Modern Dating in 2016
Living through today’s dating culture, dating games, and hearing all the associated stories from other people, I felt compelled to write about modern dating in 2016.
If you can call it that.
Because it seems most relationships start with sex before they turn into something substantial (c’mon… how many of you reading this had sex with someone on the first or second date?), it is rather difficult for most people to figure out where exactly that line is between the two.
Are you dating?
Or are you just having sex?
Sure, you’re not just having sex, you’re hanging out as well. But isn’t that friends with benefits? Or are you just a booty call?
Or are you together? Or “officially together”? After all, you can’t be married or engaged unless you ask someone, so how can you be exclusive or “officially together” unless you do the same?
With all these different levels of “togetherness” today’s society has invented, it’s no surprise that many times we’ll find ourselves with someone and draw a blank when friends/family ask us what we are.
It turns out that everything is the opposite to just 15 years ago.
Under the “old” model, you went out on a few dates together and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex.
Under the “new” model? Now you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider actually going on a date.
We’re pretty much living in the thickest part of the modern hookup culture
That is, perfecting the art of trying to meet someone, crafting a perfect response to a text message to make you seem interested just enough without being overly eager. Or taking the proper five seconds to use your fledgling Jedi powers to adequately determine whether to swipe left or right on Tinder.
That’s the world now.
Everything is made to be complicated, even if it actually isn’t.
Nobody asks you out on a date; they just ask you to hang out or catch up. This way, you can spend the next three days that you’re supposed to be ignoring them wondering exactly what it meant.
Did you go for drinks or coffee like most (booooooooring!)? Maybe you went to dinner? Or flew to some exotic location to have some forbidden erotic fun under a precious landmark?
Be careful! You guys were just hanging out, right? It was just casual, right?
Or I’m confused.
I wonder what she’s thinking; she may wonder what I’m thinking. What did our escapade mean to her?
I could just ask the other person.
In today’s dating culture you can’t.
What?! … WHY??
Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, and others, we created a world where people are afraid to feel, or show, anything genuine.
When people are angry with you, there’s no phone call or catch up to talk about it.
So what happens?
Instead, you’ll be lucky to receive a passive, yet subtley aggressive, response to a text message after everyone else on the internet is notified. Or you might see a suspiciously relevant sub-tweet, quietly calling you out in 140 characters or less. Or someone will comment on a Facebook comment that’s been posted to “the world” about you.
When someone likes you, they don’t tell you how they feel; rather they act interested enough for you to pick up on it, but not enough to freak you out.
And if you don’t pick up on it, even if they haven’t given you any “clear” signs despite what they may think, you’re deemed clueless and/or not interested, and their interest is summarily withdrawn.
Don’t ask to hangout two nights in a row either. That seems to automatically mean you’re committed. Even though you’ve never agreed to nor given a verbal confirmation.
If you texted first last time, you have to wait for them to text you first this time. Don’t double text! You can’t assume anything is more than casual, even if you’re having sex.
But you can’t talk about it either.
That means your communication has to be done via texting or messaging.
Then we’re forced to wait…
… anxiously …
… for a response that might not ever come.
What else have I deduced about today’s dating culture?
- A date isn’t necessarily a date per-se
Yes, he or she asked you to go out for some food and drinks, but it’s not considered to be “official”. This is obvious. How many people have you gone out with who have showed up to the date putting (what appears to be) very little effort into their appearance or punctuality?
“It’s not a date. We’re just hanging out. There’s no such thing as a ‘date’ anymore.”
- There’s no longer an accepted time frame on how long you’re “supposed” to wait before having sex.
It used to be three dates. Before that, it was probably three months. Now… three hours will do if you can pull it off.
- There’s no more romance.
Call me old fashioned. I see more and more people on their phones when out together, not paying attention to each other.
- There is some sort of difference between “seeing each other”, “dating” and just “hanging out”.
Who can explain those to me?
This leads to:
- Everyone wants their relationship labeled, but no one wants to actually label it.
Let’s be honest people. Not labeling your relationship is just avoiding commitment. In today’s “instant gratification” society, people don’t want to feel, or appear to be, stuck. Nobody wants to feel they have an obligation to someone else. We all want to be free.
And we also want some solid ground to stand on.
I’ve come across way too many people who have cheated on their significant other just because they were unhappy or scared of an actual relationship.
This is probably why:
- You are no longer boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife.
Ooooohhhh no. If you are actually ‘together’, you have to refer to them as your ‘partner’.
I don’t know why.
I prefer boyfriend/girlfriend.
To me, saying someone is a “partner” just seems so lame and so non-chalant. Partner? What? Like a business partner? In a civil partnership? Partner in crime? Or are you two in something like “The partnership for a drug-free America”? Or how about I just say, “howdy partner”?
Or as Nelson Mandela once said:
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. – Nelson Mandela
- If you hooked up or went out with someone, and clearly aren’t going to continue, is it okay to ask out their friend?
I wrote a separate article on this.
Are you dating?
If was just that and nothing more, then as long as both parties aren’t interested in seeing each other again, both should be able to ask out whomever they want regardless of that person’s relationship to the person he or she already hooked up with or gone out with.
Nevertheless, there are people who think it’s unacceptable. If that’s the case, soon enough no one will be able to date anyone, as everyone will have a friend or a friend of a friend who slept with or went out with that person.
Good luck figuring all that out unless Facebook updates profile information to include that too.
- No one wants to be the first to say, “I love you.”
If you’re lucky enough to find someone you have fallen in love with, especially in the midst of this current hook-up culture, then you should grow some balls and let them know when you think it would be good to tell them.
- Nobody has the courage to stick through things or, at the worst, have a “break up” talk.
Nope. Instead it’s typically 1 of 2 things:
- go find someone to cheat with, get caught, and then blame your cheating on the person you wanted to, but couldn’t, break up with.
- perform the art of “ghosting”. This didn’t exist 15 years ago either.
I could earn my Ph.D. with the amount of time and energy I have to put into understanding today’s dating scene.
If I like someone, I want to see them. It’s as simple as that. Or should be, but it’s turning more convoluted.
If I talk to them too much, I’m over-eager.
If I’m always free if they call or ask me out, I have no life of my own.
If they take three hours to respond to a text of mine, and my phone is in my hand when I receive their reply, I have to answer right-away or I’m considered as “not being interested”.
Why can’t I call someone because I like talking to or just want to talk to them? Why does showing I care make me over-eager?
All these manipulative games that men and women play in an effort to maintain control in a relationship that we’re not allowed to define.
What have you learned about modern dating in 2016?
Agree with me? Disagree? Have any thoughts of your own to share? Leave them below as I’d love to read them.