Is It Harder Today To Form Lasting Relationships?

Online dating app concept with man and woman. Vector illustration
Online dating app concept with man and woman. Vector illustration

Singles have such an overload of alternatives given our continuously plugged in world of apps and websites that the act of honing in on one person is challenging at best. Back in the day, if you did not have a high school or college sweetheart, introductions were made through friends, family or coworkers. Some more adventurous types went "high tech" and placed personal ads in local newspapers. In our modern era, a mind-numbing myriad of social options are available, as our phone screens become filled with dating apps geared toward every niche one can possibly imagine. Do you want to meet a college graduate, or only an Ivy Leaguer? Is your goal a quick hook up, just coffee or a more traditional, old school, finding-the-one-to-marry type situation? There's an app for all of the above and so much more, not to mention a vast array of professional networking platforms. So the question is: does the abundance of choices actually help individuals find that special someone, or will it put them on a path of continuous searching?

Pursuing the ideal:

The good news is that singles really do their homework when seeking a significant other. Benchmarks for success are thoughtfully considered and tweaked often. Deal breakers are well-defined and adhered to. Does all of this preparation and introspection lead to flexibility or rigidity? The truth is that if someone is not 110 percent satisfied with the person across the table, the next option is a swipe away. Are we living in a world where the perfect 10 is looking for another perfect 10 without any thought of digging below the surface? If there is not an instant spark should the MO be just to move on? Newsflash: don't believe your mother -- you are not the ultimate catch and your perfect counterpart does not exist.

Blind dates:

Thirty years ago a match was made sight unseen. There was not the option of Google Image or Facebook. The only way to glean background details about a person was to ask the introducer his or her opinion, but in most cases it was necessary to keep an open mind and go for it. Now when people meet, they already know each other's life history by just a click of a key. Does technology and the quick access to information make us more judgmental towards those we are encountering? Perhaps having such a plethora of data accessible is too much of a good thing. Try experiencing the concept of a blind date in its truest form, without much intel or any preconceptions.

Dating has become seamless:

Why make dinner plans and commit an entire evening without the certainty of compatibility? Many singles have a pact with a friend to text them after thirty minutes so there is an easy out if needed. Wouldn't it be wonderful to actually put away your cell phone and make the effort to see if there is real chemistry? People have the expectation of an instantaneous spark (which most often does not exist). Patience is a virtue.

Living together:

It used to be unheard of to live together before marriage. Our grandparents were not even permitted PDAs. Baby Boomers made it the standard to move in together, but typically not before there was the commitment of an engagement ring. The current generation has replaced this timeline with a more drawn out process that begins with dating for a year, and then contemplating if living together ought to be the next step. Getting down on one knee is only done if the year of cohabitation is successful. Only time will tell which method will lead to a higher percentage of lasting unions.

Plan wisely:

In our hectic and busy lives every minute is precious. When we read a profile, naturally the photo is the first thing that attracts our attention. After that the punch list includes: education, religion, lifestyle and mutual likes. If all these categories line up then usually there is a get together. Appearing good on paper and genuine attraction are two very different occurrences. In order to really determine if a first encounter will lead to another, one needs to invest more than thirty minutes. Have the stick-to-itiveness to go on a second or third date to see what develops rather than clinging to your phone, hoping for hypothetical greatness.

Yes, society has changed and the World Wide Web has enveloped us all within its threads. Connectivity has brought everything to our fingertips in a nanosecond, but instant gratification is not the key to interpersonal success. When it comes to matters of the heart, the tried and true methods of forming unions may have some merit. Picking up your head when walking down the street will provide the opportunity to interact with people as you engage your surroundings. Having a phone conversation rather than texting will open up all new avenues towards getting to know one another. By its nature, serial dating does not lead to lasting relationships. Knowing when technology may be helpful and when to set it aside, will allow you to actually engage in real life experiences, thus paving the way to finding true love.