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20+ Stories on Navigating Modern Relationships

As the world grows larger, modern relationships invariably interest us. Here are a lot of stories that people have to tell about their experiences dating in this era.

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couple holding hands

We as humans have probably dedicated more thought, writing, lies, bravery, tears, and whispers to love than to any other thing. Grandmothers ask us if we’re not married yet, parents forbid us to date whom we please, and friends catching up discuss their love lives and break ups. 

We notice jealously people who have an easy time in relationships, and seem to understand the etiquette required for love, as if it came naturally. 

Watching movies, we feel a thrill in our hearts when two characters, who both seem to be perfect and beautiful, and entirely unaware of it, come together. And for awhile after the movie we regret that love in “real life” isn’t more like that, and that the adventure and romance in it are probably impossible.

I think most of us are pretty unsure when it comes to love. We’re constantly comparing stories with friends and wondering what could be wrong with us that we’re still single. Statistics about modern relationships show trends that our generation is having fewer relationships and even less sex than previous ones.

Here, we gathered a lot of stories that people have to tell about their experiences dating in this era. Though there seems to be a vague idea that love, long ago, was once better than it is now, and that there’s a lot to be skeptical about today, there’s a lot of hope and contentment in these stories.

As the world grows larger, modern relationships invariably interest us. What should we think about Tinder and other dating apps that are so popular today? What about the hookup culture, which seems to have discredited for many the idea of long term relationships?

I think that if you read these stories, you will worry a bit less. There are people out there searching for the same thing as you, and going through the same doubts.

Taking a Leap of Faith

“He was not shady, depressed, angry at the world, or looking to use me. In fact, we both wanted the same things out of the relationship.”

Staten Island, NY
girl in a yellow blouse looking over girasol garden

Modern dating is such a tedious process. There are so many hidden agendas people have that makes it hard to trust one another.

The idea of perfect gentlemen who respect your boundaries, open doors for you, and drives you home just doesn’t exist. Basically every guy who’s ever tried speaking to me have seen me as temporary. Society just has this problem of thinking that everyone in life is temporary.

Perhaps it’s because the internet gives us the opportunity to meet so many people. This is the main difference I feel that separates our generation when dating with past generations. Either way, I had very little faith left in guys after my first two short term relationships.

The first relationship I was being strung along and ended up getting cheated on and ghosted. The second relationship I traveled four hours to a guy who hid his drug problems and secret life from me. As you can see, after these two runs I was starting to lose hope.

This was until one day when I got a message on Instagram. I was not expecting it and I was asked out on a date by a friend of a mutual friend.

He was not shady, depressed, angry at the world, or looking to use me. In fact, we both wanted the same things out of the relationship. Now we have been together almost two years and I couldn’t be happier to have him in my life.

However, in this day and age I know not everyone is as lucky as me. Not everyone has a relationship where they get to see each other multiple times a week or even at all. However, I think that my story can teach others that they should always take a leap of faith when dating.

Just because you had a bad dating history doesn’t mean that you need to give up hope. There’s someone out there for everyone and I truly believe that.

Dating nowadays is not impossible and there is no reason why it has to be. There are millions of people in this world and I guarantee there is someone out there for each of us.

An Unconventional Start to a Relationship

“My relationship started a little unconventionally, but I have never been happier. I met my current boyfriend through my college roommate.”

Philadelphia, PA

Young couple smiling and looking at the camera

My relationship started a little unconventionally, but I have never been happier.

I met my current boyfriend through my college roommate.Her and him actually matched on Tinder and I encouraged her to invite him to our dorm, because he was hanging out a few rooms down the hall.

I was in a long-distance relationship at the time and was trying to get my roommate to start dating.

When my boyfriend first came to our dorm, my roommate wouldn’t talk much. But I had nothing to lose so I talked to him.

As the weeks went on I grew closer and closer to my new boyfriend. And I grew further away from my boyfriend at the time.

I am not proud of this, but after my boyfriend broke up with me, my new boyfriend and I were hooking up the next day. It started as hooking up and quickly grew into him asking me to be his girlfriend. Now we have been together almost three years and are still going strong.

Compared to my sisters, I have had the easier time with getting boyfriends. I’ve always been the outgoing one and will want something and immediately go for it.

I have never had to go on a dating app such as Tinder, or PlentyOfFish. I prefer to go out and meet people in person, before swiping to decide if someone thinks I’m good enough to date.

Social media has completely altered the course of dating. Instead of going out and trying to find someone face-to-face, people are locked into their screens. They hope that the person that they swiped, will swipe them back.

Before you’d have to go out and try to meet people by introducing yourself and hoping that they are nice enough to respond. It seems like everyone is looking for the easy way out of trying to date.

You don’t gain any life experience if all you are doing is sitting at home on the couch waiting for someone to reply on an app, only for you to hook up with them and then them kick you to the curb or vice-versa.

However, I do classify my boyfriend and I meeting to be through a dating app, even if I wasn’t the one on the app he matched with.

The Influence of Dating Apps

“Social media has taken over the dating world throughout the years. Two people are more likely to engage in dating through some social media app rather than getting coffee together.”

Philadelphia, PA

I have been in 3 different relationships over the years, 2 with the same person, but different times, and the other from Church.

The relationships did not work out.We had different aspects on Christianity. I was the ‘Church Go-er’ every Sunday and my ex-girlfriend’s was the non-Church person did not care about religion nor God.

As we had our differences and dated for about a year, we ended our relationship, because of our perspectives on God & Christianity.

I’ve been single since and don’t mind it at all. I can officially start focusing on my life and career. Although being single does have some cons it, I can say that being single is a good thing.

Rejection is not an easy thing for me to overcome. I have been rejected many times in life and when I do get rejected I have to remind myself this, ‘I think God closed that door in my life for a reason.’

There are many obstacles in life that people must overcome but I have to remember that God is the one that closes doors but he opens many more in the future to come.

We know that technology has had a huge impact on every area of our lives. Dating has never been easy, and the addition of technology in our lives has both helped and hindered the dating world.

With the ease of our access to technology there is social media, text messaging, video calling, and everything in between. Technology has changed the way we communicate with one another. It is easy to see that technology changed dating a lot.

Dating over the years has changed significantly through social media. Social media has taken over the dating world throughout the years.

Two people are more likely to engage in dating through some social media app rather than getting coffee together. I have seen more people dating through some type of social media dating than an actual ‘Meet & Greet.’

For myself, I feel like dating has become so hard. It seems like nobody wants to commit anymore, and it seems to be a challenge every single step of the way.

I honestly blame dating apps for it becoming harder to date nowadays. Dating apps were actually created because people in general are always searching for perfection.

They’ve been marketed the ‘perfect partner.’ In all honesty, there is no such thing as a perfect partner.

Appreciating the Single Life

“As it goes into fall and winter, and the weather starts to get cold, I want someone to snuggle up with or to go do cute romantic things with during the holidays.”

Queens, NY

Woman wearing a red scarf and black outfit

I’m single and I’ve never been in a real relationship. I say real because I did have an ‘online boyfriend’ when I was like, 12, but that went nowhere.

I’ve pretty much always been single. It was never something that I cared too much about until recently.

I also still appreciate singleness. I’ve become so much more independent because of it.

I do really want romance in my life at this point. As I get older, I definitely want to experience that aspect of life and relationships.

Romance is so big in our culture, and sometimes I feel like I’m missing out. I definitely crave the attention and intimacy.

As it goes into fall and winter, and the weather starts to get cold, I want someone to snuggle up with or to go do cute romantic things with during the holidays.

I feel like I’m already late to the party because the majority of people my age have already had at least one relationship before.

I do use dating apps. For me, it’s just easier. Throughout my whole life, I never met anyone organically.

I thought I might as well try meeting people in a different way. I like it because it makes dating a lot more straightforward. It’s harder to get confused about where things are going when you meet on a dating app.

I do have issues with dating apps though. People are really flaky on them and they will just ghost you for no reason. I also find them a little impersonal sometimes.

It’s hard to know someone just from a profile. Even after a first date, it’s hard to judge people on one meeting.

I’m more likely to have lingering feelings for someone I had a crush on for a while that I don’t know too well than someone I met and went on a few dates with from an app.

I also tend to go with my initial reactions. If I don’t feel anything on the first date, I lose interest pretty fast.

Dating has obviously changed a lot because of the internet. There are obviously pros and cons to it but I think it’s a good thing overall. Of course, dating is going to progress with technology just like everything else does.

Relish the Present Moment

“But now, this generation thinks it’s all about sex, but it’s not. It’s about building that relationship with each other.”

Georgetown, DE

Black man wearing a light vest, black tie and white shirt is sitting on a chair.

Right now, I am blessed to be in a happy relationship.

My last relationship didn’t work out too well because she cheated on me and, what really struck me, was that she lied about it. However, that doesn’t matter as much anymore since I am happy in my current relationship.

Part of dating is being able to let the hard times go and relish in the happiness of the present. Why should I still be sad if I have my current amazing girlfriend?

With regards to the past, I think that relationships have changed significantly. Back in the day of my grandparents, the guy would ask permission to go on dates, which allowed the fathers to meet the boyfriends.

But now, this generation thinks it’s all about sex, but it’s not. It’s about building that relationship with each other. I’m sad that our generation has changed things so much.

However, I still have faith in dating and in love. My outlook on dating stems from my upbringing.

I was raised as a religious Christian, and I think that my religion impacts my relationship by teaching me to love, rather than be angry. It teaches me to be patient and understanding. I then use those same qualities in my relationship.

The television and movies I watched when I was growing up also influenced me. They showed me how I should act in a relationship as well as what I shouldn’t do. I use these points to behave like a proper gentleman to my girlfriend.

As such, I would advise that singles also believe in blessings and themselves in their search for love. Before my current relationship, yes, I had been rejected many times in my life.

Rather than be disheartened, I told myself that I am handsome, and I will make a girl extremely happy one day. Even if you experience rejection, love is still possible because chance encounters still exist.

For example, people, when they play the lottery, hope to get lucky and believe in their odds. I would suggest that singles also believe in luck. Or, if you’re like me, believe in future blessings that will make your life better.

To Have a Fairytale Ending

“I know for me, I will not let the signs of the time change my views on love.”

Houston, TX

Woman with black sunglasses and black outfit looking over landscape

I have always been that person who loves love. I live for romantic gestures, sappy love stories, and heartfelt handwritten notes.

Also, I always believed in finding that special someone and knowing it was meant to be in an instant.Of course, I know to some this might sound ridiculous, but this is the way I genuinely view love.

Personally, I have not had a fairytale ending in my love life, but I intend on having one.

I have been heartbroken and have had many failed relationships. However, these failed relationships have not changed my outlook on true love.

Just because my dating past has not been easy, this does not mean that it will always be this way.

Sadly though, from what I have experienced, modern relationships are very complicated. There are many people who use the technology we have today to date in a malicious manner.

I cannot even begin to rattle off all the catfishes and criminals I have come across on dating websites. They claim to be someone they are not for long periods of time and hide behind these fake profiles.

It is a very dangerous thing, and it should not be taken lightly to say the least. However, while scheming and lying seems to be an issue nowadays, it was not always the case.

As I have read and heard, there were much simpler times in terms of dating. There was a time when people would have to speak face to face and would go on proper dates.

There was also a time where people had the decency to end a relationship face to face rather than through hearsay or through the internet. However, while we cannot reverse the clock we can work to be more honest and open with our future partners.

I know for me, I will not let the signs of the time change my views on love. Just because people use technology to mold dating into whatever they please; doesn’t mean I will.

Finally, my last message is for those reading to be wary of any red flags when dating. It is important to protect one’s heart and to be sure of who to trust out there!

Dating Apps, a Blessing and a Curse

“I do want a relationship, though. It might not be the first thing on my mind but sometimes when I’m alone or bored I crave it.”

Queens, NY

Young person looking over the dating apps of her iphone

I’ve never been in a full relationship before. I guess I could be considered a late bloomer. I was never very popular in high school and I didn’t hit all the big milestones like first dates and kisses until I got to college.

Now, I’m out of school. I’ve dated a bit but never been in a relationship. I’m still young and my love life was never a huge focus because I felt like I had more important things to worry about.

I needed to get work and make money and move out and do all these big things. Your 20s are such a huge transitional period and I’m still in the middle of a lot of those transitions.

I’ve never been particularly lonely. I really enjoy my own company. I think being single can actually be pretty empowering, especially as a woman.

Of course, I have a very strong group of a few close friends and some family members as well. I do want a relationship, though. It might not be the first thing on my mind but sometimes when I’m alone or bored I crave it.

I kind of feel like I’m behind everyone else in that area and I need to catch up. I’m a romantic deep down and I want to share that with someone.

I am on dating apps. I think they’re a blessing and a curse. You can easily find people on them.

Everyone is so direct and honest about what they’re looking for and it’s easy to find people with similar goals. It’s definitely efficient.

But, I’ve been on a lot of dates through dating apps. None of them have amounted to much at all. Sometimes you’ll see the same person a few times but it’s really hard to make a genuine connection.

I’m definitely thankful for the way that the internet has made dating so much easier and less stressful. It’s a lot easier to flirt with someone on a dating app because you both know what you’re there for.

There’s no awkwardness or miscommunication in that sense. Still, I do think it takes some of the emotion and human connection out of dating.

Swiping Left and Right

“Too many people are focused on swiping left or right on someone. There’s no more going out for coffee or meeting up to actually get to know someone.”

Hummelstown, PA

Young woman looking straight to the camera

My last relationship ended over text. He just sent me a message saying, ‘You decided you wanted something better.’ I inquired about what he meant, but he said he did not really know and broke up with me.

Now, I am single, and for the most part, I am enjoying my single life. I’m not going to say the usual ‘being single is way less stressful.’

To me, there is not a huge difference between maintaining a relationship with a best friend versus a significant other. Yet, as a single person, I am free to do what I want without any issues.

While I do not hate social media, it is making chance encounters less frequent—almost extinct really. Too many people are focused on swiping left or right on someone.

There’s no more going out for coffee or meeting up to actually get to know someone. That is a huge way in which my generation’s dating has changed. I honestly think it is harder to date nowadays because of technology.

People have cellphones that always distract them during dates. Or they will stalk potential dates, leaving no mystery for the date.

I don’t think movies or television has influenced my dating life. Dating apps, however, have led to more hook ups and cringy messages, instead of steady relationships.

One time, my friends and I decided to all download Tinder during a sleepover.

Even though I was not interested, I did not want to sit out alone, so I downloaded it. Then, I spent the night typing with people who either ghosted after a few messages or were just interested in sleeping together.

That’s why I am kind of sad that modern dating has changed so much since the past. I always thought that men were nice and gentlemanly—at least, stereotypically.

Now, there’s so much judgement and cynicism attached to dating.

For example, my class once debated on if a man opening a door for a woman is sexist or not. I do not think so! It’s being polite!

Dating has become either too jaded or too mindless. That’s not how dating should be.

The Evolution of Dating

“I always tell my friends that with every failed relationship, they’re one step closer to finding the right one. This glimmer of hope is something that I want everyone to hold onto no matter the circumstances.”

Freehold, NJ

Young man looking over beautiful landscape

About three and a half years ago, I had my first relationship. This relationship though was built from lies on my partner’s end which was hard to handle.

Our relationship did not last very long, but it did teach me what I did want moving forward.Having dating experience, I feel, is crucial to finding a great relationship.

Also, knowing what you want in a partner will help guide you to the right person in time.

I always tell my friends that with every failed relationship, they’re one step closer to finding the right one. This glimmer of hope is something that I want everyone to hold onto no matter the circumstances.

Now while I am currently single, I am happy and fulfilled with my life more than ever. However, I do enjoy making connections online and I think that technology has really broadened the dating pool. This has helped people dating nowadays to meet people who they might not have crossed paths with in real life.

Actually, one of my friends is dating someone who lives in Spain. They had met on a dating app but most likely would’ve never met without technology. This just shows how much dating has evolved thanks to social media and technology.

Honestly, I could not see myself thriving in the dating pool no matter the time period though. I just have a difficult time finding the right people with good intentions.

Modern dating is probably a lot easier than it was for people dating in years past. There are so many new and innovative ways that single people can meet that is just wonderful.

Personally, I really hope that I can find the one someday. However, I believe that they will come around when they are meant to. Therefore, I do not worry too much over not being with anyone at the moment.

As I said before, the dating pool is so large and filled with amazing people looking for love. Making a connection with the right one is bound to happen. It’s just matter of when it will.

Meeting Someone Online or Offline

“I wouldn’t say that either meeting someone online or offline is more real than the other.”

Queens, NY

I have been in a relationship. Now I’m single. I don’t hate being single, I don’t love being single.There has never been a time where I have wanted to be single and stay single. I have been single for a while. But I feel like being in a relationship has been better in the past.

I didn’t meet my last boyfriend on a dating app, I met him in person through a mutual friend. I wouldn’t say that chance encounters are becoming extinct.

Meeting people through technology has become more common. I wouldn’t say that it’s a worse thing because I have met people through the internet that have been so important to me.

I’ve never felt that meeting someone online has diminished my relationship with them. Some of the closest people I know right now are people I’ve met on apps or the internet in general.

I wouldn’t say that either meeting someone online or offline is more real than the other. I’d say that meeting someone romantically through technology is much more straightforward and easier.

I feel like when you meet someone by chance, you’re just trying to figure out if they like you or not. That can take months to years. When you match with someone on a dating app, you already know that you’re attracted to each other so you’re completely honest with each other right on the spot.

The internet and social media have made dating a lot easier. It’s easier to connect with people based on common interests.

In previous generations, dating was about finding one person in high school and staying with them forever. Mostly because it’s so hard to find new people.

Dating now, it’s like, you break up with someone, take a break for a while, and then you can go on a dating app and find someone else. It’s as easy as downloading an app and making an account.

Dating apps also help people who might struggle with dating because of their identities. When I was on dating apps, I met so many other people in the LGBT community who I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Learning to Love Yourself

“I definitely think people in this generation are more scared of getting their hearts broken than in previous generations.”

Philadelphia, PA

Young african american girl looking straight to the camera

I’ve been in a couple relationships. The only serious relationship ended on bad terms.I was insecure about myself. And it showed in the relationship, which eventually fell apart.

I used to hate being single because I felt like I needed someone to validate my worth. I now choose to be single because until I’m fully capable of being in a healthy relationship, I won’t put myself through something unnecessary.

Now, as I am learning to love myself, even more, I’m realizing that I like being single. Dealing with rejection was really hard because I’m the type of person who doesn’t tell someone that I like them.

I think that these days people can just meet online, and they’re not motivated to go out anymore. Don’t get me wrong, people still do have chance encounters, but not as often as they did in the past because of the rapid growth of technology.

This hasn’t changed my approach to dating. I’m a little scared to meet people online, so I don’t think I could do online dating. I would feel too paranoid about a potential catfish to find someone I actually like.

We don’t know those people out there -some could be serial killers! If something happens to me, who ’ll take care of my dog?!

I definitely think people in this generation are more scared of getting their hearts broken than in previous generations.

Instead of dating and being exclusive with someone, they just want to mess around and have fun with nothing serious to actually deal with. Some people still date. But it’s more common to see people sleeping around and having one-night stands than having an actual serious relationship.

I have met a lot of people who just don’t want to date and use the dating apps available nowadays mainly for casual hookups. Honestly, I don’t know if the past was better or not.

I hear a lot of stories of the older generation and how they were just settling for anything, unlike this generation that just won’t settle at all. This is quite sad, so I think each generation has it hard their own way.

Believing in Love at First Sight

“I still believe in love at first sight and the idea of meeting someone by happenstance.”

Long Island, NY

I can’t remember a time where I was truly happy dating anyone before my twenties. I have tried several dating apps and websites such as Tinder, Match and Christian Mingle but I couldn’t find the one.

Then, I found conventions such as Comic Con and Book Con where I was able to connect with people. Finding people who have the same love for books, movies, and comics is such an amazing thing.

Through conventions like these, I met some of my best friends and actually my current boyfriend.

My boyfriend and I really enjoy the Game of Thrones series and met on line to buy its merchandise. We were actually both dressed up as characters from the franchise and bond over our love for the characters. Being able to bond over our love the series helped us to spark up great conversation.

Nowadays, there are so many different ways to meet people. However, I do believe that we have focused too much on dating via social media and dating apps.

Most of my friends and family look for love online and that seemed normal to me at first. The internet is such a big place and it makes sense to search for love through it. However, I don’t think that we should limit ourselves to finding love on just social media.

Personally, I still believe in love at first sight and the idea of meeting someone by happenstance. It had happened for me and it has worked well before technology even existed.

Therefore, while modern dating is filled with groundbreaking technology and great dating apps, I prefer to meet people in person. There is something so delicate and vulnerable about opening up to someone in person rather than on a messaging app.

Being able to watch someone’s body language and expressions really helps you get feel of who they truly are. While there are video chat apps around, none of these can replicate a real-life date or first encounter with someone. This is why I stress the importance of going out because you never know who you are going to meet!

Superficial Aspects of Social Media

“Pictures can tell a lot about an individual, but they do not tell the full story.”

Brooklyn, NY

Young girl looking over the Brooklyn Bridge

Modern relationships  have become very superficial. People I meet online and even in person tend to automatically ask about materialistic aspects of each other’s lives.

Things such as vacations, cars, and clothes though are not what I want to speak about on first dates.

For me, my favorite date I’ve ever been on was a bookstore date. My current boyfriend and I met on this date and exchanged our favorite books with each other.

Having the same passion for reading and writing was something that helped us connect on a much deeper level. Talking about passions, memories, family life, etc. are things that are important to me.

However, I have had my share of bad dates where my date was not able to look past my ‘looks.’ They see pictures of me online and expect me to act or speak a certain way.

They pass judgements on me because I am ‘blonde’ or have a sports car. However, if technology wasn’t around I feel that people would get to know people for who they are. Pictures can tell a lot about an individual, but they do not tell the full story.

However, I do believe that dating is relatively easy. My boyfriend and I do not live close, so we communicate mostly through direct messaging and video chat. Being able to still be so in touch with each other’s lives even though we aren’t physically close is amazing.

Even though we met by chance at school, our relationship would not be as strong without technology. Being able to see him laugh on camera or send him memes to make him laugh is priceless to me. Therefore, I will always be grateful for this aspect of social media and technology.

Overall, dating is what you make of it. There are great things about technology and how it has worked in my favor in my relationship. Although, I do definitely feel that the internet has worked to make looks and wealth important.

Hopefully though, more people will be able to look pass the superficial aspects of social media. Not everyone we meet in life is going to be the way we see them portrayed on social media. Therefore, we should let them show us their true selves and not make any judgements.

Making Deep Connections in a Relationship

“Social media puts too much emphasis on image. People can ‘look’ presentable and look like they have the best life. But in reality, they hide who they really are.”

Philadelphia, PA

a girl making a heart with her hands

My boyfriend and I have been dating since May 2018. My boyfriend is a bit older than me, and I first saw him in high school, but he never knew I existed.

Couple years ago, my family and I moved into an apartment. At the time, he happened to be my neighbor.

But one day, we met in the apartments and we talked. Then, he asked for my number, and I assumed that he wouldn’t call or text me because people say things without meaning it sometimes.

He texted me and we then became friends. Compared to a lot of people who use social media apps, my boyfriend and I don’t spend time on apps. We both like talking to each other face to face and making deep connections.

I don’t usually let social media and the internet consume my time with my relationship. But, I definitely feel like social media has changed dating these days.

Social media puts too much emphasis on image. People can ‘look’ presentable and look like they have the best life. But in reality, they hide who they really are.

They only show the likable sides. People can choose whom they want to like on social media, and whom they want to date according to what they see. No one really knows a person physically, nor can someone see a person for what they truly are.

High expectations can ruin the relationship and cause emptiness in the heart. I believe social media has a more negative effect on relationships than a positive impact.

Too much time spent on technology will affect the relationship with our partners because you never know if relationship is genuine. Focusing on creating an in-person connection is the most important part of building a strong bond.

Getting into a Relationship Early

“The internet and texting really help since we are basically long distance for over half the year.”

Queens, NY

young couple sitting down in front of a colorful wall

No, we didn’t meet on an app. We went to the same high school. I’m actually lucky because I got into a relationship early enough that I never had to be on apps and I’m really happy about that.

We didn’t start talking until the end of senior year and we liked each other. Then, we realized that we were going to different colleges so maybe we shouldn’t date. He was going to be six hours away.

We would hang out a lot over summer, but we kept telling each other that we should stay as friends. Then school started, and we were still talking a lot.

On the second week of college, I went to visit him over a long weekend. That’s when we started dating because it was pretty obvious that we didn’t want to see other people, and I was willing to travel six hours to see him.

The internet and texting really help since we are basically long distance for over half the year. Since we can message each other, it helps us keep in contact on days where we might not have time to talk on the phone. Then, on days when we do have time, we can FaceTime and actually see each other.

I think it’s unlikely that our relationship would have worked if not for technology. Just because we’re both so busy. We’re both full time students and we both work.

There are many days when we would just not have the time to call each other. It would just be a lot harder to maintain.

Technology has helped my relationship. I can’t personally speak to how technology has changed dating since I’ve never really dated. From seeing friends using dating apps though, it seems like it makes dating hard and stressful in a lot of ways.

You really don’t know who you’re talking to and the only thing you have in common is thinking each other is attractive. Plus, there are just so many options.

The Mysterious Nature of Love

“Even when you’re not expecting it, love can find you in a mysterious way. Just remember to be confident and never settle for someone who treats you less than what you are worth.”

Williamsburg, VA

young couple smiling to the camera

My significant other and I originally saw each other in English classes during the spring semester of my sophomore year. We had a few neutral friends and talked in those groups.

One of our neutral friends spilled the beans that he was considering asking me out. That same week we were workshopping one of his essays and I wrote in my edits, ‘Go for it!’ Why shouldn’t I be proactive?

Luckily, our relationship has no outward pressure from mainstream media. Social media has never hurt our relationship. The only thing about social media that bugged me was him not having one before our relationship started.

You know how you look at someone’s Facebook to decide if they’re creepy or not? I couldn’t do it! But, since we started dating, he has actually become more involved in social media.

Sometimes I’m slightly irked when he doesn’t comment on my appreciation posts for him, but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. I care more about the way we treat each other face-to-face instead of on Instagram.

Movies and shows don’t harm our relationship either. Even when I was in high school, I have been self-aware that romances in TV and movies are full of clichés. I still enjoyed them, no doubt, but I didn’t let it form extreme preconceptions.

If there was any show that heightened my expectations, it’s Jane the Virgin and its ability to mix fantasy with reality. Still, I think there are ways to incorporate that kind of magic into a relationship and still be realistic about it.

My family, however, has set my standards for dating and relationships. My parents want to see me with someone willing to treat me right, physically and emotionally. I am so happy I was able to find that with my boyfriend.

For any singles looking for a relationship, I would recommend trying to find the same qualities in someone else. Even when you’re not expecting it, love can find you in a mysterious way. Just remember to be confident and never settle for someone who treats you less than what you are worth.

Having a Good Support System

“Relationships can come and go, but having a good support system of friends will always be there.”

New York, NY

girl hiking in the woods with a backpack

I’ve never really been in a relationship before. I do like being single, I feel like it makes me more independent. I also think that being single has made me value friendship very strongly.

I think that people sometimes undervalue the importance of having close friendships. Relationships can come and go, but having a good support system of friends will always be there.

That being said, I’ve been single for my whole life so I would like to be in a relationship. It can get lonely and I definitely am looking.

Dating apps have completely changed the way dating works. I use them myself.

I definitely have a complicated relationship with dating apps. I mostly think they’re good.

I’m extremely shy in real life and even the thought of trying to talk to someone I’m interested in gives me anxiety. I didn’t even attempt to date in high school because of the anxiety it gave me. On top of that, being a girl interested in dating other girls makes it even harder to find someone offline.

The regular anxiety along with the stream of ‘Is she straight?’ ‘What if she’s homophobic?’ ‘What if she outs me?’ in my head means that I’d probably never try to talk to a girl in real life.

Dating apps definitely ease a lot of the anxiety. I know that the people I’m talking to and going on dates with are interested in dating, even the girls.

That makes it so much easier. I’m still really shy, but at least the initial fear of rejection and embarrassment is much less.

Dating apps aren’t perfect, though. For one thing, they’re very superficial.

You’re mostly just looking at, and judging people on, their pictures. Sometimes I feel shallow for swiping a certain way for a certain person just based on looks. I wonder if I’m missing out on great people for superficial reasons.

I think it’s definitely easier to date now than it was in the past. It’s not only because the internet and dating apps give everyone easy access to other single people with similar interests. It’s also because we live in a more accepting world now.

Gay people are more free to date and be in relationships openly. Trans people can find people to date who will accept them for who they are. Interracial dating is almost universally accepted.

People who would have had it much harder in the past, looking for love, are now much more free to live and love openly.

Building a Meaningful Relationship

“I feel like social media is taking the interpersonal connection with people. Now it’s harder to build a meaningful relationship that includes meeting up for coffee and chatting.”

Philadelphia, PA

black boy in a formal suit smiling to the camera

I have been in a relationship for four and a half years. The reason why we broke up is that I let bad influences from social media and engaged back in a conversation that I shouldn’t have.

I look back and I must, that I have grown in that area. Social media can be good or bad depending on how you use it.

Good in the sense that it helps people to be connected. It’s bad if you use it for bad intentions especially flirting with someone if you’re already in a relationship.

Learning from the past mistakes I only use my social media for ministry. I feel like social media is taking the interpersonal connection with people. Now it’s harder to build a meaningful relationship that includes meeting up for coffee and chatting.

Dating has changed. People tend to rely on social media to meet someone, rather than actually getting to know them on a personal level and connecting with them.

I’m an old school so for me I like to sit down and chat, take a walk in the park. But on the other hand, people tend to talk mostly on social media to the point that when you do meet up with that person there’s nothing to talk about.

I believe social media made it easier in the sense of connecting with someone and reaching out, but harder as far as building chemistry because everything that appears appealing to the eye on social media is what you see.

Social media is turning out the flame of actually learning who someone is and building true relationships by taking time to invest and asking questions. People tend to put themselves out there on social media rather than letting someone ask questions and be intentional in getting to know someone.

Rejection is something I’ve dealt with in the past and it can be hurtful but I learned that rejection can also be God showing you that, that particular person isn’t the one He has for you. Although that person rejected you, God accepted you and He has your life planned out.

The way I deal with rejection is by simply telling myself it wasn’t God’s plan and that God knows what’s best. I also prayed about it and ask God to give me strength. A “No” can sometimes be a good thing because God might be protecting you from something or someone.

Our Generation’s Dating

“If someone doesn’t want to get to know me, there’s no need to waste my time. It’s their fault, not mine.”

Baltimore, MD

blond girl with black sunglasses blowing a dandelion

In my previous relationship, he got too clingy for me. Since I was not as interested, I broke it off. There’s no reason to lead someone on if you are not that interested.Right now, I like being single.

Even though I have not met Mr. Right, I do not mind being single. It leaves time for me to be with my friends and family, without extra obligations or someone attempting to control my life.

I have been rejected in the past, but I try not to let it bother me. If someone does not want to get to know me, there is no need to waste my time. It is their fault, not mine.

Why should I stay invested in someone who cannot even see my value? My self-respect does not let someone else dictate or destroy me.

I would recommend the same thing to anyone else who has been rejected before. If that person does not understand the unique qualities in you, there is no reason to let your heart break.

Honestly, I think chance encounters are becoming extinct. This is partly due to mobile dating apps. People would rather chat on their phones with each other instead of meeting face-to-face to really get to know someone.

Yes, someone could put a pretty picture online and sound nice in a chatroom, but I cannot really get to know someone on my phone. If you are comfortable with the dating app culture, feel free to use it. Just not with me.

That is why I partly believe that dating apps have changed our generation’s dating, compared to past ones. Before, men would ask their love interests on a date and the relationship could blossom from there, or fizzle out.

Now, my generation is too used to dating apps and texting. I think the dating app culture has led to more hook-ups, instead of actual relationships. Dating nowadays is definitely harder than it was in previous generations.

Guys from the past were more gentle and open. Now, guys would rather be texting and using emojis to express their emotion.

I don’t want to have to decipher something a guy says. Just be honest with me and we’ll see where it goes.

Being Patient for Love

“A big part of finding someone is about patience, and I think that if people just took their time and let their expectations go, maybe they’ll find someone in a place they least expect.”

Burlington, VT

blond girl wearing a swimsuit sitting down over the rocks of the beach

If I had to characterize my last couple of years of dating in one word, it would be: lucky. Not lucky in the sense that it was all incredible or I found the love of my life; it’s just everything kind of fell into my lap.

Every guy I’ve dated recently has been someone I’ve met by chance in a completely unexpected way.

One guy I met while waiting for the bus on my commute home from work; one tutored me in math my senior year of high school; one was a friend of a friend from out of town who just happened to sit next to me one night when we all went out for some late night pizza.

It’s wild to think that all this kind of happened out of my control, like there was someone pulling the strings behind the scenes. I guess it makes sense then that I’ve never been into the whole online dating scene. The thought of meeting someone randomly is so much more thrilling to me.

Obviously, I’ve had a lot of luck, but even so, I would rather have a prolonged period of being single before even thinking about trying my hand with stuff like Tinder and Bumble.

My parents met each other while waiting on line to buy a movie at their local rental store. So the romanticism behind a random love encounter has a personal connection with me.

Of course, I know the dating world is changing fast, and online dating will only become more and more prevalent. But still, I’d wager that no matter how technologically influenced meeting people becomes, there will always be room to meet people in strange and spontaneous ways.

A big part of finding someone is about patience, and I think that if people just took their time and let their expectations go, maybe they’ll find someone in a place they least expect.

The Idea of Being Single

“Online dating pretty much enables you to go into each opportunity without pressure, since there’s usually at least a pretty good amount of people out there who’d be willing to go on a date, or at least have a conversation with you.”

Montpelier, VT

Brunette girl in a fall jacket smiling with her hands on her pockets.

The most important thing I’ve learned since I started dating was how to deal with rejection.

I was a late bloomer socially, and so the idea of being single never bothered me until after I had my first boyfriend.

It was a pretty brief relationship. The relationship lasted about three month, and I definitely didn’t love the guy.

It was just a run-of-the-mill college fling. But when he decided to call things off, I was heartbroken.

The feeling of being alone that I was so used to throughout high school seemed entirely alien to me now. It felt like there was a gaping void inside me.

I guess once I realized what it was like to feel wanted by a guy, it just felt depressing to be without it. It took me a while to get over that relationship, and even longer to figure out a consistent practice to help me deal with the effects of a break-up.

Something that definitely helped was using online dating. Although the interactions felt a bit less substantive than normal, being able to streamline myself through going through a lot of dates in a short period of time allowed me to become a much more confident person.

Online dating pretty much enables you to go into each opportunity without pressure, since there’s usually at least a pretty good amount of people out there who’d be willing to go on a date, or at least have a conversation with you.

So I got to talk to people, made some mistakes. And now, after about two years, I am at a much better place in my dating ability than after that first experience with being with someone. I’m currently single, but I’m happy with myself and don’t need someone anymore to fill a void in my heart.

Hiding behind Fake Personas

“Dating is just so complicated and hiding ourselves behind fake personas online isn’t helping anyone.”

New York, NY

blond girl on winter clothes looking over landscape

I find it very hard to date, especially in the era that we live in. I see all my friends on dating apps swiping and messaging practical strangers and making plans to meet.

However, I just don’t trust the internet ever since I was cat fished in high school.

Back then I wasn’t very outgoing and guys never noticed me. This was until one day when I got a message from an adorable guy who seemed to like me. We had so many similar interests and would message each other every day.

However, a few months in he finally came clean to me. The truth was that he was actually someone I knew from school. He was dared to write me on a fake account by his friends as a joke.

Once I found out I blocked him. I was just so heartbroken. I couldn’t believe that the first guy I really let down my walls for was a fraud. The rejection was so difficult to deal with but it helped me to grow thick skin as well.

Now while I have been on plenty of first and second dates, I have yet to find “the one.” This is probably why I am still single, besides of the fact that I am rather picky. However, I do enjoy being single and not being tied down while I am still young.

Dating is just so complicated and hiding ourselves behind fake personas online isn’t helping anyone. This is why I prefer to be set up on dates by friends or to be asked out in person.

While I know I could have so many more opportunities to meet potential boyfriends online, I just prefer not to. I’d much rather have an in-person connection than an emoji fueled connection. This is becoming so much rarer though I feel, especially chance encounters.

However, I will not give up hope on finding my true love. Just because dating has changed since previous generations doesn’t mean it has necessarily changed for the worst. There are still so many hardworking genuine people looking for love and I hope I’ll be able to find them.

So while I’ll be dating in an old-fashioned manner for the time being, I think it’s for the best. As it is dating nowadays is filled with challenges, so why make it harder than it has to be!

Final Thoughts on Modern Relationships

I think that, after reading the stories, one of the messages is that despite all the bad things that happen in relationships and the impediments that people face, love goes on.

The majority of people who gave their stories here had bad experiences in dating, but I think the majority also found love in the end.

There’s also a variety of opinions on a few different things.

Some people reaffirm that being single is all right, sometimes even better. They’re not very worried about it, though they wouldn’t mind if someone right for them came along. But, for now, they won’t bother their heads about it.

Others seem to take for granted that everyone is searching for love. Maybe there’s people out there with different ideas of love, and so relationships fail, but they’re going to give an effort to find the one.

Even about dating apps, people express themselves differently. Some say, “there are more fish in the sea” now with dating apps, and that there are so many wonderful people out there they now have the chance to talk to. Others deplore this style of meeting people and dating for its superficiality and uncertainty.

Some say they improve with each relationship, while others mostly regret their exes.

It’s not surprising that there are so many different opinions on the things that concern love. Can you say you have had a consistent view of dating, of your ideal boyfriend or girlfriend, or of dating apps.

Most people are on and off of them. “Yeah, I know Tinder is trash, but I’m back on it.” “I’m on Bumble, but I don’t use it very often.”

People say these things all the time. We’re not certain about whether we’re going about it the right way, and we remain vague to our friends and family about what exactly we want.

It’s not hard to see that because love is one of the most interesting things to us, it is also one of the most divisive and uncertain, especially since there is so much fantasy around it, and so many disappointments associated with it.

I hope these stories helped you see what it is you think about love a little more clearly. Relationships have always been difficult, and modern relations might just be more so due to dating apps and our fear of committing when we lead such busy, stressful lives. Just know you’re not alone.

My Voice Our Story

How Maria Ho Became One of the Top Female Poker Players in the World

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One of the top-ranked poker players in the world, Maria Ho, has inspired female players to pursue a professional career in poker. The sense that people may have doubted her ability in the game gave Ho the motivation to work harder to prove them wrong. After 15 years of playing poker, Ho has learned that she is always improving her skills. 

Ho first learned how to play cards from her grandfather and continued playing cards in college with a group of close friends. She was intrigued by the lack of women in the group and continued to challenge herself with her competitive mindset. In order to grasp the strategy behind playing poker, Ho spent years as a student teaching herself strategies of the game. 

“Every time I sit down and play, I feel like I am discovering something new that I never knew before.” 

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With a college degree in communications and a minor in law, Ho realized that she wanted to pursue poker as a professional career. Ho learned to recognize her ability in playing poker no matter what responses or assumptions she received from others based on her gender.

“It’s unfortunate, but as a woman, it does make you feel like you have something to prove.” 

Online poker is another option for poker players to continue playing while social distancing. The lifestyle change from traveling to play all over the world, to playing online from home has been a challenge, but Ho has made the best of the resources she has. Ho even now has the ability to play in multiple tournaments at a time when playing online.

Being inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. There were many times when Ho believes she leaned too much on other people and should have improved her own self-motivation and support earlier on in her career. Ho believes that she developed her work ethic from her parents. Her mother and sister are now a few of her biggest supporters. Ho learned proper time management from her sister as they grew up. Ho’s role models include Daniel Negreanu, as she has seen him as a great representation of poker players and given the game a more serious and competitive outlook. 

“Have a strong sense of self and know that the right answer doesn’t lay in other peoples’ opinions.”

Ho believes that the biggest setback in her poker career was a time when she stayed stagnant in her education in poker and realizes that she should have continued to improve herself and remained a student even if she thought she was didn’t need to. She now focuses on consistently studying news strategies and improving her skills. Ho also coaches her teammates and new players and therefore, stays motivated to continue learning in order to help others learn and improve as well. She even teaches online through her website, Youtube channel, and also stays connected with followers on her Instagram.  

“Poker has helped me realize that there is no point in focusing on something that is completely out of your hand. The more energy and effort you can dedicate to the things that you do have control over, the more success you will have.” 

Ho strives to make the poker world more inviting for women by breaking the gender stereotype. Her motto is to focus on the things within her control and stop worrying about what is not. She does this by being persistent in the moment and keeping her overall goals in mind. 

5 Poker Tips For Beginners:

1. Learn the rules, positions, and hands

Learning the positions can be valuable because having a position on other players means that you are taking your turn after them. Therefore, it enables you to see what they do before you make any decisions. 

2. Begin At Low Stakes And Prioritize Learning Strategy

Your goal when first starting out should be to learn the game, not to make any money. Your skills level will increase every time you move up the stakes. Beginning at the lowest limits will let you play against players at a lower level and decrease your probability of losing money. 

3. Find Games With More Recreational Players 

Researching where you can find the peak traffic and more recreational players will allow you to focus on learning strategy before putting your money at risk.

4. Only Play One Table At A Time

As a beginner, playing multiple tables can get overwhelming and you can learn bad habits. Leave multi-tabling for the future, stick to one table, and learn as much as you can from the familiar, small group of players. 

5. Your Mood Is Everything

Emotions can become your enemy at the poker table. Keeping a poker face is all about hiding your emotions. If you are angry or sad before or while playing, don’t let it get worse by continuing on to a new game. When emotions get the best of you, they can lead to rash decisions that could lead to your major loss. 

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College Voices

How I Began to Live More Meaningfully and How You Can Too

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A young brunette lady wearing a grey sweater and a blue backpack with a logo on it and jeans walks to her university.
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It took me a while to get to this point. I first realized—and I mean really realized— I had a problem during my freshman year of college. But my issues went back years and years. 

I think we’d all like to believe that our problem can be summed up in one little diagnosis or one word, but that’s not how it works at all.

For me, my anxiety feeds into my body image issues, which feed into a lack of self-esteem, which then circles back to my anxiety. 

When I did realize that I wasn’t okay and that the way I was feeling wasn’t sustainable, I decided to do nothing. I actively decided that there was no possible way to change how I felt and that I would always feel this way.

I would never be able to look in the mirror and not ache. I would never be able to break free of the self-pitying, cynical voice in my head. I wouldn’t be able to break away from my social anxiety and the constant fear that I wasn’t good enough and never would be. 

A black and white picture of a young woman wearing a sweater with small beaded designs on it, while covering one hand with another hand.
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I continued to believe this and live this way for a year. I smiled, laughed, and got good grades, but I actually wished I was someone completely different; someone, better. Not everyone wears their anxiety publicly; like covering myself up with a coat, mine was kept hidden until no one was looking. 

It wasn’t until the fall of my sophomore year that I finally told a friend that I was struggling. I spent that entire quarter in a fog—I cried walking to and from class, sometimes leaving in the middle of lectures to hyperventilate in the bathroom. I had a single dorm room at the time, and I spent most of my time there, crying alone instead of in my usual haunts with friends. 

It was there, in my room, that I finally told my friend everything. It was pure coincidence; she would often come bang on my door to scare me and then I’d invite her in and we’d chat and watch TV together. But this time, she caught me crying. Of course, I told her to go away; I convinced myself that I could handle everything alone like I always had. 

But she didn’t leave. She waited outside the door listening, I guess. She waited a few more minutes, and knocked more softly and asked again if she could come in. I wiped off my face, put on my goofy, self-deprecating grin, and opened the door.

I probably lied, said something about what an idiot I was, pretended I was crying over a TV show or commercial. 

A young buzzed man wearing a dark jacket with multicolored stripes and a young dark haired woman wearing a dark red sweater talk with each other at the Counseling and Psychological Services.
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What my friend did next saved me. She just sat cross-legged on my bed and waited for me to tell her everything, so I did. I told her the full truth that I had never told anyone before (and have told only one other person since). She listened and broke in rarely. And when I was all done, she told me I should go to the Counseling and Psychological Services at our university

When I resolutely told her that I could still deal with it alone, she didn’t push me any farther. She just said that she valued me, even when I didn’t value myself. That she would always listen, though she couldn’t promise that she wouldn’t offer advice afterward.

She said that she loved me and that when I look in the mirror, I should tell myself I am beautiful, even if I didn’t believe it at first.

She saw the signs that my own mother didn’t. She noticed the way my smile would drop when no one was looking. She noticed when I would leave our circle of friends to be alone, only to come back with another fake grin.

She noticed how I avoided my own reflection like the plague. She had noticed that her friend could still smile and carry on while being in pain on the inside. 

At the time, it felt inconsequential. I would go on to talk to her many times, and it was only because of her that I finally did seek help by calling a therapist.

I came to the realization that it simply wasn’t fair to treat her and her acts of friendship as therapy.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend who will take on that role while they are also trying to take care of themselves. She not only listened, but she pushed me to seek help and understood my emotions and pain though they were illogical and nonsensical at times. 

I definitely should have sought help sooner. I assumed the painful conversations I had with my friend were not helping me, but I was wrong. I began to accept myself for who I was instead of hating myself for the person I thought I saw in the mirror.

No one deserves to hate themselves, though I spent a lot of time convincing myself otherwise. I hated myself for being so pitiful and for crying so much. I hated myself for not being able to control my eating better and for not looking like an Insta-model. 

Frankly, it wasn’t fair of me to lean so heavily on a friend for so long, but I can’t express how grateful I am to her for letting me do so. During that period, I wasn’t giving back to that relationship nearly as much as I received. She did not deserve to bear the full brunt of my problems on her shoulders the way she did.

I’ve only just started therapy over quarantine, but it has not yet cured all my problems. Just a few months of counseling have not “fixed” me, nor have my anxieties and pain melted away.

But, I do know that I am getting there instead of just wallowing in my own feelings and self-directed anger. It honestly feels really good to take action against this negative attitude that has weighed me down for years. Some days, I even feel good when looking at myself in the mirror.

If you or your friend is suffering silently, please consider calling a hotline or the counseling service at your university or place of work. Money is secondary. What others think of you is secondary. You deserve to live meaningfully; you are worth more than the barriers that stand between you and your mental health.

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