A gentleman pulls up to a house in the early evening. He steps out of his car, walks up the garden path and knocks on the door. It is opened by a lady who warmly smiles and greets him with a simple: “Hello.” As they walk towards his car, he opens the passenger door for her and she sits down. They take a scenic route to a restaurant where they have reserved a table. Conversation flows for a couple of hours. They have dinner and after dessert, the gentleman pays and drops her home.
This sounds like a scene from a black-and-white film, but let’s be real – this sort of date is practically dead. These days I’m more likely to receive a badly written message on LinkedIn saying: “Do you have the Whatsapp or Gmail?” than a modern Clark Gable turn up with a bunch of flowers at my doorstep. And yes, the LinkedIn thing happens to me far more than I would like it to.
Technology has turned the dating world on its head; we are inundated with opportunities to “get to know someone” (if you know what I mean). We now have an innumerable amount of online dating websites, chatrooms and dating apps. We can even sext and send racy messages to people that have taken our digital fancy without really knowing them. This is all well and good. But, the one thing such mediums have in common, is the lack of face-to-face interaction. The thing that is fundamental when building a relationship.
If you’re a millenial (born between 1983-2000) you’ll quickly reach the realisation that much of your adult life and love life has been attached to a mobile phone. Instead of “dating” someone, we’re more likely to say: “I’m just seeing so-and-so” or “I just hooked up with so-and-so” to the over used: “We just hang out.” Whilst this sounds incredibly modern, it’s also very vague and annoying. This ambiguity leaves room for people to get confused about the state of whatever it is that they’re involved in. Are you really single or involved in some weird way?
Are modern relationships ‘healthy?’
The fact that modern relationships have so much ambiguity attached to them implies that many of us have become responsibility dodgers. Let’s be honest: having your eye on multiple digital hotties doesn’t require as much energy or responsibility as a face-to-face relationship does.
According to social psychologist Ben Voyer, he warns that while texting and online messaging are perceived to be easier than face-to-face contact or a telephone conversation, in the medium to long term they can make things more difficult. Again: was that a date or another hook up? The difficulty with modern relationships is that most of it is through a screen. There’s a million and one reasons as to how and why this is unhealthy.
Firstly, the ambiguity. Secondly, our imagination begins to take over and we begin to fantasise about that person. Digital Dave is ripped, intelligent, outgoing, adventurous and sexy. But Real Life Dave isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, is an introvert and hates the gym. It’s that element of fantasy which draws people in, but it also has a crippling effect on their personal outlook and relationship management.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
With everything, there’s positives and negatives. This definitely applies to modern relationships and dating. Whilst I’ve personally had a largely negative experience of online dating, I know some people who have met the love of their life over the Internet. (Lucky cows!) But in all seriousness, if I see one more dodgy message on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or through my emails I shall thunder punch you!