The Hardest Thing About Modern Dating Is...
Ask anyone who has been single the past few years who wants a relationship and they’ll give you a laundry list of grievances. To say modern dating is tough may be an understatement, and while dating apps and sites are supposed to make the process easier, for many, technology is often the leading culprit in miscommunications, hurt feelings, and unwarranted expectations.
Many dating experts and psychologists say that while having lots of choices can help you choose someone who fits your wants and needs, it can also have the opposite effect if you want to eventually settle into a relationship. “The concept that common courtesy is often lost. People don't have the civility to end things, they just ghost them, or ignore them with no explanation,” says psychologist Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC.
Esther Boykin, a licensed love and relationship therapist says modern dating is complicated, too: “Technology can bridge the gap and make it easy to connect with people all over but it can also intimidate and confuse the rules of engagement. People of all ages find themselves with more questions than answers when it comes to how to date now. I don't think it had to be something complicated but I see clients and friends definitely struggle. The downside of more options to meet and connect means that there are more opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstandings.”
So if you’re trying to field the sometimes very rocky road of modern dating and find yourself frustrated and about to give up, take some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Here, real singles share what they dislike the most about modern dating.
1. I Don’t Like Being Summoned
“I dislike how guys are now used to being able to just ‘summon’ a girl over and not put in a lot of work first. It ruins it for those of us who actually want to be courted and date!’ -Jenna, 31
2. I Don’t Like Feeling Disposable
“The fact that everyone seems to hate ‘modern’ dating apps, but there seems to be no other way. It's like the way we date has become a necessary evil. Even so, if something isn’t perfect about a person, we just get right back online without considering giving it a chance - it all feels like a disposable mindset.” -Zoe, 28
3. I Don’t Like That Love Isn’t a Priority Anymore
“We are also increasingly independent, so perhaps dating becomes less important, even so, isn’t love supposed to be one of the greatest parts of our lives? Not the most frustrating one?” -Hilary, 40
4. I Don’t Like Being Cyberstalked
“I can't keep up! You are pre-screened and ‘cyber stalked’ prior to the first date, and sometimes you are left with nothing to talk about/explore about the other person. I believe in the organic process, and truly find that moment upon first meeting that gives you the childish butterflies to be lost.” -Jonathan, 32
5. I Don’t Like How I’m Judged Purely On My Looks
“Let's be honest, apps like Tinder put an emphasis on looks versus real qualities like personality. ‘Swiping right’ on a potential match is most likely done because we like what we see. We know nothing about this person, besides a not-so-slick pick-up line or cheesy one-liner, yet we swipe right if we're attracted to the photos we see (if it's even them).” -Meg, 24
6. I Don’t Like How I’m Messaged
“Today's 'modern dating' scene lacks the chance for people to connect based solely on their actual characteristics and non-physical qualities. Most Tinder/Hinge/Bumble stories I hear involve a guy messaging a girl to ‘come over,’ versus ‘Hey! You seem like a great girl. Want to meet for dinner sometime so I can get to know you better?’” -Mallory, 29
7. I Don’t Like How Chivalry Seems to Be Dead
“I'm constantly hearing that in the modern dating era, chivalry is dead, which I hate. Love and kindness will always exist, as should chivalry.” -Kate, 26
8. I Don’t Like How We Aren’t Willing to Give Relationships a Chance
“I not a fan of online or app dating, I haven't had great experiences with it. I don't have issues meeting men or dating, the issue is finding a man who wants the same type of relationship I want which is somewhat traditional. A few have said they are on the same page as me in the beginning but after four to six months, they seem to change their tune. In my opinion, since there's so much ‘choice’ out there especially with online dating, men don't seem to put much emphasis on building a monogamous relationship. I'm sure some men may say this about women as well.” -Maria, 41
9. I Don’t Like Not Being Called
“I really really wish men would get their head out of their asses and out of their phone and approach more women in public. I feel like there is no social aspect left in dating. Picking up a phone seems like such a foreign concept and the idea of actually romancing a woman seems to be long dead as well. It makes me so so sad. I just want to be courted and romanced like men used to do. I can't remember the last time a man called me or actually made nice date plans other than ‘Wanna hang out or get drinks?’ It’s a hard time to be single!” -Julie, 28
10. I Don’t Like How We Rush Into Sex
“I hate that sex is basically expected right out of the gate. Not to bash sex on the first date (which can be great) - if you're both attracted to one another and the chemistry is just palpable, absolutely go for it. But the expectation that sex will occur just because the date did turns dating from a way to connect into a way to get an orgasm. This particular "modern dating" expectation sets up the stage for dating to be this goal-oriented process, and it turns the people involved from complex beings with depth and history and feeling into simple tools for orgasm. Sex is the most powerful, most intimate, and most meaningful when you've got a connection with someone. It would be great if modern dating would allow some time and patience to really build and feel those connections. I'm in the process of getting my sex therapist certification and trust me — sex is infinitely hotter and more pleasurable when you're intimately connected.” -Renee, 25
11. I Don’t Like How Dating Feels Like a Job
“I dislike the lack of control. I find myself treating dating a little bit like a job, where it gets frustrating because you have no idea why someone is rejecting you and there's not much you can do about it. This year my New Year's resolution is to stay off dating apps and ask out at least one person a month — so far I asked out two guys in January and one in February. It makes me feel like I am making the decisions and am running the game, whereas even on Bumble, you send the first message, sure, but then it's a waiting game still. The power is back with someone else.” -Rachel, 27
12. I Don’t Like Being Overwhelmed With Choice
“The apps i find the most useful, but at the same time the most frustrating. I get overwhelmed too quickly, and often will ask out a girl and just never follow up. Not that I’m trying to be mean, but if you have 20 girls wanting to go out with you, I don’t have the time or money to try. And it is scary to think that maybe i passed up something good.” -Jeremy, 29
13. I Don’t Like How ‘A Drink’ Is Considered a Great Date
“I get it — first dates can be a little iffy, so it's probably safer to meet up at a bar for a drink to make sure you aren't crazy/psycho/emotionally unstable. Which is totally fine. But why, for a second date, do they keep suggesting we just go get drunk? Which I'm not totally anti either — but you could pair those drinks with something else that I would probably like, going bowling and getting drinks. Or go see a gallery opening and get drinks (which could be 100 percent free if you do it right). Or go to concert and get drinks (also could be basically free, if you choose the right venue). If a dude suggests that we just go to another bar for a second date with nothing else planned, it basically just tells me that he didn't pay enough attention to me during the first date to figure out an interest or hobby of mine and can't think of anything better to do than go to a bar, which, I’m sorry, is just kind of pathetic. I'm not necessarily asking to be ‘wined and dined.’ But I do kind of expect you still want to impress me on the second date - and going to the same Irish pub in a different part of town doesn't strike me as an exciting or impressive.” -Valerie, 34
14. I Don’t Like How You Feel Like You’re Dating When You’re Not
“Right now, I’m in two texting conversations with two different guys, three conversations on Hinge, and no dates planned. I feel like I’m ‘dating’ but I’m not actually going anywhere because ‘This week I’m traveling for work’ or ‘It’s a crazy week! Sorry.’ I don’t want to talk and talk to someone before meeting them to see if there’s chemistry, but the actual process of getting offline seems like just as much work as the endless swiping. It’s often exhausting before it even begins.” -Lindsay, 27
15. I Don’t Like Knowing It All
“The thing is, our parents could have had these same experiences when they were dating, but there was no Internet to stalk, no app notifications to light up our phones and no way to misread text messages because you had to speak on the phone. I think a lot of things get lost in translations when we’re all hyperconnected all the time. I miss the mystery!” -Jordan, 29
16. It's Getting Harder To Tell If There's Chemistry
"Theres pretty much no correlation between the online chatter and if it'll be a good date or not. You have to spend 2 hours of your life with someone you've literally never seen in person and have no idea how it'll go." - Andrew, 29
17. I Don't Like How We Judge Each Other
"I feel like, with dating apps and our busy lives (in NYC at least), we're not really taking the time to get to know each other. I get it, no one wants to waste their precious time, but I think we're making judgements way too quickly on first dates and online. From ridiculous dealbreakers to the way we analyze text messages, I feel like we're not really giving people fair chances." - Jenny, 28
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.