Thought Catalog

Understanding The Strange Dating Habits Of Twentysomethings

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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. TC mark

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  • Anna

    The last 3 words hold more truth than all other Thought Catalog submissions… combined.

  • lala

    “We’re a neurotic bunch of commitmentphobes who are plugged into technology but often feel alienated from real life.”

    this.

  • http://twitter.com/versayce Tom Sullivan

    Yup, the Two Week Relationship pretty much summarizes all of my experiences on OKCupid before I gave up and deleted my profile. 

  • ATL

    I do hate him. He knows. It’s cool.  Everyone IS insane.  A similar way I like to think of it is like Billy Currington says; “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”  Tell me you can’t use that line to explain every failed relationship.  God is great for removing that piece of trash from my life.  Beer is good always good and most likely the reason we got together in the first place.  People are crazy.  He sure as hell is.

    • Anonz

      Except god isn’t real.

    • Anonz

      Except god isn’t real.

  • http://twitter.com/keehillman Keeley Hillman

    “…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.”

    THIS x1000.  I love how you can be hysterical one moment and then make statements like this that are so real.

  • F.

    Just got rejected after a 2-week relationship. And I’m TRYING to convince myself that it really meant nothing, but it still hurts :(
    Agh. Now I’m pissed

  • F.

    Just got rejected after a 2-week relationship. And I’m TRYING to convince myself that it really meant nothing, but it still hurts :(
    Agh. Now I’m pissed

  • Rebecca H Shindell

    this is legitimately the most truthful blog yet, it is so true it’s almost scary.. 

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    Quitting downing on my “thought I liked you, now I don’t” behaviors. I can’t afford a guilt trip between now & my next date!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

      You are why people commenting on this article hate dating! Ugh.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        Sorry whatever-his-name-was didn’t call you again, but I had nothing to do with it.

      • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

        I don’t understand how people can be so fickle and careless with other people’s emotions. 

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        And we can’t understand why you formed such a serious attachment so quickly.

        Guess we’ll have to call this a draw, eh?

      • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

        I thought that was how humans worked.  In friendships as well.  Call it whatever you want, I don’t care. 

      • Guest

        you’re a product of your environment, bravo.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        waiting for you to give me the slow clap, cutie.

  • Ragz13

    This made me feel more/less bad at the same time for just doing this to a POF dude. Yeah, he hates me. I know. It’s cool.

    • douchegirl

      POF FTW!

  • http://whoismau.tumblr.com/ Mauricio

    “Twentysomethings tweet/blog/queef about being twentysomething on the next Sick Sad World.”

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      this.

  • Jordan

    I had the same thing via OKC, dated a girl for what spanned over two months or so.  After an increasing volume of texts (the hours between replies fall and fall until you’re no longer curious if you’ll be getting a response within the minute or if you’ve said too much that day), increasing amounts of hangouts, and increasing amounts of sex…that was it.

    It makes you wonder what the previous time was allabout (even more of a problem in my case because it was two months).  Were they grinning and bearing it previously?  Is this is a new realization?  And unless I’m the crazy one, how could I have changed enough in the past few weeks to warrant that?

    Nice post Ryan :)

    • douchegirl

      I have been that girl.  Yes, I was grinning and bearing it. I thought you were the right one, but then I realized you weren’t. Sorry.

  • BoomBAP

    This article is incredibly insightful, so accurate about what dating is really like in 2011.

  • http://twitter.com/lepetitbluet Cait Durham

    This is why I don’t date.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

      #preach

  • Brooklyn15

    In my early 30’s and painfully experiencing this… still. 

  • Guest

    Agree. I can’t navigate the dating waters. I get left with non-dates.

  • Guest

    Agree. I can’t navigate the dating waters. I get left with non-dates.

  • Anonymous

    strange dating habits as in they don’t exist

  • Vivazoya

    I’m 45, and this is nothing new, and is not just happening to 20-somethings. This was happening when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, and as an adult well into my thirties (I am married now). And I’m sure this phenomenon was going on when my parents were younger, and in past generations, just the media has changed. Modern technology did not create this short-term, hot/cold dating scene. Just thought you should know that perspective.

  • Vivazoya

    I’m 45, and this is nothing new, and is not just happening to 20-somethings. This was happening when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, and as an adult well into my thirties (I am married now). And I’m sure this phenomenon was going on when my parents were younger, and in past generations, just the media has changed. Modern technology did not create this short-term, hot/cold dating scene. Just thought you should know that perspective.

  • LDN

    Carrie Bradshaw.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

    Truest article of all time… ever. I mean mostly you’re basically pointing out what we so seldomly can succinctly and with such eloquence articulate. But man Ryan, I keep reading your stuff and I’m like YES.

  • http://puzzlingcreativity.blogspot.com/ puzzlingcreativity

    It’s really sad, it’s like we’re all just turkeys staring confusingly up at the raining sky, not realizing we’re about to drown. 

    • LDN

      lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42002098 Mage Baltes

    So, do you think I should just sit out my twenties and step into the dating scene in my thirties, or is this whole generation r00ned 4 lyfe? :/ I’m serious.

    • jessie

      Dating in your thirties:  the odds are good, but the goods are odd.  Just sayin’.

  • guest

    ‘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. ‘  —reminds me of hes just not that into you!!!!

    • Niki

      Exactly like he’s just not that into you! Pretty sure it hasn’t been mentioned because no one here has watched it since it’s an obviously ridiculous, uber mainstream rom-com/don’t want to say it for fear of being judged… ah well. i openly acknowledge and simultaneously lament my strange enjoyment of shitty films while at the same time loathing the film, my enjoyment of the film and myself

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