The Dating Divide: 10 Things Millennials and Baby Boomers Can Teach Each Other

By Sandra Manson

Posted 3 years agoDATING

The perennial generational war between the baby boomers and the millennials is alive and currently raging. Disagreements arise regarding every facet of human existence. From the best career paths to tow, to how to raise kids, to even the relevance and the effects of the use of social media and various other technological innovations. However, there is no area where the dichotomy is most visible as in the attitudes of both groups when regarding dating.
The Dating Divide_ 10 Things Millennials and Baby Boomers Can Teach Each Other

As it were, the expectations and, indeed, the realities of the two groups are too far apart. Baby boomers, typically people born between 1946 and 1964, lived at the time when dating was physical (and mechanical, some folks could argue.) In that era, by the time you were done with high school, you already knew who you were going to get married to and even what you’d name your first child. The reverse does seem to be the case for millennials.

Millennials were born into the revolution. Between 1981 and 1996, the world saw massive changes that had not been witnessed, perhaps since the first men discovered fire. Apart from techie introductions that are mind-boggling, millennials witnessed uncertainties in the economy, saw same-sex unions legalized in most developed nations, and tested and assimilated the use of social media. These changes seeped into how they viewed relationships, love, and the whole works.

All of these notwithstanding, are there things these two groups can learn from each other? Even without going into the specifics, one can readily supply a Yes to this question. This is because generally, everyone knows that you can learn quite a few things from the people you disagree with. In fact, in some instances, you learn the most from those whose opinions are contrary to yours.

This article examines what baby boomers and millennials can learn from each other regarding dating. Do understand that this article does not defend one position or the other. The idea is to look at both stances cohesively and agree about what both sides can teach the other. But before let’s focus on

The Evolution of Dating Apps and Modern Love

Today, all you have to do to meet someone is to turn on your smartphone and browse profiles. While it sounds easy, that is never the case. There are certain challenges involved with the use of technology to meet a potential date; this is why dating app developers have tried to adapt to meet the changing needs of the consumers over the years.

The Advent of Online Dating Apps

While apps are pretty common these days, there was a time when it was still a novelty among smartphone users. Apps made various aspects of life more efficient and easy, such as managing finances, keeping track of a diet, or choosing recipes. The world of mobile app development has expanded rapidly into the huge market that is online dating. This has broken down geographic and physical barriers, allowing singles to meet and mingle with a potential with the swipe and click of a button.

Dating websites were the predecessors, they were like the modern version of personal dating ads.These websites work in such a way that individual users would sign up for a membership fee and gain access to profiles of other single users. Upon signing up, users would be asked to fill out a survey questionnaire and a detailed profile. The information provided by every member will be used by the site’s algorithm to determine a potential ‘match’. Once you find a match, it is up to you to communicate with that person and explore ways to further the relationship.

How Did Dating Apps Evolve?

Dating apps evolved from dating websites thanks to the mobile boom, and today an entire generation has grown up with dating apps, swiping and liking as an accepted (and essential) part of day to day life. There is no denying that dating apps are no longer an alternative to finding a potential partner. Many individuals have relied on them solely in order to find a romantic relationship. For this reason, app developers have rushed to cash in on the market and the dating app landscape is littered with options for singles. The problem has now become ‘which app to choose’?

To help understand how the dating apps have evolved throughout the years, it is important to look at some of them available in the market.


The OKCupid app is a familiar name for anyone who’s tried dating apps before. As one of the first dating apps to be developed, there is a massive user base to explore for those who are single. In addition to that, it is straightforward to use. The app has gone through major upgrades and refining throughout the years to adapt to the changing needs of the singles market.

One of the most interesting features of the OKCupid app is the “Flavor” system. This enables users to easily categorize potential dates based on evocative groups that they create for them to view. In addition, it offers a broad array of personality quizzes, integration with Instagram, and a complex messaging tool to make it easier to get matched and connect with potential dates.


Joyride is one of the newer dating apps available in the market for singles. This is a great option for those who find these apps a bore. Why not add fun and excitement to meeting other singles by participating in fun dating games? With this app, you can discover singles playfully!

This is a first-ever dating app of its kind; which, again, is a testament to how these apps have evolved. First and foremost, it is a free dating app. It was developed with the intent of making online dating fun again. In fact, it is called a dating playground. There are games such as trivia quizzes, speed dating games, and 21 questions, among others. It is a great way to explore the personality of your potential match in fun and new ways.


This dating app is unique in that the female user (also known as the queen bee) must make the first move on individuals within their hive (or those who they have a mutual connection with). They must make that move within 24 hours or else they will lose that connection; hence, there is no time to waste.

What sets Bumble apart from other dating apps are that there is an opportunity to build connections with a potential business contact or to expand your friendship circle, if you are not into dating relationships. In 2019, they added the video feature to the app on top of the voice chat feature. is one of the pioneers in the online dating industry. In its effort to evolve with the globalization of online dating, they have developed an app for smartphone users. Users can set up an account for free and access premium features such as setting up an online dating profile, seeing who has checked out your profile, or liking each other’s pictures. It has also added voice and video features into the app over the years.

Due to the safety concerns about online dating, app has also integrated a safety feature for its users. This feature will enable users to alert friends or family if they ever feel in danger while on a date with someone they met through the app. There are a lot of fun features worth checking out and tweaking to match your desired dating profile.


Another long-time player in the world of online dating is eharmony. Like, it started out as a dating website. It was eventually developed into an app to make it more accessible to singles looking for a potential partner. One of the things that enable the app to provide users with a suitable match is the Relationship Questionnaire. This is a vital step users must fulfill when setting up an account so you can meet someone with similar interests and personalities. You will also be recommended to a few potential partners based on numerous areas of compatibility.


This is one of the most unique dating apps in the market – an example of the niche dating apps of the recent years. According to the app, it is both a dating app and social network. As the name suggests, it is created specifically for lesbians or bisexuals. Once signed up via Facebook or Instagram, Her users can get access to a list of users within their area or globally. It gives you the opportunity to connect with other single females looking for this type of relationship.

Her users also have access to chat and messaging tools to make it easier to connect with potential dates. There is also a section wherein users can stay up-to-date on LGBTQ events and news.


You cannot come up with a list of dating apps without the mention of Badoo. This is one of the pioneers in the industry with over 370 million users worldwide. It integrates a variety of features to make finding a match a breeze – from swiping to finding users within the nearby area. One of the things that make it stand out as a dating app is that they have put together a system to verify users to make sure they are actual people. The app is free to use but those with premium accounts have more visibility.


The Wingman app is the ideal choice for those who need extra help in matchmaking. This is how it works: you can enlist the help of your friend (or two) to build your profile, rather than doing it on your own. Your designated Wingman will also be the one to screen through potential matches. If your match likes you back, you will get the opportunity to connect with them and exchange messages.

This is a fun take on dating through an app, which helps to ease the pressure and fear of the entire experience.

Coffee Meets Bagel

If you want to find quality matches rather than being presented with more options, then you need to download the Coffee Meets Bagel app. Men will be sent a selection of potential matches based on profile information; on the other hand, women will choose from potential matches who have expressed interest in knowing them. In this app, the women hold the control. There is a 7-day window given to users with mutual attraction to connect with each other. 

Round Up

Based on the list above, it is obvious how online dating has greatly evolved in recent years. From its inception to now, there is a seemingly endless array of possibilities, thanks to the advent of niche dating apps. It is now easier for a wide range of singles to meet other singles who fit into their culture, passion, or preferences, or other factors they consider valuable as part of their quest to find an ideal partner.

What Millennials Can Teach Baby Boomers

Millennials believe they have the hack for everything. While this is debatable, baby boomers can indeed learn a thing or two from them when it comes to relationships.

How to Explore Online Dating

The biggest flex millennials currently enjoy is the fact that they could wake up single and go to bed with a warm body beside them. This is something baby boomers cannot even begin to contemplate. This sort of “superpower” is existent because of the presence of a phenomenon known as online dating platforms.

Several of those exist. They are as multiferous as the kinks and passions of the various millennials. There are dating platforms for each sexuality, race, fetish, location, etc. These online forums typically have settings you can toggle to narrow down your preferences further.

Baby boomers typically view dating platforms with skepticism. They believe that in the fast-paced world these spaces provide, the focus usually is on sexual relations and nothing more. This may be true, to a large extent.

However, they fail to recognize that some of these spaces have helped folks find love. Long-lasting unions have been forged by a simple “hello”. For baby boomers looking for love, the online space may be just what they need. That cannot be obtained if they are unwilling to try. No one can argue with the fact that the world is becoming increasingly interconnected on the internet. Hence, it may be faster and more convenient to meet someone on the internet.

That There is Nothing Wrong with Friend with Benefits Situations

The concept of friends with benefits (FWBs) is as foreign to baby boomers as Pinterest is. Baby boomers thrive on commitment. Thus, they have an elaborate system of courting, dating, and then finally getting sexually intimate with their partners. If this is reminiscent of a 1960s romance movie, it is because it is.

As any millennial will tell you, a friend with benefits situation is an arrangement where two people have sexual relations with no strings attached. In this kind of scenario, there is no emotional baggage or commitment of any sort. Both parties know what to expect and what lines not to cross.

Millennials can teach baby boomers quite a few things about this sort of situation. Basically, it would be a lesson in sexual liberation.

That Marriage is Not the Prize (it is thought to be)

Baby boomers had to deal with pressures to get married, especially as one inched closer to the dreaded big 30. However, millennials have shattered such stereotypes. These days, it is no longer an odd sight to see a thirty-year-old pushing ahead with their career, with no thought of marriage on their mind.

Even more so, a millennial will not be afraid to put you in your place if you try to shame them about being single. This is the sort of chutzpah that baby boomers could emulate. Here, they could learn that marriage is not the prize it was once thought to be. Hence, any baby boomer who is yet unmarried could fully enjoy their lives, no apologies offered. In the same vein, this could help those stuck in unhappy relationships find the courage to step out without feeling the weight of the stigma attached.

How to Achieve Balance

One thing millennials have in abundance is audacity. They want everything and work to have it. Thus, the average millennial will not settle for having either a happy relationship or a stellar career. They find a way to do both. Aided by technology and a ton of helpful guides, they have managed to almost have the hack figured out.

It was always problematic for the baby boomer to choose either to save their marriages or their jobs. Admittedly, it was a lot harder in their time. However, they could learn about tenacity, grit, multi-tasking, and delegation from millennials in these times. They, too, could have it all.

New Ideas about Dating

Gone are the days where the extent of a date was the local diner or the neighborhood restaurant. Millennials have managed to take things up a notch. They’ve invented innovative ways of going on dates. Thus, you find them going on movie dates, picnics, elaborate vacations, and even work dates. This sort of variety adds spice to a relationship – something baby boomers can definitely do with.

Thus, if you are a baby boomer, you can take a peep into the dating guidebook used by millennials. There are tons of innovative ideas to explore. In the end, you could come to have the same kind of amazing (Instagram) relationships that millennials always boast of.

What Millennials Can Learn from  Baby Boomers

This might be a tad difficult, seeing as millennials often think they know it all. Even when they agree that they may have something to learn, baby boomers are (literally) the last group they turn to. However, we do believe that millennials can learn a thing or two from baby boomers, especially about the art of dating.

How to Actually, Actively Date

This would be a good place to start because it does appear as though the art of dating is lost. Millennials seem to thrive on skipping everything and getting right to the sex. Perhaps, this sort of arrangement contributes to the high divorce rate amongst millennials.

However, dating is a vocation that baby boomers know quite a lot about. It is also true that our parents had longer-lasting relationships and marriages. Thus, as a millennial, you may want to learn what these guys did that we aren’t doing right.

How to Live Without Your Phone

Baby boomers lived at a time when there were no cell phones. They courted, dated, married, had children, and managed to have fun without the little devices lending help in some way. In fact, it is arguable that they had a better go at it than millennials currently do.

The truth is that cellphone addiction is getting on the increase. People can scarcely get things done because they are hooked up to their devices. In fact, it is not uncommon to find people on dates fiddling with their devices, itching to get on social media and check what the latest happening is. Apart from being rude, this sort of behavior communicates disinterest, even when that isn’t the aim.

The absence of cell phones forced our parents to improvise. Hence, they found ways to have fun. Thus, in learning to live without your phone, you may need to learn new habits as well as break old ones. Who better to teach this than a baby boomer?

The Value of (Sexual) Intimacy

There is no doubt that the world is fixated on casual sex. From TV shows to music lyrics and so on, we are taught that “getting laid” is the ultimate on the sexual ladder. While this may be a valid view, it can also give a jaundiced idea of sexual intimacy.

Baby boomers held sex as sacred. It was a means to communicate, reaffirm love, and consolidate affections. This is quite a great view to have. Millennials can learn to strike a balance in their sexual shenanigans. With the right partner, sexual intimacy can be spiritual.

How to Handle Rejection

It would not be far-fetched to state that millennials are incapable of handling rejection. The world of TV creates unrealistic standards. Thus, the average millennial is unprepared to deal with rejection. This is further exacerbated by the culture of casual sex and flings.

The older generation had thicker skin. The only way they knew to date someone was to walk up to them and ask them out directly. Of course, the person who does this also understands that there is the possibility of being turned down. In fact, some of them were outright rejected. But they learned to suck it up and move on. This is a crucial skill millennials need to learn. Knowing how to take rejection is not just great for romantic relationships. It could affect your life’s overall quality.

How to Live

One thing can be said of the older generation: they knew how to groove. Having fun took a lot more than it does now, making it all the more worth it.

Millennials do need a lesson on living. Hunched behind their keyboards and phone screens, the most fun thing some of them do is troll celebrities on Twitter. While at it, baby boomers can exemplify the value of relationships, friendship, communication, and stability. These virtues are timeless and are necessary ingredients for any stable relationship. Unfortunately, they also seem to be in short supply in our present age. Learning these essentials from the older generation would undoubtedly positively affect your relationships.


Whether we want to agree or not, the truth remains that millennials own this decade. They seem to be having all the fun with their non-restrictive definitions of love, romance, and relationship. However, something can be said about how the older generation led simpler and maybe even fuller lives. Instead of focusing our energies on furling cross-generational wars, perhaps we could expend some of that energy on finding common ground. 

About the author Sandra Manson

Sandra Manson is a passionate journalist who has been contributing to major media publications. She enjoys writing about human psychology and lifestyle, as well as the esports industry. Sandra also runs her blog where she covers topics of great interest in modern society.

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