Dating in this age: Have we forgotten how to get to know another?

“I just don’t know what I did,” he says to me, over multiple glasses of red wine. The girl he had been “seeing” — whatever that means, he says — mysteriously lost interest.

“Where have the good men gone? I’m not getting any younger.” Another asks, as she hangs her head in her hands, in part despair, part frustration.

“She was interesting. I guess she thought I wanted something more, because she blew me off from the get-go,” she says, as she smiles ruefully at me.

My millennial comrades, blindly stumbling around today’s barren and foggy landscape of blind dates, dating applications and websites, hook-ups and set-ups, in an effort to find a life partner.

Swipe right, chat, dress up, meet, greet, repeat.

We are so purposeful in our interactions, as we manoeuvre through dating in this age. And because of it;

Self-doubt, which taints us long after everyone has gone. If nothing lasting comes out of an interaction, it must be because there is something wrong with us. We did something; we said something; we didn’t do something; we didn’t say something. Round and round we go, fretting in a cyclone of despair.

Swipe right, chat, dress up, meet, greet, repeat. 

Deadlines, which we didn’t even set for ourselves. Married by a certain age, children by another. Top of the career ladder by a certain age, retired by another. And if it is not done by society’s book: what will become of us, for the rest of our life, and in our old age? There is so much fear of deviating from the norm, that we neglect to live on our own terms.

Swipe right, chat, dress up, meet, greet, repeat. 

Expectations, which crush two, but mostly you. Two weeks of texting — surely, we have a great connection. A great first date — surely, he / she will follow up with a phone call. Five months of casual dating — surely, something permanent must come of this, or it will all be for naught. A year of exclusive dating — surely, marriage!

Sexualised everything. Dating applications and website have made it all too convenient and easy. Those who seek real connection find it increasingly difficult to meet a like-minded individual. There’s a rift in the dating world: hook-up or forever, with nothing in between.

Swipe right, chat, dress up, meet, greet, repeat. 

It is not supposed to be this way.

Perhaps a better outcome can be expected, if only we switched our focus to forming genuine connections with others, regardless of the variation of the relationship we find ourselves in.

When we do not value every interaction, we lose so much more, with others, but more importantly, within ourselves.

Kismet, a friend called it. Serendipity, another whispered. We are all on our own journey in this never-ending expanse of space. We seek out company; for light, for warmth, for comfort. Sometimes we cross paths with another; both are in the perfect time and season. And suddenly, a new world forms. Some slide out of our grasp, despite our efforts, to continue their own journey in another direction. Yet others stay with us, at a slight distance, but still sharing some of their light, warmth and comfort.

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Lover, friend, best bud, acquaintance, soul mate, future life partner — who knows? But one thing is definite: we will never find out, if our every interaction is purposeful.

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