What’s happening out there on the dating scene? It’s a disaster, there’s an alienation happening between the sexes! Women say their trust has been eroded by playboys lying about their intentions, married men pretending to be single, or men who are creepy or threatening. They meet men who date without ethics, who text but never call, who just stop communicating rather than say they’re no longer interested, or who juggle lots of women at once. But men say they are sick of women who only seem interested in how much money they earn, who are “sperm hunters”, panicked by their biological clock, or who have a fussy shopping list, insisting they’ll only marry a tall banker who rows and builds his own furniture, and refusing to even consider a renter. They say women judge them on their clothes, their car, or their job, not on whether they’d be loving husbands or enthusiastic fathers.
On top of this dangerous dating mix comes the most fundamental change to romance in centuries: online dating. The ruthless summation of people into brackets based on career, education, and appearance turns relationships into a commodity based on what you think you’re entitled to. Lying is also a common hazard, especially as screen names can free people from social norms, anyone can be sitting behind a computer screen you just really don’t know. Studies show that about 20 percent of daters admit to deception but think 90 percent of other people are lying. Women tend to lie about weight, while men are more likely to fudge education, income, height, age and marital status (one study found 13 percent of men dating online are married).
Another issue is the sheer range of options. If one date doesn’t work out, chances are there’s another email waiting in the inbox – a conveyer belt of potential dates encouraging extreme fussiness and a lack of effort. It can also cause people to make lazy, ill-advised decisions when selecting among the large array of potential partners. Unlike a meeting set up by a friend, or an old-fashioned matchmaker or Introduction Agency with experience and expertise, there’s no accountability on dating websites as people are misleading and deceptive.
The ever-changing roles of men and women in our society have collided with online dating without a code of conduct to make it all work properly. There are no longer any accepted rules of behaviour to govern romance. One man might want a woman to pay her way, while another would be offended at the thought. Is asking for a date the next day too forward? Is texting rather than calling too lazy? And so the mating ritual becomes a war dance, and the casualties are romance and trust.