These days, it seems everything is about the “here and now”. Impulsive behavior has taken over. I know I’m a very impulsive person and that has led me to make some very poor choices in my life, particularly when it comes to dating and sex. People who are impulsive typically don’t like waiting so they choose immediate rewards and “feel good” activities only to regret it later. Patient people, on the other hand, see their rewards coming later because “good things come to those who wait.” According to research, “For impulsive individuals who repeatedly make decisions that satisfy their current desires at the expense of their future needs, the negative effects on their health can be significant.” That’s very true. I know from my own self. Being impulsive has hurt me significantly. I need to “feel good now” and will deal with the consequences later … but, that’s where the problem lies. I have learned the error of my ways but have noticed, through my work with single people, and with my dating experience, that people generally dislike waiting for the good thing. That is why, for me, and for countless others, dating in the age of instant gratification is quite difficult.
Dating in the Age of Instant Gratification
We want it all and we want it now! And why not? We deserve it don’t we? We shouldn’t have to work hard for it, it should just come to us. It’s our right! Besides, if I don’t get what I want from one person or thing, someone else will give it to me and then on to the next! Right? WRONG!!! According to scholars, “instant gratification is one of the things that keep us from long-term fulfillment.” By our wanting to satisfy our urges immediately, we lose what we hope to achieve in the long run. We are being reactive rather than proactive with our life and our decisions. Essentially, “the only problem with instant gratification is that in the end, it doesn’t give us what we really want, and in most cases it actually keeps us from deeper longings we wish to fulfill.” Story of my life. In my effort to not care and just be happy and do what I want I have ended up exactly where I didn’t want to be. Mind you I’ve learned so much in the process, but, did my impulsiveness and desire for instant gratification do more harm than good? Well, I’m starting to think so.
There is a false sense of “options” and choice when it comes to dating and social media these days. I’ve spoken about that before, however, it also translates into actual dates. Everyone wants to have sex right away and “hook up” thinking that they don’t care and it won’t affect them. They’re sexually aroused at that moment in time and the person they are with is irresistible so they figure why the hell not, what do they have to lose? Well, chances are they lost their chance at a relationship with that person, sorry to say. I’ve been there, done that, more times than I’d like to admit. In the beginning I didn’t care because I was recently divorced and didn’t want a relationship with anyone, I just wanted to be wild and free, but then as a result ended up in a multi-year love affair with the wrong person, with whom I had an undeniable connection, as did he, who did nothing but love and hurt me at the same time … what do they call it? “La Douleur Exquise” which is “the heart-wrenching pain of wanting the affection of someone unattainable“. Even if you have their affection and you have their love you don’t have them. I often wonder, if I wasn’t so impulsive and wasn’t looking for instant gratification when I met him would I have still connected with him? I guess I’ll never know.
“What’s In It For Me?” Dating
Everyone wants to be happy and feel good about themselves, about their lives, they want to be wanted. I get that. Trust me, I get that. But it’s all about ego. Instant gratification is all about ego. It’s all about the moment. Dating in the age of instant gratification is the same. In order to combat loneliness we go out with whoever asks us, we have sex with whoever we want, whenever we want, we use people because they meet our immediate needs without any thought to the impact we’re having on them and their lives. Dating in the age of instant gratification is all about selfishness … it’s all about “what’s in it for me?”. If I don’t get what I want then I’m on to the next. Why give someone a chance if I “don’t feel it”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly guilty of this. I want the long term rewards but I want them now and I want them with who I want. If someone doesn’t fit into the mold that I want them to fit in, if they don’t meet my expectations then I’m on to the next. But I’ve realized how wrong I’ve been and I’ve changed significantly. Live and learn, right?
From Reactive to Proactive Dating
When you sacrifice instant gratification, you get so much more in return, you get your long term goals. How? Because you start dating thoughtfully. You put some actual thought into your dating process, what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. But, there is the danger of putting TOO much thought into it and analyzing everything, I’m not saying do that, but, I’m saying don’t be reactive and impulsive either. Take the middle path. For example, just because someone didn’t return your message right away doesn’t mean they never will … a reactive response would be to keep messaging them until they finally answer, by which time you’ve probably lost them … a proactive response would be to wait until they return your message and if they don’t respond at all, you can try once more casually and then let it go and move on. Do you get what I mean? The same goes for sex, unless you’re only looking for a casual sex encounter, keep it in your pants until you know their true intentions. Get to know them before getting intimate. Remember, safe sex is physical, mental and emotional. Don’t do anything without being fully aware of the consequences. Impulsive dating and sex, or dating in the age of instant gratification can have a lasting effect on you, so be smart about the choices you make. I know I have learned to be (although I do get myself into a little trouble now and again ;)) In the mean time … enjoy the dating process!
Readers, what do you think? Do you agree that dating in the age of instant gratification is hurting our chances at love? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
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