The Overwhelming Reason Modern Dating is Toxic

Discerning the reason why the dating lives of young people have become such a downright mess has become a national pastime.

Is it hookup culture? Is it excessive drinking? Patriarchal oppression? Feminism? Global Warming? Too much sex? Not enough sex? The orgasm gap? High divorce rates? Disney indoctrination? Tinder? All of the above?

And yet seeminly the only thing we can find to agree upon is that the modern dating culture, or lack there of, is in shambles. And I mean real shambles. Like men and women are at each other’s throats. And unsurprisingly, both men and women are reportedly less happy than in previous generations.

Truth be told, there are indeed many factors at play in why today’s dating culture sucks, and truth be told it has to do with both men and women, and an array of actions, attitude and behaviors. There are no mere victims and perpetrators in the cast of modern dating, most men and women bear their share of grievances and faults in what makes this dating culture so toxic and unfulfilling. 

Yet, in spite of the reality that nothing is ever black and white, there is a root cause for why so many millennials are fed up with dating. 

Both genders think they have it harder.

Both want to cry out victim status. The result is that both genders want to use their victim card to rationalize negative behaviors and to negate sheer laziness when it comes to wooing the oppossite sex. I am sure there are some out there right now that would cringe at the mere idea of having to “woo” the opposite sex, given how “unfair” dating is, and how “unfair” their gender already has it.

Common logic is as follows: I am a girl, I already have to fight to stay afloat in a man’s world, I have to stuff my tits into a bra, put on eyeliner so I can look like eye candy to entitled men and then try not to talk too much in meetings lest I appear “too bossy and bitchy” and a man has the audacity to think that I should cook for him/ look nice for him/ blow him/ whatever dating ritual?????

Most feminist dogma encourages and perpetuates these ideas of oppression and unfairness. This is not to say that all complaints are invalid, but rather that much of feminist rhetoric centers on things that are seemingly unfair to Western, comparably privileged women. 

As for men, the logic is somewhat more counter-cultural, but still just as loud among young men. “I am expected to pay for her, buy her gifts, commit to her, treat her like a princess and then put up with whatever drama, dozens of other sex partners and inevitable divorce and loss of assets all because she might once and awhile have sex with me? No thanks.” 

Regardless of where you might fall in the “debate,” both genders have some qualms with the fairness of it all. Men are tired of being the scapegoat for the world’s problems but never getting to share their own issues, and women are tired of having to masquerade as dainty little sex objects for a man’s pleasure. 

The result is that both genders want to be “the victim,” to sit on the highest rung of the hierarchy of suffering and hold social, cultural and emotional power over the other as reparations for the unfairness of it all.

You might be able to pick up on the fact that such an attitude is a poor foundation for dating. Feminist writer, Blythe Robinson, picks up on the irony in her book “How to Date Men When you Hate Men,” which capitalizes on the notion that she feels oppressed by the same gender she wants to have sex with. This sentiment is the exact reason our dating culture sucks. 

Subsequently, both genders become lazy in their dating rituals. Men don’t want to pay, or do much to court a lady at all. Most men are out for sex and little else, feeling as though dating is really a zero sum game. Why put in the work for sex when you can get sex without all the romantic gestures and niceties? Casual sex is looked upon by both genders as a way to meet a primal need without the emotional, financial, time investment that dating once required.

And women are just as cynical. All men suck. Romance is dead. I don’t need a man.

The result is a toxic dating culture built upon mistrust and vengeful manipulation. Both want to come out on top as caring the least, being the least invested, but also getting to lord victim status over the other as a means of justifying their broken intimacy.

Neither gender wants to become vulnerable, arguably the key to a successful relationship, because both are afraid of getting hurt, of having to succumb to the perils of a broken heart, a used body, a manipulated self. It is a self inflicted cycle. Each gender treats the other poorly then the other gets upset and retaliates in order to “even the score card.” Each broken relationship then weights the person down with even more emotional baggage that they must carry into the next relationship. 

With such a negatively saturated dating culture in place it is rare to find a good man willing to put in the effort to court a woman, or a good woman who really wants to take care of a man. The very idea might even seem outdated or even oppressive or foolish to a modern audience. And yet those who are willing to put in even a fragamant of effort into bettering themselves as a partner will seem miles ahead of the other candidates. 

A woman who invests in learning to cook, takes care of herself and displays nurturing qualities will be miles ahead of the majority of women out there; and a man who puts on a clean shirt, gives a woman his undivided attention and picks up the check without expecting sex will seem like prince charming to most romance-starved women. 

And yet we have been culturally conditioned to see such acts of betterment as indicators of oppression, as symptoms of objectification and strict gender roles rooted in… you guessed it oppression. 

All it really takes is for one person to stop the cycle and to take responsibility for their own actions, rather than predicating their own actions on the actions of others, or historical injustices. All it takes is for one person to choose kindness and compassion and self improvement rather than indignation, irresponsibility or selfishness. They must make this choice over and over again. 

A continuous decision to work on ourselves, to take responsibility and to mold ourselves into the partner our dream partner is worthy of can change our whole dating climate one date at a time. It isn’t up to some external social force to combat gender injustice, it is up to us to be both better partners and to demand better partners.

If we aren’t seeking ways to bless the other gender how can we expect to be good partners or to date good partners?

Good luck,

Ellie Xoxo

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