A woman on her date's back holding dandelions while he blows on them

Dating vs. Courting: Why We Should Go Back to the Days of Courtship

by Jeannie Assimos - June 10, 2013

Today’s guest blog is from relationship coach Janet Ong Zimmerman, who makes a very good case for returning to a more traditional form of romance: courtship.

Advancements in our modern day society have provided women with a newfound sense of financial freedom. Compared to fifty years ago, more women can buy their own homes, pay their own bills, purchase luxury items and afford nice vacations. The only problem is they can’t buy love. If you’re a successful woman struggling to find success in your love life, it’s not your fault. Over the decades, love has become a bit more complicated.

Back in the day, relationships were easier because they were well defined. There was courtship instead of dating. Men wooed women. Now, men and women hang out and hook up. Many people have sex thinking it’s the beginning of a relationship rather than having a relationship first and then expressing their love and commitment through sex.

Casual Hookups Raise Insecurities

When you are intimate before really getting to know one another (and one another’s intentions), it’s the exception that your encounters will turn into a healthy love relationship. You’ll tend to behave and act in ways that you think will please him, rather than show your real self. Instead of saying what you completely mean, you’ll only partially say what you mean.

You’ll also tend to read more into the relationship than what’s actually there. You’ll think there’s more of a connection then there really is. You’ll think that he’s more into you than he really is. Then you’ll become disappointed, sad or angry when things don’t work out.

Courtship Boosts Your Self-Worth

In courtship, you and your partner take the time to get to know and care for each other and develop trust. You’re both more vested in your relationship because of the time and effort you’ve put into each other. You’re physically intimate when it’s right for both of you and when you do, it is magical.

Courtship takes more courage because you have to be authentic, open, vulnerable and live without knowing the outcome. If you choose the path of courtship, you’ll become clearer on what matters most to you, what’s acceptable and not acceptable to you and realize your self-worth. You’ll feel cherished, cared for and respected.

The Choice Is Yours

I casually dated through most of my single years, not realizing that I actually wanted to be courted until I met my current husband. In hindsight, dating for me was about reacting to the men I met. This led me to feeling uncertain and settling for less.

Courtship is more about responding based on what’s important to you. You get to choose whether or not you want to date or be courted. If you’re consistently let down and feel unfulfilled in your experiences with potential partners, try letting a man woo you instead of date you. If he’s a good man, this means being receptive to who he is and what he has to offer, rather than being resistant or controlling. It means letting him open doors for you, plan dates, pay for your meals (you can still offer), keep his word, give you flowers, etc. It means treating him with respect and trust, and accepting him for who he is.

If you’re a woman who is used to taking charge, don’t initiate or pursue men. If you do, there’s a high chance that you’ll end up in a “friends with benefits” relationship. You’ll end up settling for less than you deserve. Continuing to approach relationships as if you’re the exception to the rule is never in your best interest, unless you don’t want a commitment. While it’s possible, it’s not probable. It’s your choice: Do you choose dating or courting?

What do you think about dating vs. courting?

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This blog was originally published on YourTango: Making The Case For Courtship: Let Yourself Be Wooed