How Dating Culture Makes You Desperate

Shani Silver
6 min readNov 11, 2023

You deserve better than “better than nothing.”

Photo by Shani Silver

The modern dating experience is a dumpster fire full of broken glass and angry bees. By now this is common knowledge. I don’t need to hear any more “horror stories” or see any more screen shots on social media. Dating culture has become a nightmare — I’m not on the fence about this. My question is, what impact is this nightmare actually having on single women? I am deeply concerned that it’s training us to lower our expectations until we expect nothing close to what we actually want. I’m worried we’re dating from rock bottom.

When I was still participating in dating culture, each year of my swiped-away singlehood was another “deal breaker” gone. Year after year, I’d lower my standards and expectations, because I thought I had to. I wasn’t finding what I actually wanted, I wasn’t attracting what I actually wanted, so that must mean I need to lower my standards to meet reality, right? What I didn’t know is that dating culture, particularly online dating culture, is not reality. It’s a world build on ones and zeros where consequences go to die and bad behavior gets to breed. Those screen shots you keep taking, horrified by what people (sorry, men) will say and do? Those don’t shock me anymore. Can I believe he said that? YES. What’s harder to believe is that you’re still participating in a dating culture…