Sunday, October 9, 2011
Another Form of Fear of Committment?
I had a conversation with my mother this afternoon about modern dating. One of the things she said was that it seems like "dating has gotten so difficult. People think that even having a conversation with someone in the grocery store means committing to something." As I listened, I thought, "yeah, that makes sense. It's the oppose pole to those who date piles of people at the same time, and won't "settle" - ever - because they think they might miss out or loose their "freedom to choose."
When I hear my mother's comments, at first I wondered if that kind of thing was more common amongst Boomer generation daters, but then I started thinking about my own experiences, and realized it probably isn't unique to any one generation.
But then there's this issue about whether dating has "gotten more difficult" in general, something that kept pushing the conversation we were having. I started thinking about the "list syndrome" - how so many of us now carry with us and often broadcast a list of desired traits, skills, and accomplishments we want our future partners to have. And then there's the extreme consumerist individualism that has become the norm, conditioning us to believe we can do everything on our own, don't need communities, extended families, even partners really. So much has become about always "having choices," an endless supply of choices, assuming that this is the definition of freedom. Which I'd argue is really missing the mark.
My mother commented about how when she did personal ads in the local newspapers back in the late 80s, it was easy to get dozens of responses. And she spoke of a similar situation when doing online dating back in it's early days. I said "doesn't that have a lot to do with the newness factor, the novelty of meeting people that came when those avenues had just started to open up?" She agreed to some degree, but stuck to the thought that it's still more difficult now for some reason.
Maybe it is. But my mind keeps circling back to commitment, or the struggle to make one, and how that plays a major role in this whole conversation.
What do you think about all of this?