How would you define the world of dating in the modern day? A few terms spring to my mind – complex, confusing, frustrating…. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the single life – I am someone that values having ‘space’ and alone time, but ideally, I would like to find someone to share my life with. The problem, is that finding the right person is proving to be incredibly challenging. Over the past couple of years, I have spent some time reflecting on why exactly, dating has become such a difficult process. I have come to the conclusion that there are a variety of intertwining factors which add to the complexity of dating in today’s world, with the main one’s being stated below:
The millennial generation…. With advances in technology and the introduction of numerous dating apps and online dating websites, the dating world has become our oyster in regards to the limitless stream of “options” that pop up on our phone screens. On one had, I think it is quite phenomenal that we can literally jump onto an app and arrange a date with a stranger within a matter of minutes. Yet, I also believe there are several problems with this new form of ‘meeting people’. One problem, is that dating apps have ultimately resulted in people becoming increasingly picky. For many of us, we know exactly what we want and what we are looking for, and may even have a mental checklist of qualities we are seeking to attain in a partner. On these dating apps, we will most often pick contenders that tick the boxes, and skip past those who do not fulfill our desired criteria. Additionally, we now live in a world where everyone seeks instant gratification. If that sense of instant gratification is not achieved on the first date, then we are likely to “dump” that person, and move onto the next. Essentially, people have become very particular, and don’t always give each other a chance anymore.
Being an introvert
Being picky and not giving others a chance makes the dating scene evermore challenging to those of us that are introverted. I would consider myself an introvert – it takes me a fair amount of time to come out of my shell. If I am on a first date and do not feel entirely comfortable around the other person, I tend to close off, become very reserved and standoffish. Unfortunately, this means I often get pre-judged as being “cold” and “distant”. I have found it difficult trying to meet someone who understands that introverted people take time to be themselves, as well as someone who is willing to be persistent with this. Yet, I will not lie, I am also guilty of being relatively quick to judge. I know what type of person I am looking for, and I am not going to settle for anything less, even if that means being single for the next 20 years (stubborn I know). What I have learned is that if you walk away from a date feeling “unsure” about the person, give them another chance. You might be surprised at how much that person’s personality changes once they become more familiar and comfortable around you.
Changing values and societal norms
The world is very different place to what it was fifty odd years ago, especially in terms of values and societal norms. In the modern day, there seems to be a considerable blurring of the lines when it comes to relationships, with unconventional relationships appearing to be the new norm. One aspect that I believe makes dating tremendously difficult is finding an alignment of “goals” between two people. In many cases, a person may find someone they are highly compatible with, yet both people may have very different ideas regarding the type of relationship they are looking for. Not to mention, traditional relationships (as well as marriage) just don’t seem to be valued anymore. To be honest, I have quite a modern take on this. While I do value monogamy, I do not necessarily believe in the concept of marriage. To me, marriage is not real, it’s a label; a contract that legally and financially constrains two people. Sure, my views on this may change one day, but I would be lying if I said marriage is something that is important to me, especially considering the staggering rates of divorce. What I have also realised in terms of evolving societal values, is that “cheating” is sadly becoming more accepted. Back in the 1950’s, if a person were to cheat on their spouse, they would be frowned upon and made to feel a great sense of shame and guilt. Today, however, it does not seem as though anyone really bats an eyelid when it comes to the acknowledgement of cheating. Something I find very intriguing is how societal values and norms will continue to change due to developments in AI – and potentially, the introduction of AI partners, whether it be in the form of a conscious system, or a humanoid. Personally, I cannot wait for this day. Even though these advancements may lead to humans loosing touch with one another, a conscious AI system could be of tremendous help, and act as a companion, to people dealing with social anxiety, or to those that are on the autistic spectrum. Also, once a self-aware/conscious AI system is developed, then who’s to say the conversation aren’t “real” or meaningful. While I am all for some of the developments that will take place in the near future, I do think they contribute greatly to the complexity of relationships. Thus, making dating progressively more complicated for us mere humans.
Let’s face it, dating in the modern day is difficult. And it is probably only going to become more difficult in due course. But at the end of the day, there are more single people today than ever before, so why not embrace our single status and enjoy life solo. I know that may not be the most comforting or encouraging advice to some. In fact, I don’t think I can offer a whole lot of valuable advice on this subject at all, because I am still trying to understand it myself. However, as cliché as it sounds, you only live once – so stop stressing, and remember that you can still live a fantastic and fulfilling life as a singleton.