Why isn’t she texting me back? Was that last text actually “delivered”? Maybe that Emoji wasn’t funny? Who was that guy on her Snapchat? Did I imagine the whole relationship? I’m done! It’s over! Retreat! Keep your pride!
Older generations love to claim that we Millennials have it so easy when it comes to dating. With the swipe of a finger and a quick chat on Tinder we can have a “hot” new date lined up in a flash. How could life get any better for us?
But what’s often forgotten is the other side of the digital dating coin. You see, while it’s true that constant contact creates more opportunity for dating, it also creates more angst and insecurity. With everyone plugged into their phones 24/7, communication pressures are heightened for all parties involved.
You now not only have to be able to get along with who you’re dating in person but you also have to like the digital version of them! What if the girl you’re seeing is funny face-to-face but then can’t make you “LOL” to save her life? The worst. What if she seems totally into you on your first date but keeps giving you that dreaded 5-hour text delay? Can’t stand it.
We’ve even streamlined the break up process and made it dangerously easy. For ladies having trouble mustering up the courage to break up with some new guy, why not just send the termination text from your couch during a Bachelorette commercial break? See ya, bro!
Alas, our world isn’t so perfect after all. We have added a new dimension to dating that has never existed before and we are the pioneers that must navigate this digital dating frontier. I’ve seen some men strike gold quickly, taking a Hinge hook-up all the way to the Knot.com, while others still linger in Tinder limbo swiping between tears. No man’s journey will be the same although some seem more apt to acclimate to this digital climate than others.
I for one am still trying to navigate this treacherous dating landscape. Over the past decade of my dating years I’ve tested the waters with Tinder, Bumble, Hinge & Happn. I’ve poked on Facebook, liked on Instagram and snapped on Snapchat. I’ve even taken more unorthodox approaches, dabbling with LinkedIn (Is that wrong?). Perhaps my most impressive digital dating feat was a long-distance, eight month WhatsApp relationship. We both should’ve won a metal!
But ultimately what I’ve found through all of these trials and tribulations is that, as a whole, digital dating tools have caused me more harm than good. While I can’t deny the necessity of texting, snapping, and swiping in this day and age, I can’t ignore the stress and occasional pain that they’ve caused me.
They’ve made me feel insecure. They’ve made me question myself. They’ve given me this sinking feeling I can hardly put into words.
It always seems to happen in that delicate stage of a newly budding relationship. As the guy you need to take the digital communication lead and set the pace of your cyber conversation. What’s a good opening line for Tinder? Where’s the fine line between too much texting and too little? When do I ask them out? When do I hold off?
So much hinges on the digital relationship these days as our text conversations are more frequent than our in-person interactions. You need to be on your game constantly to maintain a high interest level while watching for any signs that the whole thing might be falling off. You need to constantly gage text response time, emoji usage, and conversation engagement.
To make matters worse, you’re putting yourself through all this stress while you don’t even know if you really like the person anyways! How could you know if you really like someone when 75% of your relationship is through your phone? You’re basing it off of aimless text conversations and photo shopped Instagram pictures. You could be wasting your time and getting hurt by someone you don’t even like. How sad!
If you’ve been there before, then I’m right there with you. I’ve gotten worked up about people who never really had a place in my life anyways. And every time I go through it I tell myself I’ll be smarter next time, only to fall into the trap again!
While I haven’t cracked the code in this new digital dating era, I have learned a lot and grown from it. I used to be devastated when a girl would stop texting me back, killing myself for weeks wondering “how did I fuck this up?” and replaying the whole relationship in my head trying to figure out where it went wrong. NOT healthy.
But through the years I’ve learned to take everything in stride and not let short-term flings get to me. If a girl stops texting me back abruptly or stands me up, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of that girl in my world. In fact, she probably wasn’t meant to be a major part of my life anyways.
On top of this, I have also started playing the digital dating games a lot less, which has helped immensely. I find myself to be much happier when all my dating apps are deleted and I have no girl I’m small-talk texting with.
It’s not that I’m giving up; I’m just trying a new approach. I think that technology can still be used to establish initial interest and to coordinate meet ups in person, but shouldn’t necessarily be used to conduct intimate digital dialogues. I think a lot of what a relationship is meant to be can be lost in this way. I’d even go one step further to suggest that this digital dating dimension may have destroyed relationships that were meant to be if the digital world never existed. Now that’s nothing to “LOL” about.