Modern dating is extremely traumatizing.
Connection is obstructed, you’re chastised for getting attached, and the sheer availability of an entire sea of dating apps, profiles and potential mates is enough to drive anyone to the edges of their insecurities.
The truth is that the way we date now isn’t really healthy.
It’s not that we need to return to outdated standards, it’s that we need to evolve within the new world we have now.
Here are the top 7 ways you’re probably already traumatized by dating in the digital age.
1. You are made to feel as though there is something wrong with you for becoming emotionally attached after having sex with someone consistently.
In casual sex culture, attachment is a vice.
It means that you were the naive person who misread the signals and got attached even though you weren’t supposed to.
This is truly an unprecedented thing to deal with not because we haven’t been sexually liberated for a while (we have) but because the opportunities to act on that are (virtually) limitless now. It’s understandable that some people would want to take advantage of that.
What isn’t understandable is the expectation that you might engage in any form of intimacy with a person and are supposed to feel nothing.
It is not crazy to get attached to someone who you have had this kind of relationship with. It is crazy that the standard expectation is that you wouldn’t.
2. You are made to feel as though there is something wrong with you for wanting commitment.
Likewise, the path toward a lifelong relationship is just not as clear as it once was.
First, that’s not what everyone desires, and that’s alright. It’s great that we now have the freedom and relative social acceptability to be in relationships that suit who we are and what we need.
But it’s healthy to desire commitment.
What isn’t healthy is the idea that “talking” has replaced “dating,” and that after an extended period of time opening up to a person and bonding with them, you are supposed to act cool when they sideline you and randomly move on.
We need to stop pretending like it is.
3. It seems like it’s better to be the person who cares less.
Overall, it usually seems like it’s preferable to be the person who cares less about the relationship, therefore, positioning you as the person who has all the power.
This isn’t just an abnormal dynamic, it’s also an unhealthy one.
When the game is “who can act as though they care less,” nobody wins. Nobody wins because nobody is even trying — we’re all just obstructing any potential we might have to genuinely connect with someone and calling it a power move.
4. The standard for what makes someone a decent partner is shockingly low.
You’ve probably seen enough posts with a partner praising their significant other for doing basic tasks.
The standard for decency now is essentially not cheating and being able to care for oneself in simple ways, perhaps even showing affection now and again.
When you see people praising their partners for like, doing the dishes once, or if you’re parents, “watching the kids” while you have an “hour to yourself,” it really sets up a surprisingly low expectation for what a partner should be contributing to your life.
5. Your sense of security is likely disturbed by the knowledge that your partner has such a vast array of potential people they could be dating.
This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, just a fact of the times.
You know why it’s so hard to commit? Because the possibilities are limitless and nobody wants to miss out.
A few generations ago, your dating prospects were limited to who your family knew or who was within your community. Today, you can connect to anyone, anywhere, within the right age range and filtered through your top preferences and deal-breakers.
Years ago, you didn’t have someone sliding into your partners DMs on any kind of regular basis. It is understandable that we would all generally feel a little less secure in ourselves.
6. You have probably spent at least some portion of your life trying to turn a f*ckboy into a husband.
If those are the wrong pronouns for your particular situation, please feel free to swap them out — but the point still stands.
You have probably devoted at least some part of your youth in an attempt to turn a person who absolutely was never going to commit to you into the dream partner you wanted them to be.
When you fall in love with someone’s potential as opposed to their reality, you end up slighted almost every time.
7. Trying to maintain a real connection in a disconnected world is profoundly difficult.
Do you know what’s one of the biggest barriers prohibiting real, genuine connection?
The fact that everyone comes home from a long day at work and spends the following hours scrolling on their phones.
It is not healthy to lay in bed next to your partner every single night and just stare at screens, not engaging in any way, but it’s normal. It is not healthy to be constantly inundated with new content that sets higher and higher expectations for what your life should be, and yet, it is normal.
The only way we are going to ever achieve the true levels of intimacy we as human beings really need is if we put down the distractions and actually spend time with a person.
Good relationships are not something we find, they are something we build.
That seems to be the piece that we’re missing.