Humans logo

5 Reasons Why the World of Modern Dating Sucks

And how to navigate this world of cryptic texts, swipes, and meaningless DMs.

By Margaret PanPublished 2 years ago 9 min read
Photo via Pexels

When it comes to dating, I often feel like I’m that 70-year old lady who lives next door and spends all of her time moaning about how the modern world has changed and why young people are so immoral.

But I can’t help but think that modern dating kinda…sucks.

I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Or maybe the modern dating scene is indeed, just horrendously fucked up.

The question is, why?

What follows are the five reasons that make the modern dating scene so tricky and complicated and some tips on navigating this world of cryptic texts, swipes, and meaningless DMs.

1. Ghosting Is Considered a Norm

Raise your hand if you, at one point or another, have been ghosted by someone you really liked.

Honestly, I’d be shocked if you hadn’t. According to a survey, approximately 80% of millennials have been ghosted by someone.

And if we’re 100% sincere, most of us have probably ghosted someone too, even if it were just once.

You see, nowadays ghosting is considered a norm in the world of dating. You’ve met someone, went on a couple of dates with them, realized you’re just not that into them/you’re not a great match and decide to just disappear from their lives — never answering their texts or phone calls —, hoping they’ll get the hint.

Psychologist Jennice Vilhauer explains the psychology behind ghosting:

“People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel. The lack of mutual social connections for people who met online also means there are fewer social consequences of dropping out of another’s life. The more it happens, either to themselves or their friends, the more people become desensitized to it, and the more likely they are to do it to someone else.”

Unfortunately, so many people rush to ghost someone they’re not interested in having in their lives anymore, without thinking that ghosting:

  1. Makes you look like a coward.
  2. Is disrespectful.
  3. Leaves the ghosted person with deep feelings of uncertainty and insecurity.
  4. Makes the ghosted person feel used and disposable.

What to do about it:

  1. Before you start dating someone, make it clear from the beginning that you value honesty and expect them to give you a warning if they later decide to call it quits.
  2. If someone ghosts you even if they promised they wouldn’t, remember that their action says nothing about you and your worthiness; it might sound cliché, but it really isn’t about you — it’s about them.
  3. Try to view their rejection as a blessing in disguise. Be thankful things didn’t move forward with a coward who lacked emotional intelligence.

2. Everyone Settles for Low-Effort Dating

Low-effort dating is undeniably a 21-century dating trend and one that makes the modern dating scene boring and unstimulating.

I usually hear complaints mostly from women about how little effort men tend to put in dating nowadays, but I would easily say that a lot of women out there search for the easiest way to date, as well.

Among other things, low effort dating means:

  • Skipping the romantic dinners and going straight to bed, searching for a physical connection instead of an emotional one.
  • Having no standards and settling for pretty much anyone who’s good-looking and available.
  • Having people as back-ups in case things don’t work out with a current/future partner.
  • Running away from commitment.
  • Calling it quits when the first problem arises instead of working on improving the relationship.

With the excessively used excuse of “dating is so difficult nowadays”, people skip almost everything that makes it interesting, fulfilling, and magical. Why spend so much time going after someone when you can search for the newest dating site/app, swipe right for a last-minute date, and settle for the first good-looking person who says yes?

What to do about it:

  1. Be mindful of how you set the tone from the beginning with someone — make it clear if you don’t want to rush into things.
  2. Don’t make yourself available for someone in hopes that they’ll change their behavior towards you later.
  3. Don’t start dating someone just for the sake of being in a relationship. It’s better to wait for a person who will be willing to pursue you and put in the effort to win your heart, even if that means you’ll be staying single for a while.

3. Cheating Is Getting More Acceptable

According to a series of surveys on cheating, although over 90% of Americans consider infidelity immoral, around 30% to 40% of them will cheat on their partners at one point or another.

Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more people saying things like “come on, cheating isn’t that bad”, “it can happen to anyone”, “just because you cheat once doesn’t mean you’re a bad partner”.

From what I see, our society is becoming more and more cynical, a great percentage of people choose to turn their backs on romanticism, and, as a result, cheating is getting more acceptable.

And although cheating doesn’t necessarily make someone a bad person, it makes them a bad partner and someone who lacks emotional intelligence. It shouldn’t be acceptable or forgiven that easily.

What to do about it:

  1. The phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater” was invented for a reason. If someone tells you they’ve cheated on a partner before, there’s a high possibility they’ll cheat on you, too. It’s wiser to walk away and get involved with someone more reliable.
  2. Most people who get cheated on, tend to tie their partner’s infidelity to their self-worth — a huge mistake. If it ever happens to you, remember that even the most beautiful, successful, and clever person can get cheated on. Cheating can happen for a variety of reasons, and none include a person’s self-worth.

4. Modern Dating Is All Mind Games

One of the most frustrating things about modern dating is that most of the time it’s all mind games. We have made things way more complicated than they should be, playing with each other’s feelings and thinking it is “fun”.

Everything is calculated in order to appear effortless. Even the simplest text is overthought 10 times. One day you make future plans with someone and the next day they have disappeared. You go on a couple of dates where you both (seem to) have an amazing time and suddenly they tell you that it just won’t work between the two of you.

Playing hard to get, sending mixed signals, guilt-tripping, and gaslighting are tactics often used in the initial phase of dating. As psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein explains:

“While head games can manifest themselves at any time, the initial phase of meeting and dating is highly vulnerable to such exploitation because neither person knows yet what will become of the relationship. Could this truly be love that will endure the test of time? If so, do just one of you, neither of you, or both of you think this may be the case? Or will you see each other a few more times until one of you cools off and ends it?”

Why can’t things be more simple?

What to do about it:

  1. Invest in people who are by nature straightforward, honest, and genuine. When it comes to dating, some people like mind games, while others prefer to be open and blunt — it’s best to invite the latter in your life.
  2. If you see the person you’re interested in playing mind games with you, walk away. Don’t try to explain their behavior or wait for them to change it. If someone truly wants to get to know you and be by your side, they’ll make it clear to you.
  3. Simplifying things is always a good idea. Why not do the first move and make things simpler between you and your potential partner? If you like them, tell them. If you want to know how they feel about you, ask them. Being blunt might sound scary, but it’s totally worth it — it’ll save you a lot of time, energy, and emotional strength.

5. Everyone Seems to Be Still Hung up on an Ex

Although this might be an unpopular opinion, I dare to say that one of the main reasons modern dating is tricky and complicated is because so many people are still hung up on their exes.

The reason I didn’t move forward with 80% of the people I went on a couple of dates with was because I found out that they hadn't moved on from their previous relationships.

Think about it. How many times did you hear someone telling you that their partner dumped them and went back to their ex? According to a survey, 71% of the participants said that they still think about their ex often. Some explanations that could be given for this tendency are:

Since finding a new partner is now insanely easy, we prefer to move on with someone new, instead of taking the time to heal from a breakup

Social media makes it difficult to move on from your ex

Many people seem to think that having casual sex with your ex is a good idea, but eventually, it’s something that hinders them from moving on

We tend to romanticize our past, including our relationships

What to do about it:

  1. Before things get serious with someone, make sure you have a conversation with them regarding your past relationships, that can help you understand whether they’re still hung up on an ex.
  2. If someone tells you that they recently broke up, think twice before getting attached to them. From my experience, people fresh off breakups are unlikely to invest in a new relationship.
  3. Never put yourself in a position where you have to compete with the ghost of someone’s ex. There’s no “I’ll help them move forward/they’ll forget about their ex with me”. If they don’t take the necessary time to heal and sort out their feelings, hopping into a relationship with you will only make things even more complicated.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes it seems that modern dating is a party of swipes with no one willing to settle down.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy dating. You can learn to navigate this crazy world on your own terms.

Make sure the people you choose to get romantically involved with, share your values and have a similar mindset regarding love and relationships.

And remember, as much as things might suck in the modern dating scene, there’s always someone out there who’s a good fit for you. You just gotta be positive and patient until you find them.

This story was previously published on Medium.


About the Creator

Margaret Pan

Words have power.

I write about relationships, psychology, personal development, and books.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.