Are you wondering why he won’t commit, or frustrated that she hasn’t agreed to an exclusive relationship? It seems like singles are having serious commitment issues these days, and the grass is greener mentality may be to blame.
Millennials want bigger, better, faster stronger, and it’s no different when it comes to our relationships. It's hard to commit because we are just a click away from hundreds of other possibilities. Because we grew up expecting instant results, we are less likely to go on a second or third date if we see don't see the whole puzzle right away, so we look elsewhere. This creates a dysfunctional dating dynamic that prevents us from forming committed relationships.
Online dating is partially to blame since it’s addicting—no, seriously! Swiping apps activate the reward center of the brain. Every time you get a match, it’s like a hit of pleasure for your brain, which releases the neurotransmitter dopamine and makes you feel excited.
You become “trained” to swipe over and over again, seeking that “high” every time you match. The more matches, the bigger the boost of feel-good chemicals. It’s so addicting because it works similarly to the effects of drugs, gambling and love. This might explain why you can’t seem to log out of these apps, even when you’re dating someone that you like.
Here’s the thing, we aren't a resume or a checklist. We have many layers and it takes time, communication, and digging deeper to evaluate someone who may have potential.
Research actually shows you’re less likely to go on a second date with someone if your first date lasts more than 2.5 hours. This means to up your chances of going out again, you need to keep the first date relatively short.
But because dating culture is so fast paced, people are moving on rapidly from one person to the next without making an emotional investment. You can’t possibly learn everything you need to know about someone to determine if he or she is “The One” within this short timeframe.
If you think someone has real potential, at some point you need to put both feet in—or should I say both fingers in—and stop swiping for something “better.” Dating with intent to find a life partner requires effort and time to develop emotional intimacy.
To prevent the grass is greener mentality, you have to get crystal clear about what you're looking for in a partner. This also means you have to become an expert on yourself. Spend time thoughtfully reflecting on your own personality traits, core values, lifestyle and life goals. You can’t pick a perfect match if you don’t know what’s most important to you.
Nothing is wrong with casual dating, but if you’re looking for marriage material, then you need to be more strategic about your dating life. If you don't know what you want, and how you want to feel about it, you'll never know if and when you have it!
Breaking up is always an option, but the worst case is passing up a potential soul mate because you didn’t invest enough time into getting to know this person.
When I first started dating my husband, I was on the fence about him because frankly, I had never dated a man like him before and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him. He asked me to be his girlfriend early on into dating, but I told him I wasn’t ready for an exclusive relationship. I remember thinking he had the qualities that I wanted in a husband, but I just didn’t know if he was the man for me.
We continued seeing each other while I went out on multiple first dates with other guys. Each of these dates clarified what I was growing to adore about my husband, but at the same time the future I envisioned with him was hazy, so I was hesitant to commit. That’s when I realized that I would never know what the future would hold for us if I didn’t give the relationship a real chance.
Asking someone to date exclusively, or labeling the relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend title does not mean you’re getting married, and it doesn’t mean you have to date for a long time. It just means you’re giving this person your undivided attention so that you can more effectively and thoughtfully rule him/her in or out as a life partner.
If you’re not willing to invest the time, energy, and effort into a budding relationship, you’ll never see it grow.
Read about exactly how to have the "define the relationship talk"!