If you google “Millennial Dating,” the results are article after article after article about all the problems with it: fear of intimacy, fear of vulnerability, left swiping, ghosting, phubbing… the list goes on and the words get dumber, and it all has to do with how we young folks hide behind screens and have forgotten the meaning of humanity. It invokes a kind of “Gawd Mom, lay off,” response in us millennials, mostly because we’ve heard one too many times that our newfound dependency on technology is destroying us.
The most frustrating thing is that our grandparents are as disgusted by the idea of “Netflix and chill” (once you explain it to them) as their grandparents were about necking at the drive in. What they don’t understand is that deep down, we all hope that Netflix and chill will turn into love.
Besides, in some ways, a millennial relationship’s “lack of connection” is actually hyperconnected. Long distance relationships for example, while just as emotionally devastating as ever, on a functional level, are laughably easy. If he’s not getting your texts because he’s in a meeting, all you have to do is Gchat him. He can bluetooth you into his car speakers if he’s driving and Facetime you while he’s making dinner, and Facebook’s merciless read receipts mean he literally cannot hide from you. And for all the rest of the inane moments in your life, there’s Snapchat.
The generations that come before us will never understand that we don’t have to define our relationships because our Facebook activity will do it for us. We don’t have to claim that we’re off the market because our Tinder absence will do it for us. And we don’t have to talk about our feelings, because Drake will do it for us. And so our best course of action is to continue on. So here’s a simple, step-by-step guide on how to destroy love like a millennial:
1. Be on phone.
Step one is to get on a dating app. Try and discern everything about a person based on their carefully crafted, informationally limited profile. Because the alternative is honest human interaction, and that’s scary.
2. Define nothing.
Make no decisions about your level of commitment, and if you do, do not voice them. These revelations will come about in time. That time will be several months down the road at about 2 AM, when your filter was drown in vodka presses hours ago, and you swear to God he was eyeing some skank at the bar all night. These revelations are what Uber rides are actually for.
3. Have a normal functional relationship.
Regardless of its namelessness, the thing you’re not calling a relationship will go relatively smoothly. With no pressure to make any decisions about how you feel, you can spend your energies getting to know things about another human, and feeling warm and happy inside, and then finding an Instagram filter that helps you express those feelings (86% Slumber, with bumped up Warmth).
4. Stress out your parents by not getting engaged within 18 months.
There are a million millennial reasons not to get engaged right away – crippling student debt, vague plans to travel, your Youtube channel is just taking off, whatever.
5. Stress them out even more by not getting engaged ever.
Marriage is an antiquated institution, weddings are expensive, your Youtube channel never took off, whatever.
6. Be on phone.
Instagram your tetherless lifestyle. Tag your mom.
7. Be the muse for countless online articles about the changing landscape of millennial intimacy.
Your parents and your parents friends and random olds will feel the need to comment on modern social behavior and lament the loss of the stern dating rituals of yore. They’re much more comfortable with you picking a partner, job, and home at the ripe age of twenty and then sticking with that decision for the rest of your life.
8. Read said articles (on phone).
Roll your eyes, and then kind of wonder if maybe they have a point. In a society where we fully embrace experiences, how is love different?
9. Have mental breakdown.
Assume for a moment that you and the rest of your generation are broken, debaucherous, and are destroying everything simple and wholesome about life. Why can’t you feel love? WHY?
10. Realize that wait, all your friends are getting married and buying houses and having babies on Facebook.
What the fuck?!
11. Have mental breakdown.
Let the dichotomy of the two send you into a tailspin. Don’t fight it. Question everything you’ve ever wanted. Wonder if it’s your partner’s fault. Get distant. Fold in on yourself, and really let the pressure of your natural lifestyle being under a microscope destroy your once-healthy and pressureless Let’s-Not-Call-It-A-Relationship. Return to Step 1.