How Couples Date in 2016

In the world of romance much has changed over the last few decades. For those who are looking to enter into a relationship, expect courtship and protocols for communication to be totally different than they were in the '80s or even the '90s. Nowadays, people live their lives, both personally and professionally, through their phones and wristwatches. Good luck getting a read on a facial expression, as the most common public pose is looking downward towards one's device. In these times of immediate gratification, dating moves so rapidly from introduction to intercourse that there is barely time to determine whether you like each other let alone love each other. Between the on-line dating sites and the apps available to us, people connect through a rapid fire whirlwind of options. Gone are the days of the slow and steady wins the race approach to finding love. Individuals looking to meet their future significant other seem to need a dating 101 guide to navigate today's waters of singlehood.

Benchmarks - When searching for a match, individuals are now making up profiles of must haves and deal breakers that they are ideally seeking in a partner so the odds of success are enhanced. Geography, religion, education, income, even height and hair color are considerations before an initial meet up happens. This may feel like a job interview rather than a personal encounter, but truth be told dating has morphed into a punch list of desirable qualities. People often are looking to lock down a certain type on paper before having drinks or dinner.

Properly Vetting - How does one vet a potential date? Years ago it was strictly word of mouth. Today all you have to do is follow the breadcrumbs that people leave on social media. A quick check on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the multitude of dating sites will provide a heads up about the good, bad and the ugly of the person's life story. Are they "Feeling the Bern" or are they looking to "Make America Great Again" ? The million dollar question is: Do opposites really attract or implode?

Communication - Be prepared to have the initial "hello" come through in the form of a text message on your cell as opposed to a phone call. The same goes for the confirmation of a date as well as the post date wrap ups of "Had a great time. Would you like to go out again?" Word to the wise, texting, though handy, is not a conversation. Messages will inevitably get misinterpreted, especially given the cruelties that autocorrect can unleash. As archaic as it sounds, take the lead and dial their number with the goal of having at least a five minute verbal exchange.

Splitting the check - The era of men feeling the pressure to pay each and every tab is over. Even on a first date, it is good form for a woman to offer to split the bill. As your get-togethers progress, if one picks up the movie tickets, the other should offer to cover for the popcorn and Snow Caps! Incomes have progressed toward equalization, so have the rules of the road.

Condoms - The pill and diaphragm just don't cut it any more. Wearing a rain hat ought to be the standard operating procedure until you are in a committed and exclusive relationship. Both men and women need to have these plastic squares in their wallets next to their credit cards and ID's. Safe sex is paramount and the truth is that condoms are your best defense.

No More Bases - Back in the day when couples would date for months, they worked toward the goal of rounding the corners of each base. Today it seems like romantic scenarios go from a good night kiss straight to the bedroom. The path has been redirected so that second and third base have essentially merged with home plate. Although sex is accelerated, that does not mean it should be taken lightly. Millennium or not, there are still people out there who don't view intimacy as a full contact sport but rather as an expression of connectedness. For the older group re-entering the dating world, don't be scared off and think that you need to get down to business right away. Always stay true to your morals and values no matter how fast times change!!

Even in this techno-savvy, fast paced world of ours where the next date seems like a swipe away, relying on your gut instincts will always be the truest barometer as to whether to proceed with someone or not. Though we may live in times where speed dating has replaced hand holding, inevitably people will always want to fall in love and feel loved as an endgame. Nothing can replace waking up next to the right person and feeling the contentment of kissing that same person good night. A quick text, saying, "I Love You" during the work day will spark a smile, but the answer to finding love still comes from looking at that special someone face to face. The age old expression is so very true, the eyes are the window to the soul.