These are just a few of today's popular "dating" apps available in the App Store. Each one has its perks and downsides, but they all have one thing in common: they introduce you to other people that you can talk to and ultimately meet up with if you so choose. These apps are part of a new "revolutionary" movement that is supposed to eliminate the social anxiety that comes with finding that ~special someone~. Whether you're swiping for a quick fix or to find a lifelong partner, there are plenty of profiles on these apps for you to choose from -- and that's a problem.
I've always considered myself to be a "hopeless romantic". As a little girl, I dreamed about my husband and what he would look like, and how I would meet him in high school, and we'd be high school sweethearts, and he would propose on a bed of roses, and we'd have a beautiful, dreamy wedding, and then we would live happily. ever. after.
Well, as an eternally single high school graduate, I can tell you that the older I got, the more unrealistic that dream became. And now, it is nothing like I hoped for as a little girl.
Being a hopeless romantic doesn't make me blind to the way the dating scene has changed around me, and I don't allow myself to entertain some sort of false fantasy that the guy I marry will be a knight in shining armor. If anything, being a hopeless romantic has forced me to wake up from my daydream because the man of my childhood dreams is nowhere to be found. I'm surrounded by two-headed beasts, and I'm not sure if I can see a way out.
Let me just say that I'm not one of those girls who's like, "OMG I need a man to live my life or I feel incomplete and can't do anything for myself blah blah blah". I am perfectly content with my life, and if I never get married, I'll be fine. I don't need a man to fill my life with happiness. I already do that by having the best people in my circle.
But, I hope that one of these days, my circle will expand to include the love of my life. How can I not? My parents were high school sweethearts, and they prove every day that love is still very real. Everywhere I look, people I grew up with and graduated with are getting married and living their happy, matrimonial lives. I have so much faith that my guy is out there which is why it is so frustrating to live in a culture where getting married young is frowned upon, but hooking up is not.
Why in the world would anyone think that by getting married, at a young age or at all, would "tie you down"? Is being in a committed relationship, where you are loyal and true to a single person, really that bad? Is it really so bad to live the rest of your life with the person who makes your soul sing? The one who brings a smile that no one else can? The one who would do anything in their power to ensure your happiness? Is all of this really such a terrible idea?
Lots of people say yes. Too many say that marrying young, or at all, gives you no room to grow and discover who you are, that becoming your own person is already hard enough as it is, and that adding another person to the mix just creates more confusion. And to an extent, I agree. If you believe that you need a partner to complete you and not complement you, you have the wrong mindset. A relationship is two becoming one, not one half and one half becoming a whole. You are already a whole person before you meet your partner, and while you don't need them to complete you, you know you are better when you are together.
I grew up learning and believing all of these things which is why it is so surprising to me that people would rather hook-up with random people time and time again than invest time into something that could become eternal. I'm even more surprised that society accepts this hook-up culture as "normal".
I understand that we have the ultimate say over our own bodies and what we choose to do with them, and I agree with that. No one should be able to tell me what I can and can't do with my body.
But, I just can't comprehend why someone should sleep around with as many people as they have fingers and toes. What kind of fulfillment does that bring? Are you happier when you sleep with half of the football team? Are you scared of loving someone? Are you scared that someone might love you? Or are you just too lazy to put forth some sort of effort that could equate to commitment?
Marriage is hard work, and if you aren't going into it with the proper mindset, it's not going to end well. I think this has a lot to do with why people hook up and don't pursue genuine relationships. No one wants to put in the work to make things work when things get difficult. The kids in my generation live in this bubble that makes marriage look like a dream, and I'm sorry to say that there aren't enough examples of beautiful, genuine marriages left to truly exemplify how married life really is. It's hard to picture the reality of something when all you've got to go off of is a movie, and while I would love to star in a Oscar-winning romance, I know that's not how real life works. Marriage is hard and real and gruesome and exhausting...in the best way.
I wish we could get back to the old way of dating. I want a boy to be nervous about asking me on a date and picking me up in his car and the awkward silence on the way to the restaurant. I want a boy to bring me home to meet his mom and me feel so sick I might throw up. I want a boy to respect my father, not because he controls me, but because he knows how much I love and respect my dad. I want a boy who loves every piece of me, even the ones that he hates. I want a boy that is willing to compromise and work through the rough spots in my soul because Lord knows I have lots of those.
There is so much more to dating that isn't covered through an app, and some of the most crucial discoveries are found before the first introduction is even made. This dating game that we all hate to love to play is steadily going downhill, and it's making it even harder for us to find our person. We need to start seeing each other as human beings instead of profile pictures. We need to hold each other accountable in our respect towards others and the way we conduct ourselves. We need to quit focusing on the sex and start seeing each other for the beautiful minds and personalities that lie within.
Personally, I believe there is something to be said for a man who still believes that traditional is the best way to go. Shout out to the guys who ask girls out on dates first before asking for a relationship, to the guys who pick girls up and pay for the first date, and to the guys who shake her father's hand when he drops her off after the date. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't believe that respecting me or my values will ever go out of style.
To my future husband: I cannot wait to meet you. I cannot wait to see your face and be so nervous to talk to you because, to me, you are the most handsome man I will ever meet. I cannot wait to hear your voice and see you smile and figure out all your weird quirks and habits. I cannot wait for the good times, the bad times, the hard times, and the best times. I cannot wait to meet you, but I will keep waiting patiently because I know that unlike the rest of this generation, you will be so worth the wait.