The Dating Scene Is Toxic — Here Are Some Of The Biggest Problems

The dating scene just isn’t what it used to be. It was once considered to be fun, carefree, and filled with interesting people who might just be “The One.” These days, the dating scene is a chaotic hellhole of losers, users, and conflated rules that make it nearly impossible to trust others. There are many, many problems with the way we date today, but some are way worse than others. These things are ruining dating for everyone — and all of us are to blame in one way or another.

  1. Fear of commitment is the norm and no one seems to care. This is a huge problem, even if people don’t want to call it a problem. There are way too many time wasters who are too gutless to actually settle down out there, and that alone destroys the dating experience for people who actually want a spouse. I was the girl guys passed up because they “don’t feel like committing right now.” I can say that this is one of the primary reasons I gave up on love.
  2. Many guys feel entitled to way more than they actually deserve. Too many guys lash out at women if we reject them directly. Some also get angry if we ghost them, if we don’t sleep with them fast enough, or if we don’t text them. And, God forbid a woman is overweight/otherwise doesn’t meet their expectations of physical perfection. It’ll result in us being unceremoniously dumped. Plus, way too many guys feel like buying dinner basically entitles them to sex. With all the expectations they plop on women, it’s obvious why some of us may have just gotten fed up with them.
  3. Doing the right thing is dangerous these days. Horrifying as it is, I know a lot of women who’ve poked holes in condoms to strongarm a guy into marriage. Those guys got trapped because they chose to “do the right thing” by marrying those women. Women who choose to “do the right thing” by rejecting guys up front, however, often face verbal abuse or even a physical assault for doing so. Knowing these consequences can happen just because we were trying to do right by others makes it really hard to want to stay a good person. This isn’t cool.
  4. Everyone expects to have their cake and eat it too. We somehow all seem to think we can finagle the love and commitment of a relationship without having to be loyal to anyone. We seem to think we can get the benefits or relationships without the risks, and just get the “select cuts” of partnership without having to be there for anyone. Then, when we have partners who act the same way, we freak out.
  5. Dating is way more shallow than it used to be. For the life of me, I’ll never understand this. People, looks fade for everyone in the end. Seriously, they do. Just because someone isn’t six feet tall or a size zero doesn’t mean that they should be excluded from the dating world. By constantly chasing Pinterest-perfect people and moments, we forgot that real life isn’t a magazine. Dating made me feel like I was never perfect enough to be someone’s wife, and frankly, it just ruined the way I see men.
  6. To make matters worse, dates are cheap as hell. I can’t remember the last time a first legitimate date started with a guy who tried to sweep me off my feet. But, it gets worse than just resorting to cheap coffees with people. There are now guys who request money from women when the date goes south. So, like, are women supposed to “give refunds” if we don’t put out? Do people even realize what an insult being so miserly is to others?
  7. No matter how badly other people treat you, it’s always somehow your fault. It’s scary how often people blame the victims of abusive relationships or horrible dates because “they chose to deal with them.” Worse, people are really quick to tell others that they don’t “love themselves” enough to have a good relationship. This leads a lot of people to be hesitant to admit if they’re being abused or mistreated. Why bother when people will just tell you it’s your fault for choosing to date person X over them?
  8. The level of rudeness that some people display these days is mind-blowing. If you’re the proud owner of a vagina, you already know exactly what I’m talking about — especially on Tinder. Guys have absolutely ZERO problems being rude as hell behind a screen. And sometimes, they’re even worse in person. Ghosting is the norm, even when dealing with friends. Manners are the glue that keeps society together… and we’re forgetting that at alarming levels. The dating scene is a toxic cesspool.
  9. Emotions today are shallow. I don’t really know many people who actually legitimately care about the people they’re dating anymore. When the going gets tough in relationships, we just bail. After all, it’s not “cool” to stick by a person’s side anymore, is it?
  10. It’s a lose-lose situation. Even if we jump through every stupid hoop that we’re given, there’s no saying that we can actually get the love, affection, and security we deserve. So, why bother when the love we want isn’t going to be the love we receive?
  11. There are way too many creepy guys out there. Do you ever feel like all the good guys are taken? Well, you’re not alone. With all the players, womanizers, and just plain creepy guys out there, it’s easy to get down on men altogether. Try not to generalize, though. No two guys are the same, despite the fact that they might exhibit some of the same bad behavior.
  12. Sometimes you feel invisible. When you leave the bar with no new guys and no new numbers, it’s pretty easy to start feeling invisible to potential partners. Getting down on your dry spell won’t do you any good. Cheer up, change it up, and get back out there into the dating scene. Nothing ever changes if you don’t try.
  13. Getting stuck in limbo seriously sucks. Being stuck on the hook of someone else’s fishing pole is never fun. You either want them to reel you in or throw you back for someone else to find and actually cherish. This is the worst, so don’t let it happen. If you’re unhappy with the timeline of your relationship, set yourself free.
  14. We sometimes let our relationships (or lack thereof) define us. No one can tell you who you are, and you shouldn’t let them. When love fails, often women blame ourselves, wondering what we did wrong and what’s internally wrong with us. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with you. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to — it sucks, but that’s life.

Things to consider before wading into the dating scene

Whether you want a partner or someone to go out with for an evening of fun, are you ready? Ask yourself these questions before getting back out there.

  1. Are you going to ghost? Ghosting is a pretty big deal these days (as in, you shouldn’t really do it). In some situations it can’t be helped, but for the most part, you need to ask yourself if you can clearly communicate with someone that you’re just not all that into them. The dating scene is pretty toxic, but you shouldn’t add to the problem.
  2. Will you be yourself on a date? Seems pretty simple and logical, and yet you’ve definitely gone on dates when you hid your pop culture obsessions or tried to look “cool” (whatever that means). Unless you can be proud of who you are, you really have no business going on a date.
  3. Do you even want a relationship? Just because you’re tired of being single doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to seriously date someone. Know the difference between the two and then date away. Whatever it is that you want, make sure you communicate it clearly with the other person.
  4. Will you learn from each first date? It sounds kind of corny, but first dates really are amazing learning experiences. You realize what you can tolerate and what you can’t, and you win confidence with every bad date. Plus, learning how to shake off bad experiences is always an awesome life skill.
  5. Can you stop being so stubborn? It’s just a fact that you’re stubborn when it comes to your dating life, or you would never be single in the first place. But you should only be going on dates if you can let go of some of your assumptions about who you’re supposed to be with.
  6. Can you let go of the single life? Some people are so in love with not being in love that they freak out over every good date because they don’t want to give their single lifestyle up. It’s up to you but dating for the sake of it will only hurt everyone.
  7. Do you miss your ex? This can be a tough question to answer because of course you’re a super strong, independent woman and you are totally fine now. But if you’re still thinking about the one that got away, you might need a longer break.
  8. What are you afraid of? Everyone’s afraid of something when it comes to love. You have to figure out what your fear is and then work it out before making it someone else’s problem.
  9. Are you OK with rejection? Unfortunately, rejection comes in a few forms, from being ghosted to being flat-out told you’re not someone’s type. You should be able to move past it. If you’re in the dating scene, this will happen
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.