I’ve got it bad for Amazon Prime. I think it’s magical that I can order a fascinator for a steeplechase event I’m going to this weekend (so fun, right!?) and it’ll be on my doorstep in two days. A fascinator! How random! And yet there it is, waiting for me to use it to enact all my Royal Wedding attire dreams as I sip mint juleps or something.
Amazon Prime isn’t the only site that fuels our “give it to me now” obsession. Even my library is in on it. I didn’t want to wait until I had time to go to Barnes and Noble to buy our newest Book Club book, so I hopped on the library’s site and downloaded it right to my iPad. Done.
I love this aspect of 2016 so much. I really do. I also know it’s having a negative impact on our approach to dating.
Here’s the thing: when you’re 27 and single, you’re probably going to download a dating app and swipe away until you meet someone you think you might like. Eventually you go out with this person. If it goes well, you go on a few more dates. Then you hit this awkward point: we’ve been out four or five times. Do we keep seeing each other? When do we have to define our relationship? Are you ready to take it to the next level? Am I?
The problem is that before your dates, you were total strangers. If you had passed each other at the grocery store, you wouldn’t have even know to say hi. While you’ve gotten to know each other over a few rounds of drinks and maybe a meal or two, your knowledge level about each other is still fairly limited in the grand scheme of life. This makes taking a relationship to the next level a.) scarier and b.) more difficult, and it’s partially why a lot of the dates/mini-relationships I have stall out. That level of comfort still isn’t there for me, even though standard dating “rules” say we should know at this point whether we want things to progress. In reality, these dating commandments need to be entirely rewritten because online dating has changed the game.
On my podcast, The Margarita Confessionals, this week, we had my mom (owner of a 35-year marriage) on as a guest. One of the many pieces of advice she gave was to slow dating down. It’s okay to go out for a little while and see if you actually like spending time together before you start throwing titles on things and posting all over social media. You need that foundation of a real friendship first.
In fact, I think it would be great if there was a three to five date grace period where it was understood that you were both getting to know each other. No worrying about “where is this going?” at all, just cover the basics and start to develop a friendship first. That way if you do decide you want to take things to the next level, that level of trust and comfort is there. You’re no longer just strangers who exchanged a few well-timed GIFs on a dating app. Believe me, I’m all about the speediness of life in 2016. I ordered something from Sephora two days ago. Where the hell is it? I want it NOW. But this is one area of life where pumping the brakes is entirely acceptable and necessary.
Do you think online dating moves too fast? Let me know in the comments!