How to thrive in today’s dating world

Today’s dating world is certainly something of a minefield. With the introduction of apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Huggle, and Happn, and websites including Match, eharmony, OkCupid, and Zoosk, there are now more ways than ever to meet people and fall in love, or to just enjoy an evening’s entertainment if you’d prefer. Indeed, more people than ever before are choosing to scout out, and interact with people via social media and online avenues prior to physical encounters, introducing an entirely new facet to this thing we call love. How can we possibly know which avenue is right for us, or what advice we should be following?

So, what does today’s dating world look like?

In order to thrive in today’s dating world, it’s essential to understand a little of how it works.

It’s estimated that some 25% of all new relationships begin online, with more and more of us turning to our phones and tablet devices in order to find love. And why not? Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, aiding shopping, eating, entertainment, and communication. It stands to reason, then, that technology should play such a huge part in our dating lives too. It’s hard to imagine our parents, or grandparents meeting one another under such circumstances; today’s dating world is no doubt unrecognizable from the world of dinner dates, dances, and cautious courting they would have experienced all of those years ago. This change in pace is as much to do with society, as it is technology; we’re less constrained by convention and etiquette than our elders – and our changing attitudes certainly show when it comes to new relationships.

Are we more promiscuous than ever?

While it would be tempting to guess that we so-called millennials are probably experiencing more partners, and increasingly erratic relationships thanks to these societal shifts, experts have discovered we’re actually LESS sexually active than our parents. Researcher Jean Twenge of San Diego State University surveyed some 33,000 adults across the country, and ascertained that millennials, on average, have just eight sexual partners in their lifetime, compared to their parents’ ten, or grandparents’ eleven. We might be less judgmental about sexual relationships than older generations, but it would appear we’re also pickier when it comes to partners – and giving our hearts away. Sure, our generation introduced the concept of ‘friends with benefits’, and normalized the idea of casual hook-ups, but we’re rather careful creatures when it comes to dating.

Staying safe while dating

There can be little doubt that the stigma attached to online dating and matchmaking apps has subsided somewhat in recent years; it’s now more socially acceptable than ever to admit you met your new partner online. However, this shift in dynamics is likely to have a big impact upon safety and wellbeing, particularly for anyone meeting a potential new partner for the first time. While we might be having less sex than previous generations, the world remains an unnerving place. Is it possible to remain safe while enjoying the conveniences of today’s dating world?

The answer is a resounding, ‘yes’, as long as daters are prepared to acknowledge the risks involved. For example, anyone meeting a potential new love for the first time should do so in a light, bright, and public space, and endeavor to tell friends and family members where they have gone – and with whom. Personal details should be kept to a minimum while you’re online dating, with certain tidbits remaining secret until you’ve established a trusting relationship with a new partner. It’s also essential to look after your sexual health; it would be quite easy to dedicate an entire article to the matter, but at the very least you should be prepared to submit for regular screenings, such as a test for chlamydia – and to insist that new partners have done the same. Always, always use protection when engaging in a sexual relationship with someone new, too. There’s no such thing as being too careful, after all.

So, we’ve ascertained what today’s dating world looks like, but how can you make the most of this crazy little thing called love? Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to read and learn…

Learn the lingo

Whether you’re discussing ‘ghosting’, ‘cuffing season’, ‘cushioning’, or ‘benching’, contemporary dating lingo has the potential to be as confusing as the act of finding a partner. It’s time to familiarize yourself with modern dating terms; only then can you ensure you’re embracing each experience.

Decide what it is you’re looking for

While it certainly doesn’t pay to be picky it’s helpful if you can visualize the kind of partner you’re after.

What does he or she look like? What activities and interests would you prefer a new partner to have? The person you find yourself attracted to may well surprise you, but a checklist is a good place to start.

Honesty is the best policy

As always, it doesn’t pay to lie when indulging in a little online dating; not only will your lies unravel eventually, but you also risk attracting a partner for all of the wrong reasons. Don’t you want a potential mate to like you for who you are? Keep things simple; stick to the truth.

The most important thing to remember about the modern dating game is that we’re all in the same boat; no one really knows what he or she is doing any more, which is ultimately reassuring for anyone finding themselves single for the first time in a while. Thanks to technological advancements the dating game has never been so easy or convenient, although you might just want to steady yourself before diving straight in…

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