Where were you and what were you doing 20 years ago? I was a sophomore in high school. I didn’t have a cell phone, Facebook, Instagram or free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime.

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Our lives are very different than they were just two decades ago. When we contemplate the biggest changes, we might first think about the new technology that has come into our lives. But what’s more important is actually how these technologies are changing us and the things we do, including dating. Here are three big ways dating relationships have changed in recent decades.

1. More Distractions

I’m very worried about how common it is to see distracted people gathering together. Whenever I’m in public places, it seems I’m surrounded by people who are doing two things at once. Whether it’s walking and looking at phone, talking and looking at phone, driving and looking at phone, or dating and looking at phone, there’s clearly one common thing that’s pulling our focus away from what we’re doing at the present moment.

We are the most distracted generation who has ever lived. We’ve allowed ourselves to habitually miss what is going on right in front of us. It used to be odd to see a couple on a date both looking at their phones, but I’m afraid it’s becoming the norm. It’s important to remind yourself to put then phone away if you want to truly connect with someone you’re dating.

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2. More Outside Information

We used to get to know someone by dating them. We would share many meals and experiences and over time to get to know who they are and what they are like. Back then, our relationships were built on actual experiences shared together.

But social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others have given us access to tons of information about someone we are getting to know with just a click. These days, entire relationships can be built on statuses, profile pictures, tweets, messages and posts. We are getting to know each other though our digital representations.

There is a danger in knowing a lot about people in terms of social media before we know a lot about people in terms of a real-life relationship. Social media can be a great tool for enhancing relationships, but should never be the foundation of a relationship. Today’s couples must be intentional about building real-world relationships on real-world experiences. Few people are what they seem to be on social media.

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3. More Options

Lastly, online dating is changing the number of potential dates we each have. If you are single today, the world is your oyster. People are connecting from across the country and around the world. Gone are the days when most married couples grew up in the same county.

This can create choice paralysis in our dating lives. Many people are more inclined to move on when a relationship goes through a rough patch because there are always other options available. We are losing our durability in relationships. It’s important that you use online dating as a tool, not an excuse to bail when times get tough. While it’s nice to fantasize about potential relationships with the people you see online, try working on the real relationship right in front of you before you start looking for something better.

Being aware of these recent changes to dating is important to the development of healthy relationships. As we consider how technology is changing our relationships, we can take steps to make sure we establish relationships rooted in grace and truth.

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