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"Please tell me what people mean when they talk of a trial marriage," asks a reader."Trial marriage means trying out sexual relations before marriage," explains Angela.The woman who spoke to me about dating in the 1970s wishes to remain anonymous, probably because she's one of the few women who will admit that she didn't belong to a generation of virginal brides."My recollection is that there were 'bourgeois' couples in Ireland who still did things rather sedately - formal dances still existed, run by banks and businesses.Patricia Lohan (34) of the Soulmate Attraction Formula (thesoulmateattractionformula.com) was a self-proclaimed "early adopter"."At 17 I met a guy in a chat room for a date and he was great. When I went on 'the market' to attract my soulmate eight years ago, the first thing I did was go online as a result of that positive experience when I was 17."It was almost as if there was something shameful to desire," she continues."In that way I think Tinder is a mixed blessing - at least it acknowledges the fact that healthy young (and not so young) men and women want to have sex, to have a connection and that there is nothing shameful in either." Anne Marie later wrote It's Not Me ... A Girl's Guide to Dating in Ireland, in which she recommended the emerging field of online dating, which has since become the rule rather than the exception.
And while I prefer other dating sites, I have friends who met their partners on Tinder and husbands on Plenty of Fish." Some say that dating is dead and Tinder killed it.
"In the US, men would ask for dates, which was refreshing…
In Ireland, a man would never ask you out; relationships began with a drunken fumble and, if he called, you were most likely 'going out', but it was never discussed, and barely acknowledged.
"But the disco had come in and I think sex began to get pretty rampant pretty quickly - after all, (though not legally available in Ireland at the time) the Pill transmitted the idea that there would be no consequence.
As for sex, I think the old rules were simply breaking down, and no new rules were really in place.