Trends are countless and often difficult to keep up with. Millenials have now taken dating to a whole new level, and are probably sabotaging meaningful relationships while at it. In this wonderful and weird world of dating in the social media era, why are millenials so non-committal?

Cushioning
AKA the backup plan. While you have a full time girlfriend or boyfriend, you continue talking and flirting with other interest so that when your relationship ends, you have options available. That is Cushioning – basically plan B. Besides the main flame in your life, you have several “cushions” in your directory. Many argue that in a sense, by cushioning you are guaranteeing the end of your relationship as you are likely to be found out by your partner thus leading to chaotic doom and gloom. In a sense while you assume its security for your future, it also seems counter intuitive.

Ghosting
This when you disappear all of a sudden from conversations without actually declaring that you are done with the other party. This is done with the hope that the person on the receiving end will get the hint and realize that the ghost is just not interested.

Bread crumbing
This means leaving enough interest for someone to keep them hooked but not actually being interested in them. You think the person is nice and has potential, but you’re not crazy about them. Do you keep dating them or dump them and move on to the next one? You are not sure so you put them in your mental ‘maybe’ folder and see what else is out there.

Benching
This usually happens after you bread-crumb a potential. When you go on a couple of dates with someone but maybe something is progressing with a third party so you bench them. You keep talking to them while deciding whether the recent love interest is worth pursuing or not.

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Many of the reasons relationship come to an end can be attributed to infidelity, selfishness, rage and not prioritizing a relationship. Helen Chen, a marriage and relationship expert noted that almost 85% of relationship fail or end in heart break. Divorce rates have also been known to be at 50%. These are statistics that we probably have all experienced personally one way or another.

Whilst relationship trends seem to be veering towards avoiding, ducking and a general move away from commitment, this has come with the unfortunate side which is commitment phobia and relationship anxiety. Causes that have been linked to commitment phobia by Psych Central are:
• Fear of, or having had, the relationship end without notice or signs
• Fear of not being in the “right” relationship
• Fear of, or having been in, an unhealthy relationship (characterized by abandonment, infidelity, abuse, etc.)
• Trust issues because of past hurts by those close to the person
• Childhood trauma or abuse
• Unmet childhood needs or attachment issues
• Complicated family dynamics while growing up

Whilst the majority of the issues listed are genuine and warrant a fear of being in relationships, the very first reason on the list looks a lot like the result of the trends we have currently. It seems there is a correlation with millennials’ fear of relationships and being ghosted, being a cushion or being on the bench – without your knowledge or consent. Lack of intention, honesty and clarity has been the reason for many popular hashtags like #WasteHer/HisTime2016 and 2017, clearly showing that we recognize the difficulty and often hurt that comes with the fun ways we refuse to commit or be honest with whomever we chose to be in a relationship with.

While the evolution of dating has come with freedom and expression, the pitfalls cannot be ignored as well. So while we continue to evolve and progress in how we do relationships, let it not be at the cost of those we decide to give our time to because it is unlikely we will be able to reclaim our time back.

By: Lesego Otlhabanye