Photographer Harper Lyon has us wondering: Has chivalry really been killed by the high-reign of todays dating apps? Have the kids of today really lost all sense of romance and -- at the very least -- decency as most like to suggest?
We asked a few anonymous collegiate's to reflect on their past relationships and what they would have done differently and what they wish they could say to their former partners now.
Spoiler: There is hope. Millenials are human, after all.
Think of an important past relationship or a string of casual relationships that you've had and describe it.
"I’ve had a lot of flings where I thought they were my partner, or they thought I was theirs, but it’s never felt mutual for very long. There was one person that came close, though. At the time, it felt like a chismet sort of “this is meant to happen” thing, but those feelings aren’t always right. It seemed crazy that it could go wrong at all because of how right it felt."
What went right?
"In that period of my life and his, we were what the other needed. They even said to me “I need you, and you need me, because we balance each other out.” We were best friends before we were anything and that made it really easy to communicate and understand each other."
"He was my best friend. We were completely honest with one another at all times, which ended up becoming a downfall. We were almost always on the same wavelength mentally, and we understood and accepted each other. After over a year of over a year of no communication, we reconnected, and are close friends again. I think this shows just how strong our connection has always been."
What went wrong?
"Sometimes when you “fall in love” with a best friend, it doesn’t end like you want it to. They could only see me as a best friend at the end of the day, and there was nothing I could do to change that."
"She went to a different school, meaning almost all of our engagements were through text messaging. When we saw each other in person we had nothing to say, and what we did say sounded fake and mechanical. She told me she loved me but that she wasn’t in love with me."
"We were young, and emotional. We couldn’t reassure each other in the ways that we needed. He couldn’t ever trust my friends. A toxic combination of these things, spending too much time together, and the end of high school that led to the end."
What's the best thing you have done in a relationship?
"Learn how to be selfless. I came to know what it was like to care about someone so much that you would do almost anything for them, and I think that helped me grow as a person a lot, even if the feelings didn’t last."
What's the worst thing you have done in a relationship?
"Be selfish. When I was younger, before I was ready to be with someone, I was scared and I was embarrassed, so I tried to protect myself without worrying about the other person. I know now how wrong that was and how much it hurt them, but I guess you need to screw up to learn."
How has your former partner affected your life?
"In a positive way, they taught me to be more confident in myself and not base my self-worth off of what a (potential) partner thinks of me/my body. On the other hand, though, my experience with them made me a little too cautious when the prospect of a new relationship comes up; it’s made it really hard to be with anyone romantically (but that’s also my fault)."
"I learned a lot about myself in that relationship and I think I’m a better person today because of it. Relationships mark different chapters in your life and sometimes it’s fun to reminisce."
"He has given me hope that there are people in this world that are like me, and that have the capability of loving me. He’s a rare person that always genuinely cares for what I have to say, and allows me to fully confide in him, even after all we’ve been through."
If your ex-partner called you right now, would you pick up the phone?
"They don't have my number."
If yes, what would you say?
"I’d definitely ask why they called me after so long, but I’d be open to what they had to say because there’s no reason not to be. Anything else I’d say would be depended on their answer, I think, because there’s nothing I’m eager to say to them anymore."
If your ex-partner asked for a second chance, what would you say?
"I’d ask to meet for coffee with them and talk to them. It’s been so long that I don’t know who they are anymore. I’d be (very) hesitantly open to the idea in the right situation."
"Absolutely not -- I'm taken."
"I would tell him that we’ve already tried that, and it didn’t work for a reason. I would tell him I couldn’t lose one of my best friends again. I value his friendship too much to risk that again–it was heartbreaking enough the first time."
How has your past relationship taught you to do better in future relationships?
"It’s taught me how to find a balance between selfishness and selflessness and a balance between fear and comfort. I think it’s important to watch out for yourself, but pay attention how the other person is feeling and reacting to you. It’s also important to not let fear get in the way of a great relationship, but not be so comfortable that you’re not aware of drifting and miscommunication."
"I didn’t really grasp how much went into a relationship back then. I put very little effort into it and got little out of it. Now I know what not to do."
"I’ve learned that even if communication in a relationship is strong, it can always be stronger. I know now that choice of words matter, and that it’s important to not get caught up in emotions."
What makes you commit to a relationship?
"Knowing that I can trust the other person, and they can trust me. If I have butterflies in my stomach, but still feel like I can be 100% myself around that person, I see potential for commitment."
"A gut feeling."
"It’s in my nature to fully commit myself to a person that I have a strong connection and emotional attachment with. It’s so automatic for me, and never really a matter of choice when I feel so strongly for someone."
What prevents you from committing to a relationship?
"I’m kind of a commitment-phobe. My own fears and my own insecurities make committing a really difficult thing for me. I honestly think I take things a little too seriously when it comes to dating. I’m very uncomfortable going on dates with people I don’t know, which doesn’t leave much room for new possibilities."
"A lack thereof."
"A fear of becoming overly attached, a fear of losing a best friend, a fear of having my trust played with."
Do you use tinder or any other dating apps?
"I use Tinder."
How have these apps affected the way you date?
"I’ve actually never gone out on a tinder date because I’m afraid they’ll murder me or be really awful to me or something. A big part of that is that usually the people I speak to aren’t interested in talking for a long time or face timing before meeting in person, and that makes me super uneasy. "
Have these apps made dating more casual for you?
"I think they’ve actually made it less casual. The sheer volume of options kind of shut me down and made me less likely to go out with a tinder date."
Say something to your former partner or partners.
"Thank you for being a part of my growing process."
"It wasn’t perfect but it was important. Thank you."
"Thank for being my first love. I can’t express the amount I have learned from our two years together. We were so young, and so clueless, but what we had was real. We really experienced some high highs, and even lower lows, but through it all, we’ve managed to forgive and find friendship in each other again, and I am so grateful for this."