Scenario: It’s 1903 and you receive a love letter from your SO via the carrier-pigeon, because it’s 1903. You write back, telling him everything about your day, knowing very well that he might only receive it in two months’ time. This carries on for years, you get married, and live happily ever after. Well, at least that’s how we assume it went. Because now it’s 2020 and we have something called instant messaging. And that’s just what it is: instant. So why the hell did it become okay to withhold our response times to show just how busy or unattached we are? Let’s talk about that.
Don’t get me wrong, dating in itself is amazing. It’s great to find someone who you can share your best (and worst) moments with. But the journey to get there is weird and confusing. One moment you scout for happy hours with all your single friends, and in the blink of an eye it changes to flashy engagement rings all over your Facebook feed and society reminding you that you’re “not getting any younger”.
After a glass of wine with a friend on a regular Wednesday afternoon, it became apparent that we share the same concern: dating after 25. It seems that it has become a competition to see who can care the least in a relationship. Somehow it’s frowned upon to show actual emotions. I’m not sure how this actually became logical. Responding to a message right away (again, we have instant messaging) comes across as being desperate and too available.
This, of course, also led to thinking that it’s okay to only talk to each other over the weekends. Because that’s the only time you can have a life, right?
When did this become a thing?
So, if I think back to previous relationships in my teen- and student years, dating seemed so much easier. Weird and awkward, but simple. If you liked someone and they liked you back, it was a done deal. These days it’s a bit more complicated. There’s so many ways to judge someone before you even consider meeting them. Also, guys feel intimidated when they get the slightest hint that a girl is independant and will probably survive just fine without him. But this is not an article to discuss insecurities, or rant about being single. This is a deeper look into why things seem to have changed when it comes to dating.
Is it just a mindset that you develop when you turn 25, or is it just society in general that became awkwardly confused, regardless of your age?
If you’re no longer interested in someone, there’s an easy fix: just stop responding. I know right, it sounds more fucked up when you put it like that. Imagine having a conversation with someone in real life and the person simply turns around and walks away. Sounds pretty psychotic to me. So why is this acceptable over something as simple as WhatsApp?
You can try to argue with me by saying this only applies to millennials. But the reality is that after 25, you think differently about dating. You become super picky, because the next one will probably be the one you marry, and dating just for fun is not an option anymore. You can see how this can lead to ghosting, right?
A guy’s view: The possible reasons why we’ve become so disconnected
Mid-conversation we decided to get an expert’s opinion. And by expert I just mean someone of the opposite sex. He shed some light on why a guy might ghost you, only text you on weekends, or simply seem emotionally unavailable:
Shame man, the guy might have been out of the game for such a long time that he might not have any.
People have baggage from previous relationships. Call it PTSD if you want to.
The guy might be super focused on his career at the moment. Talking to you on weekdays can make him feel like he’s mixing work with pleasure.
This one is sad, but people became hyper-focused on sex. There’s no actual effort to get to know someone unless they are willing to undress.
We know girls overthink everything, but guess what, so do we. If we really want to make it work with a chick, we’re wary of sounding too needy.
The power of social media
This one speaks specifically to the ladies. While there are exceptions, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll date a guy younger than us. Which means that we start looking at the pool of guys between the ages of 26 – 30. And that doesn’t seem like a big gap, but in reality, they haven’t experienced the same rapid wave of social media evolution that we have. They can be really intimidated just by looking at your Instagram profile. So for this I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
We expect a perfection that doesn’t exist
Rom-coms, social media and online dating platforms like Tinder and Bumble lead us to believe that we’re entitled to some kind of fairytale life. Nothing is ever good enough unless it meets your screwed-up standards. We fail to see that relationships, like everything else in life, come with imperfections that we just have to accept.
But let’s be honest. The girls in the classic rom-coms who find their perfect fairytale ending are all well over 30. Let’s take Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail as an example. She’s definitely either on the wrong side of her 20s or is already 30. She has some messed up experiences with men, and finally resorts to online dating as well. But this movie came out in 1998, which leads me to believe that this backwards logic comes with age and is not a result of the ever-changing world.
How everything I thought I knew about dating changed.
Fresh out of a relationship at 19 years old, I thoroughly enjoyed the perks of singlehood with my girlfriends. I had a few relationships after that, but now I’m on the brink of 25. I sneak in a date here and there, but this becomes tricky. It’s a constant battle deciding if I’m in the mood to go on a date after a long day of work, or if I’m willing to waste my weekends on a date that might not even lead somewhere. My priorities shifted as things like “tall, dark, and handsome” just didn’t make the cut anymore.
In short: Dating is confusing, and stop asking me why I’m on Tinder.