Ashley Linzey Headshot

Dating used to be so simple. However, it has begun to seem like a laborious, complex and  confusing part of life.

Back in high school, it seemed almost everyone was dating someone. It was easy to find a person who you got along with and shared the same hobbies or values with. Dating then wasn’t such a far-fetched idea. As I have gotten older though, dating in college or as a young professional can sometimes be the complete opposite and almost cumbersome. 

After school and venturing into the working world, dating seemed so incomprehensible — I didn’t even try. I guess as we get out of school or move to different states, our circle of friends shrinks over time, making it a little harder to get exposed to new people. 

As I got older and decided to go back to college, I definitely noticed my options were very slim once again. Being a non-traditional student and also not being from North Carolina, my friend group is very small. This circumstance limits my ability to meet new people or potential partners unless I go downtown as much as I can. Personally, it would be exhausting to do this. Maybe back in the day this seemed like a good option, but I honestly would rather meet someone on a bus than at a bar. Plus, it’s highly uncommon. 

So if meeting someone at a bar isn’t on the top of the list, why not online dating? 

Using online dating apps, and dating as you get older in general, is an endless game of trying to meet new people to see if something can develop into a relationship. Some people make it seem so easy to find their significant other while us single ones are over here struggling to even go on a second date. 

Don’t get me wrong, some people find their person on dating apps, but for others it can be maddening. It sometimes feels like I’m rolling dice and have no clue what I am going to get. The majority of the time I’m rolling snake eyes 一 one roll after another. It baffles me to think back on how easy it was to meet and date someone when I was in high school, or even shortly after. 

I started asking myself if there is an actual reason why it has become more difficult to date now, versus then.

HuffPost concludes that as we get older, our dating preferences change because of numerous factors, leading to dating becoming more difficult and narrow. Factors like changing our priorities as we take on more responsibilities or discovering “red flags” as we gain experience from our past relationships or dates make our needs and wants more clear, ultimately narrowing down our pool of potential suitors.

Even more perplexing is Mark Manson’s angle, “It’s Complicated: Why Relationships and Dating Can Be So Hard.” Here, Manson dives into the depths of why dating can be difficult, connecting how “emotional maps” formed during our adolescent years are developed into adulthood. Not everyone has discovered their emotional maps or boundaries: what needs to be filled and what needs to be fixed.

As genuinely as I can say, enjoy your time dating. It can get complicated as you get older and discover the limited number of applicants who may be perfect for the position. Expect the unexpected, but have fun.