Dating is complicated. Dating has always been complicated but over the last 20 years it has become even more-so with the introduction of technology into the dating game. As a Millennial who grew up with the Internet, I never dreamed the computer would help me find my spouse. But at the same time, the computer and our mobile devices have made finding a mate all the more complicated.
In order to understand the dating world (after being out of it now for over five years), I reached out to friends who are either single or dating to learn about the current dating situation and the impact of technology.
I remember growing up thinking I would either meet my spouse through school or a friend or even the fairy tale story of meeting someone in a bar and having an immediate magic spark. The truth is, I remember when I was new to dating, I wrote my number on a receipt and went back to a department store and gave it to a sales rep. I also left my number on a restaurant receipt once. (For the record, neither tactic worked.)
Today, dating for Millennials is complicated. There is a massive discrepancy in what actually defines a relationship. A Millennial who is at the young-end of the generation was adamant that he doesn’t use dating apps with the intention of meeting a significant other.
In fact, among all the people I connected with about dating, nearly every single one said that they either did not count on dating apps to meet that someone special or they do not even use them.
The challenge in today’s world is that we are all busy and pulled in every direction every day. And on top of that, we have a lot more choices than we used to. With the advent of technology, we can find people to go on dates with whom we would never have been able to meet 20 years ago unless we stood on a street corner with a sandwich board sign.
In a conversation months ago I asked a friend why he wasn’t using apps to meet people. He did not hesitate when he said that as an introvert, the deluge of messages would just be too much for him to handle. I can respect that.
And that feeling was confirmed by a female friend who, while she doesn’t use apps herself, said her friends have. She says that with the apps, it is a lot of first dates and people not always matching their profiles.
Both of those people – a man and a woman – speak to the challenge of dating in our ever-connected world. For Millennials, there is a need to balance career, after work commitments, time with friends, time with Netflix, and then time to finding that special someone. And while our generation is not as focused on getting married by 22 and with a child and a dog by 25, finding someone to spend your life with is a goal for many.
Finally, whenever you do decide you are ready, go into dating with that intent. “I don’t feel pressure to be in a relationship,” said one older Millennial. He’s been in a long-term relationship before and has been casually dating as the opportunities have presented themselves. One good point made by another person currently in the dating game, was that part of going on dates is meant to determine if you’re ready for a relationship at all.
That young Millennial I referenced at the start of this article also said that one of his biggest headaches with dating is “defining the relationship” or rather, all the labels that no one understands. There are many hidden layers of “dating.” Relationships can be defined as “seeing someone”, “dating”, or “exclusive” all without being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
Dating is not easy for a Millennial. My advice: be open with yourself on what you’re looking for and how open you are to finding it. You know yourself best. Listen to what your head and heart says and you can’t go wrong.
A two-time political candidate and author, Richard is passionate about financial planning, business, technology, and really good whiskey. Oh, and good German beer, too.