We no longer see the point of commitment. Simply because we see no point to it. They’ve always said there are so many fishes in the sea, but never before has the sea of fishes right at our fingertips on Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, OkCupid, pick a choice! We can order up a human being in the same way we choose our dinner from Pizza.be. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed strings of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, but maybe it is. Romance as the modern age defines is by putting the phone down long enough to look into each other’s eyes at dinner, paying attention fully to what each other has to say. Or maybe what is worse, romance is still there, only now we don’t know anymore how it looks like.
When we finally choose to commit, we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet. Because today, we have choice! But have you ever given a thought that maybe our choices are killing us? We always think to have choices means something. We think the more chances we have, the better it is. Due to this plenty of choices available to us now, we no longer understand what satisfaction looks, sounds, and feels like. We are standing right one foot out the door, where there are plenty other options await. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is. We long for something that we still want to believe that somehow it exists. Yet, we are looking for new thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the instant gratification.
How can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We can always bail. Leave. Because the limitless world is still there in front of us offering myriad of choices.
Open up Instagram, see the lives of others. The life that we think we would like to have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, more input, and plenty more of them. Yet, we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels hopeless. Because we simply no longer see our lives for what they are. Instead of what they aren’t.
At the same time we live in the world with unspoken rules that everyone has to follow. When we like someone don’t text them first. We can’t tell them bluntly that we like them and the reason that makes them special in our eyes. No, we can’t do that, because it will ruin all the romance. When someone texts you back after 3 hours, then don’t text them back even though your phone is right in your hand when you receive the messages. We don’t text back instantly after a date that went very well because you will look so cheap and clingy. This unspoken dating rules are so complicated that sometimes I feel it’s way easier to finish my master thesis than going out on a date.
Let’s say we are lucky enough to find it. Say we find that person we love and who loves us back. Commitment came, intimacy follows. “I love you.” Then quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we hardly know that we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. Telling the world that we’ve become “we”. We try to polish it to make it seems shiny and perfect. We don’t share the 3 a.m fight, the reddened eyes, the tear-strained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines in a light on where we don’t even know how to love ourselves. This is what we share. Shiny pictures. Happy couple. Love is perfect.
The next thing is we see the other’s happiness, shiny couples, and we start comparing. Soon, we find ourselves to be in despair. We will make ourselves miserable until we get what we think we want.
So, we break up. We break up because we’re not good enough, our lives aren’t good enough, our relationship has never been good enough. We swipe more and just a bit more on Tinder. We order someone up to our door just like we order a pizza. And all the cycles start again. Emoji, “Good morning” text, intimacy, putting down the phone, couple selfie, happy couple projection, comparing, and another comparing.
We ask ourselves, “What’s wrong?”. “This isn’t working, but I don’t know why.” “I need something more.”
We worry so much about settling, because all we know settling is less shiny, accustomed life is boring and not Facebook-worthy. What is settling? We don’t know, but so fucking sure we don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, it’s settling. If it’s not Instagram-able, it’s settling.
We want phone calls, we want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of phone screen. We want slowness, we want simplicity, we want a life that doesn’t need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, neither upvotes. We want the true connection, we long for them. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people, we want to lay our heads down next to them at the end of the day. This is what we want, we know it… But maybe we just forget how to get there.
Because this is the way we date now. This is not how we love…