I believe that dating is, by its nature, complicated. And no, before you even go down that path, I don’t think it suddenly became complicated because of the advent of dating apps, it’s always been complicated. The rules for Victorian courtship were complicated too. Could you imagine having to learn floriography so that you could flirt in a socially acceptable way? What about the use of calling cards, and how they were folded, and which corner was folded? You think that was simple? I have the benefit of using the internet and I’m still confused by all the rules. Dating apps haven’t made things more complicated, they just added new complications, but they also eliminated some older ones too.
Dating, courtship, or whatever else you call the early stages of romantic interactions between potential lovers has always been complicated, though how it’s complicated changes from generation to generation. But why is that the case?
The answer, or at least part of the answer at least, is simple:
We all operate under different assumptions when it comes to finding love.
What does “dating” mean to you? When someone says “so and so are dating”, what exactly does that mean? Be specific as possible in your answer. Now ask 9 different people what dating means to them. What are the odds that all 10 of you have the same answer?
You can try this exercise with most questions about dating: What does it mean when you have sex with someone? When should you meet your partner’s friends and family? And so on and so on.
Dating is complicated because humans are complicated. We all come from different cultures, and have different upbringings, and we all have different goals in love. We can never truly know what makes someone think the way they do about love, because we can never truly know the experiences that helped form those opinions. If we all shared the same ideas about love, lust, dating, romance, and all those things entail, dating would be simple. But we don’t. We can’t. Even when we share similar ideas about love with someone, they are rarely, if ever, exactly the same.
I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t also mention dishonesty. In a perfect world, we’d all be honest about what dating means to us, what our expectations are, and dating would still be complicated. But, we live in an imperfect world where many people are dishonest about what they’re looking for, what their expectations are, and what their intentions are. That only adds to the confusion.
I didn’t write this post to dwell on the negatives, but to highlight the common ground we all share when it comes to dating and relationships. Dating might be more complicated for you than it might be for your peers, but it’s still complicated. We all face challenges in dating. We all try and fail, and (hopefully) try again. We all get confused by people, and sometimes we get lied to. We all wish things could be simpler. But they wont get simpler, because dating is, and always will be, complicated.
The best thing you can do is be honest and open in your search for love. You can’t change the fact that dating is complicated, but you can change how you let that impact you. And if that doesn’t bring you solace, maybe this will:
You aren’t alone in feeling this way.
People are there for you.
I’m here for you.
I got your back.
Good Luck Out There.