Each generation in society has many attributions that are carried by people and are eventually passed down to future generations for decades to come. It's obvious to most people that showing one's love for someone else has increasingly changed within society.
I often lose sleep over the fact that we will ultimately be known as the generation that gave up on love.
Unfortunately no, there's no Relationship 101 course that you can enroll in for this semester. However, from communication and psychology studies, common behaviors prove to be deadly in both romantic and platonic relationships. I'm here to say that this is no longer OK. For the sake of our generation, let's consider why we are losing the ability to love and focus on ways to fix the problem.
1. We often date for the sake of dating.
Most people only date for the sake of dating. People need something to fill the void of depression or sadness, so we use others for our own benefit and label our actions as "love" or "relationship goals." Sometimes knowing that someone "loves" us makes us feel better, wanted and gives us an initial purpose to our lives. It's also become everyone's favorite sport. Millennials date because we feel as if we are supposed to.
We're supposed to find someone by the age of 21, date for a couple years, get engaged, get married, have kids and live happily ever after, right?
I hate to break it to you, but that just isn't the reality of how our lives are supposed to go. That mentality is saved for things of fiction, such as fantasy novels and romantic comedies. The true reality is that love is rare. The people that put constant posts of their significant other on social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or VSCO are all showing the world a glamorized version of their relationship. Of course, we all do that, because who wants to show the world the bad and ugly within ourselves? That leads me to my next point.
2. We value instant gratification more.
Ever get bored so you whip out your smartphone immediately and find something to do? You get lost? There's an app for that. You often can't wake up in the morning? Oh, no need to worry; you have a digital alarm clock right at your fingertips.
We live in an era where everything is high-speed. High-speed internet, high-speed 4G phone service; essentially we expect everything to happen for us immediately now and that's a problem for love.
There are so many dating apps nowadays that it's hard for us mortal, single people to keep track of the latest trends. Just Googling them now, I didn't actually realize how many there are. We've got Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr, Zoosk, Match, Lulu, Down, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn and OkCupid. Not to mention how many dating websites there are based off of people's religion, too. As efficient as our lives are with these apps, the excitement and suspense are taken out of love.
By giving into these corporate apps, we are taking ourselves out of the romance that love so beautifully offers. There is no build-up or suspense anymore. No drumroll leading up to the first kiss. No excitement of getting to know one another over a date. Now, within fingertips, we swipe left or right and guess what, if they swipe right back that's it. Now you can chat for hours and get to know who people really are without even physically meeting them. Now, I'm not saying that love cannot come from these generators, but is that really what we want for our future generations, more specifically for our future kids to have to settle for when looking for love? I really hope not.
As a society, we value television shows such as ABC's "The Bachelor" and watch how one man dates 30 women at the same time and in a matter of weeks, he is proposing to one of these beautiful girls who couldn't find love the old-fashioned way, themselves. Now don't get me wrong, I love seeing Chris Harrison's smiling face say, "Coming Up!" every Monday as much as the next girl, but doesn't that image say something wrong about the dating culture in our society?
Love is a slow build-up; it's not an instant thing. You can't go on three dates and expect to be ready to live with each other, not to mention be realistically dating 29 other women to potentially "find the one."
I mean, in all honesty, how many times have you looked at your phone while reading this article? We have to recognize what our generation has become and focus on bringing some of the old habits, such as our ability to fall in love being a uniformity instead of an abnormality.
3. The trend of non-exclusive relationships.
Many of us have fallen into this deathly circle of "non-exclusive" relationships. The title is just a fancy way of saying that you are basically still single and are able to see any other human being on this earth without it affecting your current relationship. Honestly, as days continue to go on, it baffles me how "friends with benefits," "no strings attached" and "Netflix and chill" are all terms that I frequently hear throughout the day. Is not one single person enough, anymore?
It's almost impossible with our generation to find just one person to date at a time. Sometimes non-exclusive relationships are actually a great thing to have. It allows individuals to really see what they're looking for in a partner. However, it isn't hard to argue that there is a common trend of trust issues that form once individuals begin a non-exclusive relationship, which leads me to my next point.
4. We have a fear of commitment.
If you've gotten your heart broken too, then you have also built up a series of layers in order to protect yourself from the devastating loss that you've felt. Oftentimes, people try to not get attached because we're fragile and afraid of getting hurt again. Many people would rather be cautious than fall in love at all, which I find to be extremely upsetting.
How can we really define our ability to love without defining what love actually is? Instead of just bumping our heads and singing, "Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more" at the top of our lungs, I've asked many people what love means to them and have put some of their answers below.
“Someone that loves you, loves you because you’re you,” – 11-year-old girl
"You can love yourself first because once you learn how to love yourself, you can love anything in this world," – 68-year-old woman
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday" – Seven-year-old girl
"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." – Five-year-old boy
"They say, look deep into yourself and see if you have this in-love feeling. If they had it, the relationships progressed pretty well. If they didn't, looking back it was the key to a relationship being wrong." – 87-year-old man
Don't they make love sound so beautiful and attainable? So how could we possibly be losing the ability to have that feeling? Common high standards and misleading expectations have driven people in our society to expect that their relationship needs to be perfect in order to have true love.
5. Relationships aren't perfect.
That reality is something so important to realize. You will fight. You will argue. You will be confused by their actions. Guess what? This is actually normal.
No relationship is actually perfect and if it is, then that's actually a problem. Thanks, Hollywood, but in any relationship, it's important that you challenge your significant other in order to fully grow as mature and developed people.
So here's the thing: love is such a rare thing to have. It's important that we teach our future generations of children and grandchildren that we can't settle when it comes to finding love. As long as we continue to communicate and grow as individuals and learn from past experiences, we will continue to have the ability to fully love the people around us.
Lastly, when we say that we are losing the ability to love, it isn't disregarding the thousands of people who are still wildly and passionately in love. Don't let this article doubt your ability to love or your have love within your own relationships. If anything, let these words inspire you to love even more fully and honestly.
Life is short, so tell someone today that you love them because you're not sure when you'll get another chance to.