Old And Alone: How Swiping Right Will Never Get Us The Love Our Grandparents Had

Old love is a special kind of love, its own breed, if you will. Like young love, true love or unrequited love, it has its own feel, its own definition.

Most of us have felt young love, been deceived by true love and have cried for unrequited love. Yet, we can only dream of old love, the kind our grandparents had.

The kind that comes after years of devotion and respect. The kind that’s comfortable and worn-in like that jacket you’ve had for 12 years. The kind that’s patient and enduring. The kind that we’ll never know.

Whether we’re ready to admit it or not, old love is a dying breed. Its extinction looms over us like the death of the aging bodies of our beloved grandparents.

Like fax machines and beepers, it’s been replaced by technology. Pushed away, deemed outdated and left behind for faster, newer ways, it’s a fleeting momentum from the past, something we’re beginning to refer as just another part of the “good old days.”

Since Millennials can only preserve and remember old love, we have to settle with hearing our grandparents' stories, replaying their videos, and poring over photographs and interviews to fully understand what this type of love was like.

Growing up, we assumed we’d experience old love the same way we’d experience our first love. It would come unknowingly, yet willingly... falling into our laps.

The old love we thought would come was supposed to age with us, becoming part of a former love, growing organically and thoughtfully over time that we wouldn’t even realize it was happening.

Unfortunately, we will never experience this unique type of love. The love that so gracefully ages into the love our grandparents had for years is dying out with the generation.

We’ve doomed ourselves to a life without this kind of connection, unknowingly entering into a culture that cannot breed this type of love. We’ve pulled out its roots and lost the seeds to plant it again.

Unlike the tender approaches and spontaneous run-ins of our grandparents, we’re going about love like it’s some made-to-order item, shopping for it online the same way we do a dress or pair of sneakers.

We’re cutting out the organic process that happens from meeting someone at first glance, rather than first screen. We’re skipping over the small interactions, like bumping into each other in the hall, or seeing a face for 30 minutes each day in class. We’re overindulging each other, and it’s making us sick.

Turning people into notifications and numbers, seeing them as options instead of opportunities -- we’ve degraded human interaction to nothing more than casting calls.

We’re becoming so immune to one another that one unsettling flaw or undesirable trait sends us back to the portal of Instagram dates and Tinder. We’ve created a hook-up culture so deep and so vast that I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to crawl out of it.

Accepting and encouraging casual sexual interactions, this hook-up culture we've created has conflated emotion with pleasure. We’ve stripped a generation of the intimacy of sex, training it to view the act as nothing more than an animalistic urge that needs to be tended to.

And while I support the acceptance of sex and the freeness that comes with uninhibited self-expression, I lament the absence of true love it’s created.

A couple was just 2

Unlike our grandparents, we’ve created a dating culture that does not demand loyalty. How could it? In a society dictated by technology, the connections we have with 200 other people are always getting in the way of the one real one we should be developing.

Women and men are both aware and accepting of the idea that there is always going to be other people in the room.

Whether it’s girls texting him, guys inboxing her, the casual Instagram stalking or his secret Tinder profile, there’s an array of secret outlets in which men can wander and women can troll. Just because there are two of you on the date doesn’t mean someone else isn’t sitting in your date's back pocket.

Though we’ve come to terms with the inevitable threat of hundreds of others standing by, the awareness of it picks at the relationship, usually dooming it before it begins.

We go into them already suspicious, jealous and constantly threatened. We begin deducing and assuming, silently scorning our partners for something they haven’t done… yet.

Nudes were only in the bedroom

Which came first, the dick pic or the assh*le?

If there were phones in the 20s, would men and women still send naked pics? Is technology making us promiscuous or are we just over-sexualizing technology? Are men more obnoxious now or is it just because they have more opportunity?

We’ll never know if Snapchat or the over-sexualized population came first, but it doesn’t matter because, either way, our grandparents never had cell phones.

They never had these portals of instant gratification and constant connection. They never had to ask or think about the repercussions of a six-second naked Snapchat. They didn’t spend days texting, sexting and stalking before a date. They met, decided if they liked each other, and moved on.

For women, they didn’t have to wrestle with the idea of being a whore or a prude. Men couldn’t show their pictures or upload videos. Without the option of naked pics, it wasn’t this constant conversion of intimacy to porn.

Sex didn't come as dessert

If a guy buys you dinner, opens a few doors, compliments your dress and you don’t sleep with him, it’s like you ripped him off. It’s like you’re one of those pushy store owners who just tricked a naive tourist into buying an overpriced, oriental rug.

Since when did chivalry become such a treat? When did buying a girl dinner mean assuming she's the dessert? When did being a gentleman become a luxurious plus rather than a prerequisite?

Men, like women, have a constant array of options at their disposal, making courtesy and chivalry an unnecessary attribute. Men don’t need to wine and dine women when they can swipe right and have a girl over in an hour.

They don’t need to impress you or court you because one woman’s refusal just means one fewer option.

Buffet tables were just for food

Modern dating is plagued with the buffet-table dilemma. When there's too much food spread in front of you, many times you choose the wrong thing.

We go for pizza when we could have had baked salmon and a salad when we were hungry for a hamburger. We forget what we want because we are overwhelmed by the idea of limitless possibilities and the fear of missing out on something better.

We are plagued with too many choices and this overstimulation is blinding us to when we’ve found the right thing.

Old love was based on the notion of “feeling right.” When a man met a woman he liked, he jumped at the opportunity. Back then, coming across someone you were not only attracted to, but respected and enjoyed as a person meant the hunt was over.

You jumped at a connection when you found it and tried to make it work until it inevitably fell apart. There wasn’t this looming idea in the back of your head that there could always be something better out there.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It