Finding love isn’t easy.
Perhaps this is why an increasing number of college-aged students have decided to shy away from long-term relationships and date casually.
While the reasons for millennials foregoing relationships may not be black-and-white, it is clear that smartphones have changed the rules of the game in terms of relationships.
Mobile dating applications available on smartphones, such as Tinder and Grindr, have paved the road for casual relationships.
University of Toronto postdoctoral fellow Amy Muise said while there is currently no evidence these applications lead to more casual relationships, it seems to be the popular perception.
“I think it just makes it more accessible,” said Muise.
In a 2012 study about online dating published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, researchers noted the pervasiveness and fundamental influence mobile dating had on the dating landscape.
“In a remarkably short time, online dating has revolutionized how people seek romantic partners,” said lead author Eli J. Finkel. “Online dating is enormously popular and expanding rapidly.”
Mobile dating not only introduces singles to potential partners they wouldn’t typically meet, but also widens the pool of potential candidates.
This, however, could be part of the reason students aren’t keen on settling down.
More options can make people feel less satisfied with the option they chose, said Muise.
“We might wonder what else is out there, so there’s an established line of research and close relationships that talks about the quality of alternatives,” said Muise
“Feeling like you have more quality alternatives reduces your commitment at times to your current relationship,” she said.
“Seeing other options for dating, assuming that you find these options desirable, it could make you feel less committed.”
At Humber College, an institution with more than 27,000 full-time students, the options are essentially limitless.
Humber Electrical Engineering Technology student Casey Espana said this generation is too focused on themselves and being independent to enter into long-term relationships.
“People are doing what’s best for them, like finding out who they are as a person before they start getting into a long term relationship,” said Espana.
“People just want to have fun when they’re young,” he said.
Recently single, Espana said there were a lot of factors that contributed to the dissolution of his three-year relationship with a former Humber student, and attending the same institution was one of them.
“I wouldn’t really blame it on being in Humber,” said Espana, “(But) seeing the person every day … you get too attached, like there’s no freedom or space.”
Espana also said dating casually is the best option for college-aged students because it gives them the opportunity to discover their likes and dislikes.
Relationship expert for Match.com and psychotherapist Kimberly Moffit said dating is the best way for people to see what works best for them in a relationship.
“The more dates you go on, the closer you are going to come to finding that one,” she said.
While Espana isn’t actively looking for love, he said he’s open if the right one comes along.
“Whatever happens, happens,” he said.