Is technology taking intimacy out of dating?

Dating has always been an issue for me. I am as awkward as a pubescent 13-year-old girl trying to eat pizza with braces on for the first time. I didn’t really start dating until I was 16-years-old, and my first relationship lasted almost two years, long-distance. My second really serious relationship lasted almost three years long distance, but that is a whole different story.

When I first started dating the technological advances and “perks” of Tinder and Snap Chat were not on my side. Keeping in touch or trying to make plans included calls only made after 9 p.m. or the occasional conversation through Facebook messaging, if the dial-up was feeling gracious that day. Texting only really became a thing around the end of my first relationship, and by then, dating to me was defined as visits once a month, weekly letters, daily phone calls and countless nights spent thinking of activities to do on the one weekend a month I see my love.

Others in my generation, the millennials, anyone born between the years of 1980 and 2000, have adapted to a much less personal culture of dating, one I would like to dub Hook-Up Dating. Now before anyone gets their panties in a twist over the negative denotation that the term “hooking up” already has, take into consideration that this style of dating has been studied and is not recognized as a new-era form of dating in relation to my old-soul, love-letter style of dating, it is merely more common in today’s era.

Honestly, can’t say that I am proud of how adolescents and adults in my generation and even past and future generations have so readily accepted the virtual world of online dating, where, in order to get a like or swiped right, you not only spruce up your profile picture but also your bio. Advancements and creation of online dating apps and sites have acted as a catalyst for the plundering world of dating individuals, handing single ‘gents and gals a tool that they could not only use but abuse.

According to CNN, an online survey given to 2,500 college students stated that 41 percent of the students expressed sadness or regret after hooking up.

Then why the heck are people still hooking up and making meaningless attempts to “get” with another person? Well, the same study suggests that 50 percent of college students hookup not simply due to sexual desire, but because they hope that a romantic relationship develops.

A sex and relationships researcher at the University of Kentucky, Kristen Mark, discovered that students view casual hookups more positively than romantic relationships. How does this make sense? Mark explained how students expressed the issue of not having enough time to pursue or maintain a relationship, or feel that they cannot afford to make a relationship a top priority in respect to the stage of life that they are in.

2 (2)I don’t think that hooking up became a cultural dating style overnight. It’s not only used by people in the millennial generation, or fueled by the desire for a physical connection or need for a companion that doesn’t expect anything else beyond the first date. I believe that a greater evil corrupted the expectations and values that adults and teens were taught to uphold when dating: technology. According to the Pew Research Center, one in every 10 adults have used an online or mobile dating app to meet new people or find a romantic partner. What is scarier yet is that an American Association of Retired Persons study suggested that approximately only one-fourth to one-third of single individuals are dating to find their future spouse.

I shared a more intimate and complete connection with both of my two long-distance and sort of old-fashion relationships because I upheld the expectation that communication beyond the bloody words on a screen was needed in order to maintain the relationship. Yes, texting is so much easier than picking up the phone or writing a letter. Yes, it’s much faster and reliable too, but it allows you to disconnect yourself from the conversation and from the person you are talking with, creating a distraction and often offending the other person.

Others may say that today’s current technology allows those who are dating or hooking up to stay more in touch, to communicate better, but I believe just the opposite. Reliance on a mere text message rather than verbal or written communication can be just as confusing and misleading as an arrow sign in a corn maze.

One misinterpretation of a text, not responding to someone or responding in the “wrong way” is a true example of miscommunication and is just as confusing and discouraging as saying nothing at all. Better yet, the abundance of technology readily at our hands distracts us from our actual dates. Cell phone games fill the void when conversation is lacking. Scrolling through the Book of Faces becomes a past-time when not interested in the other person or when he or she is no longer spiking your attention.
What I believe: the hookup style of dating is definitely a go-to style of dating when it comes to finding a cuddle buddy or movie date. When you can just hop online and look at a few photos rather than go out into the world and, you know, socialize, why would you ever go back to the traditional style of dating?

Why waste time on phone calls or letters or actually meeting someone doing something you enjoy when you can just swipe right a few times and find your soul mate? So many people, young and old are turning to this style of dating and time and time again, I hear bad results or negative experiences, feelings of regret or disappointment because the person never wanted anything more.

3I say that if you are dabbling in this style of hookup dating, why not delete the Tinder account for a while. Instead of paying so much attention to your cell phone screen, why not open your eyes and look around you for that special someone. Although dating apps are easy and find your match quickly, how real or true do you think those bios are? The best way I think to date or search for that special someone is to stop looking for help, stop using third or fourth party apps to help you in your failed attempts to date. If you are that desperate to simply hookup or be with someone, then I think it’s time to work on yourself. You need to love and appreciate yourself and for who you are before you pursue someone else. I do believe that when it’s time to meet the right person you will, that it may not be when you expect it, but it is bound to happen.

When it happens, build your relationship in the ways of earlier days when updating Facebook relationship statuses weren’t the first priorities after becoming official. Establish personal and attentive communication between the two of you, don’t rely on Siri to hash out all of your problems.

Communication I find is key in any relationship, and in this hooking up dating culture that we are all living in, we talk more to our phones than we do to actual people. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather date the handsome guy in the black toned glasses and crooked smile on the other end of the line rather than my crappy Samsung S3 mini.