Let's be honest. No one likes a Debbie Downer. We all appreciate positivity and good energy. This is especially true in the dating world. We want our relationships to be fun and to complement our already stressful lives. Modern day daters, in particular, seem to only want relationships that are fun, light, easy....."good vibes only." While "good vibes" are definitely important, "good vibes only" should not be what we strive for in a relationship.
We all love to be around positive people. Positive energy is contagious. In the dating context, positive energy is attractive, draws others in and makes people want to be around you. Many modern daters have been hurt or burned by a past ex. The last thing most people want is to introduce a new Negative Nelly into their life. This has led to an increased desire for casual, fun relationships with no commitment, obligation or expectations. It’s what I refer to as the rise of the “good vibes only” relationship world.
We live in a world where people don’t really want to commit to anything….not a relationship, a job, not anything long-term. It is the immediate gratification world. If something becomes difficult or challenging, we want to quit it and move on to the easy, light, fun, next best thing.
With the creation of online dating, it has become easier and easier for daters to meet new people and be able to block, drop or “ghost” somebody with whom they no longer want contact. If Sally or Sam is starting to complain or assert needs, it is easy for Ted or Tina to drop them, and find somebody “more fun”.
The problem with light and fun, is that it can also mean superficial. Deeper connections with others are only formed when we allow ourselves to open up, be vulnerable, and do the thing many modern daters dread…..talk about our feelings. And because life sucks sometimes, our feelings might occasionally be negative. It isn’t realistic or healthy to force ourselves to feel positive all of the time. To lead a healthy lifestyle, we need to feel a full range of emotions including the negative ones such as sadness, shame and fear. If we can’t tell our partner that we are feeling some of these emotions, we can’t ever truly get really close to them.
It is no wonder that there are so many disconnected, lonely people in this world. When we can only have relationships where we put our best image forward and hide any negative or insecure feelings, how can we possibly feel connected? Having a mantra or relationship criteria like “good vibes only” forces us to suppress our negative feelings and never deal with them. It also creates a world where everybody thinks that everyone else’s life seems so wonderful. We feel like we are failing when we struggle and can’t share our struggle with anyone for fear of being considered too negative and dropped. We also can’t assert our needs because our “good vibes only” partner will then see us as being too clingy or demanding, and they will quickly move on to someone else.
Of course, when we are in the very early stages of dating “good vibes only” makes sense. We don’t need to divulge our life story and deepest insecurities to someone we are just getting to know. It seems though that there are many daters who just bounce from one light, casual relationship to the next with no interest in really connecting and getting to know anyone. While that may be fine as a short-term strategy, I can’t see how anyone can achieve long-term happiness if the extent of their relationships with any partners is a light, non-committed, “good vibes only” meet-up, hook-up or fling.
Approaching relationships on a “good vibes only” basis is cowardly. It protects you from getting hurt. We need more risk takers…..the ones who are willing to take a chance on opening their heart, being vulnerable, asserting their needs, and discussing feelings, both positive and negative. Faking positivity all the time for fear of being alone can’t lead to a happy, fulfilling life.