15 Singles Define Modern Dating

When I first moved to New York in 2010, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish were the big things to join. I was 21, fresh out of a bad relationship and more than ready to meet (what I thought were) attractive, successful, smart men living in the big city. Over the course of the past six years, four of which I’ve spent single, I’ve watched the dating game change dramatically.

Just a few years ago, my friends couldn’t go into one bar in any part of time without being hit on by multiple guys, and nowadays, we all snicker to ourselves as we watch the same type of guys swiping on their phones while they’re waiting on a Jack and Coke. While there’s no one way to define ‘modern dating’ — I think it’s safe to say that technology, and dating apps specifically, have changed how singles view and respond to meeting the right person. Or in some cases, hundreds of ‘right now’ people.

“Modern dating is moving more and more towards dating apps," Psychologist and counselor, Nikki Martinez, Psy.d., LCPC, tells Bustle. "This is an immediate gratification or rejection in many ways, and often times skips the normal courtship of talking and getting to know each other. I see the dating start and burn out much faster before they find the one. Dating has changed due to people focusing more on career into longer years, and prioritizing this, or they were married young, divorced, and are back out in the dating world. They need new avenues to meet people and connect.”

So while having options and unlimited swipes can be a way to come across folks you typically wouldn’t, how are singles responding to modern dating? Here, I asked men, women, straight, gay, divorced and more about what modern dating means to them:

1. Modern Dating Is… Netflix & Chillin’

“I am old-fashioned in that I still expect to go out for drinks or dinner with a guy on a first date (drinks if he's from an app). But most other people view ‘modern dating’ as going to someone's house to ‘Netflix and Chill.’ -Jenna, 31

2. Modern Dating Has… A Character Limit

“Modern dating is being able to sum yourself up in 500 characters or less and hoping you get super likes on Tinder. That being said, I don’t hate it. It takes a lot of legwork out of romance.” -Kathryn, 27

3. Modern Dating Is … Instant Gratification Relationships

“Any and all relationships happening now, now, now. We’re the generation of instant gratification in everything, and dating is not exception.” -Zoe, 28

4. Modern Dating Is… A Big Balancing Act

“At my age, modern dating is about squeezing in dates in between other priorities like work, exercise and friends. Modern dating is also very Tinder-esque: maybe not taking enough time to get to know someone before dismissing them. I don't think people are willing to put as much time into dating.” -Hilary, 40

5. Modern Dating Is... Tedious

“The game has changed over the years and online/app based dating has replaced the once charming ‘meet-cute’ that I as a hopeless romantic still hope for.” -Jonathan, 32

6. Modern Dating Has… Changed Who Makes The First Move

“Modern dating has given women the chance to swipe right or left and make the first move, but it’s also hindered men from being forward. They aren’t willing to make the first move very often anymore, as they might have in the pre-internet days. Guys don’t have balls anymore.” -Madeline, 26

7- Modern Dating Is… Not Organic

“Men don't want to settle down when they have an abundance of options, which these dating platforms provide them with. Today's dating scene has become mainly non-organic, with people relying on apps and websites to meet potential significant others. The problem is, a large amount of Tinder users, for example, still use the app for it's original purpose: a hookup app. But for most girls I know my age, that is not what we want out of the app.” -Meg 24

8. Modern Dating Is… Casual

“Modern dating in 2016 is fairly different than it was even just 20 years ago - modern dating today is more of a casual experience, trying out what works and what doesn't when you're looking to match with another person. After all, we aren't really waiting until marriage anymore, so we have the freedom to date casually.” -Jen, 27

9. Modern Dating Is… Selfish

“It's challenging. I feel like dating today is about ‘what's in it for me?’ and not about the other person or ‘us.’ -Maria, 41

10. Modern Dating Means… Everything’s Fair Game

“It means anything is fair game, which sometimes means alright all rules are out and we can make them up. But it also can mean that all rules are out and no one respects anyone else's feelings. It feels like because of technology, everyone is afraid to actually communicate. Texting and such is supposed to make it easier to talk to people, not harder. I find people hide behind technology as a way to not have to deal with these. We do google searches and stalk Facebooks, we text emojis because we're afraid to say how we really feel, and we don't care if we ghost someone because it's easy to do.” -Brooke, 27

11. Modern Dating Is… About Having Fun

“To me modern dating is just having someone to go out with and have fun with. ‘Dating’ doesn’t mean relationship, which i think is a new compared to other generations. My mom doesn’t understand this for sure. It means meeting people in all ways possible, the apps, friends, bars, there isn’t one way, and I think that’s a good thing.” -Jeremy, 28

12. Modern Dating Is…Having Too Many Doors Open

“It seems like no one is ever enough because there is always someone else waiting in the wings, especially in a city like New York. Someone taller, someone thinner, someone richer, someone smarter. To meet someone you click with and like doesn't seem to be enough anymore because there is always more. Modern dating, as Aziz Ansari put it is having 1,000 doors to open instead of just a couple.” -Alexandra, 28

13. Modern Dating Is… Delaying Marriage

“I really think modern dating is delaying the marrying age even more. While I’m glad I didn’t marry my college boyfriend at 22, it’s also hard for me to believe that as an attractive, successful, confident, kind and outgoing woman in my late 20s, I still end up meeting guys who aren’t at all interested in being exclusive, much less having something long-term. It makes me worry about marriage going extinct!” -Nikki, 27

14. Modern Dating… Lacks Creativity

“But, really - how many times can one person grab drinks at happy hour after work? Can’t we do anything - something! - other than that? Sure, some people suggest more interesting dates, but they are few and far between.” -Patty, 34

15. Modern Dating Is… Going to Hit A Bust

“Just like any other major shift in history before, we’re going very quickly toward a bust, where everyone’s going to turn their back on the modern technology of dating and try to go back to the old-fashioned way. Or at least, that’s what I hope for!” -Jennifer, 30

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