Dating is complex. It’s a minefield of constant meanderings with those potentials that we hope will be a match. It takes a whole lot of courage to put ourselves out there on the dating scene where we find that we spend time reflecting on ourselves, reflecting on others and making comparisons on what we deem to be an acceptable match and indeed, what we think is not. Dating can be tough and a test of how discerning we are as individuals.
A huge part of my professional life enables me to be busy travelling to meet singles internationally who are serious to search for love and are willing to look on a global scale for the right person. I am talking about clients of mine who are willing to build relationships for the long-term further to a long distance romance via personal introductions - wherever the person is, they don’t seem to think this a hindrance but rather a helping hand to their romantic life. It never seizes to blow my mind how each day my team of meddling matchmakers are keeping so busy - even on a planet where singles seem to be at our very finger tips - the majority of the world of singles are swiping in the hope to find a soulmate. However, whilst the swipes are plentiful, dating potentials is so few and far between, I wanted to lightly investigate through many a conversation with my clients and potentials regarding what on earth is going on out there. Is there a crisis - why so many matches, yet so little return on emotional investment? Is it that singles have saturated the swiping platforms, maybe they have been on so many dates and are a little jaded by the 'soulmate' search. A tour across the states meeting around 230 singles in May and June enabled me to scratch the surface with singles and their online dating experiences.
Singles today are going on so many dates, ‘matching’ with so many suitors on the platform of their choice and yet struggling to forge a lasting connection further than date two or three, if lucky. Whilst I do think apps and online platforms have their place, I do also think that we are losing the human element to dating and there is a communication crisis between those that are consciously looking to couple - I am also finding this to be mainly in major cities globally - in my experience; San Fran, LA, NYC and also back home in London. We are talking about smart, savvy, educated, successful singles struggling to connect with each other. Moreover, the singles I am referring to are super duper serious in their search for love - so why haven’t they been snapped up? Let’s take a look at a few potential reasons communication has broken down, specifically with online dating (with the majority of singles talking of using around 3 or 4 apps over online dating - mainly for convenience).
Traditional Roles Vs Equality
In a modern world where women strive for equality on all levels the majority of females on dating apps expect men to reach out to them first. Sure, we think men should show that chivalry isn’t dead and forge ahead with saying hello and communicating first but for single males, it’s all a little confusing and dating apps can also be a little daunting. To get the best result online ladies and whilst we think a gent should be gentlemanly and indeed propose the date I do think that saying hello is really a great thing to do on both sides of the ‘match’ otherwise what a waste of energy, time invested in finding said match and you risk a loss of momentum in moving forward. What’s the worst that could happen from a simple hello - who knows where it may lead?
Excessive Vetting Before The Date
Now, this really is over-communicating and it can happen if you feel you might really quite like someone - it's normal but be conscious of it. You don’t want your first date to be a struggle for conversation points because you have asked so many questions via your app or Whatsapp beforehand. Whilst you think you are being efficient, perhaps as efficient as you may in your professional life, it’s really not a good idea here so try not to transfer it to your personal / romantic life. When you ask a tonne of questions before the date you can a) end up pre-judging them and not going on the date at all b) going on the date having accumulated lots of expectation and finding there isn’t any chemistry c) becoming emotionally attached to a stranger or d) getting so excited and working your first date nerves up more than they would normally be. Don’t excessively vet, don’t over-communicate, have a little small talk and schedule the first date as soon as possible then your gut should tell you the rest. Right?
Interviewing Rather Than Dating
If you’re serious in your search chances are you will want to quickly get to the hard questions out of the way sooner rather than later, inevitably so you don’t waste either parties time; this I get as time is precious. However, what happened to the art of flirting and seeking a strong attraction on an intellectual and physical level too. I know all too well that singles can use the first date as an opportunity to interview someone for marriage and that can be scary, especially if there are those first date nerves involved too. I would suggest not to go in feet first but to test the waters to see if you are compatible with chemistry and feel comfortable in each others company first. Leave the heavy questions to the third date when the moment feels right and feelings may start to develop - the hand holding stage. Remember it’s not an interview for marriage and the process of finding a partner can be a positive one if you make it so.
Not Being Straightforward
Modern day dating poses so many options to move forward and see if the grass is greener on the other side with a constant need to swipe or check their isn't something better out there for us. We need to be crystal clear with ourselves as well as those around us - it’s only fair. Are we really, truly looking to partner or is this process just for fun? Whilst we know finding someone equally as relationship-minded as you isn’t child’s play but we should be honest with ourselves. Moreover, if we are just not feeling the person we are dating is right for us we absolutely should not be making up excuses. Just be honest, you’ll feel liberated for it, you'll keep your integrity and be respected whatever the outcome is with the person. Honesty is always the best policy as far as I am concerned.
Expectations (the search for perfection)
In our search for perfection our list of expectations is ever growing, we want what we want and we want it yesterday. Our expectations are higher than ever and of all places I went to Los Angeles to interview a huge (not an overstatement) group of singles who are all searching for love and dating a gazillion people but struggling to find 'The One".
LA has a huge entertainment industry - it’s a hub of successful creatives who are driven, majorly into self-development and all generally assertive in their go-getter mentalities. LA has always been a little bit “hurry up and wait” and now even more so in dating. Singles are being proactive but not getting to where one would like to be - coupled up. We are talking professionals busying themselves on the dating scene and pro-actively looking to partner but perhaps focusing too much on their list of expectations rather than on what really matters in a match - core values, moral compass, chemistry and commonalities of being on the same end page together.
The dating scene in LA is busy - a place where singles are so ready and willing to get out dating and they are having no problem getting dates but the real problem here is actually getting to a second date or forging complex enough communication strategies to make a match run the distance. I have often described dating in LA being a little bit like an onion since we find singles are looking to only peel the first couple of layers of the onion with a potential match and not really getting to know each other on a level that is further than that close to the surface, not trying to understand goals, aspirations, family orientation or be willing to look outside of their list of expectations and certainly not willing to compromise too much. Now, whilst i'm expressing my findings in LA, I can tell you that this is a modern day dating problem the world over, in LA it seems to be magnified by the constant searching for success and perhaps for perfection in life that has transferred to finding a love-match.
It feels like we modern daters and millennials have built up a wall to protect our emotional selves, perhaps in order to only show a glimpse of who we really are, perhaps for fear of rejection which is a huge factor singles are facing today, particularly in the world of online dating. Whilst walls are built for protection they are also built for restriction - restricting ourselves from moving forward romantically and finding the love we really do deserve.
In conclusion, it seems todays barrier to finding a match is basically a communication crisis served with a healthy side of the paradox of choice, I do believe the only way to overcome this is to really, truly see the person you are dating, don't think about anyone else on the dating scene and turn your thoughts to your feelings emotionally and physically - always trusting your gut. If something doesn't feel right then it most probably isn't.