Why Our “Swipe Right” Culture is Killing Long-Term Relationships

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My last relationship lasted five years. Half a decade. That’s a long time, and though the relationship ultimately was flawed, I can look back on it and say we went in with grit and determination. We worked through problems and had bad fights, but didn’t give up until it was absolutely necessary.

But the mini relationships I’ve had since then? They typically last about three weeks before the wheels start to fall off. I realize I’m not that into it or the guy becomes clingy or something else goes wrong. While my friends and I laugh about the constant “roster change” (I love a good sports analogy) it’s actually sort of depressing to think about.

For a while I assumed I was just picking the wrong people, which is definitely part of it, but then I realized the issue is bigger than that. Somewhere along the way on this whole online dating journey, I’ve picked up an “on to the next one” attitude.

While this is a great song by Jay-Z, it’s not a great way to approach dating. Because when you’re always looking for an excuse to bail, you can miss out on connecting with a solid match because you weren’t patient enough or didn’t want to put in the legwork. When you first start dating someone new, it’s easy to think you know what they’re all about. After all, you’ve exchanged roughly 14,000 text messages, 2,000 Snapchats, and have liked each other’s posts on Instagram many times. This is in addition to the three or four actual dates you’ve been on. Of course you know them!

Wrong. Absolutely, positively wrong.

Social media and texting give you a false sense of intimacy. They make communication surface-y and too easy. Then, when a problem/miscommunication does pop up, you’re unpleasantly surprised and tempted to be like, “Mehhhh, I’ll just hop online and find someone new.”

If this “on to the next one” mentality had existed when I first started dating my last boyfriend, we would have broken up after just a matter of months. But I hadn’t experienced online dating yet, so I didn’t know that it’s become acceptable to want a relationship without having to put in any work. Without having to have hard or awkward or deep conversations while looking another person in the eye as you do it.

No, you shouldn’t waste your time on someone who’s clearly a bad fit. If you’re not genuinely excited to hang out with that person, cut your losses and find someone you click with better. But if you’ve just started seeing someone and things are going pretty well, don’t let a little bump in the road derail the whole thing. Take some time to actually talk to the other person, and I mean face-to-face, no emojis allowed. Let them know what you need. Because as much as it feels like you totally get each other, long-lasting relationships have to go deeper than swapping Facebook likes and texting all day.

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