Understanding The Strange Dating Habits Of Twentysomethings

If you’ve been able to take anything away from my writing thus far it should be that twentysomethings are insane. We’re a neurotic bunch of commitmentphobes who are plugged into technology but often feel alienated from real life.

Nothing seems to exemplify this more than our strange dating habits. With the taboo of online dating quickly dissipating, more people are meeting each other online on a site like OKCupid, which has become the unofficial space for twentysomethings who aren’t typically into online dating but are tired of being single. Their profiles constantly make mention of the awkwardness and shame that comes with selling yourself online: “I don’t really know what to say here….I never do online dating but…”. Online dating can be great and I have no doubt in its ability to create long-term relationships. However, the people I know who use it are treating it like it’s the fast food of dating. They go up to the drive thru in secret, order something off the menu, experience moments of bliss while eating it and then are left with a 12 hour stomachache and feelings of regret. By meeting someone online, you’re given no context and therefore owe them nothing. You’re in, you’re out. You don’t know their friends. Don’t Facebook me. See ya later.

A new kind of relationship seems to have sprung from online dating and technology, which is The Two Week Relationship. It’s when you date someone from anywhere to two weeks to a month and then decide to drop off the face of the planet. You go from being in constant communication (G-Chatting while at work, texting, dinner dates followed by an amazing make out session and maybe even sex) to being gone, baby, gone.

I’ve had friends who have been that guy who just disappeared and stopped texting you back. Yeah, you hate him. He knows. It’s cool. And I’ve had friends who’ve been on the receiving end, the person who’s like, “We were texting every day and then it just stopped. No warning. Just over.” Dating’s hard. Dating in today’s culture is especially painful. There’s a multitude of ways we can experience rejection at any given moment. Every time you open your email, Facebook or Twitter, or turn on your phone, a truth bomb could be awaiting you. It’s enough to make you throw every piece of technology you own out the window.

Like my friends, I’ve been on both sides of The Two Week Relationship. When I’m the one who’s been rejected, I’m always racking my brain for reasons it went sour. It’s like I’m suffering from amnesia because I forget that I too have done the same thing and felt the same way. I’ve been really into a guy before (or liked the idea of him), been all fast and furious because crushing is cute and then I come to my senses and realize, “Oh, just kidding. This dude really isn’t my flavor.” Why do we do this? Why do we lead people on and then just cruelly leave them behind? It’s because of the texting and constant contact that the rejection feels so harsh. Someone is all up in your grill 24/7 and you start to expect that text from them around lunchtime. So when it all stops, we’re devastated but we have to put it in perspective. This is what dating is. You court someone for a few weeks rather intensely and then bounce if you discover it’s not for you. In 2011, however, we have virtual track records of every relationship we have, no matter how big or small, and this gives us the illusion that something meant more than it actually did.

Regardless, it still sucks. And when you get unexpectedly ditched by someone, it’s going to come as a shock. People are more insensitive it seems. It goes back to the whole idea of not owing anyone anything. Since it’s so easy to be connected to someone, they become more disposable in a way. The next time you find yourself wondering why someone has lost interest though, just try to remember that you probably have dating ADD too. And that everyone is insane. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Ryan O'Connell

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