In Part One we discussed how social media, abundance, gender roles and shifts in culture have changed the dating landscape.
These are all external factors that impact people’s dating behavior. Now let’s cover some of the internal factors that can make dating more challenging:
#1: Denial and Dating “Rules”
A lot of people live in denial about their true motivations or at the very least, they deny these motivations to the world. Mostly because these motivations might seem anti-social or unconventional. The great contradiction of modern times is we embrace individuality, yet we still feel the need to punish those who don’t conform.
If someone wants to think of themselves as a “good person” they are going to engage in behavior that supports that label. But internally, their emotions might not match this brand they create for themselves. This leads many people to be massive hypocrites.
Dating becomes more difficult when people are not their true selves. Everyone is a “brand” putting on an act to match their brand identity. Each brand identity has certain “rules” that need to be followed.
For instance, if a person brands themselves as a “free spirit” they have to follow the rules of that brand. Even if internally, they might actually want some stability. The minute they go off brand, their friends and family will judge them. “I thought you were a free spirit??”
So, the real person must hide behind the brand. Thus, people are not on dates with each other, they are on dates as brands. When a person is following “rules” on a date, its no different than following “rules” for a job interview: Dress a certain way, ask certain questions, etc. And just like people are not fully themselves on job interviews (usually), they are not fully themselves on dates (usually).
When people conform to a brand, they attract those who like that brand. When that “brand” is not who a person really is, it can lead to volatile relationships.
#2: The Power Struggle
The power dynamic in relationships is another “uncomfortable” topic many people want to live in denial about. Most of society is still not culturally mature enough to openly admit there is a power dynamic in all romantic relationships. Yes, we are using the forbidden word “all”.
The power dynamic is most obviously seen when people “keep score” in relationships. The typical internal score keeping that goes like this: “I bought you an expensive meal, so you owe me sex” or “I had sex with you, so you owe me another date”.
People don’t want to admit they date for selfish reasons. However, when someone they date engages in selfish behavior, this is somehow surprising to them. As if the other person is there to serve them and get nothing in return.
The power struggle stems from denial of the power struggle. Once again, nobody wants to be completely upfront about all their motives. Most people fear their openness will be taken advantage of. And this would cause them to “lose power”. They are probably right about that.
All insecurity, fear, co-dependency, desperation, and entitlement stems from a desire for power. Without a desire for power, there would be no reason to be insecure or feel fear in any dating situation. Everyone wants something from their romantic partner, and the less they have to risk or invest to get it, the better. This is the power struggle.
#3: Filling A Void
Many people are walking around feeling incomplete. This comes largely from not being honest with yourself about who you are or what you want. Its not that rare to hear people talk about being “conflicted” or “confused” about what they want. In reality, no one is ever really conflicted about what they want. The “conflict” comes when the “brand” a person creates for themselves doesn’t match their internal desires.
People fear social isolation, rejection, judgement and marginalization. So, people suppress their authentic selves in favor of a more socially acceptable image. While this helps people achieve worldly success and social acceptance, it also damages their soul and creates a void.
People conform because they believe following the majority will lead them to happiness and feeling complete. Thus, they get the fancy job, the nice car, the designer clothes, and live in the “hip” neighborhood, so they can get the “cool” friends. Now, all they need is to find “the one” and they will be complete! However, finding “the one” seems impossible. Everyone is either “off brand” or unattainable. No matter who they date, they remain unhappy. All the good men/women are “taken”. Dating is so hard!
People spend so much time crafting their “image”, they never take the time to know THEMSELVES. They are not a whole person. They are unstable because everything they do comes from outside pressure and not from internal desire.
An unstable person who changes at the whims of social pressure or the expectations of others can never be a good partner for anyone.
#4: Insecurity and The Death of Loyalty
Its well known by most that around 50% of marriages end in divorce. And this only accounts for the people who make it to marriage. When you consider the relationships that never turn into anything, the “failure” percentage is even higher. Some of the problem lies in the belief that all relationships have to have an “end goal”. Many people have lost the ability to live in the moment.
When every relationship has to have an “end goal” this leads people to be insecure. “What if this person never gives me what I want? What if I invest too much? What if they lose interest?”
A constant focus on the future kills the ability to live in the present. When you can’t live in the present, you can’t enjoy the present. When you can’t enjoy the present, you put added pressure on the relationship to “pay off”. Once a relationship fails to “pay off” within the arbitrary timeline you created in your head, you might abandon it or ruin it through drama.
In modern dating, an itchy trigger finger is common. People are insecure about investing too much, getting played or wasting their time. The added level of insecurity creates a dating environment where there is no loyalty whatsoever. In a dating environment with so much uncertainty, people learn to be more detached, cold and adversarial in their dating. And this leads us to the last reason:
#5: Misogyny and Misandry
Everything in Part One through Part Two come to a boil when people start blaming the hatred of their gender by the other gender on their lack of dating success. And it ultimately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Any person who seeks love and bonding from the opposite sex repeatedly with no success might start to resent that entire gender.
There are many women who use the label of feminism as a tool in their power struggle with men. For instance, she might support double standards when dating to give herself an advantage and minimize risk and investment. She might support all the gender roles that favor women such as men pay for dates and do all the upfront “work” while refusing to support any gender roles that favor men.
On the other side of the coin are men who become angered by numerous rejections and lost money from dates with women that lead to nothing. These men might use the label of feminism as a tool in their power struggle with women just the same. They might use the term as a label for hypocritical women who don’t “play fair”.
Ultimately, it all leads to a rise in the number of misogynists and misandrists in the dating pool. Angry men and women who hate the other gender and want to make an example of them. These people pollute and corrupt the dating pool for everyone else and damage the social dynamics between men and women.