Why dating is ruining your love life
If you’re single, chances are, you hate dating. If you’re not single, chances are, you feel lucky to be done with the dating game. I write dating advice because there are always unanswered questions around dating. People want to know what they are doing wrong. People want advice on what to do right. Most mainstream dating advice is targeted towards women. Women are given the responsibility to decide their dating destiny. That seems all fine and dandy until you read between the lines. Women are sold the idea of forever and true love based on their insecurities of staying single forever. I just finished reading Outdated. Why dating is ruining your love life by Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor of Feminsiting.com. Her book has reopened by mind about dating in this current society. This book is primarily written for single, feminist and fabulous ladies (like me!) who are confused about dating in the post millennium, however anyone in the dating world, male and female, can benefit from the insight in Outdated. Mukhopadhyay doesn’t use traditional methods of dating advice that blame women and tell them they must change in order to be happy. Instead she breaks down the real societal and political expectations that confuse the reasons women and men want love and feel love. Without giving away too much information, based on Outdated, I’ve highlighted just a few reasons why the outdated version of dating is ruining your love life.
#1 Political View
Daily, the idea of couple-dom is thrust into our psyches. Traditional relationships, whether real or fiction, reflect a conservative view of one-man to one-woman relationships.
Our government awards benefits to married couples. So being married ultimately is the only way to become a legitimate American. With the 2012 elections around the corner hopefully you’re aware of the ways conservative parties are hoping to force the expectation of “traditional” relationships. Mukhopadhyay states, “The conservative fight to ‘take America back’ is literally being waged on women’s bodies with bill after bill trying to limit access to reproductive health technologies and make cuts to family planning”
Taking away women’s health benefits forces women into the role of motherhood. Forcing women into a role takes away a woman’s autonomous control and makes it easier to shame, categorize, judge, and discriminate women based on the patriarchal identity of women in our society.
Benefits are awarded to only one type of marriage so marriage becomes the only logical option. However, the amount of divorce in our country suggests that one option isn’t flawless nor the only way to sustain a successful relationship. According to Outdated when marriages fail main stream media blame it on the failure of society as a whole instead of admitting that one type of marriage isn’t for everyone. When you fail to settle down it’s because you are a bad person, not because you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It is unrealistic to think that dating should inevitably end at one point for every relationship.
#2 Love is expensive
Reality TV is littered with programs that accentuate the industry behind weddings. Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas, My Fair Wedding, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Kim K’s 20 million dollar wedding on Keeping up with the Kardashians. Americans are obsessive with extravagant weddings. Weddings and the idea of getting married has become a giant industry where profits are generated by advertising. Advertising’s purpose is to manipulate the society’s thoughts on personal flaws and then sell a product that will fix them. Industries profit when you feel bad about yourself.
The industry of marriage has created a profit around getting to marriage. Women spend money on beauty products and fashions that will make them look desirable, all in the hopes to catch a man. When women can’t catch him more money is spent on books and rom-coms to tell women what they’re doing wrong.
Mukhopadhyay mentions that dating gurus such as Greg Behrendt author of He’s Just Not That into You, Travis Stork author of Don’t Be That Girl, and Steve Harvey author of Act Like a Lady, Think like a Man, have manipulated women’s insecurities about finding The One into a wanted genre. Dating advice in books like the ones mentioned tell women they are inherently different than men. These books state that women are complex while men are simple. Women are blamed for the ignorance of their complexity. Complexity ignorance is the reason why a woman doesn’t have a man and is inevitably unhappy. Reading into these gender differences confuses women on how they should communicate while dating. Instead of being individual women wreck their brains trying not to be too independent, too needy, too materialistic, too natural, too any characteristic or counter-characteristic that makes each person special.
#3 Forget about the sex
In America you’re relationship status is either married or not. According to conservative views sex is a benefit only between married people. This either/or status supports the age old virgin/whore dichotomy. Women who have sex are unclean, irresponsible and deviant. These are the women that are hidden and don’t deserve to be respected in a relationship. Women who wait to have sex are prude but at the same time place their value of worth on the ability to stay chaste. Women who wait to have sex are women to be introduced to family. Mukhopadhyay mocks, “In other words, if women wanted to be treated nicely, they would close those legs and get on the train to seriousville and be in a serious relationship.”
Women are taught that sex is a weapon and a chore, not something that they should enjoy. When Steve Harvey tells women to wait 90 days before sex with their boyfriend he’s telling women their worth is measured in their panties. Harvey’s opinion is based on the idea that there is a flood of vagina and in order for men to appreciate women again the flood has to stop. If stifling women’s right to have sex when they want, how they want and with whom they want isn’t sexist then I don’t know what is.
Initiating a sex probationary period will hurt more when you can’t make it the full 90 days. If a woman has a moment of weakness (in my case two more glasses of wine) and has sex, she is seen as a failure. When the relationship ends women will blame “giving it up too quick” as the reason why. But that’s not the reason.
Dating advice claims that men and women experience sex differently. Women are perceived to be more emotional about sex where men have no attachment to the act whatsoever. This is untrue. Mukhopadhyay helps to squash the conservative popularizing of the neurochemical oxytocin, a supposed “cuddle” hormone. I personally fell for this concept just a few months ago. It was my understanding that the brain chemical oxytocin is released in women on two occasions: during childbirth and during orgasm. This hormone is supposed to associate the woman’s love connection to whoever helps to release the chemical- her baby or her man. The more I think about it the more absurd and sexist the concept seems to be. Sex should be enjoyed by any and all consenting adults. They only rules to sex are the ones set up between sexual partners. Over-thinking sex according to gender roles and conservative values hinders the dating experience.
#4 Macho mentalities
Just as women are categorized as either virgin or whore men are stereotyped as either Alpha male/wimp. There is societal pressure of what it means to be a man. Stereotypical manly men secure the current power dynamic by shaming and humiliating men when they aren’t the standard manly man. These stereotypes are detrimental to both genders when women don’t respond the way the stereotypical man expects them to. Men are taught they have to be better than and stronger than women. When men don’t reach that manly man or alpha male persona the side effects are insensitivity and violence.
Men are not considered grown men until they can pay for everything and afford a luxury car. The media leads people to believe that how much love you are capable of is based on how many expensive things you own. Women only (supposedly) care about shopping and nice cars so unless a man can afford those things then he has no value as a man to a potential housewife. And as I’ve stated before being married is the only way to be recognized and considered in this country.
From the few points I made in this article it would seem that Mukhopadhyay and I hate America, hate politics, hate marriage, hate men, hate industry, and hate dating. In fact that is very far from the truth. I believe Mukhopadhyay wrote this book because she loves everything. She clearly states how much she loves love and hopes that every person will find the type of relationship that works for them. Outdated recognizes that our society is changing and with it so should gender roles and the expectations of people in the society. Dating shouldn’t be tradition; it should be fun and knowledgeable at the same time. You should learn about yourself and others around you, instead of dictating every step in your life. Most people only focus on marriage. When we allow ourselves to be free, who we really are, not manipulate ourselves, respect others, ignore expectations that have been forced on us, then we will truly find happiness. If you’re tired of that losing feeling or always holding onto the ‘what ifs’ and ‘one days’ when it comes to finding love I highly recommend reading Outdated. Why dating is ruining your love life.
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You can also ready my personal account on how this book helped me at my blog here.