The new era for dating and commitment – By guest blogger ANNA ROBERTS

Creator of The London Scrapbook, blogger Anna Roberts writes about the new era of dating and commitment…

I didn’t foresee this coming. A couple of years ago, I had a different vision of my future and attitude to life. I didn’t imagine I’d be co-habiting with a boyfriend, certainly not one I’d found on an online dating site.

I’d envisaged that I wouldn’t settle down until at least 30 and that I’d be completing my twenties as the decade of “fun”. I was at the start of my career and thought getting into a relationship would slow me down. Marriage seemed like nice idea for a party and small humans would definitely not be popping out of any of my body parts.

But I found a change of heart as I approached the 25 mark. Coinciding with when I entered the London dating scene. The ‘young professional’ lifestyle in London often means that the only time available to meet the other sex is when you’re unwinding (also known as getting pissed in a sticky-floored Clapham pub). I realised I didn’t want to just snog the ‘reem-haired Bristol graduate who’s landed a top notch banker job in the city’ on the dance floor. I didn’t want to meet incompatible suitors who thrived off their bachelor lifestyle, leaving me feeling like just another girl in the big city.

In defiance, I ventured online to shop for boys. Boys who were looking for a longer-term thing. Particularly in large cities like London, online dating is the thing to do and is certainly not a taboo like it once was. It’s quite an addictive pastime; chatting online like teenagers and wondering who is checking out your profile. And then, of course, I found my boyfriend and all that mushy stuff happened. So here we are in our little pad and contrary to what my younger self thought, it seems I’m still having fun and getting ahead in my career.

That brings me on to…marriage! My attitude has changed to the idea. Maybe I’m simply maturing and happy that I’ve completed my stint of the London nightclub dating scene. Or maybe there’s a new era emerging.

Traditionally, couples got married to make a commitment to their religion and a promise they’d procreate. The responsibility of the daughter would be handed over from the father to the husband and her life was set. Women then rebelled against this. And today? Marriage is BACK!

It’s taken a while but modern-day women can choose to do their own thing. They might decide to delay having children until they are ready, or maybe not at all. Some women…dare I say it…may question why marry at all?

This summer I will be attending three weddings, all in their mid-twenties, all making their own rules. This has forced me to ask, why not marry? If you’ve found your life partner at 26 and you’re not ready for babies, then that’s fine. You’re not just marrying to have babies. If you’ve found your life partner at 26 and are on track for promotion, then that’s fine too. Sharing your life with someone else isn’t a symbol you’re losing your independence. You’re marrying because you just freakin’ love your partner and because you chose to.

From my observation, Londoners definitely lead the way in new approaches to dating. Yet, it seems to be us, the twenty-something women who are leading the way in new approaches to marriage.

So, we have a new era of dating and a new era of commitment. My advice? Have fun, snog random people in pubs, go on pointless dates, be promiscuous online – I recommend it all. When, and if, you find the person you want to be with forever – make your own rules.