Technology, changing social attitudes make dating challenging

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer

Smartphone dating app illustrationThe days of bumping into your soulmate in line at the grocery store, dating, falling in love, and living happily ever after are long gone.

We live in a world of social media where everyone is glued to the device in their hands, constantly refreshing their apps to see the latest update from friends. It’s more common to hear a couple say they met on Tinder than the stories we would beg our parents to tell about how they met.

Perhaps I just don’t understand it, or maybe the years I’ve spent watching “Hope Floats” or “Pretty Woman” have shaped the way I think it should happen. I’m no expert, but I feel that dating and falling in love has become so effortless and emotionless.

  Romance seems to be taking a turn for the worse. When did it become OK to make fate-altering decisions by swiping left or right on a very carefully chosen set of five pictures and a paragraph? When did manners go out the window? When did it become OK to message a complete stranger and say, “Hey! Send me pictures! ;)” What happened to getting to know someone, and then maybe having dinner? When did everything change? Has that always been a thing and I just wasn’t let in on this little secret?

  Times are changing. I grew up on the cusp of technology. I remember what it was like to not have cell phones. I remember getting my first cell phone and not being allowed to text because it was so expensive. What happened to talking on the phone? Pick up the phone and call me. Ask me about my day. Tell me about yours. Pick me up for dinner. Knock on the door to let me know you’re there, and then open the door for me (you get bonus points for this). Don’t, I repeat, do not, sit and play on your phone during dinner. What happened to sending flowers, just to say I’m thinking about you? I like old-school things such as handwritten letters, phone calls, late-night drives to nowhere, stargazing dates, and kisses goodnight.

  People don’t even date anymore, just talking, catching feelings, being too stubborn to admit it, hooking up, and ending up in situationships. There is no dating scene. It’s just a free-for all. Literally. Chivalry is dead. It died the minute girls started to settle for a text to “Netflix & Chill.”

  As if it isn’t hard enough to actually find someone to have dinner with and hold a conversation with throughout it, then comes the games. There are so many rules to dating in this technology-fueled world. Don’t text first or you look desperate. Don’t text back right away. Don’t you dare watch that Snapchat after 30 seconds of them sending it. Phone calls are a dying art, so if he calls you, he’s a keeper. Relationships are label free these days, with 99 percent of our generation “just talking.” Most importantly, the person who cares less has all the power. You don’t want to look like the one who is too desperate or too available. Keep them guessing.

  With everyone posting status updates of every moment of their day, as a society, we’re always looking for instant gratification. The grass always seems to be greener on the other side. We’re not growing old on the front porch together anymore, because once the going gets tough, we get going.

  Let’s all cut the nonsense. Are you interested, or not? Who cares if you text me back 12 seconds after I text you? Who cares if I text you first? And who cares if you catch feelings? Isn’t that the end game we’re all going for? Happily ever after?

If suddenly, you’re not interested, so be it. Call it a loss and move on. We’re all getting too old for playground games.

Before we know it, we’re all going to find ourselves on eHarmony.com at 43, still single, older, and a lot more desperate. I think enough is enough. This isn’t the SIMS, so let’s quit acting like it.

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