In response to a Thought Catalog article entitled “Why Modern Dating Makes Me Want to Punch Myself in the Throat,” here’s why modern dating is both not that bad, and why you might be the problem.
Melissa Moeller writes that hookup culture enforces a world “where people are afraid to feel anything genuine, or at the very least, are afraid to show it.” I could not disagree more. Genuine feelings are just manifested in different ways now. Milkshake dates and drive-in movies may have gone out of style, but showing affection in other ways sure hasn’t. Good morning text messages, late night phone calls, making a zip drive with music on it that’s meant just for you… all of this can be just as meaningful.
What is hookup culture? Is it swiping left and right on Tinder, trying to find someone to keep you warm for the night? Maybe for you, it’s the fear of sleeping with someone on the first date because of the possibility that they’ll never call you again, or the genuine anxiety that accompanies not being texted back right away. Take a deep breath, relax and re-center yourself.
Where you meet someone really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of relationships. According to Pew Research, 27% of 18-24-year-olds have used online dating. Even more promising, according to the Daily News, one third of married couples in the US say that they met their partner online. The stigma of online dating is decreasing, as are your odds of finding someone special in a relatively new and unconventional way if you remain judgmental and behind the times.
Vanity Fair called Tinder “the dating apocalypse.” The men interviewed said, “I can go on my phone right now and no doubt I can find someone I can have sex with this evening, probably before midnight.” While this is no doubt changing the dating and mating game, this is a revolution from an evolutionary standpoint. Vanity Fair’s argument is that this is not good for women. However, this gives women autonomy in their sex lives and the power to choose for themselves in a pressure-free environment. Tinder does not have a feature that lets them know when they’ve been rejected by a potential mate. Women can now assert control and dominance over their own sex lives, a healthy alternative to feeling pressured and objectified in a bar on a Friday night.
If you’re truly having a hard time wrapping your head around modern dating, then I suggest that you adjust your retrograde expectations. Times have changed, and therefore so have relationships. Moeller writes, “When someone is angry with you, there’s no phone call asking to talk about it. Instead, you get a passive aggressive response to a text message or a suspiciously relevant subtweet, quietly calling you out in 140 characters or less.” This is simply not true. Just because social media is prominent doesn’t mean communication in relationships has gone out the window. The problem here is not social media. It’s the relationship itself. If you and your partner can’t communicate then it’s not modern dating you should be worried about.
Moeller also writes that everything is “calculated to appear thoughtless.” While yes, dating today is seemingly more casual, there’s nothing thoughtless about it. If your partner or crush isn’t meeting you halfway then they simply aren’t the one. These aren’t problems that are just for millennials. The idea of looking cool and collected in relationships has been around for ages. If the person you are with isn’t showing effort, they just aren’t worth the time. It has little to do with modern dating, so much as your beliefs as to what a relationship should look like.
Hookup culture isn’t the problem. Interestingly enough, the problem is partially math and statistics. Maybe the reason you aren’t finding success in the dating pool these days has little to do with today’s society, and all to do with the shifting demographics among the college educated. According to the Washington Post, 34% more women are graduating from college and the US. Department of Education expects this gap to widen to 47% by 2023. In short, this means the dating pool for straight, millennial, college graduates has a ration of four women to every three men. No wonder men aren’t in a rush to settle down just yet! The question isn’t hookup culture, it is whether or not college educated women ready to settle down and start a family are able to navigate a market in which men are the majority.
Modern dating in no way makes me want to punch myself in the throat. Instead, I see it as new water to tread. Every generation has new norms for relationships. Ours aren’t any worse, nor any better, from previous societal rules for dating. Instead, we are learning to care for one another in new ways, and to find love in all new shapes and forms. Open your minds. This is the way it is now, and it isn’t all bad.