Inside the ‘disposable’ young American dating curse

From “courtships” to “situationships,” dating in the USA sure ain’t what it used to be.

Most Americans believe young adults today face more challenges than their parents’ generation, particularly when it comes to saving for the future, paying for college, buying a home — and finding a spouse, according to the Pew Research Center.

A deluge of dating app options isn’t helping, either: The new study found that Americans are more than twice as likely to say younger adults today have it harder than their parents’ generation (46%) when trying to find a spouse compared to those that say they have it easier (21%). Around a third (32%) say the chances are about the same.

Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, a sociologist, intimacy speaker and author, told The Post that the aforementioned factors Pew Research Center found to be more difficult for young adults today “are all things that revolve around traditional stability and future building.”

“With political shifts, climate change, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine there’s so much changing and uncertainty in our future,” said Gunsaullus, who explained that “stability and future building are more in question today” — making the thought of building a future with someone else seem even less likely.

She also noted that younger Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to experience mental health issues including anxiety and depression, which put a damper on dating (let alone sex).

The isolation of the pandemic may seem like an obvious scapegoat for these problems, but experts noticed these trends long before COVID-19 pushed people apart.

While the wide array of dating apps would appear to help younger adults find their one and only, the endless possibilities of swiping right has made it more difficult for young adults to settle down.

Gunsaullus said that the convenience of dating apps has led people to see one another as disposable. The plethora of choices and ease of finding dates has led people to have an “on to the next one” mentality and made dating more superficial.

Young adults today are less likely to settle down and put in the effort to sustain a relationship, experts said.Alicia LlopIn other words, dating apps have made making a match easier, but keeping one less likely.

“That mentality around dating can make it harder to do the hard work of working on a relationship,” Gunsaullus told The Post.

Judith Gottesman, a matchmaker, dating coach and author explained that young adults’ expectations of instant gratification are hurting the dating experience.

“People have to be willing to put in effort. A lot of people think you can just go online and find someone immediately and not want to put in effort,” Gottesman told The Post. “A lot of people’s attention spans are very limited and so they expect instant results and instant gratification, but the search for real love does not work that way.”

The matchmaker also noted that dating apps can lead to burnout, an increasingly common phenomenon among young adults, and has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“If you just go on date after date after date it feels like endless possibilities, but you’re actually more likely to burn out sooner because you’re just going on a bunch of random bad dates having negative experiences and wasting a lot of time and money,” Gottesman said.

To avoid dating burnout, she noted, daters should be more selective when deciding what apps to use and who to choose. Gottesman suggests joining dating apps that connect you with people who share similar lifestyles and values. Apps such as Christian Mingle and JSwipe make it easy for devout singles to find each other. Others target hobbies and interests, including Veggly for vegetarians, Zeal for sports fans and Book Lovers for avid readers, just to name a few.

She also recommends kicking things off with a good, old-fashioned phone call.

Dating apps can lead to an overwhelming amount of choices causing young adults to burnout.Olga Pankova“You don’t want to text at the beginning of dating,” Gottesman explained. “You can’t laugh together, you can’t hear each other’s voice and feel the rhythm of the conversation to see if it flows well and you just can’t feel close to each other and feel a romantic connection if you’re just texting or on social media all the time and for the younger generation that’s their main mode of communication.”

Dating experts have also pointed to societal changes, such as women becoming more financially independent, having more agency over their reproductive health and being free to express their sexuality. Young adults today also have less pressure to be monogamous and marry.

“These versions of empowerment and equality mean that women are more like men in some ways, and that has played out in the belief that women can enjoy casual sex like men,” Gunsaullus said. She explained that this belief has caused a shift in the current approach to dating and relationships.

In recent years, she claims to have seen more young adults finding themselves in “situationships” — an undefined romantic or sexual relationship — than older generations.

The now common confusion over relationship status is enough to inspire some to choose single-dom. In 2018, Tinder and consulting firm Morar HPI surveyed 1,000 singles between 18 to 25 years old and found that 71% “made a conscious decision” to stay single.

Women’s empowerment has also pushed young adults to look for “true love” versus previous generations of women who were looking to a spouse for financial support, making it more difficult to decide when and with whom to settle.

“Today people are self sufficient and independent, so it’s all about love,” Gottesman said.

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