Millennials have had a uniquely weird time of it, haven’t they? From virtual reality holidays to artificially intelligent chauffeurs, tech has given every aspect of their lives a good prodding. And the millennial dating world has been no exception.
For those born between the early eighties and the millennium, courtship and romance look very different from how they looked for preceding generations. It’s not that anything has been lost, per se. People still pen impassioned love paragraphs and sit entwined on hillsides to watch the sunset, as they always have. It’s just that, advances in technology and changes in society have given us so much more to consider besides. The rules have changed, and there’s no going back.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though! If you’re looking to leap into the wild world of millennial dating, here’s a crash course in modern love.
Millennial Dating: A Crash Course
Choice! Horrible, horrible choice! We crave it – demand it even – and yet too much of it is stifling. Who among us hasn’t spent a solid hour trying to decide which film to watch, before eventually giving up all together? Too much choice can have a petrifying effect; if you just search a bit longer, you may well find something better – repeat ad infinitum.
Spare a thought, then, for poor millennial daters, searching the horizon for any sign of ‘the one’ without noticing the dozens of perhaps-not-perfect-but-still-pretty-great suitors passing them by. Love was simpler thirty years ago: You just married the person in the house opposite yours and got it over with.
Virtual dating is king
Virtual dating has become mainstream in recent years. Okay, this might not be specific to millennial dating, but it’s now common practice for millennial daters to spend a lot of time chatting over video. Despite the fact that this is often perceived negatively, video dating has also provided a safe and fun environment for those who feel anxious about jumping into an in-person first date.
We know what you’re thinking though: Virtual dating is just staring at each other through the camera while praying for something to break the unbearably awkward silence. Not anymore! These days, there’re plenty of ways to avoid awkwardness when on a video date.
Ghosting, for those who’ve been living out their days in a cave, is the unfortunate practice of simply vanishing from your partner’s life without an explanation. Block, delete, done. People generally ghost because they don’t want to have the uncomfortable ‘it’s not working out’ chat, and with the rise of millennial dating apps, ghosting has become more widespread.
It’s great for the dumper, of course – they get off scot-free! That is, as long as they can allay the guilt of knowing their ex is, in all likelihood, standing atop a hill in the rain cursing their run of bad matches.
Once upon a time breaking up with somebody was, although unpleasant, a straightforward affair. One or both of you suggested it wasn’t working out, and after some back and forth, you reached an agreement to stop taking your clothes off in front of one another. Cry for a week, fill a shoebox with mementos, shove it under the bed, and commence the healing process.
For millennial daters, however, the Jetsons-Esque techno-sheen of the future has brought along a flurry of moral conundrums. Do you block your ex on social media? Do you delete all photos of the pair of you from your phone? Do you unfollow their friends? It just all seems so… destructive.
Then again, the alternative is to spend the next half-century wandering the barren moors of one another’s Facebook profiles on moonlit evenings like the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw.
Some people just love to chat. Whether it’s texting, calling, instant messaging, or commenting on posts – for many cyberspace socialites – the reciprocal sending of messages constitutes a major love language.
This would be fine, but for the fact that some people categorically do not love to chat. These conversational camels can go for hours or even days at a time without responding to a message. And, because the universe is funny like that, these two kinds of people often end up married.
Way back when, constant contact simply wasn’t an option – there’s only so much back-and-forth a homing pigeon can do in a day. Today, millennial couples must navigate a dating world where they’re contactable at any given moment. Gone are the days of staying out for one last cheeky drink with your colleagues and blaming your tardiness on traffic. Your partner will see straight through your excuse, given they’ve spent the past hour monitoring your movements on their laptop like Jason Bourne.
Romantic relationships aren’t everything
Dating as a millennial isn’t always about finding romance. These days, a lot of the focus has shifted toward social dating, with more people looking to meet someone in a non-romantic context. This casual approach is less pressurized and gives millennial daters the chance to make genuine connections, rather than having to frantically scurry through their “ideal partner checklist” to find someone who fits the bill.
Social dating communities offer millennials the chance to connect with others in a stress-free environment. Popular platforms like Zoosk Live offer spaces for daters to connect in real-time, whether it’s through interacting with popular live streamers or chatting with other viewers.
Gender roles banished
Previous generations lived out their whole lives within the confines of strict gender roles. Work was split into two distinct camps: breadwinning for one sex and homemaking for another. Today? Hogwash! There’re no rules anymore.
In fact, the idea of rigid gender roles seems antiquated and laughable to most millennials. Modern couples are less concerned about cramming themselves into the molds supplied by society. They’re more concerned with working together to build a life in whatever fashion they see fit.
Craving for real connections
The modern era has added a lot of odd quirks to romance. At its core, however, love remains the same. What millennial daters really want – and have always wanted – is to find real, meaningful connections; to find love.
Focusing on What Matters Can Make Dating as a Millennial Genuinely Special
Try not to be daunted by the silliness of the millennial dating world. It can be a little dizzying at first and it’s definitely fast-paced. But, if you focus on what really matters, it can be so rewarding.
Date in a way that works for you, practice self-love as you go, and remember that, behind all the bells and whistles, there’re plenty of singles hoping and wishing to fall in love with someone spectacular – someone like you. So, take your time and figure things out as you go. You’ll be just fine!