Going on the basis of my teenage ambitions for my future, I was supposed to be married by now with a mortgage and baby in tow. Fast forward to my 20’s, and it seems that I couldn’t be further away from the plan I’d made for myself all those years ago.
So why is it so hard to find “the one” in 2016?
Well according to an article written by Nancy Sales for Vanity Fair, social media has killed romance and has turned the pursuit of long-term relationships into a competitive sporting game, which requires us to keep tally of how many dates we can go on in the space of a week and compete in racking up the most conquests in a month.
Suddenly romance seems redundant now. Where once romance was key to sex – whether casual or romantic – today, sex is “literally” a swipe away, forgoing the need for us to “work” at perspective relationships. Instead, we’re living in a “hook up” culture where casual relationships have our replaced our need for a long-term commitment.
Reading the Vanity Fair piece, I feel dubious about long-term connections as the article paints men as sexual sociopaths, void of any kind of emotion and desperate to evade any meaningful connections. ‘They’re just looking for hit-it-and-quit-it’. While on the flip side women are portrayed as victims of their misogynistic exploits who have in some way been forced to go along with the new rules of dating. Although I think this portrayal of women in this way is insulting – as we have just as much power and control over our dating life as men – perhaps what Sales should be saying is that “traditionally” online dating means different things to men and women – with women wanting more of an intimate experience and men craving more of a sexual release with no strings attached.
While F**k Boys may work for us in our 20’s. What happens when we get to our 30’s? Will we eventually find a romantic relationship? Is it possible that digital “F**K Boys” will replace the role of a Husband?
While the latter may be an overreaction it’s hard not feel panicked, especially when as a woman I am constantly reminded that I am running out of time to settle down with “the one” and start playing the role of both domestic goddess and mother. To add to our social anxiety, we are in uncharted territory here, with no way of guessing how digital dating will evolve our attitudes toward long-term relationships.
While the space between virtual dating and real life are becoming increasingly blurred for our generation. The good news is that research has suggested that as humans we will always have a need and a desire to settle down – men included – so maybe the panic can be explained as an anxious reaction to a change in our mating protocol. Which means that we have to unlearn everything that Disney and Sex and the City taught us about courtship and relationships in an attempt to make up new conventions about sex, love and romance.
Words: Anelia Thomas