I don’t think there has ever been a time in history where dating was easy and both sexes understood each other with complete clarity. If a time has existed with simplified dating rituals and processes, I think we can honestly say now definitely isn’t it. With an influx of dating apps and websites in previous years, our dating lives have become ever more active whilst simultaneously becoming more and more complex. I remember when I was around seventeen, I was sitting with my mum in our living room when an advert for a cliché teen drama popped up on the TV, she immediately turned around to me and said, “if I went back in time and had to do the whole young dating thing in this day and age, I’m not sure if I could deal with it all”. She then began to elaborate and explained the mammoth difference between technology and dating now compared to twenty years ago. For the first time in my life, I realized that my generation is facing a completely different type of dating battleground. Generations before us didn’t even have mobile phones to text with, let alone swipe right to spark a potential relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it is an incredible time we live in with plenty of opportunities, but along with this simplified process comes a whole host of additional issues.
While we now have a much larger choice of potential partners, this choice can leave us confused and overwhelmed. This endless selection of partners can spoil us and our expectations. When presented with such an extensive list we may become more picky, resulting in an individual endlessly window shopping for the perfect partner. This choice has proven to make us more judgmental and may result in us dismissing a potential partner that we may have given a chance in real life. Moreover, a prodigious amount of choice can lead to more fragile relationships. The chances of infidelity in a relationship can be far greater when temptation is only a tap away, especially with Apps and sites designed for those looking to cheat such as Ashley Madison.
For girls, online dating can present an age-old problem that has transferred from the real world into the cyber world, men that are solely looking for sex. This may not be breaking news but it is an issue for women across many dating sites and apps. Though there are some good guys out there, dating apps and sites create another platform in which men can bombard women with overly forward messages and unflattering pictures of their genitals. The good news is that apps like Tinder and Bumble give women more power to selectively choose and message potential partners instead of allowing waves of men to relentlessly contact them.
Like many apps, it is important to remember that your engagement should have a healthy balance with everything else in your life. Because the truth is, just like Clash of Clans or Candy Crush, dating apps can be addictive. Operant conditioning dictates that we are more likely to repeat behavior if it is rewarded, and what is more rewarding than finding out someone thinks you are attractive. When we have a match or message from someone new. For example, Tinder has been known to strategically place those who have liked you in a certain order. This produces what feels like a random success rate of who you will match with much like the system used by slot machines to keep you playing.
All of this may sound incredibly depressing, but the truth is we are living in one of the most interesting times to be single. Societal norms are now more liberal than ever and technology is constantly keeping us on our toes, spicing our dating lives up for better and for worse. I will leave you with this clip as I believe the comedian Aziz Ansari perfectly sums up modern dating in a spectacularly hilarious manner.