How We Used To Love (And How We Love Now)

Photo: weheartit

By Rania Naim

I often like to dismiss the idea that this generation is doomed when it comes to love, because the times have changed, we have options now, people are disposable, and we are more independent—or so we like to believe.

But sometimes I can’t help but think maybe we are.

I wonder how the older generation made it look so easy, and how most of their relationships lasted, and are still going strong, while we can’t even get through the first few stages of dating someone without a whirlwind of questions, confusion, doubt, and mixed signals.

It’s becoming exhausting to find someone, and even more exhausting to love them.

What was so different back then? Where did we go wrong? How did we lose the essence of love and romance along the way?

How we used to love: You saw someone you may like, you thought there might be something there, you took a chance, you tried to get to know that person, really know them, it worked, you made it official, you met the parents, you got engaged, then married and you had babies. It was a simple story of boy meets girl and they fall in love.

How we love now: You see someone you may like, you think there might be something there, you take a chance, you stop and wonder if you are ready for it, or if this means you have to stop talking to the multiple people you are currently talking to. What if you find someone more successful? Or better looking? Or richer? You overanalyze, you scrutinize everything to where you forget why it all started. You let them go and move on in hopes of finding someone better or until you are “ready” to settle down.

How we used to love: Even though you were fighting, you still talked to each other; you made plans together, ate together, and were there for each other until you made up. You communicated and discussed how you can make it work, how you could avoid this situation in the future, and you reassured each other that everything will be OK, it’s just a fight. It happens.

How we love now: You fight, you tell yourself this wouldn’t have happened if you were dating X or Y, you decide to teach them a lesson and dismiss their calls and messages for 3 days, a week, a month, until they learn their lesson. When you make up, you will still be more guarded, a bit harder, and unwilling put up with the “drama.” So you decide to keep your options open—again—and you try to find someone better, someone less “dramatic,” who could be better looking, more successful, or richer.

How we used to love: You communicated with honesty, you showed love, appreciation and affection even when you didn’t feel like it. You supported their decisions, you compromised, you showed that you care; you tried to be compassionate, understanding, and loving. You accepted the person with their flaws, you saw the bigger picture, you saw the picture of a family, of a future spent with someone who will change and evolve; as you will, so you knew it will not be easy, but you wanted to take that journey anyway because you knew it was worth it. You understood that the perfect relationship won’t exist, but you can make it wonderful!

How we love now: You wait a couple of hours to text back, you use social media to communicate your innermost feelings, you play games so you don’t come off as “needy” or “thirsty” or the person who cares more. You hide your feelings behind an emoji or a perfunctory smile when that person forgets to respond to your text, or your question, or your needs. You silence your voice because you have to be chill, patient, and independent. We think it’s better to be with someone who silences our voice than to be lonely. So you keep texting until the words lose all their meaning.

How we used to love: Family came first, the world promoted love, promoted commitment, and glorified monogamy. The songs & the movies all spoke of true, everlasting love, the love that we now label “corny” or “cheesy.” Relationships were cherished, men were appreciated when they were being “difficult,” women were loved when they were being “crazy,” people got it, they knew that the only way to make a relationship last is to invest in it, love it, and make an effort to make it work. They knew how to turn a house into a home.

How we love now: The more the merrier, it’s better to have more options. Tinder. How many people are you talking to? Lead them on, break their hearts, lead them on again, continue being unsure of your feelings, continue being in the grey area, continue being “casual” for as long as you can. Don’t have that conversation just yet. No strings attached. Friends with benefits. Somebody that I used to know. Go out, get drunk, and hook up with random people to numb the pain and fill that void, keep pretending that you like it, that you are OK with it. Keep pretending that you are OK with the emptiness you feel when you are sleeping next to someone who doesn’t know who you really are and what keeps you up at night.

How we used to love:

Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you
Tomorrow I’ll miss you
Remember I’ll always be true
And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my loving to you

How we love now:

What do you mean?
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
When you don’t want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?

Rania Naim is an Egyptian living in D.C. hoping to get the best of both worlds. She loves traveling, writing, reading and getting to know people on a deeper level. Follow her on Twitter @ranianaim and Facebook.

This article was originally published at Thought Catalog. Reprinted with permission from the author.