In 2013, when Time magazine published a cover story titled, “Me Me Me Generation,” that opined about how the changing consumer habits of the Millennial generation are negatively impacting businesses on major industries that had once thrived during the latter half of the 20th century, it faced a lot of backlashes from all young people. Since then, the phrasal template “Millennials are killing” began to appear more often in headlines as well as a slew of memes mocking their accusations.
Most of them were as nonsensical as the excremental matter of a cattle. But there was one headliner that caught my eye because of its subject. It was concerning to relationships, love, and dating. And if there was any, one kind of semblance of truth to the whole “Millennials are killing” accusations, it was that because every generation, there is always a new sheriff in town.
But I was still perplexed because here I was, living in a world where communication and accessibility are at its zenith. If anything, the millennial generation are the ones improving relations in society! What possibly and exactly could go wrong?
Reflecting back at the fair share of interactions I’ve had with people in the past and present, I began to reluctantly realize and understand that maybe, perhaps, digital trends and technology which are so pervasive in millennials’ lives were changing and eroding the customs and formats we used to approach romantic dating and maintaining romantic relationships.
To bottom line it, here are seven ways Millennials have ruined the art of romance.
Without a doubt, the Internet has indeed revolutionized the way we interact to the extent that it is now our preferred medium of everyday communication. Everything we do, either ordering food, buying clothes, or sharing a moment and pictures with friends, we use the Internet. However, it has also affected the way we form and maintain relationships and the way we meet new people. Nowadays, with information and social media guiding our lives, it has become the norm to stalk someone’s online presence and learn more about them by researching into their Facebook or Instagram account before ever meeting them in person. It’s as if there is some kind of wishful belief that the relationship that exists online might manifest in real life, which pointedly degrades what constitutes romance today.
The culture of texting and instant messaging was invariably cool in its early stages, at least for me because it was instantaneous and the politics of it did not constrain us to act, write, speak, or be a certain way in the outside world, especially in school. It has made us more available and more casual. But now it is tiresome, and it isn’t because of the unnecessary features and add-ons that came with it as time went by, it’s because people and culture have been changing the rules and politics of it to fit what’s trending at the time. More than ever, the words and ideas being employed through texting have created too many subtexts, mixed messages, and deception for us to decipher. Texting has caused us to be impatient and limits us from displaying our emotions, stripping away the physical interactions and tensions of modern courtship.
When dating apps pervaded into our lives, it was supposed to be designed to allow people to meet in a more encouraging way that helps one develop and foster relationship better than one could in real life. But that’s not the case. Millennials, like myself, are the generation who grew up with the world at their fingertips and the culture of instant-dating or hook-up lifestyle has left us constantly wanting instant gratifications at all times romantically. The pursuit of sex and the expectations of it has become so easy that we act as if it was something handed to us on a dinner plate. Swiping left or right on dating apps like Tinder is not something in which we find genuine romance and relationship but rather as something in which we find the delicious foods we want to gorge on the menu today.
There have been so many unpleasant dating trends, including ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching, and cushioning, that makes the dating culture hard to navigate. Sure, it may have originated because of the behavioral commonality people found or did with each other, but these wacky terms have become so accepted that it is now fully embedded into the principles of dating in which one would have to relearn the language to get back at the playing field. Dating trends are just unnecessary obstacles and are bad habits that are vapid and self-absorbed, and to use them in the name of love reinforces stereotypes and the notion of romance becoming killed off.
The “Me” culture
There has been a relentless rise of narcissism in our culture that even non-narcissistic people are being seduced by the increasing emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, self-branding, and attention seeking. We now live in a culture where there is a strong need to be known, to be unique, to be special, and thus, we overshare almost everything about anything to find validation, worship, and worth. Yet, in effect, the appeal of the “me” culture has also created shallowness, dishonesty, and has made people put little value on emotionally close relationships.
Ever since the rise of Donald Trump, there has been a great divide and negative impacts among couples, even among friends and family. I remember reading an article about how wives and husbands divorced their counterparts based on who they voted for and how that made me fall off my chair. But this is no laughing matter for millennials. As millennials become more embroiled in political scenes and social movements, they are also becoming more close-minded and reluctant on forming relationships with other people with different views even though they, paradoxically, advocate otherwise. Political preferences are becoming a new measure of compatibility, and the lack of understanding to even attempt and comprehend someone else’s views and experiences could very well ruin any chance of laying down our arms to give love and romance a chance.
Romance is cheesy
No more are those halcyon days in which we heard stories of our grandfathers and grandmothers about how they met and of their courtship. In contemporary times, traditional dating has not boded well for millennials because it is overly formal, too committing, and too inauthentic. When people utilize old-fashioned formulas as a means of making romantic connections, it can come off as cheesy, desperate, or even fake because of its familiarity and its recycling of them. It underscores the notion of not being up to date, that you are not with the newness that most people seek and desire. In addition to that, there is a lot of pressure and burden and, at times, people do feel as though the stakes are high. They find it easier to just hang out than go on dates because it is ambiguous. The new era of romance favors casualness insofar as people adore the waves of viral trends that comes and goes in a flash of lightning.