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. Here goes!
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.