Cyber Courtship: Dead or Evolved?

dating confusionSince this is “love week” in some places, I felt it would be appropriate to discuss a current trend topic – dating and technology.  Being a member of the generation that seems to be going through an interactive crisis that will change relationships forever, I am interested to see how true you think this prophecy is.

According to a New York Times article, a “date” with a planned invitation, dinner, and romance has turned into a “hang out” with a few text messages.  Through a number of quotes and stories, the article depicts the current shift in dating culture and points to technology as a possible factor.  They describe how original courtship included calling someone and using courage, strategic planning, and a little ego to ask someone out.  Now, text messages like “hey” and “sup” suffice.  With online dating websites and the amount of personal information that are posted on social media, the first date is apparently irrelevant.  “We’re all PhD’s in Internet stalking these days,” said the author of “The Hookup Handbook” to The New York Times.  The article mentions a number of love experts and authors to emphasize the notion that women must redefine their expectations when it comes to dating.  According to one theory, if a woman is serious about getting hitched, every man she encounters should be considered potential material, short text messages should be interpreted as love confessions, and partaking in casual intimacy should become a habit.  On the other hand, a competing theory states that courtship is not dead but just takes more effort to find.  Women should define what they want and not settle for less.

A Forbes article responded to this NYT article and provided evidence for those who feel technology has altered the dating game but not ruined it.  The article focuses on the alleged impact of texting, online dating sites, and social media.  According to Forbes, the main users of technology, who tend to be educated, wealthier people, have been using online dating and networking sites for years and the divorce rate among this group has been declining for the past 30 years.  They conclude that technology changed the way we communicate and add a few complications, but it is premature to blame it for ruining dating.  Essentially, “if you want to date someone who takes you on real dates, don’t respond to 10pm “sup” texts.”

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine, who happens to be male, which caused me to think more about this cyber dating phenomenon.  I think there are a number of factors influencing our “hook up” generation, but deciding how to deal with it should be determined on an individual basis.  I agree that technology has changed the way we interact.  It is now normal for people to conduct a google search on you before asking for your number and probably had already requested you on facebook and twitter.  I can’t remember the last time anyone had resorted to calling me instead of sending “hey, how are you” text messages every day.  However, I don’t think this means we are doomed as a generation.

Since everything in life now, due to technology, is instantaneous, for some reason we think we can set emotion and love to that same speed.  For women, there is the pressure (or balancing act) of striving to be successful in some sort of career while still holding marriage and a family as a top priority.  Some deal with this dilemma by dating anyone who winks, while others are selective with whom they respond to.  Due to how much the dating field has changed, it is difficult to seek, let alone listen, to advice from previous generations because we really don’t interact or flirt or share the same way our parents and grandparents did.  This could possibly lead to frustration if all of your friends and family feel the need to lecture you on your single status, but you should not let this worry you.  I think the best advice, quoted in both articles, is the best way to succeed – don’t settle.  Let’s look at this further:

First – love yourself.  Take time to really define and articulate who you are, what you want, and what you are willing to do for others.

Second –  be accessible…to an extent.  Meeting people and getting to know people takes a little compromising.  As you choose what you want, also be open to try new things.

Third – take initiative.  Regardless if you are the man or the woman in the potential relationship, you have to make the effort to keep the connection and help it to grow.  Don’t depend on the information on your potential significant others profile page to learn about them.  Make a point to interact in person and share experiences in person.

I don’t label myself as a love guru, but I feel these points are important to stay true to yourself and find love.  What do you think?  Do you think technology is driving your love life?  Should the formal or casual aspect of courtship be dependent on an individual basis or a full generation?  Please feel free to respond below.

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