5 Dating Trends That Need to End in 2017
Dating used to be so simple. We’d meet people through our friends or colleagues, at the grocery store, at work or at school. It was almost always someone with a close proximity to you, so you could rest assured that they weren’t an axe murderer, and after a date or two, it was pretty easy to figure out where you stood with each other.
Dating today, on the other hand, is a whirlwind of opportunity—and confusion.
We meet people through online dating services and through apps, swiping left and right based on a profile we’ve created—a profile that can sometimes feel like a brand we’re trying to sell to potential suitors. When we actually meet this person in the flesh, we have no idea if our relationship is potentially serious or casual, romantic or platonic. The doubt and ambiguity is just too much! We’re so overwhelmed that we blackout; we forget how we got to the coffee shop, and why we even went on this date in the first place.
It’s true, dating has gotten much easier over time, in many ways—other singles are so accessible, we literally don’t have to leave our houses anymore. You can swipe right on someone’s profile and (if you’re lucky) the next thing you know, they’re at your house, satisfying an itch. Sure it may seem like dating on demand, but is it really that simple? Or has dating actually become a lot more complicated?
My bet’s on the latter.
These days, everyone in the dating world is playing a different game, each with its own set of unexpressed rules—and somehow we’re supposed to know them all.
With no guidebook to help us figure out where we stand with our potential mates, and the opportunity for finding a new partner behind every unlocked phone screen, just a finger-flick away, how do we know when to stop spinning? At what point are all these new options, definitions and dating norms doing more harm than good?
We may call all these new dating developments “progression” in the world of romance, Maybe some are. But there are also few that seriously need to end.
Here are 5 dating trends that need to be put to bed before 2017 reaches an end:
The One With the Least Feelings Has the Power.
You’ve been out on a solid number of dates, the chemistry is there (emotionally and physically) and you’ve even had a few sleepovers that ended in comfortable, cozy spooning (but not sex). It’s clear that whatever the two of you are doing, you like each other’s company.
Meanwhile, you still make sure not to over-text. The last person to initiate the conversation now waits for the other to do the same. One takes an hour to respond, so the other makes it an hour and a half. If you know there are feelings there, why keep playing this exhausting game of keep-away?
It’s a dynamic many of us have known since high school: the person who shows the least amount of interest or emotions is the one holding all the power. For whatever reason, we’ve determined that feelings make us appear weak and needy, and keeping every inkling of emotion locked away in a dark cave is more attractive and appealing. So your only way of turning this “situationship” into something more is to pretend like you couldn’t care less.
No. Just, no. This needs to end, people. Just because someone likes you doesn’t mean they’re planning your wedding. And just because you’re having a conversation about where the relationship is going, doesn’t mean you have to start filing for a restraining order. You date people you like, so why can’t you show it? If telling someone that you’re into them makes them run for the hills, then adios, amigo. On to the next.
Expecting Sex on a First Date:
With the simplicity of dating apps like Tinder and the openness millennials seem to have with sex, the three-date rule has been all but abolished and replaced with a much more immediate expectation: sex on the first date. We are the generation of instant gratification, are we not?
Say you find yourself on a first date. This person agreed to go out with you, so in their mind, they’re obviously coming home with you—regardless of how the date went. Why else would they swipe right?
On the other hand, you may feel obligated to hook up with the person you’ve found yourself spending an evening with. This stranger left the comfort of their home to hang out with you, the least you could do is invite them back to yours… Right?
One thing needs to be abundantly clear: you don’t owe anyone anything. If you don’t want to have sex with the person who bought you a $20 meal, you don’t have to. The best part? You don’t even need a reason. Just like you wouldn’t need one if you did want to sleep with your Tinder match.
Dates rarely go as planned, and people are often very different online than they are in person. Or hey, you might even be interested, but something is telling you not to rush into bed. Sex is not a guarantee, nor is it a deal breaker. So don’t ever go into a date assuming you’ll be getting lucky, and don’t force yourself into a hookup you aren’t really interested in.
By now, most of us have experienced this—whether we were the ghost or the one being ghosted. Ghosting sounds like it should be an ex who continues to haunt you, but it’s actually when someone you’ve been dating completely disappears with no word or warning. As if they were in the witness protection program, or something.
There is no harm in letting something fizzle out on its own. Conversation becomes more sparse, and the texts fewer and farther between, giving a hint that the romance is dying in this duo. That’s just letting a relationship with little potential run its course. It is not cool, however, to let someone believe everything is fine and dandy and then never respond to them again. It drives the person crazy because they have no idea what went wrong, sending them into a spiral of overanalyzation. Ghosting is just cowardly.
It may feel difficult to say that you aren’t interested in someone, but why does it have to be? Are you worried that you’ll hurt that person’s feelings? Well, sorry to burst your fragile bubble, but how do you think ignoring them until they give up is going to make them feel? Pretty shitty. Honesty really is the best policy—so be upfront, don’t waste someone’s time or energy and let them know if it’s a “no” or a “go”.
Just “Hanging Out”
When was the last time you went on a proper date? You know, one where both parties actually referred to it as a date? Nowadays, people don’t “date,” they “hang out.” They aren’t “seeing each other,” they’re “talking.” This way, commitment never has to become a reality. If it doesn’t work out, no harm done, because you were never really dating anyways.
I know, I know, labels are lame, right? Look, you don’t have to put a precise tag on your relationship, just call it what it is: you’re dating. You are continually going out in public with the same person, and you are developing romantic feelings for each other. If you make it clear that you are dating and that you are going out on dates, you’ll feel more comfortable letting your feelings develop in a healthy way. Plus, when things do get serious, it will be a hell of a lot easier to figure out where you stand. The only way to get in touch with your emotions is to actually feel them.
Being the Most Eligible “Swiper”
Dating apps can be really useful for a wide range of dating goals—whether you’re looking for a one night stand, a casual companion or a long-term relationship. However, a lot of people seem to be using these apps for validation; an ego boost that confirms a level of datability, one swipe after the next. The more matches we get, the more people asking us out or complimenting us, the greater the dumb, self-satisfied grin we get. You know, that one when you think no one is looking?
It’s fine if you need a self-esteem pick-me-up once in awhile, but getting it from your matches is unfair. You know you’ll never meet in person (even if you hit it off online), but the other person is wondering when they’ll finally be able to meet you in the flesh. Your ego may be boosted, but you’re really wasting everyone’s time and probably some good pick-up lines (and we all know there are only a finite amount of those) by making yourself unavailable. Keep in mind, most people are on dating apps to, you know, date.
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Dating has always been hard, but with all these modern ways of connecting with other singles that have popped up over the last few years, it seems like it should be easier than ever. With some simple changes in our behavior, we can make the relationship waters less murky. We can take the “game” out of dating, making our goals and motivations clearer, easier to define and way less stressful by leaving these bad habits and trends in the dust. The more clarity you have about what you want, the easier it is for everyone.