Is Modern Dating Culture Damaging Human Connection?
Tinder, Grinder, The Game, ghosting, and breadcrumbing… Modern dating culture has spiralled out of control and more of us are single than ever. But what’s the solution?
Thanks to the internet, we don’t just have all the singles in our city at our fingertips, but an entire world of potential dates. Whether we’re at home or on a business weekend away, we can decide we’re lonely and have a date sorted for that evening within a matter of minutes, simply by opening an app and swiping right.
We have more books, TV shows, magazines, and seminars than ever before to try and help us find love. So it may surprise you to know that married couples are now the minority. That’s right. If you’re a Bridget Jones feeling alone in a world of Smug Marrieds, you’re actually the majority. What’s going wrong? And more importantly, how do we change this and finally get our happy ending?
We’ve Become the Proverbial Child in the Candy Shop
Or put more simply, we have too much choice. Two hundred years ago, or even in our grandparent’s generation, if we dated someone outside our town or neighbourhood then we were firmly the anomaly. Now multicultural marriages are common, and
high school sweethearts are a thing of the past. Globalisation isn’t just something that’s happened to companies, but it’s also happened to our dating lives. The anonymity provided by large cities, and the access provided by apps, arguably means that sleeping around is easier than ever before.
The idea that there’s always someone better around the corner is pervasive in our dating culture. ‘Breadcrumbing’, where you contact someone just enough that you’re dating, but it’s far from a monogamous commitment, is common. When was the last time that you knew a confident, single and actively dating person who only had one date lined up in a week? We spend so much time hedging our bets, we’ve forgotten how to take a relationship gamble on one person.
We’ve Fallen Down the Hookup Culture Rabbit Hole – and We Can’t Get Out
Casual sex has become glorified by the media and popular culture, which not just shows, but actively encourages hookup culture. The Game, published in 2005 by Neil Strauss, was meant to expose pick-up culture for how shallow it truly was. Instead, it brought popularity to pick-up artistry, with countless frustrated and angry young men applying the techniques they learned in the book to put notches on their bedposts.
With the rise of polyamory amongst the Bohemian and Hipster communities, having multiple intimate partners has become practically a fashion statement, and wanting a monogamous relationship is something that’s warned against. But are we embracing polyamory, where you love more than one person? Or are we simply refusing to commit? Are we choosing the non-relationship relationship, where you have all the benefits of the relationship but without the commitment?
By choosing not to commit, we lose our ability to talk through feelings and problems. To build a life with another person, we are required to compromise and communicate well. Where we used to rely on our friends setting us up as a way to meet one person, now we pout for a selfie and swipe left until a right-swipe worthy picture appears, or until our thumb gets too tired.
Have We Gone Too Far Down the Road of No Return?
Thankfully, we haven’t yet learned how to turn off the urge to create a meaningful bond with another human being. While sex for sex may satisfy for a short time, only having casual encounters is like trying to exist on a diet of junk food. Many of us have had that one memorable one-night stand, but being intimate with someone with whom we have a loving bond will, long term, be far more fulfilling. From trusting the other person, to knowing each others’ bodies, casual sex will never replace fulfilling relationships.
The question now is, will we naturally grow out of our obsession with unfulfilling sex? The answer, hopefully, is yes. Turning to a service such as flirt training instead of pick-up artistry can help both men and women create a meaningful connection when asking for a date, rather than looking for a hookup. Tinder and computer generated algorithms will never replace executive dating agencies run by human beings in their ability to match two compatible people.
Flirt training and professional introduction agencies alone aren’t enough to break this cycle, however. The world has an addiction to hookups and casual dating that’s causing us to lose our perception of what love is, and how to work at relationships. We have to return to making a conscious effort to eschew the temptation to always look around the next corner for someone else, and see the wonderful human beings we already have in front of us.
Dr Kathrine Bejanyan is a premier matchmaker in London, specialising in romantic relationships. With years of experience and numerous qualifications behind her, she is currently the resident consultant at a professional introduction agency.