Seriously thinking about dating seriously

Must dating always involve thoughts of marriage?

A local study recently published findings that almost half of singles in Singapore have never dated seriously.

While this statistics seem to paint a troubling picture for a nation with low birth rates and an ageing population, some Singaporeans were left wondering if the way 'dating seriously' was defined in the study affected the responses.

What's going on?

In the recent Marriage and Parenthood study by the National Population and Talent Division, it was reported that 40 per cent of single respondents claim they have never been in a serious relationship.

While the figure seems to hint that young Singaporeans are not trying hard to settle down, some question the way the study narrowly defines "dating seriously" as "dating with a view towards marriage".

Singaporeans like Tan Min Hui, 22, agree that dating becomes pointless if marriage is not the end in mind.

The undergraduate said: "If we are compatible, I will date the person in hopes of marrying him. Unless I date seriously, I don't see a point in dating at all."

Similarly, Low Jing Ying, 25, only dates with the intention to settle down with her partner.

The accountant said: "I used to explore in relationships, but I am past that stage now. When I date someone, I already know what I want in the relationship; that is, to ideally marry my partner."

On the other hand, some people believe that dating seriously should not only comprise the intention to marry one's partner. After all, getting married does not necessarily mean the relationship is strong and stable.

Many other factors can indicate how serious a relationship is as well, such as trust gained over the dating period and the couple already cohabiting.

Vivienne Ong, 23, does not consider marriage when she first dates someone, but she emphasises that it does not mean she does not take dating seriously.

The Nanyang Technological University undergraduate said: "When there is enough trust between my partner and I, I would cohabit with him first before entertaining the thought of marriage."

Likewise, Isaac John Yeo, 24, believes that exclusivity should be what determines if a dating relationship is serious, not thoughts of marriage.

The undergraduate said: "At the end of the day, marriage boils down to finding the right person. In order for that process to work, the individual has to take each date seriously, focusing on their exclusive partner rather than focusing on the 'marriage prospects'."

What's your take?

1. What does dating seriously mean to you?

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BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/STEPHANIE SOH