I'm no dating expert, but as I've mentioned before, I do know a thing or two about over-thinking (which, not surprisingly, is probably why I am no dating expert). Recent over-thinking has been centered around both the difficulties and rewards of dating in our label-happy, technology-obsessed generation.
I often wonder what happened to old-fashioned dating -- dating in the sense of being able to spend time with a person but not be "exclusive," not be "complicated," not be "together," but to just be in one another's company. Instead, dating has evolved into a pressure-filled, semi-confusing, yet rewarding endeavor in which millennials participate. But what is held responsible for this shift?
- The ease and expectation of constant communication. This is all great in the beginning stages of a relationship, when the infatuation is still present, but constant communication eventually leads to a lack of discussion material, which in my experience, leads to boredom. It also leads to paranoia in certain situations, like if someone isn't texting at all free hours, then they are automatically up to no good. This adds an unnecessary level of stress to a modern-day relationship, a stress which didn't exist years ago when constant communication wasn't even an option.
- Communication "rules." I, for one, absolutely despise the game of who-is-going-to-text-who-first, determining who holds the "control" in the relationship. But the reality is that texting is a main form of communication and does dictate much of a relationship. Overkill can ruin a potential relationship before it even has a chance to begin, whereas not being attentive to one's phone can come across as indifferent to the situation. Finding that balance can be draining, but at the same time having the ability to communicate with someone whenever necessary is a benefit that has not always existed.
- The ability to use social media as a stalking tool. Nope, don't even try to deny it. We've all done it. If our significant other (or crush, date, whatever) is MIA, not responding to texts, we just quickly pull up their Facebook or Twitter and sneak a look. This can end one of two ways: a) They have not been on social media either, and therefore are likely just busy, and not intentionally ignoring us or b) They have posted in the last few hours, likely from their phone, meaning they saw our messages and just didn't respond. Uhhhh...ouch. Then there is the ever-present issue of read receipts...basically shoving in our face that someone saw our texts hours ago and just hasn't responded.
- Snooping - Whether it be through a phone, social media account, or email. It's so wrong, but so damn tempting sometimes. So much of a person's life exists within technology and it can be hard to fight the urge to snoop. But if we think we have a reason to snoop, we are probably right, which means there is an underlying issue of trust and the relationship needs to be reevaluated anyway.
- The creation of apps like Tinder. Guilty. After a not-so-great Tinder experience, I said I was probably done using the app. But oops...I Tindered again. Having the world of dating at our fingertips is fantastic, especially when in a new area where we don't know many people. There is just a large level of discretion necessary if looking to actually, ummm, DATE someone and not just hook up with them. This has probably always been an issue in the world of dating, it just hasn't always been so easily attainable to find a one night stand. Again, it causes a bit of stress if two people aren't straight with each other from the get go.
The common thread in all of these points? Technology. I won't deny my love for technology. I am a bit of a social media, blogging obsessed person and therefore, I love having it at my fingertips. But there is no denying that it has certainly changed the dynamic of dating for the millennial generation, something older generations struggle to grasp and understand.
Alas, as with everything in life, time changes the manner in which different generations navigate the world -- and that is what keeps it interesting.