I’m not equipped to deal with the rules and playing field of today’s dating. It’s as if there was a software update that everyone else in my generation was able to successfully download except me. My love life is in a constant error code of system reboot required.
Lately, everything about relationships and dating in general is casual. There’s being casually dressed for casual dating, casual sex, or just feeling casual about the whole thing (take a shot every time I say casual; reading this will be a blast). Sometimes it’s nice to step away from the casual and put on the black tie.
There’s nothing wrong with playing the field a little. But in this day and age, that’s all people are doing. They’ve played the field so much so, that the concept of serious and committed relationships seems an impossibility, or a plain old bad idea.
Confused yet? So am I.
The rules and norms of casual dating are being mixed with the expectations of relationships. Most people are electing to skip dating and head straight to the bedroom, only to be confused about their feelings and the future of the relationship itself. The relationship goes from “talking“, a phase in which texts are exchanged back and forth, increasingly of a risqué nature, to “hanging out”, in which both people get together to watch a movie, that never really gets watched. It’s a whole other language, and I seem to have misplaced the Rosette Stone for it.
These muddy grounds of dating have destroyed any former expectations one may have had of how things will play out. Since most of the getting to know each other bit happens through a screen, when presented with opportunities to spend time together face to face, the whole relationship seems more serious than it actually is. Secrets, hopes, dreams, and fears are now shared via text, as opposed to over meals or coffee. It’s become so easy to divulge intimate details through a screen, that a false trust is built, unlike the trust gradually developed in reality. This unstable trust doesn’t translate well in situations outside of an LCD screen.
Definitions are crucial for modern relationships and for personal sanity. Some people aren’t looking to get serious. They just want to satisfy a physical need, and that is perfectly fine. But it needs to be communicated so that the other person knows what they’ll get out of that exchange. Some people want to date and get to know a variety of potential love interests, and that’s also perfectly fine. But it should be expressed so that the other person can decide if they’re comfortable being non-exclusive. Only wanting to date one person is perfectly fine too. But the level of monogamy expected should be clarified and upheld by both people.
Personally, my hardware is too old-fashioned for the rapidly moving software of this age. I move slow. I want to get to know someone over the course of a few dates so that I can see if he respects my time by being punctual, my dry sense of humour, or how he treats those around us. I want to make sure that the conversation flows comfortably even when we don’t have a few minutes to perfect what we want to say like we could over text. I want to see if he can enjoy himself and be present in the moment, rather than constantly checking his phone. But mostly I want to see if this is someone that I wouldn’t mind sharing my time with and investing my own effort in.
Say what you want about old technology, but while the hare may have gotten a head start, it was the tortoise who won the race.