There's something about the way couples in the past expressed their love that can feel strange. And yes, some of things relationships entailed in previous generations could now be considered quite problematic; but not everything your parents' or grandparents' generations would have done should be written off completely. Even the strangest
old-fashioned relationship habits can still be applied today.
First, it's important to throw some of your assumptions out the door. "Each generation tends to think their parents' generation, and even their grandparents’ generations were 'not with it,' 'old-fashioned,' 'weird,' or 'embarrassing' when it came to how they expressed their love for one another, showed affection, and the way they did things," relationship expert and spiritual counselor,
Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. "In fact, it really isn't. It can be considered a loving and sweet expression of love." So even if you've seen some of these things in old movies and gotten the wrong first impression of them, they can be worth re-considering when it comes to your own life.
Taking a lesson from couples of past generations doesn't mean you have to emulate their dating style completely. One of the great things about living in this time is that you likely have much more choice about who and how you date. Still, some of the seemingly wackiest things couples did can actually add something special to today's relationships.
Here are seven quirky habits couples used to have that we should bring back, according to experts.
Dancing With Other People's Partners
In previous generations, dancing with others was often not considered inappropriate — as long as you left with the partner you came with. This may seem odd to you, but it may be a fun way to make people feel more included and to have fun at events.
"At weddings, bar [and] bat mitzvahs, [and other events], people often asked other people’s partners to dance," Rappaport says. "Their significant other may not have wanted to dance and they did. It was also considered good manners to dance with others so no one felt ignored or left out." If you and your partner feel comfortable with this, it could take some pressure off nights out.
Drive-In Movies And "Lovers Lanes"
Places off the beaten path (known sometimes as Lovers’ Lanes), drive-in movie theaters, and other secluded areas were part of the backdrop to many relationships in previous generations. Having a car ride be a "date" may seem a little creepy to this generation, but it can actually be quite fun.
"[Old-fashioned couples] often favored drive-in movies as well so they could 'neck' or 'fool around' more or less in private, Rappaport says. "Sneaking off to park somewhere can be considered fun and [can] add a bit of excitement for those old-fashioned-type of dates." Just make sure you aren't
breaking any laws by being careful where you park and what you do in public.
Writing Poetry And Mash Notes
The effusive way couples used to write to each other may seem totally out of the question now, but if you really think about it, these little old-fashioned traditions can still be super cute.
"While some people may think writing love notes or poetry to their partner is corny or old-fashioned, who wouldn’t want to receive a
little love note or a poem written just for them, every now and then, from their partner?" Rappaport says. "A little 'mash note' here and there, tucked into a pocket, wallet, or just handed to you by your partner can be considered romantic." While notes in lockers may seem creepy in movies, a little hand-written message from your partner could be really special in real life.
Opening Doors And Pulling Out Chairs
gendered aspect may be less-than-appealing these days, there's something special about someone holding a door or pulling out a chair for their partner. It may seem over the top, but it could be a fun way for both people in a relationship to express their love for one another.
"Allowing someone to open a door and do other things should be brought back just so [people] can feel a little bit more respect, even if they are somewhat independent," Rappaport says. If you and your partner can agree that this doesn't offend either of you, it can be a nice little habit to add a special touch to even a low-key date night.
Being Picked Up For A Date
It's important to make sure you're
staying safe when meeting someone online, but after that first date, why not harken back to the old-fashioned tradition of one person picking the other up?
"Back in the day, when online dating did not exist, [people] used to be picked up in front of their homes for a date, and in some cases, if they were a bit more lax, a horn honk used to do the trick," Rappaport says. "While meeting your date at some location is the norm, if you are in a relationship why not ask to be picked up or pick up your date? That extra courtesy is a great show of caring." Even if you don't have a car, showing up at your partner's door on foot can be a nice extra step towards showing them you care.
Showing Up For A Date With Little Gifts
Showing up for a date with flowers or candy used to be considered romantic, not over-the-top or creepy. There's no reason the same shouldn't be true now.
"Even if it feels a bit embarrassing, it still is a lovely way of showing your partner that you love them and care about them," Rappaport says. As long as you aren't doing it for the wrong reasons, showing your love by
giving gifts is completely valid, even if not everyone expresses their love this way anymore.
Public Displays Of Affection
Couples used to walk down the street holding hands, and do other public gestures to signify their affection. Even if it seems out-of-place, it could be worth considering every once and a while.
"While some people do not like PDA and are uncomfortable watching others show their affection in this way, it really is quite sweet, possibly corny, and definitely old-fashioned," if you are comfortable with it, Rappaport says. "Why not take the time to walk down the street holding your sweetie’s hand?" Something as simple as holding hands is a wonderful act of intimacy that is still appropriate in public.
While a lot of habits old-fashioned couples used to have can be left in their time period, there are certain seemingly-odd traditions that are worth reconsidering. You may not want everything about these old relationships, but you can still take some hints from the ways people used to express their love.