I would always love to hear my grandparents tell me about how they met. My grandfather came into the restaurant where my grandmother worked and tipped her a quarter (which was quite the tip at the time). He kept going back to that restaurant, turning up the charm and making sure she knew he was serious about being with her. He pursued her. And throughout their courtship, even when there were disagreements or hard times, he never gave up.
That was over 50 years ago. This type of meet cute story doesn’t seem likely in my lifetime. The days of men pursuing women without wanting an immediate physical return or building relationships with the long term in mind appear to be a thing of the past. The current dating pool mainly offers men who disappear after a few dates with no explanation, men who want to date for a few months until the idea of committing freaks them out, or men who want to date while they’re in an open relationship with someone else.
Then there is the other percentage of guys who simply aren’t interested in settling down. At times I don’t blame them. As singles, we now have the ability to window shop through apps for other singles without ever leaving our home. With so many options at our finger tips, the temptation of almost unlimited variety outweighs the desire to make it work with only one person.
I met a really great guy through a dating app. He was handsome, funny, and we enjoyed spending time together. After a handful of dates he messaged me saying, “We need to talk.” It seemed too early to get hit with those four words but talk we did. He wanted to make sure that I knew he wasn’t looking for a committed relationship – but at the same time wanted to make sure we could keep hanging out as if we were in a relationship. Essentially he wanted all of the perks with none of the hard stuff.
These short term or casual relationships seem to be the only thing on the dating menu. It doesn’t matter the age or background of the guy. I used to excuse away the behavior by saying, “it’s because he’s younger” or “maybe it’s because of cultural differences”. Whether they’re 27 or 37, from Spain or The Philippines, there really isn’t a reasonable explanation for some of their behavior.
I hear the same experiences from my friends or most of the single women I meet in their mid 20s to 30s. They detail the same unfulfilling and disappointing dating experiences. The idea of finding “the right guy” has been replaced with settling for a guy who “isn’t so bad”. Or they don’t bother with dating at all. They are so jaded that “What’s the point?” seems to be the general consensus when I ask them if they’ve gone on any dates recently.
Maybe I was born in the wrong era or maybe I’m just having a hard time adjusting to the one I’m in. I used to believe in romance, true love, and happily ever after. Now I’m ready to build a life filled with love and happiness with an amazing group of friends but most importantly, with myself. If you think this sounds overly cynical, try enduring almost two decades of mind games, ghosting, habitual liars, and emotional neglect then see if you want to don’t want to get off the ride. I’m not saying it’s impossible to find a guy who is actually looking for a long term relationship – I’m just saying there seems to be too little of them.