Is This Temporary Love?

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Last January, I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly two years. Only a week after ending that relationship, I plunged into the dating app scene in New York City. So I’ve experienced my fair share of casual dates and drunken hookups. And I understand that at the age of 21—living in an environment teeming with other young adults—finding a serious relationship may not be a priority.

After all, we are at the age of exploration, mentally, physically, and sexually. Constantly challenging the self. This may be the only time in our lives where this kind of experimentation is possible. There is an exciting quality of freedom in temporary emotional exploration and pursuing the pleasures of life without complication.

With dating apps, there is an unmeasurable quantity of potential partners, and with that, there can be inevitable effects. The rejection that comes with dating apps increases anxiety and lowers self-esteem. Low matches, crude messages, not to mention ghosting, catfishing, and breadcrumbing, can actually make users more cynical about potential dates over time. Then there are the people that dodge strong feelings, causing an unhealthy lagging of commitment. There is a shared fear of it and an unequivocal denouncement of the idea of love or falling in love.

If the fear of falling love isn’t enough, there’s also the risk of contracting extremely undesirable STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. So if your dates result in sex, always use protection; you don’t want to be considered a statistic for the record high numbers in those three STDs.

In an article from The New York Times, Phoebe Lett asked students at nine colleges and universities how technology affects the campus dating scene. A student from the University of Michigan says, “The indecisiveness that is built into dating app culture can stunt us—we’re trapped in an endless cycle of swipes! Commitment, already a scary concept to many, becomes even more difficult with the false illusion that the dating possibilities are endless.”

New York takes dating apps to a whole new level. Many New Yorkers are used to getting what they want when they want it. This city flourishes on limitless possibilities, and most of all, it perpetuates the “there’s probably something around the corner” attitude.

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The abundance of opportunities and options may sound superb to a lot of people, but it gets exhausting. And needless to say, I am tired of texting back and forth for weeks and never meeting up in person; I am tired of first dates that never lead to seconds. I am tired of temporary love beginning and ending in a blink of an eye. I crave the simplicity of an earlier era when technology didn’t play such a central role. Then I wouldn’t have to sort out the ambiguity of unclear signals or texts. I wouldn’t have to overanalyze every word and interaction to what feels like the point of insanity.

Today’s romantic landscape is full of uncertainty, gray areas and a lack of guarantees about where any given connection might lead. The prevalence of technology in dating has made it easier to set up people who find each other mutually attractive; however, it removes the humanization behind falling in love. In a CNN article, “The Lost Art of Offline Dating,” dating coach and author Adam LoDolce notes, “At the end of the day we’re designed for human contact, not a computer screen.”

So if you’re looking for love that doesn’t require screens, then perhaps when you’re standing in line at Starbucks and hear someone mention a common interest, instead of sticking your nose in your phone, take the opportunity to put yourself out there. What’s the worst that can happen? That person shows zero interest, or you could spark a connection, but you’ll never know unless you take that chance.