Next GEN Dat­ing

Why it’s more im­por­tant than ever to be hon­est about what you want in your next re­la­tion­ship.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - LOVE & SEX SPECIAL -

If love were a TV chan­nel and we were pro­duc­ers, ‘Soul­mate’ is one show that we wouldn’t recom­mis­sion. Not be­cause of the idea be­hind it (we love click­ing with peo­ple). Not even be­cause the one in 7.125 bil­lion odds of stum­bling upon your des­ig­nated per­son aren’t ex­actly great. But be­cause in an era where your Fol­lower count has the po­ten­tial to open more doors than your post­code, the idea of find­ing that one per­son – and only the one – feels … small.

In the pre-In­ter­net days, soul­mates had a god-like sta­tus be­cause it was so hard to meet peo­ple. And when you did, there was no ‘swipe left’ func­tion. So if you fi­nally saw some­one at­trac­tive who had the same taste in mu­sic and chips, it was con­sid­ered a mir­a­cle.

To­day, how­ever, we’re pretty spoilt for choice. So­cial me­dia is ubiq­ui­tous, across plat­forms like Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, LinkedIn, Face­book, Snapchat and Tin­der – each ac­count a por­tal for spark­ing rich, ex­cit­ing, even ro­man­tic con­nec­tions. So what’s the se­cret to han­dling the dat­ing game like a pro­fes­sional? One (big) word: Trans­parency. In fact, defin­ing your in­ten­tions – AKA where you’re at in terms of your stage in life – and match­ing it with an­other’s has never been more san­ity-sav­ing.

, r st e or ?

In­creased con­nec­tiv­ity not only broad­ens the num­ber of po­ten­tial part­ners, but the type of re­la­tion­ship we could have with them, too. “The ex­po­sure to more forms of sex­u­al­ity leads to a grow­ing level of com­fort with types of re­la­tion­ships that were pre­vi­ously seen as ab­nor­mal,” ex­plains clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Gemma Cribb ( equi­lib­ri­umpsy­chol­ogy.com.au).

To­day’s re­la­tion­ships fall some­where be­tween ‘Let’s just have sex’ and ‘We’re boyfriend and girl­friend’. Not con­vinced? Well, Gen-Y news web­site Mic.com has coined the apt term ‘dat­ing part­ners’ to de­scribe this very mod­ern sce­nario, of dat­ing some­one – hav­ing sex, days (and nights) out, deep con­ver­sa­tions – with­out agreed ex­clu­siv­ity. And this new term ap­plies to data an­a­lyst Ella, 24, who now calls her­self a ‘tech-sex­ual ’. Af­ter a com­pli­cated break-up with the guy she’d known since she was 15, she turned to Tin­der for com­fort. “It’s my ‘10pm stage’,” she says. “Around that time ev­ery night, me and a guy I just met on Tin­der start tex­ting, which usu­ally ends in sex­ting. It’s a fun con­fi­dence boost – for now.”

#It’ s, ch % to ' !( "

With even more dat­ing cat­e­gories, there’s now less clar­ity about where we stand within them. We only be­come our own worst en­e­mies when we stop think­ing ‘Where do I want this to go?’ and re­place it with ‘Must. Act. Chill ’.

Stu­dent Zoe, 22, tries to fol­low her own set of rules. “I make sure I don’t text too of­ten,” she ad­mits. “And I never send more than one mes­sage be­fore they re­ply. I try to be easy­go­ing about the fact that we’ve slept to­gether for two months and I have no idea where things are go­ing. In­side, I’m freak­ing out.”

Al­though, ac­cord­ing to Cribb, there’s a po­ten­tial dan­ger in not be­ing open about what you want, as it might leave you vul­ner­a­ble to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing trauma, low self-es­teem and get­ting hurt.

Plus there’s also the big­ger pic­ture: “In try­ing so hard to be ‘one of the guys’ or ‘not like most girls’, we pro­mote the idea that women are flawed or in­fe­rior,” says lawyer Rachel, 29, a for­mer mem­ber of the ‘chill ’ cult. And – truth bomb – most guys ac­tu­ally want to know what’s go­ing on with you. Con­sul­tant Neil, 26, wants women to tell him what they re­ally want. “Be­cause I care, and I don’t al­ways know what’s hap­pen­ing,” he ex­plains. “Think of TV – all those ro­man­tic rows in shows could be eas­ily fixed if the peo­ple in­volved just opened up. Just be straight up about it!”

‘) -n ’’st * .t /’ + 0 st

Ro­man­tic con­nec­tions have never been more am­bigu­ous. An at­trac­tive per­son might ask you out for drinks but have an ul­te­rior mo­tive of get­ting that su­per­im­por­tant job at your com­pany. Or you can spend an hour drink­ing coffee with some­one but only re­ally sense they’re in­ter­ested once they start fol­low­ing (and ‘lik­ing’) you on In­sta­gram. Frus­trat­ing? Yep, you bet. How­ever, in­stead of get­ting an­gry, get cu­ri­ous. Ask the ques­tion to find out if you’re both at the same stage. That’s ex­actly what writer Jenny, 27, did af­ter dat­ing Adam, who was “a dream on pa­per”, for nine months. “He was a DJ who’d toured with Calvin Har­ris – bearded, funny, hip­ster-cool,” she says. “But I was al­ways the one ar­rang­ing dates. I put it down to him be­ing dis­or­gan­ised, un­til I even­tu­ally asked him where he saw our re­la­tion­ship go­ing. His re­ply? ‘Nowhere.’ He wanted to fo­cus on his mu­sic. I wish I had have asked about his game plan in the first month – I can’t get those wasted eight months back now.”

Some­times just ‘see­ing each other’ isn’t enough. And, you know what, that is ab­so­lutely okay.

Straight up – are you look­ing for Mr Right

or Mr Right Now?

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