Dating complex: Why most Millennials and Gen Zs are single
It’s not surprising that a significant number of young adults today are either hesitant about commitment or simply uninterested in settling down. The dating scene for Millennials and Gen Zs can be described as messy at best, with several factors contributing to their single status.
For starters, many Millennials and Gen Zs are single due to the infernally frustrating need for everything to be “casual.” Casual courtship, casual sex, casual approach to relational responsibilities, and so on. No one can treat anything or anyone with appropriate gravity for fear of being “uncool” or being perceived as needy, clingy or desperate, even though some things should have an air of formality about them. “Casual” is just a less offensive word for “expendable.”
The hook-up culture has become normalized, overshadowing the significance of forming meaningful connections. Among many reasons for such is the digital age.
Millennials and Gen Zs are the first generations to be affected by the Technology Scourge. While I believe humans have always been ignoring each other, I also believe technology interferes with normal human bonding, causing people to miss developmental milestones, which ultimately stunts our social skills.
Technology has filled our minds to the brim with the illusion of choice. The illusion of choice propagated by technology has seeped into our dating lives, making it easy to browse through countless potential partners online, often without truly investing in the person right in front of us.
The problem with this mentality, however, is two-fold. Dating has become akin to shopping, where we evaluate and discard potential partners based on superficial criteria. The quest for the elusive perfect person confines us within our own mindset, preventing us from forming connections with others and leaving us perpetually single with no promising prospects.
We are conditioned to think there is always someone better. But is there? Is there really? Now, I’m not suggesting you just throw all your standards out the window and date whoever, but I am absolutely saying we need to be realistic about our available options.
We rob ourselves of relationships, we rob ourselves of potential friends, and we continue our quest for the fictitious perfect person, staying within our respective hive minds and refusing to let others in. But what do we remain at the end of the day? Single with no viable prospects.
Many young adults have also cultivated blurred lines between standards and expectations. Millennials and Gen Zs often struggle to differentiate between these two concepts, which ultimately affects their ability to connect with others. Standards refer to the level of quality or attainment that defines a relationship, while expectations are biased, subjective beliefs about what someone should or should not do.
Confusing the two leads to unrealistic expectations and a constant evaluation of our partner’s performance, causing resentment and ultimately damaging relationships. The problem with expectations is that they allow us to keep a score of how well or poorly our partner is doing.
There also seems to be a diminishing tolerance for imperfection in today’s dating culture. Expectations, which should remain fluid, have been elevated to unattainable levels. This lack of compromise and the belief that “it’s my way or the highway” creates a barrier to forming successful relationships. By setting unrealistic expectations, Millennials and Gen Zs limit their chances of finding a compatible partner and increase their likelihood of remaining single and lonely.
Even when some individuals from these generations are open to relationships, there is often a preoccupation with personal needs and feelings rather than working as a team and supporting each other. The focus is primarily on what one can gain from a relationship rather than the synergy between both partners. This self-centered approach further contributes to the hesitancy to pursue relationships and the preference for peace of mind over the potential risks and challenges that come with commitment.
Many young adults go with the belief that if they are single there is no heartache and when they are in a relationship there is cheating, lying, and manipulating. So basically, the word “relationship” is being short-circuited in their brains with a negative connotation.