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Love in a Digital World


Technology has made finding someone who shares your beliefs and values trivial, but what about the old saying “opposites attract?”

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, humorist and author Mark Miller describes some of the debacles he’s had throughout what can only be described as a prolific dating life. Miller’s new book, 500 Dates: Dispatches From The Front Lines of The Online Dating Wars, goes into all the gory details of 19 years of online dating. Yes, Miller (who is not a millennial - he’s 62) has been using online dating services since his divorce in 1995 and he says, if he’s really honest, the actual number of dates he’s been on is closer to 750.

500datescoverThat’s a terrifying Hank Moody-esque amount of dates, and even after around seven of what Miller describes as “fairy-tale endings,” he’s still looking.

No one would say this is the average person’s experience but it does start to float some interesting questions for today’s online-first, technology-driven dating scene. Not the least of which is: do we need to reevaluate our expectations for dating and love today?

The Millennial Experience

The Reply has recently featured some insightful stories about millennials struggling with life and love - from relationships that take unexpected turns to those that end suddenly. It’s painfully clear that for many in this generation: the old romantic stereotypes of one true love and happily ever after have little meaning.

That statement isn’t meant to be cynical. In fact, we’ve already covered that in-depth. It’s simply meant to focus on the idea that even though we have hundreds of websites and apps to help us find the one, it seems like we’re reaching for a goal that doesn’t exist, or we’re having a much harder time finding someone special.

In 2014, NPR ran a podcast which examined many of the same themes as this article, and specifically it looks at how picky technology lets us be when finding a match. One interviewee talks about how she found it difficult to commit to anyone because she knew she had 40 other matches she could explore through her dating app. Similar to Miller’s experience, are we simply looking for something that doesn’t exist?


Maybe We’re Just Romantics After All

This 2013 survey from Havas Worldwide covers the ups and downs of love and lust in a digital age, but what’s uplifting is that millennials, more than any other current generation, consider themselves romantics, and 47 percent of them believe “romantic love lasts forever.” Could that mean, despite the commercialization of the dating scene and regardless of how superficial technology makes connections, that millennials are really just a bunch of softies looking for something special?

Let’s hope so.

And let’s end on that positive note. In other words, don’t get too down on yourself if you’re single on Valentine’s Day. Try to keep things in perspective and definitely check out this blog post from Reply contributor Abigail Jenkins, who has fun ways to do something different on this couple-first holiday.

What do you think about romantic love in today’s dating scene? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Christopher is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. He has a fondness for strong coffee, good books and foreign news services. When he was five years old his father helped him raise a family of chipmunks over the winter, you should ask him about it. Professionally, he’s spent time as a technology journalist, PR consultant, and freelance blogger. Christopher’s work has appeared in a lot of trade magazines you’ve probably never heard of and maybe some you have. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Media Foundations from Humber College in Toronto.