The Hookup culture is alive and very well. The trouble is, it’s harming real connection and leading us all to be cursed with some kind of dating ADHD.
Dating has changed and the ‘unlimited abundance’ feeling of online dating has changed our internal circuitry, with a seemingly never-ending supply of hotties to swipe right, and a feeling that, no matter who you’re with, there must be better just around the corner. It’s becoming easier for us not to attach emotionally and the more we practice this, the more alien it feels to have a true connection.
There is a genuine reason why we do this, and it’s to do with our neurochemicals. When we swipe right on Tinder, get a match, or get eye contact with a hottie in a bar, our neurochemical networks are triggered and the pleasure centres of our brains release Dopamine – the same chemical released when we are using drugs, or watching internet porn.
This is turning us all numb – if we don’t get the Dopamine release, we don’t feel excited and real relationships or real sex just doesn’t hit the spot any more – unless we are prepared to take time to rewire our brains by foregoing the rush of instant gratification and replacing it with a real human connection.
There’s another problem too: The constant portrayal of physical perfection on Porn websites, or our Instagram feed are making us forget about the most important human attributes and creating within us all a constant gap between expectation and reality when it comes to purely physical attributes.
The invention of a numbers based value system on people too, means that we are all perennially dissatisfied, or have a sense of entitlement about what physical attributes we are somehow entitled to: If we are an 8, we want an 8 or higher.
This turns all our possible dating matches into objects, not real people. I’m not saying you should pick someone to date who you aren’t attracted to, as that would never work, what I am saying is this: When we find someone we have an initial attraction to, we need to give them a real shot.
You can never truly evaluate the deeper parts of someone if you aren’t prepared to stop swiping. Finding the real deal involves giving up other options and a degree of self sacrifice for the greater good.
What we should all be looking for, is people who reflect our own values; people who’s humour we get, people who are quirky and imperfect, but who we can grow to look at and feel that they’re just perfect for us.
It’s not about “Settling” for someone, it’s about finding someone who is kind, honest, frustrating, imperfect, messy, real and rewarding to be with. If you’re basing perfect relationships on Hollywood movies, then you have it all wrong.
The fact is, fairytales do exist, but nothing is ever going to feel like that all the time. The best relationships in the world take work, but are worth every investment of time and effort you can muster.
We all need to drop or loosen up our list of attributes we are looking to check off when we find a potential partner and look for a whole person, with all these deeper real qualities. If you are constantly looking for someone who is better looking/has bigger breasts/has a better job, then maybe you need to take a closer look at your own values, before evaluating someone else.
If we choose to lock someone down and commit to them, exclusive of anyone else, it gives us both time to evaluate our true compatibility and value base, then we might just end up finding something mutually fulfilling that turns into the most amazing thing we’ve ever experienced.
No one is saying it will be easy; we’ve all been hurt too and tend to focus too much on what could go wrong, rather than what could go right. None of us want to get our heart broken, so we can be prone to self sacrifice, but the more you are prepared to choose Love based on values and character attributes and the more you are prepared to communicate with your partner and work at building something special, the less chance you have of getting hurt.
We are all genetically hard wired for connection and we all want the real thing deep down, but we need to have the courage to do what it takes to get it. We need to show up in relationships as our authentic selves, who are prepared to be truthful with our intentions to be someone’s priority and to make them ours, without any second guessing or games. We all deserve to know exactly where we stand.
We should all replace the ‘constantly looking for better’ mentality with striving to be in a better relationship, being a more effective communicator and encouraging our partner to continue growing with our continued motivation and support.
Being present when it comes to dealing with the painful emotions that undoubtedly come up in a new relationships, due to past hurts and possible core beliefs of mistrust/abandonment together with communicating your honest feelings to your partner will strengthen your bond together.
Aligning your behaviour to your core values will also help you when it comes to not forcing things to unfold exactly the way you want them to. Be patient , give the relationship time and space and enjoy the journey of getting to know someone inside out; this is the fun stuff.