The concept of instant gratification is slightly ruinous to our generation. The presence of incessant, almost invasive technology in our lives has quite literally placed our hearts’ desires at our fingertips. And while there’s much to be said for living in the age of convenience, it seems we have forgotten that we needn’t act on every passing urge. It has led to gluttonous over-consumption and for many of us, an almost total lack of mindfulness.
The “I want what I want when I want it” attitude can rear its ugly head in many aspects of our lives, but perhaps one of the most unsettling is it’s influence over our pursuit of romantic relationships.
We’ve heard it time and time again. “Millennials are ruining dating with casual sex,” they say, wagging their fingers and shaking their heads with condescension. And we roll our eyes and criticize their old-school conservatism and declare our sexual liberation.
But as we exercise our freedom over our bodies, we neglect the needs of our minds and our souls.
There’s an overwhelming lack of emotional connection in the modern dating world. No chase. No wooing. No real investment of time. On to the next one. We receive instant gratification by substituting sex for feeling, all the while remaining steadfast in our declarations that this is what we truly want.
We reject displays of genuine interest, labeling them with damning terms like “clinginess” or “stalking” and gravitate instead towards the easy, the brief, the inviable, glorifying it and calling it everything but what it is: intentional detachment. We ignore that pesky part of human nature that yearns for affection and interrelation in order to be cool and carefree.
But if authentic connection is the foundation for human happiness (and I truly believe it is) isn’t a perpetual quest for instant gratification simply a band aid? A temporarily placating high?
If only getting to know someone was considered acceptable dating behavior ….But alas. And so, as F. Scott Fitzgerald (almost) once said:
Tomorrow we will swipe faster, stretch our dating radius farther…. (Secretly hoping that) one fine morning — So we date on, boats against Tinder’s current, borne back ceaselessly into the mistakes of one-night-stands passed.