When you date someone, eventually one of two things will happen: you’ll break up or you’ll get married. That’s a terrifying thought, and it could be part of the reason why everyone thinks our modern day dating culture has gone to hell.
I keep seeing girls dump cheesy links to articles condemning the way our generation chooses to date (or not date) on Facebook, tagged with captions like “UGH so true,” solely to prove to us all that they are super trendy and hipster in their old-fashioned values. While they believe they are sharing legitimate stories on how fucked up they think we all are, they fail to realize that there is a reason we do things the way we do now. We all know that humans are an evolutionary species. Every new generation keeps old ideas that it was taught, but applies improved methods and details. This is what separates us from any other animal: more cognitive progress comes with each new generation.
We have to face the fact that there’s a reason people date differently now than they used to. Maybe there’s more to it than just an “I’m going to do whoever and whatever I want because I’m entitled and lazy” attitude going on here–something that everyone is overlooking, because we have a tendency to blame ourselves.
The dating culture that is so under fire is the idea of being with people but not committing. This happens, yes, but dating is not dead. If you’re bitching about how you aren’t going on any “real” dates anymore, then you aren’t paying attention to the right guys. People think that our youth is in an era that defies dating and opts for hangouts and hookups. But what is so wrong with not needing a label and just feeling the way you feel without others knowing the “status” of your love life?
When my mom was in high school, she would maintain multiple “boyfriends” at a time. She attributes this success to the lack of social media or cell phones. Unless someone saw you out, no one knew who you were hanging out with. I know that sounds bad, but how I look at is this: she took full control of her life and surrounded herself with the people she knew would be good for her and who would make her happy. When she found the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, she cut out the rest to take that step and commit. She has now been married to my dad for 28 years, and they maintain five kids as well as a loving, fun, and working relationship.
How my mother dated makes a lot of sense when you look at the grand scheme of things (or in other words, the rest of your life). Say you’ve been seeing a nice guy. Pressure from the “happy” relationships you see on Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis urge you to commit yourself to him, which isn’t always a bad thing. But why is it that, because you’re hanging out with someone regularly, you can’t be open to new people as well? What if the person you were meant to be with comes along, but you can’t do anything about it because you’re dating someone who you will likely dump in two months when things get boring or weird. You missed out on the potential love of your life for the cheap thrill of some cute couple Instagrams and a miserable breakup.
It is this scare that has created the dating culture we live in today. If I were to do what my mother did and be open about talking to multiple guys at one time, I would be called a slut. People are either terrified of being committed to a person who they aren’t sure they can end up with, or terrified of being alone when everyone around them seems to be in happy relationships. There’s such a broad spectrum between single and committed, but people nowadays tend to be balls deep in a constant string of random hookups or committed to one person for a long period of time.
I don’t mean to condone cheating, because cheating is never okay. I also don’t mean to persecute those who are in relationships. I just mean to defend those who partake in our modern day “dating culture.” Those people are just doing what makes them happy, and no one should judge them for that. What is so wrong with not needing a label to make yourself happy?
In the end, there is no “perfect” method for dating. It’s all relative, and it comes differently for each person. I like to go on lots of dates, meet lots of people, and make lots of different memories. Relationships just aren’t my thing. My best friend, who is equally crazy and fun to hang out with, has been dating a guy for a year. There’s no problem with either of our choices. The only problem here stems from those aforementioned girls who post sad, nostalgic articles to my homepage about what dating “used to be like.” There are happy single people. There are happy committed people. And then there are those unsure of their own status, who feel the need to shove their beliefs down our throats and accuse us of self-destructive actions. Wake up, honey. I’m sorry you wish you could return to the days of your grandmother’s youth, a time when Facebook didn’t exist and you couldn’t ruin my day with your hipster attempt of an original thought. It’s 2014, and you need to deal. Dating is however you want it to be, so quit bitching about our pitiful generation and do something to make yourself happy. Don’t label our entire youth doomed because you don’t think it’s okay for me to not commit to a person who I just don’t see a legitimate, lasting future with.
If you ask me, an ideal “dating culture” would be one where we refuse to judge each other based on personal preferences and don’t label those whose values aren’t in keeping with our own.