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How dating today echoes the times of our grandparents

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Cerith Gardiner - published on 10/27/22

But with a big unsavory difference!

Anybody who’s single will appreciate that it isn’t always easy meeting The One. If we look back a few generations, it all seemed so simple. Young men and women might marry a childhood sweetheart, or they’d innocently date various people, maybe at the same time, until they found their soulmate. No real harm done.

Today, dating seems to have become a complex activity where, through apps such as Tinder, it has almost been reduced to flicking through a catalog and relying solely on looks as a criteria for finding love.

Yet, despite the negativity surrounding these sorts of dating apps, people have fallen in love, gotten married, and started families. So maybe online dating isn’t such a bad idea for those unable to find love in more traditional ways.

However, there is one big problem. With so many people advertising themselves as single, it creates an open invitation to constantly be dissatisfied. Let me explain.

Something better around the corner?

If you go on an app you share your profile, you introduce yourself to the world as someone you think is going to be attractive to the opposite sex. In return, they do the same. You might gather hundreds of “likes” from people supposedly interested in you.

You might chat online for a bit, arrange to meet up quickly — as who’s got time to try and get to know people they might not like in the flesh? — and then discern over a coffee if you’d like to go any further.

Perhaps you might. But you may also start thinking of the other “likes” you’ve managed to notch up on your app. What if there’s someone on your reserve list who might be even better? But then, perhaps you’ve struck gold with the person you’ve just met.

It gets complicated

So, the only thing to do is date a number of your “likes” until eventually whittling them down to hopefully that one person you like best.

Now this might seem to echo what our older generations used to do. But the issue is that apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc., are anonymous. Most dates won’t bump into each other down at the local ice cream parlor.

With that level of anonymity, people can date multiple contenders and nobody needs to know. So then a further problem emerges. Some people use these apps with the intention of finding love, while others want to just enjoy no-hassle sexual encounters with as many people as they can find.

It can get further complicated when people are a little naive and can’t discern the true intention of their “likes.” This paves the way to disappointment and feelings of inadequacy — after all, if you’re dating someone who’s busily dating others at the same time, it can be a blow to your self-esteem and confidence.

It definitely seems a more frustrating journey to finding love than when our grandparents stepped out all those decades ago. And in fact it calls into question people’s inability to take a leap of faith. If people have in the back of their head that there are other options, they may not be able to focus or commit to just one person.

However, if dates let go of their back-up likes and make a real effort with just one person, it might save a lot of time and heartache, and it could lead to love.

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