Rethinking Romance in the Digital Age

Food for Thought

I’ve never used dating apps because they didn’t exist in my days. My millennial friends seem to hold a universally negative opinion, likening the experience to enduring the trauma of a psychiatric ward.

Imagine, if you will, a scenario where you possess the means to dedicate an entire year to dating, meeting four potential partners daily. This scenario would introduce you to 1,460 individuals over the course of the year, assuming, hypothetically, that each remains an option by year’s end. Would that allow you to find the best possible candidate? “Love of your life”?

Reflecting on this scenario reveals that the abundance of options isn’t the core issue. This dilemma mirrors the perspective of audiophiles towards their sound systems, where the overall quality is determined by the pourest component. Splurging on $10,000 speakers will be moot if paired with subpar cables or a power source riddled with interference, resulting in audio quality that doesn’t surpass that of a $100 setup.

A seldom discussed point is whether we are the most qualified judges of our potential partners. Common wisdom champions the idea of personal choice in romance, reserving arranged marriages as a last resort. However, a brief Googling online reveals studies suggesting that the divorce rate for arranged marriages in the US hovers around 4 percent, significantly lower than the general 40 to 50 percent range. While the accuracy of these figures can be debated, they hint at a higher success rate for arranged marriages. This, I believe, suggests that we may not be the best judges of our romantic partners.

In essence, when choosing a partner, we often let our egos lead, overlooking that these very egos are prone to degradation over time. For lasting happiness, one might even wish for their ego’s dissolution. Our friends, unblinded by personal bias, may offer clearer insights into our romantic choices than we can. (Our family members have their egos entangled with ours, so they are no good either.)

I believe this is the weakest link in the whole process of mating, which is why online dating apps cannot solve the seemingly eternal problem.