The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of Modern Dating
It's rough out there.
Traditional love and romance now sit uncomfortably on a bed of technology and access to countless potential matches, which you can imagine, have further complicated the already complicated matter of finding and keeping - l-o-v-e. In short, modern dating culture unfortunately dehumanizes people.
As a result, dating in 2017 is anything but intuitive. In a world where everyone is playing by their own ever-evolving rules, you can no longer rely on gut-feeling alone. A smart dater must navigate the scene with a level- headed and logical mind-set, or else your bound to encounter some serious issues down the line.
However, the good news is that modern dating does have it's fare share of positive side-effects. Because in a culture where we are encouraged to dehumanize people, we counter-intuitively find more opportunity to meet and create real genuine bonds with others. Over the next pages we will look at the good, bad and ugly of the initial ask, communication, intimacy, social media and last but not least - swiping.
For The Initial Ask, click "NEXT"
Due to the rise of messaging and texting getting an old-fashioned IRL ask out on a date is truly romantic. Asking someone out in person is very appreciated. Bonus points if they ask you out for a real-life dinner.
With the rise of digital platforms, we now have reached to people we couldn’t even imagine before, our options are as wide as ever before. This is something that none of our grandparents ever had. Imagine your pool of potential partners was limited to the people you see in your community on a daily basis. Very limited options, right?
Digital communication smooths out the anxiety and stress of asking someone out for the first time. This can be a huge help to those, especially shy people. An IRL asks out is so uncommon that it can elicit some awkward and uncomfortable feelings in the receiver.
An IRL ask out is so uncommon that it can elicit some awkward and uncomfortable feelings in the receiver. Even if you like the person, you may be hesitant to say yes. Or even worse, you may say "yes" because you feel too bad saying "no" to someones face.
The sheer amount of choice is now paralyzing. Ever go to the store and spend 30 minutes picking out a shampoo from the hundreds of choices available. Yeah, it's pretty common, the brain kind of goes into overdrive when presented with too many choices. As a result, we are plagued with the dreaded “what if” syndrome to a degree that has never been seen in human history.
Everyone who owns a phone is constantly avoiding difficult conversations, even though these tools have made it hundreds of times easier to have them. The core of the issue is that avoiding something that makes you anxious only fuels your anxiety. It’s counter-intuitive but to truly battle a specific anxiety you have to confront it head-on.
The left on "read" ask out is horrifying. Imagine how much courage it takes to ask someone out. So, if someone mustered up the courage to ask you out, even if it’s online, give them the time of day to politely decline. Don't let them stare blankly at the "read" receipt wondering what happened.
Serial 2-month relationships are a thing. AKA the disposable boyfriend. Humans used to practice serial monogamy - entering long-term relationships (2-3 years) basically back to back. Now, with the sheer amount of choice available on the menu, these long-term relationships have been replaced by short-term flings.
For Communication, click "NEXT"
We can now communicate and stay in touch with the people that we are seeing effortlessly and at the touch of a finger. You don’t have to wait to get home to give ol’ Bessy a ring.
Sexting - when between two consenting people, of course - allows those who are dating to build up excitement before seeing each other. Kind of like a pre-foreplay foreplay. How can you be mad at that?
Anxiety is terrible. Anxiety surrounding social interactions, even worse. But in the age of digital communication anxious people have a medium to say what they truly feel in written word rather than face to face. This can lift a great weight off someones shoulders.
With these little devices in our pocket - that are locked with pass codes - we have the ultimate level of privacy with us 24/7. As a result, people can stay in touch and string-along a countless number of partners and hook-ups. Which is not bad if all parties are aware. But as many of you know, this is often not the case.
Ghosting...enough Said. Modern dating has dehumanized people as it becomes easier and easier to reduce people to little blue bubble icons on our phone. As a consequence, it becomes much easier to float out of their lives, as if you were never there in the first place.
In a similar essence, having a device in our hands where we can easily and quickly reach people actually discourages communication. Funny eh? You would think having a tool that facilitates communication would mean MORE communication. But it's actually the opposite.
Access to a surplus of hyper-attractive near strangers coupled with access to personal devices that are equipped with front-facing cameras - what do we get? Yes, unsolicited X-rated pictures from near strangers. Now, that's ugly.
When you take access to a bunch of super attractive strangers and pair it with a private personal device that you can carry around with you 24/7, the result is rampant emotional and physical infidelity. This is not a big surprise to anyone out there, i'm sure.
For Intimacy, click "NEXT"
Considering the amount of choice out there, when a couple decides to make it official, they will truly cherish and work extra hard to make it work. Because they are both well-aware of how rough it is out there these days.
A culture has spawned where it is becoming more and more acceptable to have no-strings-attached physical intimacy. Some conservative people think this is bad - but sex before marriage used to be "bad' too. Today, however, two consenting adults should be allowed to have as much fun as they please, with no pressure to commit if they don't want to.
It's a great time to be a woman in a lot of respects. We have a great amount of freedom in the way we choose to live our lives. As a result, the double standard for casual sex is slowly eroding. Women, just as much as men, can enjoy and have fun during their single years. Stigma-free.
More intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean good intimacy. Just because your doing "it" a lot, doesn’t mean you’re having fun or enjoying yourself. And just because the options are out there, doesn't mean you have to jump on every opportunity.
Physical intimacy and emotional connection go hand in hand. These days, it can often be the case to find people saying they prefer to avoid an emotional connection. Although we all know deep down, this is a fundamental human drive that we all crave. Which is unfortunate, because casual physically intimacy is like eating junk food, it may hit the spot going down, but if that’s all you ate, it would definitely not feel great in the long-term.
Couples these days should be extra-appreciative to have found each other in this mess of modern dating. But they have their own share of challenges. With so many potential "better" options available clouding our judgment, couples have to work extra hard to keep things fresh and exciting.
With easy access to fast and quick intimacy, people make the minimal effort to wine and dine before suggesting a round of horizontal tango. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting in between the sheets on the first date, but there is this collective feeling that no effort needs to be put in anymore. Well, that's just plain ugly.
This attitude naturally leads to regrettable hook-ups and night that you wish you could forget. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you have to as well. There are a lot of invisible forces out there shaping our perceptions of what we think other people are doing. People shouldn't ever feel pressured to conform, especially when it comes to being intimate.
For Social Media, click "NEXT"
For all the people out there in relationships, social media is a blessing. Instead of updating your family members one-by-one, social media lets a couple easily and quickly keep all their friends and family updated.
Niche social media platforms are potentially a great opportunity to meet new people who are into the same stuff as you. These platforms allow users to create connections and friendships with like-minded people. This can be incredibly comforting in our disconnected world.
Social media is like a menu of potential matches. Which is a great way to browse the goods without wasting too much time. Basically, social media allows you to casually creep any potential partners before ever committing to a real date, saving people much precious time.
The "everybody is happy but me" syndrome is pervasive. Social media makes us think everyone else but us has beautiful problem-free lives. Having people's picture-perfect coupledom live streamed into our brains on a daily basis quickly erode even the strongest most self-assured person's confidence.
There is a great deal of potential to meet fun like-minded people via social media platforms. However, just because you have many online "friends", that doesn't necessarily translate into experience genuine and intimate connections that are so vital to our mental health. In other words, meeting people online really only give you the illusion of connection, you can't really know until you take the plunge to meet someone IRL.
Creeping a new potential date or partner is a very easy and slippery slope to go down. Everyone does it, but we should resist. Thumbing through someone's profile before going out with them can often lead to passing up some potentially great people and matches just because you don’t like the look of their “online personality”.
People who have Instagram profiles just for their babies. Don't get me wrong, making babies is a wonderful thing. Bringing a little human life into the world with someone you love is quite possibly the greatest thing any human can do on this planet. But please, we don't need to see every single burp, fat, and dirty diaper.
Social media is FULL of creeps. Some people out there are obviously taking advantage of the ease of communication with attractive strangers. This manifests in different forms, from full-blown online stalkers to incessant DM sliding, it's a little too much to handle.
For Swiping, click "NEXT"
Dating apps are a godsend for single people. Within just half an evening of swiping, you can literally have several dates lined up for the weekend. Easy and safe access to a vast selection of attractive strangers in a heartbeat is definitely considered a "good" in my books.
Only a few years back, single people had only one swiping app - Tinder. The Kleenex of dating apps, Tinder is, and will always be, OG. However, many tech businesses have followed suit and developing their own flavor of a dating app. As a result, a multitude of dating apps now exist, each catering to users specific lifestyle and dating needs. There's even an app for farmers, yes farmers!
At the end of the day, using dating apps is relatively low-commitment. If you're not TOO picky, it can be very easy to set up a couple dates and see where things go. Almost turning dating into a sport; always having the opportunity to go out on easy and low-commitment dates with a number of people.
As soon as you ramp up the number of options someone has, this funny psychological phenomenon happens, I call it the "what if" syndrome. As a result, serial swiping and matching rarely leads to any IRL interaction, because you're always set on finding "the best" match. News flash: they don't exist. It's all a construction of your mind. So go out with the next best match, or else you'll feel burnt out fast.
Am I a romantic missing the days where Tinder was the only app that you could use to find a date. And all it involved was a simple right or left swipe before all these extra and pointless features exsisted. No, I don't want to pay 5.99$ for your boost. Too many dating apps to choose from leads to chronic feelings of frustration and loneliness.
Modern dating is a numbers game. If you want to find your prince, you will have to sift through a bunch of frogs before. More often than dates don't lead to anything substantial. It takes a fair amount of time and energy investment to go out on enough dates to finally meet someone you 'click' with. It CAN happen but it's a long road of failed dates and awkward encounters.
Quite possibly the worse thing you can do to another human - even if you never met them - is stand them up on a face-to-face date. In my experience, and listening to peoples stories - "no shows" and getting stood up is becoming more popular than ever. This is definitely ugly.
When you mix together a menu of potential matches, low-commitment interactions with strangers, and the anonymity of digital communication, the results is the all-too-common disappearing act. Ever match with someone you really like, and start talking, but before you know it they vanish into a virtual abyss with no warning. Yep, if you're on apps, get used to it. It's all part of the "game".