Why Dating Is So Hard

If you’ve recently been single or are currently solo, then you’ve heard all the gripes about dating. Most of the complaints come from dreaded online dating. Between the fake accounts, incomplete ones or bad matches, it can feel very defeating. But today’s problem isn’t that there aren’t enough good fish out there, but that there are too many options.

Having too many choices can make us miserable, especially when it comes to finding a soulmate. Just 100 years ago, you typically dated someone who you already knew and that lived nearby because there were not as many opportunities to get out and meet people. And who knew when the next prospect was coming around? Today, people travel more or can search dating apps for hours without leaving the comfort of their homes. People dress up more to take pics for their dating apps and social profiles than actually putting in the effort to get dressed up and go out.

Before the turn of the 20th century, courtship was a more private, unemotional affair having more to do with finding a suitable match for marriage than true love. Women and men now have a lot more freedom from family arrangements and social expectations and can also take more time to explore and have fun along the way. There isn’t as much pressure to get married once a formal education is completed, but the stigma still exists for singles. So, millions of single men and women get mixed messages about dating in general, which gets very confusing.

Singleton poster child Bridget Jones sings “All By Myself” in the opening scene of Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Maybe it’s not that dating is so difficult but that it’s still perplexing for men and women to be okay with remaining single. There are more ways to meet people than ever before, yet the number of singles continues to increase each year. Maybe the debacle is in how we still compare old belief systems with newly-developing relationship norms. People wait longer to get married and have children. And According to America’s Families and Living Arrangements, there were 110.6 million unmarried people in America age 18 and older in 2016. This group made up 45.2 percent of all U.S. residents age 18 and older. And the number of unmarried people is expected to rise.

Unfortunately, single life continues to be stigmatized, with singles routinely stereotyped as less secure, more immature and more self-centered than married people. However, in some significant ways, it’s the single people who are doing particularly well. People with more modern relationship portfolios tend to be more satisfied with their lives in contrast to couples who move in together or get married. Studies have also shown that people who stay single develop much deeper levels of confidence in themselves and undergo more personal growth than those who walk down the aisle.

Family and home life needs to be redefined because more and more people are expanding the traditional boundaries of family and old-school beliefs about what and when you should hit certain milestones. Otherwise, millions are going to continue hating their single lives instead of getting out there and living their dreams. It’s only when you let go and live the life you want, not what you’ve been told, that you’re open to meeting your soulmate anyway. You might as well do what you want. Marriage isn’t for everyone – if it’s your dream, hold on to it, but respect your path first and foremost. Great love is a journey, not a race.