When I think about love, I find myself stereo-typically picturing iconic movie scenes and casting my mind back to our parents’ generation, or even grandparents!
Yet, when I think about more modern examples of love, it seems more common to instantly picture your family (your favourite ones anyway), your friends and then – if we’re being real – the odd material item or two. It almost as if the notion of being “in love” really isn’t cool anymore.
As young adults in today’s era of speed and convenience, has our image of love remodelled to fit this new generation of daters?
Take it back 50 years or so when women were being romantically wooed, charmed and wined & dined to the utmost. If you compare that to today’s generation, it feels like a scarcity. How often have you spoken to someone who is currently long-term relationship in your early twenties and thought “what a weirdo, why would you leave the party at 8”?
More and more of us are finding ourselves in “situationships” – the notion of not quite dating, not quite seeing each other, yet still managing to satisfy, temporary, mutual needs. Is this the new norm? Should this be the norm? Do we need to start embracing and accepting this axis change or should we be worried that monogamy is slowly fading?
I wanted to find out if the young adults of today are able to form mature, lasting relationships in this new day and age; or whether the popularity of casual sex and dating without the commitment has taken over completely.
My circle of friends range from the entire status spectrum, from the serial dater to the engaged. Take for instance a friend of mine, a girl my own age (22) is on the fast track to marriage but the thing most startling to me are the fact that she’s not frightened in the slightest! Though I guess considering this is her long-term boyfriend she is marrying after all, it’s probably not actually that odd. However, I cannot help but feel this is an anomaly if I look at the wider comparison, this does not fit in with a lot more of my other friends who are still on the prowl for their ‘soulmate’. The vast difference between the girls is unexplainable, all good looking with great personalities, though it seems we all go for very different guys and different fulfilment.
‘Men’ in this day and age are without a doubt in no rush to settle down with a good woman and expand their family, don’t get me wrong, things have changed now, so neither are us, women. However, what is the impact of the “think like a man” era? – Surely us young adults becoming more and more promiscuous and extravagant with their lifestyle and selfishness.
Have love and sex been misinterpreted and confused? If you think about the latest film you watched, which concept was used most? Love or sex? The casualness and easy opportunity for sex is so apparent that marriage and families are the last things on a young man’s mind and a decreasing priority for women. The appeal and easy access to low cost, boozy holidays or even just consistently filling your weekends going out, out will be straining for even the most hopeful of relationships.
So you odd ones looking to settle down quickly, are you being lost and left without much hope? Being one of the minorities staying at home on the weekend does not make you odd – cosy nights in are lovely! Not only in your own company but can be certainly amplified with just the right company. Though this leads to the question, how do we meet this person without leaving the house? – yup, you guessed it, back to our frenemy …Tinder.
Dating apps are plenty in abundance, from Tinder to Bumble. Like most, my circle of friends have varied experiences with these platforms. The reviews are often mixed, usually leading to typical dead-end failed dates, a clash of desires or one-night stands.
We are inundated with examples of what we should be looking for or in a relationship, though finding that person you ‘click’ with or have a deep genuine bond with is pretty unlikely to happen through one or two swipes.
So are we to do? I know… Maybe Paddy can help. Multiple dating shows have been manufactured with the aim of helping unlucky duo’s find their missing piece, from Love Island to First Dates. The cynic in me would say you have to be pretty dim if you think this is your best bet. Looking at this for what it really is, the vast majority of these type of shows are championed really on their comedic and entertainment values.
Literature and films also play their part in the hindering to our love and to an extent, our sex lives. The likes of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and the resulting follow-ups have portrayed a new look at sex and love. To be honest, this can only be described as fantasy. From the use of hard-core toys and wild scenarios to the uninspiring romance, cost and scandal involved.
The taboos of sex are being tested and exaggerated through all of these media platforms; it has become a norm to see sexual innuendos pop up everywhere. From your Instagram feed to the new series you’ve been watching. Take Game of Thrones as an example of this. The explicitness of GoT is widely accepted because it’s “real”. A true representation of society in that period but is coupled with the desensitisation of sex from current times. Media and pop culture really weren’t as explicit in the past and I feel like this is a result of the nonchalant use of sex and the realism of casual dating & promiscuousness freedom. We are now much more aware of the sex, short and casual relationships with which we can uphold in this generation.
As I started writing this piece, I believed that I might be able to give some hope to our generation of daters, that at the end of the tunnel, it will all work itself out… right? As we step into unknown territory – Your guess is as good as mine.
As I conclude, I’d say it’s more likely that there’s no cure for this new gen dating disease. We have developed a culture of casual sex, in addition to a fear of love & commitment. Without attitudes changing these modern views, most of us have no hope and are doomed to an eternity of… temporary. As a collective, can this new look at love be developed and taken back to its roots of real romance? Or are we lost forever in dating purgatory?