The last few years of dating have seen a surge of convenience from dating apps, public outcry from rape and harassment awareness (i.e. Me Too movement), and austerity from ongoing economic hardship. These factors created a perfect storm for an illusioned, fearfully confused, and financially broke culture of young people who are trying desperately to have meaningful relationships amid the broken pieces.
Virtual Reality of Dating Apps and the Illusion of Endless Options
The Internet is swamped with dating apps that offer an endless supply of potential partners. However, the chance of actually finding a meaningful relationship amid this serial number dynamic among people is slim. Hookup culture has always been around, but if you are seeking an exclusive longterm partnership (aka. love), the ‘swiping’ apps are not the place to look.
That said, eharmony and Match.com are definitely better options. We are still dealing with virtual reality though. I met my first love on eharmony, and although the relationship eventually came to an end, the website proved valuable for finding a serious, committed relationship. Thus many longterm-partnership success stories have been documented from these dating sites.
Aside from the available dating sites which create a virtual space for finding true love, the multitude of hookup-dating apps have saturated public culture to the degree that many people are addicted to them. This has created an endless supply of options to choose from at your fingertips—anytime you care to pick up your phone and look. This lack of limitation has caused spoilage.
When you are unrestrained in your ability to hone in on a single person and spend ample time exploring how you feel around them, you easily become distracted by the other profiles. You might opt to have multiple dates with other people simultaneously. This endless supply of other candidates out there pinging your phone on the apps can be a temptation that divides your time and attention into narrow lanes. You might spend less time exploring the connection with your current date, and not follow through to test whether a worthwhile connection exists which you might want to explore deeper.
Not that technology is inherently bad. I honestly see dating apps and technology in general as neutral. The determining factor is whether you have enough self-control to use them wisely, by taking your time with dating through the application of prudence and good reason. That said, not everyone in this society (actually the vast majority) has the moral aptitude and self-control that I describe.
Moreover, dating apps create an illusion of endless options to chose from when seeking a mate because it is impossible to exhaust your explorations with each person without giving each prospect your time and undivided attention. The principle of focused attention has existed long before the days of the Internet. Decades ago, if you had multiple people to choose from in your city or social niché, you still had to restrict your desires by focusing on one person at a time—that is if you sincerely sought love.
You cannot experiment with several people at once unless you are a ‘player’ or polyamorous, the latter being a foreign dynamic for another discussion. If you really want to find ‘the one’ it takes hard work and sacrifice. You have to grow as a person in the process. Nothing in this life comes with a free lunch.
Another social problem we have faced since the rise of social media and dating apps is the lack of authenticity in interacting. One can only go so far as far as intimacy and getting to know another person is concerned when talking through ichat, a dating app, or text for that matter. Smartphones are great, but real life is better.
Nothing will ever replace real face-to-face communication with another. Virtual reality via Skype doesn’t compare either. There is a spiritual and energetic connection when you look someone in the eye fully exposed, with body language and the intricate, subtle forms of communication. Hence, when you get too comfortable having serious conversations over text, you miss out on the colorful interplay that occurs with the person in real life through sight, sound, and the auric exchange of close proximity.
I have experienced this first hand. A girl who I was recently seeing was so fun and enjoyable to be around. However, when she got busy with life over the following two weeks, constant communication via text just took away much of the bond. The lack of tangible interacting in person—i.e. seeing the color in the eyes, hearing the sound of each other’s voice, and experiencing how each makes the other feel in person—results in a form of lethargy.
This texting-only communication seemed to take away between 40-50% of the bond I had with her. There is certainly an energetic field that develops when we actually spend time with people in real life. I will say, however, that yesterday I spoke to her over the phone, which has been an icebreaker amid the constant SMS.
The telephone, which has been around long before the Internet and cell phones, is definitely an upgrade for better closeness. It enables us to hear the sound of the other’s voice, and talk in synch with the present flow of words. It still, however, falls short of real-life interaction.
Fear to Make Natural Romantic Moves
Due to the Me Too movement and other radical upheavals among advocates of women’s rights, many men are afraid to initiate intimacy in the traditional way. I am not talking about going beyond the bounds of reason or against a woman’s clear verbal refusal to engage in sex. Rather, this hypersensitivity among young men to not offend a girl out of fear of being accused of harassment or rape, puts a wrench in the system.
A large part of why this public outcry of rape exists is because people are afraid to openly communicate their feelings and intentions with each other. Many have lost their sense of autonomy and identity concerning their fundamental drives for sex and intimacy as human beings. They are afraid of being hurt, rejected, or of feeling awkward.
However, consensual intimacy is not too hard to initiate. It takes courage and maturity in order to not fear rejection or feel insecure. When you are conscientious, confident and sure of yourself, you will get past any timid moments in just say what’s on your mind. Nevertheless, force is always unethical and immoral: “No” will always mean no.
Aside from sexual intimacy, the mere process of getting to know someone to develop a close relationship is also weakened by the fear of open communication. If you are scared what the other person will think when they learn what’s truly on your mind, you must overcome that fear and say it anyways. In addition to initiating intimacy with a partner, all other dynamics of partnership fall apart due to this lack of ability to communicate.
Games and Confusion
‘Games’ only exist because people are afraid of upsetting the apple cart in regard to maintaining smooth entrance into a relationship. People naturally don’t want to destroy what seems to be a beautiful connection on the rise, and so they play it cool to avoid unwanted confrontation. However, the truth always comes out eventually. Whatever is energetically present down in the gut comes out at some point down the line. Therefore, why where a mask? Get it over with. Be real.
High Rent, Shunning Home Ownership, and Being Broke
Self-reliance, competence, and autonomy are important to your overall wellbeing and attractiveness. It’s not just the outside that counts. Your inner core values and character are the glue that keeps the love going long after the honeymoon phase. Chemistry and physical looks are great, but they are no match to a contentious and unrelenting spirit. Because of the new economy of workforce layoffs, server jobs saturating the market (Uber, Lyft, Postmates, etc.), the rise of entrepreneurs and self-employment has surged. However, not everyone succeeds at building a lucrative business from home.
Many intelligent and good-looking young people are financially unstable due to college loans, or just bad choices. The cost of living in many popular metropolitan areas has gone up substantially. In San Diego, for example, living downtown is almost impossible for someone making the minimum wage—even in California, which tops $10/hour. Not everyone can afford to keep up with the unreasonable demands of government regulations and taxes, as well as the rise in market rental prices.
Because of this economic hardship across the board, many young people are avoiding the purchase of homes due to their limited income. They simply can’t a mortgage, unlike many 20 and 30 somethings a couple decades ago.
Money is a fundamental factor that can make or break a romantic partnership. If you don’t have enough funds to get by, if you are scraping each month to pay the rent—how will you have the means to take someone out on a date at a decent restaurant, or do healthy activities downtown? Fun activities often cost money!
Truth is, because so many young people with otherwise great potential are broke, their ability to date with class is limited because of weak buying power. Being poor is unattractive both mentally and physically. It can hamper your self esteem and the way you carry yourself due to not having the funds to buy decent clothes, or afford an enjoyable night out. It can adversely affect your physical attractiveness due to inability to purchase health supplements and eat quality food—which has a big effect on how you look and feel.
When you struggle to make ends meet you often have to work overtime. Having less time to focus on yourself (personal development) through activities such as working-out, reading books, or spending time in nature to contemplate—can wreak havoc on your inner peace and wellbeing overtime. It makes you a slave to paying the bills, and quite frankly, a ‘basket case.’
Moreover, not having your finances in order can literally destroy your opportunities to meet new people and have positive dating experiences. Not that everyone is in this category, but it’s an unfortunate reality of today’s dating culture.
What to Do About All This
The only way to prevent the issues I talked about in this article is to work on yourself as an individual. You have to keep your eye on the ball and go for your goals and aspirations, regardless of whatever people think of you. Personal development and self-growth is a lifelong process, and a subject in itself for another category of blog posts. Learning to overcome your worst enemy (yourself) by doing what you know is ‘right’ for your highest self, and not settling for the path of least resistance, is the only way to succeed in having fulfilling relationships.