To date or not to date

I have an issue with modern dating. Actually, with dating in general. Actually no, with relationships. In fact, I have an issue with society and humanity as a whole. Why, oh why do we spend countless of hours, texts, emotions, energy, hoping that we will have the time of our lives, but always living in fear of being hurt or rejected? Of course, I’m being a bit negative here, relationships are what determine our lives, from the moment we get out of our mother’s womb to (most of the times) our deathbed. All this time, our histories have been tainted by our obsession with sex and passionate pain. But nowadays we don’t go and kill our lover for cheating on us (well, depends doesn’t it), now we just block them on social media, ignore them or trash them out, again on social media or to our friends, or if we pass by them on the street we act like we’ve never seen this person before in our life.

It’s so easy to disregard people, and so many of my dissertation participants have mentioned being ghosted or just ignored, with no apparent reason other than ‘the other person just stopped replying’. It’s rude, disrespectful, and a perfect example of how fluid and malleable our daily lives and identities are nowadays, or what Giddens, this sort of badass sociologist, called ‘confluent love’. This type of love is short-term and disposable, and partners should actually split up if they do not feel comfortable with each other anymore, or if one is annoying the other. It seems that we no longer care to ‘commit’ to our significant other, or work towards rebuilding or fixing the relationship, rather act the same way as we do with everything now: broken phone? No worries, I’ll get a new one. Had a fight with a friend? That b**** is gone from my life. Some might say that this is not true, but what I noticed is that my generation constantly tends to act this way (myself included).

Why is it so difficult to be honest with each other? Why can’t we just say ‘I’m sorry, but this is not going to work, because of this and this and that reason’? Why do we have to brush past people’s feelings and, if we receive questions or texts from the person we’re ignoring, we think they’re desperate or clingy (well, in some situations, they are?). Yes, it will definitely hurt the other person, but isn’t closure what everyone seeks when something with no explanation happens? When someone passes away and we don’t know why, the pain will linger much longer and will be stronger if we do not get closure. When someone tells us that we’ve done something wrong, the stress of what could’ve been done better is always greater unless they give us feedback and explanations as to why we’re mistaken. When we connect with someone so deeply and then they trash us out, the questions and racing thoughts will never stop unless we get closure. We tend to put the blame on ourselves, maybe we talked too much, maybe our jokes weren’t funny, maybe we sent too many texts, or maybe… maybe.

Then comes the question, who is at fault for this? Is it the other person for being ignorant and dismissive, or is it you for not ‘knowing better’ and letting yourself be fooled once again? Part of this concern is our fault, because now we are so used with building up unrealistic expectations of ‘instant messaging’, that if someone doesn’t reply within the minute we immediately expect the worst. ‘He doesn’t like me because he didn’t reply within 5 mins of my text!’, when the guy was probably on the toilet reading the ingredients for Glade because he forgot his phone in the other room. Some people are truly busy and do not have the time to reply straightaway. However, they usually don’t post on social media or ‘are active’ whilst not replying to you. Those are just… relentless, let’s say.

I mean, if you truly want to ignore someone, at least have the courtesy not to post on social media. Or maybe some even forget to reply. But if they forget to reply to your message, isn’t that enough of a sign that it’s not worth wasting your time with them? And this doesn’t apply to romantic interests only, but friends or acquaintances as well. Here I am, asking all these questions, proving how we became so obsessed with checking when ‘he/she was last online’, or wonder if the message went through, or ask why we were left on ‘seen’, and so on, constantly feeding into your irrational fears. Technology is so innovative and life-changing, but in a weird way we’ve managed to make it the most sickening way of communication.

I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have been in long-term relationships for years, and they often expressed their concern regarding today’s single life. ‘I don’t think I could do it, honestly, now with all these dating apps and all this effort… it is a lot of effort’, says my beautician after I explained the topic of my dissertation. Truth is, in today’s technological era I don’t even think we can get to know someone and fully commit again. We’re so used to texting and instant messaging that we don’t even take the time to meet up with a person face to face and relate to them on a ‘real’, meaningful basis (I’m talking here about situations were people are in the same city, not 500 kms apart). Again, several of my participants have complained of how when they met with a person they’d been speaking with through instant messaging or text, it often happened that they were dull, or not at all what they’d expected. We waste so much time texting and talking about meaningless things, which are good sometimes, but not ALL the time, that when we’re faced with each other there’s nothing left to say.

I’m not sure what the point of this first post is. Technology, dating, or both? I started writing it when I was furious because something similar had happened to me. We spent some amazing, quality time together and then I get the silent treatment, without doing anything wrong whatsoever (and I’m not being subjective here). Of course a stream of questions and doubts stormed through my mind, but luckily I have amazing friends and the capacity to realise that there is no point in living in the past and trying to relive what happened, or finding answers to my silly questions. When you have apps such as Tinder (which don’t get me wrong, can sometimes be of immense help when you want to meet people, especially in a new, foreign place), characterised by how quick and frail you can build relationships, of course we can’t expect the other person to always talk with us or to be sincere about their feelings. Unfollow, unfriend, unlike, delete. It’s so easy, isn’t it? So easy.

So let’s try to be more honest with one another, and let’s try to put more effort into building, mending, and maintaining relationships. Everyone knows that lying never does any good, yet we keep on lying and creating doubts. We keep on ignoring just because it’s not in our comfort zone to reply to someone, we just ‘can’t be bothered’. The truth hurts, but it’s the best step towards healing that one can get. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way to have an honest conversation.