How Should We Value Dates?

I've come to the conclusion that I happen to probably hold outdated views from the rest of my generation. I'm a private, guarded person by nature- introverted to say the least- but my few boyfriends/dates have determined my values.

While riding the backseat with some older folks, the conversation somehow turned to dating. A comment was made the struck me as off-putting, "If I go on a date and spend $20 or more, I expect sex or something in return."

It left a bitter taste in my mouth, one that made me feel like trash even though it wasn't directed towards me at all, in any way. As a woman, I felt devalued and honestly, made me feel like I wasn't better for anything than sexual favors. For personal reasons, I abstain from sex and I am very vocal about it and not willing to budge on the matter.

For me, dating should be more than just sex and that's just a personal viewpoint. I'm totally fine with casual dating, I don't expect every relationship to be something serious- nor do I want them to- but I personally want meaningful relationships.

I know friends who have very loving relationships that involve sex and others where it has led to some bitter outcomes. Each case is different. Each person is different. And for me, I'd rather get to know a person first before anything physical. I want to make sure that they're not going to be a jackass and that the relationship, even if casual has something going for it.

It's taken me a long time to come to the understanding that when it comes to dating, my personal feelings need to be taken into consideration and not just the other person involved. For a long time, I was afraid of hurting someone else by saying no, that they might leave me because I might not want to go as far in a relationship as the other person.

But this year, I came to the understanding that my voice matters, my safety matters, my needs matter just as much as the other person's. And so when I heard that comment- to me- it just seems to cheapen the whole idea of dating. Honestly, if you're expecting sex every time you go on a date with another person, just hire a prostitute. It basically sounds like the same thing.

Or just go on Tinder and have a string of hookups and one night stands. If you honestly don't think paying for a date is worth it unless you get sex out of it, then what's the point? Why can't just getting to know the other person as a human being okay?

Granted, physical intimacy is important, but I don't consider it the most important aspect of a relationship.

And even if I wanted that and had to pay for a date and then didn't get it, I wouldn't be mad. I'd be happy to find out first if that person is weird or not, or cool, or funny, or has three kids or none, or likes rock music and secretly loves baby animals.

We live in a world of hook-up culture and where things aren't worth it unless you get something out of it in return. And I think it's important to respect people as people. In this regards, I would agree with a friend's rule about waiting for three dates.

In regards to that comment, I personally, think that it's better to treat dates as opportunities to meet an awesome person and to get to know someone on a deeper level. We shouldn't be so caught up in how much money we're spending vs how much we get in return. In the long run, I think if you want to have a more meaningful connection with someone, I think treat dates as people worth getting to know, and you'll end up with something worth more than that $20 or more you spent.

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