Love or Lust in the 21st Century

An Inside Look into Love Before and After Technology

Envision a world in which Instagram direct messaging and tweets do not exist. A world where “swipe left” or “swipe right” did not determine your desirability and could not enforce gender dynamics, nor place you in a box to be submitted into objectification. Enjoying life happily single, bound to no limits and in a society that welcomes polygamy to pansexual identities, how do we even begin to navigate love or lust in the entanglement of the vast universe that is online dating?

Before we delve into the world wide web, social media platforms, and easily accessible online dating apps, it is clear that these systems have increasingly progressed since its first upbringing in the early 2010’s.

Changing the dating game

After nearly a decade, now more than ever, this generation has formulated a much more casual experience for online and mobile interactions that youth twenty years ago could never envision for themselves. Has online dating and internet intimacy become the new model for the future or will we always wonder the nature of prospective relations and how it could have been if we merely chose to kick down the door of discomfort and stepped out of our comfort zones?

Some would say social media provides a convenient resource to introduce a small fraction of ourselves and our realities to test the waters without confrontation or fear of face-to-face rejection. We measure our casual interactions by the quantity and less of the quality. Our perceptions of others have evolved into a puzzle with several different edges that can connect as a whole.

The mysterious attraction people have resorted to build for others to interpret, speaks volumes to the type of persona we allow our audience to see. Will the future of dating ultimately conclude in mixed perceptions or the most unexpected, pleasant virtual human interaction after all?

What’s in store?

In this modern era, people are more willing to resort to social media and build surface identities or formulate one-sided expectations in order to be less confrontational and more indirect.

People would rather be in control with the freedom to have fun with no consequences. This can result in “ghosting” prospects. The term “ghosting” and “talking” has definitely made its mark in the dating pool. The terms are by definition, associated with negative results. “Ghosting” in the casual dating world means cutting off an interest with no previous notice or warning. “Talking”, has grown to be known as a loose involvement between two people who are aware they have taken a liking to each other, but not in a serious way.

“This new ‘talking stage’ does make dating a little harder because you’re not sure if the other person’s intentions are the same as yours and talking doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to lead anywhere,” Skyline student Diana Do said. “It’s a lot easier to portray yourself a certain way rather than who you truly are. Social media also creates this mentality of how everything needs to be perfect, yet this isn’t something that is realistic, and this is what causes a lot of intimate relationships to fail.”

Communications professor Ryan Lescure has had a different experience since he dated before social media became such a huge influence on the dating world.

“I actually married my first girlfriend. We met when we were eighteen in the college dorms. And we dated for ten years…” Lescure said. “I feel like potentially if we met now it might be different, and potentially we wouldn’t have necessarily built the same kind of relationship in this context.”

Lescure talked about how social media has changed how people date.

“I think that social media really helps us find people who we really have a lot in common with which is definitely a good thing but, I think that social media can be isolating in a number of ways and I think it kind of creates new problems.” said Lescure.

It is easy to understand how technology and the ease and intrigue of social media apps has become a part of the dating scene for teenagers and adults. Downloading a dating app provides an outlet to experiment and not think about prolonged relationships.

What is love?

Younger generations have been conditioned and raised to perceive love as more of a one-night stand rather than take the chance to put ourselves out there. These platforms replace the possibility of forming a natural, elongated bond.

As Amy Loudon wrote in the article, “Has Technology Killed Romance?”, “Visit your grandma and have her re-tell stories of how she was wooed by your granddad; how they spent evenings dancing on the kitchen tiles and how a love note said it way better than a sweeping 140-character tweet.”

Dating in a modern world is no longer a common, shared experience, and such stories remain in history as existing before technology. Our results and relations are simply the side effects of the after.