why is dating so hard

Why Is Dating So Hard in the Modern World

These days, dating can feel like slim pickings for most people. It seems all the good men and women are taken, causing many people to ask, “why is dating so hard in the modern world?”

If finding a long-term partner in today’s dating scene proves difficult, this article is for you.

I’ll explain some of the main reasons many people (especially millennials and Gen Z) have a hard time finding a good match when it comes to dating.

Also, I’ll share a few tips to help you meet new people and form genuine connections.

By the way, if you’re divorced or broken up with your long-term partner, check out this article to learn how to start dating again.

Why Is Dating So Hard?

Dating requires certain personal and interpersonal skills, a few of which include effective communication, confidence, compromise, and assertiveness.

However, having these skills does not guarantee dating success, especially in today’s world. In fact, many young people with nearly zero social skills tend to meet new dates every weekend!

But going on different dates isn’t the same as enjoying a long-lasting relationship; it might even be a sign that you’re struggling to find a good match.

Whatever the case, the following are some of the biggest issues with modern dating that make it so hard.

Different Views on Gender Roles

man carrying a woman in his back

Although society has witnessed significant changes and moved from more traditional ideas, many of us somehow still hold on to the “prince charming and the damsel in distress” messaging. This is especially true for women raised by very traditional parents.

But here’s where things get complicated.

Many people are unlearning this age-old messaging while others have internalized them as the norm in dating. This creates some sort of confusion and tension in dating, as different people have different views on societal expectations and gender roles.

For example, a man from a more traditional home will have trouble dating a modern lady who doesn’t buy the idea of needing to be saved by a man.

The world is changing rapidly, and so are societal norms.

However, not everyone adapts to change at the same pace, so conflicting views are bound to make social interactions, such as dating, harder.

Lack of Social Skills

couple sitting on a bench by a lake

No matter what is said in praise of the internet and social media, it can never replace the need to develop people skills ― something many lack these days.

Unfortunately, many people spend more time on their internet-enabled devices these days than they interact with others in the real world.

Of course, the internet makes communication quicker, but online dating isn’t the same as walking up to someone you like, saying something to pique their interest, and making them want to go on a date with you.

Just about anyone can express their emotions by sending emojis and converse easily through typing. But that’s not the case with face-to-face conversations.

That’s another way of saying that dating apps are not helping people develop strong social skills. This is especially true for timid or introverted individuals.

Why is dating so hard these days? Simple! Many of us just don’t have good people skills to hold quality conversations in face-to-face situations, so we struggle to connect with others in meaningful ways.

Dating Apps

beautiful woman lying down and looking at her phone

Before online dating sites and apps became a thing, finding a date meant dressing up and getting out there to meet real people.

As you probably already know, this approach takes a lot of time and effort and a healthy dose of self-confidence.

However, dating apps eliminate the hassles of traditional dating. While that’s a good thing, dating apps introduced a handful of not-so-good effects.

First, it robs people of face-to-face interaction, so it is increasingly difficult to read a potential partner’s body language, facial expression, verbal tone, and true character.

Secondly, two people on a dating app don’t necessarily have any chemistry between them because you can’t form a real connection just by looking at a profile picture and having a few shallow online conversations full of emojis.

True connection leads to real love by creating bonds in face-to-face situations. And strong bonds develop when people meet in person, observe real-life behavior, make plans, and do things together.

Unfortunately, dating apps and online dating sites don’t offer the same connection that good old-fashioned dating offers.

The Illusion of Unlimited Options

lady looking at a dating profile on a smartphone

Choosing between two good dates can be challenging, but that’s nothing compared to picking one person out of thousands of readily available choices!

With more than 44 million online dating users in the United States alone, you only need to swipe left or right to find an unlimited number of potential dates.

But the question is: how genuine are the profiles on dating sites and apps? How do you weed out the good from the bad?

The truth is, the idea of having unlimited options on dating apps is only an illusion.

And because many people believe the myth, it is difficult to find a good match in today’s dating world.


lonely woman on a bench holding a rose

Breakups can be very emotional and hard for many people, which is why ghosting has become rampant.

Ghosting in a relationship is to suddenly stop contacting someone (a partner or potential partner) without explanations whatsoever.

When someone ghosts you, they don’t answer your calls, reply to text messages, or respond to emails. They cut off all forms of communication, leaving you to wonder what went wrong.

The aim is simple:

You will eventually figure things out and back off.

While people may choose to ghost to avoid a confrontation, the underlying cause is that they are too afraid to express how they feel in a face-to-face situation. They lack the boldness to address their feelings of discomfort.

In other words, ghosting is taking the easy way out of a relationship.

Statistics suggest that approximately 80% of millennials have experienced ghosting at least once, making it a commonplace practice today.

With many people being ghosting victims, is it any wonder there are so many emotionally closed-off individuals on the dating scene?

Too Much Emotional Baggage

sad man leaning on his arms

Rejection without an explanation ― ghosting ― is one of the reasons people go into new relationships carrying lots of emotional baggage.

There is no sense of closure when someone experiences ghosting, so there’s a high chance they will become emotionally detached.

And that’s not the only problem with ghosting.

Anyone who experiences ghosting is left with unanswered questions:

  • Why are they avoiding me?
  • Is it something I did or said?
  • Am I the problem, or is there something else?

As a result of non-closure, victims will likely treat subsequent potential partners poorly because they are holding on to past pain and have not learned how to move on.

People with emotional baggage find it difficult to settle into a new relationship. And in today’s world, there are just too many people in this category, which explains why dating can be challenging these days.

The Prevalent Culture of Hookup or Casual Sex

half clothed young couple making out on the floor

Traditionally, dating allows two potential partners to assess their suitability for a long-term intimate relationship like marriage.

However, people tend to put the cart before the horse these days.

Satisfying sexual urges is top of mind from the first time two people set their eyes on each other. Why waste time wooing a woman when nearly everyone wants to jump into bed, right?

Nowadays, all anyone who wants a one-night stand or hookup needs to do is swipe right or left on an app!

With many people normalizing short flings and hookups, sexual intimacy on first dates is considered exciting, liberating, and a dating filter.

Here’s the problem with starting a relationship with casual sex: it hardly lasts.

If you use sex as a filter to know whether you’re a match with a potential partner, you might end up sleeping with tons of people before finding the perfect match!

Research shows that relationships where the couples take time to know each other before having sex tend to have better stability and last longer. On the other hand, people who reported early sexual intimacy had lower relationship satisfaction and outcomes.

Indeed, physical attraction is vital in any romantic relationship. However, many people are destroying the essence of romance by focusing more on physical attraction than emotional connection.

These days, people would rather be physically and emotionally closed-off than emotionally vulnerable, making dating so hard.

Emotional Detachment

couple checking their phones and having their back to each other

Many people prefer physical vulnerability (getting sexually intimate with strangers on short notice) over emotional vulnerability.

It is common for people to think they are stronger if they are emotionally unavailable or hide their true emotions.

On the other hand, people who open up emotionally are considered weak and “not cool.” And as you know, most people want to be perceived as “cool.”

The result?

More people care less about finding and establishing real romantic connections. Instead, they focus more on fleeting attractions.

If you’ve encountered an emotionally unavailable person, you’ll likely ask, “why is dating so hard?”

Unfortunately, many people on the dating scene these days are emotionally closed-off, making it difficult to really connect with them. 

To make matters worse, the popularity of online dating makes it risky to completely open up to a stranger whose dating profile could be bogus.

Finding Someone to Date

couple having a date on a boat

Although dating in the modern world can be hard, you can get through it if you know what to do. Consider the following tips.

1. Work on Yourself First

Perhaps you’re asking, “why is dating hard?” because you haven’t done the inner work. Focus on yourself. Learn to fall head-over-heels in love with yourself first before getting out there.

Understand exactly what you want in a relationship and the values important to you. Knowing this allows you to easily look for such values in a potential partner and connect with them.

2. Do What You Love

What do you love doing? What are your hobbies and interests? What are you passionate about?

Here’s what I recommend once you figure out what you love to do. Put away your internet-enabled devices, forget about creating dating profiles, and simply go out there and do what you love!

Dating apps are good, but going old-school can make dating less complicated than technology has made it.

Engaging in activities you love (whether a hobby or interest) brings you a step closer to finding someone who shares something in common with you.

3. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Take things slowly at first rather than banking on one person and rushing into a relationship. Besides the possibility of getting hurt, you’ll appear too desperate.

Understandably, you might want to be exclusive because you want a monogamous relationship. However, it is best to keep your options open until you find a keeper and both agree to be exclusive.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve ever pondered, “why is dating so hard?” now you know. Between the casual sex culture, being emotionally unavailable, and ghosting, it is no surprise that dating in the modern world is stressful.

While technology is meant to make life easier, dating apps and websites tend to make dating quite difficult. How do you tell fake dating profiles from real ones? How do you pick just one date from the plethora of options available?

Fortunately, you can find genuine dates if you follow the tips in this article.

To be clear, people have found love on online dating sites and apps. But the probability of that happening to most people online is slim.

If you’re dating in your 30s, I recommend checking out this article to find out how long to date before marriage.

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