By: Tara Kerrigan Hayes
Another Valentine’s Day, another night of binge-watching Netflix with the only reliable dates left on the planet, Ben & Jerry. You tell yourself next year will be different, but just peek out the window at the Wild Wild West of today’s dating world and you’ll see the hope that’s escaped your body, running off down the road with your cookies-n-cream, dodging bullets.
The dating apocalypse is upon us, ladies. And it’s hard to say who has it worse; the young women who will never experience what it’s like to actually be courted, or us divorcees who reminisce about the yester years as we watch chivalry writhing in the corner, gasping its last breath.
While there are new age dating rules every turn, the game changes so fast and furiously that the rules have already morphed before they’re even implemented. As a writer I have been interviewing, observing, and even experiencing first hand this new strange world, enough to come up with some of my own suggestions for the ladies to keep in mind, starting with…
ITS NOT YOU
It is far too easy in this Plan B, Better Offer, society to start to lose yourself and question, “is it me?” Well, rest assured, it’s not you. There’s a myriad of factors for why so many are struggling with new age dating, not least of all is that while the digital world makes it much easier to make connections, it makes it equally as easy to end them. So as every person becomes increasingly dispensable, WE ARE ALL susceptible to being made to feel devalued at some point. It’s just statistics. You are not alone. Stay connected with those who know and love you and don’t forget who you are. Above all, remember to…
We now live in a highly sexually charged, fast paced dating world where the boundary lines of respect are getting pushed so far back, they are all but disappearing. The general climate is one of pressure, whether direct or indirect, with the message being “get with the times or get left behind” – and sadly – many women are falling for it. One (stunning) young women shared a story in which she was invited by a bumble date (she’d never met before) for a sleepover, and was told if she declined, there were “ten girls lined up behind her who would come”. So she went. Collectively this attitude has created a frenzy of competition amongst women resulting in an indirectly self-imposed pressure. Let’s not do this to ourselves or to each other, ladies. Instead, let’s…
TAKE A UNIFIED STAND
If you’ve ever read the best seller from over a decade ago, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”, chances are you were appalled at behavior that would seem tame by todays standards. But the moral of the story still holds true: people will treat them how you allow them to. Interactions have quickly evolved from overtly sexual, to downright crass, to aggressively disrespectful. Where and when will it end? I say it ends with us ladies as a unified unit, when we collectively decide to take a stand and command our due respect. One woman can’t do it alone, since, as Romeo there pointed out, there are “ten girls lined up behind us”. Don’t’ be one of those ten girls contributing to the problem. While sexual freedom is gender neutral, it should be for the right reasons, and not confused with affection or real intimacy. Just be true to yourself about what you TRULY want, and if that is a meaningful relationship, then …
KEEP THE FAITH
There are still good men out there! It’s just a matter of you finding each other, and by far the best way of doing that is to rediscover yourself. If you enjoy running, join a running club. If you like art, visit a museum. Live music? Go to a concert. You’ve heard this all before, but have you done it? It’s quite simple that doing the things you enjoy will lead you to like-minded people. Or try something new like archery, wine making classes, dance classes or geocaching (look it up). If you still strike out, then it’s time to take the reins and….
GET PROFESSIONALLY MATCHED!
So disheartened was I by this new dating world (and its treatment of women), that I joined the ranks of Matchmakers (true story). Sure, matchmaking services have always had its perks; from confidentiality, to safety, to simply having someone proactively seek you out a quality match while you focus on your career. But now more than ever Matchmaking services are proving to be invaluable, as it delineates those seeking real connections and a relationship from those countless strangers on dating apps looking for NSAs (no strings attached encounters). Since clients are met by the Matchmakers first, it also spares you from weeding through all the unsavories, saving you both time and energy. Jill Vandor, Executive at LunchDates-Boston likens being a match maker to being a personal trainer, “you can go to the gym and get some results, but you get a trainer to take you to the next level, and I am that person. Jill handles every detail of the date, even making the reservation. To learn more, email: Tara@lunchdates.com Whatever you decide, don’t pull the blinds and slide into obscurity just yet. Hunker down and ride out the storm. ‘Cause change is coming.