My date was showing me her phone as a red flame symbol popped up on her screen.
We continue the conversation, despite the interruption from Tinder. I excused myself to the bathroom, and on the way checked my messages on Bumble.
At least I was being discreet about it. This is dating today, for better or worse.
In my opinion, the globalized, online, mobile dating world has been one of the largest influencers toward alternative relationships.
The more people you talk to, the more options you have, the less likely you are to make a decision that will make you feel happy. Interestingly, you also fear losing the decision you made, which keeps you dating or in a relationship with the same person, wondering who else is out there. Bring on the world of hook-ups, open relationships and cheating on a relationship you really don't want to be in.
I'm not discounting the fact that these types of relationships occurred in the past, and it is unfair to place the blame on dating apps, social media and such, but psychologically speaking, your brain is not good at making decisions or multi-tasking.
It's proven that you have a hard time at making decisions when there are multiple options.
As long as we continue to have access to more options, we will continue to find that monogamy is less mentally gratifying. You can say that you want monogamy, but that still doesn't change that the current world of dating makes it more likely to be mentally dissatisfying. What are you to do if you truly want a monogamous relationship?
You have to change the world you date in.
Here are the top five things you need to do if you want to be in a monogamous relationship:
Know what you want and don't settle.
The moment you actually know what you want, the amount of available options automatically decreases. Also, there's less curiosity on what else is out there.
Limit your choices.
Initially delete or block old relationships from your phone and social media even if you haven't met anyone new yet. This may seem extreme, but if there is any part of you that is still attracted to anyone from the past, they cannot be in your present.
You also want to limit the amount of new people you are meeting. Delete all but one of your dating apps, and limit the amount of matches you can have to two or three at any specific time.
Limit your choices even more when you meet someone you like.
You need to limit the amount of other people you are dating the moment you meet someone you think may have relationship potential.
Don't cut everyone off, but it is hard to remember details, and connect to someone while trying to do the same with a variety of other people.
Take away choice when you get into a relationship.
Once you decide to be in a relationship you need to cut off people that you consider options.
Delete your dating apps, and tell the people you were talking to that you are off the market. If they continue to disrespect your relationship, block them.
If it seems extreme, you aren't ready for your relationship.
Be ready to cut it off.
No matter how much you have invested in someone, emotionally or sexually, if this person isn't right for you (see number one), treating you with respect or doesn't feel the same way about you, it needs to end.
If it doesn't, you will be unhappy, be closed off to developing serious relationships with better matches, and most likely cheat on your relationship.
Realize that your fear of ending the relationship is due to your fear of losing the investment you already made. It's psychological, not logical.
In a world of opportunity it is ironic that you may have to limit the options you have in order to achieve what you truly want. Psychologically speaking, if you want monogamy you need to create the environment in which it is more likely to succeed.
That is, if that's what you truly want. Come on, just decide.