Modern-day dating can be difficult, especially in our post-pandemic life.
There’s no denying that. Being back in the open world has forced us out of our Netflix comfort zones, off our gaming consoles and away from our swipe-abused dating apps. Which we have all become too familiar with.
The safety nets have been ripped away, and we’re pushed into the ever-so-chaotic environment of bars, clubs, and parties, where we now must return to meeting people ‘naturally’ as we once did.
These new connections we make can be great for getting us out there. However, they will mostly turn into some fast action hook-ups driven by our passionate urges.
In contrast, no matter how hard we try to reject it, all we truly wish for is that deep connection with someone we’re genuinely interested in. Let’s say it’s less of a primal instinct and more of a modern desire.
Our main problem is that, as the true legend Bill Nye said, “Love is all around us” (or so in Love Actually it was). It’s everywhere we look, in what we watch and listen to. It’s all about love and what a perfect and complete life should be.
Our films, books, songs, and social media are all jumbled with these predisposed ideas of what’s required to have a happy life. It’s the idea that we must become ‘complete’ to achieve this.
If we’re to be honest, these are some very unrealistic ideas of what love really is.
It’s inescapable. Everything we consume is filled with these preconceived notions of love. The have-to’s and what to avoid, ‘follow these 5 steps to find the man of your dreams’. It’s all Ted Moseby’s and Prince Charming’s. Our social media feeds are overwhelmed with photographed gift hauls and ‘date nights with this one’.
It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes.
All these diamond-encrusted special moments stand for nothing and aren’t anything other than a superficial brag that allows for that momentary endorphin hit.
Many of us see love as an indispensable cure-all remedy. Something that will lift us away from our problems instead of addressing the real issues ourselves. Many fundamental problems and worries lie deep within us. Sometimes buried very deep.
We believe that we’re all one-half of a whole and that another person will complete us, making us feel complete. I’m afraid to say that’s just not true. We can mend ourselves and begin to flourish again on our own. It just takes a little time.
Too often, we are exposed to some very destructive materials that guide us in the wrong direction. They make us believe in the ‘two parts make a whole’ analogy all too often.
The consumerist lifestyle we’re all trapped in has caused us to be so inept in dating and how to do it properly. I’m the worst for it; I’ll be the first to admit that. So, don’t worry; you’re not alone. We swallow it all up. We expect these amazingly grand gestures or perfect responses to every answer. We spend all our time texting, forwarding funny TikTok’s, and sharing hilarious memes with each other, so when we meet eventually in the flesh, it all feels very dull.
The lustrous dream we have been fantasising about is precisely where it’s meant to be in our own minds. The realisation that life isn’t exactly how we imagine it is sometimes too much for us to understand, and it’s hard to accept.
The actual reality is, and I understand I am by no means an expert, that the happiness we seek can come from anywhere. It’s everywhere and doesn’t need to come in the form of someone else’s love. It comes from what we do, how we live, and who we love. It’s in the friends we meet, the family we keep, and the memories we make. It’s everything and anything, and once you have unlocked that inner will to love everything you come across, you’ll see this once-so-bleak world differently.
Now, to sign off as Hugh Grant would say, ‘if you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that love, actually, is all around!’
Feature Image Credit: Hanna Barczyk, NPR