1. We have too many options, and therefore blame our failures on ourselves.
I remember that when I was in the thick of my Mystical OkCupid Quest For Finding Someone To Cuddle With On A Regular Basis, life was never more stressful. Like all human beings in possession of both an online dating account and a vagina, I was inundated with constant messages from men of varying literacy who were only too happy to take me out on a dinner date at my earliest convenience. There were guys in my Quiver (whatever that means), there were guys in my neighborhood, there were hot guys with glasses and side parts and witty profiles just waiting to be clicked on. And yet, none of it was working.* The only logical conclusion, then, was that it was my fault. There was something wrong with me, and I clearly had too many standards that were making it impossible to love me. The more people told me that there were just soooooo many options out there, the more I hated myself.
2. We have full access to what everyone else is doing.
As if having limitless avenues for your failed love life wasn’t disheartening enough, you now have an entire internet full of friends and strangers to negatively compare yourself to. You get to see which ex is falling head-over-heels in love with someone better than you, which so-called friend is not inviting you to their destination wedding (you didn’t even want to go, but what the fuck???!?!), and how pathetic you are. It’s just another competition you don’t even want to participate in that is being foisted on you from every conceivable direction.
3. No one knows what the rules are, and it stresses us out.
Who is initiating what? Who is paying for shit? When are we supposed to be kissing? Promisingly dry humping? Having a conversation about the future? It’s just an enormous Roman orgy (in the bad sense) of all of the possible things that you can’t tell whether or not you should be doing. You make one wrong move, you get labeled some kind of social pariah prude, impotent beta male, insufferable cheapskate, or hula hoop-vagina’d slut, and it’s terrifying. Of course it’s wrong. Of course it’s unfair. Society is incredibly fucked up and in a place where the economy, gender roles, and social awareness have not all caught up with one another. And that’s just a clusterfuck we’re all going to have to ride out on our own surfboards made out of duct tape and the sturdiest cardboard in the recycling bin.
4. It is too much for your bank account.
Whether you’re out there paying for nights out at steakhouses that make you question whether or not you should just be buying an entire cattle farm and making your own dinner for these prices, or investing in a new outfit every time someone really promising asks you to meet them for drinks, you can’t be affording this shit. You just can’t.
5. We feel pressure to do things that we have no desire to do.
My friend (and I won’t mention her name, of course, but you know god damn well who you are and I hope you’re reading this you beautiful sketchball) has been dating this dude for nothing short of three months even though she has absolutely no interest in pursuing a future with him. Her reasoning? “All my friends are in relationships right now and I’m tired of being the chick who gets pity-invited places with a bunch of couples. Also, his apartment is way nicer and closer to my job.” This shit is unacceptable, and it is ruining multiple lives at once. I’m pretty sure this guy is convinced that this is a real-life relationship, and not just a glorified version of Airbnb where he gets his wiener touched occasionally, and things like this happen every day.
6. It’s too easy to keep in contact with people who should have been long gone.
There is no reason you should be seeing that guy you went out with two times who kissed like a Yeerk trying to get in the wrong face hole on your Facebook. There is no reason he should be occasionally texting you because he somehow hasn’t gotten the “No fucking way” memo after six months of no communication. And yet, there he is. Being a general drain on your entire existence and reminding you that you accepted more than one date with him because you were like “Fuck it, what else do I have going on right now?”
7. You can’t be sure what counts as a date, and can have whole relationships that didn’t exist.
I think we’ve all had that moment where we’re pretty sure we’re someone’s official significant other for a decent-ass stretch of time. We read all the signs, we know how things are generally supposed to progress, we have what we feel is a concrete understanding of modern dating norms. We’ve got it under control. And then, out of nowhere, they are boning love to someone else and, to them, it’s no big deal. The two of you were apparently just “seeing each other,” which is clearly code for “being a foam beer koozy for my genitals until a more permanent holding spot comes along.” The fact that all of this can happen to healthy, aware people is a crying shame, and contributing to the rapid decay of our collective psyche. It must stop.
* In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I did ultimately meet my wonderful boyfriend on OkCupid and I therefore must zestily endorse it as a dating option. That being said, it is like playing emotional Minesweeper with sweaty creepers who can’t tell the difference between “there” and “their.”