Why Modern Dating Sucks
Why does dating nowadays suck so much? If you've ever had this question or wondered how your parents managed to meet someone they liked enough to marry, you're not alone. If the end of your twenties is approaching, or has come and gone, and you're still single, congratulations! You are, in all likelihood, a hopeless romantic who is more than deserving of the relationship you crave. I write this in hopes of helping you understand why your dating life so far has completely sucked. Maybe understanding will help you turn the tide and meet the love of your life! If so, don't forget to invite me to the wedding.
If you are someone who found your husband or wife on Tinder or Plenty of Fish, this article is not for you (but I'm happy for you). I realize there are always exceptions, and nothing is black or white, but I only have my perspective. To be fair, an instance of organically meeting someone is included in this consideration. It doesn't seem to matter how the meeting occurred - the behavior and character of relationship was essentially the same in my experience. It completely sucked! Read on to find out why.
Real and Meaningful Communication Has Become a Rarity
I love technology and the ability to e-mail and text. I prefer texting to talking aloud. I have always been a quiet but expressive person, and despite my soft-spoken nature, I still like to communicate in ways that resonate with me. I am not much of a talker, but I have always been a writer. It is primarily through my writing voice that I touch other souls and let them know what's happening inside my head.
I see ads for Tinder or other dating apps where two people communicate purely by emojis, and it disgusts me. After my mom passed away, as I was going through her house, I found a Sephora box full of love letters in my room that I had kept from guys I dated during my school years. It was sad when I realized that my boyfriend in my junior year of high school had more game than the guys I've seen more recently, since my mid-twenties. My high school boyfriend wrote me letters of several pages where he would talk about his day or where he wanted to take me on a date. They were sweet, innocent expressions of love where he shared what was going through his mind and how he was feeling.
While I do my best to communicate meaningfully through text, that's not everybody, if my few experiences with guys are an accurate representation of the rest of them in the dating pool. The lack of communication affects not only the phone and text, but real life as well. I find myself wondering if it started with texting.
I understand the dread factor that a ringing phone can evoke, but at least when we had no choice but to call the other person, we held on to our communication skills and consideration for the human being on the other side of the line. It was easier to pick up on how the other person felt through their tone of voice, and there was not so much evasive behavior as there can be these days when most communication is via text. In my school days (the days of landline phones), yes, sometimes it could be really awkward when conversations were more difficult or heading toward a breakup, but at least we still had to communicate enough to get that sense of closure if things were over. Or if things were going well, we knew that better too.
When you text, especially if you haven't met in-person yet, you're less of a human being to the other person. They feel like they can say anything they want, as indicated by some of the horror stories people on dating apps have shared.
Rather than using text meaningfully, most people use it to hide.
It sort of makes me wish I had kept the love letters in that Sephora box, not for sentimental reasons, but to give me hope when someone can barely spell "cat" or uses emojis like hieroglyphs.
Dating Apps Can Be Overwhelming, Used for the Wrong Reasons
The desire to be loved, truly and deeply, is universal across all human beings.
The problem with technology influencing romance is that it can be overwhelming and encourage unhealthy, attention-seeking behavior. Mix a dating app with low self-esteem, lack of self-discipline and self-control, and you have a dangerous cocktail that will damage yourself and others. On most of the dating apps I have seen, there is no limit on how many people you can match with at one time. Before you know it, you're getting a lot of interest in your profile, which can feel very good at first. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes just another distraction. Your notifications on your phone start vying for your attention, even if you're out with one of your potentials.
Rather than your focus being on the people you're meeting and understanding your level of interest in them, it's about the attention you're receiving and how validated you feel. As a result, you don't get a good sense of any of the people you meet. Connections crash and burn, or they fizzle out entirely for no particular reason.
Of course, this isn't the fault of the dating app. It's all down to how a person chooses to use it, but perhaps the developers putting a few restrictions on them (for instance, only being able to match with 1-3 people at once, so that yeses are used more wisely) wouldn't hurt. I have been off dating apps for a couple of years now, so maybe this feature does exist somewhere and I'm just not up-to-date.
Having an endless stream of matches that never go anywhere or even remotely toward getting to know another person in any depth can create jaded, bitter people who are convinced that there are no good men or women left in the world.
We all want love, but we are going about receiving it in the wrong ways. We equate "likes" with love, and the more that we get, the better. But we don't stop to consider that the "like" or "yes" on our profile was only a momentary response. We focus more on the fleeting approvals than long-term connections, and then we wonder why we feel so empty.
It's Too Easy to Run Away
When it comes to online dating especially, it can sometimes be good that we don't run much risk of seeing certain people in our day-to-day lives. The ability to block people who are harassing or otherwise abusive is good too. For most others in situations that don't work out, at least caring enough to give a reason for breaking things off or saying goodbye and sending well wishes is a nice gesture. Unfortunately, this is a gesture that often is missed. It can really mess with people.
A friend of mine met a woman at a speed dating event and felt like they were hitting it off pretty well. They were laughing and relating to one another a lot. At the end of the event, each person turned in a list of the people they liked and got notified if the feeling was mutual. When my friend learned that his lady of interest marked "yes" for him, he sent her an e-mail, then never heard from her.
Granted, sometimes e-mails don't go through. But how many people hide behind technological mishaps just because they're too afraid to be honest or have a challenging conversation? Why is it so hard to say, "Hey, I really enjoyed getting to know you, but after giving it more thought, I don't feel ready to date anyone"? It would save the other person the unpleasant experience of obsessing over what they did wrong or what happened when things seemed to be going so well before.
When we don't have much chance of seeing a person face-to-face, whether at work or a chance encounter at the grocery store, again, maybe they feel less human. It is easy to "ghost" and forget common courtesy, because we don't have to confront the consequences of our actions. We don't have to see the human, emotional side of the other person, so it's like we forget it's there or it's easier to disregard.
The golden rule is drilled into us when we are children, but still, we manage to forget it.
Tips for a Better Experience
I have been guilty of all the above vices when it comes to dating, so I am not saying I am an angel or was never a part of the problem. But awareness is part of resolving the problem.
Modern dating sucks for many reasons, and this could be part one in an entire series if enough people enjoy this article and let me know that. It doesn't have to suck, but we need to become more aware of the ways we're treating others that we don't want to be treated. We have to become aware of how we're pushing away love or failing to love ourselves when we're desperate for "likes" and comments on photos.
If you meet someone and really like them, let them know it. Pick up the phone and actually call them sometimes. Be communicative and express your feelings. This isn't true just for dating, but for all relationships where there is a sense of disconnect.
Be open and know that it may take a few frogs before you find your prince or princess, but don't get lost in swiping through an endless stream of profiles and pictures.
If you feel comfortable, please share your experiences with this subject in the comments below and what your takeaway from it all has been.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Holley Hyler