Dating on Speed: The Modern Romance Race

BlogHer Original Post

Our inboxes, calendar and birth control of choice might be able to keep up with the needs of our expanding romantic lives but can our minds and hearts?


 I have thirty-one thousand, three hundred and fifty two unread messages and they are coming in fast. Just a few years ago who would have thought that, just in order to keep up with life, everyone would need a smartphone, 24/7 access to their emails and a constant hook into their favourite social media networks.

This has been a revolution for communication and the landscape of relationships, friends, family and beyond, has altered dramatically. However, these major developments have ushered in changes, particularly in the dating world, that have left many women feeling like they are caught in a fast-moving romantic rip tide.

Image: Alex Kerhead via Flickr

The world of online dating, both formally through websites and informally across social networks like Facebook, has exploded and become socially acceptable. Making a move used to require at least an hour of furtive glances across the dance floor followed by a glass or two of liquid courage. After some awkward shouted conversation and an equally awkward shuffle around the dance floor there would be an exchange of numbers followed by a twenty-four hour period of will he/won't he uncertainty. Even the most socially aggressive member-of-the-species probably couldn't get or give more than five numbers in a night.

Now, its a whole different story. Hidden safety behind a screen, one could send out literally hundreds of propositions in the equivalent of a dating carpet bomb. On the other end of this is someone receiving many immediate dating opportunities. Even if you were to clear your schedule and date all of them, could you possibly handle the juggling act?

Image: Chana Goldstein via Reclaiming Pink

In addition to the increase in inbox activity, dating has become a intimacy fast-track with many, both men and women, unable to set simple boundaries when it comes to their bedroom activities. In a world where sex is almost socially mandated, making those kind of intimate connections can not only be risking to your physical health, its a hormonal oxytocin nightmare bound to screw you and your rational thinking on the flip side.

Our inboxes, calendar and birth control of choice might be able to keep up with the needs of our expanding romantic lives but our minds and hearts can't. While yes, there are some out there who are just in it for the sex, most are looking for something more and that requires investment.

By the way, there is the other side to this equation - the empty inbox of messages not returned - the virtual equivalent of a Facebook ghost town. When we are aware of our unlimited capacity to receive communication it just makes 'no new messages' seem even more desperate. No one is claiming that it doesn't suck to get all dressed up and not get a single number in return for a night at your local bar, but now we are expecting to live in our pjs and have a full and active dating life from the sofa. When that doesn't play out it's even more painful.

Is it time to put the brakes on? Why should the speed of our love lives be dictated by the speed of our Pentium Processors? Why should I be forced to wade through a quagmire of unnecessary hormones just to work out whether the person I just slept with could be my life partner? And why oh why does my super sexy virtual self seem to have so many friends, boyfriends and potential life partners when I'm still sitting here alone on the sofa. I think its time to get real!


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