Why Is Dating So Hard? 5 Biggest Issues with Dating Today

Between the fear of fake dating profiles, commitment, and the sheer time and expense it takes to find a match, it’s no wonder that dating today is hard. Not to mention adding an ongoing pandemic to the mix. With ghosting becoming the new normal, it’s not out of the ordinary for a romantic interest to disappear with no reply for what feels like no reason at all. Dating apps and sites make it difficult to navigate the world of dating. Read on for expert insight on the biggest issues with modern dating and what you can do to find someone new. 

5 Biggest Issues with Modern Dating 

Dating in today’s world feels more like a competition of who has the best-looking profile or most compelling description. At the same time, it can feel like it’s easier to be less attached. Finding an authentic connection is tough and modern dating is normalizing behavior that impacts romance and love. Dating and relationship experiences can be a complete rollercoaster. Here are five of the biggest issues with modern dating.  

   1. Knowing What You Want 

At the end of a date, you are optimistic yet hear nothing back for days. You find yourself thinking, why is dating harder now? Is it just you or is everyone on this journey together? The reality is that you are far from alone. Nearly half of Americans say that dating is harder than ten years ago. Some of the biggest reasons for this include increased risk, technology, and dating has become more impersonal. While dating has always presented challenges, dating, love, and relationships seem even more complicated.

Dr. Tirrell Degannes, Psy.D, licensed clinical psychologist, explains that one of the biggest issues with dating is knowing what you really want from the dating process. Instead, you run into a litany of people that do not want what you’re looking for, or they’re not good matches long-term. 

When you meet someone new, it can feel like many people are not 100% clear about their intentions. Flirting can be fun, and it can feel like the relationship is moving forward only to find out the other person isn’t looking for anything serious after three dates. 

   2. Pressure and Harassment 

One survey found that 57% of women and 35% of men have experienced some kind of harassment when dating. The increasing focus on harassing behavior has various effects. For starters, it can make you feel wary about dating. In addition, it can make it difficult to know how to interact with someone. 

   3. Pandemic Dating 

With several lockdowns and social restrictions, the world is now looking forward to hopefully brighter days. Finding the perfect partner has never been easy, but finding a partner in a pandemic is a little different. 

While the pandemic hasn’t necessarily changed the way people date, it has had an impact. Dr. Tirrell Degannes explains, “I believe it added to the experience. Now you’re more likely to be aware of the other person’s masking and vaccination policies. There’s also a lower sense of comfort with exposure, but that can represent the feelings of more introverted individuals.”

Every year, Match’s Singles in America survey looks at the latest trends in dating. Now in its 11th year, the survey found that 74% of singles say that the pandemic didn’t affect their dating life negatively. With video dating and socially distanced meetups, dating continued. So, what has changed? A huge difference is that only 78% of singles want someone physically attractive, compared to 90% in 2020. Over 80% of singles want someone emotionally mature, accepting of differences, and comfortable with their sexuality. The intention behind dating appears to be clearer. Only time will tell if the pandemic will have a lasting effect on dating.  

   4. Dating Apps 

According to statistics, there are 44.2 million online dating users in the US. You can’t talk about the perils of modern dating without talking about dating apps. The thing about apps is that they can be good and bad. 

“Modern dating comes down to apps. Apps mean you have the illusion of options. Options mean you’re less likely to find good because you’re in search of great, and you nonetheless weed through a lot of bad (and become bad yourself in the process),” says Dr. Tirrell Degannes.

Research from a Stanford sociologist shows that most matchmaking occurs through algorithms and not friends and family. People rely on dating apps to find potential partners, and the stigma surrounding online dating is much lower and, in some cases, non-existent. While it’s entirely possible to find someone not through a dating app, online dating feels at the core of modern dating. 

   5. Ghosting 

In today’s society, ghosting is practically normalized behavior. Ghosting occurs when a person abruptly stops all forms of communication for no apparent reason. If you reach out, they ignore any attempts to rekindle the conversation. Essentially, ghosting is a rejection without a sense of closure; you have no idea what actually happened. So, how do you cope with ghosting without detaching yourself from all future interests? 

Dr. Tirrell Degannes says, “reframing is the only solace I can offer. People that “ghost” are too afraid or too rude to address their own feelings of discomfort. You don’t want to be with someone that cannot comfortably address their feelings anyway; you’re better off not hearing from them. Letting go of hard feelings means appreciating the nuances that separate them from those you clearly dislike.” While it feels hurtful when someone ghosts you, especially if you felt like there was a connection, shifting your mindset can be helpful. 

One survey into ghosting and dating in millennials found that some of the main reasons for ghosting someone include: 

  • Avoid a confrontation 
  • Someone not living up to their dating profile 
  • Avoid a clingy or needy match 
  • Lack of chemistry 

Does Social Media Affect Dating Nowadays? 

Dating in the digital age can affect relationships. Sometimes, social media can create unrealistic expectations of the “perfect” relationship and dating journey. The reality is that perfection doesn’t exist within relationships. What you see on social media is a glimpse of life. Social media can also create distractions, making it difficult to focus on a partner and creating problems. While social media can affect dating, putting your phone on silent during dates, and being fully present can help to nurture connection. 

How Do Different Generations Date? 

Are there different approaches to dating depending on your generation? Are millennials more romantic than Gen-Z? The dating site, Zoosk, analyzed millions of dating profiles and surveyed over 4,000 daters to find out generational dating differences. Here are some key findings: 

  • Gen-Z daters prefer more time to plan a date 
  • Millennials fill out the most information on dating sites 
  • Drink dates are the most popular with millennials 
  • Splitting the bill on the first date divides all generations 
  • Older generations prefer calls over texts 

How Can You Overcome Dating Obstacles? 

Finding someone to date, opening up, and having a spark is hard, and that’s just the first part of dating. You then want to agree on important things and figure out if they are someone you can see yourself being with. Dating is so hard, and there are obstacles. But there’s no need to rush. Take your time, do something you enjoy, and learn to open up so that you’re ready to have an honest conversation when the time arises. 

Is It Hard To Tell What The Other Person Wants? 

Sometimes it feels like dating today is like a big game of guesswork. Ultimately, everyone wants to feel safe, and putting yourself out there and being vulnerable is hard. At times, people are scared to say what they want out of fear of embarrassment or rejection. While it’s hard to tell what someone else wants without them saying, you can go on a date and have control over what you want. 

Was It Just A Hookup Or Something More? 

If you find yourself thinking, why is it so hard to date or why is dating so hard for me? You are not alone. Hookup culture means that sometimes you don’t know if the date is more than a hookup. If you set a boundary early on and are clear, then both you and your partner know where you stand. But if you find that they don’t reply to your messages, cancel plans, or they never want to define the relationship, it may be time to move on.

How to Find Someone New 

Despite the dating market feeling like one hurdle after another, you can still find a good match with a genuine connection. Although a string of bad dates can make you lose all hope, take a step back and re-evaluate what you want out of the process. Dr. Tirrell Degannes suggests the following tips for finding someone new:

  • Get out there and engage in activities that you enjoy 
  • Plan what you will say to introduce yourself and your intentions 
  • Do things that you like and find people that like those things too 

Asking to go on a date for bagels because you find someone attractive is often easier than you think. Start by thinking about what you enjoy doing. A little common ground can kick-start a conversation. 

Decide who you date mindfully and listen to your gut. If you sense some red flags, it’s probably for a reason. There is no one perfect thing you can do to find a great match. Instead, you can focus on what you want and your intentions and go from there. Whether you’re looking for a casual date or a serious relationship, it’s important to state what you want. While many people have positive experiences with dating apps, it comes down to individual preferences. Technically, dating apps give you the ability to filter potential partners and eliminate qualities you don’t want. 

Having the ability to be honest and genuine with another person is hard but sets the foundation for the relationship. No matter how you meet people, virtually or in person, dating is tough and, at times, draining. Try to keep an open mind, check in on your mental health, and use all the opportunities you have to meet someone new, whether it’s at your local gym or down at the dog park. 

Relationships are hard. Whether you’re getting out of one or have reached a bit of a romantic roadblock, speak to one of the compassionate therapists at the Thriving Center of Psychology. We can help you navigate your emotions, and anxiety around dating, and learn to talk openly about your feelings.

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