Modern Dating Is Awful, and It's Time to Fix It

Essay in 'New York Times' suggests going retro in 3 fundamental ways
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2022 12:58 PM CDT
Modern Dating Is Awful, and It's Time to Fix It
Stock photo.   (Getty/Tero Vesalainen)

The advent of online dating should in theory have made it so much easier for people to find partners. Then why are so many suffering from what Michal Leibowitz calls "dating app burnout" in a New York Times essay? By that, she means countless "dead-end interactions" despite an endless array of filters, low barriers to communication, and a seemingly bottomless source of potential suitors. Leibowitz makes the case that it's time for dating to go retro, or at least to embrace some of the practices that were in play before swiping culture took hold. "It's worth asking," she writes. "Is it time to court again?"

After hearing the stories of daters of all kinds, Leibowitz lays out three principles "as particularly promising for people who are looking for committed, long-term relationships: meeting partners through friends, family, or matchmakers rather than online; early, upfront communication around long-term goals and values; and delaying sexual intimacy." Her essay delves into the specifics of each one. She emphasizes that she's not advocating a return to the "highly regimented" courtship rituals of the 19th and early 20th centuries, but she suggests borrowing a little: "It might be worth accepting a certain level of restriction and dependence to get what we ultimately want and avoid unnecessary pain." Read the full essay. (More dating stories.)

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