A date is a click away. A love interest is a text away. There are choices aplenty. But dating, in the digital age, is still nothing short of running the most puzzling maze, and the turns are getting more twisted than ever.’ Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good,’ wrote Gabriel Garcia Marquez which is listed in one of the greatest love stories ever told, Love in the Time of Cholera. Timeless words by the Colombian Nobel laureate. Who doesn’t falter when it comes to love? But in a digital age, those mistakes are an everyday affair, making love in the time of apps, a difficult space to negotiate. Dating has a new tool, love, sex, break-up apps, Instalove, WhatsApp flirting, marathon text/sext sessions, social media stalking. People are finding it difficult to navigate the path of love, more than ever, in the digital age. Author Ellen Fein said in an interview a while earlier, ‘Everyone is accessible to everyone 24x7′. The rules of dating have completely changed. Fein, along with Sherrie Schneider wrote the famous book on dating, THE RULES in 1995.
But in the next two decades, the digital world changed our love manners all over again. The book was rewritten as Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for dating. Should you befriend your love interest on social media? How long should you take to reply to his text? Texting, emailing and social networks must now be factored into communication efforts. But should you rely on them? Says Fein, ‘People are making mistakes with every step, with new technology and getting unnecessarily hurt.’ If interested in someone, people stalk them on Facebook. After that comes marathon chat sessions, armed with smileys, which convey nothing, in particular, are open to interpretations and confuse people thoroughly. ‘Does her smiley say she’s interested?’ Was he thinking about me when he tweeted that love quote?’ Why is she taking so much time typing her answer? ”Does that mean she is overthinking it, faking it? Possibly none of them is true, or all of them are. The point is your mind has already gone through the gamut of emotions and you are still plucking petals while your mind is playing that 7th standard game: she loves me, she loves me not. Komal Mohan,23, media professional, explains how complicated the love game can get.‘ Let’s say a girl likes a guy. She sees his Facebook profile and posts and figures out his interests, let’s say it’s football or movies. Then she posts something on similar lines even if she’s not in it just to attract the guy’s attention. So, the conversation can go wrong from the very beginning. Says, dating expert, Sherrie Schneider, ‘the digital world has provided you with the armor for instant gratification. There’s no courtship time anymore, nothing to discover on an evening out and ponder about. You meet, you text, you ask, you get the answers. You chat till 2 am right after a good dinner. What’s left to explore.’ Too much familiarity results in emotions fizzling out too soon. Technology and apps are facilitators. They shouldn’t be confused with solutions or the right answers. It’s not the 20-somethings who are finding it difficult to navigate the dating space. It’s tough for people of all ages whether you are 20-something dating for the first time, a 30-something tired of being single, a 40-something advising your daughter, a 50-something getting back in the dating game.
You should learn to stay away from your love interest’s Facebook profile, make yourself invisible on instant messaging, stop texting. Phone isn’t a singles bar. The age of 24×7 connectivity has made things casual which wouldn’t have been a bad thing if all of us weren’t so dependent on technology for everything. Psychologist, Nisha Khanna says, ‘Texting back in nanoseconds isn’t a good idea. Don’t keep on ‘liking’, commenting on every post of your love interest. The person will soon start to lose interest. The feeling of love should simmer for a while if you want something longer and permanent. Also, too much familiarity adds to anxiety issues. You keep on checking his or her exes on social media, compare yourself to them and your mind gets on a negative track before you know it. You’ll see yourself arguing over silly things and soon it becomes a serious fight’. Eric Klingenberg, professor of sociology at New York University, and Aziz Ansari, American actor and comedian came out with their new book, Modern Romance, which sets out to see why today’s dating is the worst kind of dating. According to the book’s research, OkCupid creates some 40,000 dates every day, two billion swipes on Tinder generate 12 million matches a day. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Ansari explained that before the digital age, most men probably knew 4 or 5 women. Now they have too many options and think they can try their luck with everyone. It leads to heartbreak because rejection also comes as many times. People shouldn’t use their smartphones as a 24/7 singles bar. It can be heartbreaking. Love wisdom may still come to us when it’s too late but it’s best not to expect it at the click of a button.