My hundreds of internet dates fall into the same category. For the committed pantsman, Facebook and dating sites are just one big vagina catalogue. I've even gone to bed with a woman I met through Twitter. Why settle on one woman when you can have hundreds? Why get married when you can date a different girl every night of the week?
Formerly happily monogamous men can become dreadful bounders because of the internet. Technology encourages men — and increasingly women — to play around. In fact women, I have found in my experience, are becoming just as callous and predatory as men. The checklist mentality is given free rein by the web.
And because of this traditional relationships are under siege, families are under siege. Even people who are in committed relationships are thinking about getting out. Their thinking is: If everyone else is having so much fun, what the hell did I get married for?
Everyone is spoiled for choice. Distracted. Impatient. Dissatisfied. It's easy to send a picture of an erect penis or bare breasts on your phone. You can have sex on Skype. Porn has changed what we all expect in the bedroom, and if we're not getting it we start looking elsewhere, using the internet, smartphones, dating sites, GPS-based hook-up apps, and whatever else is being invented any given week.
I put forward the argument in Laid Bare that relationships have "effectively suffered the fate of porn movies: been reduced to 'scenes', designed for short attention spans and instant gratification rather than rewarding patience". Patience is the root of any worthwhile relationship. The time you spend riding out those periods when things aren’t so good makes the periods when things are going great so much better.
The verb "to love" — the action of love, showing love, giving love — is just as important as the feeling of being "in love". In this overconnected world, we’re in danger of forgetting what a true connection really means.
And that is tolerating what it is that makes us human. Not thinking of each other as faultless avatars on a computer screen.
As my daughter said in that traffic jam, it all starts with a little patience.
Jesse Fink is the author of Laid Bare: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders and a new book, The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC. He lives in Sydney, Australia.