Happy pretty woman holding card with funny smiley

Once upon a time, as recently as 15-20 years ago (by my best recollection), dating and love were a lot easier for everyone. It was all a much simpler formula, really.

Meet. Go on a date. Keep dating if it keeps going well. Bashfully fall in love. Etc. Etc.

Then this thing called the Internet came along and got really big.

And these other things called cell phones got pretty big, too.

And weird words we’ve never before heard of began creeping into our vocabulary.

“Text message.” “Dating website.” “Phone app.” “Selfie.” “Facebook.” “Drama-fest.” “Message received.” “Message read.” “Player.” “Player hater.” “Snapchat.” “Delusions of need-fulfilling sociability.”

Everything is now so different.

I need a metaphor to drive my point in. Let’s see…

Yes, dating used to be a lot like religion, I suppose? You just kind of went with the flow of what surrounded you. You often were stuck with what you had easy access to. Then the ability to unexpectedly discover all sorts of new helpful information mucked up the whole damned system.

Take, for an awfully weird example, the missionaries of just about any faith that sends them out.

It used to be that the missionaries would knock door to door around the entire world. People would either believe the message delivered, or they wouldn’t. There wasn’t this giant underlying need to immediately have access to and know all the dirty history and red flags of the organization. Religions were able to live more in the present based on the organization they are now and less on what they were decades or centuries ago. If the person hearing the message believed, they’d then join the recruiting church based on how they felt about it and what other people knew about it, and much less based on what they could hop online and discover in five minutes or less.

The internet came along and threw a wrench into everything. Missionaries now, as far as I know, hardly knock doors at all anymore (at least in developed nations), because it’s just a sucky way to gather new sheep into their fold. They are now on Facebook learning about their recruitments. They carry around tablets and smart phones. They Google answers to the questions asked to them as fast as the people they’re recruiting can Google the questions to ask in the first place.

“Says here, you’re a cult. Is that true?”

“Ummm… I don’t think so. Let me Google that and get back to you.”

The entire game has changed thanks to technology, the widespread availability of fast and convenient information, and the human spirit that has an interminable desire to uncover the truth and then share that truth with others.

Dating is no different, except that the goal is often less centered around elixirs of eternal punishment/salvation and more centered on either immediate commitment to lifelong companionship or to touching the no-no naughty bits (there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of in between anymore).

It used to be that one person would be attracted to another person, they’d strike up conversation, and a date would be setup. On that date, you’d both either believe that the person you were meeting was sincere and decent, or you wouldn’t. There wasn’t this giant underlying need to immediately have access to and know all the dirty history and red flags of the person sitting across from you. People dating were able to live more in the present based on the person they saw sitting in front of them now and less on what they were months or years ago. If one person liked a reciprocating person, they’d then progress with each other and move toward a common goal based on how they felt about it, and much less based on what they could hop online and discover in five minutes or less.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!