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

  • Chris Jambor

    This blog post is so spot-on right now. I remember when the social dating apps first came on the scene and it seemed like a genius move that would revolutionize modern romance. Oh man…was I wrong. Modern dating has become like shopping for socks on the Amazon.com. But people are not socks.

    I think you very clearly conveyed your message and your “voice” was so apparent. Since I have the pleasure of knowing you, I am really impressed at how well you are able to translate your energy and personality into written words. I also think your viewpoint is delivered with clarity and very well thought out logic. Plus, sharing your frustration makes others feel like they can share their own.

    If I could suggest one thing, I would have loved to see what sort of original images you could have created to go along with this post. I know you are an accomplished visual artist, so I imagine it would only add to your message.

    Congrats on the post.

  • Meg

    Michelle, way to bring to light a topic that, in my mind, is one that heavily needs to be addressed in this day and age. I do not use any dating apps, nor have I ever, but they are extremely prominent with our peers and people across the world in our age group. Like Chris said, it’s like shopping, and because of that we’ve reduced people down to the value of an item like socks. People and the prospect of love or love are the two things in this world that should never be valued at anything less than priceless. They are the two things that matter most to us in this world at the end of the day whether we acknowledge it consciously or subconsciously. Why should we ever de-value the one thing that has the most value in our lives – to love and be loved. I spend a lot of time talking with my grandparents, both sets married for over 50 years. They tell me the stories of how they met and what their thoughts were when they first met one another. These stories are the stuff of movies and I always think about what kind of story I want to be able to tell my grandchildren about me and their grandpa. A story starting with a dating app isn’t the stuff of movies to me. I want them to know what I thought when I first saw him, the way he opened the door for me, or the time we laughed until we thought our lungs would burst. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but am I really that hopeless or has the current norms of today’s dating scene, fooled me into thinking that I’m hopeless? Starting to feel like Carrie Bradshaw as I write this, but I refuse to accept modern dating because it really is “kind of the worst”. Great post! I would love to hear more about your dating experiences! You are such a class-act.