Alison Taylor on relationships: You can't falsify intimacy, however many emojis you care to use

I often daydream about the halcyon days of dating when you would stand around waiting for the landline to ring

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The Independent Online

I'm worried that modern dating has made me immune to an actual relationship. Why? Because the two things are incompatible, even though in theory one should lead to the other. It's like we've been indoctrinated into a cyborg way of life and when it comes to breaking out into the real world, we malfunction.

The first thing – and probably the main "problem" – is pace. In app world, everything moves at such a frenetic pace, it's almost exhausting. If you don't adopt this pace online, in order to get that initial date, then forget it, because people move on to somebody who will. But transfer this manic communication to the real world – when they're not just a username with a photo attached – and it feels a bit intense. It's like a waltzer ride – but I want to scream because I want to go slower.

Directly related to this is all the texting that goes on. In order to make a date in the first place, you have to exchange approximately half a million texts before meeting up, which sets a precedent. A precedent for texting ALL of the time. Now I love a bit of texting – I've done some of my best humour work via text – but I'm uneasy with somebody becoming a part of my every day, popping up in my phone with what they've eaten for breakfast, or just "checking in", when we've only just started dating. Or is that me being weird?

I find myself daydreaming about simpler times. In the sepia-toned dream there's me in a dressing gown with a towel turban around my head staring at an avocado-coloured landline, willing it to ring. Kids today don't have that kind of romantic training. A thought pops into their heads and – boom! – there it is in some poor sod's phone. Where's the agonising waiting time? The necessity to have the balls to actually call somebody?

In cyborg land we've reached a Red Alert situation. Because we're constantly online, constantly in contact, and constantly over-sharing, it's created a false sense of intimacy – immediate intimacy. And that's what feels a little off to me.

It makes me question the authenticity; the words don't ring true. You can't falsify intimacy, however many emojis you care to use, it's something that develops over time. I'm thinking it's a little like getting a tan. If you binge-sunbathe right at the beginning of your holiday, you burn, if you go for the instant, out-of-a-bottle option, it's fake, but if you let it develop over time then you might just get something that's deep and long-lasting. Oh, and robots don't tan.

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