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May 27, 2022

Modern Dating: Privilege or Curse?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.

I get it, modern dating is tough.

Online dating can feel dehumanizing. Some people are afraid to commit in a world filled with so many choices. Many ghost. Yet others have lost the art of real-life conversation and traded it for endless texting.

As a dating and relationship coach, I help folks navigate these challenges every day.

That said, do the woes of modern dating mean all hope for wholesome and life-changing love belong in the ‘oh-so-romantic’ past?

I’m going to argue that in spite of all its troubles, modern dating constitutes an unprecedented privilege. This includes the privilege of dating at all—which was certainly not possible for much of human history, and is still not a given in many cultures.

Generations of people before us have fought HARD, and in some cases given up their lives, for us to enjoy this privilege of choice in regards to who and how we love.

The relational freedoms that so many of us enjoy now would have been unimaginable a few generations ago. To name a few:

  • Dating people of diverse backgrounds—including gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability status, religion, etc.
  • Women’s rights
  • LGBTQIA+ rights
  • The spread of consent culture
  • Marriage and childbearing being optional rather than mandatory
  • The increased normalization of intentional relationship structures beyond the traditional heterosexual monogamous marriage
  • Geographically distant relationships made possible by advanced telecommunications

While finding authentic love in this world has never been easy, I’ll argue any day that we have a better shot at it now than we did in generations past.

Romantic relationships that are healthy, fulfilling, consensual, and life-giving are precious gems—and when looking to create something so special and intentional, having abundant options AND the freedom to be our authentic selves is a very good thing.

Cultivating gratitude for these hard-earned freedoms and options can help us:

  • Brighten our mindset when it comes to navigating the difficulties of modern dating;
  • Cultivate compassion for ourselves and others when we mess up or experience pain;
  • Show up with thankfulness on every single date and connection as an opportunity to discover & express ourselves authentically!

Don’t get me wrong: our work as a society is not done. Our relational freedoms and options still widely differ depending on where we were born, our socio-economic status, and other circumstances.

Additionally, many of these freedoms are, sadly, currently under threat in the United States. We must always continue valuing, and fighting for, the ability to be ourselves.

So, let’s celebrate the options we currently have, and continue the work of building a paradigm of relationships based on intentionality and respect, rather than ownership and control. 

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