Tips and Tech: How to Navigate Modern-Day Dating Culture
Imagine your worst first date. What happened? Why was it so bad? Was it bad enough to sue your date over?
Yes, that’s a serious question.
A man from Texas recently sued his date for a $17.31 refund after what he called a “first date from hell.” He claims the woman he took to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 in 3D texted throughout the film, which just so happens to be one of his biggest pet peeves.
“While damages sought are modest, the principle is important, as defendant’s behavior is a threat to civilized society,” his petition said, according to CNN.
Whether or not you agree with his claim, one thing is for sure: the dating climate has certainly changed in the modern age. Gone are the days of dancing dates, hours-long conversations on your parent’s’ home phone and traditional gender roles and responsibilities. Now, we have embarked on a completely different style of courtship that has its pros and its cons.
Everyone is Equal
One of the biggest perks of today’s dating scene is that there are no expectations of what the man or woman should do. Women no longer have to wait for men to ask them out. Men are not expected to foot the bill for every date. Instead, anyone can take charge and anyone can plan and pay for a date.
It’s also true that more and more women are independent and flourish in this state of independence. In the past, relationships and marriages were seen as the culmination of a woman’s life. Relationships led to marriage, which in turn led to motherhood. Now, it’s okay to wait and be selective, which is great news for women, too.
Finally, this greater sense of equality also means that women can go on many dates and pursue multiple relationships without fear of facing any sort of backlash. No one’s reputation is at stake if they date multiple people. It’s all part of today’s dating scene, and there’s no harm in exploring who you are and what you want.
There Are Plenty of Ways to Find Dates
Another pro of dating in today’s world is that there are seemingly endless options for where you can find a date. We’re no longer restricted to relying on chance meetings or blind date set-ups by friends. Now, you can schedule your own nights out with dating apps and online dating sites.
Using these tech-savvy matchmakers has plenty of benefits. They make dating more efficient, since you can chat with someone and decide whether or not you have enough in common to stoke conversation in person. There won’t necessarily be a need to bother with a first date if there’s no online chemistry, which is a huge time saver.
It’s Not All Good
Still, there are plenty of complaints about today’s dating scene — just ask the guy who sued his tech-addicted date for the price of her movie ticket.
Our dependence on technology has made us less dependent upon real-life conversations and contact. As such, ghosting — simply disappearing rather than properly ending a relationship —has been on the rise.
Technology makes it easy for us to really think about what we say to the person we’re dating. This might sound like a positive, but real-life conversation is, well, real. You get to know a person’s real thoughts and attitudes without any editing. Instead, we get mulled-over texts sent hours later to look as though the sender is busy and not too invested in the relationship.
And finally, our dating apps make it easy for us to explore other options, even if we’re dating someone else. This means people often forego a deep connection in order to start connecting with others for simple, casual dating. This is certainly an okay choice, but more and more people are finding it hard to find a real connection, since so many people press the eject button before they reach a real and loving relationship with someone.
Not Everyone’s on the Same Page
Despite the above pros and cons, there are still some daters who hold on to traditional dating stereotypes and the expectations that come with them. Namely, there are some men who believe that their payment for a date means they should get something in return from the women they take out.
This has very sinister side effects, especially when they use force to get the sexual contact they want. Dates are often fueled by alcohol — you have to get rid of the jitters, after all — so it’s easy for men to take advantage of women who are under the influence.
This is especially true in young daters across college campuses. At least 80% of college students who have been sexually assaulted were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, when you reverse that, we see that every year, approximately 696,000 colleges students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking or taking drugs.
Even if it’s tempting to drink a little bit extra on a first date, stay aware of your surroundings and of your date’s behavior. You don’t know each other well enough yet to gauge if you’re completely secure with him or her. The best choice is to stay vigilant until you know you can let your guard down.
Be the Exception to the Rules
It’s great to have so many options. However, take it upon yourself to avoid becoming the “unfeeling millennial” who doesn’t text back and doesn’t want more than a casual fling. Treat others with respect and you just might find it coming right back to you. It can be in the form of a relationship with old-school levels of love and trust, but a completely modern sense of independence amongst both parties in the relationship.