really gotten to know the other person and how they each feel about the other. Consequently, after a couple has first had sex together, both are confused about what it means and whether they are now making a commitment to each other. One of those in the couple may even find themselves regretting the act because they realize that they’ve had sex with someone who is almost a stranger to them. This is why there are so many stories about how after the first time that the couple had sex they never heard from each other again. If they had waited longer the relationship might have had a chance to become something long term, but because they didn’t the coupling had no real chance.
So what can be learned from all of this? Chiefly, that while it is not necessary to strictly follow all the courtship traditions; there are certainly elements of them that would be beneficial to adopt to increase the odds of success with establishing a long term relationship with someone. Taking more time getting to know each other, before being sexually intimate,will likely help to increase the odds for a more permanent coupling. The key to making this work is communicating to the person you’re dating that the reason you want to hold off on having sex right away is because you want something long term and you think it’s important that you each figure out how you feel about each other first to ensure a greater success of that happening.
The other thing that can be said is that if you are dating someone that doesn’t bring you flowers, or open the door for you, it is likely because he’s received negative reinforcement at some point that told him not to do so. Thus, if you want him to do so, you’re going to have to make a very direct indication to him that you like to have the person you’re dating do those sorts of things for you. You can indicate this to him by something as simple as giving an example of how when you were young you dreamed of being wooed like a particular character from a movie, or point out to him when you see it being done by someone else how you feel it’s a lovely gesture. If he’s paying attention he’ll realize that it’s okay to hold a door open for you, or buy you flowers, and you’ll soon see that side of him.