Social Apps Changing the Dating Paradigm, Can People Share In-and-Out Relationships?

In an age where social media and dating apps are changing the dating paradigm, are we really sharing the freedom to move in and out of relationships? This year on 520, we talked to Buckwheat, a writer and blogger who has been focusing on the field of feminism, about how to deal with emotional relationships in an era of diverse relationships.
In April 2020, writer Buckwheat first received emotional outpourings from readers in a private message on Weibo. Since then, more and more people, hidden social and family identity, clicked on Buckwheat microblogging private message button, to the network tree hole to tell the real situation in the emotional life. The most letters, the writer will receive nearly a hundred a day, three years is tens of thousands of letters. Famous domestic media once wrote that these tens of thousands of letters “provides a real and complex sample of contemporary marital love. Perhaps the greater value lies in the true social psychology they reflect: what kind of emotional life will we be relying on in 2023?
Internationally, the dating program Tinder has been with people for 11 years. Other popular apps include OkCupid, Bumble, eHarmony, Match, WooPlus, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge, while domestically, similar apps exist in China, such as Tantrum, Stranger, Soul, and many more. Ten years ago, we wanted social networks to expand our limited real-life circle. In the 2013 movie Her, the protagonist, Theodore, opens up his hard drive data and his emotional world to an artificial intelligence in his operating system. Ten years later, we find ourselves in a situation where our real emotional needs have been altered by Big Data. Social networks and the mobile internet have rapidly expanded and penetrated our real world at speeds we hadn’t imagined. Our personality profiles, daily routines, interests, and relationships are scattered across apps and even cloud drives, where the data comprises an electronic paradigm that in turn influences our emotional choices.
In March, The New York Times interviewed longtime users of these programs. They said that over the past 10 years, instead of quenching their emotional hunger, these apps have made them more anxious and fearful of not finding the love of their life, thus making them more unable to control the left and right swipes. 2023, more and more people are living atomized single lives, while facing the social status quo of rising youth unemployment and a slowdown in the birth and marriage rates. In an interview, the WSJ. and Buckwheat talk about contemporary fidelity in emotional relationships, tolerance, and the gender power mismatch therein.
1. Perhaps the internet has made us less tolerant of relationship complexity
Buckwheat observes that there seems to be a trend towards gamification of emotional relationships in the internet age. “The internet age has made emotional relationships complex. If one develops a love affair with a guy in a game, but then quits the game and he has a new relationship with another partner, what’s the difference between us and between him and his new partner? A lot of males are also just mimicking, he doesn’t really care, he just thinks I should care about you at this point, I should give you a gift at this point, I should send you flowers at this point, I should call you money at this point, I should say something at this point, it’s full of patterned behaviors.”
In 2020, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released the “Post-95 Social Concepts and Social Relationships Survey Report”, which shows that more than 80% of the “Post-95” young people have already used social software to expand their social relationships and network circles. Young users are more willing to quickly build a circle of friends through interest labels, common hobbies and other forms of social software. But how many relationships can be transformed from online virtual space to offline real world?
In fact, the emotional life in the 5G network era is very different from the traditional mode of interaction that originated in real life. Dating methods that once required offline contact with friends, family, classmates, hobbies, etc. because of a narrow range of activities are being rewritten by social networks. In fact, the boundaries of emotional relationships online and offline are beginning to become less clear. Buckwheat has also noticed that young people are beginning to pretend to be couples in online games to realize online dating. She believes that it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to distinguish between real relationships and online simulations.
“The only way to understand the difference is to experience a relationship for real. Simulated relationships are full of patterned behaviors and men mimic caring and giving. Distinguishing between real and online simulated relationships is difficult and needs to be experienced for real to be clear.” Buckwheat said. But reality makes it hard for millennials to believe in the real thing. Their time is eaten up by the high pressure of work and online pastimes. Lack of real emotional fulfillment in reality, the only way to find on the network. Some people get together because of playing games and chatting online, while others start a relationship by liking and commenting on Jitterbug. Perhaps whether the other party is real or not, is not the first thing to consider, that avatar and voice to bring that time, has brought a pleasant feeling. Nowadays, artificial intelligence boyfriend simulators that work on the basis of the user’s psychological profile are no longer science fiction either. In other words, each of us is becoming Theodore, the hero of the movie Her.

“Personally, I think everyone’s tolerance for this kind of relationship complexity is becoming low,” says Buckwheat. “The movies we watched when we were younger were full of emotional complexity, I may love you, but I may have some other feelings for him as well, and the answer that the movies we watched at that time tended to give was that you have to wait for time to give an answer, that you have to look at the problems within your relationship, and that both people have to grow to realize whether or not the relationship you’re in is worth continuing. ” Social networks have also simplified and labeled people’s perception of emotions. According to the dating app Bumble, young people today have a much broader definition of an emotional relationship. “Describing oneself as ‘single and looking for a relationship’ is too simplistic,” The New York Times wrote in a February story. People entrust their emotional lives to the Internet, which naturally changes people’s behavior and language, and their emotional lives are no exception.
According to Natalie Jones, a California psychotherapist who studies relationships and narcissism, “The fact that more and more people are ‘meeting’ online creates ‘an abundance of options ‘ This can make it difficult to make a real connection, or it can lead to harmful dating habits.”
“I think that’s where these terms come from, because now people have a huge number of people to choose from, so different kinds of behavioral words are having their high time,” Dr. Jones said. “When you have so many people to choose from, you can ‘pigeonhole’ (Ghosting), you can’t talk on the phone, you can hide your true identity through online dating (Catfishing).” On the one hand, it seems as if it has never been easier to connect with anyone, and on the other hand, it seems as if it is impossible to get anyone’s companionship and care in the true sense of the word. Emotional relationships are inherently full of unknowns, testing each other, and making it difficult to be honest with your partner and with yourself. The labels and options on social networks, on the one hand, make it easy for people to check expressions that describe their current emotional state, but on the other hand, they limit their true sensibility. The internet creates words of convenience for every relationship breakdown, but the complexity of real emotion is that it is almost impossible to match personal labels in a social network. Instead, it is often confusing.
2. why men and women are not equal in the contemporary context of diverse relationships
In reality, people often feel “unequal” in their emotions. Some people are free in a relationship, while others make too many concessions and do not enjoy equal freedom, giving rise to the imagination of “loyalty” issues. I talked to Buckwheat about this phenomenon, Buckwheat realized that behind this series of phenomena, not only is the ubiquity of the relationship so that people can not be defined to produce confusion, but more women in the relationship is not treated equally.
Buckwheat will occasionally see such cases, women will require the man and the ex of all contact information, photos are deleted clean, not allowed to randomly give other girls short video likes and comments, at least don’t let yourself see; women will be wary of the man in the social network to meet friends of the opposite sex, doubt is not a precursor to cheating. “You’re not allowed to challenge the order, you’re only allowed to fight inside the order and sort out who’s in the main position, and I think it’s a total catch-22.” She said. The solution isn’t complicated. When a woman can socialize as freely as a man, have her own independent spiritual life, socialize with a partner who is interested in hanging out together, and have a social network game partner, she will naturally understand some of the normal “relationships” of men, instead of rising to the suspicion of “loyalty”. The “fidelity” of the suspicion. But in reality, this is precisely the most difficult to achieve power equity in the relationship between men and women. Buckwheat received letters, mainly from women. She once asked in a media interview: Are men talking about the world situation?
Buckwheat gave an example, “I have received a private letter, the girl asked his boyfriend to throw his bed, because he had an ex they must have slept in that bed together. Her boyfriend never threw it away and they fought about it. Why can’t you change this bed for me? Netflix commented, “But you’re a man he’s been used too.” “It’s not psychologically healthy for women to try to find evidence that men have deeper relationships with their exes. Internet traces are just a symptom of the objective existence of the relationship, no matter how many traces you remove, it objectively exists this thing that you can’t erase.” She went on to say.
But Buckwheat argues that women exercising power in a relationship by asking their boyfriends to do things is also a practice of power. “Because power can’t be practiced anywhere else, it’s socially encouraged and allowed to be practiced in these little things.” She said. “It’s not good because they can’t be in charge when it comes to the really important things. They can’t make key decisions compared to men. Society and culture allow women to compare themselves to other women, and they practice power and gain a sense of empowerment in these things. But challenging men’s own power is not allowed, which is unfortunate. If men are restrained from living their lives, women are accused of being too intrusive. But if a woman forbids a man to talk to his other women, it is considered normal and motivated by jealousy and love.”
Although the “MeToo” movement, which has emerged in the past two years, has made more women dare to speak out and say no, the reality is still not friendly to women. Researchers say that women’s behavior has been framed since childhood due to traditional societal constraints, which naturally creates a fear of the unknown and uncontrollable. Therefore, in the context of contemporary emotional relationships, women and men conceptualize different preconceptions of freedom. “[Feelings of inequality] probably have nothing to do with loyalty, it’s just that people are in diverse relationships and we both get different emotional needs, we both have different spaces, and we have to balance that stuff.” Buckwheat said. “Women are only allowed to do this if they compare themselves to other women. But if they restrict men’s lives, women are criticized for being too intrusive. It’s socially and culturally shaped, and it’s up to women to get away from that and really focus on the things they care about, such as the sharing of household chores. Redistribute the power relationship between you and your boyfriend and not just rely on some of the power given by society.” She said.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top