What’s love go to do with it?: The reality of dating in 2020

The day of love, no matter what variation, has recently passed. Some people may have spent the day with their significant other, with some time alone for “self-care” or maybe for some it was spent like any other day. Beyond cupid’s day, people date successfully or unsuccessfully every day, which begs the question, how much has the dating scene changed compared to decades past? How has the culture behind dating changed and influenced our idea of marriage and love?

Dating looks very different now for younger generations like millennials and generation Z compared to older generations. According to Pew Research Center, 32% of baby boomers believe that gay and lesbian marriage is bad for society, opposed to 15% of those a part of generation Z sharing that sentiment. It also said that 23% of boomers believed that couples cohabitating without being married is bad for society, compared to merely 12% of generation Z. It has shown that younger people have a more progressive way of looking at certain aspects of dating.

The differences in dating can also be attributed to technology. Now we have the blessing and curse that is dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and Grindr that are geared toward young people. As a young person that has used two of the four apps, it goes to show how normalized the use of dating apps has become. There are so many apps nowadays, it is hard to keep count. SurveyMonkey reported that 75% of young adults, ages 18 to 24 years old use Tinder and 31% use Bumble. Those numbers show a lot about what is being valued in dating.

“I believe [dating apps] make dating seem more rushed. Like a lot of people just rush into a relationship or don’t know if the person they’re dating is even right for them because they rush into it,” said junior film, TV and radio major Jada Peterson. “I feel as though people get in relationships because they are lonely or they just don’t want to take the [time] to work on themselves but have someone else do it for them or distract them from it. In the past, I feel as though [people] wanted to grow with their partner and work on themselves and each other.”

Sophomore film, TV and radio major Estaban Collado said that one of the main differences in dating in 2020 is the pace. He said that he has friends who have been dating for two years and have yet to meet each other’s parents.

This may, as a result, change perceptions of marriage. The New York Times reported that the median age of marriage for women is 27.4 and 29.5 for men in 2017. In 1970, the median age was 23 for men and 20.8 for women. That means, if it were 1970, there’s a good chance I would be married by now, which is a daunting thought.

Both Collado and Peterson believe that marriage is more so challenged now than in previous decades. 

Collado said it’s “because commitment is something rare to find. People don’t really care about marriage. It’s just not emphasized like it used to be.” Peterson supported that by saying that people do not really talk about it and it is not displayed much in social media, which shows that it is not something people think about as much.

There is also a shift for some young people on what love is and is not. For instance, unconditional love, or in modern terms, a ride or die. These ideas are often shown in romantic comedies and older Disney princess films. Peterson said she does not believe in the heightened version of unconditional love seen in film and said that it “rarely happens.”

“I believe that relationships take time and you need to know your partner well enough to love them unconditionally even with their faults. I believe you can be attractive when you first meet them but I don’t think it’s love yet,” Peterson said. 

I think that it is healthy to challenge ideas like unrealistic unconditional love and marriage. In previous years, marriage was upheld and perceived as a requirement and a measurement of worth, especially for women. People should explore other facets of life and not just focus on such aspects because it’s not meant for everyone. In addition, certain forms of unconditional love are unhealthy. Boundaries should be established in a relationship and love should go hand in hand with accountability Although some people believe love and marriage were purer in the past, TIME published an article comparing domestic violence rates in the1960s. It said that couples should stay in abusive relationships because their fighting can “balance out each other’s mental quirks.” I’m not saying that all relationships in the ‘60s were like this, but it shows how different the norms are for relationships now, compared to the past. This illuminates how perceptions of what relationships used to look like require a deeper look. Technology, a shift in culture and normative behavior are both factors into what makes dating today so different. So whether you are a technophobe or a dating app fiend; whether you are traditional or progressive or even apathetic when it comes to relationships, dating in 2020 is whatever you make of it.

Tatyanna Carman

junior journalism major 

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