It looks like a global pandemic might finally be the thing to cure hookup culture, according to one viral tweet.
In recent days, the coronavirus’ spread throughout the world has become more substantial, and with that comes a new concept recommended by the CDC: social distancing. Basically, this looks like limiting physical interactions to whatever is totally necessary and staying at home as much as possible - not to mention, movie theaters, restaurants, and cafes around the country have closed down until further notice, making dating a whole lot harder. But maybe that’s not entirely bad.
In an age in which finding companionship is as easy as mindlessly swiping through picture after picture of potential suitors, you’d think we’d have this whole romance thing all figured out by now. But with just a cursory glance at our society ridden with hookups and heartbreaks, it’s depressingly obvious that we’re not any closer to finding lifelong romance. In fact, we’re further away from it than ever before.
When this hilariously truthful tweet went viral, women around the world gave it a round of applause for its amusing take on a very real issue every young person seeking love today faces: using Tinder and Bumble has been getting us dates with a lot more frogs than princes. We crave lasting relationships but find our dating lives have become unfocused and uncommitted as we trade in old-fashioned boy-meets-girl stories for what ends up being a short-lived hookup. It begs the question: with all the ease and accessibility these dating apps offer, is that actually what’s killing off romance?
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
We’re often under the impression that any relationship challenged with the feat of surviving a bout of long distance is doomed - after all, how can we maintain closeness and emotional intimacy when we can’t see each other in person, we’re not even in the same time zone, or we’re not working on the same schedule? While a lack of physical interaction can prove to be difficult for even the most enviable relationships, as it turns out, there’s actually a lot of truth to the phrase we heard thousands of times growing up: absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Temporarily removing the physical aspect of dating can actually help us create deeper connections.
Of course, none of us on dating apps are in a long-distance relationship, but the benefits of app-based dating while social distancing can be similar to those of an LDR. Studies have shown that temporarily removing the physical aspect of dating can actually help us create deeper connections, have more meaningful discussions, and make the most of our communication with one another. When meeting up with someone isn’t as simple as “Hey u up?”, then we’re bound to put more effort into the fewer forms of communication we have at the moment - and it’ll be much easier for us to figure out if we’re relying on physical attraction to keep a connection going.
Putting Off the First Date Can Show True Colors
Ever start talking to a Bumble guy who seems to know all the right things to say? The type of guy who had an unmatched meme game, quoted all your favorite TV shows (Arrested Development references are my favorite), and shared your love for literary classics. You thought you guys really had a connection - until he found out you’d be out of town for the next month. After that, his messages curiously started getting lost in the dating app mail.
Thanks to social distancing, it’s easier than ever to spot the differences between a guy in it for the night and a guy looking for a lasting connection.
In the end, a good portion of the guys we stumble across on dating apps are far less interested in courting us and really getting to know us, than they are in taking us out for drinks and seeing “where things go from there.” And with in-person dates being off the table for most of the country at this point, we’re given no choice but to actually put in some effort to form a true connection with the person on the other side of the screen. Thanks to social distancing, it’s easier than ever to spot the differences between a guy in it for the night and a guy looking for a connection lasting more than a single night.
Delayed Gratification Is the Secret to Happiness
Part of what our culture loves about dating apps is their convenience - we’ve grown tired of waiting for things these days. With a few swipes, we can have our favorite meal delivered to our front door, get brand new clothes selected for us by stylists sent to our doorstep in two days, and find someone to go out on a date with on our particularly lonely nights.
In a world obsessed with convenience, we tend to mistake fleeting pleasure for lasting fulfillment.
Dating apps thrive on our momentary decisions, needs, and our desire for instant gratification. But it seems that giving in to instant gratification may be keeping us from finding true happiness in our romantic lives. In a world obsessed with convenience, we tend to mistake fleeting pleasure for lasting fulfillment - an idea famously asserted by Aristotle, and, apparently, we’re no different today than we were back in 300 B.C. By putting our gratification on the backburner and reverting back to the days of wooing, pursuing, and cultivating deeper connections with our romantic interests, we’re ensuring a clearer path to happiness for ourselves in the long run.
To many who are on the hunt for romance, social distancing could seem like a punishment. But it might actually be the answer to our deepest desires. What if returning to the old-fashioned styles of connection - ones that require correspondence, effort, and (according to the CDC) at least three weeks’ time - may actually get us closer to finding someone we’d want to spend our lives with, not just one more regret we’ll have to live with?