Sunday, 19 June 2016

Modern Day Dating Dilemmas

Boy Meets Girl.
Image credit: kpgolfpro
Boy Likes Girl.
Girl Likes Boy.
They become boyfriend/girlfriend.
And they lived happily ever after.

Remember when relationships used to be simple? Back when there was little game-playing and indecisiveness in taking the plunge?

Yeah neither do I.

Dating is far too complicated these days - more complicated than it probably needs to be really. Imagine how many potential relationships could have flourished without so many modern day distractions?

Maybe I’m just viewing the past with rose-tinted glasses. Perhaps people back then had just as much trouble finding "The One" as people do now.

But it doesn’t seem that way. I work with a more mature workforce and the majority of people I work with are married with families. They’ve been married for years. They started their families at my age. Some have even been married more than once and I’m amazed - it’s hard enough to get a guy to commit and call you his girlfriend these days, let alone have him get down on one knee.

So what changed?


It’s hard to believe that even in a Westernised country such as the UK, it was only in the 1960s that the contraceptive pill was readily available to women. I can imagine back then there wasn’t such a liberal attitude towards sex, especially outside the confines of a relationship or marriage. 

Image credit: GabiSanda
Now it’s the norm and you’re almost seen as weird if you haven’t built up some kind of sexual history with numerous partners. As such, contraception has become a necessity in modern society for those who have a very active sex life. 

While I think it’s great that there are methods in place so that people can explore their sexuality in a safe way, I do wonder if perhaps it has encouraged people to be more promiscuous. People who are now even less likely to commit or settle down. I mean, why bother if they’re getting their needs fulfilled without having to commit to a relationship?

Think about it, back in the day if you wanted sex you had to get married. It was just too risky otherwise, the stigma of having a child out of wedlock.

Options/Unrealistic Standards

Relationships come and go way too easily these days – instead of working at problems or trying to compromise, incompatibilities are seen as deal breakers and it’s "on to the next one". 

Of course, you need to find someone whose values align with yours. I know so many people who are treated horribly in relationships and could probably do with having higher standards. But sometimes people will assess a potential partner and dismiss them before they’ve even really gotten to know them.

People can be quite judgemental. And with dating apps and social media, where you can easily set up dates with someone new, I suppose many people don’t see the sense in settling.

As such, it’s become very normal to just "fade" out on someone you went on a few dates with. There are even those who take this to the extreme, disappearing on someone they’ve been seeing for months or even years, proving that the whole time they weren’t fully invested and were probably seeing other people too. 


My biggest bugbear about modern dating. There are just waaay too many outlets for people to communicate and keep tabs on each other and the internet, social media and smartphones have greatly changed the dynamic of dating.

The older you get, the more you realise that that stuff really doesn’t mean much. However, we all have our insecure moments and social media will just magnify that; it’s so easy to misinterpret something entirely innocent and blow it way out of proportion.

Image credit: E1N7E
Not only that, but when you’re really into someone you end up talking to each other all the time what with unlimited texts, phone calls and data plans. Which has the potential to lead to unnecessary fights and tiffs, not to mention you'll get sick of each other/run out of stuff to talk about. People may also forget how to have a real life conversation, being more comfortable with digital interactions. 

It’s a catch-22 because it’s encouraging to be regularly hearing from someone you like…but sometimes it can be too much of a good thing. 

I also think social media has encouraged people to become more self-interested and narcissistic, especially with this whole selfie culture. They end up living in their own self-absorbed bubble which seems counterproductive to developing a relationship.

Game Playing

"I'm 56 and he's 63 and this crap never ends" :D 

Love can sometime be described as a dance, a cat-and-mouse game. That’s been taken to a whole other level these days and sometimes people become so consumed with trying to establish their superiority over each other, things are over before they even began. 

This tends to stem from a mistrust of the opposite sex: guys are cautious of girls who are more interested in the superficial aspects of the relationship, while girls are worried guys are just interested in sex.

It’s unfortunate because these concerns are usually a result of real life bad experiences – girls and guys who have been used or mistreated in previous romantic situations. The next poor person they end up dating then has to deal with someone who's become suspicious and cynical, determined that they won’t get screwed over again. It creates a combat dating environment. 

Mind games, however, will never result in a genuine or long-lasting relationship - playing games is for hooking-up, it’s not for starting up a relationship. 

Game playing also goes hand-in-hand with the two previous points: Technology and Options. People will weigh up their options, engaging in game-playing tactics when they’re considering who to date and who to keep on the back-burner. 

Social media/instant messaging apps can aid this – it requires minimal effort but still allows you to show your interest in a low maintenance way. It can also be used post-break up to show your ex what they’re missing, or to flaunt your new relationship. 

This type of behaviour, especially if a person has strong feelings for someone else, is what causes heartbreak and bruised egos, until everyone involved ends up hating each other...and the opposite sex in general. Because how something may appear on social media can have numerous negative effects on those who are interested enough to observe your updates, whether it's depicting your real life or not.

Being Too Guarded

After a person has experienced a few bad relationships, a cycle often begins where they become more distant, cautious and closed-off to avoid getting hurt again. As mentioned in earlier points, this is often at the disadvantage of the new potential partner, who is a bit more open and optimistic about the union therefore causing an imbalance.

It’s always sad to see how this pans out for the person who wears their heart on their sleeve, who rarely gets treated or appreciated the way they should be in the relationship. The experience usually leaves them feeling bitter and cynical, which they then bring into a new relationship... and so the cycle continues.

Whether intentional or not, we can behave in ways that end up pushing people away as some sort of defence. I don’t think it helps that in most relationships, there’s always one person who is more interested and invested than the other.

Commitment Phobia

ball-and-chain-imageWith more options and independence these days, whether that’s relationships, careers or similar, you can understand why people may want to avoid being tied down. It’s hard to give up your freedom - having no-one to answer to or any additional responsibilities.

It’s a somewhat selfish mindset and is usually down to immaturity. However, even the most relationship-oriented person can go through a phase of avoiding relationships, when you just have other things you want to prioritise.

Issues arise when people who aren’t ready for a relationship attempt to date – two people dating who want different things is (unsurprisingly) going to be an uphill struggle.

Gender Equality

In an age where men and women are apparently equal, it’s hard to know the social etiquette in modern dating.

For example:

Who should ask whom out?
Who should plan the first date?

And one major source of contention and cause of dating awkwardness -


There are several rules to abide by and figuring out what works for each unique couple is yet another thing to add to an already extensive list of potential dating issues.

All things considered, it’s easy to see why people lose faith in dating and choose to avoid it – it seems like more stress and hassle than it’s worth.

However, whenever I feel like giving up on men, if I’ve been on a bad date or I meet yet another guy who is just looking to get into my pants, I’ll come across a decent guy with depth to him. And whether things work out or not, it restores my faith that there are decent people out there.

Besides, as much as being unattached might work for you for the time being, very few people actually want to face their golden years being single and alone. And for the most part, dating is usually an opportunity to learn something more about yourself, what you’re looking for in a long-term partner and more importantly, what you’re NOT looking for.


  1. This was a really good discussion, dating is getting harder and harder now, I personally blame technology because now it is so easy to be 'on to the next one' that no one sticks it out!

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

    1. Absolutely! Too many modes of communication...yet we're finding it harder and harder to communicate authentically.

      -Lubna :)