Ask any woman who’s currently dating whether she’s found the process easy, and she’s likely to laugh at the suggestion. For a plethora of reasons, dating in the modern world can feel absolutely impossible. If you’re finding it difficult, you’re not alone. Here are the main reasons why dating is so hard for women today.
- The pandemic The biggest reason that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself if you’re finding dating tricky is because COVID-19 exists. We are literally in a pandemic, which has made a lot of things in life more difficult—dating included. Some states have imposed restrictions that make it harder or impossible to go out and mingle with strangers. Events have been canceled. We’ve spent endless time in lockdown and quarantine. And people are being discouraged from getting too close to strangers. On top of all the other factors that make dating difficult, we also have all of this to maneuver around.
- Dating apps Some say that dating apps make dating easier, but they’re not without their faults. Dating apps have made dating more accessible. Unfortunately, this has also made individual people in the dating pool more dispensable. Generally, people are less careful when dealing with their dates because they know there’s a sea of others where they came from. Dating apps also make it easier to engage in certain worrying dating trends, like ghosting.
- Comparing yourself to others We live in a world of comparisons. Comparing yourself to others makes dating more difficult because it can make you sabotage your own progress. You might be perfectly happy with where your dating life is. Then you see your friends on social media posting about dates they’ve gone on and relationship stages they’re at. And suddenly you compare and feel terrible. Then you might take your date for granted or even call things off in the pursuit of something better.
- Waiting for standards to be met One of the reasons why dating is harder for women today is women are generally made more aware of their worth. The women’s rights movement has encouraged women to seek what they deserve in a partner or date, rather than settling for what they don’t want. When you have standards, dating is harder and takes longer. But the end result is usually better. If you wait it out, you’ll end up with someone who makes you happy, rather than with someone you settled with just because.
- Dealing with mind games It’s hard to say whether mind games are a new dating phenomenon, or whether they’ve always been around. But they certainly make dating difficult. Thanks to multiple avenues of communication, there are now more ways to play mind games on people. For example, leaving someone on read or posting stories on social media to make them jealous were never a problem for women of the past to worry about. No wonder dating is so hard.
- The taboo around making the first move as a woman The taboo around making the first romantic move when you’re a woman makes it even more difficult to take control of your love life. While many women would like to make the first move, many also feel like taking that step is not feminine and makes them look desperate (it doesn’t). So they avoid it, and if the person they like doesn’t make a move either, they both lose the opportunity.
- The fear of rejection This plagues both women and men who are trying to date today. People sometimes play it cool and don’t put as much effort into cultivating relationships because they’re trying to pre-emptively protect themselves from rejection. But this usually just gives the other person the wrong idea and sabotages the relationship.
- The fear of rejecting The fear of rejection can happen to anyone, but this is something that tends to affect women more than men. Anyone can get angry after experiencing rejection. But internet users have frequently reported stories of men turning abusive in those situations. These stories have inspired Instagram pages like Bye Felipe, which call out men for this behavior. Fearing an angry reaction can make women hesitant to date in the first place in case they have to reject someone.
- Finding a balance between staying safe and having fun Both men and women perpetrate violence and abuse. The risks seem to be higher for women, however, with research suggesting that 91 % of rape and sexual assault victims are female. Society also places extra pressure on women to protect themselves from these situations. The vast majority of women would have heard the advice not to drink too much or dress “provocatively”, especially on a date. It can be difficult to try and balance practicing safety and having fun while getting to know new people. For example, women might turn down a date they’d love to go on because they have no sure way of getting home. Or they feel anxious about including alcohol in the mix, even though they’d really like to get a drink with the person. Trying to protect yourself and put yourself out there makes things harder and more exhausting.