Dating and Instant Gratification: Do They Mix?

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Instant gratification is part of our lives. Whether we want a coffee or an iPhone, we can get it right now. There's no such thing as saving up for a new couch when you could put it on the credit card or even layaway and take it home right away. Or take social media. When I post something on Facebook or Twitter, I can get responses almost instantly, which makes me post even more.

So with our proclivity to instant gratification, does it affect our dating lives? Are you expecting relationships to just "happen" with the right chemistry? Are you having sex whenever you want, even when you aren't necessarily into the guy/ girl? Do you think to yourself that you can't commit because you might meet someone else even better tomorrow?

When you're online dating, it's easy to fall into this mental trap. After all, with one click you can search through hundreds of profiles and have dates lined up every day of the week. There's always somebody new to meet, someone to have sex with, which can make us feel that there's always something better around the corner without really looking at the person right on front of us. This can be especially true in big cities where the possibilities for dating seem endless.

Or if you're the type to jump into a relationship quickly because the chemistry is so intense, you're giving in to instant gratification as well. The truth is, you don't yet know the person, so you're projecting your ideal relationship and romantic partner onto him without even realizing it. And when you actually get to know each other, these assumptions and beliefs fall away, and you're left angry and confused.

Neither scenario feels like a healthy way to date. Looking to satisfy your need for instant gratification won't bring about what most people truly desire, a real and lasting relationship. We want to connect. We want to love. But sometimes, this feels more scary than doing what we know and following the same unhealthy patterns.

Instead of jumping headfirst into your next relationship, or dating so many men/ women that you can't keep their names straight, try doing the opposite. Try focusing on one date at a time. Instead of pushing things forward, let your dating progress at a slow pace. It will feel strange, but it will allow you some freedom. You'll get to know each other on a deeper level without the intensity (and commitment).

Take it one date at a time, and see if your next relationship turns out differently.