A few years into the single life after being widowed, I realized most people just don’t want to be in committed relationships with each other so much anymore. Women say especially men. There’s not a lot of reason to when they can order up a new and different hottie in less time than it takes to have a pizza delivered.
“I’ll have the blonde haired, blue eyed special tonight please. No taller than 5’8″. Between 132 and 148 pounds. Curvy is always nice or athletic and toned, but not too muscular. Easy on the makeup. Can you add a graduate degree and make her a high income earner of $250,000 plus? Oh and no kids. I want someone free and easy. 6:00? Great. See her then.”
And men say especially women.
“I’ll take mine tall, dark and handsome. Ivy educated. Rooftop apartment. No less than $500,000 a year. Five filled passports. And must love cats.”
No wonder dating sites are so popular! Where else can you find 2,500 bars with 41,250,000 single people ready to mingle at the touch of a computer screen? Sounds like good odds, no?
According to Pew Research, it’s great if you’re 18-24. That’s when a woman’s online desirability peaks. At 26, she has more online pursuers than men. By age 48 though, men have twice as many online pursuers as women. Put that together in New York City where 53% of the population is female compared to 47% male and it’s no wonder my friends and I weren’t meeting a lot of commitment-oriented men out there in la la land.
After sifting through thousands of profiles, usually over a glass of wine with a girlfriend or two, I actually went out on a few dates. While the men were very nice, I met one who I really liked! Several months into what I thought was a burgeoning relationship, come to find out, he’d been keeping one hand on the keyboard continuously searching the internet for more, more, more the whole time he was with me, me, me.
After telling him where he could put his other hand, I pulled the plug my online profile for good. I figure if that’s how you meet someone, there’s a good chance that’s how your relationship will end.
Only the problem is bigger than that. It’s everywhere. It’s ingrained in our brains that we will achieve greater success and live perfect, happy lives when given more choices to choose from in order to make us instantly healthy, wealthy, popular, successful, and beautiful. We then become choice obsessed and can’t figure out why we walk around feeling slightly hopeless and unsatisfied when we have everything we want and more, more, more!
It’s so much easier to distract ourselves with instant gratification as we flip from thing to thing to thing and person to person to person rather than take the time we need to fix ourselves, especially after love fails. It seems most everyone is on the rebound. But they’re really not to blame. It’s much easier to date up a storm to distract yourself from a painful breakup than it is to do the work that is necessary to become emotionally whole again.
So we create limitless worlds as we input, input, input and bombard ourselves with technology and stimuli and wonder why we are miserable, distracted and dissatisfied. We see our lives for what they are not, instead of what they are.
Compare. Compare. Compare. Go on Facebook. Click on her life. Look at how happy she and her husband seem. Look at the shiny happy couples with their shiny happy kids. See the people. See the people who are so happy. See the people who are the smarter, more handsome, richer, more successful. These are the happy shiny people. They have more friends. Better holidays. Happier kids. More expensive clothes. A family beach house. They’re at the beach now. Everyone’s smiling. Tan. And happy.
See an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend on his Facebook page. See an ex girlfriend’s new boyfriend and look, they are at the restaurant you introduced her to. Look again. They’re now listed as “in a relationship” for everyone to see and admire. Look at us. We are the happy shiny couple too. We will join you in your happy shiny life for all to see too. Our love is perfect. We are now a “we.” This is our sparkly filtered love and our lives on display for everyone to see.
Are we good enough? How do we measure up? Are we the best? Are we the happiest? Are we living our best happiest life? Am I worthy? Who’s more popular? Why wasn’t I invited? I stayed home and read a book. It was Friday. I’m a loser! Put it out there! Post it! Tweet it! Keep it to under 140 characters! Snap it fast and get it posted! You have 10 seconds! Photoshop the image! Attention here! Attention there! Pay me attention everywhere! Post it on Facebook! Be liked! Be shared! Look at me! Instagram the pictures! Send them in an email! Let everyone know you were there living your most fabulous life! Selfie me! Selfie you! Like me! Friend me! Poke me! Share me! Talk to me! Tweet naked photos of yourself! Look at me, me, me! Aren’t I fantastic? Pay attention to me! Tell your friends to pay attention to me! Vote for me! I don’t even know you, but I need you to validate me!
Even though we know deep inside these lives do not exist and that online is all a filtered fabrication of reality, we still somehow the despair. We see it with our own eyes and therefore we somehow feel a part of it is real. And we will continue to want it and be slightly miserable until we get it. But then when we get it, we’re not sure what it is that we’re truly after. And even if it is right in front of us, we overlook it as we search, search, search for more, more, more.
When will it end, end, end? I think it is only going to get worse, worse, worse until our brains fry, fry, fry and we become robotic chips with hearts made of tin.