RSVP Montgomery

The Game Has Changed

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014

Mallory Anderson
I feel sorry for Santa Claus. His life must have been so much easier before the Internet. Back in the days of yore, Christmas gifts were truly magical things. They were unexpected, unresearched, uncompared. Unwrapping them on Christmas morning elicited a careless glee, a welcome distraction from worldly woes. An un-merry consequence of the Information Age has been the disappearance of magic from Christmas morning. Imagine the scene: a family settles down to open gifts and Santa Claus's stand-ins, Mom and Dad, sit giddy with anticipation of their teenage daughter's reaction to their most magical gift. Distractedly, she tears off the immaculate wrapping to reveal: "what, an iPhone 6??!! Ugghh. I said I wanted the 6 Plus. I texted you guys the exact picture and specs from the website. Tell me you kept the receipt!” In this season of evergreens, it seems we have become fixated on the "ever greener" - that elusive grass on the other side of the fence that will forever be more desirable than our own.

Romance, it seems to me, has gone the way of Christmas morning. Back in the days of yore, romance was truly a magical thing. Unexpected, unresearched, uncompared. Unfolding that love letter passed under the desk elicited a careless glee, a welcome distraction from worldly woes. An un-merry consequence of the Information Age has been the disappearance of magic from romance.

It used to be so much simpler. Meet a guy, go on a few dates, and determine if he’s worth keeping around. Traditional courtship and old rituals have been replaced with text messaging and apps like Tinder. It seems we are now only interested for as long as the promise is twinkling, until a new shiny star catches our attention. Imagine the scene: our unhappy iPhone 6 recipient, fresh from exchanging her phone, sits in the mall catching up with her friends. "That new kid, Jason, just texted me. He wants to go to a movie tonight. I can’t believe the movie he picked - all the reviews on the movie websites say it sucks. And have you seen his Instagram profile pic? He is so full of himself. And did you know his Mom is his Facebook friend? That's so weird.”

We’ve redefined commitment
We are not as devoted to our current relationship. Not only that, we are also not committed when it comes to making set plans in advance. We tend to focus on what is lacking rather than being grateful for what is right in front of us. Instead of trying to work through differences, it seems easier to end things all together. Technology has made it simpler to find someone new. One thing to keep in mind: working through issues tends to grow a couple closer. The next time something that he/she does gets on your nerves, make the effort and talk about how you are feeling. It can only go one of two ways, right?

We play the field
If a girl or guy doesn’t call you back, it hurts. Our pride is bruised and we get discouraged. If she doesn’t tweet or match you on a particular dating website, who cares? Right? With technology, relationship initiation requires little to no effort, which means the risk of rejection is slim to none. Before technology, courting took actual effort. You would write love letters, make random appearances to each other’s homes or work, send flowers and sometimes even send a cassette tape of all the songs that you want to dedicate to the one you are pining for. What does that mean for all of the single people out there? The lower risk leads to juggling love interests. We have the mindset that if one doesn’t work out; I believe it was Jay-Z who put it best...“on to the next one.”

We are more likely to trade up
Because online dating and social media make it easier to see what is out there, men and women are far less likely to remain miserable in a relationship. We tend to question if what the person we are currently seeing really has everything we are looking for in a mate. In most cases, we find someone new and that person is also lacking one thing on our long list of qualifications. With the information overload, we are constantly changing our minds and in turn making it even harder to find that special someone. Knowing the possibility of finding a new and exciting someone is a few easy clicks away is a pretty great reason to end things with someone who just isn’t doing it for you.

We date outside of the box
With access to so many options, we are willing to give something different a try. This has been the case for several close friends of mine. They connect with a guy who they would normally not give a second thought to if seen out in public or happen to meet via serendipitous encounter. Services like Tinder and Match.com are great for weeding out the “un-dateable” and allowing you to do a little research on someone before deciding to reach out to them.

So not all bad, right? At the end of the day, romance is not dead. We are just in danger of neglecting it in our fast-paced world (guys – you can’t make a lady’s heart melt with a series of sweet emojis like you can when you open her car door). If one party is willing to put in the effort, we should be committed to seeing it through. We all want to be shown respect and honored in our commitments. There is no doubt that technology has changed the dating game, in some ways for the better and in other ways for the worse; the problem is – do we even know the rules? 

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