Posted by: euzoia | April 25, 2009

Modern-day dating leads to Modern Female Dating Anxiety

* Text, social networking, email more common
* Leads to “illusion of intimacy”
* Sign of the times on modern dating

IN the film He’s Just Not That Into You, Drew Barrymore’s character complains about being rejected by seven different technologies.

“I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, so I called him at home, and he emailed me to my Blackberry, and so I texted him to his mobile phone,” she says.

“And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

It’s not only a sign of the times but a contributing factor to what relationship experts are calling a thoroughly modern epidemic: Modern Female Dating Anxiety (MFDA).

Ryan Cassady, a life coach, and his wife Jessica, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, coined the phrase in their new book, Stop Wondering if You’ll Ever Meet Him.

The couple says the condition, with symptoms like sweaty palms, shallow breathing and obsessive behaviour, has developed over the last decade as by-product of technological communication and casual dating practises.
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“There actually are components of mental illness that we see coming into the picture of MFDA (and) we know that these are people who are mentally healthy,” Jessica says.

The condition most commonly affects self-assured women who lose their cool on the dating circuit, the couple said.

“They have a sense of confidence and security that somehow becomes absent in the dating situation,” Ryan says.

The evolution of “conveniences” like text messaging, social networking and email have created “this illusion of intimacy” that hasn’t been formed between people, Jessica says.

“As technology has been brought into the equation people have gotten used to exploring connections in a very fast way.

“That sense of immediate gratification has confused a process that traditionally followed more of a courtship process.

“If you’re not hearing from someone straight away because they do have that ability to call you, (you) that something must be wrong.”

Women also aren’t coping well with loosening of formal courtship “codes”, a legacy of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

“The formality of the dating process was kind of tossed out the window and as a result a very casual (method)… arose,” Cassaday says.

“Hanging out and hooking up” replaced traditional courtship methods, he says.

To get over MFDA, the couple encourage sufferers to channel their “feminine mystique”, or charisma, dig up some old-school dating practises and “let go” of their “type”.

The couple, who host a radio show in the US, were friends for eight years and began dating while working on their self-help book.

They are now expecting their first baby in three months and are working on a book for couples about “sensual enhancement”.


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