Modern dating is kind of the worst. I’ve been catfished by someone I thought was a hot British journalist, been ghosted so hard I question these guys existed to begin with, and recently discovered that I’ve also been a victim of “breadcrumbing.” Don’t know what these terms mean? You’re one of the lucky ones.
Now I’ll be the first one to say that I’m at fault for getting myself into these situations. At one time I had three dating apps on my phone and I would rely on them for the majority of my interactions with the opposite sex. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s addicting.
But what I’ve learned from my friends, and through stories from friends of friends is that we resort to these apps to connect because people simply don’t interact with each other in the same way anymore. We’re so used to hiding behind our screens that the simple act of going up to someone and introducing yourself in person is not only petrifying, it’s unthinkable.
If there’s one belief modern dating has instilled in me is that I am replaceable. You better be absolutely perfect because one wrong move and you’re out of here. You’re left swiped, ghosted, unmatched. You better not seem too interested because then you’re desperate, weird, even crazy. But if you seem too hard to get, he’ll get bored, honey. He can find someone to take your place with the swipe of a finger so you better not mess things up for yourself.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. We normalize the concept of spending time with someone, getting to know each other, giving the impression that we’re interested, and then vanishing without a trace. It’s rude and unfair, but the worst thing about it is I’ve done it right back. Last week I was walking to class when I simultaneously crossed paths with a guy I had ghosted and a guy who had ghosted me. It’s a weird and shitty thing to do, but we continue to do it because we’re scared.
When did we get so scared that ignoring someone until they get the hint has become the norm?
Listen, I’m not here to tell you that romance is dead. I strongly believe that it is alive and out there for those who seek it. Although dating apps have certainly twisted the concept of dating, they are not the issue. The issue is letting our own fear compromise the standard for how we treat others.
Modern dating is exhausting. It can be infuriating to keep up with the games and the new technology created to find your next boyfriend, next hookup or next person you text for a while only to end up constantly making awkward eye contact for the rest of your college career. But modern dating is still dating. It was weird and awkward and scary back in the “good ol’ days” and it’s weird and awkward and scary now. There’s just a few more pixels involved.
Written by Michelle Dufflocq Williams
Photography by Adrian Sava