Modern dating has not only changed our rules but it is an entirely new game.
If you are dating in the modern-day, it is complicated. In a time of endless options, it is likely that you’ve found love, sex or intimacy online. In fact, regardless of whether we are in a place to date or not, we are constantly maintaining our connections with our potential partners. These connections are not only strangers on dating apps but also friends, ex-partners, and other people we think ‘we might have something going on’ with.
Think about it. Whether you read this article on your laptop or mobile phone, with that device, you have access to every person you have ever been attracted to your whole life.
Online dating and the access it give us to potential sexual and romantic partners is incredible. It is obvious that now, it’s easier than ever to build new relationships, or at least to know your options if you want to do so. However, what’s less obvious is how it is all affecting the dynamics of our relationships. Is building, maintaining and staying in a romantic relationship as easy as it used to be?
“In this time of endless options and unlimited, 24/7 access to everyone, how do we find the one? “
If there is one thing millennials are afraid of, it’s settling down – and if there is one thing we are obsessed with, it’s living the perfect life. In our love lives, where these two approaches meet, having access to a seemingly endless array of options only makes it harder for us because as Clémentine Lalande, co-CEO of the dating app Once, says ‘As easy as it is to find a date or hook-up on an app, it is just as easy to get rid of them and find someone else.” So, when our partners leave us doubting, that maybe they are not the one for us, or wondering that maybe there is a better match out there, we start scrolling through our contacts and swiping through other options who might, hopefully, be more compatible than the previous one.
However, all this fuss about unlimited options might be an illusion challenging our real-life romantic relationships.
The question is, does all this hustle bring us closer to finding the ‘one’ or is it only drifting us apart from the one we already love? In her TED talk “online love & infidelity. We’re in the game, what are the rules?” Dr. Drouin says, the reality of finding ‘the one’ online can be completely different from the fantasy. Her research showed, that it is not only easier to misrepresent yourself online, but it’s also easier to cheat on your partner. In fact, Facebook has been cited in one third of divorces in the United States. Modern dating has not only changed the dynamics between single people who are searching for love online, but also couples in committed relationships. According to Dr. Drouin, the number of ‘potential‘ people we remain in contact with on our social media, in other name backburners, doesn’t change when we are in a fulfilling committed relationship.
“Backburner , someone you are romantically or sexually interested in who you’re not in a current relationship with but with whom you maintain contact with the thought there might be some future romantic or sexual connection.”
When Dr. Drouin introduced the term backburner to her further research on young adults modern dating behaviours , she found that the average female has four backburners while the average male has eight. Surprisingly, it was not only single people who were constantly evaluating their potential alternatives and hoping for the best compatible partner but also people in relationships. Singles had no more backburners than people who were in committed relationships. Couples who are invested in a fulfilling relationship, have too experienced the thought that keeps you scrolling online, that maybe, there is someone else out there that’s better for me. So, in today’s world, where we meet and get to know hundreds of people and not settling down for anything that might be less than perfect for us, is modern dating a blessing or a curse?