Gay dating as never been a strong suit of mine. In fact, dating overall has been awful for me, not because the relationships themselves are inherently bad but because there always seems to be this miscommunication in queer dating. The miscommunication was misplaced gratitude towards at least one of us in the relationship. This miscommunication might stem from hook-up culture but I am in no place to say for sure, my aim here is that I want to give a better understanding for a phenomenon that has not had words before. Some general terms should be established.
Dating and hook-up culture are two separate beasts of their own. With dating, the aim, what I believe so that is, is a type of companionship or long-term relationship. Dating does not need to be with the goal of marriage in the end but in some cases, it is at least presumed. Hook-up culture is more hedonistic. It is an exchange of sexual pleasure between two or more people with no real aim at a genuine connection or companionship between the people involved, though that does happen every so often.
Perhaps “millennials” favor hook-up culture more, but I would claim that it is a by-product of an instant-gratification society we live in today. Things are best when we get what we want out of them as quick as possible. The point being is that hook-up culture is becoming a norm that everyone is okay with. The no-strings-attached type of relations with one another seem to vibe with everyone.
Misplaced gratitude is a weird concept on its own. It is when someone is grateful or excited about something that in other contexts would not be usually deemed as something to be grateful for. Though it is subjective to some, there are clear examples in which misplaced gratitude exists.
Consider the following scenario: you are in a relationship with someone who is verbally abusive to you. The verbal abuse has gotten so frequent that it is something you expect when you see your partner. There comes a day where there is no verbal abuse and the experience is pleasant and you enjoy the time with them significantly more because there is no verbal abuse. This would be an example of misplaced gratitude because you enjoy the situation more when there is no abuse when you have become accustomed to it. It could be the case that you have been in abusive relationships before that were worse than your current partner and therefore the abuse was never enough to justify leaving. The fact is that you take some satisfaction or gratitude towards the absence of violence and that is misplacing gratitude.
How does misplaced gratitude relate with hook-up culture? With hook-up culture becoming so prevalent in today, we see misplaced gratitude a lot more often than we think. When someone acts on the assumption that the interactions with another person will just be some sexual exchange, it can come to great surprise when the other person does not desire the same thing. What follows this is the notion that they do not just want sex guides the feeling for misplaced gratitude towards that person. When someone is accustomed to the sexual pressure of hook-up culture, the absence of that pressure can be refreshing or highly valued, just like in the example given before.
So how does this affect dating? Well when one dating another person on an exchange that began with misplaced gratitude, then it can cause for the relationship itself to be built on a poor evaluation of the compatibility between both people. This can be problematic given a hypothesis on why dating within hook-up culture is often so short. To avoid this, the goals and expectations in a relationship ought to be clearly laid out in the beginning and both people should reflect on the primary reasons for their mutual interest with each other.
As I claimed before, I do not know for sure that this is the phenomenon that occurs in dating but one should at least consider this approach to understanding a phenomenon that previously lacked detailed explanation.