In the last few months especially, I have been mentally dissecting dating in the here and now. More specifically, why it is so much harder today than when I was 20 years old and a very broken individual.
I mean come on… how was it so much easier to find love back at 300 lbs., without a dollar in my pocket, and a stack of insecurities that shadowed the Eiffel Tower?
For the past few years, I’ve been blaming all of it on the “new” dating game, social media, smart phones, and the liberalization of the human spirit in general.
But when it comes down to it, I don’t actually think it’s all that. Or even very much of that at all. I think it’s much bigger and much more complex, like one of those 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzles.
Sure, all of the new waves of technology and social media have changed the dating game. But they haven’t changed the human heart. If anything, we as a people are more lonely than ever before even though we’re more connected than ever before.
We all want to love and we all want to be loved. That human need will never change. And since it has always been a need for us, there is a simple reason why it used to be easier to get that need filled than it is now.
We were forced to do awkward things and venture out on limbs to find love and fulfill that need within ourselves. We were forced to go talk to strangers face to face. At least we were if we ever wanted to fill our need. We were forced to put ourselves out there, and go to places and parties where singles mingled. Again, we were if we ever wanted to fill our need. Yes, we were forced to be human to each other.
And in all of human history, that has never been a comfortable environment for much of anyone at all. So uncomfortable, in fact, that when you found someone you liked, you latched onto them and held on for dear life so that you could get as far from that environment as humanly possible for as long as possible. Love wasn’t just filling a need. It was a survival instinct. We were surviving awkwardness.
But social media and smart phones have wiped most of that awkwardness out for us. With the evolution of dating websites and apps like Tinder, we now have a supercenter at our fingertips, full of people to constantly push our heart-carts through. We go shopping for love. And, just like at the grocery store, we grab what we think we want, we carry it around in our cart for a while, then something in our minds changes and we shove it onto some random shelf in the dog food aisle. Or something like that.
We can do that now because there are always more people to go shopping for once our carts are empty again. And there will always be more people. Until love is no longer a human need or until every romantic relationship on earth becomes magically infallible, we will never run out of new inventory.
And as messed up as we’ve made the system, and as much as we all appreciate the fact that we don’t have to be a part of the old awkward face to face meeting system anymore, we will never again see, as a population in general, the magic and togetherness that once existed for us in the dating world. I am convinced of that. There is no turning back the clocks of awkwardness to a more awkward yet more functional time.
The problem itself is temporary, though. The failure of the current system will drive the ingenuity that will bring change and help balance it again. Someone, somewhere, will eventually see how broken it is and have the genius idea that will slowly start to fix it. That will be a good day for love. That will be a good day for dating. That will be a good day for human hearts everywhere.