Dating In The 21st Century: Why We’re Still Single

by Aleksandra Slijepcevic

I can tell you, dating in our generation has turned upside down. In fact, I will go so far as to say that dating has almost vanished. A once-popularized idea now gone extinct. Why? Because we’ve forgotten how.

Somewhere in the middle of Facebook and Instagram, we became our best versions behind a profile picture and a social media wall. We became the popular kids that we never were in high school, and we worked our way up the social ladder that we never climbed after we left. Our dating strategies single-handedly focused in on whether we could find that person online or not, and we narrowed down our search criteria by swiping left or right on Tinder. The world was at our fingertips, but love was beyond our grasp.

I say this because I am just as much a part of this generational dilemma as anyone else. I too, swiped left and right, up and down, searching for what I thought was my way to a fulfilling relationship. I know now that the person I became is not the person I would date.  But this goes beyond a social media problem… it’s a personal growth problem.

We’ve added so much value to what others think of us that we have no idea what we think of us. We’re quick to judge and even quicker to sacrifice. And for what? For the idea that someone out there is going to give us the exact same “award” that we gave them, whether that was love, affection, time, attention, gifts, etc. We don’t know what unconditional love is because we’ve always placed conditions on it. That’s not entirely our fault; after all, that mentality has been handed down for generations. We’ve just never argued against it, never found fault in it. But maybe we can now.

Think about your dog or your cat. When you get home from work or school, they are beyond excited (maybe not your cat as much…) They love you unconditionally. If you came home dead drunk and spilled their food, they would still love you with all of their furry hearts. That’s genuine love, and while it’s not the same love we experience in our relationships, it serves a point: don’t love with a contract. Don’t go looking for love with expectations. It will never come, and if it does, it won’t make you happy for the rest of your life.

Start with yourself. Love yourself first. Put yourself first, before anyone else. It’s not selfish. You matter just as much as anyone else and if you can love yourself without conditions and judgement, you can extend that rich, genuine love to others, and one day, to your partner.

Our generation may come off as shallow and lazy because we have our heads buried in our phones from dawn to dusk, but we’re more than that. We’re innovative, passionate, and aware that there is more to this life than we’ve been led to believe. That applies to love and relationships. It’s a matter of undoing what society has done for years, and that’s realising that being single is not a state of failure. It’s a stage in life, a waiting area, if you will.

Love comes when we least expect it, and it certainly comes faster when we stop trying to manipulate it. Being your own best friend and the best version of yourself that you can be is the path to love.

Everything else will fall into place. Trust the journey.

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