Text based relationships are all too familiar these days and can lack depth and be superficial, leaving many young people wondering if this is all there is to be desired. The pervasiveness of technology has created an environment that has become a platform for teens to navigate their sexuality. Strangers are dating before even meeting in person and connecting over messaging rather than face to face. We’re entering pseudo relationships and ending them before they ever really started or the second someone else messages us or gives us any attention with a winky face emoticon. So is the relationship even real if you never spent any face time together… and I don’t mean Face Time or Skyping! The problem with today’s dating culture is that there really isn’t one! Teens I talk to in high school or college are either hooking up or hanging out, but no one’s defining the relationship, having ‘the-talk’, or going on real dates to get to know each other! This hook-up culture is leaving this generation Y “unhappy, sexually unfulfilled, and confused about intimacy,” according to a NY Times magazine article by Andrew Reiner on February 9, 2014. He goes on to say that there’s a general fear of vulnerability and appearing needy. They’re hoping that a relationship will just ‘simply unfold’ through hooking up.
So how do we teach a generation to find a real relationship with emotional intimacy before physical intimacy? Well it’s not going to change overnight, but being aware of it and really challenging yourself to step out of the ‘norm’ and not be afraid to take a risk by really getting to know someone on a deeper emotional level is a start. Sure, it might hurt more at the end if you really open up to someone about your innermost fears, dreams, desires, etc… but is love even love if we don’t take that risk? Also, be aware who’s around you each day and connect with people in person. Don’t ignore the person sitting right next to you to chat with the stranger online. Sometimes the greatest relationships can happen when we least expect it! Nonetheless any relationship worth pursuing isn’t just ‘going to happen’ without putting in the time and effort. So it’s all about timing, and once you find that person worthy of your time and energy, don’t hesitate to give it your all and hope for the best!