Home Dating psychology A look at the cultural history of the search for a partner

A look at the cultural history of the search for a partner

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Ein Blick in die Kulturgeschichte der Partnersuche

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The search for a partner has never been so easy and yet so difficult

Dating in the offline and online world can have its pitfalls

The dating process has changed over time. It is not necessary to go back far into the past. 20 years ago they met in the disco, today on Tinder or Facebook. The cultural history of the partner search examines the changes over time. If you take a little time to look into this, you will make astonishing discoveries: Although the possibilities of partner search may have changed, the basic feeling remains the same.

A look at the cultural history of the search for a partner

From personal ad to Tinder

The idea of romantic love is an invention of modern times. Before that, love marriage was rare, as one can easily read in a cultural history of partner search. A relationship was a community of convenience. The man cared for the woman, who in turn took care of the household and the children. Especially for women, marriage was a question of survival. There was no room for feelings here. The cultural history of partner search teaches that this time is over. Today, both partners may allow themselves feelings.

If you weren’t lucky enough to have a nice man in your neighbourhood, you could try a marriage announcement. Unfortunately, the space was limited and there was hardly any possibility to introduce oneself exactly. Dating here was a matter of luck and often one or both partners had the desire to go further as quickly as possible.

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Today the partner search takes place on the Internet. At first glance this seems to be a great step forward, but in the culture of partner search it is not. In principle, the partner searcher on Tinder or Facebook only spreads a relationship ad. Superficiality has increased. In the cultural history of partner search, external characteristics have always dominated inner values. This has reached a new dimension with portals like Tinder. It’s all about looks now. Those who don’t like it are simply wiped away. The next potential partner is already waiting.

A look at the cultural history of the search for a partnerDating is uncertainty

The cultural history of the search for partners shows a fundamental commonality between the past and the present. Dating is an eroticism of insecurity. The meetings often take place in cheap pubs, cafés or hourly hotels. This brings them almost to the proximity of prostitution. In the USA this is forbidden in most states. Whether couples had sex in the car after a date or whether a woman got paid for it cannot be judged by an outsider.

Both found themselves at the police station. Even in Germany it was not much different after the war. A woman staying with a man quickly had the reputation of being an easy girl. Many aspects in the cultural history of the partner search tribes from the USA can, however, easily be transferred to the conditions in Germany.

Anyone who dates men or women to enter into a relationship or a one-night stand must expect to go to bed alone. Despite extensive profiles and long chats, you don’t really get to know a partner. Getting involved with a date is like an adventure where the outcome is more than uncertain.

If you take a look at the statistics instead of the cultural history of partner search, you will see that most couples did not get to know each other at Tinder, but at work. There you can learn a lot more about your partner than on Facebook. The first date will be a success and soon the wedding bells will ring.

In the search for a partner, the human being becomes a commodity

In the cultural history of dating, there is one aspect that is not very pleasant, but it must still be addressed. Dating is self-exploitation. This means that the partner searcher must market himself if he wants to be successful on the dating market. It starts with the trendy jeans, the trendy hairstyle and the most unusual pair of shoes. Anyone who refuses to participate in this self-optimization has an immediate bad hand. Man does not only experience himself as a commodity, he becomes a commodity. The social philosopher Erich Fromm expressed this in his book “Haben oder Sein” more than 40 years ago.

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There is no inner development, because that is no longer necessary. It’s only the appearance that counts, that’s how people are judged. Anyone who wears the latest Armani watch must be a good, friendly and sensitive person. The divorce figures impressively prove that this statement is not correct.

This combination of love and commerce is pushed to extremes on some platforms that are only about images. The question “Do you want to get to know me?” has to be answered by the person looking for a partner based on the picture alone. In the cultural history of partner search, this is the temporary climax of a development which, however, does not have to be completed yet.

In the waiting room of the relationship

In the cultural history of the search for a partner, models were repeatedly discussed in which only one aspect of the relationship was emphasized. In “The Last Tango in Paris” Marlon Brando met a young Frenchwoman for non-binding sex. While this was enough for a scandal in the 70s, it is very often practiced in the present. Expressions like “friend with special preferences” or “friendship plus” make the changed behavior clear. If you are not looking for friendship or a relationship, you will find many partners in the various forums who are happy to get involved.

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But you don’t have to go that far. If you would like to have a relationship but for some reason are not ready for it, you can spend a lot of time dating without having to enter into a relationship. He constantly forges relationships that he doesn’t enter into after all. Five minutes with Tinder on the mobile phone in a doctor’s waiting room then replaces a functioning relationship. There are also examples of this in the cultural history of partner search. The shared apartment is seen by many as a precursor to a real relationship. You live close together, but you don’t have a real relationship.

A look at the cultural history of the search for a partnerDating – Quo vadis?

The cultural history of the search for partners is far from over, and the question arises as to where the development is heading. The longing for genuine, deep feelings is present. Those who study television will find many television series and films that satisfy this longing. The development that the cultural history of partner search is taking at the moment unfortunately leads in the opposite direction. Love and commerce have always formed a pair, but in the meantime the interlocking seems to have become tighter.

Further up is the sentence, dating is self-exploitation. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is up to each individual to resist and show a little humanity when looking for a partner. Getting blocked or getting a basket hurts both. Everyone should be aware that on the other side there is a person who has feelings. In the cultural history of dating, dating always began with the visual impression. But you shouldn’t stand still.


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