The internet and social media–as I’m sure you are well aware–have radically changed the way we meet our romantic partners. But also to a more subtle degree, these things have affected what it even means to be in a relationship. Undeniably, sex and hookups are easier than ever now. But in this new infrastructure predicated on likes, is true love getting harder to find?
If you spend a couple hours on Grindr, you will almost certainly end up with a staggeringly long list of men who are at least physically attracted to you. What can we realistically be expected to do with that information? Pick one, fall in love, and get married? Or, systemically fuck each of their brains out until finding our most compatible partner by herculean process of elimination? I think we all know that the temptation to veer toward option #2 is just too tempting.
This overwhelming amount of choice makes actually choosing much more difficult. And when these dating apps are built to reward quantity over quality, we’re left feeling dizzy rather than swept off our feet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for a new app that just gives you one guy in your area one time only, guaranteed to be your soulmate. This is a much larger cultural issue. The downside of being connected to everyone all the time is that sometimes you can’t just be connected with your lover, even when that’s what you want.
To paraphrase that old platitude about the tree in the forest: if two guys are in a relationship and it’s not posted all over social media, are they really in a relationship? Are we Facebook friends or real friends? The lines between actual relationships and shallow virtual ones are blurring. Sometimes it feels like some relationships only exist because they’re being propped up by the skeleton of social media.
Unfortunately, it seems there’s no way out of this game. Sure, the tried and true methods of meeting people still maintain relevance today. But go ahead and delete that dating app. You’ll be back in a couple of weeks.