CONTENT WARNING: This article contains coarse language.
This is a guest column written by “The Dude.” The Dude is an awesome twenty-something human being with a wealth of relationship and dating experience. He is social, fun, charismatic and one of the happiest fuckers you’ll ever meet.
I’d like to explore some common problems with modern dating. We live in a connected, fast paced world full of ego-stroking and instant gratification. With developments in technology, accessibility, and cultural perception, the dating landscape is constantly evolving.
Young people are finding themselves lonelier than ever, despite having so many avenues for meeting potential partners. In addition to this, people are becoming increasingly disconnected and somewhat dysfunctional in terms of dating and real interaction with the opposite sex. That fucking sucks.
I’ve made a list of a few of the problems that are top of mind for me. There is definitely more to cover but this is a good start. Grab a coffee and let’s do this.
DEATH BY CHOICE
Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Match.com, Farmers Only (seriously, that’s a fucking thing), your local bar, that new club downtown. It has never been easier and more convenient to meet potential partners, right? SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? You’re still single, you’re not getting laid enough, and you’re not feeling any deep connections. What gives? Please allow me to explain….
As much as I love online dating and I think it has a ton of benefits, it most certainly has its own shortcomings. If you aren’t having any luck online, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a lot of it is probably your own fault.
In the words of comedian and awesome-human-being Joe Rogan: “Dick is for free. Ain’t nobody buying dick” meaning that when it comes to dating, women have a lot of the power. Culturally, it is expected that men will approach women first. Men are willing to do this because, if for no other reason, there is always a chance of getting laid.
Women get inundated with messages from dating sites, match with almost everyone they “swipe right” on, and are constantly on the defensive if they are out at a bar – ready to fight off any “creep” that tries to talk to them or buy them a drink. It’s really this simple: because men are so quick to give women attention, they make themselves highly dispensable. If Guy A doesn’t pay attention to Girl A, Guy B will.
In other words, it’s hard to imagine any woman having a problem rejecting someone, when the next willing suitor is right around the fucking corner. It’s too easy to just say “NEXT!” This is death by choice. People have stopped making an effort because there is always someone willing to accommodate their own laziness. The gender roles can absolutely be reversed in this example but generally speaking, I find women to be in this position more than men.
Dudes: How many times have you messaged someone first on a dating platform and then never received a response back? Even on Tinder where if you match with someone there is a presumed mutual interest, I’ll bet you’ve messaged a match and never heard back, right?
Women: How many times have you flat out ignored someone that isn’t your “type” or just doesn’t stand out in a list of messages? How quickly do you dismiss people?
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if you’re struggling to meet quality people, change your fucking approach.
Men: Don’t make yourself so desperate and readily available. Don’t bend over backwards to accommodate a hot chick. Drop the lame pickup tactics. Stop being a fucking creep and cat-calling or being weird and aggressive. Treat women with respect and as equals – not as objects OR as a princess. Stop accommodating their laziness. If you stop expecting sex or placing someone on a pedestal, you’ll probably find yourself having sex way more often.
Women: You probably need to get over yourself to some degree– if you want respect, treat others with it. If you’re not having any luck, try meeting different types of people. If you constantly find yourself dating a selfish douchebag, try responding to a completely different dude than you would normally go for. Stop being on the defensive, not EVERY guy that tries to talk to you is only doing so because he wants to fuck you.
THE CHASING GAME
Let me ask you something: if you knew that someone only had a little interest in being around you, would you continue to hang out with them on a regular basis? If so, have you stopped to ask yourself why? What are you gaining from it?
At one point or another, everyone has been a chaser; that is the person actively pursuing someone they are interested in. If you haven’t been a chaser at least once, then you’re likely either a sociopath or a fucking robot and neither is particularly appealing. For a lot of you, you’ve probably also been the one being chased at least once. Trying to be aware of these dynamics and understanding how both roles make you and the other person feel is incredibly important.
If you’re the chaser, you need to seriously ask yourself if the person you are chasing is A) actually into you and B) worth your time. The hard truth is that if you’re doing a lot of pursuing or cat and mouse, the answer is probably a resounding no. So then why put yourself through that kind of stress? You’re fucking awesome and if the other person can’t see that, that is THEIR problem, not yours. It’s not YOUR job to convince someone you’re worth it and frankly, if you find yourself in that position, you’ve already lost anyways. Accept that you can’t persuade someone, nor is it healthy for either of you to try. Now pick your pride up off the floor and move on.
If you’re being chased, you should look what your own intentions are and what you are gaining from the relationship. Be honest with yourself, if you’re not actively pursuing the chaser in the same way, then what are you getting out of it? Ego-stroke? Sex? Attention? All of these things are perfectly acceptable as long as you are not being misleading in the process. Communication is imperative here. Be honest with yourself and with the chaser – have you clearly and unambiguously told them where you stand? If you have clearly communicated this and they understand but continue to chase you, then go you! You must be a fucking peach.
Why would you want to be spending time with someone who wasn’t JUMPING at the chance to hang out with you? I feel like if someone isn’t as into the idea as you are, tell them to beat it. You deserve to spend time with people who appreciate you and if they don’t, it should be their problem, not yours. There are plenty of fish in the sea (except on Plenty of Fish, that website is a fucking wasteland) and I promise that there is a quality person out there that is just as excited to spend time with you as you are them.
Very few dating questions get under my skin more than the ol’ “what are you looking for” cliché. I think most people are ultimately looking to settle down and live a happy, fulfilling life with a person they love, right? But just because that might be what we are ultimately seeking, it doesn’t mean that we are seeking that TODAY or more importantly, that we would try to seek that with YOU. Here’s the thing, you can’t predict how you’re going to feel about someone and if either person enters into an interaction with any of these kinds of hopes or expectations, they’re fucking doing it wrong.
If I ever get asked that question, I always respond with “I’m not looking for anything specific, just to meet people and see where that takes me”. A lot of women initially react with “Oh, so you’re a player and you’re just trying to get laid”, basically insinuating that because I haven’t told them I am necessarily LOOKING for a relationship, it must mean that I could only want sex. I always respond politely and clarify but let me say it a little more bluntly here:
“No, I am not just trying to bed you. That said, I am also not an asshole that is going to lie about his intentions to appease your crazy relationship expectations and take advantage of your insecurities”.
Anyone that is dating with the sole intention of finding an immediate life partner is walking a dangerous line and they are probably projecting unfair expectations on to the people they are spending time with. The only feeling of “need” you should have for someone is the one that develops organically and during the course of a long-term relationship, not what develops when you’re single and stems from your own insecurities. If you require someone else to make you feel complete, take a hard look at yourself before dating someone exclusively.
The other question that really grinds my gears is when I get asked “How has your Tinder (or other dating site) experience been so far?” to which I respond “Awesome! I’ve met a lot of really great, quality people” and they come back with “Oh really? So why are you still single then?”. Jesus, I didn’t realize I needed to enter into a committed relationship with every cool person I meet. Dating and meeting quality people doesn’t necessitate a relationship. That’s a pretty naïve way to look at it.
Dating should be a healthy way for you to meet interesting people and evaluate what qualities you desire in a long-term partner. Sometimes you meet great people that turn in to friends, hookups, or even relationship material. All of those outcomes are great and they each have their own value. It’s possible and beneficial to just meet awesome people and have fun enjoying each other’s company, without expecting something further.
Stop and smell the roses. Don’t expect anything. When you date, look for someone that compliments the person you already are instead of someone to “complete” you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Most people are clever enough to know when something feels right. Don’t go out there expecting to that feeling – let it find you instead. It will and when it does, it will probably hit you like a fucking truck.
PRO-TIP FOR DUDES: Women can sense your expectation for sex and it makes them uncomfortable. Sex is not a reward for good behavior. When you drop the expectation, they’ll be far more likely to drop their pants.
YOU HAVE BAGGAGE
I’m just going to rip the band aid off with this one:
Deal with your shit and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Yes, it sucks that that thing happened to you and I’m sure nobody will ever understand how difficult it is but you simply cannot carry that into your future or let it shape how you view dating and relationships. Everyone has been through something rough or if they haven’t yet, they will. Trust me. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you open up to the possibility of being hurt and at some point, you probably will be. It is how you choose to deal with that pain makes all the difference.
At the end of the day, the only thing you can control is yourself and your own actions so why choose to wallow in your own self-pity when something shitty happens? Why letthat thing or that person win and dictate your future? Make the choice to grieve when necessary, deal with difficult things in the healthiest way possible, and then move on.
Let it go. Yeah, cue the fucking Frozen theme song.
If you have a past relationship issue that is affecting your current dating life and its been a several months/years, just try to fucking let it go. Seriously. Make a conscious effort. Take the positive lessons from your negative experience and let THAT shape your outlook on dating.
Be confident because you rule.