Modern Dating is a God Damn Mess

A few months ago, I jumped back into the dating scene— the culture most people are so eager to flee from, and with good reason. Dating culture within the Millennial generation is a goddamn mess.

If you do a google search about dating today, you’ll see an insane number of articles discussing everything from “What To Do If He Ghosts You” to “How To Keep His Interest After The First Date”. It’s ridiculous.

When I first started dating again, it was strange. Nothing quite stuck, and most of the connections I made with people faltered by the end of the night. However, a few weeks in I met someone who I thought was relatively charming; he was ambitious and intelligent— the kind of person you would want to keep around and share successes with.

We went on one date. It didn’t go well. The connection wasn’t immediately there, but I wanted to give it a second shot.

So, I texted him and he replied cordially. I could tell that he wasn’t interested, but I wanted him to tell me outright. This sluggish back-and-forth went on for a couple of weeks, until I received this message from him:

“I had a lot of fun too, but here’s the problem: I recently decided to move back to New York, and I’ll most likely be leaving at the end of the month.”

Flash forward to two months later. I had been on a number of hit-or-miss dates, and I’d forgotten about that man altogether. I honestly believed that I would never see him again. Following my usual routine, I hit up karaoke with a few of my friends. At the bar, I saw someone I very vaguely recognized.

It’s him.

He’s with a date, and decidedly not in New York— unless New York and Wisconsin miraculously merged overnight to become one nonadjacent Super State. I was livid. How could someone be so spineless?

Before this night, I would have said that ghosting is the most cowardly thing someone could do when dating— but I was wrong.

Lying is the worst thing you can do.

I am the type of person who will tell someone, ‘No, I don’t want you to buy me a drink’— the type of person who will plainly say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just not attracted to you.’ I would rather worry less about bruising someone’s ego than pandering to their feelings to avoid conflict.

However, not everyone is like that. Most people tend to let situations fizzle out— leading others on or ghosting them until they take the hint. I’ve been that person in the past. I’ve unintentionally strung people along for the ride, but when I realized what I was doing: I shut it down.

Situations like these feel like a terrible inevitability within our dating culture— but they aren’t. They’re avoidable. Games and power plays in the dating scene don’t need to exist. When people are honest about their feelings— and most importantly, when people are brave: These games disappear.

Previously published at www.ThoughtCatalog.com

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