September 5, 2020
How Millennials Ruined the Dating Scene by Peter
A couple stands in the street with cardboard boxes on their headsSouce: Stock image provided by Peter
Once upon a time, we were deeply worried that magazine covers would affect how young men and women perceived themselves and how their self-confidence would be affected.
Today, we have Instagram, Facebook, and Tinder — to name a few digital outlets — where all expectations and realistic images have been distorted many times over. Truth be told, millennials aren’t the only generation responsible for this twist. It takes more than that to completely change the direction of any behavior, including our dating trends.
However, millennials have brought on their specific sets of preferences to the dating table, effectively “ruining” it in many different ways. There are some extraordinary benefits this generation has introduced to the world of love and sex, but this particular piece will tackle the “dark side” of millennial dating. It’s far from dark, to be frank, but it has certainly changed the dynamics of modern-day dating as we know it.
Avoiding Labels Like the Plague
Are you in a relationship? An open marriage? Do you call each other boyfriend/girlfriend/partner? Millennials often shy away from naming and labelling their bonds. The premise is they don’t want to impose any social constructs on their relationship. More often than not, this leads to confusion for one or both partners.
Open relationships do work for some people, but even they require certain ground rules so the people in such a relationship can handle their expectations and desires accordingly. What this means for many is they stay single for longer than they want and have trouble finding a like-minded partner for a relationship.
Intimacy and Sexuality Redefined
On one hand, millennials in different cultures have found different ways to remove the stigma of sexuality and intimacy in and out of relationships. This is a liberating concept in regions such as Asia that inspires couples to explore their sexuality, so people will gladly find a sex toy shop in Singapore to enrich their sex life. This level of freedom is enticing more people to love themselves and to embrace their sexuality.
On the other hand, millennials are a stress-riddled generation dealing with burnout, student debt, and now the pandemic, as well. These facts paired with other issues lead to a lower sex drive among many couples – thus closing the door to sexual expression.
Escapism in the Digital World
Graphic depiction of browsing social mediaSource: Envato Elements
From Grindr to Tinder, the digital dating world has become a lifeline for many millennials during the pandemic to build some semblance of a relationship until the real world goes back to normal.
This trend has been growing for years before the pandemic, though, making it a perfect way for many shy and introverted individuals to connect with potential partners.
For other millennials, however, digital dating has become the substitute for actual human connection. Texting has replaced conversations, and video chats have become actual dates. When the situation subsides, the question remains: will dating ever be the same, or will digital outlets still dominate millennial dating choices.
The Social Media Relationship Craze
We’ve already mentioned expectations, and before we delve deeper into that idea from the perspective of physical appearance, let’s tackle our social media alter-egos.
It seems that half of millennials portray their relationships on social as better than they truly are. That fact alone can have irreversible consequences for the couple in the long term.
At a certain point, the motivation behind your choices becomes blurry: do you make the effort for the social media photo, or do you do it to impress your partner? Do you just want to keep the façade of perfection, or do you genuinely perceive your bond as flawless?
A healthy take on social media would help all of us manage our expectations and stop treating these networks as a reflection of reality.
Managing Our Expectations
One particular trend that has defined younger generations and their dating choices is the focus on the physical. Not necessarily sexual, but physical attractiveness and the proverbial chemistry between two people seems to have greater relevance in defining the quality of said relationship.
Alas, personality traits such as stubbornness will still end up as the decisive factor when you evaluate if the bond is worthy of long-term contemplation or not.
The lesson? Millennials as well as their younger counterparts (Gen Z) can focus more on investing in their values and how their personality matches the one they choose to date, rather than to dwell solely on the physical appearance imposed by the social media utopia of fitness perfection.
Certain trends transcend any generation. Be it the idea of the friend zone for that person who keeps dreaming of dating someone, yet invariably fails to convey that desire and ends up being the supportive friend. Or the hook-up culture everyone seems to blame on millennials, yet it has existed for far too long to be generation-specific.
Whatever your own dating pet peeves may be, millennials have brought about several changes to the dating scene. It’s how we adapt and evolve that will speak volumes of our convictions and attitudes towards love, sex, and relationships alike.
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