The Real Problem With Modern Dating Isn’t That We’re Heartless, It’s Our Expectations


“Back in the day, we didn’t have this problem. Everyone married,” exclaims my grandmother unequivocally and very much unapologetically. She swipes her thumb on her phone, an old (by Apple standard) iPhone I no longer use. At the time, she begged and pleaded for my sister and I to teach her the mechanics of using an “Ephone” as she would call it sophisticatedly, proud she could keep up with the next generation of millennials.

I opened my mouth to respond, I want to elucidate the concept of modern dating, but didn’t have the heart to spoil the moment.

I have no doubt that back in the day, as my dear grandmother would say, the idea of running marathons with your fingers was virtually unheard of (Thanks, Tinder). The quest for a richer life meant you could spare some change at the bakery to buy bread, all while following the quid pro quo mantra led by society.

How times have changed, I thought.

The bar has raised exponentially, our standards and expectations all the way to our salary. While I am a fan of the concept of a semicolon and it’s meaning, in this context I feel we longer acknowledge the idea of a full stop. The list and the wants and the dreams keep growing until there is no ending to our fairytale.

Don’t worry, I am not here to give a scintillating review of modern dating through the eyes of a millennial, but being the daughter of a professional matchmaker has its perks, along with dozens of entertaining stories I would rather not share due to fear of defamation lawsuits.

Yet, the cycle of the millennial modern dating remains. We search for greener grass, with our eyes wide open to the next big thing coming right around the corner.

We search for better places, becoming self-proclaimed nomads in search of a place or person that feels like home.

Yes, I am one of those people, but I am only human.

My mother always used to say, you go where you look. Given my genetic clumsiness that usually meant face down, but here I truly believe we go where we look. And we never stop looking. In the case of modern dating, we always look for butterflies, until we have the epiphany butterflies in our stomach sounds dangerously close to having indigestion.

We look for sparks as eccentric and beautiful as fireworks within the first seconds of conversation until those sparks, just like fireworks, fade. Maybe my grandmother is right, and we seem to find a way to complicate everything. Suffocated by peer pressure to be better, sexier, richer and more popular on Instagram. We may be quixotic, but with a sense of establishment and power no other generation ever had. The power to make decisions, the power for freedom of choice and movements reinforcing women’s rights.

Modern dating has changed, but so have we.

We evolve as a society, following the current of conformity. We evolve, and we know what we want, most of the time. We speak because we have a voice to be heard, knowing no individual has the power to take that away from us. So yes grandmother, back in the day, everyone married and romance was as simple as black and white. But not today, and that’s okay.