The Perils of Modern Romance
“Romance is like alcohol. It can heal and it can hurt. It can create joy and it can create pain…romance is like alcohol, sometimes you just want to go out and get drunk for a while”.
Deep inside each of us is an urge to fall drunk in love, or to at least, know the feeling. We want genuine connection, emotional bonds, and unconditional likeness for one another.
But be careful as the pursuit to be drunk in love often leads to a hangover that is caused by romance…and the funny thing about romance is that it sometimes hurts.
Yet, it takes hurt to find more of who you are.
Modern romance begins in the palm of our hand. We log onto our app of choice and with each swipe left or right, there is a micro-judgment, which is not on the person’s character but on the selected images and 100-character description of themselves.
Meanwhile, we don’t worry if this person will like us. We are more consumed with the chase of the high of being ‘matched’.
Dating and romance have turned into a maze of guessing games. Life is already confusing and we make it even more confusing by trying to navigate the minefield of dating.
There has been a loss of emotional connection with a void of genuineness and openness.
The start of the game often begins with the swipe of a finger and usually goes something like this:
You either swipe left or right.
You spend time crafting the perfect response or opener.
You then go on a date or to ‘hang out’.
You then find someone you like.
You go on many more dates.
One person asks the other about some type of commitment.
After months the relationship becomes Facebook official.
The break-up occurs.
Followed by the bounce back.
(Repeat entire sequence.)
This game that we play is conditional in nature, leading to more and more conditional relationships.
But what makes a relationship conditional? These are relationships that are often fickle in nature where either person knows the other. Conditional relationships are based on the simple rule that “I’ll do this for you if you do this for me”.
The actual relationship is de-prioritized over something else. Conditional relationships make us lonely because no real connection has ever been made.
Let’s circle back to what usually occurs as the ‘second & third step’ in the game.
You make a match and a date is planned. In between the time of the planned date, you contemplate in your mind how many days do you wait to send the next text.
Or do you send a double text?
Do you ignore this person until the next date?
The anxiety of what to do and what not to do makes it hard to be you.
It’s the day of the date, but you still think, is this a date or are we hanging out? Is Netflix & Chill the modern version of being courted?
…all the while, you don’t even know this person’s last name.
“We live in a world where people are afraid to feel anything genuine, or at the very least, are afraid to show it”.
It’s all a game and if you don’t play by the rules, then you will lose. Each and every one of us is filling a void, for our own individual reasons.
We need to be aware of what emotional need and void we are looking to fill or to fill.
There are three very basic emotional needs in dating:
Status: Feeling important
Connection: Feeling understood and appreciated
Security: Feeling safe and reliable
These emotional needs are in all of us. By being more aware of these needs, it will not only save you a lot of pain and the romance hangover but will also help with the other person & connection you have or don’t have.
For us men especially, we have not one clue of awareness of our own emotional urges and motivations. This unawareness leads to a feeling of helplessness and failure within our dating lives.
We deny our feeling of need for connection and intimacy. Often projecting it onto the women who we date.
Dating is emotional and most failed relationships are at fault because we never engage with the depths of our emotions.
Instead in today’s culture, there is an objectification of romance. Relationships are treated as a checklist and often seen as a shallow exchange of ‘time, information, or bodily fluids’.
Call this the “Instant Gratification Culture.”
“Everyone is human and we’re all just trying to understand one another in this messy dating world, so stop treating a relationship of any kind like it’s a challenge to complete”.
It’s this chase, the chase of the next best thing. The chase that there’s a better person after this swipe or that I’ll meet someone better. The feeling of abundance leads us to feel lonely. When you have everything and it all seems accessible, the real connections start to fade away.
Now you’re in the serious part of the romance game. You get in a relationship with a person where you are no longer dating to date but to build or grow together.
For the realist out there, there are really only two options when you enter into a relationship: 1) Get married or 2) Break up.
There is never a good time for the second and the pain that comes with it. This person who you once knew and was once the closest person in your life is now a stranger. Now you think, will you hate each other? Or stay in touch?
You try to remember the good times and the bad. Reminded by social media – this person never actually leaves but follows you not only in memories but in this new digital environment.
This doesn’t help your recovery, as the less you know, the better you are.
Sometimes, it’s best to realize that the break up is a sign of your incompatibility and that you may be better off.
It’s healthy to limit contact and lessen the risk of setting off an emotional time bomb where you end up in this never ending scenario of “we’re not together but kind of are…we’re definitely not boyfriend and girlfriend but we kind of date…should I call or text to check in?”
There are stages we go through after the breakup. Often relapsing and thinking of what may have been.
“We obsessively search our memories for the moments, or even the moment, where it all went wrong, and then we kick ourselves for the things we did or didn’t do in those moments that could have saved it all” Mark Manson.
When life separates you from your romantic partner, just remember that your paths crossed at that point in time for a reason. Be thankful for the experiences and lessons.
The pain is inevitable, but we all just want to love each other…causing us to be love sick.
The truth is that emotions hurt but they can also help us. They can make us better people or worse and can be used for good and evil.
But yet, as the singer Sampha so graciously states “Don’t let your heart hide your story and don’t let your mind hide your story.
If you deny others inside, it will be harder to move along.
Take this time to focus on yourself, to grow within yourself, and to understand your own emotional needs for connection.
Use the game of dating and romance as a mechanism to find more out more about yourself. It is kind of like science, you have to mess up a few times before you get it right. Each failed date or relationship is part of the process – it is the whole point.
All in all, always remember the law of fuck yes or fuck no. Knowing, understanding, and applying this law will help with your sanity and navigating the perils of modern romance.
The law states, in which when you get involved with someone in whatever capacity, you both must respond with a Fuck Yes. By following the law you will no longer pursue those who aren’t that into you, you will no longer pursue ego-driven romance, and you will build strong boundaries and know where you stand.
If it always seems like a fuck no when you’re chasing a yes, it’s probably best to put the glass of romance down and go to a different bar.
“Romance is like alcohol in that it captivates us when we’re young. It intoxicates us and convinces us that what we’re experiencing is the only thing that is real, the only thing that matters. As we grow older and gain more experience, we learn to trust this feeling less and less, to understand that it comes and goes like anything else.”
The perils of modern romance.