How #MeToo Affects Dating in 2018

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There has been a lot of talk lately about #MeToo and while I haven’t said much about it on this blog, it’s certainly come up in conversations with friends. A few guys I’ve spoken to IRL (in real life) explain that they worry now about women taking their advances differently than they were intended and consent issues coming into play. While some men have spoken up under the #MeToo hashtag, the reality is that it has mostly been women coming forward. Another reality is that dating in 2018 is likely to be even more confusing than ever. Or is it? It’s an important topic I want to tackle in this post sponsored by Digital Dudes, who compensated me for my honest opinions.

Respectful dating
Out in a dinner date in the time of #MeToo. Photo ©2018 Christy B.

More Awareness is a Good Thing

It’s awesome that more women are coming forward to share their stories on Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms. They’re saying it’s not okay again and again, and more women feel they’re not alone or have to bear the brunt of sexual harassment. So, absolutely the #MeToo movement has positive results. So don’t get me wrong about that!

Does the Line Blur Between Flirtation and Harassment?

Dating has never been easy for most of us, whether we’re looking for single women or single men in London or elsewhere. But now there seems also to be confusion for some people (as they’ve expressed to me) between their actions being taken as flirting or as harassing behavior.

While the man or woman who is doing the activity typically knows the difference, it could be that the advances are overly sensitized now in light of the #MeToo movement by the person on the receiving end. While groping is obviously harassment, what about stroking of the arm of your date sitting beside you at the movie theater? Especially if she thinks she’s given you signs that she’s not interested in you but you haven’t picked up on them? This brings up another issue: men and women think differently so miscommunication could happen!

This type of scenario could happen in person or online. We cannot forget about online dating given how popular it is in 2018. There are local platforms dedicated to senior dating, as well as those for people of younger ages.

It could now be that men fear reaching out to women (yes, men have traditionally been the ones to ask women out first, although more women now are taking up that role). This could be because they worry about being labeled as harassers. After all, we’ve all watched on TV as many famous men have fallen over allegations of sexual abuse or harassment. And that’s surely terrifying many males. While it’s good that men are going to hopefully be much less likely to try to act violently or sexually against women, they also might think twice about simply trying to flirt or ask a woman out on a date for fear of being accused of harassment.

Make Sure There’s Respect

The reality is that women still want to be asked out on dates and we all want to feel loved. There’s a lot to be said about feeling a connection to another person, from creating a sense of belonging to increasing self-confidence. While, as I wrote earlier, men and women don’t always think the same, the point that we can hopefully all agree on is that there needs to be respect between individuals on adult dating sites and in-person.

And respect is a two-way street between those on the date. So, a flirty comment to a woman does not necessarily constitute sexual harassment. In this instance, the recipient could say they don’t appreciate this remark (if that’s the case) and please stop. Again, said respectfully. The respectful response is for the person making that comment to stop doing so. An apology would be nice too. Respect.

The movement stands for...
What does #MeToo mean?

Dating Involves Figuring Out Boundaries

With the #MeToo movement, serious assaults have been brought forward. It’s empowering many people, and evil acts are coming to light. But something that still needs to be addressed is that it takes time for those who are dating to figure out where is each of their comfort limits. While a situation may be uncomfortable, that does not necessarily mean it is rape, for example. There needs to be honest talks between men and women about how they feel in situations and what they’re not okay with. And that boundary will be different from one person to the next, by the way. There’s not just one objective guideline to follow.

The hashtag #MeToo is about assault, harassment, and abusing power. And I applaud every woman who’s sharing her story. But unfortunately, it’s confusing the dating scene for many people. Now some men are second-guessing what to write as an opening message online as Birmingham singles or other sites, and that leaves women to make the first move (which not all females are willing to do).

But then on the other side of the coin, maybe this is all a sign of progression as women have faced bigger repercussions after sex than men for so long. Now men are feeling more consequences on them, so maybe this is a sign of the genders starting to balance out more?

Another question to ask is, what is the best thing to do if a man (or woman) isn’t sure if something is consensual or not? Ask. It’s not the most romantic thing but at least then you know the person you’re dating in Cumbria or elsewhere is okay with what’s happening. Again, this goes back to the respect factor. And if a man has good intentions then just keep on that same true path.

What are your thoughts on how the #MeToo movement affects dating in 2018?

33 COMMENTS

  1. I think what needs to be remembered is that we treat one another with respect. If a man respects a woman, his interest will not be seen as harassment. Flirting will be accepted if it is done with respect – and if it is not well received, it should be stopped. And what we should be in mind is that there are men, too, who are being harassed by women – but we do not hear about this. All in all, respect for one another is the key word. Respect and the willingness to slowly build a channel of communication before taking it a step further (something which is difficult if you find dates on a dating site).

  2. Honestly, I say don’t ever go to a mans house if you feel uncomfortable. Set the ground rule to say verbally, not in body language, “I don’t want to go back to your place.” This is what i’m finding confusing on some incidences, when women felt uncomfortable to go back to their house. Have cash available always and use Uber or Lyft if you have to go home.

  3. I think that we all know the difference, then there’re people who can try and make the line blur to excuse their own behaviour or to attack other people under this pretext. But this can happen with no matter what issue, it’s a question of the person’ good will and intentions…

  4. I know I won’t be popular for saying this…but for me, the #MeToo movement was about sexual ABUSE not about harassment, and abusing power. Like I said, to me.

    The shame of it is, when it got all lumped together, the movement became pretty blurred. (again, imo). As someone who was sexually abused as a child, I find it offensive that another woman compares that to unwanted advances on a date. SOOOO so different.

    We do that in our society. Take things to the extreme. So no wonder guys are confused about it all. So am I.

    Thanks for sharing this, and allowing our feedback, Christy.

    • Loretta, I could not agree more with your comment. (I’ve never been sexually abused or raped.) It bothers me that it seems that some people act as if a man kissing a woman when she didn’t want him to or groping her that it’s the same as rape. The man could be called a jerk or a pig, but to me implying that he’s a rapist is overkill.

  5. In most cases courtesy and respect produces answers to whether an action is appropriate of not. When it doubt, ASK! If a situation produces a negative response, withdraw to offer a safety zone and apologize for any accidental misgivings. If we focus on reasonable needs of OTHERS rather than ourselves, we are likely to be more in tune with the situation. This doesn’t remove self needs from the equation, because the OTHER person is also looking out for your reasonable needs as well.

  6. I guess I’m just old-fashioned, Christy. The only guys who should be worried about the #MeToo movement when they are dating these days are the guys who are not respectful and honest – and view women as primarily sexual playthings. As well, people who are dating must quit treating dating as some kind of game. Honesty and clarity of intention are necessary. If a guy misses a girl’s ‘signals’ that she’s not interested, then perhaps she should trade in her dumb signals and speak plainly. “We’re not a good fit.” That works for me.

  7. Yes, well said! It’s all about respect and consent. If you’re unsure, ask. Men, feel free to try something tentatively, slowly, non-aggressively, and see how the women respond. I think asking can be kind of romantic, too. Especially because it’s so respectful. I would feel more respected.
    Think of that sweet scene in Pride & Prejudice, when Mr. Darcy tries again to propose to Elizabeth, but starts it off with saying basically, “If you want me to stop right now, shake your head or something and I won’t even try. If you’re like kind of okay with me now, like, I’ll keep going. But if you’re not into it still, totally let me know like right now before I proceed” (paraphrased).
    Women can also speak up and say, “No, not interested,” then it’s the men’s responsibility to respect that boundary. The biggest problem with the abuse of power is that the men just don’t get the phrase “NO.” NO MEANS NO. I think another problem is using “no” as a sexy thing, like in Fifty Shades for example. It’s fostering these bad examples of consent.
    Also, it’s true men and women think differently. We take things in differently, analyze situations differently. I like all your points!

  8. I completely and utterly commend you for writing this article. This topic is hot right now and so very controversial. I feel like it can be misunderstood so much. You were very clear that there needs to be respect and communication. I completely agree. I think dating is harder these days because you don’t know what someone’s intentions are. I think dating should be old fashioned and everyone should just be up front about what they expect. Thank you for your thoughts on this.

  9. Good topic. I was thinking about writing about this, it’s a blurred line. But good intentions are good, and bad are just bad. But it’s just not how the world is now. It’s anything that someone feels that may be wrong can come back later even if not so, and just the words accusation can be a try situation for a man to defend. So I have known in my own experience, I just try to stay away more than ever, I don’t even try for I just see some sort of bad light coming (possibly). So it makes everything even more difficult and out of touch for people will confuse one movement with another. So many blurred lines these days. It seems everything got to be so PC and well crafted, if not, we don’t even try to attempt is not the most crystal clear as ever. TO be honest, when has anything in the world been crystally clear, other from the obvious, we should not do something that is a crime, or religious and others.

  10. Interesting. I recently wrote about the anti-movement to #MeToo. I like how you brought up points of the blurred line between flirting and sexual harassment. I think dating will change in the sense that spontaneity will reduce hugely if not completely. No longer can the guy spring for a kiss, he should ask first, “is this ok?”

  11. A tough issue to address. Even before the #MeToo movement, harassment has been going on for years and not just in the entertainment industry. When it comes to dating now in 2018, there should be mutual respect and boundaries. Everyone has their own individual intentions, some good and some not so good. A clear understanding should be communicated at the very beginning (the getting to know each other stage). Thank you for your thoughts on the matter, Christy.

  12. Such an inspiring post with good questions raises on such a hot topic Christy. This is what I’ve been wondering with all these abusers being called out – some for rape and some for more minor accusations. But where do we draw the line? And yes, will this cause many men to take a step back in fear of being accused. I think we’ve not yet reached that midpoint and until doing so there will most certainly be a lot of confusion. <3

  13. I feel that because men are worried about their flirting being taken as harassment, speaks to a larger issue. I think it speaks to the fact that men have been taught (by society) to flirt in such a way that IS sexual harassment. My personal opinion is that the line is in fact NOT blurred between flirting and harassment, I think there has actually been no line for too long, that now people can have a hard time articulating the difference between the two.

  14. Men have to be totally honest about this situation. At what point has society collectively treated women with the respect they deserve? Not at any point in my lifetime. Guys must now act like they have the sense that God gave them. That young lady is not your car, truck, or any other item that we place feminine attributes on to display ownership. Treat her like a human being and everything will be fine.

  15. I feel too many of these articles dismiss a males feeling of apprehension of what might be ok may not be ok tomorrow. Saveoursons.com highlights the reprcussions of the false allegations and the fact many feminists don’t care if some innocent bystanders get caught up. (Just google it) for now, until twitter is not judge, jury, executioner I think many males would be wise to take the safe route of better red than dead.

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