Our culture may increase pressure to connect

Our society’s drive to be happy and successful could be causing singles to focus too heavily on their dating lives.


“Dating is a process to get to know other people. We use it almost as a screening tool.”

Catching up over MSN with a girlfriend who lives in Australia, the topic of our love lives came up.

She filled me in on the progress of her current relationship, while I told her about a few dates-gone-wrong I had experienced over the last few months.

“I’ve never understood the whole dating concept,” she told me. “In Australia we don’t really date. It’s either a one-night fling or you’re in a serious relationship.”

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard how focused North American culture is on dating. A few other friends from Australia as well as Ireland had made similar statements — some of whom now live here and others who still live abroad but have heard my dating exploits. However, my MSN chat did leave me wondering why dating is such a big part of the thriving singles community in this city and across the continent.

“Dating is a process to get to know other people,” explains Kateryna Spiwak, a dating coach fromDating Essentials. “We use it almost as a screening tool.”

Spiwak says there is a dating motivation spectrum. On the one end is the lonely person desperately seeking someone and the other is the positive dater who is happy on their own until the right person enters their life.

“Most of us (in North America) exist somewhere along this spectrum,” says Spiwak.

Finding out where we are on the spectrum is a project for each of us singles to investigate.

When I brought up my recent MSN conversation, Spiwak told me there are several factors that can influence the dating habits of a country’s inhabitants, including their religion, moral values and political views.

“North American culture, especially, encourages a very Type A mentality,” says Spiwak, adding we’re encouraged by our successes in our careers and our personal lives. This constant drive to be happy and successful can often add undue pressure to our dating lives, causing us to focus too heavily on them.

As a dating columnist, who has spent her fair share of time focusing on the subject, Spiwak’s explanation made sense. Perhaps this continent is simply filled with dating overachievers who need to learn that finding the right partner takes a little time and patience.


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