Hookup Culture Exists Because We Let It Exist

If you aren’t satisfied with the way men and women seem to be approaching dating nowadays, get in line. Suddenly, terms like “ghosting” and “breadcrumbing” are normal topics of conversation when rehashing a failed date or relationship. The new normal is making the act of dating more daunting than ever, and whether you want to accept it or not, we’re making it happen. Here’s how you’re playing your part:

You don’t tell your guy what you want up front. If you’re uncomfortable with the thought of your guy seeing other people while you get to know each other, say so. Letting a potential boyfriend know your expectations from the get-go is way easier than keeping your thoughts to yourself and finding yourself alone and disappointed. Just remember — you aren’t needy, you simply have needs.

You try to keep up with the “cool girl” act. If you really are comfortable with your guy dating around or keeping the Tinder app on his phone after your third date, that’s fine! If you’d prefer he dedicate his time to your relationship exclusively, that’s fine too — but you have to speak up and say so. Pretending like you’re okay with behavior you don’t like will only hurt you in the long run and leave him totally confused as to why you’re suddenly putting boundaries on him later in your relationship.

You don’t go on dates unless there’s alcohol within reach. Drinking on a first date can help you get over those initial nerves and butterflies, but lately booze seems more like a necessity than an optional perk. If you can’t maintain a good conversation or feel confident without a drink in front of you, it’s time self-reflection before your next date.

You don’t realize that what’s common sense to you may not be to someone else. Assuming every guy you date has the same agenda as you is short-sighted. Everyone dates a little differently and everyone has different expectations. It’s worth taking the time to feel someone out and let them know how you prefer relationships to go, you may find someone who feels exactly the same way you do.

You always assume the worst. If you go into every date with a cloud of pessimism hanging over your head, you should probably expect it to rain on your parade. Yes, you may have been burned before, but it’s not fair to accuse future dates of doing you wrong before you’ve even met.

You’re too nice. Being lonely isn’t an excuse for you to accept every date on your Match.com account. If you know you’re not going to get along with someone based on their profile, don’t be surprised when things don’t work out. You really can avoid today’s hookup culture if you take the time to find quality people. Saying ‘no’ to a date isn’t mean; ghosting on someone you were never really into in the first place is.

You expect a fairytale. This isn’t meant to sound condescending, but if you think falling in love is as easy as it sounds in story books, you’re mistaken. Relationships that are worth a damn take hard work and dedication. Of course great relationships are full of laughter and romance, but at their core are realistic expectations and respect. Waiting for someone that’s willing to give all of that to you will at least bring you closer to your fairy tale ending.

You’re not honest about your feelings. If you’ve been on a few dates and you’re ready to commit to a guy, let him know. You can’t blame a lack of response on hook up culture if you never communicate in the first place. Ghosting and breadcrumbing can often be avoided if you take the time to open up about how you feel in a clear, concise way.

You let unacceptable behavior slide. You’ve been dating this guy exclusively for a month and you still haven’t met his friends. You text him first thing in the morning and he doesn’t acknowledge it until he’s drunk at 2 a.m. This kind of behavior indicates a lack of respect and it’s okay to call him out on stuff like this. If he doesn’t think any of your concerns are a big deal, it’s time to let him go! Letting behavior you’re uncomfortable with slide is basically a free pass to allowing it to happen again.

You think this is just the way life is now. If you expect very little of someone, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Believe it or not, there are plenty of guys out there that are just as frustrated with today’s dating culture as you are. Don’t allow yourself to get so jaded that you think this is just the way life is going to be from here on out. You determine the dating culture you want to experience by picking men who want the same things as you.

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