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Is Online Dating Can Change Your Life?

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The Fate of Dating

As Millennials, we have acquired a very tight connection to the internet and social media which keeps us all in loop with one another. With the aid of social media a relationship is not hard to come by, yet a real solid relationship is just as easy as finding a four leaf clover. This can cause a problem in the grand scheme of dating. In Jamie Varon’s popular article “This Is How We Date Now”, she explains how “We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text”. The use of social media is beginning to dictate how we date and how we aren’t committed in relationships. The endless options and possibilities that social media gives to society is directly changing how we date today. Varon also says, “We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification”(Varon) . Commitment is a quality vital to real intimate relationships, but with the easy access of social media, allowing us to view other people as potential, people can look past how “real” the relationship is. Today’s Millennials have come accustomed to involving social media and how they meet new people, romantically or not.The hookup culture the Millennials are a part of now has new characteristics that can contribute to complications in their own romantic futures.

When looking for a future partner, what are the qualities that are key for them to have? Loyalty? Faithful? Truthful? Humorous? What about what they have done in the past? Good things, bad things, weird things? How do we evaluate those qualities? With basic judgement and first impressions of the perception or knowledge of that person. We all claim not to make sudden assumptions upon getting to know someone new, but we can not help that. If we did not make sudden assumptions how would we know who we want to surround ourselves with before wasting time getting to know them? The first impression you have on someone could be face to face or profile to profile (using social media). But when you see a woman who engages in hooking up/ hookup culture vs. a man engaging in these acts, who benefits and who is judged? “Hook-up culture benefits men more than women in that men are more likely to derive physical pleasure from hook ups and socially benefit from active participation”. Women have to consider and/or endure this sexual double standard in consequence of participating in hookup behavior whereas men are often times praised for immersing themselves in sexual activity.

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“…college women’s descriptions of their worst hook ups involved being pressured by aggressive partners to engage in unwanted sexual behaviors, including behaviors that would legally be considered rape.” (Bradshaw et. al)

Traditional dating and hooking up have very different short or long term short/ long term effects on its’ partakers. In traditional dating there is a commitment of time and dedication for one person whereas in hooking up can range from making out, oral sex, or intercourse with a stranger or brief acquaintance. Despite the popularity and sudden “emergence” of hooking up, it is not as brand new as it seems. In the scholarly article “To Hook Up or Date: Which Gender Benefits?” written by Carolyn Bradshaw, Arnold Kahn, and Bryan Saville differentiates how Millennials view traditional dating and hooking up as:

On college campuses, in recent years, “hooking up” appears to be as popular as, if not more popular than, the traditional date (Gute and Eshbaugh 2008; Lambert et al. 2003; Paul and Hayes 2002; Paul et al. 2000). A hook up is defined as “a sexual encounter which may or may not include sexual intercourse, usually occurring between people who are strangers or brief acquaintances” (Paul et al.2000, p. 76). Although casual sex or one-night stands are certainly not new phenomena, hooking up appears to have become normative on college campuses. In their survey, Lambert et al. (2003) found that 77.7% of female and 84.2% of male college students indicated they had hooked up. Paul et al. (2000) found that 78.4% of college students reported having hooked up, with a mean of 10.8 and a range of 0–65 hook ups. Paul and Hayes (2002) found that 75% of men and 84% of women had hooked up during their college career, with a mean of 10.28 hook ups. When casual sex is more narrowly defined as vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a non-dating partner, over one-half of male students (52%) and over one-third of female students (36%) reported having engaged in such behaviors (Grello et al. 2006; see also Gute and Eshbaugh 2008). Hooking up is not limited to college students. Of 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students who were sexually active, Manning et al. (2006) reported that 68.5% of the boys and 51.8% of the girls engaged in non-dating sexual intercourse. (Bradshaw par. 3)

According to Bradshaw and her colleagues research, the Millennials greatly prefer traditional dating, even though some Millennials admitted that hooking up using social media is easier because it’s quick and easy. Imagine, a quick Instagram direct message to someone that’s always giving you a flirtatious look, the worse that can happen is rejection right? And if you’re not rejected then good for you, your new romantic interest knows you like them, too. But what now, what did they want from you in the first place, just keep texting them and find out. Now you two have been contacting each other for about 3 weeks now and you really like this person and finally meet up and go out and eventually hook up. After that your romantic interest stops contacting you and your time was wasted when they could have easily said from the beginning that all they wanted was sex because you know that now and maybe that is all you wanted, also.

Greater negative emotional outcomes come with hooking up. It can be harmless when both parties fully understand the basis of what they are creating. Along with the definition of hooking up, there are different types such as one night stands, friends with benefits, or even a “booty call”. They all have their own different meaning and regulations for example, friends with benefits do have a connection and a relationship between the two individuals and they have made an arrangement to engage in a hook up with each other, yet understand nothing furthermore will come of it. No dating, no relationship, no emotions. But research by at the department of Caroline Heldman in the Politics Depatment and Lisa Wade at the Sociology Department at Occidental College implore that “…a (purported) “no strings attached” encounter that is unlikely to lead to emotional connection can leave them feeling lonely and isolated…” When hooking up can become complex, complicated, and emotions underestimated.

Yet, in accordance to the previously stated definitions of hooking up and traditional dating, psychologists Carolyn Bradshaw and her colleagues have concluded that hooking up is just about as popular as, if not more to, traditional dating. These psychologists have done analyses on how men and women perceive traditional dating and hooking up. In conclusion to their studies overall women responded more fondly to traditional dating more than what the data showed with men. Their data also shows the costs and benefits in traditional dating in Table 1.

Women Men

Perceived benefits of traditional dating

  1. Your partner is a friend who you can disclose information/problems/happy moments /tough times with (48.00%) You have the feeling of being liked loved (36.62%)
  2. You have the feeling of being liked/ loved (31.33%) Dating offers physical intimacy (25.35%)
  3. Traditional dating is a more productive/ healthy relationship (26.67%) Your partner is a friend you can disclose information/problems/happy moments/ tough times with (22.54%)
  4. You get to share something you enjoy with another person (19.33^%) You get to share something you enjoy with another person (19.72%)

Perceived risks of traditional dating

  1. Traditional dating is an investment of feelings and there’s a potential of getting hurt (42.00%) Risk of being rejected (38.03%)
  2. Risk of a broken heart (42.00%) Traditional dating is an investment of feelings and there’s a potential of getting hurt (22.45)
  3. Risk of losing a friendship if you cross a line (28.67%) Risk of a broken heart (22.54%)
  4. You risk being more interested in your partner than they are in you (24.67%) Lose of some freedom/independence partner (21.12%)

Table 1 depicts the costs and benefits of traditional dating, showing that negative emotional outcomes do not only occur in hooking up, but also in traditional dating. The negative emotional outcomes associated with either means of traditional dating or hooking up depend on the partakers also. So yes, hooking up and traditional dating can take a negative toll on its participants, despite the two being two different forms of intimate relations.

As Millennials, we experience. We experience new things, similar things, opposite things, etc. “First, students tend to overestimate the sexual permissiveness of their peers. Second, students form such erroneous impressions of peers partly according to their estimates of media influence on peers and their own attitudes. Finally, for male students, misperceptions regarding peer norms about sex may produce a greater likelihood of engaging in some sexual activities.” & “ Unaware that their perceptions of media influence on others may be incorrect, students infer peer norms according to those perceptions.”

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