Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?: How Undergraduate Students Navigate Contemporary Dating Scripts




Pierce, Lara Zain

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Today, when sexual and romantic possibilities are infinite, there seems to be a marked change in dating scripts from the past. This may be explained by the fact that dating has become indefinable – it can mean a series of literal dates or the period of time before an intimate relationship is acknowledged as “official.” The process of developing relationships is changing. This research uses themes that emerged from qualitative interviews with 19 students to help understand contemporary dating scripts. It analyzes how sex fits into the process of relationship formation, the pathway to forming relationships, the public nature of relationships (referencing how social networks such as Facebook alter dating scripts) and how college students focus to the future in terms of their intimate relationships. This research identifies patterns and underlines what factors move two people to the point of an “official” relationship. Through my qualitative research, I have developed broad conclusions on the mechanics of relationship formation, as well as the behaviors and attitudes around it, as shown through the experiences of college-aged men and women.



Dating relationships, College relationships, Emotional intimacy, Hooking up, Sexual intimacy, Slut